National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-02-14 to 08-04-14

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, August 2, to Monday, August 4, 2014:

  • Romulus, Michigan: A police officer is accused of being the aggressor in a road rage incident. He was charged with felonious assault and felony firearm.
  • Buffalo, New York: A now-former police officer sentenced to 10 months home confinement for mail fraud. He was also ordered to pay $6,400 in restitution to his victims. 
  • Prineville, Oregon: Police chief fired for falsifying records, misusing city equipment and bad leadership
  • Update: Huntsville, Alabama (First reported 03-27-14): A man has reached a settlement after being badly beaten during an arrest.  He had filed a civil lawsuit against the sheriff and eight of his deputies, claiming false arrest and conspiracy to cover up a “revenge beatdown.”
  • Broward County, Florida: Sergeant was charged with misdemeanor battery after a fight and tried to use his personal friendship with the sheriff to “make this go away,” according to police reports.
  • Update: Pickens, South Carolina (First reported 06-26-14): A police officer at the center of a SLED investigation has resigned, according to the mayor. The officer resigned after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman while on duty.
  • Miami-Dade, Florida: County taxpayers will pay $600,000 to the families of three men who were shot to death in a botched police sting, despite police claims that the shootings were justified.
  • Middlefield, Ohio: A man was pulled over for going over the center line, although police dashcam video doesn’t show that he did. A K-9 then searched the van and didn’t find any drugs. Police wound up arresting the man for not having a driver’s license. It’s a minor misdemeanor. “You can’t arrest someone for not having a valid drivers license,” said the Geauga County Prosecutor. A lieutenant at the arrest admitted that police made mistakes and said the type of mistakes they made “happen all the time around the country.”
  • Mt. Olive, New Jersey: A  man was pulled over for going over the center line, although police dashcam video doesn’t show that he did. He was then arrested, though whether he should have been was disputed among officers. “You can’t arrest someone for not having a valid drivers license,” said a county prosecutor.
  • Chicago, Illinois: A city finance committee approved the use of $1.2 million of taxpayer money to compensate the family of a 17 year-old boy shot and killed by police officers.

FBI Grading News Stories

From the Washington Times:

The FBI is hiring a contractor to grade news stories about the agency as “positive” “neutral” or “negative,” but the agency won’t say why officials need the information or what they plan to do with it.

FBI officials wouldn’t even reveal how they will go about assigning the grades, which were laid out in a recent contract solicitation. The contract tells potential bidders to “use their judgment” in scoring news coverage as part of a new “daily news briefing” service the agency is seeking as part of a contract that could last up to five years.

Just a guess, but this story is probably not going to be recorded as “positive.”

J. Edgar Hoover did some of this sort of thing.  He would give friendly journalists advance notice of FBI raids.  When other reporters and newspapers started wondering why this or that newspaper always seemed to be getting good scoops on FBI stories, they’d eventually learn that it really, really helps if one does not run “negative” stories about FBI agents or FBI management.  Even if those negative stories are true.  Good reporters have to work hard to avoid being manipulated by law enforcement agencies.

Additional background here.

UPDATE: Apparently, they are now backing off of this idea.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-01-14

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, August 1, 2014:

  • Update: Lakeland, Florida (Previously reported 09-26-13): The city has paid a $25,000 settlement to a woman ordered to shake out her bra during a traffic stop.
  • Los Angeles, California: Two officers are under investigation for their use of force on a female suspect in a holding cell. The force used on the woman, who had been arrested on suspicion of petty theft, included kicking and punching and resulted in her being taken to a hospital to be treated for her injuries.
  • Update: Seabrook, New Hampshire (First reported 04-11-14): Two officers have been fired. A third officer was suspended for two days without pay and a fourth has been demoted to patrolman. The disciplinary actions are the end result of an investigation into a videotaped incident showing excessive force against a 19 year old man.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh has agreed to pay $35,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who accused a now-former city police officer of assaulting her. The woman claimed the city should not have allowed the officer to be on the force because he failed his psychological exam and should have removed him from the force when two women filed sex assault complaints previously.
  • Norwalk, Connecticut: The attorney for a man who suffered multiple injuries during an arrest filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city and four police officers. It says police officers violated his civil rights and caused a series of injuries, some of which were deemed permanent.
  • Update; Los Angeles, California (First reported 07-07-14): The woman punched by an officer along a freeway has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the officer and head of the agency. The suit alleges that the unnamed officer used excessive force. “The punches, the brutality, the viciousness of the attack itself are all violations of her 4th Amendment rights to be free from excessive force,” said her attorney.
  • Fishers, Indiana: A teenager and his parents will file a lawsuit after the teen was attacked by a police dog. The review by the chief of police said the K-9 officer gave repeated commands to stop running and was in complete control of his dog.
  • Update; New Orleans, Louisiana (First reported 11-26-13): A pair of now-former narcotics detectives each were sentenced to 18 months in prison after they pled guilty to working side jobs while on the clock for the city and taking cash that was supposed to go to drug informants.
  • Estelline, Texas: The city is reviewing its police procedures after authorities reached a $77,500 legal settlement with a woman who alleged officers illegally seized more than $29,000 from her pickup and kept $1,400 of her cash.
  • Memphis, Michigan: The police chief was fired after she was driving a city police car that went through a stop sign on a gravel road, striking a FedEx delivery truck.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Six city narcotics officers used gangland tactics to shake down drug dealers, relying on guns, badges, beatings and threats to extort huge piles of cash and cocaine, federal authorities charged. The police officers once held a suspect over an 18th floor balcony and used a steel bar to beat someone else in the head, authorities said. They also held one man captive in a hotel room for several days while he and his family were threatened.
  • Galion, Ohio: A police lieutenant and his wife were both arrested by police on charges of domestic violence.
  • Newton County, Texas: The sheriff has been indicted on one count of terroristic threat on a public servant and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. The charge is a third-degree felony.  If convicted, he could be sentenced to from 2 to 10 years in prison. He will face a $10,000 bond when arraigned on the charge.
  • Update: East Hartford, Connecticut (Previously reported 03-28-14): A now-former police officer has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for possession of child pornography.  Prosecutors say he will serve five years of supervised release following his prison time.

National Police Miscondcut NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-31-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, July 31, 2014:

  • Oakland, California: Relatives of a man who collapsed while struggling with police and later died have filed a federal wrongful-death lawsuit against the city. The coroner concluded that the man died of multiple drug intoxication, with “physical exertion” as a contributing factor.
  • Update: Hodgenville, Kentucky (First reported 07-01-14): A not-guilty plea was entered for the police chief. He is charged with official misconduct and hindering prosecution.
  • Covington, Tennessee: A now-former police officer has been found guilty of misconduct. A jury found him guilty of official misconduct and misuse of official information. He knew his father was a felon and still allowed him to have more than 20 guns.
  • Grundy County, Tennessee: A now-former captain for the sheriff’s office has been indicted on charges of theft and misconduct after allegedly stealing handguns from an evidence room.
  • Bibb County, Georgia: Bond has been set at $55,500 for a deputy accused of child sex crimes. He was arrested and could lose his job after authorities said he approached a teenage girl to make “sexual contact” and repeatedly touched her in a sexual way, even though she asked him to stop repeatedly.
  • Pacific, Missouri: A now-former police officer is facing felony drug charges. Prosecutors say he was still with the department when he allegedly stole narcotics.
  • Update: Lilburn, Georgia (First reported 02-24-14): More than five months after an investigation was launched into her alleged theft of prescription drug evidence, a now-former police officer has been arrested.
  • Santa Ana, California: Police said this week the department is investigating the use of force by officers recorded by a nearby surveillance camera the night of the arrest.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-30-14

Here are the 17 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 30, 2014:

  • Macomb, Illinois: A patrol officer has been charged with forgery and state benefit fraud. He’s accused of obtaining a Link card in someone else’s name and then using that card. Link cards in Illinois are issued to anyone approved to receive cash assistance or SNAP (food stamp) benefits.
  • Troy, New York: A police officer has been accused of purposefully revealing information about an investigation into a drug ring to at least one suspect.
  • Update: Miami-Dade, Florida (First reported 04-10-14): A police officer charged with DUI is back in custody for driving with a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident while out on bond. “I do have serious concerns regarding the safety of the community,” a judge said. He has been placed on paid administrative leave pending his trial.
  • San Antonio, Texas: Three police officers are being investigated for possibly using excessive force, after an incident left a man with injuries to his face, skull and neck. The man said he was struck about 50 times, even though he complied with the officers’ instructions and did not fight back. Shortly after being handcuffed and explaining to officers that he owned the property, a fourth officer approached and said the suspect the officers were actually looking for was in custody nearby.
  • Portland, Oregon: An off-duty police officer is accused of assaulting a teen at an RV park.
  • Manchester, New Hampshire: A now-former police officer has pled guilty to running criminal records checks on stolen identities for someone who was the target of a drug-related investigation.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: A police officer was charged with second-degree assault after prosecutors say he struck a 14-year-old boy who was already apprehended.
  • Clark County, Indiana: An officer gave a prostitute official law enforcement credentials and a deputy’s badge so she could get a government employee rate at a hotel. The two met at a hotel where the officer paid the prostitute $300 for sex and gave her a uniform shirt and other official department clothing. He is also accused of lying to the FBI about it.
  • Atlanta, Georgia: A police officer was fired, two days after being charged in a collision that killed a woman and injured two others.
  • Baldwin, Louisiana: State Troopers have charged a now-former police officer with molesting a 14-year-old girl who lived in his home. Troopers confirmed the officer was charged after the girl gave birth.
  • Update: Chula Vista, California (First reported 06-18-14): A police officer was charged with four misdemeanor battery counts stemming from an off-duty dispute with his girlfriend’s 16-year-old son.
  • Harvey, Illinois: A police detective he has been placed on administrative leave after being arrested for allegedly attacking the boyfriend of his former girlfriend.
  • Panama City, Florida: A police officer is demoted following an internal investigation. The complaint reveals the officer asked two members of staff to look up information on a law enforcement database.
  • North Enid, Oklahoma: A now-former officer arrested on a complaint of driving under the influence was arraigned. He was charged with driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, eluding a police officer and transporting an open container of beer, all misdemeanors.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: City Council approved a $115,000 settlement with a woman who accused a city officer of false arrest in a lawsuit. She alleged that the officer was wrong to arrest her on charges of witness intimidation and simple assault. She spent five days in jail, accused of hitting a witness, but video surveillance showed that she only brushed against the witness, according to the lawsuit.
  • Update: Frankfort, Indiana (First reported 02-12-14): A now-former police officer has pled guilty to charges that he stole nearly $150,000 from a company for which he transported cash.
  • Update: San Diego, California (First reported 02-07-14): A ninth accuser has come forward with graphic allegations of sexual misconduct against a now-former police officer, but for the first time the accuser is a man.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-29-14

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, July 29, 2014:

  • Oakland County, Michigan: A now-former sheriff’s deputy was sentenced to three days in jail, which he already served, and one year probation for attempting to resist a police officer following a bar fight.
  • Hometown, Illinois: A police officer was fired after shooting to death a family dog. The mother says her 6-year-old daughter saw the shooting of their dog by the officer.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: An officer is accused of domestic abuse and reckless driving and hit-and-run charges.
  • Woodbury, New York: An off-duty state trooper was arrested after police say he struck another trooper’s patrol car. He is accused of driving while intoxicated.
  • Richland County, South Carolina: The sheriff’s department has fired a deputy who ran a red light and caused an accident. He was fired following a departmental investigation and examination of the deputy’s driving record.
  • DeKalb County, Georgia: A police officer resigned after coming under fire for shooting a resident’s German Shepherd and then blocking the owner from taking the dog to the vet.
  • Indianapolis, Indiana: An police officer has been arrested on drunken driving charges for the second time within a year.
  • Santa Ana, California: Police officers are being accused of using excessive force after surveillance video emerged showing officers punching and using a baton on a burglary suspect who fled arrest. Video from a neighbor’s security cameras shows the man raising his hands and laying on the ground face-down after being confronted by police officers. An officer then comes to restrain the suspect, putting his knee on the man’s back and punching him repeatedly. Another officer is then seen hitting the man on the legs with what appears to be his police baton.
  • New York, New York: An officer was put on modified assignment after allegedly stomping on a suspect’s head, authorities said. The suspect had been subdued, and then the officer booted the man as he lay on the ground, officials said.
  • Lakeland, FL A police officer was arrested on charges of driving under the influence.
  • Albany, New York: A police officer has resigned from his job after being arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving and refusing a breath test.

Problems at the FBI

From the Washington Post:

Nearly every criminal case reviewed by the FBI and the Justice Department as part of a massive investigation started in 2012 of problems at the FBI lab has included flawed forensic testimony from the agency, government officials said.

The findings troubled the bureau, and it stopped the review of convictions last August. Case reviews resumed this month at the order of the Justice Department, the officials said.

U.S. officials began the inquiry after The Washington Post reported two years ago that flawed forensic evidence involving microscopic hair matches might have led to the convictions of hundreds of potentially innocent people. Most of those defendants never were told of the problems in their cases.

One wonders whether the FBI had a good reason for stopping the review.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-26-14 to 07-28-14

Here are the 7 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, July 26 to Monday, July 28, 2014:

  • Iva, South Carolina: The police chief has been arrested on criminal domestic violence charges and suspended from duty.
  • Seminole County, Florida: A deputy accused of soliciting a 17-year-old girl for sex was arrested on a warrant. He was charged with lewd computer solicitation of a child, according to investigators.
  • Update: Columbus, Ohio (First reported 12-13-13): A now-former veteran police officer has been sentenced after admitting to collecting child pornography. He was given 10 ½ years behind bars.
  • Socorro, New Mexico: A police sergeant was indicted on state felony theft charges. He is accused of stealing property of more than $1,500 and less than $20,000 and misapplication of fiduciary property over $1,500.
  • Update: Scott Twp, Pennsylvania (Previously reported 05-13-14): A now-former police chief was sentenced to six months of unsupervised probation. He agreed to a plea deal on charges he hindered investigators in a sex abuse case.
  • Newport, Tennessee: Two police captains were among four people indicted in a misconduct and money laundering case involving stolen goods and prescription pills, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced.
  • Kern County, California: A deputy is set to go on trial for hitting and killing two pedestrians with his patrol car. The deputy is charged with two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter. He was responding to a call of a stolen vehicle. Reports by the California Highway Patrol show he was traveling at 80 mph without the emergency lights and siren activated.

Problems in Milwaukee

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Two Milwaukee police officers who admitted they were present during invasive body cavity searches that led to felony convictions against a third officer were neither criminally charged nor fired from the department after making deals with prosecutors, according to court records.

One of the two officers, Michael Gasser, was on the scene during a 2010 search that caused the victim to bleed from his anus for several days, according to Gasser’s deposition in a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Not only did Gasser avoid termination, he has been allowed to continue training rookie officers — even though he told internal investigators he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the search, he testified in June.

The second officer, Zachary Thoms, admitted in a deposition that he and Officer Michael Vagnini coerced a suspect to try to defecate into a cardboard box at the District 5 police station in 2011, hoping he would expel hidden drugs.

Meanwhile, two supervisors who were in charge of District 5 while illegal searches were occurring there have been promoted to the highest levels of the department.

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