National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-17-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, December 17, 2013:

  • Roanoke, Virginia: A sheriff’s deputy was arrested after police say he broke into a woman’s home armed with a gun. He was charged with armed burglary and felony destruction of property.
  • Mora County, New Mexico: A sheriff has resigned after admitting to letting a burglary suspect off the hook and then trying to cover it up. Court documents say that the sheriff told the suspect in a home burglary where firearms were taken, “If you give me the weapons I will let you go clean.”
  • Des Plaines, Illinois: A judge has upheld the termination of a police officer, overturning an arbitrator’s ruling that the officer, accused of using excessive force against an arrestee and lying about it, should return to work.
  • East Haven, Connecticut: Another now-former police officer accused of being part of a conspiracy to harass Latinos has been sentenced to two years in prison on an obstruction charge.
  • Tempe, Arizona: A police officer has been accused of threatening his ex-wife and then leading officers on a high-speed chase while allegedly driving intoxicated. He was arrested on suspicion of felony endangerment, threatening and intimidating, driving under the influence, felony flight, and reckless driving.
  • Mobile, Alabama: A police officer has been arrested on charges of tax evasion and filing fraudulent returns. He has been accused of filing false returns between 2007 and 2010.
  • Waukegan, Illinois: A 13-year-old boy says he was brutalized by police, and now two unnamed detectives and the city are facing a federal lawsuit. During a police investigation of a broken window, the teen and another were taken to an interrogation room and held for three to four hours. The boy says he was roughed up because he wouldn’t confess. “He got mad because I said, ‘I’m not going to sign nothing without an attorney or my mother, and then he hit me with his phone. He choked me,” the teen said.
  • Aurora, Indiana: The police chief was arrested for domestic battery. He and his wife were engaged in a physical confrontation when police arrived. She was taken to the hospital, and could also be charged.
  • Houston, Texas: Three police officers have been indicted on official oppression charges accusing them of using excessive force in a ‘suicide by cop’ situation.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-14-13 to 12-16-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, December 14, to Monday, December 16, 2013:

  • Howard County, Maryland: A police officer has been charged with driving under the influence. He was off-duty at the time.
  • New York, New York: An off-duty police officer was arrested after selling $5,300 in counterfeit North Face jackets to undercover investigators three times.
  • San Mateo, California: A man who claims he and his wife were pepper-sprayed and he was beaten after holding the train doors open for her at a station has filed federal civil rights lawsuits against the county sheriff and two deputies.
  • Seattle, Washington: A state trooper will be suspended for four days, and must undergo 44 hours of driver retraining following a multiple-car crash. He was passing a speeding car on the highway when he crossed the center line and hit two other cars.
  • Boston, Massachusetts: A police officer allegedly pointed a pistol with a laser sight at two people, and was arrested shortly afterwards by his fellow officers when a pistol with a laser sight fell from his waistband.
  • Ross County, Ohio: A deputy sheriff is on paid leave after firing a shot that killed a woman during a drug raid. The officer says that he had no idea that his gun went off and that he shot her.
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin: A man who was shot three times and found guilty of injuring a police officer contends the officer and the city violated his civil rights. He accuses the officer of excessive force and illegal search and seizure.
  • Update: Riverside County, California (First reported 12-22-11): A now-former sheriff’s deputy has been convicted of second-degree murder in the off-duty shooting of a man in a bar.
  • Pinal County, Arizona: A deputy has been fired for repeatedly driving dangerously on duty. This is the same deputy that got a slap on the wrist when he was previously involved in a fatal off-duty crash while going nearly 100 mph.

Deputy Accidently Shoots Woman During Raid

From Buckeye Country

A Ross County law enforcement official is on paid leave after firing a shot that eventually killed a woman during a drug raid.

Members of the U.S. 23 Task Force raided a known drug house along U.S. 23 in southern Ross County late Wednesday night. As soon as they got inside, they found a woman with a head wound on the couch in the living room.

“It was discovered later that a bullet had accidentally discharged from outside the door of the trailer and went through the outside wall of the trailer and into the living room,” said Ross County Sheriff George Lavender.

The bullet struck Krystal Barrows in the head. She was flown to OSU Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, but she died from her wounds….

The sheriff says he was outside the home at the time of the raid and never heard a shot go off. He thinks it probably happened at the same time a flash-bang grenade was used as agents entered the home. Those devices are used to distract and confuse suspects.

And for the Nth time, those grenades also confuse the police–and that too often endangers people unnecessarily.

More here.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-13-13

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, December 13, 2013:

  • Florence, Colorado: A woman received $32,500 from an insurance company after claiming a police officer used excessive force on her when he used a stun gun on her while handcuffed in a patrol car.
  • Update: Jackson County, Mississippi: County Sheriff Mike Byrd pled guilty to one felony count of intimidating a witness and resigned. He admitted he attempted to induce a deputy to lie to a grand jury.
  • Walton County, Florida: A sheriff’s lieutenant was charged with careless driving after causing a fender-bender on a highway. He was driving a marked patrol car when he rear-ended someone. Four people suffered minor injuries and were taken to the hospital via ambulance.
  • Madison County, Alabama: Court documents claim a now-former sheriff’s investigator stole a .44 magnum pistol. He was indicted on charges of second-degree receiving stolen property and second-degree theft.
  • Update: Tempe, Arizona (First reported 10-31-13): A now-former police officer accused of having sex with a drug trafficking suspect before she resigned pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution and participating in a prohibited act by a public employee.
  • Walton County, Florida: After an investigation, a deputy was arrested. He obtained a knife from someone and pawned it, knowing that it was stolen. He was then terminated.
  • Muscogee County, Georgia: A deputy marshal was arrested and charged with one felony count of violation of oath of a public officer and one misdemeanor count of reckless conduct. She reportedly drove at another police officer, forcing him to jump out of the way of her patrol car to avoid getting hit.
  • Bernalillo County, New Mexico: A man suffered severe burns to his knees and buttocks after a sheriff’s deputy forced him to kneel and sit on hot asphalt for nearly half an hour, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit.
  • Columbus, Ohio: A police officer has resigned after admitting to a decade of collecting child pornography. He was days away from marking his 23rd anniversary with the force.
  • Update: Olmos Park, Texas (First reported 12-03-13): A police officer accused of shooting a friend during an argument over sexual partners has resigned from the police force. He is facing criminal charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
  • Update: Arlington, Virginia (Previously reported 08-14-13): A sheriff’s deputy has been found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the off-duty shooting of a young man.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-12-13

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, December 12, 2013:

  • Update: New Orleans, Louisiana (First reported 11-14-13): A former police officer pleaded guilty to attempting to possessing and distributing cocaine in an effort to help pay his mortgage.
  • Asheville, South Carolina: A former law enforcement officer will spend eight years in federal prison for robbing a bank. “A bank robbery is a serious matter,” the judge said. “This is a crime that causes fear. It is intended to have people in fear of their lives for financial gain. A police officer should know better.”
  • Update: Washington, DC (First reported 12-06-13): A police officer accused of prostituting teenage girls was arrested after a week-long investigation that began when the search for a missing 16-year-old girl led the police to his apartment.
  • Chicago, Illinois: A now-former police lieutenant pleaded guilty to tax fraud under a deal. He admitted he’d failed to pay taxes on a $30,000 payoff he accepted to help a friend get her hands on an illegal property loan.
  • Update: Miami Gardens, Florida (First reported 12-09-13): The police chief is resigning after allegations arose that his officers stopped and searched customers of a convenience store as a matter of routine. Charges of racial profiling and civil rights abuses were bolstered by videos that showed police frisking and arresting people.
  • Costa Mesa, California: An accused drunk driver alleges in a legal claim that the police officer who pulled him over shoved him to the ground, breaking one of his fingers and injuring his arthritic knees. He asserts that the officer used excessive force, a claim the city automatically denied because the deadline to file it had passed.
  • Update: San Luis Obispo, California (First reported 07-09-13): A now-former police narcotics detective was sentenced in federal court to 18 months in federal prison. He pleaded guilty to extortion.
  • Update: Tao, New Mexico (First reported 12-09-13): An officer who shot at a minivan full of children following a traffic stop has been fired.

Groups Protest Dallas Police Dept

From the Dallas Morning News:

The families of several men killed or wounded by Dallas police officers lambasted the department Thursday for what they said was a pattern of excessive force, civil rights violations and police brutality under color of law.

The newly formed Mothers Against Police Brutality held a news conference at City Hall where they called for a U.S. Justice Department investigation of the Dallas Police Department’s deadly force practices.

“It is not a black problem,” said Collette Flanagan, whose son Clinton Allen was fatally shot this year by a Dallas police officer. “It is not a Hispanic problem. It’s not a poor people’s problem. It is our problem” ….

Late Thursday, Police Chief David Brown issued a statement saying that he shared many of the group’s concerns.

“I look forward to working with this group, and moving forward towards positive changes for our department,” Brown said.

Lawsuit: Police Force Man to Sit/Kneel on Hot Asphalt

From the Associated Press:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque man suffered severe burns to his knees and buttocks after a Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy forced him to kneel and sit on hot asphalt for nearly half an hour, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit.The lawsuit filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque alleges Deputy Chris Starr made Jonathan Griego, 23, kneel on the scorching asphalt during a June traffic stop on a day when temperatures reached 96 degrees in the city.Starr demanded that Griego kneel and sit on the asphalt, where he was forced to “literally cook” after a needle was found in his pocket, court papers said….According to the lawsuit, Starr ignored Griego’s complaints that the heat was burning through his pants and undergarments.

Video Shows Police K-9 Attack

From WNCN:

A Wilmington police officer involved in an incident in October has been cleared of any wrongdoing, but new dash camera video showing exactly what happened has started a debate in the community over if excessive force was used.

New video shows WPD K-9 officer, Stafford Brister, lifting his police dog and forcing it through the driver’s side window right into the driver’s lap. Brister was one of the law enforcement officers who responded to a chase in Wilmington.

The video shows the police dog attacking the driver. Later, an injury report detailed that Johnnie Williams had lacerations to his face.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 12-10-13 to 12-11-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, December 10 to Wednesday, December 11, 2013:

  • Lake Arthur, Louisiana: A police officer has been charged with aggravated rape and molestation of a juvenile, state police said.
  • Broken Arrow, Oklahoma: A police officer was arrested and booked into jail on a complaint of public intoxication. He is also being investigated for sexual battery, but he was not arrested for that.
  • Update: Ripley, West Virginia (First reported 07-02 -13): A now-former police officer has been sentenced one year and one day in prison after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. His prison time will be followed by ten years of supervised release.
  • Lafourche Parish, Louisiana: A sheriff says a deputy has been fired and arrested after being accused of bringing forbidden items to a jailed friend. The felony charge carries up to five years at hard labor and a $2000 fine.
  • Update: Newton County, Georgia (First reported 09-23-13): A now-former sheriff’s deputy has pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
  • Johnson County, Kansas: A sheriff’s deputy was charged following a stand-off. He was charged with aggravated assault, criminal restraint, and domestic battery. He is now on administrative leave.
  • Madison County, Alabama: A sheriff’s deputy has been arrested after a grand jury indicted him. He was indicted on two felonies including theft and receiving stolen property. He could get 1-10 years in prison for each charge.
  • Nye County, Nevada: A sheriff’s deputy was arrested after police say he broke into his estranged wife’s home and held her captive there. He was taken into custody on charges of domestic battery, stalking, burglary and false imprisonment.
  • Update: Burlington, Vermont (First reported 07-31-13): The deputy police chief who was arrested for his second DUI pleaded no contest. After the judge accepted his plea agreement, he was allowed to retire.
  • Dallas, Texas: The city council has agreed to pay nearly $1.2 million to the mother of a bicyclist who died after being run over by a police car. Two officers were fired for the incident and one was charged criminally. Police determined the officer did not immediately call for an ambulance after the cyclist was hurt, and later told paramedics that someone else hit him.

An ‘Epidemic’ of Prosecutorial Misconduct

On December 10, five federal appellate judges acknowledged that there is a whole lot of prosecutorial misconduct going on in our criminal justice system:  “There is an epidemic of Brady violations abroad in the land.”

“Brady” refers to the landmark Supreme Court case that says the due process guarantee is violated when prosecutors suppress evidence that is favorable to the accused when such evidence is material to that person’s guilt or innocence.  The problem is that prosecutors are typically not punished when a Brady violation occurs–so the rule is too often ignored.

Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote the dissenting opinion in United States v. Olsen (No. 10-36063).  An excerpt:

I wish I could say that the prosecutor’s unprofessionalism here is the exception, that his propensity for shortcuts and indifference to his ethical and legal responsibilities is a rare blemish and source of embarrassment to an otherwise diligent and scrupulous corps of attorneys staffing prosecutors’ offices around the country.  But it wouldn’t be true.  Brady violations have reached epidemic proportions in recent years, and the federal and state reporters bear testament to this unsettling trend.

“Epidemic proportions.”   Another aspect of the broken, dysfunctional system exposed.

For additional background, go here and here.

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