National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Video Contradicts Testimony of 5 Chicago Cops

From the Chicago Tribune:

One by one, five police officers took the witness stand at the Skokie courthouse late last month for what would typically be a routine hearing on whether evidence in a drug case was properly obtained.

But in a “Perry Mason” moment rarely seen inside an actual courtroom, the inquiry took a surprising turn when the suspect’s lawyer played a police video that contradicted the sworn testimony of the five officers — three from Chicago and two from Glenview, a furious judge found.

Cook County Circuit Judge Catherine Haberkorn suppressed the search and arrest, leading prosecutors to quickly dismiss the felony charges. All five officers were later stripped of their police powers and put on desk duty pending internal investigations. And the state’s attorney’s office is looking into possible criminal violations, according to spokeswoman Sally Daly.

“Obviously, this is very outrageous conduct,” a transcript of the March 31 hearing quoted the judge, a former county prosecutor, as saying. “All officers lied on the stand today. … All their testimony was a lie. So there’s strong evidence it was conspiracy to lie in this case, for everyone to come up with the same lie. … Many, many, many, many times they all lied.”

What would have happened here had there been no video?   What about other cases handled by these cops?   Was this the very first instance of dishonesty?

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-11-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, April 11, 2014:

  • Knox County, Tennessee: A lieutenant has been charged in connection to a rape investigation conducted by The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. A grand jury indicted the officer on a set of criminal counts, including rape of a child, statutory rape by an authority figure, and incest.
  • Update: Plainfield, New Jersey (First reported 02-02-12): An officer threatened a woman with a five-year prison term unless she took off some of her clothes. The officer, still in his police uniform, masturbated as she did so. She was secretly videoing him during the incident; a jury convicted him of second-degree official misconduct and fourth-degree criminal sexual assault. He was sentenced to six years in prison.
  • Plymouth, Massachusetts: One police officer has been demoted and another fired in the wake of two off-duty motor vehicle accidents. The first agreed to a demotion in rank and an undisclosed suspension. The other officer was fired for not cooperating with an internal investigation of the accidents.
  • Buckner, Missouri: The police chief is suspected of assaulting his 17-year-old son. The sheriff’s office said he was charged with one count of domestic violence assault.
  • Country Club Hills, Illinois: The city will pay $700,000 to settle a federal lawsuit claiming a police officer wrongfully shot a teenager who then spent 14 months in jail before he was found not guilty of attempted murder.
  • Redondo Beach, California: A woman has filed suit, alleging police violated her civil rights to free speech, to freedom of association, unreasonable search and seizure, the constitutional right to petition the government for regressive grievances, and the right to freedom of commerce in the purchase and possession of a legal substance for medical needs.
  • St. John’s County, Florida: Police who unlawfully recorded conversations between an attorney and her client were properly denied immunity, the 11th Circuit ruled.
  • Seabrook, New Hampshire: One of three police officers investigated after a YouTube video showed alleged brutality against a teenager at the police station could face a maximum of two to five years in state prison.
  • Plum Borough, Pennsylvania: A fired police officer was arrested on a charge of unlawful use of a computer. He is accused of accessing files while on duty.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-10-14

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, April 10, 2014:

  • Update: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (First reported 10-07-13):  A police officer accused of using excessive force on a man in handcuffs has been found guilty of misconduct in office. He could face three years in prison on the misconduct charge.
  • Goldsboro, North Carolina: An 18-year police veteran has been charged with 12 felony sex offenses and subsequently fired from the police department. These charges include five counts of statutory rape/sex offense of a 13-, 14- or 15-year-old; four counts of indecent liberties with a child; and three counts of sex offense in a parental role.
  • Carteret Co, North Carolina: A deputy has resigned after crashing his vehicle and being charged with DWI.
  • Update: Markham, Illinois (Previously reported 11-06-13): A now-former Deputy Police Chief was sentenced to five years in prison for lying to FBI agents who were investigating an allegation that the officer sexually abused a woman in his police station office.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: The U.S. Justice Department charged that an investigation of the Albuquerque police force found that the department “engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force.”
  • Stamford, Connecticut: The city of has agreed to pay $230,000 to settle a lawsuit by a woman who accused a city police officer of punching her, attorneys for the woman and city said.
  • Miami-Dade, Florida: A police officer was arrested on drunken driving charges after he caused a crash that injured two children, according to an arrest report.
  • Newport News, Virginia: A police officer facing felony charges after police say he threatened to burn down his home has been arrested again for violating a protective order.
  • Mountlake Terrace, Washington: A commander who oversees the patrol division of the is now on administrative leave, after being arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
  • Murfreesboro, Tennessee: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested a police officer and charged him with official misconduct and misuse of official information.

Peculiar Police Ticketing

From NBC 10 News:

Months after the NBC 10 I-Team revealed a parking ticket blitz in Cranston, Mayor Allan Fung on Thursday called for the firing of one of the city’s top police officers.

“Today we are announcing a recommendation, that is a recommendation of termination for Cranston Police Capt. Stephen Antonucci,” Fung said.

Fung said a state police investigation found it was Capt. Stephen Antonucci who ordered patrol officers to hand out more than 100 parking tickets.

All of the tickets were handed out in wards 1 and 3 after those council members voted against a new police contract.


Albuquerque Police: There is a Pattern of Excessive Force


Albuquerque, New Mexico, police officers killed a 19-year-old as he “lay motionless on his back,” an unarmed drugstore robber who was walking away from officers and a 25-year-old veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who threatened to shoot himself in the head.

So says the U.S. Justice Department, which on Thursday issued a report lambasting the Albuquerque Police Department for a longstanding history of police brutality and unnecessary deadly force….

“For too long, Albuquerque officers have faced little scrutiny from their superiors in carrying out this fundamental responsibility,” the report says. “Despite the efforts of many committed individuals, external oversight is broken and has allowed the department to remain unaccountable to the communities it serves.”

To conduct its review, the Justice Department “reviewed thousands of pages of documents, including written policies and procedures, internal reports, data, video footage, and investigative files,” the report says. It also interviewed command staff, rank-and-file officers and community members, and held four community meetings where residents “provided their accounts of encounters with officers.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-08-14 to 04-09-14

Here are the 25 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, April 8 to Wednesday, April 9, 2014:

  • Update: Springfield, Illinois (First reported 04-03-13): A 9-months pregnant woman who was tased in a parking lot has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and two officers who arrested her.
  • New York, New York: A man thought he was helping cops catch a hit-and-run driver, but his courtesy got him punched and jailed on a DWI charge. He has filed a federal lawsuit accusing cops of false arrest and is seeking to recoup unspecified damages.
  • New York, New York: A young law student was arrested on completely bogus charges when he called out two officers who parked their cruiser in a bus stop so they could grab lunch from a food truck, he claims in a lawsuit.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: One officer has been fired and another suspended for their handling of a domestic abuse call. Police said the officers did not check a child for injuries, did not write a report, and did not talk to the 9-year-old boy away from adults. Six months after the call, the boy’s mother allegedly killed him.
  • Update: Augusta, Kansas (First reported 07-15-13): A now-former police officer has been sentenced in connection to a child sex crime. He was arrested on two counts of Aggravated Indecent Liberties with a Child. He was given 59 days of house arrest and 60 days of probation. He must also register as a sex offender.
  • Bull Shoals, Arkansas: The chief of the police department is facing charges tied to his use of excessive force in an arrest he made.
  • Update: Culpeper, Virginia (First reported 05-03-13): The town’s insurance carrier will pay $300,000 to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit involving a woman fatally shot by a now-former police officer. The officer is serving a three-year sentence for manslaughter in her death.
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin: In a fruitless search of a home for an alligator and wolves, police shot to death two Tibetan mastiffs, the most valuable dog in the world, which recently set a record of more than $1 million for a single puppy, the dogs’ owner claims in court.
  • El Paso, Texas: A family plans to file charges after an officer shot their three-legged pit bull with their 11-year-old daughter nearby when responding to their home.
  • Update: North Brunswick, New Jersey (First reported 02-04-14): A state police officer who was caught stealing $267 in gun supplies and other merchandise by store surveillance video was allowed to enter a special pre-trial intervention program known as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition to avoid prosecution.
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania: A woman claims in a lawsuit that a city police officer pepper-sprayer her for no reason. She also said officers with the department’s internal affairs division apologized to her and told her she was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and that the officer who sprayed her was “pumped up from an earlier incident.” A police spokesman said the department doesn’t comment on litigation.
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa: A lawsuit against two officers claims a woman’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated during her arrest.
  • Yonkers, New York: A civil suit says a police officer had charges dropped, sprung a suspect from jail and gave her PCP that had been seized by the department, apparently for her recreational use, in exchange for sex.
  • Update: Becker County, Minnesota (First reported 01-22-14): The now-former sheriff pled not guilty to charges including felony counts of theft by swindle and presenting false claim, along with a gross misdemeanor count of misconduct by a public officer.
  • Huntsville, Alabama: A woman is suing the city, the police chief, and five police officers in the death of her 17-year-old son.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A man says police used excessive force, racially profiled him, and retaliated against him when he questioned why they stopped him as he parked his car outside his home.
  • Selma, Alabama: A former police officer serve 15 months in jail, followed by 5 years of probation, after pleading guilty to first-degree sexual abuse.
  • West Baton Rouge, Louisiana: A sheriff’s major who once led the agency’s narcotics division has been arrested on drug charges, including possession of crack cocaine and several painkillers.
  • Chicago, Illinois: Three people who claim police strip-searched them in public and falsely accused them of carrying heroin during a traffic stop are suing the city, calling the officers’ actions “exceeding all bounds of human decency.”
  • Orange, California: A resident has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against his police department for officers allegedly using excessive force. He says he was attempting to park his car in his garage when police approached and demanded to see ID. While he was in the process of complying, one of the cops shot him “multiple times,” the lawsuit states.
  • Greenfield, Indiana: A police officer is facing felony charges for allegedly bribing police to perform a traffic stop on his ex-wife.
  • Update: Ludlow, Massachusetts (Previously reported 03-12-14): A high-ranking police officer suspended after he was charged with stealing drugs from the department’s evidence locker pled not guilty.
  • Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana: Three deputies with the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office and a New Roads police officer have been suspended without pay following an investigation into special treatment the officer received in an off-duty crash while suspected of driving while intoxicated.
  • Clark County, Nevada: A man has been released after being arrested during an ongoing dispute over grazing rights between the Bureau of Land Management and a family in southern Nevada, and the family is calling for action. The Ranchers say their free speech rights have been violated, while authorities say it was a valid arrest.
  • Tulare, California: A police chief could face criminal charges after getting arrested for domestic violence.

Bureau of Land Mgt Under Fire in Nevada

Sacramento Bee:

A Republican U.S. senator added his voice Wednesday to critics of a federal cattle roundup fought by a Nevada rancher who claims longstanding grazing rights on remote public rangeland about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada said he told new U.S. Bureau of Land Management chief Neil Kornze in Washington, D.C., that law-abiding Nevadans shouldn’t be penalized by an “overreaching” agency.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval pointed earlier to what he called “an atmosphere of intimidation,” resulting from the roundup and said he believed constitutional rights were being trampled…

“No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans,” the governor said in a statement.

Sandoval said he was most offended that armed federal officials have tried to corral people protesting the roundup into a fenced-in “First Amendment area” south of the resort city of Mesquite.

The site “tramples upon Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution” and should be dismantled, Sandoval said.

BLM spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon and Park Service spokeswoman Christie Vanover have told reporters during daily conference calls that free-speech areas were established so agents could ensure the safety of contractors, protesters, the rancher and his supporters.

Worst of the Month — March 2014

So for March it was the case of the soon-to-be-former Philadelphia police officer, Kevin Corcoran.  Mr.  Corcoran was driving the wrong way down a one-way street near a group of individuals when one of them pointed out that the officer had made an illegal turn. The officer got out and aggressively approached the individuals, who readied their cell phone cameras to capture the incident.  The footage (warning: graphic language) shows Corcoran accosting one of the persons filming, an Iraq war veteran, and shouting “Don’t fucking touch me!” before slapping the vet’s phone out of his hand, throwing him up against his police vehicle, arresting him, and driving off.   Another of the cameras showed the vet with his hands up in a defensive posture, retreating from the officer.  When the vet asked why he had been arrested, Corcoran said it was for public intoxication.  Corcoran later cooled off and, after finding out the individual was a veteran, let him off without charges. 

Corcoran has a history of alleged misconduct, including allegations in 2008 that he entered a home without a warrant (and then administered a beating), allegations in 2009 that he falsely accused a man of assault and possession of a controlled substance (after administering a beating), and other similar situations.  In each case, the defendants ended up being acquitted of the charges.

Civil suits over Corcoran’s abuse of authority have been settled out of court in the past, but thanks to the quick cameras of the individuals he encountered here, Corcoran faces charges of false imprisonment, obstructing the administration of law, and official oppression—along with a suspension with intent to dismiss.  This incident shows the importance of the right to film police behavior.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-05-14 to 04-07-14

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, April 5 to Monday, April 7, 2014:

  • Buffalo, West Virginia: A lawsuit says that an officer had an affair with another man’s wife while on duty as a police officer.
  • St. Louis, Missouri: A detective has been disciplined for running improper criminal background checks on about 200 people.
  • Chicago, Illinois: A lawsuit says that police conspired to cover up evidence that Mayor Richard Daley’s nephew killed a man with a single “brutal” punch.
  • Houston, Texas: A sergeant was fired and seven others punished after an internal investigation of the homicide division determined nearly two dozen murder cases were ignored or investigative work was shoddy, the Chief said. “There were certainly some mistakes of the heart and mistakes of the mind,” said the Chief of the seven, “But as it pertains to [the sergeant], it is evident from the IAD investigation that he was lazy, he was a liar, he was not forthright with his supervisors, and he misled his other coworkers.”
  • Concord, California: A police officer has resigned from his job as he faces charges of burglary and elder abuse for taking prescription drugs from residents at a seniors complex, prosecutors said.
  • Darlington County, South Carolina: A deputy has resigned after the sheriff says he failed to take critical steps that would have sent a murder suspect to trial. He resigned “for failing to follow procedure and, subsequently, attempting to cover up that fact,” said the sheriff.
  • Tremonton, Utah: A police officer has been charged with 15 offenses in the collection of thousands of photos of a teenage girl in various stages of undress.
  • Long Beach, California: A police officer has been arrested on three counts of sexual battery of a juvenile; he is accused of having sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl.
  • Edgewood, Indiana: An off-duty police officer was arrested after a car crash. He rear-ended a vehicle, injuring a 9-month pregnant woman and killing her husband. Police say he was possibly under the influence of prescription medication at the time of the accident.
  • Update: West Sacramento, California (Previously reported 02-28-14): A now-former police officer was sentenced to 205 years behind bars on 18 counts of kidnapping and sexually assaulting women while patrolling. “These were reprehensible crimes,” the Mayor said after the sentencing. “He violated the sacred oath he took and the trust of the city he served. It is an appropriate sentence for the crimes he committed.”

FBI Raids First, Asks Questions Afterward

From the Indianapolis Star:

FBI agents Wednesday seized “thousands” of cultural artifacts, including American Indian items, from the private collection of a 91-year-old man who had acquired them over the past eight decades.

An FBI command vehicle and several tents were spotted at the property in rural Waldron, about 35 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

The Rush County man, Don Miller, has not been arrested or charged….

The aim of the investigation is to determine what each artifact is, where it came from and how Miller obtained it, Jones said, to determine whether some of the items might be illegal to possess privately.

My Cato colleague, Walter Olson, writes:  “Might be illegal. Or might have been acquired lawfully. They’re not saying! But to satisfy its curiosity the government gets to seize everything and sort through at its leisure over longer than “weeks or months.”   Read his blog post here.

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