National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Phoenix, Arizona: A police lieutenant is part of an ongoing criminal investigation. He has been placed on paid administrative leave.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-27-14 to 08-28-14

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, August 27 to Thursday, August 28, 2014:

  • Salt Lake City, Utah: The police officer who shot and killed a man captured the incident on his body camera, said the police chief. The family says he was unarmed; the police department says the shooting is under review.
  • Dallas, Texas: A veteran sheriff’s deputy has been charged with sexual assault over an allegation. He has been accused of performing a sex act on a male victim.
  • Mayflower, Arkansas: A local police officer accused of voluntarily withholding key evidence in a case involving a woman accused of stealing supplies from tornado relief efforts has been fired.
  • Update: Sequoyah County, Oklahoma (First reported 07-08-14): A state trooper resigned after he crashed an OHP vehicle while towing a boat and was charged with a DUI. “[The trooper’s] actions were an egregious breach of the standard of conduct demanded by our profession,” said the police chief.
  • Christiansburg, Virginia: A now-former police officer has been indicted on charges that he embezzled about $34,000.
  • Update: Springfield, Missouri (Previously reported 08-19-14): A now-former police officer who shot an unarmed fleeing man in the back pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge. The plea agreement between would put him on unsupervised probation for two years.
  • Richland County, South Carolina: The sheriff’s department has fired a deputy who shot a man during a traffic stop. “It is clear from the evidence in this case that [the deputy’s] performance was substandard and potentially dangerous to not only the suspect, but to other law enforcement personnel and innocent bystanders,” wrote the 5th Circuit Solicitor.
  • Update: Beggs, Oklahoma (First reported 09-04-13): The police chief pled no contest to domestic abuse charges and was sentenced to a five-year deferred sentence. He was accused of putting a loaded handgun to his wife’s head after the two got in an argument.
  • New Britain, Connecticut: A man has filed a lawsuit against the city and a now-former police officer, claiming the officer’s cruiser collided with his car, causing damages to his head, shoulders and hand.
  • Update: Tulsa, Oklahoma (First reported 08-13-14): A second woman has been added to a lawsuit against a state trooper. The lawsuit says he pulled over her car and made inappropriate sexual comments to her. It also says he drove her to a secluded location and sexually assaulted her.
  • Denver, Colorado: A woman who called 911 during an argument with her boyfriend has sued police officers, claiming they bloodied her face by slamming her into a wall and an elevator door and then arrested her without cause. The police spokesman said that police internal affairs officers determined there was no excessive force.
  • Update: Miami, Oklahoma (Previously reported 05-22-14): A now-former police officer accused of lying to a state grand jury in connection with the beating of a man which was caught on video tape pled no contest and received a three-year deferred sentence.
  • Oglala Sioux Tribe, South Dakota: A now-former police officer has been indicted by a federal grand jury for violating the constitutional rights of a man in her custody by repeatedly using her Taser on him without justification.
  • Bell County, Kentucky: A video caught a state trooper harassing a motorist and the US Court of Appeals ruled that the trooper could be sued for false arrest.

Chicago Officers Charged with Crime

From the Chicago Tribune:

A Chicago police commander frequently praised by Supt. Garry McCarthy for his no-nonsense approach to fighting crime in some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods was charged Wednesday with placing the barrel of his gun into a suspect’s mouth.

Cmdr. Glenn Evans, who headed the West Side’s Harrison patrol district until he was relieved of his police powers, faces one count of aggravated battery and one count of official misconduct, according to Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-26-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, August 26, 2014:

  • Update: Tremonton, Utah (First reported 04-07-14): A now-former police officer accused of creating a fake pornography email account and convincing a teen girl to send him nude photos pled not guilty to charges.
  • Rotterdam, New York: A federal civil rights lawsuit has been filed against the police department by the parents of an emotionally disturbed boy whose arm was broken when two police officers tried to force him off a school bus.
  • Pharr, Texas: A grand jury indicted a now-former police officer after he allegedly sexually assaulted an underage girl multiple times, according to court records. He is accused of having sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old girl during work hours on five separate incidents.
  • Belleair, Florida: The police chief is the target of numerous allegations ranging from mismanagement to ethical breaches and possible criminal acts. The person making those claims is the department’s detective. The mayor says he does not believe any of them.
  • Louisville, Kentucky: Two University of Louisville graduate students who worked in a police summer residential program for at-risk youths say officers mentally and physically abused some participants.
  • Columbia, South Carolina: A state trooper has been fired, state officials said. The Department of Public Safety said in a news release he was terminated for violating agency policies including conduct unbecoming a state employee.
  • San Francisco, California: The family of a man who was fatally shot by police officers filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city following a march and rally against police brutality.
  • Lowell, Massachusetts: A police officer has been charged with motor vehicle homicide and operating under the influence of liquor. His car crossed over the double yellow line and collided with another car, killing the other driver. The off-duty officer was arrested at the scene and is also charged with having an open container of alcohol.
  • Bastrop County, Texas: The family of a woman who was shot and killed by a deputy is suing the county and the sheriff for $5 million. Initially, officials said the woman answered the door at the house she was in with a firearm and disregarded the deputy’s command. They later retracted that statement. She was unarmed when the deputy shot her.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-23-14 to 08-25-14

Here are the 16 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, August 23, to Monday, August 25, 2014:

  • El Paso, Texas: Victims and witnesses of a collision involving a police cruiser claim the officer caused the crash, and that police fabricated statements in the accident report to blame an innocent woman. A woman whose car was also hit as a result of the accident said the officer was at fault for the crash, and that the police report was a total lie: “The police officer was definitely at fault … he ran the red light and caused the whole collision.”
  • St. Paul, Minnesota: The city council is expected to approve a $10,000 settlement with a man whose vehicle was struck by a police squad car.
  • Update: Champaign County, Illinois (First reported 05-08-14): A deputy was acquitted of domestic violence. He was found not guilty during a bench trial. He had been on administrative leave since his arrest.
  • Grant Park, Illinois: A police lieutenant let his brother’s 15-year-old daughter move in with him so he could “straighten out” the teen, then proceeded to have sex with her on a “daily basis” when she wasn’t cooking his meals, doing his laundry, or shopping for lingerie and shoes, a prosecutor said. He faces charges of criminal sexual assault and having sexual relations within his own family.
  • Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania: A police officer is facing indictment on bank fraud charges. A press release said that a disciplinary hearing will be scheduled as soon as possible.
  • Albany, New York: A sergeant was suspended without pay while his use of a Taser against a teenage suspect is more thoroughly investigated.
  • Brick Township, New Jersey: A police officer was indicted on stalking and official misconduct charges for allegedly tormenting his ex-girlfriend online, publishing humiliating and harassing messages about her, and improperly accessing a law enforcement database when she asked him to help find the culprit, prosecutors say.
  • Dallas, Texas: A now-former police officer was sentenced to 180 days in county jail for beating and pepper-spraying a handcuffed man during an arrest. He was convicted of official oppression, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.
  • Catasauqua, Pennsylvania: A man says police shot him with a stun gun about a dozen times in a recently filed deposition. The man said he was handcuffed and in a squad car when police used the stun gun on him.
  • Cumberland County, North Carolina: A deputy was charged with drunken driving; he has submitted his resignation.
  • Broward County, Florida: A now-former sheriff’s deputy was given a five-year prison sentence and was immediately taken into custody. The deputy was arrested and accused of making a $15,000 cash-for-silence deal with a marijuana grower.
  • Update: Burlington, Massachusetts (First reported 11-20-13): A now-former police officer will spend a year behind bars after pleading guilty to charges in connection with a scheme in which he falsified prescriptions to pocket more than 260 Percocets and collected tens of thousands of dollars in false disability claims.
  • Grapeland, Texas: A grand jury indicted a now-former officer on a second-degree felony charge of fraudulent possession of a controlled substance/prescription charge.
  • Update: Chester, West Virginia (First reported 04-14-14): A now-former police officer who was involved in a “sexting” incident with a 16-year-old girl has received a suspended jail sentence and probation. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a child. The officer agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge in exchange for the dismissal of a felony charge.
  • Update: Barrington, Rhode Island (First reported 11-27-12): A police sergeant accused of harassing his ex-wife pled guilty to charges of domestic cyberstalking and obstruction of justice. He was given a two-year suspended sentence and two years of probation. He was also ordered to go to domestic violence counseling.
  • Ithaca, New York: The mayor says the city and its police department have opened separate investigations looking into an incident after an out-of-uniform sergeant drew his gun on four teens. Versions of the events that transpired differ between the involved officer and the parents of the four teens.

Vice President Biden and the Police

According to news reports, three White House officials will be attending the funeral for Michael Brown today.  Vice President Joe Biden will not be attending and that is no surprise.   Why?  Because the Brown family has been demanding a vigorous, impartial investigation into the shooting and Biden is fond of saying that he “has the back” of the police force.  Biden’s presence would be awkward, to say the least.

Here is a clip where Biden is urging a police audience to get behind President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor.

Biden has kept a low profile since the unrest began in Ferguson–and no wonder.   The last thing protesters there want to hear is that the White House “has the back” of the police.   Indeed, that’s why there is so much concern about the local county prosecutor who is handling the investigation and why there have been calls for Governor Nixon to appoint a special prosecutor.  A special prosecutor would be more likely to follow the evidence impartially.

Beyond the Brown shooting, we have seen other abuses by the police there.  The false arrest of reporters, the tear gas rounds fired into the yards of homes, and the reckless weapon handling by officers against protestors.   One wonders if Biden has been on the phone to Obama … saying the administration’s approach thus far has been all wrong… It should “have the back” of the police–not the reporters, the residents, the protesters.

Beyond Ferguson, African-Americans (and others) have been protesting in other cities.  On Saturday, thousands of New Yorkers turned out to protest the killing of Eric Garner by New York City police.   Other cities have other incidents to relate.

Make no mistake, Biden has been part of the problem.  The long simmering tensions in communities around the country did not spring out of nowhere.  Misguided policies and unaccountable bureaucracies bear much of the blame.  And so do powerful politicians like Biden, who have been deaf to the cries of police abuse and harassment.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 08-22-14

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, August 22, 2014:

  • Houston, Texas: A police officer was arrested on charges of cocaine possession. She is charged with manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance. She also had her 6-year-old son in the vehicle at the time of the alleged drug deal.
  • Adams, Massachusetts: A police officer was charged in court with allegedly using a false identity to fill a prescription drug used to treat ADHD.
  • Paterson, New Jersey: The family of a 39-year-old mentally ill man has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, nearly two years after the man was shot and killed by a police officer.
  • Phoenix, Arizona: Criminal and administrative investigations have been launched into an officer-involved fatal shooting of a mentally ill woman.
  • Denver, Colorado: A police department officer was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of non-injury child abuse, DPD said.
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: A police officer was being held in jail after being accused of a string of on-duty sexual assaults in a case described as “disturbing” by the city’s police chief.
  • Los Angeles, California: The city council approved a $5 million settlement with the family of man officers fatally shot at the end of a wild pursuit. Several days after the shooting, the chief said he was “very concerned” about the incident and said he was launching investigations to determine whether it required discipline against the officers or better training techniques.
  • Ferguson, Missouri: A police officer who pointed an assault rifle at people and threatened to kill them has been relieved of duty and suspended indefinitely, authorities said.
  • Struthers, Ohio: A police detective has been fired. He had already been placed on leave for what the mayor called “inappropriate conduct.” The mayor would not be specific about what the alleged inappropriate conduct was or who made the allegation.
  • Update: Jones County, Texas (First reported 05-02-14): A deputy has been indicted by a grand jury. She was arrested for allegedly shooting at two victims in a pickup and then fighting with officers upon their arrival. She was indicted on two counts of aggravated assault and one count of deadly conduct.
  • Mills, Wyoming: A police officer is accused of the negligent death of a K9. The officer pled not guilty to one misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals.
  • Athens, New York: A police officer was arrested and charged with several counts of assault.
  • Update: San Diego, California (Previously reported 07-30-14): A now-former police officer accused of misconduct on the job, including groping and illegally detaining several women, pled guilty to several charges. The charges included felony false imprisonment as well as misdemeanor counts of assault and battery under the color of authority by a peace officer.
  • Tuscaloosa, Alabama: A police officer is accused of sexually assaulting and attempting to strangle his wife. He was arrested and is facing two counts of first degree sodomy and one count of domestic violence for strangulation.

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