National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Worst of the Month — April 2014

The worst misconduct for the month of April is the story of the five Chicago police officers who each took the witness stand to testify about how evidence was obtained in connection with a drug case. Each officer got up on the witness stand and told the same story, but not one of them was telling the truth.  Video evidence offered by the defense contradicted the coordinated falsehood that the police agents offered up.  This practice (called “testilying” by some) is  a serious flaw in the U.S. justice system.  Every now and then, like here, the veil is pulled back—this time thanks to video evidence.   Was this the very first time that these officers committed perjury?  How many cases like this are out there?

Deputy Crashes into Woman’s Car, Then Falsely Charges Her With DUI

 

From UPI:

A Wisconsin woman is still fighting to make things right after a sheriff’s deputy allegedly hit her with his car and then arrested her for drunk driving more than a year ago.

Tanya Weyker’s Camry was allegedly struck by Milwaukee County Deputy Sheriff Joseph Quiles’ patrol car last February and she suffered a broken neck in the collision….

Blood tests later revealed that Weyker had no alcohol or drugs in her system at the time of the crash and the district attorney declined to file charges.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 05-01-14

Here are the 16 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, May 1, 2014:

  • Bexar County, Texas: A sheriff’s deputy was arrested on a drunken driving charge. ow.ly/wo8sT
  • Washington Township, New Jersey: An officer who is currently suspended without pay is facing 14 criminal charges including official misconduct and falsifying a police report in connection with his arrest of an assemblyman. ow.ly/wo7Bk
  • Strafford County, New Hampshire: The family of a man shot and killed after an encounter with a sheriff’s deputy and two probation officers is suing. ow.ly/wo7Gx
  • Laurelville, Ohio: One former police chief was charged with unauthorized use of property, and grand theft of a motor vehicle. Another former acting police chief was also indicted on one count of receiving stolen propertyow.ly/wnX4p
  • Erick, Oklahoma: The town is looking for a new police chief following the chief’s arrest on assault and battery charges. He resigned after being accused of assaulting a shackled inmate. ow.ly/wo7jz
  • San Jose, California: A federal jury awarded a tech salesman $90,000 in an excessive force case. The city attorney, however, said, “The jury just got it wrong. We strongly disagree with this verdict.” ow.ly/wnPNI
  • Forsyth County, Georgia: A father is outraged an officer handcuffed his 11-year-old special-needs son while at school. The officer claimed the boy kicked him during one of his episodes. School cameras recorded the incident. The father says he watched it along with a team of program administrators. Following that meeting, a school incident report reads, “[The boy] was not seen kicking the police officer.” ow.ly/wnYHV
  • Plainville, Connecticut: After two days of deliberations, a jury found that two police officers were negligent in their handling of a woman’s complaints against her ex-boyfriend who later fatally stabbed her. ow.ly/wnMy8
  • New York, New York: An off-duty officer was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. She is also accused of firing at least one shot at her ex-boyfriend. ow.ly/wnLyu
  • Hammond, Louisiana: An officer was arrested on a charge of possession of a controlled, dangerous substance by fraud. She was found by investigators to be “doctor shopping” to obtain multiple prescriptions of controlled substances. ow.ly/wnis6
  • Baltimore, Maryland: An off-duty Baltimore police officer was arrested and charged with attempted homicide after a shooting incident that wounded a man in York, Pennsylvania. ow.ly/wnhM9
  • New York, New York: A police officer has been charged with possession of child pornography after investigators say they found videos on his computer of underage girls engaged in lewd sex acts. ow.ly/wneTQ
  • Update: Mendenhall, Mississippi (Previously reported 01-10-14): A now-former police chief has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for conspiring to demand money and property from people in exchange for dropping criminal charges. ow.ly/wn9xY
  • Update: Plymouth, Massachusetts (Previously reported 10-150-13): A state trooper was indicted on two counts of motor vehicle manslaughter and drunken driving charges in connection with a two-car crash that took the lives of a mother and daughter. ow.ly/wn8y0
  • West Palm Beach, Florida: A now-former police officer, who illegally sold anabolic steroids, sometimes to other officers, pleaded guilty to one count of carrying a firearm during the commission of a drug crime. ow.ly/wn5ul
  • Cape Coral, Florida: A police officer surrendered to police and was charged with two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. ow.ly/wmYO5

Officer Tells Criminal to Plant Meth in Ex-Wife’s Car So He Can Win Child Custody Fight

From ABC News:

Madisonville police Sgt. Jeffrey Covington, was convicted last week of retaliation for planting methamphetamines in Laura Covington’s car in 2011 during a child custody battle. The drugs were found after she was stopped by police and she was promptly jailed….

The court determined that Jeffrey Covington and a second police officer arranged with a third person to plant drugs in Laura Covington’s vehicle. She was seven months pregnant when she was arrested and her two children were taken away from her for five weeks.

“Being arrested when I was seven months pregnant, going to jail, and then having my two young children taken from me was a nightmare that still causes me pain to this day,” she told ABC News.  “It’s like a bad dream, but the sad thing is that it’s not a dream because it actually happened.”

“Having my babies taken from me was the worst part about this entire ordeal and if Jeff would have succeeded in his scheme, I could have lost them forever.

Broward Deputies Accused of Excessive Force

From CBS Miami:

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Two Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies are under fire, accused of using excessive force—and all of it was caught on camera.
BSO is conducting an internal affairs investigation to find out if the two officers involved were justified in using force and are also questioning why Sheriff Scott Israel wasn’t notified until three months after the incident….
This incident happened just three months after BSO shelled out $350,000 to settle a federal lawsuit involving Deputy Lambert, who allegedly beat and abused another Broward citizen.
Federal Documents obtained by CBS4 allege Deputy Lambert of “striking, pummeling and pounding” a party host while responding to a noise complaint in Dania Beach back in 2009.
Deputy Lambert ended up back on the streets, now embroiled in another internal investigation involving force. BSO says they are currently looking into why Lambert was allowed back on duty after that case.

Video at the link.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-30-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, April 20, 2014:

  • Chicago, Illinois: A man claims he was unarmed and posed no threat when police officers shot him from behind after a cookout. ow.ly/wlJpM
  • Tyler, Texas: A now-former trooper pled guilty to driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. ow.ly/wlq9n
  • Update: Plattsburgh, New York (First reported 02-12-13): A former state trooper twice acquitted of rape charges involving two ex-girlfriends has accepted a plea deal in a case involving a third woman who claimed he had raped her. ow.ly/wlkBn
  • Astoria, Oregon: A state police trooper has been arrested and jailed on child pornography charges. The officer, who served as a senior trooper until his resignation was arrested for 27 counts of second-degree encouraging child sex abuse. ow.ly/wlk0s
  • Greene, New York: An officer, who is listed as the “officer in charge” on the Greene Police website, has been charged with harassment in the second degree and petit larceny. ow.ly/wl3Rl
  • Update: Yuba County, California (First reported 03-25-14): A sheriff’s deputy was arraigned for allegedly attacking a man. He is charged with felony counts of battery with the serious injury of unconsciousness, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime. ow.ly/wl3dE
  • Mingo County, West Virginia: A state police trooper who was implicated in a political corruption scandal has resigned from his position. ow.ly/wkWQx
  • Jacksonville, Florida: The former second in command of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police pled guilty to illegally structuring financial transactions and running an illegal lottery as part of the Allied Veterans of the World public corruption scandal. ow.ly/wkUbv
  • Buffalo, New York: Police have suspended one officer without pay pending an investigation into an incident that was captured on video. Five others were placed on administrative leave. ow.ly/wjBdJ

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-29-14

Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, April 29, 2014:

  • Update: Park Forest, Illinois (First reported 04-03-14): A police officer pled not guilty tot guilty Tuesday to reckless conduct in connection with the death of a senior citizen shot last year with a beanbag gun. ow.ly/wiUp8
  • Madisonville, Texas: A now-former police officer has been sentenced to five years of probation for having drugs planted in his ex-wife’s vehicle during a custody dispute. ow.ly/wiT3K
  • East Hartford, Connecticut: A lawsuit charging police officers with brutality in an incident has been settled for $35,000. ow.ly/wiW2S
  • Boone County, Kentucky: A small town is grieving and demanding answers from authorities after a deputy fatally shot a 19-year-old woman during an encounter outside a party. The eyewitness reports and the deputy’s story do not correlate. ow.ly/wiPMh
  • New York, New York: A woman shot in the leg by police trying to subdue a deranged, drugged-up man says the cops were more dangerous than their target, according to a lawsuit. ow.ly/wiVtC
  • Clay County, Florida: A deputy with a history of bad driving has been suspended for three days for crashing his patrol car into a vehicle that already had been involved in a fatal accident ow.ly/wiNwq
  • St. Clair County, Michigan: A police officer pled guilty to granting concealed pistol licenses to a class but failing to provide all required training. ow.ly/wiExy
  • Butler, Wisconsin: A police officer has been suspended for 20 days for neglect of duty, unbecoming conduct, unsatisfactory performance, failure to properly complete an investigation, failure to make a written report when required, and failure to turn in seized, found or recovered property. ow.ly/wizzX
  • Lake County, Colorado: A former sheriff’s deputy is accused of illegally taking four guns out of evidence, unlawfully buying them from a crime witness and trying to sell at least one gun online. ow.ly/wiwNi
  • Update: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (First reported 01-28-14): A former narcotics officer is going to prison for lying to federal investigators about his romantic relationship with a confidential informant. ow.ly/wincQ
  • Baltimore, Maryland: A police officer charged with rape has pleaded not guilty in the case. ow.ly/wicn7
  • Denver, Colorado: A police officer was accused of using reward points from department purchases to load up on electronics for his own use. ow.ly/whQhe
  • Plainfield, New Jersey: A federal appeals court has ruled a man has every right to sue officers who allegedly coerced him into confessing to gruesome child murders he didn’t commit, resulting in him spending 22 years in prison. ow.ly/whCcy

Buffalo Police Officers Suspended

From the Buffalo News:

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda this afternoon announced that six police officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation into an April 19 incident captured in a YouTube video that showed one of the officers slapping and kicking a man after he had been subdued and was lying on the ground in handcuffs.

Earlier this morning Derenda held a news conference, where he condemned the officers’ actions.

“The Buffalo Police Department does not condone or tolerate inappropriate behavior,” Derenda said, adding that he has spoken with U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. and Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III about the incident.

He would not say whether a federal investigation has been opened into the alleged police brutality.

After receiving a copy of the video emailed to Derenda and Mayor Byron W. Brown late Friday, the commissioner said he immediately instructed his Internal Affairs Division to start an investigation, which continued through the weekend and is nearing completion.

Brown told The News today that he watched the video.

“Certainly, when I saw the video, I was extremely and deeply concerned about what I viewed,” Brown said. “I told Commissioner Derenda to conduct a swift and complete investigation. We have made it clear that we will not tolerate inappropriate behavior by police officers.“

The man who allegedly was assaulted has been identified as John Willet, 22, of Williamsville. He has been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, suspected heroin and crack cocaine; unlawful possession of marijuana; resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-26-14 to 04-28-14

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, April 26 to Monday, April 28, 2014:

  • Update: Berthoud Colorado (Previously reported 12-01-13): A police officer who was fired pled guilty to one count of child abuse. He was fired after he allegedly admitted to abusing a 15-year-old girl almost daily for years including tying her up with handcuffs or plastic zip ties and slamming her head into a wall. http://ow.ly/wg9qU
  • Update: Chicago, Illinois (First reported 03-19-13): A now-former police officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison in connection with a fatal DUI car crash. He was driving the wrong way down a street when he crashed into oncoming traffic, killing two people. http://ow.ly/wgaoD
  • Lynden, Washington: A former police officer was arrested. Investigators say he had child pornography on his city-owned cell phone while he was with the department. He was arrested and booked into the county jail. http://ow.ly/wgaSb
  • Folly Beach, South Carolina A man who was shocked with a stun gun by an officer as he videotaped an arrest is suing. The man claims he was unlawfully arrested and is seeking unspecified damages. He started videotaping after seeing two officers try to arrest a man. He also says he never interfered with officers, and was tackled and shot with a stun gun without warning, according to his lawsuit. http://ow.ly/wgcmz
  • Ipswich, Massachusetts: A police officer has pleaded not guilty in an alleged assault on his girlfriend. ow.ly/wfxzk
  • Monroe County, Pennsylvania: A state trooper has been suspended without pay after he allegedly assaulted his wife. The trooper was suspended without pay and charged with assault and harassment for the incident that allegedly happened off the job in his own home. ow.ly/wfwWW
  • Update: Dallas, Texas (Previously reported 01-07-14): A now-former police officer has been indicted on a charge related to the shooting of 19-year-old. ow.ly/wfsQV
  • York, South Carolina: Officials have asked the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate an allegation that the police chief used excessive force. ow.ly/wfpD1
  • Broward, Florida: Two suspended deputies were charged with using their badges and abusing their power to protect a convicted Ponzi schemer and settle scores for some of his lawyer friends. ow.ly/wfhiS
  • Cuero, Texas: A police officer has been charged with assault after his wife allegedly was hit by a pickup truck pulling a trailer at their home. ow.ly/weZWC
  • Knox County, Tennessee: The sheriff announced two deputies pictured in a series of photographs depicting another officer appearing to choke a University of Tennessee student have been placed on paid leave pending an internal investigation. http://ow.ly/wj0fb

Double Standard for Shootings

From the Star-Tribune:

An Albuquerque police official says investigators waited more than 48 hours before they interviewed the officer involved in the troubled department’s latest shooting.  Deputy Chief Robert Huntsman tells KOB-TV (http://bit.ly/1pz2JzK ) there were several reasons for the delay in interviewing the officer who killed 19-year-old Mary Hawkes on Monday…. the department likes to give officers time to de-stress after a shooting.

If John Q. Citizen uses a gun in self-defense, the police do not give him/her a few days to “de-stress.”  Shouldn’t the police be held to the same, or perhaps even a higher standard?

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