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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-22-15

Here are the seven reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, April 22, 2015:

  • Update: San Bernardino County, California (First reported 04-10-15) : The county settled with man beaten by police after chase on horse for $650,000. Footage of the beating was caught by a news helicopter flying overhead.
  • Pasadena, Texas: A now-former officer was found not guilty of oppression in the shooting of a 19-year-old man in the face during a DWI stop in 2011.
  • Update: Chicago, Illinois (First reported 11-26-13): A detective was found not guilty of manslaughter in the killing of Rekia Boyd. She was shot in the back of the head by the detective as she stood in an alley. He shot into the alley from out of the window of his car. At the time the detective was charged, the county attorney said, “”It’s a sad day when charges are warranted against a police officer, but we feel very strongly that in this particular case Ms. Rekia Boyd lost her life for no reason…And in evaluating all the facts that I saw, I felt that [the detective’s] actions were not appropriate, not justified and were reckless.”” The City previously settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the Boyd estate for $4.5 million. The judge issued a seven-page opinion that said the charge of involuntary manslaughter was inappropriate given the circumstances of the case. The detective cannot be tried again because of double jeopardy protections.
  • St. Petersburg, Florida: A detective was arrested on a domestic battery charge.
  • Park Ridge, Illinois: An officer was suspended for texting image of a sexual nature to a woman who had recently dealt with police.
  • Butler County, Ohio: A deputy was arrested for having sexual contact with a minor.
  • Update: Richland County, South Carolina (First reported 10-15-13): A now-former deputy was sentenced to time served for assaulting female soldier at a bar in 2013.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-18-15 to 04-21-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, April 18, through Tuesday, April 21, 2015:

  • Denver, Colorado: An officer was suspended for an altercation that was caught on video. Despite 18 previous excessive force allegations against him, this was the first one that was sustained.
  • Update: Los Angeles, California (First reported 11-18-14): An officer pled not guilty to assault. The alleged victim filed a lawsuit in November. The incident was video recorded.
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado: An officer was arrested for domestic violence.
  • Shreveport, Louisiana: An officer was arrested for battery and placed on leave.
  • Catoosa County, Tennessee: The department initiated a series of personnel shifts after several misconduct reports. Two deputies are no longer with the department, one is on leave, and a fourth was demoted. The incidents include DUI, inappropriate use of a firearm, stealing prescription medication, and failure to respond to an emergency call.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: Six officers have been suspended pending an investigation into how a man suffered spine injury in custody. That man died of his injuries a week later.
  • United States Marshals (South Gate, CA): The USMS is investigating an incident in which a marshal or officer working with the marshals seized and attempted to destroy a woman’s phone for recording them. This incident was caught by another person’s cell phone footage. The marshal/officer has yet to be identified.
  • Orange County, Florida: A deputy was arrested for DUI.

Problems in Oakland Police Department

From Bay City News:

Oakland police officers who are fired for misconduct are reinstated at arbitration hearings 75 percent of the time because department officials and the city attorney’s office do a poor job of handling the cases, a report says.

San Francisco attorney Ed Swanson compiled the report at the request of U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson, who is supervising the Oakland Police Department’s slow progress in complying with a police misconduct lawsuit settlement in 2003 that requires the department to implement 51 reforms in a variety of areas….

Swanson criticized the Oakland City Attorney’s Office for what he said is its “neglect and indifference and handling of police disciplinary cases and arbitration” because it doesn’t prepare well for them. He also said the relationship between the Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office has been “dysfunctional.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-17-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, April 17, 2015:

  • Worcester, Massachusetts: An officer was arrested for assault & battery and a civil rights violation for abusing an inmate awaiting transfer. The City’s press release said the victim “was forced against a wall, punched, thrown to the floor and kicked” by the officer.
  • Akron, Ohio: An officer was accused of stalking and threatening the life of his ex-girlfriend.
  • Update: Athens County, Ohio (First reported 02-04-14): The now-former sheriff was sentenced to seven years in prison on corruption and perjury charges. He is appealing.
  • Update: Clark County, Indiana (First reported 07-30-14): The now-former sheriff was given a fine and sentenced to probation for his role in a case involving a sex worker and evidence destruction.
  • Laceyville, Pennsylvania: The now-former chief pled guilty to DUI while on duty. His BAC was 3 times the legal limit.
  • Richmond County, Georgia: A deputy has been accused of rape.
  • Update: Inkster, Michigan (First reported 03-30-15): An officer was suspended indefinitely for his role in a violent arrest caught on dashboard camera.
  • Update: Jupiter, Florida (First reported 09-12-13): An officer was found not guilty of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

The Laquan McDonald Case

From New York Times editorial:


[T]he [City] Council awarded $5 million to the family of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot 16 times by a police officer in October. The shooting spawned a federal investigation, rattled public trust and raised troubling accusations of a police cover-up. The Council’s decision to pay was made before a lawsuit was filed, but this cannot be the end of the case. The city needs to release a police dash-cam video of the shooting that it has withheld on grounds that releasing it might interfere with the federal investigation….

Over the last seven years, Chicago police have killed more 120 people. Mr. Emanuel described the reparations plan as a way to bring a dark chapter of the city’s history to a close. But, even as he spoke, federal and state investigators were combing the city for information about the McDonald shooting.

Last October, a spokesman for the police union said that officers shot the teenager because he refused drop a knife he was carrying. Witnesses have said that he was moving away from the officers and was shot while lying on the ground.

A lawyer for the family who had viewed a police video taken at the scene told the Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell last week that Mr. McDonald was not menacing the officers or running when he was shot and that the officer continued to fire once the young man had fallen. He further asserted that 86 minutes of surveillance video taken by security cameras at a Burger King restaurant near the scene of the shooting had gone missing and that Chicago detectives had visited the restaurant.


The Freddie Gray Case

From CNN:

More than a week after Freddie Gray was arrested in Baltimore, and a day since he died, authorities are still scrambling to find out exactly what happened and why.

“I’ll tell you what I do know, and right now there’s still a lot of questions I don’t know. I know that when Mr. Gray was placed inside that van, he was able to talk. He was upset. And when Mr. Gray was taken out of that van, he could not talk, and he could not breathe,” Baltimore Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez told reporters Monday.

He spoke the same day an autopsy was done on the body of Gray, which showed that he died from a severe injury to his spinal cord. “What we don’t know, and what we need to get to, is how that injury occurred,” Rodriguez said.

The Gray family has retained a great attorney, Billy Murphy.  Go here for a Cato podcast interview with Mr. Murphy about police tactics and constitutional rights.

NewsFeed Break

Please know there will be a one-day break in the NewsFeed. We will resume tracking and posting Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

As always, we appreciate it when readers use our submissions page to send us stories they find from around the country.

Use-of-Force Briefing at John Jay

I will be speaking Monday at a briefing of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on police tactics and the use of force. The event is being held at John Jay College in New York City. The full roster and schedule may be found here.

I am looking forward to the briefing because I am familiar with the work and contributions of many of the other participants and their organizations. The panelists represent a broad range of perspectives on criminal justice. I believe we will provide a thought-provoking discussion on current policies and what changes need to be made to them going forward.

You can stream the event at this link starting just after 9 AM.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-16-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, April 16, 2015:

  • Fairfax County, Virginia: A public information officer was charged with two counts of child pornography possession.
  • Update: Tulsa County, Oklahoma (First reported 04-13-15): The sheriff’s office is alleged to have falsified firearm certification for the 73-year-old reserve deputy who has been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of a man caught on video. Deputies who refused to sign-off were allegedly reassigned. The deputy who allegedly cooperated is now with the U.S. Secret Service.
  • Grundy County, Tennessee: A deputy was fired after his arrest for DUI.
  • Update: Larimer County, Colorado (First reported 04-01-15): A deputy was fired for his hit-and-run incident. He hit a fenced-in yard on his way to work and instead of taking responsibility, sped home and changed clothes.
  • Cumberland County, North Carolina: A deputy was fired for stealing and then selling sheriff’s department ammunition.
  • St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana: An officer was fired and arrested for perjury. He lied about the details of a traffic stop that led to a drug bust.
  • Yuba City, California: An officer and his cousin were arrested because of an alleged cocaine trafficking conspiracy.
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (Savannah, GA): An agent had an affair with an Assistant United States Attorney while they worked on cases together. As many as 200 cases they collaborated on during their several-year affair may be affected by their inappropriate conduct.

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