National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-07-14

Here are the 18 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, March 7, 2014:

  • Oakland County, Michigan: A deputy has been sentenced to probation in an on-duty car crash that claimed the lives of two men. He was reportedly heading to assist other deputies when he ran a red light, without his sirens being activated.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The widow of a man who was shot and killed by police after the man called officers to his home for the report of a burglary has filed a federal civil rights complaint against the municipality and three of its officers.
  • Titusville, Florida: A police officer is accused of trying to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine worth $40,000. He was indicted on charges of participating in a drug deal while carrying a firearm.
  • Burbank, California: A police officer pled guilty to lying to federal authorities who were investigating an alleged plot involving his girlfriend and her estranged husband.
  • Upper Darby, Pennsylvania: A police officer out on medical leave was arrested on drunken driving charges after a hit-and-run crash. He was arrested when the driver of the vehicle he allegedly struck followed him until police arrived.
  • Robbinsdale, Minnesota: A man has filed a lawsuit against an officer in connection with a traffic stop. He alleges that excessive force was used by the officer and it resulted in injuries.
  • Prairie Village, Kansas: The city settled a lawsuit with the mother of a woman killed during a standoff at her apartment for more than half a million dollars. In the lawsuit the woman argued police should have used non-lethal weapons on her daughters. It also says officers sued excessive force and were inadequately trained to respond to a critical incident involving a mentally ill person.
  • Palm Beach County, Florida: A 20-year-old man who was shot four times by a sheriff’s deputy and is now a paraplegic has sued the officer and the agency, claiming there was no reason to stop him, much less shoot him. In the suit he says the man was talking on the phone while riding his bike when he was stopped. He was trying to comply with the officer’s orders to put his arms in the air when he was shot.
  • New York, New York: Internal affairs officers arrested a cop for pummeling a shoplifter the officer arrested at a Target. If convicted of the existing charges, the officer faces up to a year in jail.
  • Dover, Delaware: A police office has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an investigation due to allegations of excessive force.
  • Chillicothe, Missouri: A police officer was arrested on suspicion of rape, sodomy, and supplying alcohol to a minor.
  • Merill, Wisconsin: A state patrol trooper pled no guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct after she’s accused of exercising authority while she was off-duty.
  • Chatham County, Georgia: A deputy sheriff was indicted on 26 counts of child molestation and related offenses involving minor victims. He was arrested on the molestation charge involving a male, who is now 17, that allegedly occurred in 2008. Prosecutors subsequently found at least six other alleged victims.
  • Update: Hillsboro, Oregon (First reported 02-08-13): A now-former police officer who exchanged gunfire with 10 officers, and threatened his wife in a domestic abuse case, will spend the next ten years in prison after a plea deal. He pled guilty to one count of aggravated animal abuse and three counts of aggravated attempted murder.
  • Dallas, Texas: A police officer pled guilty to a misdemeanor in connection with an assault on his estranged wife. He received two years of probation in a plea deal.
  • Update: Lauderhill, Florida (First reported 11-13-11): A now-former police officer who emptied his pistol into his ex-girlfriend’s car, and later begged fellow officers for one more bullet so he could kill himself, pled guilty to attempted murder charges.
  • Las Cruces, New Mexico: The family of a man fatally shot by police has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court. The suit suggests that three officers knew the man was not armed with a lethal weapon, and that authorities delayed his access to medical attention after he was shot.
  • Girard, Ohio: A city police officer has been suspended for 20 working days under a lat change agreement. He will keep his job now that an investigation is complete into underage drinking parties at his house.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-06-14

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, March 6, 2014:

  • Update: Johnstown, New York (First reported 09-24-13): A suspended police officer pled guilty to one count of third-degree rape and officially resigned his position with the police department as part of a plea agreement. He admitted he had sex with someone under the age of 17.
  • Waterbury, Connecticut: A police officer was suspended without pay for 25 days after allegedly using unnecessary force during an arrest.
  • Miami-Dade, Florida: A police officer pled with a state trooper that they needed to “stick together” before he was arrested for driving under the influence during a traffic stop.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: A police officer beat and choked his girlfriend’s 7-month-old puppy and texted her a photo of the dog’s body, authorities. The five-year veteran was charged with aggravated animal cruelty, which is a felony, and abuse or neglect of an animal.
  • Update: Monterey Park, California (First reported 02-28-13): The city paid $875,000 to the family of a man whose slaying by police was captured on video. The suit says they violated the man’s rights and failed to provide medical attention after the shooting. The Sheriff’s department investigated the incident and found that both the officers had legal justification in their use of deadly force.
  • Midland, Texas: Two officers spent weeks competing to see who could take the most cardboard signs away from homeless people, even though panhandling doesn’t violate any city law. They were suspended for three days without pay.
  • Update: Manatee County, Florida (First reported 02-20-14): Another now-former sheriff’s deputy who played a significant role as a confidential informant in an undercover steroids investigation has been arrested. He faces three state-level charges of possessing steroids with intent to distribute.
  • Parma, Ohio: The city council agreed to pay $40,000 to settle a police brutality lawsuit brought forth by the mother of a 16-year-old boy. The suit accuses an officer of unjustifiably striking the boy twice in the head while placing him in a cruiser.
  • Baltimore County, Maryland: A police officer was arrested and charged with drunk driving. He was seen allegedly committing several traffic violations, including failing to stop for a red light.
  • Lakewood, New Jersey: An officer was charged with official misconduct stemming from what they say was an illegal search of a vehicle. He has been suspended without pay.
  • Valdosta, Georgia: An officer was indicted by a grand jury for two counts of sexual exploitation of children. He was investigated for being in possession of child pornography. He was fired.

Worst of the Month — February 2014

So for February, it was the case from Towson, Maryland, where the local police seem to think they can suspend the First Amendment.

A young man was recording a late night altercation involving arrests in downtown Towson when Baltimore County police noticed him recording, roughed him up, and threatened him with arrest if he continued to record the ongoing arrests. When the man cited the First Amendment right to record the police (which Baltimore County Police policy fully recognizes), the officer accosted him and shouted “You have no rights!”

Earlier in the recording, another officer tries to justify ordering the man to leave the scene, shouting “you diverted my attention from that… LEAVE!”  Then the officer immediately resorted to physical force to push the video recorder away from the scene.  The video shows multiple officers on the scene reacting violently to being recorded.  The fact that they are flouting the law and their department policy so willfully, while knowing they are being recorded, makes these Baltimore County police officers our prime candidates for the worst police misconduct for February.

For additional background, go here.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-05-14

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, March 5, 2014:

  • Phillips, Wisconsin: The mayor has filed a complaint with the city against the police chief. The chief allegedly abused his power and violated several laws. One of the accusations accuses him of intentionally falsifying an affidavit.
  • Moon Township, Pennsylvania: A student and his parents claim in a lawsuit that the township’s police violated his constitutional rights by seizing his personal journals and videos from his home and then showing them to school officials and other third parties.
  • Altoona, Pennsylvania: A police officer pled guilty to disorderly conduct for punching a man after a concert. He was fined $1,000.
  • Warren County, New Jersey: A sheriff has been indicted on six counts of sexual assault dating back to the late 1980’s. He is charged with three counts each of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, and second-degree sexual assault. He allegedly assaulted a boy, starting when the boy was 10, while the victim was in his custody and control as sheriff.
  • Kincaid, Illinois: The police chief has been arrested on felony charges of official misconduct. He was arrested for violating a protection order and drug possession.
  • Columbia, South Carolina: A police officer was arrested and charged with criminal domestic violence. According to police, the officer and his wife were involved in a verbal altercation when he grabbed her by the throat and shoved her.
  • Update: Hartleton, Pennsylvania (Previously reported 12-04-13): The now-former police chief was sentenced to one year of probation. He was found guilty of theft by extortion; he let drivers out of speeding tickets if they donated to the Hartleton Playground Fund instead. The Chief maintains he did nothing wrong.
  • Saratoga County, New York: A sheriff’s deputy was charged with cocaine trafficking after an FBI sting in which an undercover informant allegedly paid the deputy thousands of dollars in cash to drive him to make drug deliveries.
  • Update: Glendale, Colorado (Originally reported 01-27-14): A now-former police officer pled guilty to charges in a drug case in federal court. He allegedly used federal databases to help get information for a man charged with cocaine possession with the intent to distribute.
  • Jacksonville, Florida: A narcotics detective was arrested after a shoplifting incident at a gym. He was caught on camera stealing a supplement priced at $49.
  • DeKalb County, Georgia: A police officer turned himself in on accusations he illegally charged a man with having marijuana during an arrest. He was indicted by a grand jury on the charge of violation of oath by public officer.
  • Update: Detroit, Michigan (First reported 03-28-13): A now-former police officer, who was convicted of criminal sexual conduct involving participants in his boot camp for misbehaving teens, is being sued by two of the victims.
  • San Francisco, California: Five police officers and a former officer are under federal indictment for civil rights and other corruption violations, with two charged with stealing money and drugs seized as part of investigations. The charges are tied to a series of raids on hotels, where the officers are accused of threatening hotel guests without legal justification.
  • Update: Cherryville, North Carolina (Previously reported 11-13-13): A judge sentenced one officer to three years in prison and another officer was given a little less than two years in prison. They were arrested and pled guilty to taking bribes and conspiring to provide protection to trucks carrying stolen goods and cash.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 03-01-14 to 03-04-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, March 1, to Tuesday, March 4, 2014:

  • Norristown, Pennsylvania: A now-former state trooper who was off duty and drunk behind the wheel will spend at least six months behind bars in connection with a fiery fatal crash on the PA Turnpike.
  • Baltimore County, Maryland: Police say they are investigating confrontation between an officer and a man filming an arrest, footage of which was posted online and spread. When the person filming asks what law he is violating, an officer gets up close and tells him to “shut your [expletive mouth] or you’re going to jail.” “I thought I have freedom of speech,” the person filming says. “You just lost it,” the officer responds as the camera is jostled and the person recording says he is being pushed.
  • Passaic County, New Jersey: A suspended officer already facing charges for allegedly threatening a former officer who claimed the department was riddled with corruption has been accused in an indictment of being part of a stolen car ring.
  • East Lansing, Michigan: A student has filed a lawsuit against two police officers. It alleges he was “maliciously” prosecuted and seeks unspecified damages.
  • Update: Warren, Michigan (First reported 02-03-14): A woman whose hair was cut off by a police officer, and caught on video, has reached a settlement with the city. Under the settlement agreement, the city will pay the woman $75,000 and she has agreed to release the city, police department and the officer from any future claims.
  • King County, Washington: A sheriff’s deputy was arrested after he crashed his patrol car, rear-ending another car while on duty. Investigators suspect he was impaired.
  • Detroit, Michigan: A police officer on suspension is arrested for driving drunk after crashing into another vehicle.
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: A police officer was charged with assault and battery, accused of chasing down a passing motorist who yelled at him during traffic stop.
  • Bowling Green, Kentucky: The widow of a man who was shot by an officer filed a civil lawsuit. The suit claims her husband was killed without due process and that law enforcement at the scene exhibited a reckless disregard of, and deliberate indifference to, her husband’s life through conduct that the suit claims was intentional, reckless, deliberate, wanton and/or malicious.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-28-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, February 28, 2014:

  • West Wyoming, Pennsylvania: A now-former police chief will avoid a criminal trial on theft charges after agreeing to pay back nearly $19,000 he received in extra paychecks.
  • Ashford, Connecticut: A state police trooper is facing drunken driving charges after crashing his police cruiser, according to state police.
  • La Crosse, Wisconsin: Prosecutors charged a police sergeant with a felony that accuses him of threatening to kill his family. He is charged with threats to injure and disorderly conduct.
  • New Brunswick, New Jersey: A police officer has been sentenced to three years in prison for taking a joyride in a sports car then crashing into a pole and killing a fellow officer.
  • Update: West Sacramento, California: A former police officer was accused of sexually assaulting women while on duty was convicted on multiple charges. He was found guilty on 18 counts including rape, oral copulation against will and kidnapping by a jury.
  • Louisville, Kentucky: A man who was punched in the face by a police officer has filed a complaint. The incident was caught on camera and police say there is an investigation into it.
  • Industry, California: A sheriff’s deputy arrested a woman on felony probation “for the sole purpose of raping and sexually assaulting” her at the sheriff’s station, she claims in Federal Court.
  • Update: Dallas, Texas: A Veteran police homicide detective is on desk duty pending an internal investigation. The City Council approved a settlement of more than $1 million to a woman who sued the detective for violating her civil rights and maliciously prosecuting her.
  • Clark County, Washington: A man was awarded $9 million by a federal jury that unanimously agreed a detective violated the man’s constitutional right to due process by fabricating the evidence that put him behind bars for two decades for sexually abusing his two children and a stepson.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-27-14

Here are the 12 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, February 27, 2014:

  • Columbia, South Carolina: A police officer shot a 70-year-old motorist who was teaching for a cane during a tragic stop because he though the man was grabbing a rifle from the bed of his pickup truck.
  • Hamilton County, Ohio: A police officer was caught stealing beer seven times from a grocery store. He has been fined $300 and has to do 40 hours of community service, but the police department is not disciplining him.
  • Frederick County, Maryland: A sheriff’s deputy is resigning after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor larceny charge. He stole money from two slot machine’s at a local video lottery business.
  • Cedar Grove, West Virginia: A police chief is facing charges after an alleged confrontation with a man in a grocery store parking lot. He ahs been charged with misdemeanor assault and brandishing. The chief says he was defending his family.
  • Clay County, Florida: A detective has been suspended without pay for 10 days and reassigned to the agency’s patrol division following a disciplinary hearing. He arrested the wrong teen, and put him in jail for 35 days. “He took shortcuts and didn’t do a thorough investigation,” said the sheriff. “The result was a n innocent man was accused of a terrible crime he didn’t commit.”
  • Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana: A deputy was fired after his arrest on a charge of criminal damage to property over $3,000.
  • Update: Miami, Florida (First reported 10-04-13): A police officer was sentenced to more than 6 years in prison for participating in an identity theft scheme.
  • Moore, Oklahoma: Three officers were put on administrative leave while detectives investigate an in-custody death. The family of the man who died said police beat him badly and that they recorded it with a cell phone camera. The police were called after the mother hit her daughter at a theater, and they wound up tackling the father to the ground.
  • Fort Worth, Texas: A police officer was charged with assaulting his teenage daughter, and has been fired.
  • King City, California: Six police officers and a civilian were arrested after an investigation into the distribution of hundreds of impounded cars and other criminal acts within the Police Department, a prosecutor said.
  • Troy, New York: A former college student has filed notice of a pending lawsuit. He claims police officer slammed him against a truck, punched him, and used a Taser on him for jaywalking.
  • Update: Waycross, Georgia (First reported 10-03-13): The two police officers who fired on and a man did so to protect themselves and other residents of the house where he lived and will not be prosecuted, said a district attorney.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-26-14

Here are the 15 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, February 26, 2014:

  • Marion County, California: A sheriff’s office deputy has been suspended for two days following an internal investigation into his handling of a possible DUI case.
  • Unionville, Missouri: A former police officer was arrested on a charge of child pornography possession. A flash job with the images on it was found from when he was working as an officer and using it.
  • Update: Collingsworth County, Texas (First reported 11-26-13): The county sheriff resigned from office. He was indicted on two misdemeanor charges including official misconduct and abuse of official capacity., Connecticut: A police officer has been accused of sexually assaulting a member of the police department’s explorer program and sharing inappropriate texts with another. He served as an adviser to the program, which works with youth interested in possible law enforcement careers.
  • Update: Williamsport, Pennsylvania (First reported 01-28-14): A police officer whose cruiser hit another vehicle and killed the driver pled not guilty to charges of homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless endangerment.
  • Bloomfield, New Jersey: A police dashcam video helped clear a man who was facing charged that included eluding police and assault. The officers who lied about the incident have now been indicted.
  • Update: Colville, Washington (Previously reported 10-22-14): A police officer who had sex while on duty with several women has pleaded guilty to multiple crimes, including unlawful imprisonment and sexual misconduct.
  • San Diego, California: A police detective was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. She was found passed out in her parked car.
  • Update: Clayton County, Georgia (First reported 01-24-14): A now-former police officer was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to steal cocaine from a drug dealer for his own personal gain.
  • Concord, California: The family of a 21-year-old man who was shot and killed filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court. The lawsuit alleges that police maliciously executed the unarmed man and then conspired to cover up the facts of the case.
  • New York, New York: A now-former officer who raped an elementary school teacher on her way to work wants his 75-year prison sentence reduced — a scenario his victim called her “worst nightmare.” He “was punished more harshly than Al Qaeda terrorists, vicious killers, kingpin narcotics offenders, violent gangsters and racketeers,” wrote his lawyer.
  • Update: Albuquerque, New Mexico (First reported 08-06-13): Surveillance camera captured two police officers repeatedly kicking a robbery suspect and chest-bumping when they were done. The suspect, who has a lengthy criminal history, subsequently had all charges against him dropped.
  • Hawthorne, California: A deaf man has filed a lawsuit claiming he was brutally assaulted by four police officers. When the man saw the officers, he put down the boxes and gestured that he couldn’t hear them. He walked over to them but, as he approached, officers grabbed his wrists and turned him around. “Because he is deaf, Mr. Meister depends on using his hands while facing a person to communicate,” the complaint states. “The officers’ sudden aggression, which both caused pain and interfered with his ability to communicate, caused Mr. Meister reflexively to pull his hands away, hop back over the fence and step toward the gate … to create some space so that he could communicate.”
  • St. Clair Shores, Michigan: The deputy chief is accused of causing injury to an intoxicated woman. According to the suit, the chief left the cell and was trying to pull the door shut when the woman began to pull on it from the other side. He allegedly grabbed her arm and “violently threw her backwards, as if she were a rag doll.”
  • Springfield, Massachusetts: City officials have agreed to pay $28,000 to settle a lawsuit by two women claiming they were strip searched by a police officer in front of male officers and passing traffic.

Texas Police Messing with the Homeless


Two police officers in an oil-rich West Texas city spent weeks competing to see who could take the most cardboard signs away from homeless people, even though panhandling doesn’t violate any city law.

Nearly two months after the Midland Police Department learned of the game, the two officers were suspended for three days without pay, according to findings of the internal affairs investigation obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request.

Advocate groups immediately blasted the department’s handling, suggesting that the punishment wasn’t harsh enough and that the probe should have been made public much earlier, before news organizations, including the AP, started asking about it….

Police Chief Price Robinson said the actions were an isolated incident in a department of 186 officers and didn’t deserve a harsher punishment. After the investigation all officers were reminded to respect individual rights and human dignity, he said.

If it doesn’t stop here, it could escalate.  Remember poor Kelly Thomas.

Poor Hispanics ‘Easy Prey’ for Corrupt Police

From the Associated Press:

KING CITY, Calif. — A California farming town was grappling Wednesday with a profound violation of trust after learning the acting police chief and a handful of officers were charged with selling or giving away the impounded cars of poor Hispanic residents and other crimes.

The misgivings had been building for some time. Investigators heard people — many unable to speak English — complain that police were taking their cars and money, and there was nothing they could do about it….

Tuesday’s arrests, which also included a former police chief, came after a six-month probe of the police department launched in September when a visiting investigator — there to check out a homicide — heard from numerous sources that the community didn’t trust its police department. By this week, authorities said they had enough evidence to arrest a total of six people linked to the department for a variety of crimes ranging from bribery to making criminal threats.

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