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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Dept of Justice Report Clears Darren Wilson in Shooting Death of Michael Brown

In our view, a prominent case deserves a prominent Update.  Last week, the Department of Justice concluded its investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown.  Here is the key finding from that report:

[T]he Department has concluded that Darren Wilson’s actions do not constitute prosecutable violations under the applicable federal criminal civil rights statute, 18 U.S.C. § 242, which prohibits uses of deadly force that are “objectively unreasonable,” as defined by the United States Supreme Court. The evidence, when viewed as a whole, does not support the conclusion that Wilson’s uses of deadly force were “objectively unreasonable” under the Supreme Court’s definition. Accordingly, under the governing federal law and relevant standards set forth in the USAM, it is not appropriate to present this matter to a federal grand jury for indictment, and it should therefore be closed without prosecution.
Full report here. More here and here.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-06-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, March 6, 2015:

  • New York, New York: A Sunset Park man had charges for assaulting a police officer dropped after video showed he was assaulted by police officers for filming them. His attorney said, “Basically, my client was a victim of a gang assault by the 72nd Precinct…Five officers slammed him against the gate of a closed store. Batons came down on his head.” This is the second assault against a 72nd Precinct officer thrown out recently after video showed officers engage in unprovoked violence.  ow.ly/JZCOx
  • Memphis, Tennessee: An officer was shown on video possibly using excessive force during a traffic stop and arrest. ow.ly/K137h
  • Update: Memphis, Tennessee (First reported 01-06-15): The officer who got into a bar fight on Christmas Eve has been fired. ow.ly/K1dBz
  • Cleveland, Ohio: A labor arbitrator ordered the City to re-hire an officer who was fired for sexting and kissing crime victims. ow.ly/K1kSy
  • Putnam County, New York: A now-former investigator was indicted for misconduct and attempted assault. He allegedly abused a jail inmate. ow.ly/K1g6C
  • Update: Greece, New York (First reported 09-11-09): The Town settled with two women who were coerced into having sex with a now-former police officer. ow.ly/K1lWg
  • Syracuse, New York: An officer was suspended for having sex with a woman who called police for a welfare check on her daughter. ow.ly/K1nLR
  • Jackson, Mississippi: Two officers were arrested and fired for stealing two trailers from a local business. ow.ly/K1UUL

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-05-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, March 5, 2015:

  • Alton, Illinois: An officer was suspended for improperly disposing of forensic evidence. The evidence included 12 lbs. of marijuana, some crack cocaine, and firearms. He has filed suit to be reinstated or receive pay while on leave. ow.ly/JXY9D
  • Fort Worth, Texas: An officer was arrested for DWI after he was involved in a one-car accident. The 28-year-old officer previously pled guilty to public intoxication after crashing his SUV and abandoning it on railroad tracks.  http://ow.ly/JY2Bn
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: An officer arrested a man for recording police and he is now suing for false arrest. The judge threw out his free speech claim, despite a growing consensus of a First Amendment right to record police in both state and federal judiciaries. The city solicitor said in his opening statement, “Like many other college students, [the plaintiff] has some very high-minded ideas about government, the role of government in interactions with its citizenry and the role of the media in observing those interactions.”  http://ow.ly/JY5eZ
  • St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana: A detective resigned after his arrest for domestic violence and battery against a police officer. http://ow.ly/JY75I
  • Elgin, South Carolina: An officer was arrested for exploitation of a child. http://ow.ly/JY8AO
  • Volusia County, Florida: A deputy fatally shot an unarmed man in the face during a drug raid. http://ow.ly/JYcDN
  • North Port, Florida: An officer was arrested for battering his fiancée. http://ow.ly/JYgMM
  • Palm Beach County, Florida: An officer was arrested for his participation in a bar fight while he was off duty. ow.ly/JYt72

Worst of the Month — February 2015

So the worst case for February goes to an officer with the San Antonio, Texas Police Department.  Daniel Lopez held his wife and children at gunpoint, striking his wife in the head with his gun, and had a 20 minute standoff with police before surrendering. He pled no contest to disorderly conduct. But get this: He was sentenced to just one day of probation and ordered to pay a $100 fine!   According to the news report, “The plea deal struck out any reference to a gun or family violence,” and so Lopez will retain his peace officer’s license whether or not the SAPD terminates his employment.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-04-15

Here are the seven reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, March 4, 2015:

  • Columbus, Ohio: An officer was arrested for drunk driving after a police chase. http://ow.ly/JTeBt
  • Kenosha, Wisconsin: A now-former officer testified at a criminal trial that he planted evidence—an identification card and a bullet—in a backpack that was seized during a homicide and robbery investigation. He resigned when an investigation was launched into his conduct. Making matters worse, the defense attorney claims the prosecutor’s office did not reveal the potentially exonerating information until days into the trial. ow.ly/JVocA
  • Update: Baltimore, Maryland (First reported 02-05-15): An officer was charged with multiple assault and endangerment charges. She was assigned to a middle school and got into a violent altercation with three female students. http://ow.ly/JTgLA
  • St. Louis County, Missouri: An officer was charged with felony theft for moonlighting during his shift. He claimed to be working for the County when he was working as a private security guard and collected $6,000 in inappropriate pay. http://ow.ly/JThTH
  • Update: Washington Township, New Jersey (First reported 05-01-14): The officer who was accused of falsification and misconduct for a bad DUI arrest of assemblyman was acquitted. http://ow.ly/JTiMW
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: An officer was arrested for misdemeanor solicitation. http://ow.ly/JTlGe
  • Dothan, Alabama: An officer was charged with multiple counts of identity theft and fraud. He was asked to resign after his arrest. ow.ly/JVXTS

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-03-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, March 3, 2015:

  • Greenville County, South Carolina: A deputy was charged with selling police information to an illicit gambling operation. http://ow.ly/JPZHF
  • Pickens County, South Carolina: A deputy was fired for inappropriate use of force. He twice Tasered a 65-year-old wheelchair-bound man and also threw him out of the wheelchair. http://ow.ly/JQ1Yy
  • Lansing, Michigan: A federal judge threw out an excessive force civil claim against the city but allowed the case to proceed against the officer involved in the case. The plaintiff’s 17-year-old daughter broke into a bank and was apprehended by the officer and two others present. The suspect was shot in the stomach after producing a sharp object. However, the plaintiff alleges that her daughter had already surrendered and was on her knees when the officer fatally shot the suspect in the head. The prosecutor had previously ruled the shooting justified. http://ow.ly/JQ7jM
  • Put-in-Bay, Ohio: The police chief was charged with aggravated menacing, dereliction of duty, and falsification. http://ow.ly/JQw8D
  • Orient, Illinois: The police chief brandished his weapon at bars twice in one night. He has been charged with intimidation and official misconduct. ow.ly/JSHxD
  • Memphis, Tennessee: A police officer is accused of performing a lewd act and solicitation of a minor. He allegedly picked up a teen on the way to school and masturbated while she was in the car. http://ow.ly/JT8af
  • Ottawa, Kansas: An officer was arrested for DUI after crashing his truck into a utility pole while off duty. http://ow.ly/JSGgP
  • Hawaii Island, Hawaii: An officer was arrested for negligent homicide after fatally striking a bicyclist with his car on a narrow roadway. http://ow.ly/JT9Eh
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan: An officer was charged with home invasion and sexual assault of his ex-girlfriend in Wyoming. He resigned upon his arrest. http://ow.ly/JTbSh

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-28-15 to 03-02-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, February 28 through Monday, March 2, 2015:

  • Red Bank, Tennessee: A grand jury will examine an officer’s actions during a forceful arrest. The internal investigation cleared him of wrongdoing, but the prosecutor referred the case to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The incident was caught on video but was not initially released by the Red Bank Police Department. The prosecutor decided to present the case to the grand jury after reviewing the report from the “months-long” investigation by the TBI. According to the news report, the officer punched the suspect “in the arm and face while other officers held him down, stun-gunned him and tried to handcuff him. The encounter left [the suspect] with a swollen-shut eye, a fractured eye socket and cuts and bruises on his face.”  ow.ly/JOSZ9
  • Bogalusa, Louisiana: A disabled veteran on a fixed income will not go to prison after a video proved his alleged battery of a police officer never happened. The veteran acted as a process server to deliver notice of a police brutality lawsuit to a police officer. Although the handoff went smoothly enough, he was accosted by the served officer’s companions, who were also officers. He was later pulled over and arrested for battery against the officer. Because of a prior cocaine conviction, the veteran faced up to 80 years as a multiple offender. The officers swore depositions that he assaulted the served officer. But the veteran had members of his family use their cellphones to record the delivery of the envelope to the officer. Charges were quickly dropped against him when the video was brought to light. However, the veteran had already spent almost a year fighting the case. A federal lawsuit is pending. ow.ly/JP3ER
  • Miami Gardens, Florida: The police chief was arrested and fired after being caught in prostitution sting. http://ow.ly/JPeJS
  • Los Angeles, California:  Officers fatally shot a homeless man after a scuffle on Skid Row. A bystander’s cell-phone footage and nearby surveillance video have been released, but police body cam footage is currently being withheld.  http://ow.ly/JPkDJ
  • Denver, Colorado: An officer with 40 citizen complaints against him was taken off patrol duty. Despite previous civil lawsuits for his behavior costing the City more than $1,000,000 in settlements, this suspension is his first discipline. http://ow.ly/JPUBV
  • Update: Shreveport, Louisiana (First reported 02-13-15): An officer was fired for violation of department policies. http://ow.ly/JPrFV
  • Broward County, Florida: A deputy dragged mentally ill woman through a courthouse hallway. http://ow.ly/JPqPI
  • San Francisco, California: An officer was shown on video beating homeless man with a baton after an argument on a city bus. http://ow.ly/JPH38
  • Los Angeles, California: An officer’s case ends in a mistrial. The officer was shown on video kicking and shoving suspect who later died in custody. http://ow.ly/JPTew

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-27-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, February 27, 2015:

  • Update: San Francisco, California (First reported 03-05-14): A now-former officer was sentenced to 3.4 years in prison and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine for his role in robbing hotel guests during a drug raid. http://ow.ly/JHq9F
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: An officer was arrested for making or maintaining false public records and theft over $1,500.  http://ow.ly/JHre5
  • Denver, Colorado: An officer was arrested for domestic violence and 3rd-degree assault. http://ow.ly/JHs0L
  • Monroe, Michigan: An officer was arrested for DUI. http://ow.ly/JHsYj
  • Firebaugh, California: An officer was arrested for domestic violence. He claims he was breaking up a fight between two women that left one woman with a bloody nose. http://ow.ly/JHtQg
  • Winslow Township, New Jersey: An officer pled guilty to falsely reporting he was fired upon. He shot his own car. As a result of the plea deal, he will be forbidden to hold public office and must forfeit the personal firearm he used in the incident.  http://ow.ly/JHuQQ
  • Sweetwater, Florida: An officer was arrested for public corruption. He allegedly used a stolen license plate to avoid paying tolls via EZ Pass. ow.ly/JKfh1
  • Detroit, Michigan: An officer was arrested for carrying her firearm while she was intoxicated. ow.ly/JJZtp
  • Alexandria, Louisiana: An officer was arrested for carnal knowledge of a juvenile. http://ow.ly/JKhX6

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-26-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, February 26, 2015:

  • Palm Beach County, Florida: The sheriff’s department is being sued for withholding evidence and improperly investigating a fatal deputy-involved shooting. http://ow.ly/JG6KS
  • Lompoc, California: An officer was arrested for domestic violence. He is the fourth LPD officer arrested since 2014, and the second arrested for domestic violence in the last four months. http://ow.ly/JGiiY
  • Port Barre, Louisiana: An officer was arrested for simple battery against his ex-girlfriend.  http://ow.ly/JGsAq
  • Update: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (First reported 08-14-13): An arbitrator ruled that a former officer should be reinstated after being fired for misconduct. He had crashed a car while intoxicated. http://ow.ly/JGzjp
  • Update: Maywood, Illinois (First reported 02-18-12): A now-former officer’s official misconduct conviction was thrown out by a judge after a post-trial motion. He stood trial for sexual assault and official misconduct, but had been acquitted of the sexual assault charge. ow.ly/JGBek
  • St. Paul, Minnesota: The City settled a lawsuit for $23,000. Police pinned in a man’s car at a gas station, broke his car windows, pulled him out of the car—thereby disconnecting his dialysis—and threw him on the ground. Officers claim they pulled him out of the vehicle because he was attempting to swallow the narcotics they were trying to arrest him for dealing. The City has a policy of not admitting liability when settling lawsuits. http://ow.ly/JGChV
  • Lawrence, Kansas: An officer was arrested and suspended on suspicion of domestic battery.  http://ow.ly/JH2Os
  • Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania: A sergeant was arrested for slapping his wife. http://ow.ly/JHf4s
  • Indian Lake, Texas: The police chief was charged with 14 counts of tampering. Allegedly, he lied about officers’ firearms qualifications in official documents. ow.ly/JHbI7

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-25-15

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

  • Union Township, Ohio: An officer pled guilty to reckless operation of a vehicle after a DUI arrest. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, with 27 of those days suspended. The remaining three days of his sentence will be served in a “driver intervention program.” He was also sentenced to six months of probation. His employment status with the department is not known. ow.ly/JBERz
  • Chatham County, Georgia: A deputy was fired and arrested for sexual assault of an inmate and filing false statements to cover it up. ow.ly/JDvG5
  • Update: Schaumburg, Illinois (First reported 01-18-13): The City and two former officers are being sued for actions stemming from the officers’ drug theft and dealing scheme. This latest suit is the 16th filed since the scheme has been brought to light. ow.ly/JDytT
  • Sandusky, Ohio: A detective was forced to resign after maintaining and lying about his inappropriate relationship with an informant. ow.ly/JDCZV
  • Louisville, Kentucky: An officer entered an Alford plea to disorderly conduct. The official misconduct charge was dropped in exchange for the plea. He told woman to remove her pants on false warrant claim. He was arrested during a police sting for meeting her a second time and fondling her on that occasion. His current employment status with the department is not known. ow.ly/JDI7M
  • Medford, Massachusetts: An officer was charged with DUI, causing an accident, and fleeing the scene. ow.ly/JDJKU
  • Detroit, Michigan: The disbanded narcotics unit is now under investigation by the U.S. Attorneys’ Office. ow.ly/JDN6j
  • Baltimore County, Maryland: An officer shot a teenage boy while working as a security guard off-duty. The officer has been placed on leave pending an investigation. ow.ly/JDO3B
  • Clackamas County, Oregon: A deputy pled guilty to misconduct for masturbating while female inmate performed strip tease. As part of his plea agreement, he was forced to resign and was stripped of his law enforcement certification. He was also sentenced to 12 months of probation and ordered to serve 48 hours of community service. ow.ly/JDPra

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