National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Problems at the Border Patrol

From the Washington Post:

FOLLOWING MONTHS of damning disclosures about the use of deadly force by Border Patrol agents, Department of Homeland Security officials tightened the rules of engagement this spring. But it remains unclear whether U.S. Customs and Border Protection — with 43,000 agents, the biggest federal law enforcement agency — will end what appears to be a culture of impunity that has shielded agents from consequences and even meaningful investigations following senseless and unjustified killings.

Full editorial here.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-24-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, July 24, 2014:

  • Update: Waltham, Massachusetts (Previously reported 03-05-14): A now-former veteran police officer, guilty of possessing child pornography, was sentenced to five years in federal prison.
  • Harker Heights, Texas: A veteran K-9 officer has turned in his badge and gun after a misdemeanor arrest stemming from the theft of three pairs of sunglasses from a store.
  • Saint Jo, Texas: A police officer was arrested for official oppression. He is accused of unlawfully detaining an 18-year-old female driver on at least two occasions and following her on several other occasions, according to the arrest affidavit.
  • Independence, Kansas: The police chief made pleas to perjury, official misconduct, misuse of public funds, and theft of property valued at more than 25,000. He was sentenced to concurrent terms of six months for the perjury charge, 12 months for the official misconduct charge, 12 months for the misuse of public funds charge, and 12 months for the theft charge.
  • Update: Schuyler County, Missouri (First reported 07-11-14): The Sheriff has submitted his letter of resignation. He has been charged with three counts of permitting escape and two charges of tampering with a witness.
  • Dallas, Texas: The mother of a man whose shooting death at the hands of an officer spurred outrage and protest has filed a lawsuit against the city and the officer. She accuses the officer of using excessive force, the police department of racial profiling and false arrest.
  • Denver, Colorado: A police officer has been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation into sexual assault allegations.
  • New York, New York: A man claims in a $10 million lawsuit that he sustained a broken rib from a beatdown by a detective in an interrogation room. The city declined to comment on the suit.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-23-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 23, 2014:

  • St. Clair County, Missouri: The now-former sheriff was indicted by a federal grand jury for stealing property recovered in criminal cases and for selling a stolen firearm. “Today’s indictment alleges that the former sheriff treated the county’s evidence room like his personal tool shed, cheating the taxpayers and citizens of St. Clair County,” an attorney said. “No one is above the law. When the county’s chief law enforcement officer violates the very law he took an oath to uphold, he will be held accountable.”
  • Austin, Texas: A man has filed a lawsuit against a police officer, claiming the officer used excessive force.
  • Country Club Hills, Illinois: A police officer faces charges after he allegedly fired his weapon into a home while off duty and drinking at a friend’s house. He was charged with felony reckless discharge of a firearm and his bond was set at $75,000.
  • Los Angeles County, California: A sheriff’s deputy who hit and killed bicycler was texting when the incident occurred.
  • Greenville County, South Carolina: The third-highest ranking officer in the sheriff’s office has been fired after an internal affairs investigation concluded that he assisted criminals and didn’t keep Sheriff’s Office business secure.
  • Update: Cleveland, Ohio (First reported 07-15-14): A police officer has been indicted on 15 felony charges related to his illicit sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl.
  • Oakdale, Louisiana: A police officer was fired and charged with a sex crime involving a juvenile. State Police says its investigation revealed that the officer had sexual relations with a juvenile while on duty.
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: A police officer is being charged following allegations that she misappropriated funds from the Harrisburg Police Athletic League, a volunteer charitable organization she helped administer.
  • Boardman, Oregon: A police officer resigned in the wake of his arrest for drunk and reckless driving.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-22-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, July 22, 2014:

  • Update: Bull Shoals, Arkansas (Previously reported 07-11-14): The police chief was found not guilty on two counts related to an arrest. A mistrial was declared on the third count of use of excessive force.
  • Hazleton, Pennsylvania: Claims that a man pointed a gun at police before they shot him to death defy science and common sense, his sister said in a federal lawsuit filed that seeks more than $3.45 million in damages and claims that the city police routinely use excessive force against minorities.
  • Update: Broward County, Florida (Previously reported 05-13-14): A now-former lieutenant has been sentenced to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy for his role in a convicted Ponzi scheme operator’s $1.2 billion fraud.
  • Update: Westminster, South Carolina (First reported 03-25-13): A now-former police chief who was charged with embezzlement, forgery and misconduct in office pled guilty.
  • El Paso, Texas: A now-former police officer charged with tax fraud in connection with a medical billing scheme is scheduled to appear in court. He has been charged with corrupt interference with Internal Revenue laws and 14 counts of structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements and aiding and abetting.
  • Nolensville, Tennessee: An officer has been indicted for misconduct, according to a media release. He is accused of receiving inappropriate images of a minor female on his cellphone.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A now- former 10-year officer was ordered to stand trial for false imprisonment and related charges. He allegedly snatched a retired military veteran off a street, cuffed him, threw him face-first into the back of his marked SUV and drove him to a dark alley in the early-morning hours.
  • Update: Phillips, Wisconsin (First reported 03-05-14): The police chief accused of wrongdoing by the mayor will retire after an agreement was reached with the city. He been on paid administrative leave while the city’s Police Review Committee investigated the accusations. In a 16-page he was accused of falsifying an arrest document in a drug investigation and submitting a claim for expenses for a trip he never took.
  • Golden Meadow, Louisiana: Authorities say a police officer and two others have been arrested and booked with manufacturing methamphetamine.

Conservatives and the Police

From National Review Online:

Imagine if I were to tell you there is a large group of government employees, with generous salaries and ridiculously cushy retirement pensions covered by the taxpayer, who enjoy incredible job security and are rarely held accountable even for activities that would almost certainly earn the rest of us prison time. When there is proven misconduct, these government employees are merely reassigned and are rarely dismissed. The bill for any legal settlements concerning their errors? It, too, is covered by the taxpayers. Their unions are among the strongest in the country.

No, I’m not talking about public-school teachers.

I’m talking about the police.

We conservatives recoil at the former; yet routinely defend the latter — even though, unlike teachers, police officers enjoy an utter monopoly on force and can ruin — or end — one’s life in a millisecond….

But it’s time for conservatives’ unconditional love affair with the police to end….

The new video and photo evidence invites the troubling thought that this kind of behavior has long been routine. Only now is it coming to the attention of people who have led lives insulated from heavy interaction with the police. There is some statistical reason to believe that police today may actually be better-disciplined than they were in the past, and there’s certainly reason to hope that dashboard cams, wearable audio and video devices, and other technologies will lead to better outcomes for law-abiding cops as well as for law-abiding civilians.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-19-14 to 07-21-14

Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, July 19 to Monday, July 21, 2014:

  • Miami Beach, Florida: A homicide detective was jailed and accused of having sex in his police car with a teenage girl whose trust he gained while on the job.
  • Clark County, Ohio: A sheriff’s deputy has been indicted for tampering with evidence, obstructing justice and improperly furnishing firearms to a minor in relation to a murder investigation.
  • Miami Beach, Florida: A police officer is being investigated by his own colleagues after he was allegedly drunk during an off-duty job, while in full uniform. He has been relieved of duty with pay while internal affairs investigates the allegation.
  • Richmond, Illinois: An officer has been charged with official misconduct, possession of a stolen firearm, and burglary after he was fired for failing to show up for work. The charges stem from incidents that happened while he was an officer.
  • Gaffney, South Carolina: A longtime officer has been suspended after he was charged with aggravated criminal domestic violence and pointing a firearm.
  • Update: Springfield, Oregon (First reported 06-17-14): A police detective pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, interfering with a police officer and second-degree disorderly conduct.
  • Shinnston, West Virginia: A now-former police officer has been sentenced on drug charges. Media outlets report that a judge sentenced him to four to 16 years in prison.
  • Update: Arcadia, California (First reported 10-02-13): A now-former police officer pled “no contest” to embezzling more than $40,000 from the Arcadia Police Officers’ Association to buy motorcycle parts, exercise equipment and other personal items, officials said.
  • Los Angeles, California: Deputies kicked and beat a man with fists and batons even after he was subdued and handcuffed, according to attorneys who contend he was subjected to excessive force and “street justice.” The sheriff’s department confirms the incident is under investigation by an internal affairs unit.
  • Update: Exeter, Pennsylvania (First reported 04-18-14): A police officer who had been on administrative leave has been fired. According to court records, he was placed on leave for allegedly watching pornography and soliciting sexual relationships using his work computer while on duty.
  • Update: Boiling Spring Lakes, North Carolina (Previously reported 08-21-12): The now-former police chief has pled guilty to charges stemming from an investigation involving his son, who is a convicted felon. The officer pled to willfully failing to discharge his duties as a police officer.
  • West Palm Beach, Florida: A now-former police officer who sold anabolic steroids while on duty was sentenced to five years in prison.
  • Clairton, Pennsylvania: A 17-year-old girl claims she was beaten by police after she and her friends were stopped for a curfew violation. The girl admits she and her friends were out a few minutes after the city’s 10 p.m. curfew, and that she both ran from officers and resisted them after being tackled, but she doesn’t believe she deserves the injuries she suffered.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-18-14

Here are the 18 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, July 18, 2014:

  • Beaufort, South Carolina: A police officer pled guilty to simple assault against his 10-year-old stepdaughter, then resigned from the police department. According to warrants, he slapped her on the right side of her head.
  • Warrenton, Oregon: A police officer was arrested on charges related to the sale of guns. He was booked on charges including theft, forgery, tampering with physical evidence and official misconduct.
  • Los Angeles, California: A police officer allegedly caught on video as he used a baton to repeatedly strike a man who was on his knees has been charged with two felony assault counts.
  • Update: Hidalgo, Texas (First reported 04-16-14): A now-former sheriff who pled guilty to money laundering was sentenced to five years in prison. The U.S. District Judge departed from sentencing guidelines that topped out at less than four years to impose a stiffer sentence.
  • Charleston County, South Carolina: The sheriff’s office says a detective was fired after an internal investigation discovered that the officer had a sexual relationship with a murder suspect’s mother and lied about it.
  • Omaha, Nebraska: A now-former police officer facing criminal charges in connection with a controversial arrest caught on video has made a plea deal. He entered no-contest pleas to two misdemeanor counts of obstructing governmental operations. Prosecutors allege the officer disposed a memory card from a cellphone possibly used to record an incident.
  • Update: Pierce County, Georgia (Previously reported 12-03-13): Federal prosecutors say a now-former deputy sheriff has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for protecting drug dealers.
  • Denver, Colorado: A deputy is under investigation for inappropriate force against a detainee during the booking process at the jail. A security camera recorded the incident, but the chief said he would not release it to the public, pending the investigation.
  • Tuscaloosa, Alabama: A police officer has been arrested on a domestic violence charge for the second time in two years. After speaking with the victim and the suspect, officers found probable cause to charge the officer with third degree domestic violence criminal coercion.
  • Montgomery, Alabama: A police officer is being charged with domestic violence following an arrest, according to the department.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: A jury found that two police officers used excessive force during an arrest. The jury awarded a combined $105,000 in compensatory and punitive damages the victim, who accused one officer of beating him while the other officer failed to intervene.
  • Update: Washington Park, Illinois (First reported 07-01-13): A now-former police officer pled guilty to bringing drugs into a jail for an inmate.
  • New York, New York: A 400-pound asthmatic dad died after a cop put him in a chokehold and other officers appeared to slam his head against the sidewalk, video of the incident shows.
  • Barren County, Kentucky: A federal judge ruled that a now-former sheriff’s deputy violated a man’s constitutional rights by using excessive force against the man after arresting him.
  • Update: King County, Washington (First reported 01-07-14): The sheriff has fired a deputy who was arrested after being found asleep in his patrol car and showing signs of impairment. The deputy was ultimately found to have prescription drugs in his system.
  • Spokane County, Washington: A sheriff’s deputy was fired after he billed a local business for work he didn’t do. The deputy left his post to work patrol but billed the store for a full 12-hour shift.
  • Update: Irwindale, California (First reported 06-13-14): A now-former police officer denied molesting a 14-year-old police Explorer. He pled not guilty to using a minor for sex acts, sending harmful matter, oral copulation of a person under 16, sexual penetration by a foreign object and two counts of contact with a minor for sexual offense.
  • Miramar, Florida: A police officer was arrested on petit theft and official misconduct charges after officials say he stole two bottles of liquor while investigating a shoplifting case.

Chicago is Ready for Reform

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

We stand at a watershed in the long history of efforts to address patterns of police abuse in Chicago. On March 10, the state appellate court held in Kalven v. Chicago that documents bearing on allegations of police misconduct are public information. On July 11, the Emanuel administration announced that it will not appeal Kalven and that it has adopted a set of procedures for implementing the decision…

As the plaintiff and attorneys in Kalven, we engaged in extended negotiations with Corporation Counsel Steve Patton and his staff in order to settle the case. The Emanuel administration is to be commended. Not only does its new transparency policy conform to Kalven, in some respects it goes beyond what the decision requires.

This is real reform. It is important to understand why.

The documents at issue are: (1) the investigative files generated when a citizen files a complaint charging police misconduct, and (2) lists of officers who accumulated repeated complaints of abuse….

Until now, the city has fiercely resisted any and all efforts via the Freedom of Information Act and civil discovery to make public the identities of officers with repeated complaints and the contents of police misconduct files. From our perspective, it has often seemed to allocate more resources to maintaining official secrecy than to addressing the underlying problems.

The Emanuel administration’s new policy breaks with the past. From now on, the city will honor FOIA requests for police misconduct files, subject only to the redaction of private information such as the names of complainants and the accused officer’s address and Social Security number. If it believes a request is unduly burdensome, it will provide summary digests, detailed narratives of the investigation. Requesters will then have the option of asking the city for a subset of the requested files or specific documents they have identified within the files.

This policy will allow the public and the press to assess the quality of investigations and to identify groups of officers with a pattern of complaints. It will create incentives for investigators, knowing their work is subject to public scrutiny, to conduct rigorous investigations. And it will ultimately, we believe, move the department to address patterns of police abuse.

Death by Chokehold

From the New York Times:

The 350-pound man, about to be arrested on charges of illegally selling cigarettes, was arguing with the police. When an officer tried to handcuff him, the man pulled free. The officer immediately threw his arm around the man’s neck and pulled him to the ground, holding him in what appears, in a video, to be a chokehold. The man can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” over and over again as other officers swarm about.

Now, the death of the man, Eric Garner, 43, soon after the confrontation on Thursday on Staten Island, is being investigated by the police and prosecutors. At the center of the inquiry is the officer’s use of a chokehold — a dangerous maneuver that was banned by the New York Police Department more than 20 years ago but that the department cannot seem to be rid of.

Read the whole thing.

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