National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

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. ow.ly/vzTpe
  • 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. ow.ly/vzSZZ
  • 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. ow.ly/vzSnO
  • 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. ow.ly/vzDNs
  • 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. ow.ly/vzBSJ
  • Bull Shoals, Arkansas: The chief of the police department is facing charges tied to his use of excessive force in an arrest he made. ow.ly/vzCTr
  • 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. ow.ly/vzyt6
  • 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. ow.ly/vzh6G
  • 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. ow.ly/vzbwD
  • 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. ow.ly/vyYSp
  • 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. ow.ly/vyJYn
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa: A lawsuit against two officers claims a woman’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated during her arrest. ow.ly/vyIuP
  • 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. ow.ly/vyGHk
  • 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. ow.ly/vBNep
  • Huntsville, Alabama: A woman is suing the city, the police chief, and five police officers in the death of her 17-year-old son. ow.ly/vBJc8
  • 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. ow.ly/vBDwW
  • 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. ow.ly/vBtaB
  • 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. http://ow.ly/vBPrI
  • 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.” http://ow.ly/vBRre
  • 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. http://ow.ly/vC3nO
  • Greenfield, Indiana: A police officer is facing felony charges for allegedly bribing police to perform a traffic stop on his ex-wife. http://ow.ly/vC6S1
  • 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. http://ow.ly/vC4BF
  • 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. http://ow.ly/vC5ar
  • 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. http://ow.ly/vC5MS
  • Tulare, California: A police chief could face criminal charges after getting arrested for domestic violence. http://ow.ly/vC66l

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. ow.ly/vx6HA
  • St. Louis, Missouri: A detective has been disciplined for running improper criminal background checks on about 200 people. ow.ly/vx4rL
  • 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. ow.ly/vx3Tu
  • 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.” ow.ly/vx1Fl
  • 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. ow.ly/vrHPa
  • 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. ow.ly/vwyCH
  • 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. ow.ly/vwvqi
  • 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. ow.ly/vwnyf
  • 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. ow.ly/vw5YR
  • 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.” ow.ly/vvTrw

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.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-04-14

Here are the 7 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, April 4, 2013:

  • Snohomish County, Washington: A now-former sheriff’s sergeant was charged with felony promoting prostitution and official misconduct for allegedly tipping off bikini baristas in exchange for sexual favors. He reportedly warned baristas when their businesses were targeted by undercover officers. ow.ly/vrF1y
  • Los Angeles, California: A lawsuit says the police department attempted to bury a case of sexual assault involving two of its officers, even telling the victim not to seek legal counsel after she came forward. ow.ly/vrvOQ
  • Fond du Lac, Wisconsin: A police officer has been suspended for 20 days. She has had 3 high-speed crashes in one year while on-duty. The police chief said that “further violations of city policies…will not be tolerated.” ow.ly/vrnTB
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: A police officer accused of attempting to gain sexual favors from women he cited for traffic violations pled guilty to five gross misdemeanors. ow.ly/vrkcW
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A police officer was charged with assault and making terroristic threats. He backed his car into a man, and the man pounded on the trunk of the officer’s car to alert him. The officer then got out of his car, pulled up his shirt to display a handgun, and rushed at the man yelling racial epithets and threatening to kill him. He has been suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss.
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma: A police officer is charged with five felony counts, including two counts for receiving bribes. He was charged with taking bribes from an individual who was a part of a “sting” operation. He is also is charged with two counts of violating the Computer Crimes Act and one count of Attempted Intent to Deliver an Illegal Narcotic. ow.ly/vqZ1l
  • Bluffton, Georgia: The police department says they have suspended two officers without pay after they were involved in a bar fight. One was in possession of a firearm at the time. ow.ly/vqMgA

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-03-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, April 3, 2014:

  • Hendry County, Florida: A deputy has been arrested on charges of felony battery on his girlfriend. The sheriff’s office reports he was arrested on the highway after a call was received regarding a woman allegedly having been beaten. http://ow.ly/voWkb
  • Update: Taylor County, Kentucky (First reported 10-04-13): A former deputy sheriff pled guilty to charges of distributing anabolic steroids, a Schedule III controlled substance. http://ow.ly/voVSQ
  • Belen, New Mexico: A now-former police detective has pleaded guilty to using excessive force while arresting a man. Prosecutors say he entered his plea in federal court to violating an arrestee’s civil rights. http://ow.ly/voRsY
  • Update: Prince George’s County, Maryland (Previously reported 11-14-12): A now-former officer has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to sell untaxed cigarettes and cocaine. He pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking, extortion and firearm offenses. He admitted protecting the sale and transport of multiple shipments of contraband cigarettes. ow.ly/vobz8Frederick, Maryland: A police officer pled guilty to a second-degree assault charge. He was placed on administrative duties after he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend while they were vacationing. http://ow.ly/vopnP
  • Update: Cleveland, Ohio (Previously reported 08-23-12): A jury found a veteran police officer guilty of raping and kidnapping a woman. He face multiple charges of rape, kidnapping and gross sexual imposition involving two separate women. http://ow.ly/vohRs
  • Park Forest, Illinois: An officer was charged in the police killing of a 95-year-old World War II veteran who was fatally shot with beanbag rounds in his apartment at a senior facility. A Cook County State’s Attorney said the patrolman was charged with one count of reckless conduct, a Class 4 felony. http://ow.ly/voPR4
  • Update: Cincinnati, Ohio (First reported 01-30-14): Police have concluded an internal investigation of allegations by a woman who said she was raped. The woman filed a federal lawsuit against a police officer, alleging that she arrested her instead of helping her. http://ow.ly/vokRl
  • Frederick, Maryland: A police officer pled guilty to a second-degree assault charge. ow.ly/vopnP

Chicago Spends Hundred of Millions on Police Misconduct Cases

From the Chicago Sun Times:

Over the past decade, the City of Chicago has spent more than $500 million on police-related settlements, judgments, legal fees and other costs — raising new questions about the adequacy of training and oversight in the Chicago Police Department, according to a review by the Better Government Association.

In 2013 alone, the city shelled out $84.6 million — the largest annual payout in the decade analyzed by the BGA, and more than triple the $27.3 million the city had initially projected to spend last year….

In all, the BGA found more than $521.3 million has been spent to handle police misconduct-related lawsuits from 2004 to the present day. The true cost, though, is even higher, as the BGA counted settlements and judgments, legal bills and other fees — but not less tangible expenses related to, say, insurance premiums, investigators and the cost of incarcerating innocents.

In all, the BGA found 1,611 misconduct-related lawsuits had been filed against Chicago police from 2009 to 2013, a majority alleging excessive force.

Cop Pulls Gun on Boys Building a Tree Fort

From WSBTV:

A fifth-grader says he was terrified when a police officer pointed a gun at him and his friends while they built a tree fort.

Omari Grant, 11, said he and his friends often play in a wooded area behind his home and were building a fort when a neighbor in the next subdivision called police to complain about what the boys were doing.

But no one anticipated what Omari and his mother say happened next….

Omari told Diamant that two officers, one with his gun drawn, rolled up on him and a few of his friends as they built a fort in the trees behind his home.

“I was thinking that I don’t want to be shot today, so I just listened to what they said,” Omari said.

More here.

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