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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-07-13

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, February 7, 2013:

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: A state trooper, who was named Officer of the Year in 2002, has been found guilty of theft by swindle and four counts of forgery. She took $1,500 from the International Association of Women Police, and when a coworker discovered the money missing, she falsified a checkbook register and financial records in an attempt to make the withdrawal appear legitimate. She resigned after the incident. ow.ly/hvr2z
  • Lafayette, Louisiana: A police corporal has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of sexual battery and malfeasance for allegedly battering a woman while he was on duty. http://ow.ly/hvwV0
  • South Salt Lake, Utah: An officer has been charged with stalking a former girlfriend and hacking her computer accounts. He is on extended administrative leave. http://ow.ly/hvDZq
  • Nelsonville, Ohio: An officer was in court on a third-degree felony charge of tampering with evidence levied against him. He is on paid administrative leave. http://ow.ly/hvGuy
  • Update: Albemarle County, Virginia: A now-former police lieutenant has pleaded guilty to embezzlement and was sentenced to 10 days in jail. He later returned the $380 that he stole from a petty cash fund. The lieutenant had been an officer for 27 years. http://ow.ly/hvNSU
  • Madison County, Tennessee: Two former law-enforcement officers were in court, on unrelated charges. One was being charged with stealing money from the passenger in a car. The other has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, employing a weapon during the commission of a dangerous felony, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated assault. http://ow.ly/hvR6S
  • Somerset, Massachusetts: An officer has been arrested and charged with larceny under $250 by false pretenses, two counts of possession of a class E substance and two counts of possession of a class C substance. http://ow.ly/hvU4m
  • Bismarck, North Dakota: An officer has pleaded not guilty to roughing up suspects during two separate arrests. A grand jury indicted him on four counts. http://ow.ly/hw4Jv
  • Alger County, Michigan: A deputy is facing possible charges following the investigation into an alleged assault of an inmate. The deputy is now on administrative leave. http://ow.ly/hw98j
  • Naperville, Illinois: The wife of a man killed in a motorcycle accident involving a state trooper has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit, blaming the officer. ow.ly/hwaVa
  • Indianapolis, Indiana: A seizure patient has filed a lawsuit against the police department, claiming officers beat and arrested him after mistaking his symptoms for being high on drugs. The man’s sister tried to advise officers that he was suffering from epilepsy and not under the influence of drugs, but the lawsuit says officers ignored her. ow.ly/hw5cf

Worst of the Month — January 2013

We are starting a new feature here on the web site.  We’re basically going to highlight what we think was the worst police misconduct story each month.   We invite feedback from our readers–whether by email or postings on our Facebook page–as the stories come in during the month.  We’re not going to try to tally up votes or anything like that, but having constructive feedback is always helpful to us.   If our choices seem arbitrary and subjective–that’s probably because they are.  Maybe after several months of hearing from our readers and the reasons they offer for particular stories, we’ll find some kinda consensus criteria. Maybe not.  In any event, let’s start this.

For January 2013, it’s the story from the Los Angeles Times about two cops who would use their official police powers to coerce sex from women.  According to the authorities, these officers would drive women to secluded places, threaten arrest,  and then offer them  “a way  out.”  Faced with such threats under such circumstances, the women not only feared the consequences of a false arrest (and that no one would believe them), they feared for their lives.   How would one know what these cops were prepared to do?

The runner-up story comes from Ohio.   Sgt. Brian Dulle died in the line of duty.  A fellow officer, William Hunt, started a memorial fund for Dulle’s widow.  But it turns out that Hunt stole money from that fund to pay off personal loans.  Sheriff Larry Sims said, “To steal from your friend who was killed and his family, it’s just unspeakable.”    Yes, it is, and it makes you wonder why the prosecutors are only asking for probation in this matter.

Two Women Shot by LAPD

From the LA Times:

Two women who were shot by Los Angeles police in Torrance early Thursday during a massive manhunt for an ex-LAPD officer were delivering newspapers, sources said.

The women, shot in the 19500 block of Redbeam Avenue, were taken to area hospitals, Torrance police Lt. Devin Chase said. They were not identified. One was shot in the hand and the other in the back, according to Jesse Escochea, who captured video of the victims being treated.

It was not immediately known what newspapers the women were delivering. After the shooting, the blue pickup was riddled with bullet holes and what appeared to be newspapers lay in the street alongside.

To clarify/remind visitors here, the alleged crimes of ex-LAPD officer, Christopher Dorner, the subject of today’s  manhunt, will not be listed here on the site.  One of our criteria for news stories is that the person must have been police at the time of the wrongdoing. According to the news reports we’ve seen,  Dorner has not been a police officer for some time.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-06-13

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, February 6, 2013:

  • Herkimer, New York: A police officer has been charged with second-degree murder in his son’s shooting at a motel. He says he shot his son after mistaking him for an intruder. ow.ly/huahy
  • Swansea, Massachusetts: A long-time police officer is facing drunken driving charges. He reportedly left the scene of a crash; the responding officer claims the offending officer drove over a snow bank and away from the officer when he first approached the car. ow.ly/htTg9
  • Abita Springs, Louisiana: A police lieutenant was found guilty of cocaine distribution. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison after a judge decided that he fit the definition of a habitual offender. ow.ly/htPzr
  • Update: Vero Beach, Florida: A now-former officer has been sentenced to life in prison on three counts of lewd or lascivious sexual battery. He was convicted on the charges involving a victim who is now a senior in high school. ow.ly/htPaL
  • Henderson County, North Carolina: A state trooper has been arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol. His driver’s license was immediately revoked during his arrest, and he resigned from his position. ow.ly/htCmV
  • Martinsburg, West Virginia: A woman has filed a lawsuit against a sheriff’s deputy and the Berkeley County Council for being falsely arrested and wrongfully imprisoned after spending a night in jail. ow.ly/ht6nj
  • Houston County, Georgia: An appeals court affirmed a federal court ruling that a former state trooper did not have arguable probable cause to arrest a man who cursed him during an incident. They found that the man’s speech was protected.  ow.ly/ht4mB
  • San Luis Obiuspo, California: A detective has been arrested by the FBI and charged with one count of bribery in a criminal complaint. The Department of Justice Report says, “he allegedly took cash and narcotics from two individuals. In return, the police officer allegedly provided these ‘cooperating witnesses’ with narcotics for their own use, as well as fake drugs to sell to drug dealers.” ow.ly/ht3V2

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-05-13

Here are the 6 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, February 5, 2013:

  • Miami-Dade, Florida: The police department has fired a sergeant and two officers and suspended three others without pay in what is considered one of the worst incidents of delinquency in the department’s history. The accusation include: failing to respond to emergency calls, pretending to be on calls when they weren’t and falsifying police records. ow.ly/hrQER
  • Valrico, Florida: A now-former officer  charged with possessing child pornography changed his plea deal to guilty. He retired nine days after federal authorities searched his home and seized a computer, saying they found illegal images of children. ow.ly/hrwry
  • Indianapolis, Indiana: An officer has been charged with three counts of robbery and three counts of official misconduct. He is accused of robbing men during traffic stops. ow.ly/hredj
  • Tattnall County, Georgia: A deputy was sentenced to nine years in prison for selling illegal drugs he stole from the evidence room. ow.ly/hrd95
  • Cobb County, Georgia: Another deputy was arrested in connection with alleged sexual assault of a female inmate. ow.ly/hrcQ1
  • Fountain Hill, Pennsylvania: An officer has been fired. He allegedly used “unreasonable force” on a suspect in custody and then lied about the incident. The mayor recommended he be fired for “conduct unbecoming a police officer.” ow.ly/hr9wW

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-02-13 to 02-04-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, February 2 to Monday, February 4, 2013:

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A police officer has been charged; he fired 13 bullets in the direction of a building. After the police were called to the scene, he made a false 911 call to distract them. http://ow.ly/hoLTn
  • Independence, Iowa: A police officer who had an expired driver’s license when his cruiser hit a woman’s car is being sued. A councilman says that they city will defend the officer, but that the officer clearly screwed up and got caught in this situation. ow.ly/hnX7K
  • Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: A police officer was arrested on drug and child endangerment charges. She called the police to her house after a dispute with her son, and they found her drug paraphernalia and it smelled of marijuana. http://ow.ly/hnXci
  • Northbrook, Illinois: A 12-year veteran has been charged with felony counts of residential burglary and official misconduct. He was caught on video stealing jewelry from a home he had been sent to check on. http://ow.ly/hnXkx
  • Lake County, Illinois: A deputy who tracked predators is being investigated. He allegedly had sexual contact with a teenage boy. He has been placed on paid administrative leave.  http://ow.ly/hoIja
  • Orient, Ohio: An officer has been accused of sexual assault on a female staff member at a prison. He has been placed on indefinite leave. http://ow.ly/hnXtY
  • Update: Miami, Florida: Another officer has been charged. He recently resigned while under investigation and pleaded guilty to extortion charges. The charges are related to a FBI corruption probe involving a police-protection racket for a sports-betting ring operating out of a barbershop. http://ow.ly/hoOnU
  • East St. Louis, Illinois: An officer who lied to federal agents about demanding sex from a traffic violator was vilified in federal court as a prime example of poor law enforcement that fosters rampant crime in his community. He was ordered to 30 months in prison, which is 2 ½ times the maximum recommendation under sentencing guidelines. He pleaded guilty to lying about the encounter. http://ow.ly/hoVbe
  • Hanford, California: An officer entered a no-contest plea to carrying narcotics with intent to sell. He has resigned from the department. Two witnesses testified that the officer supplied them with prescription drugs, drug paraphernalia, and meth. http://ow.ly/hoWmD
  • Macon, Georgia: A police officer pleaded guilty to violating his oath of officer and was sentenced to five years probation. He was on duty when he drove a 20-year-old to an inn, where he had sex with her. http://ow.ly/hoZPa

The Truth About Police Lies

Professor Michelle Alexander in the New York Times:

Exposing police lying is difficult largely because it is rare for the police to admit their own lies or to acknowledge the lies of other officers. This reluctance derives partly from the code of silence that governs police practice and from the ways in which the system of mass incarceration is structured to reward dishonesty. But it’s also because police officers are human.

Research shows that ordinary human beings lie a lot — multiple times a day — even when there’s no clear benefit to lying. Generally, humans lie about relatively minor things like “I lost your phone number; that’s why I didn’t call” or “No, really, you don’t look fat.” But humans can also be persuaded to lie about far more important matters, especially if the lie will enhance or protect their reputation or standing in a group.

The natural tendency to lie makes quota systems and financial incentives that reward the police for the sheer numbers of people stopped, frisked or arrested especially dangerous. One lie can destroy a life, resulting in the loss of employment, a prison term and relegation to permanent second-class status. The fact that our legal system has become so tolerant of police lying indicates how corrupted our criminal justice system has become by declarations of war, “get tough” mantras, and a seemingly insatiable appetite for locking up and locking out the poorest and darkest among us.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-01-13

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, February 1, 2013:

  • Quantico, Virginia: Virginia State Police are conducting a criminal investigation of the Quantico Police Department after an audit revealed $1,000 in cash was missing, along with marijuana and a handgun belonging to the police chief. The chief resigned after he took a polygraph test. http://ow.ly/hjnYw
  • Boulder City, Nevada: Police Lieutenant Pieter Walkers murdered his wife and son before committing suicide. http://ow.ly/hjohH
  • Petersburg, Virginia: The son of the police chief, also a police officer, is facing a DWI charge and allegations of driving that could have endangered lives. He failed all standard field sobriety tests and refused a breath test. Another officer obtained a warrant for his blood, but test results have not yet returned an exact blood alcohol content reading. http://ow.ly/hkjq6
  • Huntington, West Virginia: A men has filed a federal lawsuit against a police officer and the city, alleging the officer violated his civil rights by beating him with a deadly weapon after he had been handcuffed. http://ow.ly/hkmdl
  • Update: Everett, Washington: The death of a mentally ill man at the jail has been ruled a homicide. Homicide is a medical term that means a person died as a result of another’s actions. It is up to police and prosecutors to decide whether those actions may constitute a crime, such as manslaughter or murder, or were legally justified. Police officials said the case remains under active investigation. http://ow.ly/hkn2H
  • Dayton, Ohio: A lawsuit filed by a mother and her mentally challenged son against the city and two police officers has been settled for $10,000. The suit claimed police officers assaulted the boy after mistaking his speech impediment for disrespect. http://ow.ly/hknDO
  • Update: Culpeper, Virginia: A jury found an officer guilty of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed woman. He could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison on the manslaughter conviction, one to five for shooting into an occupied vehicle and two to 10 for shooting into a vehicle resulting in death. http://ow.ly/hkpdV
  • Ahoskie, North Carolina: A police officer was arrested and charged with raping a teenager. Officer Andreas Snape was charged with more than 20 counts. Snape was fired. ow.ly/hlqKV
  • New York, New York: The family of a 7-year-old New York boy is suing police and the city for $250 million, saying cops handcuffed and interrogated the boy for ten hours after a scuffle over lunch money at school. ow.ly/hlq1x
  • Update: San Diego, California: Six women arrested during the Occupy protests are suing the law enforcement agencies over a range of alleged civil-rights abuses. One has said that law-enforcement officers used excessive force to arrest her. ow.ly/hlpb7
  • Camden, New Jersey: An officer was sentenced to 46 months in prison. While in uniform and on duty, he engaged in a conspiracy with other officers to deprive individuals of their rights by charging them with planted evidence; threatening certain individuals with arrest using planted evidence if they did not cooperate with law enforcement; conducting illegal searches without a search warrant or consent; stealing money during illegal searches and arrests; paying for cooperation and information with illegal drugs; failing to report found drugs and stashing them to use as planted evidence; and preparing false police reports or testifying falsely in court to conceal his actions. ow.ly/hlmSO

Corruption in the Philadelphia Courts

From Philly.com:

Nine current and former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges were charged with conspiracy and fraud Thursday, capping a three-year FBI probe into what authorities said was rampant ticket-fixing and pervasive corruption on the bench.

The charges, outlined in a 77-count indictment, described “a well-understood conspiracy of silence” that created two distinct courts: one where typical citizens paid for their infractions, and a second where offenders with the right connections won acquittals or saw their fines or cases disappear.

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