National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-30-10

Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked by our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Thursday, December 30, 2010:

  • Four Hamilton County OH deputies are the subject of a lawsuit alleging they tasered a man seven times and severely beat him after they pulled over on a suspected DUI stop and dragged him out of his car. The suit further alleges they then falsely arrested him even after they discovered he wasn’t drunk but was a diabetic suffering from extremely low blood sugar. In this case, a state trooper arrived as the man was begging the deputies to stop and began pulling the deputies away from the man they were beating because he feared for the man’s life and then reported what happened as being a case of excessive force. As a result the four deputies were disciplined and the charges against the man were dropped. A portion of the incident was captured on the trooper’s dashcam as shown above. [1]
  • A Gadsen AL police officer and the Etowah County AL sheriff’s dept are the subject of a lawsuit alleging that the Gadsen police officer severely beat a man he arrested on DUI charges while he was cuffed at the jail and after he was informed by a jail nurse that he wasn’t drunk but a diabetic suffering from excessively high blood sugar. The suit goes on to allege that all of this was captured on video and that deputies at the jail did nothing to stop the assault as the man begged for help and suffered broken teeth and bones as well as several lacerations that required stitches. [3]
  • Quinton OK police claim they don’t know how a man they arrested on public intoxication, misdemeanor possession, and resisting arrest charges ended up with a blunt head injury that killed him three days later and now the FBI has launched an investigation into the death. [4]
  • Ecorse MI has been ordered by a judge to pay $215,000 to a family who sued over a violent wrong door drug raid that was intended for the home next door. [0]
  • A Lewis County MO deputy has been arrested on a statutory rape charge involving a 15-year-old girl he allegedly had sex with in July of last year. [2]
  • Sanford FL police are being investigated on allegations they were protecting a police lieutenant’s son by not arresting him even after a video came out showing him sucker punch a homeless man from behind without provocation, resulting in that man being hospitalized. A warrant for his arrest was finally filed today but not by the Sanford police. [3]
  • Three New Orleans LA police officers were arrested in one night in unrelated incidents. Two of the officers were arrested on drunk driving charges while the third was arrested for illegal use of a weapon related to a domestic violence incident. [0]
  • A Plattville WI police officer has been sentenced to 1 year in prison after pleading guilty to charges related to allegations she turned her home into a crack house and was doing crack while on-duty. [0]
  • A Lansing MI police officer has been charged with theft by false pretenses on allegations he intentionally drove off from a gas station without paying for gas and 2 bottles of wine. [0]
  • And finally, a Cincinnati OH police lieutenant has been transferred to the records department after he was caught having sex with his girlfriend in an unmarked cruiser that was parked at police headquarters. [0]

That’s it for today, stay safe out there.

NPMSRP In the Media

Just a brief note.

I was a guest on the Free Mind Report radio show last night and an archive of that show is available for listening here. I definitely thank them for having me on, I always appreciate the chance to talk about our project.

We were also featured the other day on the Hermis Live Show where I hear they had some very nice things to say about what we’re doing here. As I understand it that was thanks to mention from a new site called Guerrilla Lawfare which is focusing on teaching people about their rights and what to do when encountering the police. Thanks for the support guys!

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-29-10

Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for Wednesday, December 29, 2010:

  • An Owsley County KY deputy is the subject of a lawsuit and a federal investigation which may lead to charges on allegations that he beat a man in the face with a retractable metal baton, breaking his eye socket, and sprayed him with mace after he was cuffed in front of several witnesses then arrested him on false charges. Witnesses say the beating was unprovoked. [4]
  • Meanwhile, a Booneville KY police officer who was also at the event listed above is the subject of a federal and state investigation into allegations that he failed to stop that deputy from beating his victim and refused to assist him when he was injured. [3]
  • San Juan County WA settled a lawsuit for $75,000 to a woman who was tackled, tasered, and then arrested on false charges when she refused to allow deputies to search her home after they were called for a domestic disturbance and had arrived after the man involved had left. The search they performed anyway was deemed illegal and didn’t turn up any evidence of any crime. [0]
  • 118 people so far have filed claims to portions of a $3,000,000 settlement to a class action lawsuit involving alleged abused by the now-disbanded Minnesota Metro Gang Task Force that included illegal seizures of property, illegal searches, false arrests, and excessive force in addition to other allegations. The committee responsible for that task force comprised of officers from different agencies insists that a $3,000,000 settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing. [0]
  • A Franklin IN police officer has been charged with battery and official misconduct for groping a female informant’s genitals and calling another officer’s attention to her genital piercing in a disparaging manner while he was wiring her up for a sting operation. [0]
  • A Danville IN assistant police chief has pled guilty to battery charges for breaking into a house and assaulting his estranged wife’s boyfriend, injuring her in the process. [0]
  • A Providence RI police officer has received a suspended sentence after his no contest plea over his role in a drug ring that resulted in three other cops being indicted as well. [0]
  • A Forest City IA police officer has been fired over an unspecified on duty incident but officials won’t say why because his union has filed a grievance on his behalf. [0]
  • The police chief of Grantsville UT had to pay a fine after he pled guilty to a poaching charge for killing a deer on private property. I was on the fence about adding this one but I guess it was a criminal charge so it applies. [0]
  • And finally, an Illinois State trooper was sentenced to probation and a fine in a plea deal to a misdemeanor charge for lying on a report she filed about a motorist she stopped who had a suspended license that she let go without arresting. Her report falsely claimed that she allowed another person to drive the car when she let him go. [0]

That’s it for today, stay safe out there.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-28-10

One thing before I get into today’s reports.

I was saddened today to find out that Navin Sharma, a former Vancouver Washington police officer who endured retaliation for reporting misconduct he witnessed, died on Christmas Eve after a lengthy and brave battle with pancreatic cancer. We would write each other every now and then after I wrote about his case a few years ago and he would give me updates on the retaliation other officers suffered for testifying on his behalf about the abuses he suffered or just write to see how things were going. It was during one of those talks that he told me of his condition, but he bravely battled it, never complained, and asked me to keep it to myself. When people ask me if I think there really are any good cops, I think of officer Sharma, he wasn’t just a good officer, he was a really good person too. Remember, many of the reports we cover would never have made it to the light of day if it wasn’t for a honest and decent police officer who reported what happened and faced possible retribution for doing so… it happens more often than you think.

With that said, here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for Tuesday, December 28, 2010:

  • Three Baltimore MD police officers are accused of excessive force when they beat an apparently innocent man then falsely arrested him on on resisting arrest charges. They allegedly followed that up by barging into another man’s home across the street from that incident and arrested him for witnessing what happened, but later released him without charging him. [5]
  • Two Portland OR police officers who have been accused of hospitalizing a man in an alleged excessive force incident that nearly killed him appear to have quite an extensive history of alleged misconduct including excessive force and even one incident where one of the officers tied a gorilla suit to the front of his cruiser while he was watching over a dance attended by minorities. [3]
  • Las Vegas Nevada police apparently broadcast a city-wide “officer safety alert” describing a man, his car, and detailing his name and address all because officers apparently saw him filming them while they were conducting an arrest. The man who recorded it also happened to record the police radio alert about himself as well and posted about it on a discussion board… since when was recording police an “officer safety” issue? [3]
  • Houston TX police have been forced by an arbitrator to rehire 1 of the seven officers who were fired recently after they were caught on video kicking and beating a 15-year-old burglary suspect long after he had given up and complied with commands. The arbitrator ruled that kicking a compliant suspect wasn’t sufficient grounds for dismissal and ordered the department to give him back pay as well. [0]
  • A Parkersburg WV police officer has been placed on paid leave after he was fired thanks to a civil employee review board that ruled stealing confiscated property and downloading porn on departmental computers wasn’t sufficient misconduct to merit being fired. The city is appealing the ruling calling it absurd. [0]
  • The police chief of Palm Springs CA has apologized for uttering homophobic slurs that he once claimed he didn’t utter during a sting operation targeting that was targeting members of the gay community for allegations of public sex. [3]
  • A Columbus NM police officer has been indicted on a stalking charge for sending disturbing cellphone images of him holding a gun to his mouth to his ex-girlfriend that he also allegedly harassed at her place of work. [0]
  • A Beaumont TX police lieutenant received a pre-trial diversion program in a deal that will wipe his drunk driving charges off his record after a year’s probation. [0]
  • And finally, the police chief of Perry UT has been charged with disorderly conduct on allegations that he verbally abused and threatened Walmart employees who asked to see his receipt as he was leaving the store because he had unbagged items in his cart. [0]

That’s it for today, stay safe out there.

A Premature Alarm Regarding Police Fatality Rates

The big law enforcement related news piece dominating the media today comes courtesy of a press release from the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (LEOMF) insisting that an apparent increase in law enforcement officer deaths in 2010 in comparison to 2009′s record low number of officer deaths should be alarming and attributes the rise to a number of factors including reduced funding for law enforcement officers and increasingly violent criminals.

While we definitely do find it alarming when any law enforcement officer loses his or her life in an act of violence, we do feel it necessary to examine these numbers in order to put them into perspective, especially since the LEOMF and a professor from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice cited police accountability projects such as ours here at the NPMSRP as the reason for the rise in police officer deaths they claim they were seeing around mid-year.

Interestingly, in response to those wild allegations, we examined the alarming trend cited by the LEOMF in July and did some statistical analysis to determine what the actual homicide rate was for law enforcement officers and, surprisingly, our projected rate of officers who died in acts of homicidal violence ended up being pretty accurate.

Back then we determined that:

…in 2009 there were 127 line of duty deaths, of which, 57 of those fatalities could be attributed to an act of violence that specifically targeted a police officer whether by firearms, intentional vehicular assault, or assault.

So far in 2010, there have been 98 line of duty deaths, of which, 28 are attributed to an intentional act of violence against a police officer.

So, in 2009 the homicidal fatality rate for law enforcement officers was an estimated 8.14 deaths per 100,000 law enforcement officers. Currently the homicidal fatality rate is at 4.16 per 100,000 and, if projected to the end of year at the current rate, that homicidal fatality rate for 2010 would potentially be 8.31 per 100,000 law enforcement officers… a 0.17 per 100,000 increase or, roughly, a 2.1% increase.

The actual numbers cited by the LEOMF for 2010 are that 160 officers died and that 59 of those law enforcement officers died due to apparent homicidal causes for this year. This would translate to a homicide rate of 8.35 officers per 100,000 based on an estimated employment rate of 706,886 sworn law enforcement officers in the US per the latest FBI-DOJ UCR numbers released earlier this year.

So, the homicidal death rate for law enforcement officers in 2009 was 8.14 per 100,000 and the 2010 homicidal fatality rate was 8.35 per 100,000 which translates to a 2.5% increase in the homicide rate for police officers. If we use the numbers according to LEOMF sources in that there are 800,000 active sworn officers in the US, then the homicide rate drops to 7.38 per 100,000 but that 800,000 number cited does not seem to reflect a general decline in law enforcement employment rates that we’ve seen lately due to the declining economy.

So, in conclusion, yes, there has been an increase in deaths by homicidal violence for police officers in 2010 and any increase should be examined rationally to determine if there are prudent ways to address preventable deaths. But the increase seen for 2010 is not as alarming as we are told it should be and definitely not extensive enough from which one could derive any conclusive causative effect, such as blaming it on efforts to increase accountability and transparency within law enforcement agencies in the US as was done earlier this year.

While we do not track total officer-related fatalities, we do track fatalities associated with allegations of police misconduct or use of excessive force.

Per our latest projected 2010 statistical data we determined that, in comparison with the stated law enforcement homicidal death rate of 8.35 per 100,000, that the fatal use of excessive force rate for law enforcement in 2010 was 18.3 per 100,000 and the rate of officers officially charged with murder was 5.3 per 100,000 (compared to an estimated 4.9 per 100,000 murder rate by officers in 2009) as opposed to the murder rate for the general public which was 5.0 per 100,000 in 2009 per the latest UCR data available from the FBI DOJ.

However, these are just projections from our Q3 statistical data and our full 2010 statistical report won’t be released until sometime in mid to late January of 2011.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-27-10

Reports are still slow from the holidays but, anyway, here are the 7 reports we’ve tracked this Monday, December 27, 2010:

  • Wichita Kansas has settled a wrongful death suit for $300,000 to the family of a man who was killed when a police cruiser collided with his car while the officer was speeding without his emergency lights or siren activated. [0]
  • Four Portland Oregon police officers are being accused of using excessive force on a man who had to be hospitalized after he claims he was an innocent bystander when the officers took him to the ground, beat him, and tasered him three times including once in the neck on Christmas Eve when police were responding to a call about a fight at a club. The man is actually the second grandson of a local pastor involved in a questionable use of force case, the other was 15 when he was beaten and tasered between 6-12 times by police after he escaped from home even after his grandmother had informed police he was severely autistic. The man was in town from Arizona where he’s a straight A student studying sports medicine. [3]
  • Three South Bend Indiana police officers are accused of using excessive force on a man they dragged from a car when they suspected he was involved in a minor accident with a parked disabled truck that didn’t appear to have any damage. Police say they found the man passed out and he punched and kicked the officers when they tried to arrest him but witnesses who live in nearby homes claim the man never got up after cops drug him from his car and that they saw officers washing off large amounts of blood from their hands and boots after they beat and tasered the man several times. He suffered a facial fracture and doesn’t remember what happened. [3]
  • A Houston County Georgia deputy is the subject of a lawsuit filed by a man claiming the deputy used excessive force and when he tasered him for asking why his son was pulled over and then threatened to be tasered again when he complained of having chest pains. [3]
  • An Ohio State Patrol Lieutenant Colonel who was second in command has retired while he was under investigation into allegations that he interfered with an investigation into a trooper who was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl. [0]
  • And finally, a Coral Springs Florida police officer was suspended for one week without pay over his arrest on drunk driving charges in Nevada, charges that were later dropped when prosecutors there failed to send their files to his defense attorneys within the time limit required. [1]

That’s it for today, stay safe out there!

Police Misconduct NewsFeed Weekend Recap 12-26-10

As I’ve mentioned previously, we generally don’t see many reports released during holiday weekends. That’s not to say that there isn’t misconduct that occurs during holidays, in fact we generally see more domestic violence and drunk driving incidents during holidays, but the reports on incidents that occur during holidays are generally delayed for a number of reasons including short staffing at news stations and at police departments that occur during weekends, especially holiday weekends.

Still, there were a couple reports released, though half of those were what we call “non-actionable” which essentially means that they don’t add to our statistical data but they do contain information worth tracking and reporting on.

With that in mind, here are the four reports we tracked over the Christmas holiday weekend, December 25-26, 2010:

  • East Haven Connecticut police, already the subject of a federal investigation, are being blamed for what appears to be a mass exodus of that city’s Hispanic population due to claims of persistent and systemic racially motivated harassment, abuse, and false arrests. Some Hispanic community groups are claiming that about half of that city’s Hispanic population has already fled, causing businesses to fail, and many more are planing to leave. The article also mentions that some criminal charges are expected soon as a result of that ongoing federal investigation into these allegations. [3]
  • The Charleston Gazette in West Virginia has published the first part of a 3-part newspaper series studying the issue of gypsy cops, departments of last resort and the circumstances that allow officers to jump from one department to another repeatedly when confronted with allegations of misconduct or potential disciplinary actions.  It’s a good read overall to help understand the issue and the research done to support the article found that 166 officers jumped around between four or more departments within the last 14 years and details at least 13 who jumped between departments under a cloud of misconduct allegations within the last two years. [0]
  • Two Cheektowaga New York police officers are being accused of using excessive force against an innocent couple they mistook as shoplifting suspects inside a mall. Witnesses and the couple claim the officers were overly aggressive from the start and they threatened the woman, asking her if she was “resisting too?” after beating and tasering the man she was with.  [3]
  • And finally, at least two Lee County South Carolina deputies are under investigation after a news crew caught them hanging out at a nightclub while they were the only two deputies on duty that night. When confronted the deputies covered their faces and sped off. [0]

That’s it for this weekend, hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-24-10

Here are the 8 days… I mean 8 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this Christmas Eve Friday, December 24, 2010:

  • New York NY police officials are doggedly insisting that a man who was arrested by an officer with a history of misconduct that has cost the city $500,000 in civil litigation to date is still guilty even though he had video proving his alibi that he was in a different city when the crime he was accused of committing had occurred. Bah Humbug indeed. [5]
  • Kenton OH police are accused of using excessive force by the family of a man who is now on life support and surveillance video from a holding area showing an officer perform a leg sweep on the man while he was handcuffed appears to back their claims. (hat tip to the folks at CopBlock for catching this one we missed.) [4]
  • A New Castle PA police officer was arrested on multiple charges on allegations he hit his wife in the back of her head with a pistol while she was driving then held that gun to her face. She managed to flee the car and flag down another off-duty officer who was following them as her husband drove off. He was stopped down the road and arrested for DUI and simple assault. [0]
  • A Jackson Twp PA police officer was arrested on domestic violence related aggravated assault, terroristic threats, and other charges over allegations that he hit his girlfriend so hard she vomited blood but she didn’t call police because he threatened her and her family, holding a gun to her head at one point. A friend called police on her behalf though. [0]
  • A Cocoa FL police officer has been charged with drunk driving after witnesses called police to report that the off-duty officer was pointing his gun out of his window while he drove down the street. Witnesses called again reporting that the man had flipped his car and crashed, at which time he was arrested. [0]
  • A Berks County PA deputy who died in fiery single-car accident allegedly had blood alcohol content of over three times the legal limit. [0]
  • A Montesano WA police chief has been charged with theft and misappropriation of funds for allegedly embezzling over $10,000 of the town’s money over an 18 month period to buy personal items and for using the town’s gas card to fuel his personal vehicles. [0]
  • And finally, in a strange bit of synchronicity a new study was released indicating that police officers returning from duty in war zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq are having difficulty adjusting to their jobs as police officers, resulting in elevated risks of harm to the public. Just a day or two before, Radley Balko brought everyone’s attention to an article proudly discussing how police officers are now being trained to have a war mentality and to view everyone as potential enemies at all times. So, I guess returning veterans are being retrained to stop thinking like they are at war, new recruits are being trained to act like they are.

Have a safe and happy holiday everyone.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-23-10

Well, the day started out with a rapid-fire succession of reports that we tracked but then the numbers went dead cold early in the afternoon. I would imagine that news staff were taking off early for the holidays, but we still tracked a good number of reports.

I would imagine there won’t be many reports until after this weekend, but we’ll continue tracking them as usual. However, if there aren’t many we’ll wait until Monday morning to publish a recap of the entire extended holiday weekend.

Anyway, here are the 20 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for Thursday, December 23, 2010:

  • A Scottsdale AZ police officer is accused of using excessive force when he beat a man with a baton after bouncers grabbed him while it appeared as though he was doing nothing more than watching a bar fight. Police say the use of force was justified because he stuck his arm out when pushed by a bouncer, of which the police spokesperson said “who knows what he could have done with that arm?” [3]
  • Flint MI has settled a lawsuit for $625,000 to a woman who survived after shot by a police officer’s shotgun when that officer mistook the sound of the door opening and the light from inside for a gunshot while the officer was responding to a call about shots fired. [0]
  • A Georgetown TX police officer that we mentioned yesterday as being under investigation for an excessive force incident allegedly kicked a man in the face while he was laying prone during a questionable raid on a house party that police justified by claiming they thought they heard someone yell “help”. The raid itself appears to also be under investigation now. [3]
  • A Bell CA police officer has been sentenced to 9 years in prison after pleading guilty to a deprivation of civil rights charge for sexually assaulting a woman during a traffic stop. [0]
  • Three Wilson Borough PA police officers were named in a lawsuit filed by 4 men who allege they were assaulted by the officers inside a bar while the trio was off-duty. There was an investigation but apparently some of the documents were lost or changed during that investigation and a video of the incident was mysteriously overwritten by investigating officers. [3]
  • Two Altoona PA police officers have been fired over their alleged involvement in an off-duty bar brawl that left one man with a broken jaw and another with a concussion. [1]
  • A Marble Falls TX police officer is on leave while under investigation into an alleged sexual assault that occurred during a party attended by other officers. [1]
  • A Houston TX police officer is on paid leave while he’s the subject of a criminal federal investigation into allegations that he ran a “pill mill”. [0]
  • Memphis TN police finally officially adopted a policy that forbids officers from using political reasons as justification for spying on people 32 years after the department was ordered to do so by the court. This came after a newspaper caught onto the lapse and the ACLU is contemplating a civil suit to find out if the department violated that order. [3]
  • A US ATF agent in Cleveland OH has pled guilty to stealing over $46,000 that was seized during a raid on alleged drug house. Other agents apparently saw what he was doing and reported it. [0]
  • The Beacon NY police department entered into an agreement with the US DOJ to implement reforms after an use of force pattern & practice investigation. [0]
  • The Portland OR police union is catching some heat for publishing an article in their newsletter urging police departments to reward aggressive behavior by cops and to focus hiring people with aggressive tendencies instead of people who are more balanced. All that in the wake of some highly controversial shooting deaths and excessive force cases this year by that department’s officers. [0]
  • A Humbolt County CA deputy has been charged with felony child endangerment over a fireworks accident that cost both him and a young girl most of their hands. [0]
  • A Marble Falls TX police officer has resigned after arrested on DUI charges when a police cruiser’s dashcam videotaped him crashing into a tree while driving his personal vehicle off-duty. [0]
  • And finally, a Cincinnati OH police officer has pled no contest to public indecency charges after he was arrested for unzipping his zipper without underwear on and exposing himself to several employees in a Sears store. [0]

That’s it for today, have a happy and safe holiday!

Reader’s Poll – Worst Police Misconduct Videos of 2010

Please come take our 3rd Annual Worst Police Misconduct Video of the Year reader’s poll and vote for the videos you think were the worst examples of police misconduct in 2010.

It may not seem important, but the poll helps us see how the public views misconduct and helps bring attention to the issue. I know most are hard to watch, but if I have to watch and read about them every day, you can do it for a few minutes, so go vote today!

Voting ends at midnight, December 31, 2010.

VOTE NOW!

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