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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-04-15

Here are the eleven reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, August 4, 2015:

  • Madison County, Alabama: A now-former deputy faces civil rights charges. Among other allegations, he pointed an empty gun at a man’s head and pulled the trigger.
  • Dallas, Texas: An officer was arrested for animal cruelty.
  • Illinois State Police: A trooper was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for a late-night off-duty incident at a diner.
  • Lexington County, South Carolina: A deputy was charged with domestic violence for an altercation with his wife in a parking lot.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: The City is being sued by a man whose traffic stop ended with him being shot in the head.
  • Kenton County, Kentucky: A deputy is being sued by the ACLU for using handcuffs to restrain two young children with disabilities.
  • Mississippi State Police: A now-former trooper was indicted for manslaughter for causing the death of an 81-year-old woman in a collision with his patrol vehicle.
  • Tennessee Highway Patrol: A trooper was charged with buying hydrocodone on duty, which added a gun charge to the felony.
  • Update: Ramsey County, Minnesota (First reported 03-31-14) A deputy convicted of DUI for running a driver off the road in 2014 was arrested again for DUI after rear-ending another vehicle. His BAC was more than twice the legal limit.
  • Update: Las Vegas, Nevada (First reported 01-30-15) A detective was sentenced to three years’ probation for an attack on a sex worker. If he completes probation, the charge will be reduced to misdemeanor battery.
  • Update: Worcester, Massachusetts (First reported 04-17-15): The City settled with a black man who was allegedly beaten by an officer in his jail cell for $225,000. The incident was caught on video, though the footage has not yet been released to the public. Criminal charges against the officer are pending.

Worst of the Month — July

For July, it was the case from Akron, Ohio.  Officer Eric Paull worked as a sergeant for the Akron Police Department.  He also taught a course on criminal justice at the University of Akron.  One of his students was a single mom.  According to news reports, the woman (name withheld) says they started a romantic relationship.  But after a year or so, that relationship turned ugly and violent.  After he beat her up on a Thanksgiving holiday, Paull told her that he was legally “untouchable.”

She believed him–so she did not file a complaint right away.  Instead, she just tried to avoid him.  But Paull stalked her and her boyfriends, using police databases to discover addresses, phone numbers, and vehicle information.  Paull would also text pictures of himself holding his gun.  There were threats to kill the woman and her boyfriend.  The woman did lodge complaints with the police and would later obtain a protective order, but the police department seemed indifferent.  Paull would not stop.

Finally, after months of harassment, Paull was charged with stalking, aggravated menacing, felonious assault, and burglary, among other charges.  His trial is expected to begin in a few weeks.

Paul Hlynsky, the police union leader, says he will try to have Paull back on the police force if he can avoid a felony conviction.

More from the Guardian on Homan Square

For several months, the Guardian (US) has been running an exposé of Homan Square, a virtual domestic “black site” in Chicago. People who have been detained and interrogated there allege improper conditions, illegal treatment, and unconstitutional denial of defense counsel. Today’s installment, by Spencer Ackerman and Zach Stafford, uncovers a dramatic racial disparity in those brought into this facility:

At least 3,500 Americans have been detained inside a Chicago police warehouse described by some of its arrestees as a secretive interrogation facility, newly uncovered records reveal.

Of the thousands held in the facility known as Homan Square over a decade, 82% were black. Only three received documented visits from an attorney, according to a cache of documents obtained when the Guardian sued the police.

Despite repeated denials from the Chicago police department that the warehouse is a secretive, off-the-books anomaly, the Homan Square files begin to show how the city’s most vulnerable people get lost in its criminal justice system.

The Chicago police department has maintained – even as the Guardian reported stories of people being shackled and held for hours or even days, all without legal access – that the warehouse is not a secret facility so much as an undercover police base operating in plain sight.

The numbers, if true, indicate that the lack of access to counsel is standard practice:

Despite the quadruple-digit number of arrestees held at Homan Square, the Chicago police proffered only three arrestees receiving visits from lawyers between 3 September 2004 and 1 July 2015. Two of them occurred on the same day in January 2013.

Unless approximately 3,500 people in custody waived their right to counsel, the revelation complicates – if not contradicts – the police’s March statement that “any individual who wishes to consult a lawyer will not be interrogated until they have an opportunity to do so”.

The piece is well worth reading in full here. Past installments can be found at the Guardian website here.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-01-15 to 08-03-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, August 1 through Monday, August 3, 2015:

  • Lowell, Arkansas: A now-former officer faces DWI charges for crashing a police cruiser in June.
  • New York, New York: An officer was arrested on harassment and assault charges.
  • Update: Mt. Pleasant, New York (First reported 01-24-14): The now-former chief pled guilty to child pornography charges. He will be sentenced in November.
  • Update: Whitehouse, Texas (First reported 05-21-15): The police chief resigned one week after his assault charge for unwanted sexual advances was dropped.
  • Laurel City, Maryland: The City is being sued in federal court by a D.C. man who alleges he was illegally stripsearched during a traffic stop.
  • Update: North Chicago, Illinois (First reported 11-01-12): The now-former chief stands charged with misconduct. The prosecutor is looking to re-indict on theft charges that were dismissed. The now-former chief is alleged to have stolen $140,000 in asset forfeiture funds from the government.
  • Update: Rosepine, Louisiana (First reported 08-08-14): The chief resigned as part of a plea deal for charges relating to the stalking of his ex-wife.
  • Update: Mission, Texas (First reported 07-21-15): The officer who was arrested on cocaine distribution charges has been fired.
  • Valley Brook, Oklahoma: An officer was arrested for multiple sex crimes and burglary charges.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-31-15

Here are the ten reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, July 31, 2015:

  • Broward County, Florida: Four deputies have been placed on leave during an investigation into excessive force allegations.
  • Update: University of Cincinnati: Two officers who supported fellow officer Ray Tensing’s initial and inaccurate account of Sam DuBose’s death were placed on leave by the department. The Hamilton County prosecutor ruled out their prosecution, however, as they have been forthright and cooperative with the investigation and grand jury proceeding regarding DuBose’s death.
  • Marion County, Indiana: A deputy was arrested for illegal confinement. He allegedly held a woman in a home against her will.
  • New York, New York: Several officers were shown on video forcibly removing a man from a car and punching him during an arrest for an illegal u-turn.
  • New Jersey State Police: A trooper is under investigation for shooting at teens who mistakenly knocked on his door at 2 A.M.
  • Seneca, South Carolina: An officer was placed on leave during an investigation for fatally shooting 19-year-old man in a car. The teen was shot, allegedly in his back according to the family lawyer, after he and his passenger were caught purchasing marijuana.
  • West Terre Haute, Indiana: An officer is under investigation for domestic battery.
  • Update: Hodgenville, Kentucky (First reported 07-01-14): The police chief was found not guilty of official misconduct.
  • Update: Dallas, Texas (First reported 04-02-14): A now-former officer pled guilty to aggravated assault. He had been charged with raping a sleeping woman. He received a suspended adjudication of five years. If he is successful, the conviction will be expunged from his record and will not have to register as a sex offender.
  • Update: Allen, Texas (First reported 03-24-10): A now-former was officer found not guilty of child abuse. She was arrested in 2010 for injuring her son.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-30-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, July 30, 2015:

  • Montgomery, Alabama: An officer was arrested for an altercation off duty. Two other officers were suspended for inaccurate reports about the incident.
  • Pearl, Mississippi: An officer resigned amid an investigation that he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.
  • Update: Tucson, Arizona (First reported 06-09-15): Five officers who had been suspended for involvement in a prostitution ring have been fired.
  • Ferguson, Missouri: A plaintiff won his appeal so his lawsuit for false arrest and excessive force against the Ferguson police department may go forward. In addition to the injuries sustained, he was charged for the cost of bleeding on the uniforms of the officers who allegedly beat him.
  • Update: Clayton County, Georgia: An officer who was fired for assaulting a 69-year-old man in front of his house has been indicted for the incident.
  • Massachusetts State Police: The state will pay a woman $300,000 because a plainclothes state trooper used excessive force when he pulled her from her car.
  • Update: Huntsville, Alabama (First reported 11-20-12): A now-former officer is on trial for excessive force and obstruction of justice. The City settled a civil suit with the victim in 2012.
  • San Joaquin, California: The police department is fighting allegations it improperly distributed department weapons for private use.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-29-15

Here are the ten reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 29, 2015:

  • New York, New York: An officer was found to have used excessive force by the CCRB. He will now face a disciplinary hearing for throwing a handcuffed teen through a window.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (El Paso, Texas): An agent was arrested for smuggling people across Mexico/U.S. border.
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado: An officer was arrested for misconduct and false reporting.
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina: An officer was arrested for DWI.
  • Update: University of Cincinnati (Ohio) (First reported 07-24-15): The officer who fatally shot Sam Dubose, an unarmed black motorist, has been arrested and charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter. He pled not guilty during his arraignment. Video of the incident was released when the Hamilton County prosecutor announced the indictment. The camera footage contradicted statements and reports of the officer.
  • Update: Seattle, Washington (First reported 01-29-15): The City’s police watchdog agency recommended firing the officer who falsely arrested an elderly black man last year. The man, William Wingate, had been using a golf club as a cane to walk. The officer claimed the Wingate swung the club at her, but seven minutes of video contradicted her statements. Charges against Wingate were dropped with an apology from the City. His $750,000 lawsuit against the City is pending.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: An officer was arrested for DWI and placed on emergency leave.
  • Dallas County, Texas: A deputy was arrested for shoplifting at a grocery store while in uniform. He allegedly used self-checkout on several occasions but did not pay for some of his merchandise.
  • Osceola County, Florida: A deputy was arrested for attempting to buy prescription pills from an informant.
  • Update: Ottawa County, Michigan (First reported 05-07-15): A deputy pled guilty to driving with BAC over .17, violating state’s recently passed ‘super drunk’ law that tacks on extra penalties for driving more than twice the legal limit.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-28-15

Here are the ten reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, July 28, 2015:

  • Kenosha, Wisconsin: An officer received a 60-day suspension for repeatedly shoving bystander and injuring him.
  • New York, New York: The City is being sued by two men who shot at, one was hit several times, by a drunk off-duty officer. The officer is facing attempted murder and DUI charges.
  • Update: Cincinnati, OH chief viewed video evidence of a University of Cincinnati’s officer’s fatal shooting of Samuel Dubose. He said “It’s not good.” (Since this was posted to Twitter, the officer was indicted for murder. You can read about that here.)
  • New York, New York: Several officers were shown on video punching a subdued man they were arresting in a Target for trespassing.
  • Central State University (Ohio): An officer was arrested for OVI and possessing a firearm while
  • Sarasota, Florida: An officer made a homeless man play humiliating games for food and eat it off of the floor while in custody.
  • Medford, Massachusetts: A detective was suspended after threatening to shoot a driver in the head during a traffic stop. (with video)
  • Fresno, California: An officer resigned after being caught in a prostitution investigation.
  • Vermilion, Ohio: An officer was suspended from duty for driving with a suspended license. The car he was driving also had illegally transferred tags.
  • Vermilion, Ohio: An officer was suspended for 10 days after he drove to police shooting range while intoxicated.

Murder Indictment for U. of C. Officer who Shot Sam Dubose

The Hamilton County, Ohio prosecutor, Joe Deters, announced the indictment of University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing in the shooting death of motorist Sam Dubose. Tensing was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

The Washington Post has a write-up here. A snippet,

“This office has probably reviewed upwards of hundreds of police shootings, and this is the first time that we’ve thought this is without question a murder,” [Deters] said.

While a university police report stated that Tensing said he had been dragged by the car before shooting, Deters said that the officer not dragged. Rather, Tensing fell backwards after shooting Dubose in the head, Deters said.

Deters called the situation “a pretty chicken-crap stop.”

Dubose was shot in the head after no violent action or involvement with Tensing. Without the video evidence from Tensing’s body camera, and no living witnesses to the shooting to counter Tensing’s initial statement, it is likely that these charges would never have been brought.

For more on police use of body cameras, check out our explainer written by Matthew Feeney here.

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