National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-12-14

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, June 12, 2013:

  • Newport News, Virginia: A man who served 22 years in prison for capital murder only to see his conviction overturned is suing the police chief for $25 million. He claims police failed to turn over to prosecutors – and in turn, his defense attorneys – a Polaroid picture that cast doubt on the state’s theory of what happened.
  • Update; Barbour County, West Virginia (First reported 02-24-14): The now-former sheriff was sentenced to prison today for scheming to defraud an insurance company.
  • Cleveland, Ohio: A police officer pleaded guilty to aggravated menacing and was fined $500.
  • Indianapolis, Indiana: An officer has been charged with two counts of driving while intoxicated after investigators say he showed up for work drunk.
  • Bibb County, Georgia: An officer was fired for not following orders. He had been told not to “engage in any law enforcement functions,” and then stopped some people “acting suspiciously.”
  • Update: East Hampton Village, New York (First reported 01-23-14): A police officer who was reportedly found “in a compromising position” with a female companion in an unoccupied home has resigned.
  • Daphne, Alabama: A police captain was booked into the county jail and arrested on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence third degree harassment.
  • Update: Pasadena, California (First reported 04-07-12): The father of an unarmed 19-year-old who was shot and killed by police officers, has agreed to settle a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against the city.
  • Raritan, Florida: A man has filed a federal lawsuit against township, its police department and several officers, claiming he was the victim of excessive force when he came to the aid of his daughter during a traffic stop.
  • Update: Des Plaines, Illinois (First reported 02-25-13): A now-former police commander accused of padding DUI arrest records to obtain federal grant money for the police department plead guilty to a lesser charge in federal court.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-11-14

Here are the 16 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, June 11, 2014:

  • Los Angeles County, California: A veteran caught a deputy punching a woman in the face on video. The officer then tried to intimidate the man into turning the video over to him.
  • Clay County, Florida: The sheriff’s office extradited a 28-year-old single mother of two from her home state of Louisiana and jailed her for 28 days before being convinced they had the wrong person. Then, during a previously scheduled status hearing related to the charge that was being dropped, she was wrongly arrested again in a different case.
  • Update: Conroe, Texas (First reported 09-27-13): A jury has found an officer guilty in the fatal shooting of a teen that ran away from a Wal-Mart store.
  • Prince George’s County, Maryland: A police officer was charged in connection with what authorities say was a road rage incident in which he allegedly followed a driver to a parking lot and pointed his service weapon at him while off-duty.
  • Update: Cave Spring, Georgia (First reported 07-03-13): An officer was sentenced to 35 years in prison, followed by life on probation and a $10,000 fine, and he must register as a sex offender when released. He will be going to prison for aggravated child molestation.
  • New York, New York: The city has agreed to pay nearly $600,000 to settle allegations that police wrongfully arrested a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters.
  • Hearne, Texas: A now-former police officer has been sued by a man who says the officer harassed him during a traffic stop.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: The city must pay more than $6 million in connection with the wrongful death of a man with schizophrenia killed by police, a judge ruled.
  • Update: District Heights, Maryland (First reported 11-05-12): A now-former police officer was found guilty of first- and second-degree assault in connection with a shooting that left a man paralyzed.
  • Berkeley, New Jersey: A handcuffed 38-year-old man shown on video being punched by a police officer has sued the department. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said the video depicts a “small segment of a larger amount of video which gives a clearer picture of the entire event.”
  • Sarasota, Florida: The mother of a man killed during a traffic stop has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the county sheriff.
  • Quitman, Georgia: A police officer was sentenced on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct conviction. He had to pay a $500 fine, got 12 months probation, 40 hours of community service, and has been ordered to have no contact with the other deputy involved.
  • Fort Worth, Texas: A police officer who was arrested on charges that he assaulted his wife at their home said in a recorded tirade that she needed to be “cut by a razor, set on fire, beat half to death and left to die,” police said.
  • Update: York, South Carolina (First reported 04-28-14): Three officers and the chief violated police pursuit policies when they chased a car thief and reached speeds of 137 miles per hour, according to the department’s recent review of the incident.
  • Moss Point, Mississippi:  A police officer who shot and killed a Georgia man has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an independent investigation.
  • Edison, New Jersey: Officials are moving to fire two officers over misconduct claims that surfaced. Two patrolmen have been suspended with pay over unrelated allegations. Recently, both received letters signaling the township’s intention to terminate them, according to two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the cases.

Woman Jailed 28 Days Before Police Admit Their Mistake

From the Florida Times Union:

They’ve done it again.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office has arrested the wrong person.

This time, the sheriff’s office extradited Ashley Nicole Chiasson, a 28-year-old single mother of two, from her home state of Louisiana in January and jailed her for 28 days before being convinced they had the wrong person.

Then during a previously scheduled May status hearing related to the charge that was being dropped, Chiasson was wrongly arrested again in a different case.

Twice?  Good grief.

Policing for Profit in Atlanta?

From WSB-TV:

Numbers show police and Park Atlanta are issuing nearly double the number of tickets from years prior.

Park Atlanta wrote 141,000 tickets in 2010 and two years later, wrote 221,000, according to documents obtained by Channel 2 Action News.  The city received thousands of dollars in ticket revenue, but Mayor Kasim Reed said money was not the motivation for the increase.

“The ticket and traffic enforcement process is actually a tool in combating crime. One of the off-shoots of that is you do have an increase in revenue,” Kasim said.

Atlanta resident Joe Williams say he remembers Reed telling Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne three years ago that this would happen.

“Police will be issuing more tickets to keep more people safe,” Reed said.

Williams said he wonders if the push for more tickets is just an easy chance to increase the city’s revenue.

“I thought the purpose of police departments was supposed to be to serve and protect, and not ticket and arrest,” Williams said.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-10-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, June 10, 2014:

  • Campbell, Wisconsin: The police chief is under investigation over accusations that he created online accounts on pornographic, dating and insurance websites for man who sued him in federal court.
  • Hillsboro, Oregon: A man out for a bike ride near his home was illegally stopped by police and beaten, according to a federal lawsuit filed.
  • New York, New York: A woman is suing the city and an officer, who’s accused of pulling her over because he found her attractive, using a cell phone to video tape her rear end while she was handcuffed at a precinct, and pressuring her into a date by promising to clear up her case. The lawsuit accuses the officer and the city of excessive force, negligent training, assault, battery, false arrest, rape, libel, malicious prosecution, abuse of authority, harassment and other violations.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: A wrongful death suit has been filed against the city for the deadly officer-involved shooting of a man. The case was cited in the Department of Justice’s report as an example of “Albuquerque Police officers own recklessness sometimes led to their use of deadly force.”
  • Update: Alexandria, Virginia (First reported 05-29-14): A now-former sheriff’s deputy is no longer charged with raping an inmate at the city jail. But, he will still face prosecution on the felony charge of carnal knowledge of an inmate.
  • Edwardsburg, Michigan: A now-former officer pled no contest to a charge of home invasion. The officer was in uniform and on duty when he assisted on a medical call at a private residence. Prosecutors say he went inside the home and removed painkillers.
  • Update: North Port, Florida (Previously reported 05-16-14): An internal investigation has found that an officer did engage in conduct unbecoming of an officer and violated moral character rules for officers.
  • Miami Beach, Florida: A jury has found a now-former police officer guilty of reckless driving with serious bodily injuries. He was acquitted on the DUI charges stemming from a crash in which he struck and seriously injured two people while joy-riding with a woman on a police all-terrain vehicle.
  • Update: Youngstown, Ohio (Previously reported 06-18-13): A city police officer was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of importuning, one count of pandering obscenity and one count of illegal use of a minor in a nudity-oriented performance. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-07-14 to 06-09-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, June 7 to Monday, June 9, 2014:

  • Salt Lake City, Utah: A police deputy chief on leave amidst allegations of sexual harassment has resigned. He was found to be in violation of harassment prevention policies, conduct unbecoming a police employee and accessing inappropriate materials on a department phone. The chief noted his actions were unacceptable but did not warrant termination.
  • Los Angeles, California: A police officer was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and illegal discharging of a firearm, law enforcement officials said.
  • Memphis, Tennessee: An off-duty police officer tried to rob a woman. According to the police report, he also injured a family member of a Make-A-Wish recipient who tried to stop him. The Make-A-Wish Foundation gave the family a credit card so they could travel and make a wish come true. The officer was after that money.
  • St. Paul, Minnesota: A police officer has been accused of using someone else’s identity to funnel money to a man in prison.
  • Chesterfield, Missouri: A police officer secretly videotaped men in a gas station restroom stall, lured anonymous sex partners to his home through Craigslist ads and posted dozens of voyeuristic and pornographic videos to his own website, authorities say.
  • Kennebunkport, Maine: Police have charged one of their own officers with driving to endanger, following a motorcycle accident.
  • Doylestown, Pennsylvania: A couple is suing the police department for alleged civil-rights violations. They say several police officers used unauthorized and unnecessary excessive force against them causing serious injuries.
  • Los Angeles County, California: A sheriff’s deputy was arrested and is expected to be charged as part of a internal sheriff’s investigation into an alleged traffic-ticket-fixing scheme.
  • Washington, Pennsylvania: A county sheriff’s deputy has been fired after state prosecutors say he sold a prescription drug used to treat heroin addiction to an undercover informant.

Hundreds of Misconduct Complaints Not Investigated

From the Los Angeles Times:

The head of internal affairs for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the federal government’s largest law enforcement workforce, was removed from his post Monday amid criticism that he failed to investigate hundreds of allegations of inappropriate use of force by armed border agents, officials said….

For years, Customs and Border Protection officials have refused to tell families of those injured or killed by border agents if internal affairs had determined that an agent had acted improperly, or if any disciplinary action was taken.

Between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2013, for example, at least 22 people were killed by Border Patrol agents, mostly on the Southwest border, and many more were injured. Hundreds of immigrants and others filed formal complaints of official misconduct, including beatings, sexual abuse and other assaults.

Only 14 agents were disciplined during that four-year period for violating use of force policies, according to data provided to The Times on Monday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.


Cop Tries to Steal From Make-a-Wish Recipient


A bizarre crime lands a Memphis police officer in jail. Police say Ronald Harris, while off-duty, tried to rob a woman at the Memphis International Airport. According to the police report, he also injured a family member of a Make-A-Wish recipient who tried to stop him.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation gave a family a credit card so they could travel and make a wish come true. From the police report, it seems Harris was after that money….

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. Police say children were present when this alleged crime happened.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-06-14

Here are the 22 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, June 6, 2014:

  • Portland, Maine: A civil suit filed in U.S. District Court accuses a police officer of using excessive force when arresting two men. The suit alleges that the officer handcuffed the two men on railroad tracks, threatened them, punched one in the jaw and broke the other man’s rib. The handcuffs on one of the men were allegedly so tight that they required bolt cutters to remove at a local hospital.
  • Savannah-Chatham, Georgia: A now-former police chief pled not guilty to a seven-count federal indictment charging him with commercial gambling and extortion.
  • Update: Sulphur, Louisiana (First reported 05-09-14): A now-former police officer has been indicted on a charge of aggravated cruelty to animals after allegedly shooting a dog. He resigned from the police department after an investigation was launched.
  • Beaver County, Pennsylvania: State troopers charged a sheriff’s deputy with lying to them and also lying in court regarding whether the sheriff threatened a website operator.
  • Update: Los Angeles, California (First reported 05-23-14): A police officer who’s accused of trying to kill his estranged wife pled not guilty to attempted murder and other charges.
  • San Diego, California: Two police officers were arrested on a variety of charges during a drug sweep. They were arrested on suspicion of sale of a controlled substance, possession, transportation and conspiracy. One faces an additional charge of allegedly being under the influence while in possession of a loaded firearm.
  • Washington County, Pennsylvania: A deputy sheriff was arrested on prescription drug charges. Agents arranged a controlled purchase of Suboxone, a schedule III narcotic used to treat addiction to opioids, especially heroin.
  • Dallas, Texas: A man has alleged in a federal lawsuit that an officer intentionally took him out of view of a dash cam and beat him for no apparent reason.
  • Update: Des Moines, Iowa (Previously reported 02-12-14): A police officer was fired for policy violations, standard of conduct and obedience to laws, police officials said.
  • Wilmington, North Carolina: A corporal is on administrative leave with pay. The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating his use of force during an arrest after a video of the incident surfaced.
  • Denver, Colorado: A long-time police officer was arrested and is facing felony charges for allegedly possessing more than 20 pornographic videos depicting children.
  • Update: Georgetown, Texas (First reported 04-22-14): The police officer caught on a video tripping and pushing students as they rushed the field after a soccer game was suspended for 40 days.
  • Bradley County, Tennessee: Two deputies have been suspended for leaving a handcuffed prisoner in a holding cell overnight with no access to water, food or a bathroom.
  • Canandaigua, New York: A police officer was charged with assault following a domestic dispute at his home. The officer was charged with third-degree assault, criminal obstruction of breathing and is facing drug charges.
  • Brunswick County, New Jersey: A now-former sheriff’s deputy has been convicted of soliciting sex acts from a woman who identifies herself as an escort.
  • Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana: Authorities say a sheriff’s deputy has been suspended after police arrested him on a count of second degree battery by domestic violence.
  • Graysville, Tennessee: The police chief has been arrested by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on charges of misconduct in office. While working as chief he sold, took for himself, or returned to the original owner three of the department’s seized vehicles, authorities said.
  • Miami-Dade, Florida: A video shows a police officer masturbating while in uniform and wearing his badge, and at the school he was working in. The chief says he was removed from duty and then resigned from the department.
  • Update: Fort Smith, Arkansas (First reported 05-28-14): A police officer has resigned after being arrested for allegedly pointing a gun at a child and at deputies at his home.
  • Taylor, Michigan: A police officer was convicted of three counts of misuse of a statewide law enforcement computer network.
  • San Jose, California: A police officer posted $20,000 bail and was released from custody following his arrest for felony possession of marijuana with intent to sell after a stash of pot was discovered inside a storage space associated with him, according to authorities.
  • Adams County, Colorado: A deputy was arrested. Police confirmed the arrest stems from a domestic violence-related sex assault.

USA a War Zone?

From the Indianapolis Star:

“We don’t have a lot of mines in Johnson County,” confessed Sheriff Doug Cox, who acquired the vehicle. “My job is to make sure my employees go home safe.”

Johnson County is one of eight Indiana law enforcement agencies to acquire MRAPs from military surplus since 2010, according to public records obtained by The Indianapolis Star. The vehicles are among a broad array of 4,400 items — everything from coats to computers to high-powered rifles — acquired by police and sheriff’s departments across the state….

“The United States of America has become a war zone,” he said. “There’s violence in the workplace, there’s violence in schools and there’s violence in the streets. You are seeing police departments going to a semi-military format because of the threats we have to counteract. If driving a military vehicle is going to protect officers, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

But, to some, the introduction of equipment designed for war in Fallujah, Iraq, to the streets of U.S. towns and cities raises questions about the militarization of civilian police departments. Will it make police inappropriately aggressive? Does it blur the line between civilian police and the military?

And from the New York Times on broader trend around the country:

Pentagon data suggest how the police are arming themselves for such worst-case scenarios. Since 2006, the police in six states have received magazines that carry 100 rounds of M-16 ammunition, allowing officers to fire continuously for three times longer than normal. Twenty-two states obtained equipment to detect buried land mines.

In the Indianapolis suburbs, officers said they needed a mine-resistant vehicle to protect against a possible attack by veterans returning from war.

To protect us against the returning veterans?  Hmm.

For related Cato work, go here, here, and here.

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