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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 05-30-12

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, May 30, 2012:

  • A Culpeper, VA police officer has been indicted on a charge of murder for a fatal shooting of a female motorist during a confrontation earlier this year.  The officer has also been charged with malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle resulting in death and use of a firearm in commission of a felony
  • Martin County Sheriffy’s deputy and former Florida Marlin, Kurt Abbott, was charged with a DUI.  According to the arrest affidavit, Abbott was aggressive and cursed at the booking staff and refused a breathalyzer test.  Abbott has been placed on administrative leave
  • A lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department alleges negligence in the fatal shooting of unarmed disabled man. The lawsuit also claims that Metro’s Crisis Intervention Team, who are specifically trained to deal with mentally distressed people, were never called to the scene
  • Former Logansport, Indiana police officer turned himself in for theft charges alleging that he misused a city issued gas card and filed questionable paperwork seeking compensation
  • A Charleston, South Carolina deputy’s DUI charge has been reduced to reckless driving.  The officer was arrested after he crashed into an on-ramp on Interstate 526 at 2 a.m. on May 5
  • Vallejo, California Police Department agrees to pay a 61-year-old man $4.15 million to compensate for severe police-inflicted injuries and for violation of his federal civil rights
  • A Milwaukee police officer is fired after his misconduct was captured on video. “The evidence was very strong and there was no reason to delay,” said Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn. “We took appropriate action, and now it will be in the hands of the review authorities.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 05-26-12 to 05-29-12 (Memorial Day Weekend)

Here are the 7 reports of police misconduct tracked for May 26-29, 2012:

  • Former Wheaton, Illinois police officer stole $30,000 from a charity for fallen officers has been sentenced to 2 years probation.  Prosecutors accused the officer of using the stolen money to pay for a lifestyle of women, motorcycles, and alcohol
  • A Birmingham, Alabama police officer has been accused in a string of arsons.  The Birmingham Police Department obtained warrants against the officer on Friday, May 25.
  • Loveland, Colorado officer has been charged with possessing child pornography.  The officer faces felony charges of sexual exploitation of a child.
  • A Barnstable, Massachusetts ex-cop has been sentenced to 6 months in jail for driving drunk while transporting a  Little League baseball player to Rehoboth, DE.  The officer pled guilty to drunken driving and child endangerment
  • A Fort Worth cop responds to the wrong address, where he shoots and kills a dog.  The owners claim the shooting was unnecessary.  “As the dogs were getting closer to attack/bite the officer, the officer fired his service weapon, striking the dog closest to him,” said police spokesman Sgt. Pedro Criado
  • Mesa, Arizona off-duty police officer engaged in a road-rage incident. Now police have concluded that the veteran officer was to blame, not the other man involved in the incident, who was originally arrested for the confrontation
  • 2 Pasadena police officers are under internal investigation for allegedly intimidating suspects and witnesses.  “We are investigating this complaint,” said police spokeswoman Lieutenant Phlunte Riddle.  “It’s a complaint.  If we took every officer off of their assignment when a complaint comes in, there would be no due process.” 

Culpeper Police Officer Indicted for Fatal Shooting

The Washington Post  notes that this prosecution is “highly unusual”  — “There have been few cases in the United States in which an officer has faced so serious a charge in connection with actions taken while on duty.”

Why is that?  Why is the prosecution “highly unusual”?  Because the investigation was unusual.  First, a separate police agency was brought into the case.  All too often the same agency ends up investigating itself.  Second, a special prosecutor was appointed to the case.  That was another important move.  The local prosecutors work with the local police week to week.  They depend on the police to help them win in court.  Even if there is evidence of wrongdoing, prosecutors often look the other way so as not to “rock the boat.”  Third, a special investigative grand jury was convened to hear from more than 45 witnesses.  In sum, this seems to be the model for how questionable police killings should be investigated.  The fact that this is the exception, not the rule, exposes a very serious problem that we must confront.


Our First Week — Reader Feedback

So our new website has been up for about a week now and I just wanted to express my thanks for the enthusiastic support we have received so far.  Thanks also for the news tips — keep’em coming!

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“Thanks for getting this site back up.”

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“Thank you for this service, information is king.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 05-25-12

Here are the 6 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, May 25, 2012:

  • A Denver, Colorado police officer allegedly sexually assaulted a woman during a traffic stop.  The officer was charged with rape and kidnapping charges
  • A lieutenant with the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office has been demoted and suspended for striking a correction officer
  • Dallas City Council approves $500,000 settlement for motorcyclist, Andrew Collins, whose beating was caught on a police dash-cam.  “It was a good resolution to a bad situation,” said Mr. Collins’ attorney.  “It was an acknowledgment from the city that Mr. Collins’ civil rights had been seriously violated.”  Criminal charges are pending against the three former officers
  • A New Jersey officer tried to set up a sexual encounter with a 12-year-old girl.  The officer sent explicit photos of himself in uniform. The accused Woodland Park officer pleaded not guilty to charges ranging from attempted aggravated assault to luring and enticing a child
  • In Barre, Vermont, prosecutors alleged an off-duty cop left a bar Jan. 3, 2011, entered his neighbor’s apartment and stole a flat-screen TV from under her Christmas tree. When confronted at his home by two officers, the cop, Zak Winston, tossed the TV into the river behind his apartment. Winston was found guilty of felony unlawful trespass, misdemeanor unlawful mischief and misdemeanor resisting arrest
  • Lanagan, Missouri police chief and a officer have been indicted and suspended for forgery pertaining to racial profiling reports and citations

The Police Officer Was to Blame, Not the Man He Arrested

From the Arizona Republic:

Four months after a road-rage incident in northeast Mesa, police have concluded that a veteran officer was to blame, not the man he arrested.

Aggravated-assault charges against Randy Smyers were dropped after an investigation found inconsistencies in statements by Sgt. Mike Duke, who was off-duty when the incident occurred. …

The incident occurred about 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 18. According to court documents released at the time, Smyers became angry because he felt that Duke was tailgating him in his van, according to court document released by police after the incident.

Duke identified himself as a police officer and asked Smyers twice to move his car, but Smyers refused, shouted profanities at Duke and walked toward Duke’s van, the report said.

But on a 911 tape released Friday by the department, it is Duke that is heard yelling profanities at Smyers, while Smyers asks Duke several times to identify himself.

“My ID’s my gun, (expletive deleted),” Duke told Smyers at one point. “I’ll shoot you.”

Jerry Smyers, Randy’s brother, told police that Randy just wanted Duke to drive around him when he stopped his pickup in the street, according to a police report.

More here.

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