National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-07-14

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, August 7, 2014:

  • Mesa, Arizona: A police officer has been indicted on charges of sexual assault and child molestation for acts that allegedly occurred on the job, authorities said.
  • Update: Iva, South Carolina (First reported 07-28-14): The police chief has resigned after being charged with criminal domestic violence. He allegedly hit his teenage son with a piece of wood multiple times and grabbed his wife and threw her.
  • New York, New York: An officer was arrested on burglary and assault charges. He is accused of breaking into a woman’s apartment and punching her repeatedly.
  • Update: King County, Washington (Previously reported 07-16-14): A now-former sheriff’s deputy accused of helping his estranged wife work as a prostitute, stealing department ammunition and illegally delivering testosterone pled guilty.
  • Ozaukee County, Wisconsin: A high school senior was arrested at a fair, and he says the police used excessive force. The department reviewed the video and said the situation was handled with proper police protocol.
  • Update: Baltimore, Maryland (First reported 03-06-14): The lawyer for a police officer charged with beating and choking his girlfriend’s puppy, and later texting her a photo of the dog’s body, says his client will plead guilty to one count of felony animal cruelty.
  • Sanford, Florida: A police officer was fired for activating his Taser because he didn’t like the way an inmate cleaned his patrol car. He was placed on leave and investigators even recommended criminal charges after the incident.
  • Update: Greenfield, Indiana (First reported 04-09-14): A police officer already under suspension was arrested for the third time on suspicion of drunk driving.
  • Update: Wilcox County, Alabama (Previously reported 04-17-14):  A now-former deputy got 90 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release. He is said to have used his patrol vehicle to pick up what he thought was pure, powdered cocaine, and tried to deliver it, all while in uniform.
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina: A 26-year veteran officer was charged with three counts each of first-degree sex offense, taking indecent liberties with a minor and crimes against nature.
  • Enfield, Connecticut: A man who claims he was the victim of police brutality when he was shot with a stun gun multiple times by an officer has filed a notice of intent to sue. He is the second person to allege brutality against the officer, who is currently on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation into that complaint. 

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-06-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, August 6, 2014:

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma: Two police officers have been arrested following the shooting death of a 19-year old. One is facing a charge for first degree murder. The other is facing a charge of “accessory to murder after the fact.”
  • Update: New York, New York (First reported 07-18-14): The medical examiner’s office confirmed what demonstrators have been saying: A police officer’s choke hold on a man being arrested for selling loose cigarettes killed him. The death has been ruled a homicide.
  • Lee County, Florida: A deputy has resigned after an internal affairs investigation found he improperly accessed personal information using the department’s secure database.
  • Update: Spavinaw, Oklahoma (First reported 07-25-14): Community leaders formally suspended a police chief accused of molesting two teenage girls. He is charged with two counts of lewd molestation.
  • Update: Washington County, Arkansas (First reported 05-15-14): Prosecutors will not file charges against a fired deputy accused of performing a sex act on a man without his consent.
  • Baltimore County, Maryland: A veteran police officer was suspended and faces several criminal charges after the department said he tried to break into a home in search of drugs.
  • Miami-Dade, Florida: A police officer has been arrested after a grand jury indicted him on charges he gave confidential information to illegal pot growers and was given $1,500 in exchange for keeping mum on the criminal operation.
  • Greenville County, South Carolina: A former deputy has been arrested after authorities found missing items inside his home. He was jailed on charges of breach of peace, misconduct in office and breach of trust.
  • Hartford, Connecticut: A police officer has been suspended from the department after being arrested on a larceny charge. He turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He has been charged with larceny in the fifth degree and possession of a shoplifting device.

Worst of the Month — July 2014

The worst police misconduct of July was the case of Eric Garner, who was killed by New York City police officers using a banned chokehold maneuver. A cell phone video of the incident shows Garner (who stood at least 6’3” and 350+ lbs.) arguing with police officers in an agitated state, then pulling back when officers tried to arrest him. Almost immediately, one of the officers started using an illegal chokehold maneuver to subdue Garner, at which point the 350+ pound asthmatic can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” repeatedly.  Garner was pronounced dead a short time later.  The medical examiner has ruled the death a homicide.

Garner was accused of and being arrested for selling single, untaxed cigarettes on the street corner.

Chokeholds have been banned since 1994 because they were determined to be too dangerous. Every officer and recruit is trained not to use them.  In response to the incident, NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has ordered a top-to-bottom review of use of force training methods, with retraining programs likely to follow. It’s a good step, but it won’t do Eric Garner and his six children any good.


The sexting case from Virginia is too awful and bizarre not to include as a “runner up.”

Recall that 17-year old Trey Sims had been arrested for allegedly sending a video of his erect penis to his girlfriend, also a minor. Prince William County prosecutors charged the teen with two felony charges: for possession of child pornography and manufacturing child pornography. These charges could have landed him in jail until he reached 21 years of age and then put him on the sex offender list, potentially for the remainder of his life. All for ‘sexting’ his girlfriend.

If it wasn’t bad enough already that prosecutors were willing to go forward with such drastic charges—and ones intended to protect children like Trey from adult predators—it gets worse. Manassas city police had already forcibly taken pictures of the teen’s penis when he was arrested, but that, apparently, wasn’t enough. Commonwealth’s attorney Claiborne Richardson told the teen’s lawyer that he either had to plead guilty or they would obtain a search warrant for pictures of his erect penis—which would be obtained by bringing the teen to a hospital and forcing him to take an erection-inducing drug while police officers took pictures of his forcibly-erect penis. Apparently, special software would then be used to compare the penises. When he did not plead guilty, substitute Juvenile Court Judge Jan Roltsch-Anoll granted the search warrant.  Thankfully, it was never actually served.

When word got out about what was happening, the government agents backed off a bit.  Sims just recently agreed to a year of probation to avoid the more serious charges.



National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-05-14

Here are the 5 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, August 5, 2014:

  • Update: Lyons, Illinois (First reported 10-01-13): A now-former police officer was sentenced to five years in federal prison for illegally extorting more than $48,000 from targets of criminal investigations he was supposedly conducting.
  • Chelmsford, Massachusetts: A veteran state police sergeant was put on probation without pay after police say he was driving drunk while off-duty when he ran a red light and totaled a local woman’s car. He was later fired.
  • Update: Bull Shoals, Arkansas (Previously reported 07-22-14): The police chief has agreed to resign and never serve in law enforcement again in exchange for federal prosecutors dropping a charge against him.
  • Los Angeles County, California: A sheriff’s deputy inadvertently shot and killed the resident of a home during a gunfight.
  • Orange Beach, Alabama: A police officer is facing allegations after his arrest on charges of sex abuse on a minor younger than 12 years old.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-02-14 to 08-04-14

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, August 2, to Monday, August 4, 2014:

  • Romulus, Michigan: A police officer is accused of being the aggressor in a road rage incident. He was charged with felonious assault and felony firearm.
  • Buffalo, New York: A now-former police officer sentenced to 10 months home confinement for mail fraud. He was also ordered to pay $6,400 in restitution to his victims. 
  • Prineville, Oregon: Police chief fired for falsifying records, misusing city equipment and bad leadership
  • Update: Huntsville, Alabama (First reported 03-27-14): A man has reached a settlement after being badly beaten during an arrest.  He had filed a civil lawsuit against the sheriff and eight of his deputies, claiming false arrest and conspiracy to cover up a “revenge beatdown.”
  • Broward County, Florida: Sergeant was charged with misdemeanor battery after a fight and tried to use his personal friendship with the sheriff to “make this go away,” according to police reports.
  • Update: Pickens, South Carolina (First reported 06-26-14): A police officer at the center of a SLED investigation has resigned, according to the mayor. The officer resigned after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman while on duty.
  • Miami-Dade, Florida: County taxpayers will pay $600,000 to the families of three men who were shot to death in a botched police sting, despite police claims that the shootings were justified.
  • Middlefield, Ohio: A man was pulled over for going over the center line, although police dashcam video doesn’t show that he did. A K-9 then searched the van and didn’t find any drugs. Police wound up arresting the man for not having a driver’s license. It’s a minor misdemeanor. “You can’t arrest someone for not having a valid drivers license,” said the Geauga County Prosecutor. A lieutenant at the arrest admitted that police made mistakes and said the type of mistakes they made “happen all the time around the country.”
  • Mt. Olive, New Jersey: A  man was pulled over for going over the center line, although police dashcam video doesn’t show that he did. He was then arrested, though whether he should have been was disputed among officers. “You can’t arrest someone for not having a valid drivers license,” said a county prosecutor.
  • Chicago, Illinois: A city finance committee approved the use of $1.2 million of taxpayer money to compensate the family of a 17 year-old boy shot and killed by police officers.

FBI Grading News Stories

From the Washington Times:

The FBI is hiring a contractor to grade news stories about the agency as “positive” “neutral” or “negative,” but the agency won’t say why officials need the information or what they plan to do with it.

FBI officials wouldn’t even reveal how they will go about assigning the grades, which were laid out in a recent contract solicitation. The contract tells potential bidders to “use their judgment” in scoring news coverage as part of a new “daily news briefing” service the agency is seeking as part of a contract that could last up to five years.

Just a guess, but this story is probably not going to be recorded as “positive.”

J. Edgar Hoover did some of this sort of thing.  He would give friendly journalists advance notice of FBI raids.  When other reporters and newspapers started wondering why this or that newspaper always seemed to be getting good scoops on FBI stories, they’d eventually learn that it really, really helps if one does not run “negative” stories about FBI agents or FBI management.  Even if those negative stories are true.  Good reporters have to work hard to avoid being manipulated by law enforcement agencies.

Additional background here.

UPDATE: Apparently, they are now backing off of this idea.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-01-14

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, August 1, 2014:

  • Update: Lakeland, Florida (Previously reported 09-26-13): The city has paid a $25,000 settlement to a woman ordered to shake out her bra during a traffic stop.
  • Los Angeles, California: Two officers are under investigation for their use of force on a female suspect in a holding cell. The force used on the woman, who had been arrested on suspicion of petty theft, included kicking and punching and resulted in her being taken to a hospital to be treated for her injuries.
  • Update: Seabrook, New Hampshire (First reported 04-11-14): Two officers have been fired. A third officer was suspended for two days without pay and a fourth has been demoted to patrolman. The disciplinary actions are the end result of an investigation into a videotaped incident showing excessive force against a 19 year old man.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh has agreed to pay $35,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who accused a now-former city police officer of assaulting her. The woman claimed the city should not have allowed the officer to be on the force because he failed his psychological exam and should have removed him from the force when two women filed sex assault complaints previously.
  • Norwalk, Connecticut: The attorney for a man who suffered multiple injuries during an arrest filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city and four police officers. It says police officers violated his civil rights and caused a series of injuries, some of which were deemed permanent.
  • Update; Los Angeles, California (First reported 07-07-14): The woman punched by an officer along a freeway has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the officer and head of the agency. The suit alleges that the unnamed officer used excessive force. “The punches, the brutality, the viciousness of the attack itself are all violations of her 4th Amendment rights to be free from excessive force,” said her attorney.
  • Fishers, Indiana: A teenager and his parents will file a lawsuit after the teen was attacked by a police dog. The review by the chief of police said the K-9 officer gave repeated commands to stop running and was in complete control of his dog.
  • Update; New Orleans, Louisiana (First reported 11-26-13): A pair of now-former narcotics detectives each were sentenced to 18 months in prison after they pled guilty to working side jobs while on the clock for the city and taking cash that was supposed to go to drug informants.
  • Estelline, Texas: The city is reviewing its police procedures after authorities reached a $77,500 legal settlement with a woman who alleged officers illegally seized more than $29,000 from her pickup and kept $1,400 of her cash.
  • Memphis, Michigan: The police chief was fired after she was driving a city police car that went through a stop sign on a gravel road, striking a FedEx delivery truck.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Six city narcotics officers used gangland tactics to shake down drug dealers, relying on guns, badges, beatings and threats to extort huge piles of cash and cocaine, federal authorities charged. The police officers once held a suspect over an 18th floor balcony and used a steel bar to beat someone else in the head, authorities said. They also held one man captive in a hotel room for several days while he and his family were threatened.
  • Galion, Ohio: A police lieutenant and his wife were both arrested by police on charges of domestic violence.
  • Newton County, Texas: The sheriff has been indicted on one count of terroristic threat on a public servant and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. The charge is a third-degree felony.  If convicted, he could be sentenced to from 2 to 10 years in prison. He will face a $10,000 bond when arraigned on the charge.
  • Update: East Hartford, Connecticut (Previously reported 03-28-14): A now-former police officer has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for possession of child pornography.  Prosecutors say he will serve five years of supervised release following his prison time.

National Police Miscondcut NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-31-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, July 31, 2014:

  • Oakland, California: Relatives of a man who collapsed while struggling with police and later died have filed a federal wrongful-death lawsuit against the city. The coroner concluded that the man died of multiple drug intoxication, with “physical exertion” as a contributing factor.
  • Update: Hodgenville, Kentucky (First reported 07-01-14): A not-guilty plea was entered for the police chief. He is charged with official misconduct and hindering prosecution.
  • Covington, Tennessee: A now-former police officer has been found guilty of misconduct. A jury found him guilty of official misconduct and misuse of official information. He knew his father was a felon and still allowed him to have more than 20 guns.
  • Grundy County, Tennessee: A now-former captain for the sheriff’s office has been indicted on charges of theft and misconduct after allegedly stealing handguns from an evidence room.
  • Bibb County, Georgia: Bond has been set at $55,500 for a deputy accused of child sex crimes. He was arrested and could lose his job after authorities said he approached a teenage girl to make “sexual contact” and repeatedly touched her in a sexual way, even though she asked him to stop repeatedly.
  • Pacific, Missouri: A now-former police officer is facing felony drug charges. Prosecutors say he was still with the department when he allegedly stole narcotics.
  • Update: Lilburn, Georgia (First reported 02-24-14): More than five months after an investigation was launched into her alleged theft of prescription drug evidence, a now-former police officer has been arrested.
  • Santa Ana, California: Police said this week the department is investigating the use of force by officers recorded by a nearby surveillance camera the night of the arrest.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-30-14

Here are the 17 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 30, 2014:

  • Macomb, Illinois: A patrol officer has been charged with forgery and state benefit fraud. He’s accused of obtaining a Link card in someone else’s name and then using that card. Link cards in Illinois are issued to anyone approved to receive cash assistance or SNAP (food stamp) benefits.
  • Troy, New York: A police officer has been accused of purposefully revealing information about an investigation into a drug ring to at least one suspect.
  • Update: Miami-Dade, Florida (First reported 04-10-14): A police officer charged with DUI is back in custody for driving with a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident while out on bond. “I do have serious concerns regarding the safety of the community,” a judge said. He has been placed on paid administrative leave pending his trial.
  • San Antonio, Texas: Three police officers are being investigated for possibly using excessive force, after an incident left a man with injuries to his face, skull and neck. The man said he was struck about 50 times, even though he complied with the officers’ instructions and did not fight back. Shortly after being handcuffed and explaining to officers that he owned the property, a fourth officer approached and said the suspect the officers were actually looking for was in custody nearby.
  • Portland, Oregon: An off-duty police officer is accused of assaulting a teen at an RV park.
  • Manchester, New Hampshire: A now-former police officer has pled guilty to running criminal records checks on stolen identities for someone who was the target of a drug-related investigation.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: A police officer was charged with second-degree assault after prosecutors say he struck a 14-year-old boy who was already apprehended.
  • Clark County, Indiana: An officer gave a prostitute official law enforcement credentials and a deputy’s badge so she could get a government employee rate at a hotel. The two met at a hotel where the officer paid the prostitute $300 for sex and gave her a uniform shirt and other official department clothing. He is also accused of lying to the FBI about it.
  • Atlanta, Georgia: A police officer was fired, two days after being charged in a collision that killed a woman and injured two others.
  • Baldwin, Louisiana: State Troopers have charged a now-former police officer with molesting a 14-year-old girl who lived in his home. Troopers confirmed the officer was charged after the girl gave birth.
  • Update: Chula Vista, California (First reported 06-18-14): A police officer was charged with four misdemeanor battery counts stemming from an off-duty dispute with his girlfriend’s 16-year-old son.
  • Harvey, Illinois: A police detective he has been placed on administrative leave after being arrested for allegedly attacking the boyfriend of his former girlfriend.
  • Panama City, Florida: A police officer is demoted following an internal investigation. The complaint reveals the officer asked two members of staff to look up information on a law enforcement database.
  • North Enid, Oklahoma: A now-former officer arrested on a complaint of driving under the influence was arraigned. He was charged with driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, eluding a police officer and transporting an open container of beer, all misdemeanors.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: City Council approved a $115,000 settlement with a woman who accused a city officer of false arrest in a lawsuit. She alleged that the officer was wrong to arrest her on charges of witness intimidation and simple assault. She spent five days in jail, accused of hitting a witness, but video surveillance showed that she only brushed against the witness, according to the lawsuit.
  • Update: Frankfort, Indiana (First reported 02-12-14): A now-former police officer has pled guilty to charges that he stole nearly $150,000 from a company for which he transported cash.
  • Update: San Diego, California (First reported 02-07-14): A ninth accuser has come forward with graphic allegations of sexual misconduct against a now-former police officer, but for the first time the accuser is a man.


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