National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-01-12 to 06-04-12

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for June 1-4, 2012:

  • A Tallahassee, Florida police officer has been charged with aggravated assault without the intent to kill and burglary with assault
  • Maui, Hawaii officer was arrested for third degree sex assualt following allegations of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old female
  • A Dekalb, Georgia officer was arrested for interfering with a police investigation.  Police were looking into reports of terroristic threats  involving Sgt. Jerry R. Banks and his companion
  • Gwinnett, Georgia officer has been charged with electronically furnishing obscene material to minors and may face more charges
  • Former Modesto, California police officer has been accused of assaulting a woman in a motel room.  The officer has been charged with oral copulation by force, being armed with a firearm while committing a sexual offense, sexual battery, and assault under the color of authority
  • A federal judge ordered a probe into how Oakland, California police investigate officer-involved shootings and threatened the department with sanctions if misconduct is uncovered
  • Acting Seattle, Washington police captain pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence assault.  Donnie R. Low, who officially holds the rank of lieutenant, was ordered to be held in lieu of a $7,500 bail during a hearing at the King County Jail
  • Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed that the officer shot the suspect in the back
  • Federal prosecutors announced charges against 2 Sacramento sheriff’s deputies accused of illegally selling dozens of weapons, some of which authorities say fell into the hands of criminals
  • Former Marion, South Carolina city police officer has been indicted for taking money from a woman and using it for personal use
  • Memphis, Tennessee officer pleaded guilty to federal computer fraud charges for using the National Crime Information Center to obtain a name and address for an informant
  • Pacific, Washington Police Chief John Calkins has been officially terminated.  Calkins had been on paid administrative leave for misconduct during an argument following a city council meeing in January 
  • Three Fort Lauderdale, Florida police officers were arrested on charges of falsifying a police report and sworn testimony in connection to an officer-involved crash.  The allegations stem from an investigation initiated after a complaint was filed regarding an arrest
  • A New York police officer was caught on video falsely arresting a neighbor.  The arrest stemmed from a dispute between the officer and his neighbor over who owns the driveway between their houses

NJ State Police Beat James Bayliss. Internal Affairs case drags on.

Police beat up a mentally disabled young man, James Bayliss.  Parents can’t get any answers from the State Police.  When newspaper presses for answers, the police department admits what the officers did was wrong, but has not yet determined what is the appropriate discipline for the officers involved.  The incident took place three years ago.  Video here.

Without Disclosure, Accountability Can be Thwarted

Newsday recently ran a terrific article about a secrecy law in New York that has the effect of keeping police misconduct from public view.  By way of background, Nassau County just settled a lawsuit  that had been filed against the police department.  To assess the wisdom of paying out $7.7 million in this matter, people wanted to know what happened, but the report has been “sealed” under a NY secrecy law.


The report is about the case that cost Nassau County $7.7 million, because its police officers, by not properly enforcing a restraining order against Leonardo Valdez-Cruz, failed to protect his ex-girlfriend, Jo’Anna Bird. Valdez-Cruz, who was a police informant, is now serving life in prison for torturing and killing the mother of two. Schmitt discussed the report with News 12 Long Island, which, like Newsday, is owned by Cablevision.  Nassau County Attorney John Ciampoli demanded the report be sealed at the behest of the Police Benevolent Association on the eve of a news conference by Bird’s lawyer to discuss it contents. As a result many questions are unanswered. How many officers were involved? What exactly did they do, wrong and right? Have they been disciplined, and if so, how? What processes have been changed in the department to prevent this from happening again?

Read the whole thing.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 05-31-12

Here are the 7 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, May 31, 2012:

  • The Supreme Court has decided that it will not review the Seattle case where police used a Taser on a woman that was 7-months pregnant. The lower courts  did say that the officers used excessive force by using stun guns
  • Former Franklin County, Virginia Sheriff Ewell Hunt has been charged with misconduct after an investigation into how he handled warnings that preceded a Memorial Day 2011 shooting. The charge against Hunt is a class 1 misdemeanor
  • An ex-Arkansas officer who was accused of accepting bribes and looking the other way while drug traffickers shipped illegal drugs throughout the region has been sentenced to 2 years in prison
  • Former Lincoln, RI police officer is fighting to get his job back after being terminated last week for assulting a woman. The officer was ordered to undergo counseling and given a 10 year suspended sentence
  • The court said Lowell, Massachusetts police should have conducted the strip search of Carlos Morales at the police station or another private location rather than expose him publicly
  • A former Sacramento police officer accused of filing false reports and then lying about it has been ordered to stand trial. The officer has been charged on 23 counts of filing false police reports and 11 counts of perjury
  • 7 Milwaukee police officers and one supervisor have had their guns and badges taken away due to allegations that they conducted illegal cavity searches

Trouble in Seattle

From the Seattle Times:

An acting Seattle police captain who was recently given a key role in the city’s plan to fix problems in the Police Department was booked into jail early Sunday after being arrested in a domestic-violence incident.

Donnie R. Lowe, who holds the official rank of lieutenant, has been removed from his role in the reform effort, the department said in a statement Sunday evening.

Details of what led to Lowe’s arrest by South Precinct officers were not immediately available, said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, the department’s chief spokesman….

Lowe has a checkered history with the department, including an arrest in 2008 on suspicion of driving while under the influence (DUI). He has received internal reprimands for inappropriate dealings with his son in a holding cell, and over his effort to retrieve nude photographs of a relative.

The DUI arrest attracted attention because Lowe was allowed to supervise a Seattle police security detail at President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, even though the arrest had taken place Nov. 23, 2008.

Lowe had been stopped on Interstate 5 in South Seattle by a State Patrol trooper. A blood-alcohol test administered to Lowe about an hour after the stop registered 0.113, above the state’s legal limit of 0.08 percent for those over 21, according to a State Patrol report.

Lowe pleaded guilty to an amended charge of reckless driving in June 2009. That charge was dismissed in 2011 after he completed alcohol-information school, probation, community service and other terms.

It was not clear Sunday how the Police Department dealt internally with the case.

At the time of the DUI arrest, Lowe worked in the department’s Homeland Security Bureau, overseeing planning for special events and disaster management. He began working on the inauguration assignment before the incident and supervised a 42-member Seattle police detail that assisted in inaugural security.

Lowe, who was with a passenger, was stopped by a trooper about 1:45 a.m. after the trooper noticed his car drifting in the lanes, the State Patrol report said.

The trooper recognized an odor of alcohol in the car and saw a glass in the drink holder filled with a dark-colored liquid that smelled of alcohol, the report said. Lowe had bloodshot and watery eyes, the trooper wrote.

Officers Charged With Unlawful Weapons Sales

From Fox News:

Federal prosecutors announced charges Friday against two Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies accused of illegally selling dozens of weapons, some of which authorities say fell into the hands of criminals.

Deputies Ryan McGowan, 31, and Thomas Lu, 42, both of Elk Grove, face charges of trafficking in handguns that cannot be legally bought by citizens in California, including some exotic weapons such as high-powered rifles mounted on pistol frames.

Also charged were firearms dealer Robert Snellings, 61, of Rancho Murieta and Ulysses Simpson Grant Early IV, 36, of Sacramento, who is accused of buying guns. All four were indicted on Thursday and the charges were unsealed Friday.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagoner said the deputies were charged with serving as straw buyers by purchasing the restricted handguns. They then sold the handguns at a profit of thousands of dollars to unqualified buyers through licensed dealers, prosecutors said.


Stealing Is Contrary to Police Dept Policy

Report from CarolinaLive:

NewsChannel 15 has learned a former Marion city police officer has been indicted for misconduct in office.

Officials with the State Attorney General’s Office say Farmer Blue took money from a woman and used it for his personal use, which is against Marion Police Department policy.

The Attorney General’s office didn’t go into specifics as to what the money was for.

Blue is expected to be arraigned in August.

Police Chief Ousted

From the Auburn-Reporter:

Pacific Police Chief John Calkins has been officially terminated.

Mayor Cy Sun and the City Council dismissed the embattled Calkins during executive session at the council’s regularly scheduled meeting on May 14, according to City officials.

The City has released no official statement about the termination.

Sun named Sgt. Jim Pickett as the acting police chief.

When the Auburn Reporter asked Sun to comment on Calkins’ firing or expand on the decision, he replied in an email, “No! I don’t want to talk about it.”

Calkins had been on paid administrative leave for misconduct during to an argument following the Jan. 17 City Council meeting about the City’s back-order purchase of new police vehicles.

Pacific’s police chief is appointed and, according to the City’s municipal code, the mayor has the “power of appointment and removal of all appointive city officers and employees ….”

The code also states that “every appointment or removal must be made in writing, signed by the mayor and filed with the city clerk,” although as of May 30 nothing had been filed with the Pacific city clerk.

The termination marks the end of a controversial tenure for Calkins as chief.

In 2009, Calkins was the subject of an outside investigation by the Klickitat Count Sheriff’s Office, which looked into allegations of misconduct, including: intimidation with a weapon; criminal trespass and improper conduct; driving under the influence; and improper conduct and witness tampering.

In August of 2008, Calkins was pulled over and charged with a DUI in Bonney Lake. He refused to perform field sobriety tests or provide a blood sample for testing, according to police reports. The report by the arresting officer also stated that Calkins tried to intimidate him. A jury later acquitted Calkins, but the investigation by the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office later found that Calkins actions during the stop “violated commonly accepted standards of conduct for law enforcement officers and chiefs of police.”


Despite the findings of the outside investigation, Calkins was not disciplined at the time.

Federal Judge Threatens Oakland Police Department Over Misconduct

From the Oakland Tribune:

A federal judge ordered a probe Thursday into how Oakland police investigate officer-involved shootings and threatened the department with sanctions if misconduct is uncovered.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson also ordered Oakland to provide by June 8 additional information showing how it will complete already past-due internal affairs investigations stemming from last year’s Occupy protests. He threatened to levy daily fines against the city if it again misses deadlines to complete the investigations.

Henderson oversees police reforms ordered as part of the 2003 settlement of the Riders police misconduct case. On Thursday, he again questioned whether police would ever be able to fully implement the reforms and warned that he was still considering proceedings to place the department under federal control.

Robert Warshaw, the federal monitor overseeing Oakland police, raised concerns to Henderson about how the department investigates officer-involved shootings, including the proceedings of the Executive Force Review Board and subsequent deliberations by the police chief and his supervisors.

“This is of utmost concern, as uses of force and the manner in which they are investigated are among the most serious issues in (the Riders) case,” Henderson wrote, “and officer-involved shootings, many of which result in death, are the most grave possible uses of force.”

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