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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-25-15 to 07-27-15

Here are the ten reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, July 25 through Monday, July 27, 2015:

  • Watervliet, New York: An officer was arrested for allegedly having oral sex with two minors in public spaces.
  • Costa Mesa, California: An officer was arrested for insurance fraud. Allegedly, he falsely claimed he was injured on the job.
  • Update: Los Angeles, California (First reported 03-02-15): A now-former officer was sentenced to 36 months in prison, with 20 of those suspended, for assaulting a suspect in custody. The suspect, Alesia Thomas, later died.
  • Update: New York, New York (First reported 07-18-14): A judge ordered the release of disciplinary actions records against the officer who choked Eric Garner.
  • Update: Española, New Mexico (First reported 02-24-15): A now-former officer had embezzlement charge dropped against him for lack of mens rea (criminal intent). He allegedly traded department ammunition for custom-made t-shirts.
  • Update: Minnesota State Police (First reported 07-09-15): A trooper pled guilty to driving 94 mph in a 55 mph zone.  He was fined $535.
  • Yell County & Danville, Arkansas: Two now-former law enforcement officers, who are also brothers, were charged with battery for actions against a 13-year-old detainee.
  • Update: Williamsburg, South Carolina (First reported 02-21-14): A now-former sheriff and a now-former deputy were indicted by the state for misconduct in office. The former sheriff has already convicted and sentenced to 30 months in a related federal case.
  • Update: Brusly, Louisiana (First reported 02-07-14): The now-former chief was sentenced to three years in prison, all suspended, and three and a half years of probation after pleading no contest to two counts of malfeasance in office. He had been charged with several felony counts for stealing seven department firearms and selling them. This was the second batch of criminal charges he faced for his conduct in office. He resigned after his first arrest in 2014 for using government credit cards to pay for his personal fuel in his car and boat 29 times totaling over $1,100 worth of fuel. He pled guilty to those charges and was sentenced to 18 months of probation.
  • New Haven, Connecticut: An officer was arrested for stealing several hundred dollars in cash from a local restaurant.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-24-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, July 24, 2015:

  • Hartsville, Indiana: A deputy town marshal was arrested for child solicitation.
  • Georgetown, Texas: An officer was fired for tampering with the rifle of a colleague.
  • Palm Bay, Florida: An officer was disciplined for using a confidential police database to investigate people she did not like.
  • Update: Mt. Juliet, Tennessee (First reported 04-24-15): A now-former officer pled guilty to federal fraud charges. He claimed $13,000 worth of overtime payments that he did not earn.
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio): A local prosecutor is investigating a fatal shooting of an unarmed motorist by university policeman.
  • Update: Richmond County, Georgia (First reported 04-17-15): An officer who had been accused of rape was cleared by investigators.
  • Iberia Parish, Louisiana (First reported 10-11-13): A now-former deputy was sentenced to one day in jail, on year of supervised release, and 200 hours of community service for striking a handcuffed teen in custody.
  • Portland, Oregon: An officer was placed on leave after he was accused of demanding sexual acts and a massage from a woman.
  • Update: Miami Beach, Florida (First reported 08-19-13): An officer will not face charges in the tasing death of an 18-year-old man in 2013. The family is likely to file suit.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-23-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, July 23, 2015:

  • Buffalo, New York: An officer was indicted on federal civil rights charges for initiating a false arrest of a person.
  • Chicago, Illinois: An officer was arrested for DUI after allegedly striking a pedestrian while off duty.
  • Española, New Mexico: An officer was placed on leave and charged with battery. He has a history of excessive force complaints in two police departments.
  • Maricopa County, Arizona: The sheriff’s office settled the discrimination and racial profiling lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Austin, Texas: An officer was fired for failing to report injuries on a call. This is his second termination from the department. He was fired previously for failing to report, but was reinstated by a labor arbitrator.
  • Update: Maypearl, Texas: The chief was terminated and charged with sex crimes against a minor.
  • Pocatello, Idaho: An officer was charged with assault.
  • Weston, West Virginia: An officer was placed on leave after a man died from injuries sustained during an arrest. State authorities declined to launch an independent investigation so it was referred to the
  • Update: Houston, Texas: A now-former officer pled guilty to aiding and abetting drug distribution. She faces 40 years in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-22-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 22, 2015:

  • Bibb County, Georgia: A deputy was arrested on dog fighting charges.
  • Dallas, Texas: An officer was fired after his arrest for sexual assault of a child.
  • Summerville, South Carolina: An officer was arrested for assault and battery of a woman.
  • Anderson, Indiana: An officer was arrested for OWI in Noblesville.
  • Update: Sacramento, California: A now-former officer was convicted for repeatedly raping an elderly woman in a senior living facility.
  • San Francisco, California: A now-former was officer convicted of bribery. He accepted roughly $25,000 in bribes over a two-year period.
  • New York, New York: Two officers were shown on security footage beating a man who had his hands up.
  • Habersham County, Georgia: A now-former deputy was indicted for lying on an affidavit and search warrant. The subsequent SWAT raid seriously injured a toddler when a flash-bang grenade was thrown into the child’s crib.

The Sandra Bland Case

From NBC News:

Last week, Sandra Bland was found dead from apparent “self-inflicted asphyxiation” in her cell in a Texas jail, three days after her arrest following a routine traffic stop.

Her puzzling death — she had just gotten a new job that she was excited about, her family said — has become the latest flashpoint in a national discussion about law enforcement in America. State and federal authorities are investigating, while Bland’s family and supporters say they don’t believe she killed herself and don’t trust the official version of events….

Waller County authorities have asked the Texas Rangers and the FBI to investigate Bland’s death, which was ruled a suicide by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston. Bland’s family has asked for an independent autopsy.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-21-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, July 21, 2015:

  • Greenville, North Carolina: An officer was arrested for assaulting a woman. The report noted that the woman had visible injuries.
  • Austin, Texas: An officer was suspended after his fifth automobile crash on duty in one year. After this latest incident, he failed to properly report the accident and left the scene.
  • Update: San Mateo County, California (First reported 01-06-14): A now-former deputy will be retried for assault because new evidence may support his self-defense claim made during his trial. He was convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend. The ex-girlfriend has since testified that the boyfriend had assaulted her before the former deputy was involved.
  • Update: Charlotte-Mecklenberg, North Carolina (First reported 04-28-15): An officer’s trial for the voluntary manslaughter of Jonathan Ferrell is underway. Ferrell had been in an auto accident and was seeking help when the officer shot him. The officer claimed he mistook him for a burglar.
  • Mission, Texas: An officer was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
  • Essex County, New Jersey: An officer was charged for tipping-off dealers in a sprawling heroin conspiracy.
  • Franklin, Alabama: The police chief was arrested for selling a firearm and ammunition to an undocumented immigrant.
  • Marshall County, Mississippi: A constable was arrested for He had previously been accused of DUI.
  • Update: Waller County, Texas: The death of Sandra Bland is being investigated by state and local authorities. Those investigations are being overseen by FBI. The arresting officer has been placed on leave. Video of her arrest has been released. Irregularities in the video have prompted deep skepticism.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-18-15 to 07-20-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, July 18 through Monday, July 20, 2015:

  • New York, New York: Nineteen officers in a Bronx precinct face administrative charges that they downgraded criminal charges in 55 cases over four months.
  • Apopka, Florida: An officer resigned during an investigation into his alleged illegal solicitation of prescription pills.
  • Memphis, Tennessee: An officer has been placed on leave during the investigation into his fatal shooting of nineteen-year-old Darrius Stewart while in custody. Stewart’s family claims that he had been taken into custody improperly because of mistaken identity.
  • Update: South Congaree, South Carolina (First reported 06-18-14): The now-former police chief was sentenced to four years’ probation for federal perjury after accepting a plea bargain. He still faces state charges for misconduct.
  • Buffalo, New York: An officer was suspended without pay after a five-year-old video surfaced of him striking a handcuffed suspect.
  • Put-in-Bay, Ohio: A now-former officer was indicted on 15 counts of misconduct while he was employed there. The same day, he was fired from Volusia County, Florida sheriff’s office. Ohio authorities expect him to turn himself in but have been unable to contact him directly.
  • Update: King City, California (First reported 02-27-14): The now-former chief faces trial for perjury and embezzlement. Three now-former officers have already pled guilty to various charges involving the scandal-plagued department.
  • Chandler, Arizona: An officer illegally entered a home and handcuffed a woman who was wearing only a towel. Charges will not be filed, but the woman intends to file a lawsuit against the City.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-17-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, July 17, 2015:

  • Spokane, Washington: An officer was arrested for first-degree burglary-domestic violence for kicking down a woman’s door while armed.
  • Lafayette Parish, Louisiana: A deputy was arrested for bringing contraband into the jail for inmates.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: The City agreed to settle a lawsuit for $65,000. The suit alleged a young man was cuffed and beaten by an officer.
  • New York, New York: An officer was indicted by a federal grand jury for drug trafficking in Vermont.
  • Update: Stonewall, Mississippi (First reported 07-10-15): The death of Jonathan Sanders was ruled provisionally as a homicide by manual asphyxiation.
  • Update: St. Louis, Missouri (First reported 03-17-15): A now-former officer was sentenced to two years in prison for providing a shotgun to known drug dealers.
  • Update: Dothan, Alabama (First reported 03-04-15): An officer’s charges were updated. He is now charged with 20 counts of identity theft of military service members.
  • Hill County, Texas: A now-former deputy pled guilty to stealing $560 from evidence and deleting the record of the evidence to hide the theft. He was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
  • Dade County, Georgia: A sheriff was indicted on 18 criminal counts for using a county credit card for $6,300 in personal purchases and payments.

Points for “Some” Honesty

Countless reports on this website include stories of police officers refusing to enforce the law against family or colleagues when they have committed a crime. Sometimes the offense is a DUI, other times it is drug dealing. Covering up a crime is not only a rules violation but sometimes a crime in itself. Either way, it is police misconduct. Except, apparently, in Methuen, Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe reports that applicants to the Methuen police department were awarded points for saying they would not arrest a family member or fellow officer for DUI. When called to testify about the practice, the officers responsible for reviewing the applications were surprisingly forthcoming.  According to the Globe:

“I’m looking for some bearing, some honesty, and how quickly the person can think on their feet,” Police Lieutenant Michael Pappalardo testified.

But Pappalardo also said he wouldn’t believe anyone who claimed they would arrest their family and friends. And when candidates said they wouldn’t arrest family or fellow officers, the hiring panel noted the person “knows discretion.”

While police officers are granted considerable discretion in how strictly to enforce the laws–such as issuing a verbal warning for speeding instead of issuing a ticket or putting someone in a cab who is drunk instead of booking them for public intoxication–favoritism is an ethical breach of that discretion. Such “professional courtesy” effectively insulates police officers and their families from the law. Put another way, favoritism places them above the law.

Unfortunately, the practice is quite common. The Globe story recounts the findings of a 2008 Civil Service Commission report:

“Every police officer who testified before the commission testified that the routine and customary practice when a stop is made on a fellow police officer, is to show professional courtesy and not call in the stop,” the report said.

Police officers should have more than “some” honesty to maintain the public trust. Read the whole thing here.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-16-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, July 16, 2015:

  • Greenville, Mississippi: An officer was arrested for being an accessory after the fact to a fatal shooting. He allegedly provided a get-away vehicle for the assailant.
  • San Diego County, California: The County will pay $1,000,000 to the family of a man with Down syndrome who was assaulted by a deputy on duty.
  • Burlington, Vermont: An officer was arrested for DUI after a two-car collision that resulted in injuries.
  • Aurora, Colorado: An officer faces grand jury proceedings for the fatal shooting of Naeschylus Vinzant, an unarmed man.
  • Waller County, Texas: The jail is under Texas Ranger investigation after a woman died in custody. Video of her arrest was released.
  • Maypearl, Texas: The police chief is under investigation for solicitation of a minor. He allegedly sent lurid texts to a 16-year-old girl.
  • Update: Eagle County, Colorado (First reported 10-08-14): A deputy pled guilty to third-degree assault and second-degree criminal trespass for sexually assaulting a female motorist in an abandoned warehouse. He will have to register as a sex offender.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: An officer was suspended for lying about how he was injured in an off-duty shooting. He allegedly conspired with his former brother-in-law to say his current wife shot him.
  • Update: Hudson Falls, New York (First reported 03-12-15): A deputy who was charged with larceny for stealing from police union coffers has resigned.

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