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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

The Carlos Miller Case: Jury Says ‘Not Guilty’

Carlos Miller was arrested for filming the police.  Resisting the pressure to accept a “deal,” he risked more prison time simply by insisting on his right to a jury trial.  According to Miller, the prosecutor told the jury that Miller did not behave like a “real journalist” because a “real journalist” would have obeyed all police requests and orders.  Miller’s attorney responded to that argument with the following:

“In this country, when you’re a journalist, your job is to investigate.

Not to be led by your hand where the police want you to see, so they can hide what they don’t want you to see.

No, when you’re a journalist, a real journalist, it’s your job to go find the truth. As long as you are acting within the law as Mr. Miller was, you have the right to demand and say, ‘no, I’m not moving, I have the right to be here. This is a public sidewalk, I have the right to be here.’

He did his job. He has the right to do his job the way he sees fit. It’s not up to these prosecutors to tell anybody, much less an independent journalist, how to do their job. It’s not up to the police officers, it’s not up to a judge or the president.

In this country, journalists do their job the way they see fit.

What’s he describing is Cuba. What he’s describing is a communist country. The government says you can’t be here because I say you can’t be here.

And it’s infuriating to me that a prosecutor would try to get up here and try to convince you that just because a police officer says something, that he has to bow his head and walk away.

That is a disgrace to the Constitution of this country.”

Congratulations to Miller and his attorneys.  More info, including video from the trial, at the link above.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 10-9-12

Here are the 8 stories of police misconduct tracked for Friday, November 9, 2012:

  • Charleston, South Carolina: An officer was charged with a DUI. She was placed on administrative leave without pay.
  • Roane County, West Virginia: A man is alleging that he was brutalized by police following a traffic stop. He says he suffered a broken right orbital bone, nose, teeth, and other injuries that caused him, among other things, “pain and suffering.”
  • Alexandria, Louisiana: What started as a traffic stop for a seat belt violation turned into a high-speed chase that included the suspect throwing items from the car, a near accident, and a deputy getting hit by the suspect’s vehicle.
  • East Hartford, Connecticut: An officer was arrested on child pornography charges. He purchased DVDs containing child porn from a foreign company. He faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted.
  • Socorro, Texas: Four police officers have been accused of official oppression. Two of them face aggravated perjury and tampering with government records charges. The arrests of the officers account for 15% of the police officers on the force.
  • Update: Pinellas Park, Florida: A state trooper was cleared of charges in the investigation into a shooting at a cemetery by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
  • Catoosa County, Tennessee: A deputy has been indicted on 14 charges that center on allegations of sexual exploitation, sodomy, and pornography distribution involving a 16-year-old girl. “Once the facts of the case were known, he was terminated immediately,” said the sheriff’s major.
  • Ocean Springs, Mississippi: A now-former police officer has been sentenced to serve five years in prison after authorities found child pornography downloaded to his department issued computer.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, November 8, 2012

  • New York, New York: An officer pleaded guilty to stealing guns and a bullet-resistant vest from fellow police officers and then selling them to drug dealers to feed his addiction to pain pills. He was fired after his guilty plea.
  • Update: Jackson, Mississippi: The last of three officers charged in a bribery case pleaded guilty. He was indicted for taking bribes in order to protect drug shipments. It turned out the men they thought were drug dealers were really undercover FBI agents.
  • Rindge County, New Hampshire: An officer that was on leave has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of sexual assault of a minor. He is charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault of a girl he knew between the ages of 13 and 16.
  • Update: Sarasota, Florida: An officer was fired after he was caught on video beating and choking a man outside of a nightclub. “I don’t think there is clearer evidence of a potential civil rights violation than a video beating by a law enforcement officer against a citizen of the community,” said the man’s attorney.
  • DeQuincy, Louisiana: An officer was arrested and charged with a DWI, hit and run, and reckless operation. He was pulled over in a marked police car, but was off-duty at the time.
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee: Two officers were terminated after allegations of excessive force against a man at a halfway house. The FBI is still investigating the case. “Due to the nature of this incident, both officers were removed from their patrol duties and placed on special assignment conducting non- law enforcement activities,” said the Chief.
  • Update: Milford, Connecticut: A jury indicted a police officer of misconduct with a motor vehicle and reckless driving in two traffic deaths.
  • Phoenix, Arizona: A detective was arrested. He allegedly drove to West Fargo, North Dakota and brutally assaulted a man who had an affair with his wife. “It appears to me that it was a well-planned out, long-time planned out event,” said a West Fargo detective.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 11-07-12

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, November 7, 2012:

  • Orlando, Florida: A police officer was arrested for the second time this year on charges of domestic violence. Apopka, FL police said they arrested him  on a battery charge after he broke into his girlfriend’s home, beat her up and spit on her.
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado: A now-former officer was found guilty on dozens of counts related to molesting boys at a middle school. He was found guilty on 34 counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, 12 counts of unlawful sexual contact, 22 counts of child enticement and three counts of sexual exploitation.
  • Update: Milan, Tennessee: An officer has been suspended on 24 counts of sexual misconduct. He was indicted on 18 counts of rape, one count of incest, one count of aggravated sexual battery, one count of sexual battery by an authority figure and three counts of sexual battery.
  • Coral Springs, Florida: A veteran police officer who misplaced ammunition and then lied about it has been suspended for five weeks without pay.
  • Bedford County, Virginia: An officer drove the wrong way down a road for eleven miles, and then led police on a chase before hitting a police car. He will spend four months in jail for eluding police and driving while intoxicated.
  • Pantego, Texas: A woman is suing police officers after she says the excessive force used against her caused her breast implants to rupture. Her attorney says that she has had several surgeries from health complications stemming from the excessive force.
  • Norwood, Ohio: A police officer pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor and resigned after an investigation into an arrest. He was accused of shoving a handcuffed woman across a room into a wall;  she suffered injuries as a result.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: An officer was sentenced to more than four years in prison for sexually abusing a woman in his custody. He will also have three years of supervised release after prison time, and has been banned from serving in law enforcement.
  • Update: Saginaw, Michigan: A disgraced, former police officer was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the strangulation death of his pregnant girlfriend that was intended to appear as a suicide.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 11-03-12 to 11-06-12

*Note* There were some technical difficulties connecting to the blog yesterday, so the following recap includes Saturday through Tuesday.

Here are the 16 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, November 3 to Tuesday, November 6, 2012:

  • Oxford, Mississippi: A now-former state trooper pleaded not guilty to charges that he violated a woman’s civil rights by beating her in a county jail. If he is convicted he faces up to 10 years in prison.
  • Bartlesville, Oklahoma: Policewoman was not given any jail time for misdemeanor assault and battery on a handcuffed hospital patient. She was fined $1,000.
  • Portsmouth, Virginia: A sheriff’s deputy was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and assaulting another police officer after a hit and run accident that involved a utility pole. His employment status is currently unknown.
  • Winnsboro, South Carolina: A police officer shot himself in the chest as law enforcement officers closed in on him at a campground. He had been on the run after he allegedly shot and wounded his estranged wife in front of their children.
  • Austin, Minnesota: A man has filed suit against police officers. The court claim states: “Instead of providing medical care, police officers, with the assistance of ambulance paramedics, violently restrained Sheeley, depressing his ability to breathe, and repeatedly shocked him with a Taser gun. Ambulance paramedics then administered drugs to Sheeley that further depressed his ability to breathe, sending him into respiratory arrest and cardiac arrest. As a result, Sheeley suffered physical and emotional injuries, including permanent brain damage.”
  • Omaha, Nebraska: An officer and his wife have been accused of trying to cover up that an eight-year-old boy molested a little girl, starting when she was three years old. He has been with the department for more than 10 years and his wife has been a teacher for more than 20 years.
  • Mobile, Alabama: A trooper has been convicted of a felony ethics violation. He used a state credit card to buy gasoline for personal use, and has repaid $2,204 so far.
  • West Terre Haute, Indiana: A police chief was charged with making a false statement to a federal firearms dealer. He pleaded guilty in court.
  • District Heights, Maryland: An officer who shot a handcuffed man in the back as he ran away has been indicted on charges of attempted murder. “The police officer had removed his shoes and handcuffed him and searched him, so he didn’t have a weapon,” said the man’s attorney. “All the officer had to do to stop him was to grab him.”
  • Flint, Michigan: An officer has been fired for the second time in the course of one year. Both termination votes against him were unanimous.
  • Bloomington, Illinois: An assistant police chief pleaded guilty to improper lane usage in connection with a traffic accident. As part of the plea, charges of leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report property damage were dismissed.
  • Eric County, New York: A sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty in connection with a crash that left a motorcyclist with a serious traumatic brain injury. He admitted to being drunk, and his BAC indicated that he was more than 25% above the legal limit.
  • New Athens, Illinois: A police chief has been charged with stealing an iPod and an iPad from the police evidence room. “I don’t feel that there’s anything worse than a bad police officer,” said a police captain. “Every time a police officer is charged with a crime, it makes all of our jobs just that much more difficult. Also, this shows that true law enforcement, we’re not going to tolerate bad cops, bad apples or officers doing these types of things.”
  • El Paso, Texas: An officer pleaded guilty to 35 counts of tampering with government records with intent to defraud. He was one of many officers who retired or resigned last year over an internal affairs investigation into the incident.
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas: Two men stole a donation jar, and it led to a high speed chase that nearly hit several cars and reached speeds of 100+ miles per hour. It was eventually stopped using spike strips.
  • Portage, Wisconsin: A police officer was arrested for alleged drunken driving. He failed field sobriety tests, was arrested and taken to a hospital for a blood test.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 11-2-12

Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, November 2, 2012:

  • Muskego, Wisconsin: After he was arrested on domestic abuse violations, an officer was suspended. He is now on administrative leave.
  • Fullerton, California: A police officer has been sentenced to probation for destroying an audio recorder that captured his interactions with a drunk-driving suspect who later kill himself in the city jail. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of destruction of property and vandalism.  
  • Cerritos, California: A sheriff’s deputy who oversaw a youth explorer program has been sentenced to three years probation and 200 hours of community service on charges of having sex with a 16-year-old girl enrolled in the program.
  • Fargo, North Dakota: After posting a photo on Facebook of cash seized during a drug investigation, a detective has been suspended for two days without pay.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: A detective was charged with lying in a search warrant affidavit to gain entry to a home, and then trying to obstruct the ensuing internal affairs investigation. The raid resulting from the warrant led to drugs and guns, but the case then had to be dropped. “As today’s charges demonstrate yet again, we are committed to fully investigating alleged misconduct by public officials of any kind, and, where appropriate, prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law,” said a state’s attorney.  
  • Cherryville, North Carolina: The police chief has resigned as the FBI investigates the department. Three Cherryville police officers, a Gaston County sheriff’s deputy and two other Cherryville men have been arrested in a bribery and extortion investigation.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio: A police officer admitted to scamming immigrants and taking their money. He pleaded guilty to reduced charges of theft and records tampering. He will spend up to a year in jail and has agreed to repay his victims $9,600.
  • Sulpher Springs, Texas: A former police chief was sentenced to 3 years in prison after admitting to molesting a family member more than a decade ago. He pleaded guilty to 10 counts of indecency with a child.
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana:  For the second time in under two months, an officer has been accused of injuring public records, forgery, and malfeasance in office. He was arrested and accused of falsifying a misdemeanor summons. He is on paid administrative leave pending the investigation.
  • Memphis, Tennessee: The officer who pleaded guilty to a drug charge resulting from an FBI sting was sentenced to four years in prison. The officer says that he purchased the drugs for his wife, who suffers from nerve damage and chronic pain, and got a reduced sentence because he was not a distributor, wasn’t seeking profit, and had a number of character witnesses.
  • Webster, Texas: A court claim says that an officer used excessive force against two women. They insist that they “were unarmed and did not pose a threat to (the) defendant or any officer.”
  • Update: Edmonds, Washington: An officer who was accused of having sex with a woman he detained has been charged with felony first-degree custodial sexual misconduct.
  • Kirkland, Washington: A couple and a police officer were sentenced for being involved in a mortgage fraud scheme. The policeman was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison for taking $6.2million and was order to pay back $1 million in restitution. The scheme collapsed when the real estate market collapsed.

‘This is the most disgusting, disgraceful, despicable thing that could ever happen’

From the Miami Herald:

The U.S. Justice Department shut down Bal Harbour’s celebrated federal forfeiture program and ordered the police to return more than $4 million, slapping the agency with crushing sanctions for tapping into drug money to pay for first-class flights, luxury car rentals, and payments to informants across the country. …

One former prosecutor who ran the South Florida Money Laundering Strike Force said he was stunned by the development.

“Bal Harbour is going to have to answer for their transgressions,” said David Macey, a former Miami-Dade assistant state attorney who specialized in forfeitures. “I’ve never read any correspondence to a law enforcement agency threatening the entire agency with penalties and criminal sanctions.”


Oakland Police Chief Only Wants to Read Complimentary Email

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

People who’ve e-mailed Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan over the past year about Occupy Oakland probably didn’t get much of a response.

That’s because he used a spam filter to dismiss messages sent to him with “Occupy Oakland” in the subject line, according to a federal court filing Monday. Same goes for the phrases “stop the excessive police force,” “respect the press pass” or “police brutality.” Instead of landing in his in-box, those messages went straight into his junk mail folder, which he apparently never looked at.

Because of those filters, Jordan missed e-mails from other city officials and a federal court monitor, who oversees the department’s compliance with court-ordered reforms stemming from a police abuse scandal.

Robert Warshaw, the monitor, had sent Jordan an e-mail with the subject line “Disciplinary Actions-Occupy Oakland.” Jordan told the court on Oct. 18 that he never saw those e-mails, infuriating Thelton Henderson, the federal judge in San Francisco who appointed Warshaw.

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