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

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 10-17-12

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, October 17, 2012:

  • Lee County, Florida: A sergeant is off of the job after accusations came out that he told deputies to ignore extra work like traffic stops. He told them this after officers did not get a pay raise during union negotiations. “I understand that sometimes, people will disagree with decisions that are made – maybe they have ups and downs in their mood, but actually telling young aggressive deputies to do less than they’re expected to do is unacceptable,” the Sheriff said.
  • Berwick, Pennsylvania: An officer has been accused of providing alcohol to a 19-year-old girl. After she filed charges against him, the officer resigned.
  • Charleston, West Virginia: A former police officer accused of bribing a 17-year-old boy into sex has pleaded guilty to a bribery charge. Police said the officer — allegedly in uniform and on duty — met a 17-year-old boy in the parking lot of a supermarket, and tried to get the boy to perform oral sex on him to pay off a debt owed by the boy.
  • Tupleo, Mississippi: A state trooper has been accused of depriving a woman of her civil rights after an alleged “stomping” in the county jail. Acting “under color of law,” he is accused of assaulting the woman by throwing her on the concrete floor, striking her face against the floor, stomping her head against the floor and kicking her “without legal justification.”
  • Upper Marlboro, Maryland: A woman has said in court that a deputy raped her for 30 minutes in a courthouse holding cell while she was waiting for her court hearing. She reported the rape, and the officer admitted his involvement in the felony and has been indicted.
  • Update: Crookston, Minnesota: The North Dakota sheriff’s deputy who was charged in a break- in at a convenience store has resigned from his job as an officer.
  • St. Lucia County, Florida: A deputy received a 20-day suspension and was ordered to attend an anger management class after a road rage incident.
  • Molalla, Oregon: An officer has been charged with conspiring to help another person avoid filing as a registered sex offender. He was also charged with false swearing and official misconduct, and is currently on paid leave.
  • Phoenix, Arizona: Key evidence in a lawsuit showing that officers willfully neglected a woman was destroyed by officers. The sheriff’s office must now pay $3.25 million for her death while in custody. She was diabetic, and was denied insulin for three days while in jail. When she was finally taken to the hospital, she had entered a diabetic coma, and then died.

Police Go to Wrong House, Shoot Dog

From KSAT:

A local couple says a San Antonio police officer who shot their dog in the jaw early Sunday morning was at the wrong house.

Albert Morales said his brother, Hector Serna, woke him up before dawn after hearing the gunshot and then pounding on his window.

“I thought someone was trying to break in,” Serna said, since the officer never identified himself.

Serna and Morales said they went outside and the officer approached them saying there had been a 911 call about a deceased woman.

Morales then said the officer told him he was responding to the call from another family blocks away on another street, who had once lived in their house.

Morales said the officer then told him 20 minutes later to check on his dog.

H/T: Jonathan Turley blog


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 10-16-12

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, October 16, 2012:

  • Culpeper, Virginia: A police captain is on paid administrative leave pending an ongoing investigation by the Virginia State Police and FBI into alleged wrongdoing. He is accused of tipping off area drug dealers about planned drug raids.
  • St. Petersburg, Florida: An off-duty police officer was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. She was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
  • Brooklyn, New York: An officer pleaded guilty to illegally handcuffing and detaining a man after a traffic dispute. “The defendant criminally abused the authority and public trust conferred on him by his status as a police officer,” said a U.S. attorney. “Employing his badge, he subjected his victim to unlawful detention and injury. He has been held to account for his criminal acts and will not have the opportunity to repeat them.”
  • New York, New York: Two officers were caught on camera beating a man who was wrongly suspected of trespassing. “When we watched the video and saw some of New York’s Finest behaving in not a very fine way, brutalizing an individual for absolutely no reason, it was just something horrible,” said a Brooklyn assemblyman.
  • Stanislaus County, California: A federal officer is facing murder charges in the shooting death of a colleague as the two fought with a group of people outside a bar. He is also facing attempted murder and assault charges.
  • Saginaw, Michigan: A jury has convicted an officer of 1st degree murder in the strangulation of the woman who was 8 months pregnant with his son. He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
  • Jefferson County, New York: A volunteer firefighter who was injured at an accident scene when he was struck by a deputy’s patrol car has filed suit against the county and the deputy who was driving. He says that the deputy was negligent in his operation of the vehicle.
  • Johnson County, Indiana: A deputy has been suspended for 32 days without pay after he was charged with six internal rule violations. These charges included conduct unbecoming an officer, not obeying orders, insubordination, and making improper public statements.

The John McKenna Case: Video Captures Baton Blows to University of Maryland Student

From the Washington Post:

The encounter between police officers and a University of Maryland student after a basketball game in 2010 lasted only 10 seconds, but how a jury interprets those moments, captured on video, will determine the fate of two veteran Prince George’s County police officers on trial this week.

The officers, Reginald Baker and James J. Harrison, are charged with first-degree assault and misconduct in office. Prosecutor Joseph Ruddy opened the government’s case against them Monday by slamming his palm against a wooden railing in a county circuit courtroom, eliciting a loud thwack.

“Did you hear that noise?” he asked jurors. “That was a baton striking John McKenna over and over and over again.”

Ruddy, an assistant state’s attorney, urged jurors to hold the officers accountable in what he called an unprovoked beating of a skipping, singing student during a postgame celebration on the streets of College Park.

Here’s the video:

According to the news article above,

Attorneys for the officers called the gathering an unruly riot that threatened to get out of control and characterized McKenna, then a 21-year-old student, as an aggressor who ran toward police with fists clenched, ignoring warnings to stand back.

The baton blows to McKenna were “lawful, justified and were not police brutality,” said William C. Brennan, an attorney for Baker.

Decide for yourself.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 10-13-12 to 10-15-12

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, October 13 to Monday, October 15, 2012:

  • Update: Salt Lake City, Utah: A supervisor warned that a highway patrolwoman, who is currently under investigation, was frequently arresting people for driving under the influence of drugs, when they had no drugs in their systems. He wrote a memo discussing the questionable arrests and implying the officer was falsely accusing drivers of impairment.
  • Burlington County, New Jersey: Two officers wrestled down a man, hit him with a baton, and then arrested him. He was experiencing diabetic shock. Paramedics found the man’s blood sugar was so low that he could have suffered a coma, seized, or died.
  • Lansing, Michigan: An officer was sentenced on a misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired. He has to pay $1704 in fines and court costs.
  • Billings, Montana: A SWAT team raided the wrong home and in using flash-bang grenades through the windows they severely burned a little girl. “It was totally unforeseen, totally unplanned and extremely regrettable,” said the police chief. “We certainly did not want a juvenile, or anyone else for that matter, to get injured.” The mother is questioning why the police would take such actions with children in the house. “A simple knock and the door, and I would’ve let them in,” she said. “They said their intel told them there was a meth lab at our house. If they would’ve checked, they would’ve known there is not.” No arrests were made during the raid, and no charges have been filed.
  • Louisville, Kentucky: An officer has been put on paid leave, and is now facing criminal charges after an incident at a nightclub. The arrest is one of several recent arrests of officers in Louisville. “They have to set the standards. They’re here to solve crimes and protect us. Not go overboard like that and abuse their positions,” said a resident.
  • Beaver County, Utah: A deputy was arrested, jailed, and fired for alleged domestic violence. When he got into a fight with his girlfriend, he purportedly got in his car and drove it at her, but he said he only did it to scare her, and did not intend to harm her.
  • Oakland, California: An internal affairs investigation found that 44 officers committed misconduct during Occupy Oakland protests. More than 1000 complaints were issued against officers. The misconduct ranged from excessive force to failing to turn on uniform cameras.
  • Austin, Texas: An officer was fired for what the chief called reckless disregard for departmental policy. He shot 14 times at a fleeing vehicle, and some other officers “actually had to take cover to ensure they weren’t shot,” said the chief.
  • Crookston, Minnesota: A North Dakota deputy has been charged in a break-in at a convenience store. He was charged with burglary and criminal damage to property.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 10-12-12

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, October 12, 2012:

  • New York, New York: Two now-former and one retired officers have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a smuggling ring that transported untaxed cigarettes, slot machines, counterfeit goods, and guns. They were “a group of crime fighters who took to moonlighting as criminals,” said a Manhattan U.S. attorney. The smuggling ring started off with ticket fixing and escalated from there.
  • Cochise County, Arizona: The sheriff died in a one-car wreck; officials say his blood-alcohol content was more than three times the states legal limit.
  • Miami-Dade, Florida: A federal jury found a firefighter, a police officer, and an accomplice guilty of transporting shipments of fake cocaine on behalf of a client they believed was a South Beach club manager, but was actually an undercover FBI agent. The convictions carry a minimum sentence of 15 years, and could lead to life in prison.
  • Moorsetown, New Jersey: An officer has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for repeatedly sexually assaulting teenage and pre-teenage girls.
  • Tacoma, Washington: State patrol says a motorist who sideswiped a car and then tried to outrun pursuing troopers was a fellow trooper. He is now under investigation for driving under the influence, hit and run, and attempting to elude a pursing police vehicle.
  • Memphis, Tennessee: An officer was arrested for using fraudulent prescriptions to obtain weight-loss drugs. He is at least the 20th officer the city to be arrested this year.
  • Walla Walla, Washington: An undersheriff was charged in federal court with embezzling funds from the Sheriff’s office. She allegedly stole more than $67,000 over 5 years. She “used the stolen funds to make numerous cash deposits into her personal bank account and also pay for personal online shopping purchases,” said the charging document.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: A Washington, D.C. police officer was arrested after he allegedly pulled out a baton and threatened a bus driver. The arresting officers needed to use a taser to subdue him. This D.C. officer is one of more than 90 D.C. officers who have been arrested in the last three-and-a-half years. He was charged with reckless endangerment, terrorist threats, and harassment.
  • Update: La Grange, Kentucky: An officer who was charged with sending sexually explicit text messages to a teenager has now also been accused of tampering with public records.
  • Indian River County, Florida: A deputy was suspended for ten days for sending inappropriate letters to inmates.
  • Essex County, New Jersey: A former police officer was given two years of probation. He was sentenced for lying to law enforcement officials who were investigating a bar brawl involving two of his friends who were both known to be associated with the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. “What is the role of a police officer? As seen so many times on police cars, their role is to protect and service. As we see in this case, he did not,” said the superior court judge.

12 Year Old Girl Burned By Paramilitary Police Grenade

From the Billings Gazzette:

A 12-year-old girl suffered burns to one side of her body when a flash grenade went off next to her as a police SWAT team raided a West End home Tuesday morning.

“She has first- and second-degree burns down the left side of her body and on her arms,” said the girl’s mother, Jackie Fasching. “She’s got severe pain. Every time I think about it, it brings tears to my eyes.”

Medical staff at the scene tended to the girl afterward and then her mother drove her to the hospital, where she was treated and released later that day.

A photo of the girl provided by Fasching to The Gazette shows red and black burns on her side.

Police Chief Rich St. John said the 6 a.m. raid at 2128 Custer Ave., was to execute a search warrant as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation by the City-County Special Investigations Unit.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 10-11-12

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, October 11, 2012:

  • Plymouth, Massachusetts: A police sergeant has been charged in federal court with using excessive force and covering up his actions by falsifying police reports. A suspect was in a holding cell, with his hands cuffed behind his back, when the Sergeant allegedly hit him in the head and kneed him in the body.
  • Update: Des Moines, Iowa: A police officer has been suspended for just three days, without pay, for the death of his K-9 partner, Harley.
  • Bridgeville, Delaware: A police officer has been charged with stealing money from the evidence locker at headquarters. He no longer works for the department.
  • Brooks County, Georgia: The ex-sheriff has been sentenced to just over a year in prison for embezzling from programs receiving federal funds. Investigators say he stole at least $63,000 while he was the sheriff.
  • Jackson, Mississippi: A deputy was arrested by the FBI on charges of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and theft of government property.
  • Camden, New Jersey: An officer was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison for stealing money, illegally searching homes, planting evidence, and lying in court. He was one of four officers arrested on corruption-related charges.
  • Lorain County, Ohio: A sheriff’s deputy will be disciplined after he went off the road and struck 2 parked cars in a driveway. “He wasn’t violating any policy by doing anything stupid or reckless, but he did not take the weather into consideration. It is his job to maintain control of the vehicle,” said the police captain.
  • Westerly, Rhode Island: A man has accused local police of using excessive force, including pepper-spray, while arresting him.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 10-10-12

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, October 10, 2012:

  • Lexington, South Carolina: A deputy has been arrested and charged with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.
  • Lafayette, Tennessee: The former police chief was arrested after investigations into allegations that he assaulted a prisoner. He allegedly assaulted the suspect while he was handcuffed in the back of a patrol car. He resigned his position as police chief, but now works as a police officer in a neighboring city.
  • Portland Oregon: A woman who was pepper-sprayed has filed a lawsuit against two officers and the city. The complaint accuses the officers of using excessive force. Her attorney says that she followed officer’s instructions, but that when one of the officers pushed her nightstick against the woman’s throat, she protested, and was pepper-sprayed in the face.
  • Trenton, New Jersey: An officer who had sex with a 14-year-old girl while he was off-duty has been sentenced to two years of probation.
  • Prince George’s County, Maryland: A deputy who was charged with raping a detainee faces a $15 million civil lawsuit. The deputy was indicted on 12 counts, including charges of second-degree rape, second-degree sex offense, and misconduct in office.
  • San Bernadino, California: A female deputy has been arrested on suspicion of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 19-year-old inmate at a detention center.
  • Spokane, Washington: Prosecutors have asked for nine to eleven years for an officer who was convicted of using excessive force and lying about the beating death of a mentally ill suspect.
  • Grapevine, Texas: A 17-year veteran has been arrested on child pornography charges. “It’s a very serious issue anytime a police officer is arrested. And this is going to be a very serious offense,” said a U.S. attorney. “Penalties for possession and transfer of child porn are very severe.”

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