As seen in...
ABC News
Washington Post
The Economist
The Atlantic
National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-08-12

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, August 8, 2012:

  • Phoenix, AZ: A police officer was arrested on suspicion of sexual misconduct with two teenagers. He was accused of 10 felony counts of sexual assault against the 14 and 17-year old boys. Said Mayor Greg Stanton “A crime against a child is horrible and unimaginable on its own, but when someone of authority you trust is the suspect, if becomes something far worse.”
  • New York, NY: A police officer pleaded not guilty to charges that he pulled a gun on his ex-girlfriend in a parking lot before sexually assaulting her. The charges included first-degree rape, second-degree menacing, and third-degree assault.
  • Chicago, IL: A complaint was filed against an officer saying: “The crux of this action is that the defendant … with full force and assault and without any cause of justification ran his Maywood Police Department vehicle into the motor bike being operated by the plaintiff … causing the plaintiff severe and disabling physical injury.” The plaintiff filed a criminal complaint against him, but all charges were dropped after prosecutors watched a video of the events captured from a neighbors security camera.
  • Homestead, FL: A police officer was fired after a woman complained that he asked her to show him her breasts and bra, and asked what color underwear she was wearing. The six-year veteran was fired after an internal affairs investigation led the police chief and a board of senior officers to recommend his termination.
  • Burlington, VT: Protesters requested public records on use of force at their protest. One of the protestors said he was “walking away with my hands up” when police officers shot him with rubber munitions that left 19 bruises.
  • White County, AR: An internal investigation stemming from a trooper’s highway stop reveals this is not the first complaint against the trooper. He has had several allegations ranging from police brutality to requesting sex from a court worker while on the job.
  • Glendive, MT: A former officer denied felony charges alleging he had sexual relationships with four girls under 16. The charges allege he told one of the girls the FBI would come looking for photos and asked her to delete any photos she had of him.
  • Hendersonville, NC: The former South Carolina trooper accused of robbing a bank earlier this year pleaded guilty in court.
  • Trenton, NJ: A police officer was accused of drunk driving after he crashed his unmarked police car into a creek.


FBI in New Zealand: The Dotcom Raid

Early morning raid.  Special paramilitary units with automatic weapons.  Helicopters.  Dogs.  Illegal search warrant. The New Zealand reporters, sadly, but accurately, observe that all this seems  “American.”   We are then informed that the FBI was indeed on the scene.  The extent to which the bureau planned or “advised” the host country on how to conduct this raid is not yet known.

Dotcom is not the Pablo Escobar of New Zealand.  He is the subject of a copyright fraud investigation!  The destruction-of-evidence justification for the show of force seems spurious because (a) that would seem to justify such tactics in just about any criminal case; and (b) why not just arrest Dotcom away from his mansion, away from the pregnant wife and children?

More here and here.

Arrested on suspicion of maybe, possibly, about to cause a disturbance

News item from Great Britain:

A PARKINSON’S sufferer who was arrested during the Olympic cycle races in Surrey has questioned why he was dragged to the ground for “not smiling”.

Mark Worsfold, 54, was sat on a wall in Leatherhead as the riders approached at around 3pm on Saturday, July 28 – but officers decided his manner was a cause for concern, and he was hauled off to Reigate police station.

Not possible in the USA?   Similar legal trend may be at work over here:

A dramatic new way to track criminals and potential terrorists was unveiled Wednesday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

It melds cameras, computers and data bases capable of nabbing bad guys before they even know they’re under suspicion.

Crime and terrorism “prevention” sound like good ideas because the concept implies that a crime was thwarted before anyone got hurt, but it can also mean that people get detained and arrested for … nothing.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-07-2012

Here are the 6 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, August 7, 2012:

  • New Orleans, LA: An ex-police officer was sentenced to two years in prison on a felony count of theft. 
  • DeLand, FL: A police officer is accused of stealing from a Goodwill store, and investigators said they have the surveillance tape to prove it. Brice Miller was about to be fired, but then retired after 23 years on the job. 
  • Methuen, MA: Witnesses said Methuen police officer Shawn Tardif was “in a rage” when he grabbed a 25-year-old woman attending a bachelorette party, forced her to the floor and then dragged her by the hair in a bar brawl Saturday night. 
  • Seattle, WA: A veteran Seattle police officer is under investigation after fellow officers reported he used excessive force and engaged in unprofessional conduct while responding to a disturbance.
  • Aiken, SC: A former Saluda County sheriff pleaded guilty Monday to using an inmate to build a party shed, ornate gate and other items at his home. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of misconduct in office. He allowed the inmate to live in a trailer outside of prison, have conjugal visits with his girlfriend and offered to ask the governor to reduce his sentence, prosecutors said. 
  • Amherst, NY: An Erie County sheriff’s deputy was charged with a DWI. The motorcyclist he crashed into is in critical condition


Crooked Cops in Dekalb County

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Since January, nearly a dozen officers have been arrested or fired or have resigned in lieu of termination as a result of probes into wrongdoing or serious policy violations.

“We take allegations of misconduct very serious and will not hesitate to take action, even when it’s our own,” DeKalb Police Chief William O’Brien told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an interview Tuesday morning.

Late Tuesday afternoon, DeKalb Police Sgt. Jerry Banks, who’s married, was fired for obstructing fellow officers’ attempts to serve a search warrant at the home of a woman with whom he shared an undefined relationship.

“An internal affairs investigation deemed Banks violated departmental policies of conduct unbecoming [an officer] and violation of the law,” DeKalb police spokeswoman Mekka Parish said.

And last week, DeKalb Police Capt. Suzanne Kaulbach was fired after being arrested in June on allegations that she kept stolen property at her Clayton County home. …

Frank Rotondo, executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, applauded O’Brien’s move.

“I wish more departments would enhance internal affairs,” Rotondo said Tuesday by phone. “If the standards become lax, the department becomes a slipshod operation.”

He said O’Brien, who is in his second year as chief, owes it to DeKalb citizens to do everything to protect them and their investment in policing the county.

“An officer who [steps out of line] could cost taxpayers money in the way of lawsuits,” Rotondo said.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-04-12 through 08-06-12

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, August 4, 2012 through Monday, August 6, 2012:
  • Perkasie, Pennsylvania: a Perkasie officer is on leave during an internal investigation for his having allegedly shot an “unarmed young man, in the throes of mental illness” while the suspect was cuffed.
  • Wagner, South Dakota: update: the Wagner, SD police chief charged with misprision of felony last week has been accused of covering for girlfriend’s meth use by storing needles at a department storage unit.
  • Hanover Park, Illinois: four cops have been accused of excessive force in a lawsuit filed in federal court which also claims false arrest and malicious prosecution.
  • Richmond County, GA: a Richmond County deputy has been fired in connection with a tax return scheme. He funneled names, addresses, and Social Security numbers to the group in question.
  • Chicago, Illinois: a former Chicago cop has admitted that he used his badge to steal drugs, guns and money for the Latin Kings. By his own admission, he routinely pulled people over and entered homes using his badge and police-issued equipment: the stops and entrances looked legitimate, but he stole during them, including while on-duty.
  • Edinburg, Texas: a former Hidalgo County deputy has been arrested on felony charges. He’s alleged to have had a romantic relationship with an informant; the sheriff noted that “[he has]” little tolerance when deputies violate policy and no tolerance when they break the law. I hold narcotics officers to a much higher standard because of the trust we place in them.”
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: a police department instructor who specializes in deadly force training noted to an Appeal Board that an officer’s force was not justified. The officer was fired in 2011.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio: a Cincinnati officer has been accused of having child porn; he was indicted by a federal grand jury.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: the 16th (and final) Baltimore officer has been sentenced in a towing extortion scheme. He, along with others, got paid for every accident victim he directed to an unauthorized towing company.
  • Tacoma, Washington: the police used a Taser on a deaf crime victim. We posted about this here

The Police “Raid” on Michael Salman’s Home

John Whitehead:

Under the blazing Arizona sun stands an encampment of military tents filled with some 2,000 people. They battle the heat by positioning themselves in front of a few large fans, but they are of little use when temperatures reach 145 degrees. Stun fences surround the perimeter, with four Sky Watch Towers bearing down on the occupants. Facial recognition software and K-9 units keep track of the people moving about, longing for their freedom.

For the residents of Tent City Jail, their time behind bars is an exercise in humiliation: they are forced to dress in pink underwear, they “work seven days a week, are fed only twice a day, get no coffee, no cigarettes, no salt, pepper or ketchup and no organized recreation.” They work on chain gangs, and have to pay ten bucks every time they want to see a nurse. This draconian treatment is not reserved for hardened criminals. In fact, most inmates in Tent City are imprisoned for less than a year for minor crimes, or are simply awaiting trial.

It is in this Guantanamo-like facility, surrounded by hardened criminals and subjected to all manners of degradation and hardship that Michael Salman—who was fined more than $12,000 and sentenced to 60 days in jail starting on July 9, 2012, for the so-called “crime” of holding a weekly Bible study in his Phoenix home, allegedly in violation of the city’s building codes—is incarcerated.

What happened to Michael Salman—armed police raids of his property, repeated warnings against holding any form of Bible study at his home, and a court-ordered probation banning him from having any gatherings of more than 12 people at his home—should never have happened in America. Yet this is the reality that more and more Americans are grappling with in the face of a government bureaucracy consumed with churning out laws, statutes, codes and regulations that reinforce its powers and value systems and those of the police state and its corporate allies. All the while, the life is slowly being choked out of our individual freedoms. The aim, of course, is absolute control by way of thousands of regulations that dictate when, where, how and with whom we live our lives. …

Michael Salman is merely one more unfortunate soul caught in the government’s cross-hairs, only his so-called crime deserving of prosecution was daring to take part in a time-honored tradition that goes back centuries—gathering with family and friends at home for prayer and worship.

Since 2005, Michael and his wife Suzanne have hosted Bible studies at their Phoenix home for 20-45 family and friends, depending on the day of the week and time. Attendees park their cars on the Salmans’ 4.6-acre property so as not to crowd the street or inconvenience the neighbors. However, after some neighbors complained about the gatherings, city zoning officials started harassing the Salmans, advising them that they were breaking the law because religious activities, even in the home, have to be governed by building codes for churches, rather than residential homes. Of course, these zoning officials had no problem with group gatherings for family reunions, football parties, Tupperware parties or Boy Scout meetings. In June 2009, nearly a dozen armed police officers, accompanied by city inspectors, raided the Salmans’ property, charging them with 67 code violations that apply to commercial and public buildings, including having no emergency exit signs over the doors, no handicap parking spaces or handicap ramps.

For more than three years, the Salmans attempted to placate city officials, even agreeing to install overhead sprinklers in their converted game room, but when zoning officials started insisting that the Salmans actually install paved roads and curbs on their private property, they said “no more.” That’s when city officials really turned up the heat, sentencing Michael Salman to 60 days in jail, more than $12,000 in fines and a two-year probation. Making matters worse, city officials then found Michael guilty of violating his probation by continuing to hold Bible studies on his private property after being ordered not to have more than 12 people gathered on his property at any one time. In addition to increased jail time for Michael and fines, the Salmans will also be subjected to unannounced monthly visits by government inspectors, checking to ensure they do not have more than 12 people in their home at any given time.

Read the whole thing.


National Police Misconduct News Feed Daily Recap 08-03-12

Here are the 16 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, August 3, 2012:
  • Helena, Arkansas: a former Helena-West Helena officer who had been indicted for drug trafficking and corruption has been sentenced to 14 months in prison.
  • Bergen County, New Jersey: a former Hasbrouck Heights police officer has been indicted on murder charges. The man is alleged to have murdered had been his friend for 20 years, according to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.
  • Valdosta, Georgia: the former police chief of Omega, Georgia has been convicted of a civil rights violation for excessive force towards a pretrial detainee who was fully restrained in a restraint chair.
  • Providence, Rhode Island: update: the former police chief has settled a suit alleging he stole from a former stripper.
  • Little Ferry, New Jersey: a resident who is himself a Union City police officer is suing the borough, alleging false arrest.
  • Little Rock, Arkansas: an Arkansas State Trooper has been fired after an investigation of a traffic stop in which he turned off his in-car video recorder, illegally confiscated a gun, and dumped marijuana along a road.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio: a family is suing a University of Cincinnati police officer over the death of their relative, a teen hit by his stun gun.
  • Madison, Wisconsin: a Madison police officer has been suspended for 30 days without pay after an incident in which, per the department, he violated policies prohibiting “overbearing, oppressive, or tyrannical” behavior towards the public.
  • St. Petersburg, Florida: a St. Petersburg police office was fired after an investigation following his killing a pedestrian with his patrol car.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: a former Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy has been arrested for using a Taser “excessively”.
  • New York, NY: an NYPD officer has been indicted on rape and assault charges.
  • Trenton, NJ: a New Jersey State Police trooper has been fired after she attacked a South Jersey cop and resisted arrest. She had previously accused a State Police sergeant of sexual harassment at the academy; the sergeant later had most of the charges against her dropped and is pursuing her own lawsuit against the division, alleging that she’s been inappropriately targeted because she’s a lesbian.
  • Nazareth, Pennsylvania: two off-duty Nazareth police officers have been charged with criminal trespass at a gun range after hours.
  • Corona, California: a Corona officer has been convicted of filing a false police report. He had previously been suspected of giving false testimony in a March 2011 drug trial. He’d been running a drugs-for-sex sting on Craigslist in violation of his department’s orders.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: a Honolulu officer has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an indoor marijuana-growing operation to work. Per his federal public defender, he may be able to return to work on restricted duty before he is sentenced in December.
  • San Francisco, CA: the mother of a Seattle man who died while fleeing San Francisco police is suing the city. Police alleged that Harding had a gun and fired first on the officers, but the suit claims that “witnesses to the incident claim they never saw [the man] brandish, fire or attempt to discard a gun.” “He was face down in a prone position, violently slapping around like a fish out of water, and no effort was made to give him any kind of medical help,” per one of the mother’s attorneys.

Deaf Woman Calls Police for Help; Police Arrive and Shoot Her with Taser, Then Arrest Her


KIRO TV’s investigative unit has discovered Tacoma police used force to arrest and handcuff an innocent deaf woman after she called 911 for their help.

Instead of an apology, she ended up bloody and in jail for nearly three days without an interpreter before a prosecutor declined to press charges.

After months of digging, investigative reporter Chris Halsne found significant discrepancies in the official police version of events leading up to Lashonn White’s arrest.

Late in the evening on April 6, White said she called for police assistance after a guest reportedly attacked her in her own apartment.

Deaf since birth, White used a special video-equipped phone, connected to a TV and a Web camera, to call 911. A certified American Sign Language interpreter on the other end verbally relayed White’s pleas for help to a Tacoma police dispatcher.

“I said, ‘Please hurry! There’s a person here beating me up,’” White explained to Halsne during a television interview last month.

A recording of White’s 911 call from that evening reveals her urgency.

“Right now! This is serious!”

“She’s fighting at me, then she chokes me. She’s coming right at me!”

Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) logs show Tacoma police officer Ryan Koskovich and his partner, Michael Young, were outside White’s apartment complex in about six minutes.

It also reflects that officers received texts along the way stating, “Person doing the hitting is a Sophia” and “Vict. is Lashonn White.”

In addition, it appears from internal police records obtained by KIRO Team 7 Investigators, Koskovich and his partner were repeatedly given information that the victim could not hear a thing.

On the 911 calls, White herself made it perfectly clear.

“I’m deaf.  I can’t hear if they’re out front knocking or whatever … I can’t—are they going to the front or back? Where are the police at?”

Dispatch: “They want her to go outside the front door.”

“Oh, they’re here? Okay, I’m on my way to meet them. I’m going right now.”

White showed our investigative team the route up to the front door from her basement apartment. It’s only one flight of stairs — a 30-second trip.

To her, what happened next defies common sense — especially, for a woman with no criminal record, no arrests and just one minor driving violation on her record.

Within seconds of running outside to meet police, Officer Koskovich pulled his Taser and fired a two-barbed electric wire into White’s ribs and stomach.

“All I’m doing is waving my hands in the air, and the next thing I know, I’m on the ground and then handcuffed. It was almost like I blacked out. I was so dizzy and disoriented,” White said.

Witnesses said White began bleeding heavily from her knuckles and the right side of her face swelled up immediately after she hit the pavement following the Taser jolt.

Pictures acquired by Team 7 Investigators also show injuries to her cheek, chin, ribs, neck and arms.

Worse yet to White was the incredible confusion that came with suddenly being handcuffed, under arrest and without the ability to communicate with Tacoma officers, who had no sign language skills.

“The next thing I know, they took me to jail. Told me to stand up, you’re going to jail. I said, ‘What? What have I done?’ I couldn’t figure it out. I had no idea what was going on,” said White.

Officer Koskovich and his partner submitted nearly identical descriptions of the arrest in their reports.

Koskovich wrote in part: “I yelled for White to ‘stop’ and held my right hand up to signal for White to stop. White ignored my commands.” …

Team 7 Investigators canvassed the area near the Taser incident for witnesses because Koskovich and White’s stories are so vastly different.

Margaret Sims’s apartment is right over the spot where White fell to the ground after being tased. She said it was around 11:30 at night and dark, but she heard Lashonn screaming in pain and ran to the balcony.

“I hollered down and said, ‘She’s deaf and can’t speak!’”

Sims says she went down to the street and spoke with officers while Lashonn was still in handcuffs. She told us during an on-camera interview that the police officers at the scene admitted there was a misunderstanding.

Rogue Metro Gang “Strike Force”

From the Star Tribune:

A toddler, not yet 2 years old, was kicked in the head by a Metro Gang Strike Force officer and his crib was destroyed during a botched drug raid. The government’s payout to the child: $6,000.

A Lincoln Navigator SUV, seized by the Strike Force, was returned to the owner 18 months later, with 20,000 more miles on it. Payout to the owner: $25,000.

In other raids, officers improperly seized a blender, class rings, an ice augur and a stump digger. One man lost some Twins baseball hats he said were autographed by Joe Mauer. His compensation: $2,000 if the caps are not returned.

The stories and payouts to 96 victims of the now-defunct Strike Force, cited in 600 pages of documents released last week in a class-action lawsuit, provide the most detailed picture yet of an out-of-control police squad, and put a price on every wrongful seizure, unjustified punch or dubious raid.

The $3 million suit was filed on July 30, 2009, less than two weeks after the scandal-ridden unit, made up of officers from metro agencies, was shut down by then-Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion. The collapse of the Metro Gang Strike Force revealed widespread illegal behavior by officers and prompted new laws and policies designed to improve oversight and accountability of police in Minnesota. …

In August 2006, Strike Force officers and the Minneapolis police SWAT unit broke into a residence, based on an informant’s information about the sale of cocaine. They found a small amount of marijuana, but no cocaine or two drug dealers they were looking for. An officer tried to kick a woman, but instead kicked her toddler. A photo showed a bruise on his forehead. A $289 crib was destroyed.

In its defense, the Strike Force called it “a high-risk raid and that officers are permitted to use force commensurate with the danger,” Gehan wrote.

“I am unable to discern why it would be necessary to kick claimant’s mother,” Gehan wrote, issuing a $6,000 award.

And this:

The payouts come from the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, which insured the Strike Force. About $2 million will be used for training law enforcement statewide on proper seizure methods and racial and cultural sensitivity.

Training??  Like … “Remember people!  Y’all can’t just take flat screen TVs whenever you want to.  Or take cash away from Hispanics.”   One wonders where these officers are now and what they’ve been doing since these incidents.



Creative Commons License
This work by Cato Institute is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.