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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

NewsFeed Break–Policing in America

Today, Cato is hosting an all-day conference to discuss the state of American policing. Consequently, the NPMRP NewsFeed will be on hiatus for the day but will be up and running again on Wednesday.

You can livestream the ‘Policing in America’ event here starting at 9am ET. The program is scheduled to run until 4pm. You can follow and interact with the conversation on Twitter at #PolicingUS. For those who can’t watch live, the event will be archived on the Cato website later this week.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 11-25-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, November 25, 2015:

  • Duluth, Minnesota: An officer was arrested for domestic violence.
  • Murfreesboro, Tennessee: An officer was arrested on child pornography charges.
  • Update: Chicago, Illinois: The superintendent moved to fire officer who fatally shot Rekia Boyd from a moving car while he was off duty. The officer was previously acquitted of criminal charges in the case.
  • Loveland, Colorado: A detective pled not guilty to attempting to influence a public servant.
  • Palm Beach County, Florida: A deputy was arrested for stealing $20,000 from the police lodge.
  • Mahnomen, North Dakota: An officer was arrested for DWI.
  • Update: Brevard County, Florida (First reported 09-14-15): Two now-former deputies will not be charged in connection with a prostitution
  • Update: North Chicago, Illinois (First reported 12-06-11): The City settled with the family of a man who died a week after he was beaten by officers for $3,000,00.
  • Update: Sacramento, California (First reported 12-27-12): A now-former officer was sentenced to life in prison for repeatedly raping elderly stroke victim in a nursing home over two years.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 11-24-15

Here are the ten reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, November 24, 2015:

  • El Paso County, Colorado: A deputy was arrested on an assault charge for actions against jail inmate in September.
  • Panola County, Mississippi: A deputy was arrested for DUI.
  • Update: Fullerton, California (First reported07-28-11): The City agreed to pay $4.9 million to the family of Kelly Thomas, who was beaten to death by police in 2011. Two officers were fired because of the incident but were ultimately acquitted of criminal charges.
  • Chicago, Illinois: Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014. Video of the shooting was released to the public Tuesday evening. Protests were largely peaceful.
  • Hidalgo County, Texas: A deputy was arrested for DWI.
  • Del Rio, Texas: An officer was arrested for DUI.
  • Blue Island, Illinois: An officer was arrested for sexual assault.
  • Lyon County, Kansas: A deputy was suspended after his arrest for involuntary manslaughter and other charges as a result of 2012 automobile crash.
  • Port St. Lucie, Florida: An officer was fired for actions at a bar and being untruthful about those actions afterward.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: An officer pled guilty to participating in a mortgage fraud scheme. He allegedly prepared and submitted false documents.

Protests in Chicago: The Laquan McDonald Shooting

From the Chicago Tribune:

Hours after a Chicago police officer was ordered held without bond on a first-degree murder charge, the city released a shocking police dash-cam video that captured the white officer opening fire on an African American teen on a Southwest Side street, striking him 16 times and killing him.

The video is about six minutes long and appears to show 17-year-old Laquan McDonald running down the middle of Pulaski Road near 41st Street when Officer Jason Van Dyke, standing next to his SUV, opens fire….

The case marks the first time a Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty fatality in nearly 35 years. Van Dyke faces a minimum of 20 years in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

The charge comes less than a week after a Cook County judge ordered the release of a video that Emanuel’s administration had long sought to keep out of public view. As the mayor urged prosecutors to conclude their investigation Monday, he met with community leaders and aldermen to defend his handling of the controversy amid criticism that City Hall has not done enough to address police misconduct.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 11-21-15 to 11-23-15

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, November 21 through Monday, November 23, 2015:

  • Update: San Antonio, Texas (First reported 07-30-14): Three officers who beat an innocent man under mistaken were suspended for five days. The man endured many injuries and was recently paralyzed in a surgery to repair damage to his back.
  • Update: Inkster, Michigan (First reported 03-30-15): fmr officer found guilty of assault and misconduct for beating Floyd Dent.
  • Albany, New York: An officer was suspended for 30 days for a Halloween altercation with children outside of his home.
  • Elyria, Ohio: An officer was indicted on charges of bribery, solicitation, voyeurism, and menacing-by-stalking.
  • University of Mississippi: The police are investigating contracted officer who assaulted a fan at the LSU game over the
  • Update: Broward County, Florida (First reported 02-20-15): A deputy was acquitted of falsification of documents related to an out-of-jurisdiction
  • Update: Shreveport, Louisiana (First reported   fmr officer charged w/ weapons violation for incident in Jan in which he shot at another man.
  • Middletown, Connecticut: A now-former deputy chief lost wrongful termination suit. He was fired for drinking while armed and in uniform on multiple occasions and being untruthful about
  • Denver, Colorado: A deputy was suspended for 30 days for using racial slur against inmate.
  • Bakersfield, California: A detective was indicted for bribery and drug trafficking.
  • Update: Orleans Parish, Louisiana (First reported 07-10-15): A now-former deputy pled not guilty by reason of insanity for violent string of incidents in July.
  • Update: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A court has thrown out another 88 drug cases from the ‘Philadelphia 6’ police officers charged and acquitted for robbing drug dealers. 648  cases have been dismissed so far and another 600-700 are still to be reviewed.
  • Update: Blackfoot, Idaho (First reported 09-18-15): A now-former SRO pled not guilty to opioid possession. His trial is slated for January 16.
  • Mississippi Highway Patrol: A trooper was arrested for domestic violence and fired.

When Protectors Become Predators

From a Special Report for the Buffalo News:

A Louisiana police chief ushers a drunken woman to his office and forces her into sex.

A Utah officer takes advantage of a suicidal woman before escorting her into a hospital.

A Buffalo cop insists a vulnerable mother give in to him whenever he pounds on her door.

In the past decade, a law enforcement official was caught in a case of sexual abuse or misconduct at least every five days. Nearly all were men. Nearly all victims were women, and a surprising number were adolescents….

More than 700 credible cases from the past 10 years are now detailed, county by county and state by state.

The violators pulled over drivers to fish for dates, had sex on duty with willing or reluctant partners, extorted favors by threatening arrest and committed rapes.

In more than 70 percent of the cases, officers wielded their authority over motorists, crime victims, informants, students and young people in job-shadowing programs.

Read the whole thing.


Fullerton to Pay $4.9m to Family of Kelly Thomas

As longtime readers of this blog may remember, the Fullerton, California police violently beat Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old mentally ill homeless man, who died from his injuries. The arrest was recorded, and Thomas could be heard calling for his father as the officers relentlessly beat him into a coma.

Kelly ThomasTwo officers were fired for the incident but ultimately acquitted of criminal charges in the case. As opening arguments were set to begin in the wrongful death suit, the City of Fullerton agreed to pay the Thomas family $4.9 million as a settlement.

Ron Thomas said at a news conference that while the city acknowledged no wrongdoing in the settlement, it was a clear indication to him of its liability and guilt in the death of his 37-year-old son Kelly Thomas. Thomas said he feels vindicated by the settlement.

It is not uncommon for municipalities to disavow any culpability in settlements like this. But lawsuits are important nonetheless because they bring some measure of closure to the families who do not find justice in the criminal courts and incentivize governments to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

On Tuesday, December 1, Cato will host “Policing in America,” an all-day conference dedicated to discussing the policies and impacts of law enforcement around the country. The event will be live-streamed on the Cato website.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 11-20-15

Here are the ten reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, November 20, 2015:

  • Athens-Clarke County, Georgia: A now-former deputy was charged with stealing money from a suspect he arrested.
  • Lee County, Alabama: A now-former deputy was arrested for sexual abuse of a child under 12 years old.
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina: An officer pled guilty to misdemeanor death-by-motor vehicle for a fatal crash in May.
  • Tallahassee, Florida: A now-former assistant police chief pled guilty to obstruction of justice, deprivation of rights, and marijuana distribution. He coerced a confession out of child sex abuse suspect through violence. As a result, many of the charges the man was facing were thrown out. In a separate incident, he was discovered to have sold marijuana. He is scheduled to be sentenced February 26, 2016.
  • Update: Bibb County, Georgia (First reported 03-13-15): A now-former deputy was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty in a908 federal corruption case.
  • Marion County, Indiana: A deputy was arrested for drug dealing due to authorities’ cooperation with a confidential informant.
  • Update: Kern County, California (First reported 11-09-15): A deputy was convicted of recklessly firing his weapon outside of a casino.
  • Update: Baltimore, Maryland (First reported 06-18-14): A now-former officer was acquitted of cruelty charges for fatally slitting a dog’s throat.
  • Update: Millis, Massachusetts (First reported 09-08-15): A now-former officer was indicted for an elaborate hoax including a school bomb threat and staging a fake shootout.
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana: An officer who was fired for calling the police on his ex-girlfriend on false claims lost his appeal for job reinstatement.

The Donald Gates Case

From the Washington Post:

THE DISTRICT of Columbia’s agreement to pay $16.65 million to settle the federal civil rights lawsuit of a man who spent 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit should not be the end of this troubling case. That a jury found there to be egregious police misconduct demands rigorous review of other cases handled by the detectives involved, to ensure there haven’t been similar miscarriages of justice. Also needed is resolve by prosecutors and others in the criminal justice system to tackle the systemic issues that contribute to wrongful convictions.

Last week, Federal Judge Alex Kozinski was here at Cato to debate problems in our criminal justice system, including the problems that contribute to wrongful convictions.  That event can be viewed here.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 11-19-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, November 19, 2015:

  • Carroll County, Tennessee: A now-former lieutenant pled guilty to federal civil rights charges for inappropriately tasing a pretrial detainee.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: An officer was charged with assault and endangerment for off-duty February altercation at a donut shop.
  • Columbus, Ohio: An officer pled guilty to attempted unlawful restraint and ordered to pay $50 fine for actions while trying to break up a minor dispute.
  • Denver, Colorado: An officer was suspended for 10 days and sued for false arrest.
  • Dinwiddie County, Virginia: A now-former deputy was sentenced to one year in jail, with six months suspended, for assault and battery of a motorist.
  • Niagara Falls, New York: A now-former officer pled guilty to third degree assault for striking man with his motorcycle helmet during a road rage incident while off duty.
  • Bullitt County, Kentucky: A now-former detective was charged with unlawful access to law enforcement files while she was serving a suspension. She was fired in July for lying to investigators and continuing to have a personal relationship with persons known to be under federal criminal investigation for drug trafficking.
  • University of Massachusetts: A now-former officer was acquitted of all charges related to sexual assault of a minor.
  • Fair Lawn, New Jersey: An officer was suspended and accused of stealing supplies from a volunteer ambulance squad.

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