National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-21-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, March 21, 2014:

  • Mesa, Arizona: Police detectives coached patients of a doctor to make false sexual assault accusations against him, of which he was acquitted after his name was smeared, the doctor claims of court.
  • Manteno, Illinois: A police officer sexually assaulted a woman and his partner and a Highway Patrolman covered it up, the woman claims in court. She sued the village, its police officers, and an Illinois state police officer in Federal Court.
  • Butler, Wisconsin: A police lieutenant has been charged with official misconduct by the county District Attorney. A summons to appear in court was issued after the DA filed a criminal complaint alleging the lieutenant took inappropriate photographs of a stripper who was being held, perhaps improperly, at the village police station
  • Dallas, Texas: The father of a 19-year-old shot and killed by a police officer has sued the officers and the city in federal court. The father says the officers are responsible for the wrongful death of his son. They initially believed he had broken into a house. That house turned out to be the boy’s childhood home, and the suit claims that the 19-year-old was “lawfully within [the] home” during the moments leading to the fatal shooting.
  • Montgomery, Alabama: A man claims he was run over, yanked and verbally abused by two officers and is suing the city for $100,000. The man is seeking compensation for insults to his race and damages to his leg, which he said separated from the bone after two white officers drove over him in their patrol car.
  • Homewood, Illinois: Three residents filed a federal lawsuit, claiming two police officers allegedly barged in to their home and injured an 82-year-old woman. The suit claims the officers came to the home and entered “without legal basis.”
  • Montgomery County, Maryland: A  police officer pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife during an argument inside their home. The 12-year veteran of the force pushed his wife against a wall, put his hands around her neck and threw her against a large desk, according to prosecutors. She was examined by doctors, and had bruises consistent with her account, prosecutors said.
  • North Port, Florida: A veteran police officer was arrested on charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment, while a fellow officer took his own life before a warrant for his arrest was served.

San Diego Police Dept Now Under Review

From NBCSanDiego:

The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an independent audit of the San Diego Police Department after allegations of sexual misconduct by uniformed officers.

The audit is expected to look at both the professional and personal aspects of the police department. It will examine the department’s hiring process, the supervision of officers and the process in place to detect misconduct, as well as staffing levels, salaries and vehicle locator records.

Former San Diego Chief William Lansdowne had asked for an outside audit on the department after allegations surfaced of uniformed officers giving women improper pat downs and exposing themselves to women.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-20-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, March 20, 2014:

  • Atlanta, Georgia: A police officer has been dismissed from the force for showing up to work under the influence of alcohol.
  • Bardstown, Kentucky: A now-former police officer who was under investigation has been indicted on drug charges. The officer was indicted “on obtaining a controlled substance by a misrepresentation, fraud or forgery.”
  • Update: Arlington, Texas (First reported 11-18-13): An assistant police chief will not be charged after being accused of domestic violence. A grand jury declined to indict him. He was arrested last year after being accused of assault by his wife.
  • Update: Normangee, Texas (First reported 01-27-14): A now-former police chief has been sentenced to 2 years of probation after he pled guilty to abusing access to a crime database at the request of a drug trafficking suspect.
  • Sebeka, Minnesota: Recently cited for driving while intoxicated, the police chief has decided to retire.
  • Detroit, Michigan: A police officer is charged in the rape of a woman who called 911 to report being assaulted by her boyfriend. The county prosecutor’s office says the officer was arraigned on second-degree criminal sexual conduct, assault and misconduct
  • Baltimore, Maryland: A police officer has been arrested for sex offenses against a teenage girl. The officer will be charged with third- and fourth-degree sexual offense and sexual solicitation of a minor. He is a 19-year veteran assigned to the Special Enforcement Section.
  • Liburn, Georgia: An attorney is suing the city, its police chief, and a pair of officers, claiming that he was unjustly assaulted and detained while speaking to a client outside of court.

A Fundraiser for Corrupt Police?

From ABC.Local:

Some San Francisco police officers are coming to the aid of five fellow cops who were recently suspended without pay after being indicted on fed corruption charges.

Martin Halloran, the head of the Police Officers Association, talked with us exclusively about the fundraisers planned to help five fellow cops who are no longer collecting paychecks following federal indictments.

“They have mortgages and car payments just like everyone else,” Halloran said.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-19-14

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, March 19, 2014:

  • Fresno, California: A police detective has been arrested and is accused of taking a bribe. Federal investigators say he accepted a $20,000 bribe from a marijuana distributor and made that person a confidential police informant.
  • Maricopa County, Arizona: A deputy is accused of speeding down a street and slamming into the side of a vehicle, killing the driver. He was traveling 81 mph in an unmarked SUV with no emergency lights or sirens activated when he crashed into the other vehicle.
  • Update: San Antonio, Texas (First reported 01-08-13): A now-former police officer was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release for theft of honest services by wire fraud. He offered to not file a marijuana possession charge in exchange for $500.
  • Orange County, Florida: A man is suing the city and a police officer in federal court after he says he was arrested and put in jail for shooting video of an arrest on his phone.
  • Hickory, North Carolina: A police officer has been indicted in connection with an alleged beating of a female that the officer had in custody. He has been indicted on a charge of assault with inflicting serious injury.
  • Melbourne, Florida: A police sergeant and now-former officer are accused of burning a boat and then filing a fraudulent insurance claim. The sergeant collected $45,066.72 on the boat, but investigators said they believed the men conspired to burn the boat.
  • Update: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (Previously reported 01-03-14): A police officer was fired for driving drunk and for other alleged incidents of misconduct. The city council voted 7-0 to terminate the officer.
  • Charleston, South Carolina: A police officer was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
  • Brandenburg, Kentucky: A grand jury has indicted a former state police trooper and a former police officer on sex abuse charges. They are accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old. “We protect and we serve, to the best of our ability, and at times thing happen that may not represent our agency the way we want it represented,” said a state trooper.
  • Update: Collinsville, Illinois (First reported 03-17-12): A judge has ruled that an officer will stand trial for unreasonable seizure, false arrest, and unreasonable search after reviewing video of an incident.
  • Jacksonville, Florida: A detective has been charged with attacking his wife and father-in-law. When deputies arrived on the scene, they found the officer “extremely intoxicated” in the front driveway.
  • Update: Bloomington, Illinois (First reported 11-20-13): A now-former police officer pled guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol. He has resigned and is awaiting sentencing.
  • St. Paul, Minnesota: A man is suing the city, along with a current and former police officer, after alleging that police entered his home and pepper-sprayed and tased him while responding to a call about loud music.
  • Cecil Pennsylvania: A police chief was arrested by state police who said he used his debit card to take more than $10,000 from his department, sometimes to gamble. He has retired from his position.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-15-14 to 03-18-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, March 15 to Tuesday, March 18, 2014:

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma: A police officer has been arrested on charges of possessing a firearm in commission of a felony and conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
  • Wagram, North Carolina: The State Bureau of Investigation is reviewing claims made by a business owner that a highway patrolman assaulted him without cause following a car accident
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A police officer who’s already in hot water with the department was arrested. She was charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct, harassment and resisting arrest after a fight with her boyfriend.
  • Sussex County, Delaware: A state trooper was arrested for allegedly using a law enforcement criminal history database to stalk his ex-girlfriend.
  • Perry Iowa: A police officer pled guilty to an assault that happened when he was on the force. He has since resigned from his post.
  • Irwindale, California: A police officer pled not guilty to kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman during a traffic stop.
  • Boise, Idaho: A police officer charged with sexually abusing infants has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. He’ll have to serve 12 and a half years before he is eligible for parole. Prosecutors say there were likely up to 20 possible victims.
  • Fannin County, Texas: A now-former police officer has been indicted on five federal charges. The indictment alleges the officer sexually assaulted four women while serving as a sheriff’s deputy. The charges include deprivation of rights under color of law and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
  • Odessa, Texas: An officer was charged and arrested with two counts of violations of the civil rights of a person in custody and improper sexual activity with a person in custody. Police said in a press release, “The behavior [the officer] is alleged to have engaged in is unprofessional and illegal. It will not be tolerated.”

The Perils of Reporting Police Misconduct

From Radley Balko at the Washington Post:

A pretty awful new bill (PDF) in the Kansas legislature would require anyone filing a complaint against a police officer to swear an affidavit before the complaint will be investigated. If any portion of the complaint is later shown to be false, the complainant could then be prosecuted for perjury….

[T]he bill would prohibit any police agency from investigating a complaint against an officer if another police agency has already found the complaint to be without merit. In practical terms, that means a sheriff’s department or the state police couldn’t investigate the possibility that a city or town police department was covering up misconduct. It doesn’t happen often, but on a few occasions that sort of investigation has exposed corruption and patterns of misconduct. (This case from Kansas City is instructive, though it occurred on the Missouri side of the border.) Once an officer’s own police agency clears him of wrongdoing, he’s home free.

So you’re welcome to file a complaint. But the cop you’re complaining about will be investigated by his colleagues — and only his colleagues. If they find that he did nothing wrong, as they nearly always do, you could then be arrested for a felony.

Police Disciplinary Records: None of the Public’s Business?

From the Sacramento Bee:

[O]pen-records advocates say California residents today have some of the least access to law enforcement records of anywhere in the country. Bills to tighten the restrictions, pushed by politically influential law enforcement unions, routinely sail through the Legislature. Attempts to provide more disclosure have been few and unsuccessful.

Under state law, peace officer personnel records are confidential, including personal data, promotion, appraisal and discipline records, and “any other information the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Only a judge can order their release as part of a criminal case or lawsuit.

The restrictions regularly come into play. In Lodi, police officials have released little about the officers involved in the Jan. 25 shooting of Parminder Singh Shergill, an Iraq War veteran. In West Sacramento, Latino groups demanded information after the June 2005 police beating of brothers Ernesto and Fermin Galvan. There also was anger at the lack of details following the April 2009 shooting of Luis Gutierrez Navarro by Yolo County sheriff’s deputies.

Civil-rights lawyer Cruz Reynoso said community members in such cases confront a police “wall of silence.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-14-14

Here are the 12 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, March 14, 2014:

  • Washington County, Utah: A police officer has resigned after he was arrested for driving under the influence. He was driving with children in the car.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: A woman is suing the police department saying she received third degree burns during an encounter with police after a traffic accident. She was held against hot pavement and burned as a result. The police would not comment on the pending lawsuit.
  • Filer, Idaho: The owners of a 7-year-old black Labrador retriever who was fatally shot by a police officer are in the process of filing a lawsuit against the police department.
  • Update: Springettsbury Township, Pennsylvania (Previously reported 11-06-13): The township has settled two federal civil-rights lawsuits filed by people who alleged officers used excessive force when arresting them. They will pay a total of $500,000.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A photojournalism student and his girlfriend are suing two police officers who they say wrongly arrested them while he was photographing a neighbor’s arrest. The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for assault, battery, false arrest and imprisonment, and malicious prosecution.
  • Countryside, Illinois: A now-former police chief has been indicted on multiple charges in the alleged misuse of more than $180,000 raised for a police helicopter program he ran.
  • Boise, Idaho: A police officer has been suspended after deputies arrested him on domestic violence allegations. “The Boise Police Department demands the highest professional conduct from its officers, both on and off duty, which includes conformance to laws,” the department said in a news release.
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee: A police officer has been charged with domestic assault in an incident in which her nephew said she hit him over an unpaid water bill. She was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.
  • Baltimore City, Maryland: A police officer fatally shot his ex-girlfriend and a city firefighter, and then himself. The incident is being investigated.
  • Austin, Texas: The family a man who was shot and killed by a police officer has sued the city and the officer. The suit alleges the officer used excessive force, and that the city has failed to discipline and provide its officers with adequate policies, practices and procedures.
  • Los Angeles, California: A sheriff’s deputy pled no contest to rape and bribery charges in a pair of incidents that date back four years. The investigation involved traffic stops of two female motorist. The officer allegedly offered to not arrest the women in exchange for sex acts.
  • Gaffney, South Carolina: A police officer admitted to driving under the influence in a crash that seriously injured his friend.

Creative Commons License
This work by Cato Institute is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.