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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

‘Inside the law enforcement bubble’

The Washington Post reports on the police and protestors outside the Republican National Convention:

TAMPA, Fla. — The protesters are on the outside, way outside, pelted by rain, then blasted by sun, then windblown, and they cannot get within shouting distance of the convention proper, or even close to what is formally known as The Perimeter. The Perimeter remains in the distance. They’re stopped at pre-Perimeter security fences and Jersey barriers.

And they’re surrounded. Even though they’re on the outside, they spend much of their time inside the law-enforcement bubble.


Tim Rivers, 57, a retired engineer in Tampa, shouted through a fence at a compatriot: “We are in a cage! Your First Amendment rights are gone!”

It is disturbing that protestors are kept so far away from the convention in special “zones.”  Still, that’s a policy having less to do with the rank-and-file police than with the Tampa Police Chief, the Mayor, and the Governor.  Steve Chapman has related thoughts about the Bill of Rights here.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 8-25-12 to 8-27-12

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, August 25 to Monday, August 27, 2012:

  • Bancroft, Michigan: A police chief was sentenced to probation on fraud charges. “The judge at sentencing … found that he had made knowingly false statements … and that he deliberately lied,” said the assistant U.S. attorney.
  • Update: Waite Hill, Ohio: An officer was sentenced to two years in prison for sexual battery against a boy under 16. He was also made a Tier 3 sex offender, and will have to register where he lives and works with police every 90 days for the remainder of his life.
  • Atlanta, Georgia: A federal prosecutor has reported a case of police brutality, and reopened a criminal conviction. Judge Arcara has yet to rule on the request for a new trial, but he found the claims credible enough to order a hearing into the matter.
  • Memphis: Tennessee: An officer was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and vandalism. The charges came after a scuffle that occurred. He has been relieved of duty, with pay, pending an investigation into the incident.
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma: An officer was arrested for stealing cash during a traffic stop. He was charged with one count of 2nd degree robbery. “I promised the citizens of Tulsa 18 months ago that we would target any criminal or unethical behavior committed by our officers,” said the police chief.
  • Henderson, Louisiana: Two officers were arrested following a year long investigation. The police chief and deputy chief were charged with nine counts of filing or maintaining false public records, nine counts of payroll fraud and one count of malfeasance in office.
  • Scott County, Mississippi: A family has filed a complaint against an officer claiming police brutality. They say their son is just the latest young black man unfairly targeted for his race.
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico: An officer resigned after an internal investigation. He now faces charges of battery on a household member and interfering with communication. The police chief said the investigation “sustained” the allegations and that the recommended action was termination. “Officers are expected to be held to a higher standard, as they should be to ensure the public’s trust,” stated the chief.
  • Boston, Massachusetts: Police are looking into video that residents say show officers using excessive force to arrest a neighbor. Police say the officers were trying to stop the man from grabbing a gun, but one neighbor told the newspaper she saw the alleged victim get beaten up.
  • Vance, Alabama: A deputy crashed into tanning salon when he fell asleep at the wheel of his police cruiser.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-24-12

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, August 24, 2012:

  • Longview, Washington: A deputy was charged with using a dead man’s debit card to steal nearly $12,000 from his estate. He faces charges of theft, ID theft and misconduct. Longview police say store surveillance video showed him using the stolen debit card.
  • Syracuse, New York: Judge rules state must pay a man more than a million dollars because he was assaulted by a trooper during a traffic stop. The trooper pulled over the man, handcuffed him, and slammed his head into the back of his car several times.
  • Dallas, Texas: An officer faces up to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing $250,000 for bogus tips. She faces up to 20 years in federal prison and 5 years for tax evasion.
  • Update: Phoenix, Arizona: A police officer accused of molesting two teenage boys pleaded not guilty to ten counts of sexual misconduct with a minor. “This tragic incident is a disturbing violation of our public’s trust,” said the police chief. The officer immediately resigned his position.
  • Kenyon, Minnesota: A state trooper denied that he violated the civil rights of a man he arrested and is asking that the suit be dismissed. The complaint that has been filed says the officer “hit (the man) forcefully in the chest, tackled him to the ground and knocked out two of his teeth,” causing the man to lose consciousness.
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana: A family filed a federal suit against the officer who shot and killed their son. “We have no reason at this time to believe that this 18-year-old did anything wrong and certainly, I want to make that clear. He was unarmed. I’m not saying he violated any laws what so ever,” said the Sheriff.
  • Sun Valley, Idaho: The assistant police chief was charged with a DUI for allegedly driving intoxicated and backing into a parked car.
  • Summit County, Utah: An officer was charged with abusing a 4-year-old boy. He was caring for the boy when he started crying. The officer became frustrated and choked the child with enough force to leave marks and scratches. He also injured the boy by twisting his arm. A 6-year-old witnessed the abuse.
  • Hampton, Massachusetts: Three officers are being sued in federal court for assault and battery, excessive force, and other charges stemming from an incident that occurred in 2009 when they arrested a man outside a bar.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-23-12

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, August 23, 2012:

  • New Brunswick, New Jersey: An officer who shot and killed a man during a chase has resigned in lieu of discipline. He was facing discipline for failure to carry and maintain the pepper spray that officers are issued.
  • Clovis, California: A man who claimed he was wrongfully jailed by Fresno County authorities for allegedly violating probation was awarded $425,000 by a federal jury. He also said that the police wouldn’t let him retrieve heart medication when he was arrested, and jailers failed to heed his pleas for medical treatment when he began having chest pains.
  • Update: Queens, New York: The judge who said an officer struck him is blasting the District Attorney for not prosecuting the officer. The judge said the officer hit him when he mistook the judge for a heckler. “It was absolutely criminal,” said the judge, “and I think a jury would have very little difficulty, if they heard the testimony, determining who was telling the truth and who was lying.”
  • Nashville, Tennessee: An officer was arrested on domestic assault charges. He acknowledged he was guilty of conduct unbecoming of an officer and submitted his resignation.
  • Spring Valley, California: A “spontaneous reaction” by a police officer is said to be the cause of an unarmed woman being shot when police entered her backyard. The police say they went into her backyard because the back gate was open and was cause for suspicion. When the police ran into her unexpectedly, she was shot.
  • Update: Cleveland, Ohio: An officer was indicted on charges of rape, gross sexual imposition and kidnapping. He was investigated by internal affairs, and arrested.
  • Kansas City, Kansas: An officer was caught taking an official undercover car on vacation after he ran a red light with the vehicle. “This type of misuse of resources will not be tolerated,” said the police chief.
  • London, Kentucky: An officer pleaded guilty to theft. He must pay $108,000 in restitution and faces jail time.
  • Northumberland, Pennsylvania: Child pornography was found on an officer’s computer. He was sentenced on child pornography possession charges, must serve eight years in prison, and pay $75,000 for the offense.
  • Madison, Wisconsin: An officer was charged with sex abuse. He has been placed on administrative leave while the internal inquiry is completed. The sheriff’s office believes that it happened over a period of several years.



‘Everything they say is a lie’

From the ABA Journal:

A New York judge who says a police officer struck him after apparently mistaking him for a heckler is blasting Queens District Attorney Richard Brown for refusing to prosecute.

Judge Thomas Raffaele claims Brown is orchestrating a cover-up, the New York Law Journal reports. A press release explaining the refusal to prosecute is full of falsehoods, Raffaele told the publication. “Everything they say is a lie.”


[The judge] said investigators didn’t contact his witnesses until he complained. “Given the way the officers lied to cover up what this guy did who hit us, I have to wonder if the same cover-up attitude extends to the detectives in the DA’s office.”

Yes, you have to wonder, judge.

Previous coverage here.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 08-22-12

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, August 22, 2012:

  • Woonsocket, Rhode Island: An argument between a police officer and his nine-year-old sister led him to choke her. He was subsequently arrested.
  • Folly Beach, South Carolina: An officer who failed to fully investigate an assault claim, and who was then suspended, is now fighting to get his job back. According to records of the events leading to his suspension, his actions resulted in the ‘delayed arrest of a serious criminal.’
  • Salem, New Hampshire: Lt. Krisitn Fili is on paid administrative leave and is facing a charge of driving while intoxicated. She crashed while driving and officers noticed signs of impairment.
  • Hackensack, Jew Jersey: The city settled a lawsuit for more than $2 million. A woman said that the chief of police filed criminal charges against her after she rejected sexual advances.
  • Update: Columbus, Ohio: There may be more victims of the officer who was accused of sexual abuse with children. “There is an ongoing investigation to (determine) the identity of other potential victims,” said the prosecuting attorney. “There is evidence indicating there is at least one additional potential victim.”
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: An officer was ordered to stand trial for a teen’s death. The unarmed teen was shot following a vehicle pursuit.
  • Huntsville, Alabama: An officer was arrested and charged with first degree sex abuse against a girl under the age of sixteen.
  • Hollywood, California: An officer is on administrative duty following claims that he used excessive force on a 17-year-old boy. “We are always concerned when there are allegations of a excessive use of force by out police officers,” said the city spokeswoman. “We take those things very seriously.”


Officer Dies After Car Chase & Crash

From the Washington Post:

As the [police officers] caught up with the car on I-95 and relayed information about the Acura to a dispatcher, a supervisor got on the radio and questioned whether they were chasing the car, according to law enforcement officials.

That caution came too late. Morris, who was driving, lost control of the cruiser and crashed in a ravine, police said.

Morris was ejected and fatally injured, police said. Risher was hospitalized but was released the same day.

Police said Tuesday that they had not yet determined how fast Morris was driving. They said that detectives think Morris was not wearing a seat belt but that Risher was belted.

In September, Prince George’s police toughened their chase policies, limiting pursuits to suspects involved in just four crimes: homicides, shootings in which someone was hit, armed robberies and armed carjackings. By those standards, Morris seems to have violated policy and the supervisor acted appropriately, a law enforcement official said.

By all accounts, Morris was a great guy with a promising career in law enforcement.  Police agencies everywhere need to reexamine chase policies for the sake of both officers and civilians.

The Chavis Carter Case: Was It Suicide?

From the New York Times:

[W]hat started as a routine arrest then took a fatal turn. As the officers were about to drive Mr. Carter to jail, they found him slumped over, his hands still cuffed behind his back, drenched in blood. According to the police report, he had fatally shot himself in the head.

In the weeks since the death of Mr. Carter, 21, heavy scrutiny has fallen on the police and their procedures, and calls for justice have lighted up Twitter and Facebook.

The police say Carter was searched twice before he was handcuffed and placed in the police car, so one question is where did the gun come from?  Another question is why Carter would want to kill himself (and in these circumstances)?

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-21-12

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, August 21, 2012:

  • Update: Boiling Spring Lake, North Carolina: The police chief who aided and abetted his criminal son was indicted on a felony count.
  • Venice, California: A man says that police beat him during an arrest and used unnecessary excessive force. The family is demanding justice and that the department look into it. Video of the incident shows the man being punched repeatedly in the head while four officers hold him down.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: An officer was arrested on suspicion of driving intoxicated. He was driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia: An officer was sentenced to ten years in prison for child sex crimes, including aggravated sexual battery, and taking indecent liberties. The crimes occurred over a period of three years with a child under the age of 13. He is now no longer an officer.
  • Austin, Texas: An officer has been suspended for running a red light and causing an accident. This is the fourth red light crash caused by Austin officers this year. “In this particular case, the officer had his lights on with no siren,” said the assistant police chief. “In cases like that – we take it very seriously.”
  • Osceola, Arkansas: An officer was accused of using social media to bully her daughter’s classmates, who were bullying her. “It’s upsetting to know that a person that’s out there that’s supposed to be protecting and solving crimes against children would also be the type of person committing crimes,” said a family friend of the victim. “She sent harassing, bullying messages to one or possibly more children of her daughter’s age and in the same class. Insulting, degrading remarks, things of that nature.”
  • New York, New York: An ex-city official is suing the city. He alleges that he was assaulted by police during a confrontation at a Parade last year. There is a video showing him being slammed to the ground by officers.
  • Birmingham, Alabama: An officer was indicted for firing into an occupied vehicle and for third degree assault. He was assigned to traffic duty and shot the man after the man parked his car in the pick-up lane, left his car, and then returned.
  • New Hanover County, North Carolina: A former lieutenant will spend seven days in jail. He pleaded guilty to a DWI and resigned after the charge.
  • Bergen County, New Jersey: Two officers were indicted on seven charges of official misconduct, including tampering with evidence and lying to other officers about the incident. They were attempting to cover up their involvement in a car chase in which two shots were fired. “This is about making sure that police officers understand that they’re held to a high standard,” said the county prosecutor.


Wrongful Conviction: The Michael Hash Case

From the Washington Post:

On Monday, Hash walked out of the Culpeper County courthouse with the charges against him dismissed, 12 years after being wrongly convicted of murder. Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh, who had been brought in to reassess a case that has raised widespread concerns about deceit and misconduct, asked the judge to dismiss all charges and lift any legal constraints against him.

Now 31, Hash hugged his mother tightly when she burst into tears. He struggled for words as the decision began to sink in.

“It brings validity to what we’ve said all along,” Hash said, “that this was never right.”  …

Scott Jenkins, one of the lead investigators, whose role the judge described as “outrageous misconduct . . . because it was intentional, and not merely negligent,” is now Culpeper County sheriff.


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