National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 09-05-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, September 5, 2014:

  • Atlanta, Georgia: A now-former police officer was indicted for allegedly beating a man so badly that the man suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung. http://ow.ly/B9yjY
  • Louisville, Kentucky: A police officer is being accused of shoplifting from an outdoors store. The officer faces charges of theft by unlawful taking under $500http://ow.ly/B9oTt
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: An off-duty state trooper got involved in a fight during a wedding, and also became aggressive with police. He is now facing charges of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and obstructing law enforcement, along with an internal investigation. ow.ly/B9nT4
  • Update: North Hodge, Louisiana (First reported 08-15-14): The assistant police chief was arraigned after victims have come forward claiming he sexually violated them. He pled not guilty to seven counts of malfeasance in office, two counts of forcible rape and one count of indecent behavior with a juvenile. ow.ly/B8O6r
  • Baltimore, Maryland: Police are investigating whether officers used excessive force in the arrest of a pair of brothers, the department said. Officers say that one man punched an officer as the two resisted arrest, while witnesses alleged that officers used unnecessary force in detaining the men following a dirt bike crash. ow.ly/B8Ams
  • Broward County, Florida: A veteran sheriff’s deputy was arrested after investigators found in his marked patrol vehicle prescription drugs that had belonged to a dead man. The deputy faces one count each of armed trafficking in hydrocodone, possession of alprazolam, grand theft of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence and official misconduct/falsifying public or court records, according to the sheriff’s office. ow.ly/B8mR5
  • Montgomery County, Ohio: An area woman and her attorney are preparing to file a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office after she says a deputy lifted her off the ground and slammed her head on a concrete floor while booking her into jail. ow.ly/B8mws
  • Thibodaux, Louisiana: A police officer was fired after allegations of misconduct surfaced. The issue is under investigation and disciplinary action has been taken against more than one officer. ow.ly/B8jiM

More on the John Geer Case

From the Washington Post:

Shot in the chest, he was left to bleed to death inside his doorway while police officers, remaining outside the house, did nothing for an hour. Five and a half hours after the shooting, his body remained sprawled on the floor where he died.

Incredibly, the authorities in Northern Virginia — including Fairfax County police and state and federal prosecutors — have refused to furnish any explanation for this stupefying sequence of events last Aug. 29 in Springfield. They have stonewalled.

Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. promised to “hold myself accountable” to Mr. Geer’s family, which includes two young daughters. He has done nothing of the kind. No official information about the shooting has been forthcoming. The officer who fired the shot, who remains on the force with full pay, has not been identified.

The authorities conduct themselves as if the case presented insurmountable complexities. This strains credulity. It involved one shot, one gun, one shooter and one fatality. It took place in broad daylight, at mid-afternoon. It was witnessed at close range by at least two other police officers, as well as friends and neighbors of Mr. Geer. And still authorities refuse to act or discuss Mr. Geer’s death.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 09-04-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, September 4, 2014:

  • Delaware County, Pennsylvania: A man says that members of the police department dragged him into a room without surveillance cameras and beat him repeatedly about the head and back after he went to the police station to retrieve a confiscated handgun, according to a federal suit filed. ow.ly/B6aTk
  • Bangs, Texas: The police chief announced his resignation pending an investigation into alleged misconduct. According to the Mayor, the city council was set to meet to discuss the cheif’s removal based on alleged misconduct or lack of confidence, but he resigned first. ow.ly/B68Mm
  • Update: Lee, Massachusetts (First reported 08-30-13): The now-former police chief remains free after he pled not guilty to a dozen new charges in federal court in connection with the alleged theft of more than $50,000 meant for Christmas gifts for needy families. ow.ly/B66zo
  • Yonkers, New York: A police officer has been suspended after he was arrested and accused of pointing a firearm at a woman and choking her at his home, authorities said. ow.ly/B64pW
  • Miami, Florida: A police officer is facing DUI and criminal mischief charges following his arrest. He also faces a charge of possession of narcotics and driving with a suspended license. ow.ly/B5txp
  • Update: San Jose, California (Previously reported 05-14-14): The police officer accused of rape was charged with another crime. He stormed out of the a Safeway with a bottle of vodka about 2:30 a.m. in violation of a state law that bans the sale or purchase of alcohol between 2 and 6 a.m. ow.ly/B3FID
  • Barrow County, Georgia: Internal investigations led to the firing of a deputy for use of excessive force as well as the resignations in lieu of termination by another deputy and a lieutenant for their reaction to the incident. ow.ly/B3v21
  • Put-in Bay, Ohio: Allegations of unlawful arrests and heavy-handed tactics against police are being investigated by a county sheriff and a state agency. ow.ly/B3z1Y

Worst of the Month — August 2014

So the worst police misconduct for the month of August goes, unsurprisingly, to the Ferguson police. As the events in Ferguson played out during August, the police department there put on a clinic on how not to police a community.  From the withholding of Darren Wilson’s name (He was the officer who shot Michael Brown six times), to brandishing weapons of war against a community expressing its anger and mourning through protest, and blatantly targeting journalists for arrest and assault, the events in Ferguson have shown just how disastrous poor policing can be to a community.  If there is any silver lining to the situation, it is that people across the country have been presented with a good look at the consequences of when police misconduct goes unchecked and bad policies, like militarizing local police forces, are allowed to continue.  Things were bad enough in Ferguson for them to collectively qualify as the worst police misconduct of August, but the situation will be much worse if the lessons of Ferguson are not learned and the mistakes not corrected in the future—and not just in Ferguson, but in similar towns around the country.

Next week, Cato will be hosting two events related to Ferguson.  More info here and here.

For additional Ferguson-related posts, go here, here, here, and here.

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Finally, a not-so-’honorable mention’ goes to the Denver police officer who tried to get out of his DUI arrest by telling the arresting officer “Bro, I’m a cop.” That he would even attempt this tactic tells us something about the police subculture–where too many law enforcement officers believe that they are above the law.  They aren’t, and the arresting officer did the right thing by getting a dangerous drunk driver off the streets—cop or not.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 09-03-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, September 3, 2014:

  • Waldo, Florida: The City Council suspended two police supervisors: a captain and the police chief. This happened after police said they were ordered to write 12 tickets per 12-hour shift, or face punishment. http://ow.ly/B3tYW
  • Savanna, Georgia: A police officer has been fired after he shot and wounded an unarmed man while responding to reports of gunshots outside a nightclub. ow.ly/B3qki
  • Atwater, Minnesota: A woman has filed a formal complaint against the police chief for trespassing on her property and killing her young son’s pet chicken – leaving the hen’s decapitated head just feet from the backyard chicken coop. ow.ly/B3lRU
  • Charlotte, North Carolina: A police officer was arrested after deputies say they were called to the officer’s home about a domestic dispute. The officer’s wife told deputies that he picked her up and threw her to the ground during an argument. ow.ly/B2Md1
  • Paducah, Kentucky: The police department is responding to accusations that two of their officers used excessive force during a traffic stop. The police chief has defended the officers’ actions and says there will be no further details until an internal investigation into the matter is complete. ow.ly/B2zqU
  • Eddy County, New Mexico: A deputy was arrested stemming from a domestic violence incident. She is being charged with battery against a household member after she allegedly physically assaulted her girlfriend at their residence. ow.ly/B2ymP
  • Update: Fairfax County, Virginia (First reported 09-04-13): A family has sued the police department, the chief, and three unnamed officers for gross negligence for shooting and killing their father a year ago. Police and federal investigators have not released any information publicly about the case. They have not said whether they think the shooting was justified and have not released the names of the officers involved. Witnesses say the man was unarmed when he was shot. ow.ly/B2tFR
  • Tewksbury, Massachusetts: A police officer has been arrested for a second drunk driving charge after he led state police on a three-mile chase on the interstate. ow.ly/B2b2q

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-20-14 to 09-02-14

Here are the 12 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, August 30 to Tuesday, September 2, 2014:

  • Ferguson, Missouri: At least five people are suing the Ferguson and St. Louis County police departments for $40 million, alleging abuse and mistreatment during the civil upheaval. http://ow.ly/B0ffW
  • Update: Los Angeles County, California (First reported 07-23-14): A sheriff’s deputy who was typing on a patrol car computer when he hit and killed a bicyclist will not be prosecuted, the district attorney’s office said in a statement. http://ow.ly/B0jEa
  • Oregon, Wisconsin: An investigation launched by the village board alleges the police chief withheld information about the extent of police calls to a sports and entertainment facility where he and some of his officers routinely performed off-duty security work. http://ow.ly/B0m0I
  • Update: Boulder, Colorado (First reported 06-04-14): A now-former police officer convicted of killing an elk was sentenced to four years of probation, some community service and was fined. http://ow.ly/B0tdn
  • Chicago, Illinois: A police commander is accused of placing the barrel of his gun into a suspect’s mouth. He has been charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct. ow.ly/B09Qp
  • San Bernardino, California: A jury has found a former sheriff’s deputy guilty of two misdemeanor charges for repeatedly kicking a man in the chest and groin as he lay handcuffed on the ground. ow.ly/B0207
  • Vinita, Oklahoma: The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said a police officer was arrested for multiple counts of lewd molestation with a child under 16. ow.ly/B01hE
  • Update: Omaha, Nebraska (First reported 07-18-14): A now-former police officer who pled no contest to obstructing governmental operations has been sentenced. He was given 12 months of probation. Prosecutors allege the officer disposed a memory card from a cellphone possibly used to record a controversial arrest. ow.ly/AZmuW
  • Havana, Florida: An officer was arrested on a count of perjury after state investigators say he lied in traffic court. ow.ly/AXMvh
  • Walnut Creek, California: A police officer arrested after allegedly donning a mask and beating a woman with a baseball bat has been placed on administrative leave, police said. ow.ly/AXMkD
  • Atlanta, Georgia: Police have arrested a police officer accused of shooting a woman and burning her body in. He was arrested at the international airport attempting to get on a flight to Mexico. ow.ly/AXM9n
  • Fayette County, Pennsylvania: A police officer was arrested in an apparent domestic dispute. He was charged with simple assault and harassment. ow.ly/AXLXb

Police ‘Dispatch’ Boy’s Pet Chicken

 

From the West Central Tribune:

An Atwater woman has filed a formal complaint against the Atwater Police Chief for trespassing on her property and killing her young son’s pet chicken – leaving the hen’s decapitated head just feet from the backyard chicken coop.

Ashley Turnbull said she knows she violated the city’s ordinance that prohibits fowl and acknowledges she was told Aug. 7 by police to remove the three chickens and two ducks.

But she said Police Chief Trevor Berger went too far when he came onto her property about a week later, when nobody was home, and clubbed, killed and decapitated a small, red hen with a shovel.

The John Geer Case

From the Washington Post:

In the year since John Geer was fatally shot by a Fairfax County police officer, his family has struggled to cope with the sudden loss. His younger daughter, now 14, cried for weeks after the Aug. 29, 2013, incident.

His older daughter, now 18, marks the 29th of every month with some remembrance of her father. For years, he took her to every travel and high school softball practice and game, so his absence was obvious almost every day. The other fathers of her South County High team walked her onto the field on Senior Night, because hers couldn’t be there.

For Geer’s partner of 24 years and his parents, the grief was accompanied by waiting, they say. For information. For action. For answers from the prosecutors or police as to why a man who witnesses say was unarmed was shot in front of his home.

Police and federal investigators have not released any information publicly about the case. They have not said whether they think the shooting was justified and have not released the names of the officers involved.

“It’s been hell,” said Don Geer, John Geer’s father. “Frustrating to say the least — not knowing anything and having a feeling of helplessness, sadness, anger. Just wondering what’s going on and why nobody would tell us anything.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-29-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, August 29, 2014:

  • Mathis, Texas: A police officer has been accused of indecency with a child. The 14-year-old accuser told detectives about the incident and the officer was booked into the county jail and held on a $50,000 bond. http://ow.ly/ANtCq
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina: A jury found a police officer used excessive force in the death of a man. The officer shot him with a Taser gun twice and he died of a heart attack shortly after the incident. The man’s parents were awarded $500,000 for the death of their son. ow.ly/ARPzn
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana: A police officer has pled guilty to raping a woman during an OWI arrest. As part of his plea agreement he pled guilty to a felony charge of rape as well as one charge of sexual misconduct and another charge of official misconduct. ow.ly/ARI2Y
  • Phoenix, Arizona: A police lieutenant is part of an ongoing criminal investigation. He has been placed on paid administrative leave. ow.ly/ARBGS
  • Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania: A now-former police officer pled guilty to illegally killing a white-tailed deer, two wild turkey gobblers and a bobcat while he was on duty, according to court records. ow.ly/ARzKy
  • St. Clair County, Illinois: A lawsuit was filed in federal court accusing members of the sheriff’s department of using coercive tactics to get a false confession from a then 17-year-old with an IQ of 60. ow.ly/ARuob
  • Phoenix, Arizona: A police sergeant resigned after workers allegedly caught him shoplifting. The 29-year veteran is still eligible to collect his pension because he quit and wasn’t fired. ow.ly/ARBcv
  • Leland, North Carolina: A police officer has been fired and two others have announced their resignation amidst an ongoing SBI investigation regarding missing evidence within the department. ow.ly/ANi3j

The Gregory Towns Case

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Two former East Point police officers violated the department’s policies when they repeatedly activated their Tasers to shock a handcuffed 24-year-old man, who died in a creek, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

Unlike other recent instances in New York and Ferguson., Mo., in which men died while interacting with police, there are no claims Gregory Lewis Towns Jr. was resisting, according to police reports and a Fulton County State Court lawsuit. Also in the case of Towns, everyone involved was black.

Records show police found Towns, who weighed 281 pounds, sitting on the ground, catching his breath, after a chase of less than a mile, and he asked officers at least 10 times to be allowed to rest before going with them. According to the suit and logs from the Tasers, the devices were activated 14 times over the following 29 minutes with the two officers pressing the electrified prongs against Towns’ skin.

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