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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-30-12 to 07-02-12

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for June 30 – July 2, 2012

  • St Martinville, Louisiana officer, Raymon Calais, was convicted of perjury and malfeasance and sentenced to five years of supervised probation. Judge Paul deMahy said that Calais was “overzealous in his investigation, and when he was caught in the act of being overzealous he attempted to protect himself by lying. He did use his position and status to facilitate the commission of this crime.”
  • DuPage County, Illinois County Sheriff John Zaruba let his high school son ride along with police officers, participate in arrests, and even gave him access to the department’s confidential database. The Better Government Association filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court alleging the sheriff violated state law when he refused to hand over records of database access.Many police officers have been fired in the past for misusing the confidential database.
  • Fayette County, Pennsylvania woman settled her federal lawsuit in regards to five state troopers pepper-spraying and urinating on her while she was handcuffed.
  • An LA police officer was arrested in San Fernando County, California when he was found in a parked car with a 15-year-old girl at 2 a.m. The arrest happened after the girl’s grandmother saw her leave home with a man and the police put out a lookout for the car.
  • Pinellas County, Florida County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says that his agency is beginning a criminal investigation into four former detectives actions that may have used illegal methods to gather evidence. Prosecutors have already dropped 18 pending cases and are reviewing charges against about two dozen others who pleaded guilty, were convicted, or accepted plea deals.
  • A Frederick, Maryland police officer was charged with second-degree assault. His girlfriend called the police to report that a fight had turned physical and that he hit her several times. The officer has been suspended and put on administrative duties.
  • Newark, New Jersey officer falsely reported his vehicle stolen, and was charged with fraudulently collecting insurance money. The insurance company realized this when one of its representatives saw his car parked outside of his house nearly three years later.
  • Hempstead, New York police officer was given 14 hours of community service when he was caught on video surveillance cameras stealing baby food from a supermarket. The court says they will dismiss charges if he stays out of trouble for the rest of the year.
  • Michigan City, Indiana: Eunice Hicks, mother of a 19-year-old boy who was shot by a police officer, said that police didn’t give the correct information about her son’s wound. “I think the police are just covering up their story because they can’t really justify a shooting in the back.” Police originally said that he was shot in the abdomen during a struggle for the officer’s weapon.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 6-29-12

Here are the 13 reports of misconduct tracked for Friday, June 29, 2012:

  • Dade City, Florida police department was called to look into an off-duty altercation between Officer Latarsha Taylor and another woman. Taylor resigned this month when she faced termination after the domestic violence investigation.
  • Ulster, New York Chief, Matthew Taggard, was suspended and charged with official misconduct. Authorities say that he knew about sex crimes against underage victims and did nothing about it.
  • Miami Beach, Florida eyewitness recounts his interaction with police when they saw him videotaping a fatal police shooting. “When he noticed me recording, one of the officers jumped in the truck, put a pistol to my head… My phone was smashed – he stepped on it, handcuffed me.”
  • West Chester, Ohio police released a video of officers beating a suspect. Officers said the man, Jeremy Lewis, was drunk and combative. All charges against Lewis have since been dropped.
  • Evansville, Indiana SWAT team broke down the storm door, and tossed flashbang stun grenades into a home. The police were executing a search warrant for computer equipment, which they said was used to make threats against police and their families. The family was inside, watching television, when this happened, and said that no one was hiding there. Ira Milan, the homeowner, said, “I think it was a show of force that they are not going to tolerate [threats]… But what about the residents and what they have to tolerate?” Police refused to release the warrant upon request.
  • Vestal, New York: Robert Leone says he was subjected to hours of beatings and electrical shocks by PA state troopers.  Leone called his mother from police custody, and she recounts what she heard from him: “They put him on the phone and he starts screaming that he has been beaten within an inch of his life.” State Police declined to comment on the case.  Previous coverage here.
  • A Boston, Massachusetts police officer was charged with an OUI, failure to stop, and reckless operation of a motor vehicle 33 days after he crashed his car into the car of Briana O’Neill. She was upset it took so long to indict him: “If it would have been me, I’d be in jail right now.” Says her lawyer of the police officer, “The facts just seem to indicate that he’s being treated a little bit differently.” There are also allegations that he had been drinking.
  • Providence, Rhode Island a police officer was following a SUV after an occupant threw something at his vehicle. While in pursuit, the officer says, the SUV crashed and the occupants ran away. The now suspended officer is being charged with larceny over $500 and solicitation to receive stolen goods after he searched the vehicle and took money from it.
  • Update: Two Massachusetts officers have been fired after being deemed no longer “fit to serve.” One of the officers was fired for a pair of incidents, one of which involved him driving the wrong way down the highway. The other was fired for involvement in a prostitution ring.
  • Two Prince George’s County, Maryland police officers accused of kidnapping, false imprisonment, second-degree assault, and misconduct against teenagers. An attorney for one of the teens said that the officers were off-duty when they apparently tried to scare the teens, who had been accused of stealing alcohol from a party. They handcuffed one teen, another escaped. One teen was beaten.
  • Houston, Texas woman Natalie Plumber was arrested on bogus charges when she was warning drivers of a speed trap. Plumber was walking down the sidewalk with a sign that read “Speed Trap,” when an officer arrested her. They claim that they did it for her safety, but she said, “He couldn’t take me to jail for holding up this sign, or he would have, so all he could do was make up something vague about it.”
  • New Durham, New Hampshire Officer Chris Chesley was arrested and charged with three counts of simple assault. He allegedly pushed and grabbed different women on three separate occasions. Police Chief Shawn Bernier said that police are conducting an internal investigation. He also said, “I think (this) shows that nobody is above the law and everybody is held accountable.”
  • Lafourche Parish, Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy is in custody after admitting to officials he was in a sexual relationship with a 16-yr-old girl. He was terminated upon his arrest, and now faces up to 10 years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines if he is convicted.
  • Kansas City, Kansas former officer was sentenced to federal prison for stealing electronics from houses where his team served search warrants. He pleaded guilty to violating federal civil rights statutes.


The Library Book Caper

From CBS News:

A New Mexico woman who says she doesn’t remember checking out either the “Twilight” book or the two-DVD movie set from the library had to endure her own Twilight saga. 

She was arrested in front of her children and spent a night in jail for not returning the materials to the library.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Lori Teel was arrested and handcuffed at her Portales home in front of her five small children earlier this month for the $36 worth of ‘Twilight’ items that had gone unreturned since 2010.

A summons would have been the appropriate response here.

Witness: Miami Beach Officers “took everyone’s phones and smashed them”

From CNN:

An eyewitness to a fatal police shooting in Miami Beach last week claims police officers attempted to confiscate the video he filmed of the incident, and even crushed his phone underfoot in an attempt to destroy the recording.

Read the whole thing.

Study Finds Crime Report Manipulation in NYPD

From today’s New York Times:

An anonymous survey of nearly 2,000 retired officers found that the manipulation of crime reports — downgrading crimes to lesser offenses and discouraging victims from filing complaints to make crime statistics look better — has long been part of the culture of the New York Police Department….

The survey, conducted earlier this year, was financed by Molloy College. Dr. Eterno and Dr. Silverman e-mailed a questionnaire to 4,069 former officers who had retired since 1941. Roughly 48 percent — 1,962 retired officers of all ranks — responded.

The respondents ranged from chiefs and inspectors to sergeants and detectives. About 44 percent, or 871, had retired since 2002. More than half of those recent retirees said they had “personal knowledge” of crime-report manipulation, according to the summary, and within that group, more than 80 percent said they knew of three or more instances in which officers or their superiors rewrote a crime report to downgrade the offense or intentionally failed to take a complaint alleging a crime.

The questionnaire did not ask for specific examples, but it did invite respondents to comment. The summary included remarks from six former officers, but did not indicate their ranks.

One officer, who retired in 2005, wrote that he heard a deputy commissioner say in a “pre-CompStat meeting” that a commanding officer “should just consolidate burglaries that occurred in an apartment building and count as one.”

“Also not to count leap-year stats.”

Another respondent, who retired in 2008, wrote, “Assault becomes harassment, robbery becomes grand larceny, grand larceny becomes petit larceny, burglary becomes criminal trespass.”

NYPD Officials deny widespread manipulation and say there are problems with this study.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 6-28-12

Here are the 16 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, June 28, 2012:

  • Oregon County, Missouri deputy, Dophes Barton, was sentenced to seven years in jail after pleading guilty to four counts of burglary and four counts of theft/stealing. The deputy stole more than $15,000 worth of items, including drills, welders, and chainsaws. Barton was caught in an “undercover buy” of stolen items, and has since left the force.
  • Saginaw, Michigan sheriff’s deputy faces up to seven years in prison for impermissible use of personal information obtained through the Law Enforcement Information Network. He has since been suspended without pay.
  • North Providence, Rhode Island police officer’s termination proceedings have begun after he was convicted of kicking a handcuffed woman in the head. The encounter was caught on surveillance video. The officer has since been suspended without pay.
  • Washington, Indiana police officer has been formerly charged for his involvement in the battery of a man he had arrested.
  • West Bridgewater, Massachusetts state trooper involved in the Brockton spa sex scandal has been fired. His termination comes after the administrative investigation sustained charges of unbecoming conduct, neglective duty, unsatisfactory performance, use of department equipment for non-job related purposes, and lack of truthfulness.
  • Fulton County, Georgia deputy sheriff was sentenced to three and a half years in federal prison following his conviction on drug and bribery charges. According to U.S. Attorney, Sally Yates, “He used his uniform and badge to make money by delivering drugs to inmates in the jail and to protect a significant cocaine transaction on the streets.”
  • Four Washington, D.C. police officers were indicted in connection to an assault outside a Northwest Washington night club.  According to officials, one of the men assaulted by the police was beaten so badly that he lost an eye.  The fight was caught on security video footage.
  • A convicted Tulsa, Oklahoma police officer, Harold Wells, testified against former Officer John Gray, that Gray told him he falsified search warrants and formed investigations for the purpose of profiting from stolen drugs.
  • Flagstaff, Arizona police officer is on trial for sexually abusing a young woman at a downtown bar. Witnesses told Flagstaff police investigators that the defendant repeatedly flashed his badge around at the bar that night, including to the cops arresting him. One witness said she told Evans he was going to jail for his actions and he replied, “No, I’m a cop. You’re going to jail.”
  • Cleveland, Ohio police officer was arrested without incident after physically assaulting his wife at their home. An internal affairs investigation led to this arrest, and he has since been placed on restrictive duty.
  • Miami-Dade, Florida police officer was arrested after authorities said he illegally obtained prescription pills over a three year period.
  • Update: Baltimore, Maryland police officer, James Laboard, is being charged with manslaughter for the death of a Randallstown teen following a struggle. His police chief says evidence shows that Laboard, “stepped beyond the scope of his employment.”
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota Police have confirmed there is an open investigation into allegations that high-ranking officer, Lt. Lee Edwards stole from K-Mart. Sources say Lt. Edwards later returned the merchandise and told K-Mart security that he was doing an independent test of their security.
  • Pinellas County, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper, Tim Nichols, committed five policy violations and posed a threat to public safety during a high speed police chase. Nichols drove the wrong way on Interstate 275. FHP Col Brierton stated, “Nichols actions as a totality clearly indicate flawed judgement…by improper use of your weapon and your dangerous driving.”
  • Waco, Texas police officer is accused of running a personal check on someone using the Texas Crime Index Center.
  • Update: Lakewood, Washington federal prosecutors are asking a judge to impose the highest sentence possible on the Lakewood police officer who used an account set up for families of his fallen comrades “like his own piggy bank.”

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