National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

A Fundraiser for Corrupt Police?

From ABC.Local:

Some San Francisco police officers are coming to the aid of five fellow cops who were recently suspended without pay after being indicted on fed corruption charges.

Martin Halloran, the head of the Police Officers Association, talked with us exclusively about the fundraisers planned to help five fellow cops who are no longer collecting paychecks following federal indictments.

“They have mortgages and car payments just like everyone else,” Halloran said.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-19-14

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, March 19, 2014:

  • Fresno, California: A police detective has been arrested and is accused of taking a bribe. Federal investigators say he accepted a $20,000 bribe from a marijuana distributor and made that person a confidential police informant.
  • Maricopa County, Arizona: A deputy is accused of speeding down a street and slamming into the side of a vehicle, killing the driver. He was traveling 81 mph in an unmarked SUV with no emergency lights or sirens activated when he crashed into the other vehicle.
  • Update: San Antonio, Texas (First reported 01-08-13): A now-former police officer was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release for theft of honest services by wire fraud. He offered to not file a marijuana possession charge in exchange for $500.
  • Orange County, Florida: A man is suing the city and a police officer in federal court after he says he was arrested and put in jail for shooting video of an arrest on his phone.
  • Hickory, North Carolina: A police officer has been indicted in connection with an alleged beating of a female that the officer had in custody. He has been indicted on a charge of assault with inflicting serious injury.
  • Melbourne, Florida: A police sergeant and now-former officer are accused of burning a boat and then filing a fraudulent insurance claim. The sergeant collected $45,066.72 on the boat, but investigators said they believed the men conspired to burn the boat.
  • Update: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (Previously reported 01-03-14): A police officer was fired for driving drunk and for other alleged incidents of misconduct. The city council voted 7-0 to terminate the officer.
  • Charleston, South Carolina: A police officer was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
  • Brandenburg, Kentucky: A grand jury has indicted a former state police trooper and a former police officer on sex abuse charges. They are accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old. “We protect and we serve, to the best of our ability, and at times thing happen that may not represent our agency the way we want it represented,” said a state trooper.
  • Update: Collinsville, Illinois (First reported 03-17-12): A judge has ruled that an officer will stand trial for unreasonable seizure, false arrest, and unreasonable search after reviewing video of an incident.
  • Jacksonville, Florida: A detective has been charged with attacking his wife and father-in-law. When deputies arrived on the scene, they found the officer “extremely intoxicated” in the front driveway.
  • Update: Bloomington, Illinois (First reported 11-20-13): A now-former police officer pled guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol. He has resigned and is awaiting sentencing.
  • St. Paul, Minnesota: A man is suing the city, along with a current and former police officer, after alleging that police entered his home and pepper-sprayed and tased him while responding to a call about loud music.
  • Cecil Pennsylvania: A police chief was arrested by state police who said he used his debit card to take more than $10,000 from his department, sometimes to gamble. He has retired from his position.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-15-14 to 03-18-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, March 15 to Tuesday, March 18, 2014:

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma: A police officer has been arrested on charges of possessing a firearm in commission of a felony and conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
  • Wagram, North Carolina: The State Bureau of Investigation is reviewing claims made by a business owner that a highway patrolman assaulted him without cause following a car accident
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A police officer who’s already in hot water with the department was arrested. She was charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest after a fight with her boyfriend.
  • Sussex County, Delaware: A state trooper was arrested for allegedly using a law enforcement criminal history database to stalk his ex-girlfriend.
  • Perry Iowa: A police officer pled guilty to an assault that happened when he was on the force. He has since resigned from his post.
  • Irwindale, California: A police officer pled not guilty to kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman during a traffic stop.
  • Boise, Idaho: A police officer charged with sexually abusing infants has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. He’ll have to serve 12 and a half years before he is eligible for parole. Prosecutors say there were likely up to 20 possible victims.
  • Fannin County, Texas: A now-former police officer has been indicted on five federal charges. The indictment alleges the officer sexually assaulted four women while serving as a sheriff’s deputy. The charges include deprivation of rights under color of law and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
  • Odessa, Texas: An officer was charged and arrested with two counts of violations of the civil rights of a person in custody and improper sexual activity with a person in custody. Police said in a press release, “The behavior [the officer] is alleged to have engaged in is unprofessional and illegal. It will not be tolerated.”

The Perils of Reporting Police Misconduct

From Radley Balko at the Washington Post:

A pretty awful new bill (PDF) in the Kansas legislature would require anyone filing a complaint against a police officer to swear an affidavit before the complaint will be investigated. If any portion of the complaint is later shown to be false, the complainant could then be prosecuted for perjury….

[T]he bill would prohibit any police agency from investigating a complaint against an officer if another police agency has already found the complaint to be without merit. In practical terms, that means a sheriff’s department or the state police couldn’t investigate the possibility that a city or town police department was covering up misconduct. It doesn’t happen often, but on a few occasions that sort of investigation has exposed corruption and patterns of misconduct. (This case from Kansas City is instructive, though it occurred on the Missouri side of the border.) Once an officer’s own police agency clears him of wrongdoing, he’s home free.

So you’re welcome to file a complaint. But the cop you’re complaining about will be investigated by his colleagues — and only his colleagues. If they find that he did nothing wrong, as they nearly always do, you could then be arrested for a felony.

Police Disciplinary Records: None of the Public’s Business?

From the Sacramento Bee:

[O]pen-records advocates say California residents today have some of the least access to law enforcement records of anywhere in the country. Bills to tighten the restrictions, pushed by politically influential law enforcement unions, routinely sail through the Legislature. Attempts to provide more disclosure have been few and unsuccessful.

Under state law, peace officer personnel records are confidential, including personal data, promotion, appraisal and discipline records, and “any other information the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Only a judge can order their release as part of a criminal case or lawsuit.

The restrictions regularly come into play. In Lodi, police officials have released little about the officers involved in the Jan. 25 shooting of Parminder Singh Shergill, an Iraq War veteran. In West Sacramento, Latino groups demanded information after the June 2005 police beating of brothers Ernesto and Fermin Galvan. There also was anger at the lack of details following the April 2009 shooting of Luis Gutierrez Navarro by Yolo County sheriff’s deputies.

Civil-rights lawyer Cruz Reynoso said community members in such cases confront a police “wall of silence.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-14-14

Here are the 12 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, March 14, 2014:

  • Washington County, Utah: A police officer has resigned after he was arrested for driving under the influence. He was driving with children in the car.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: A woman is suing the police department saying she received third degree burns during an encounter with police after a traffic accident. She was held against hot pavement and burned as a result. The police would not comment on the pending lawsuit.
  • Filer, Idaho: The owners of a 7-year-old black Labrador retriever who was fatally shot by a police officer are in the process of filing a lawsuit against the police department.
  • Update: Springettsbury Township, Pennsylvania (Previously reported 11-06-13): The township has settled two federal civil-rights lawsuits filed by people who alleged officers used excessive force when arresting them. They will pay a total of $500,000.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A photojournalism student and his girlfriend are suing two police officers who they say wrongly arrested them while he was photographing a neighbor’s arrest. The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for assault, battery, false arrest and imprisonment, and malicious prosecution.
  • Countryside, Illinois: A now-former police chief has been indicted on multiple charges in the alleged misuse of more than $180,000 raised for a police helicopter program he ran.
  • Boise, Idaho: A police officer has been suspended after deputies arrested him on domestic violence allegations. “The Boise Police Department demands the highest professional conduct from its officers, both on and off duty, which includes conformance to laws,” the department said in a news release.
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee: A police officer has been charged with domestic assault in an incident in which her nephew said she hit him over an unpaid water bill. She was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.
  • Baltimore City, Maryland: A police officer fatally shot his ex-girlfriend and a city firefighter, and then himself. The incident is being investigated.
  • Austin, Texas: The family a man who was shot and killed by a police officer has sued the city and the officer. The suit alleges the officer used excessive force, and that the city has failed to discipline and provide its officers with adequate policies, practices and procedures.
  • Los Angeles, California: A sheriff’s deputy pled no contest to rape and bribery charges in a pair of incidents that date back four years. The investigation involved traffic stops of two female motorist. The officer allegedly offered to not arrest the women in exchange for sex acts.
  • Gaffney, South Carolina: A police officer admitted to driving under the influence in a crash that seriously injured his friend.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-13-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, March 13, 2014:

  • Aurora, Illinois: A now-former police officer pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft; he stole more than $9,000 from a police union, officials said. He was sentenced to 12 months probation, 200 hours of community service, and resigned from his job after stealing from the Association of Professional Police Officers over a three-year span.
  • Johnston, Rhode Island: A police officer pled no context to willful trespass and simple assault. She was accused of barging into a man’s home and demanding money over an alleged drug transaction. Police say she also struck a 17-year-old girl in the face.
  • Allentown, Pennsylvania: An elderly man was tasered by police six times in a parking lot after being mistaken for his brother. He is now filing a lawsuit.
  • Update: Jackson County, Mississippi (Previously reported 12-13-13): Sheriff Mike Byrd has been sentenced to six months of home confinement, followed by six months of probation in federal court. Byrd pled guilty to misleading conduct toward another person with intent to prevent communication to a federal law enforcement officer.
  • San Jose, California: A police officer has been arrested and charged with raping a woman while on duty after she had argued with her husband. She requested to stay in a hotel the evening of the incident and the officer forced his way in and raped her.
  • Clayton County, Georgia: A sheriff’s deputy is being held without bond following his arrest on child sex charges. He was charged with sodomy and aggravated child molestation.
  • Dallas, Texas: A police officer has been indicted over allegations he assaulted a fleeing motorist during an incident. He was indicted for assault and official oppression.
  • Philadelphia: A police officer was suspended with intent to dismiss after being charged with false imprisonment and other counts in an arrest of a war veteran who had pointed out the officer was driving the wrong direction on a one-way street.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-12-14

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, March 12, 2014:

  • Faulkner County, Arkansas: A deputy has been fired after being accused of the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl. During the investigation process, the officer made undisclosed statements that are now part of the criminal investigation and led to his termination.
  • Washington, DC: A police officer has been indicted on charges of insurance fraud, attempted theft, and related charges. Officials say he filed a false insurance claim stating that her work radio, a personal laptop, and other items had been damaged.
  • Columbia, Missouri: A man who was freed after serving nearly 10 years for a murder he said he didn’t commit has filed a $100 million lawsuit for violations of his civil rights. The suit alleges nine separate counts including suppression and fabrication of evidence, failure to investigate, malicious prosecution, and more.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: A judge’s order in a police brutality suit pushed the city’s bill to $410,653.33 for two lawsuits filed against a police officer. The suits both involve cases in which the officer was off-duty and at downtown bars when he allegedly punched or kicked people who did not want to fight him.
  • Putnam County, Indiana: A sheriff’s deputy is in the spotlight after several people claim he went over the line with violence during their arrests. He has been charged with four counts of federal civil rights violations.
  • Marco Island, Florida: A police officer who was fired once and reinstated is now under investigation for excessive use of force. The police chief has recommended that he be terminated for a second time.
  • Lompoc, California: A police officer was arrested for DUI. He was off-duty when he allegedly crashed his personal vehicle into a tree.
  • Bellevue, Washington: A police officer has been punished for driving a police bomb squad truck to a brew pub, drinking two beers, then driving the department vehicle to another officer’s home, where he drank more.
  • Spokane County, Washington: A sheriff’s office deputy was placed on administrative leave while detectives investigate accusations that he stole upwards of $700 from the county. He is accused of working another job while he was supposed to be patrolling.
  • Little Silver, New Jersey: A police officer was sentenced to five years in state prison. The judge said that the nature of the misconduct that the officer was convicted of – beating a handcuffed prisoner and then lying about it – outweighed what good he did during what was portrayed as a spotless life.
  • Update: Ludlow, Massachusetts (First reported 08-19-13): A high-ranking police officer charged with stealing drugs from the department’s evidence locker has been suspended without pay. He had been suspended with pay until being indicted by a grand jury.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-11-14

Here are the 7 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, March 11, 2014:

  • Grand Forks, North Dakota: A now-former officer charged with holding his handgun to the head of a party guest in his home was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.
  • Robstown, Texas: The family of a student has filed a lawsuit after an officer allegedly choked the student to the point of passing out. The suit says the boy was throwing milk in his school’s cafeteria, which led to the police officer interaction.
  • Norfolk, Virginia: The attorney for the family of a man shot to death by police says surveillance video shows officers used excessive force. “Obviously there were mistakes made by [the victim],” said the attorney. “There were also mistakes made by police. The main thing is the police are the ones in control of the situation, and they set this up in a way that was not proper and, in my opinion, very much unreasonable.”
  • Montrose, Pennsylvania: A police officer pled no contest to voluntary manslaughter in the death of his estranged wide more than 30 years ago. The death was initially ruled a suicide.
  • Cleveland, Ohio: A family is suing the city for at least $2.5 million in damages related to a shooting in which a police officer killed a family dog and “recklessly” injured its owner. The officer pulled up in his cruiser and shot three times at the dog, killing it. The owner was hit with one of the pellets, which was later removed from her brain at a hospital.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: A video of a police officer threatening the citizen filming him could lead to his demotion. Unnamed sources say that HPD administration wants the officer to be demoted and also be suspended for 10 days.
  • Lodi, California: The family of a man killed by police plans to filed a lawsuit against the city. Police said they were forced to shot the man when he charged at them. Eyewitnesses, however, dispute the official account, claiming the man was unarmed and never charged at officers.

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