National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Worst of the Month — October 2013

So for October it was Atlantic City Police Officer Sterling Wheaton.  Recall that David Castellani had exchanged words with police outside a casino.  Those officers took Castellani to the ground.  Officer Wheaton then arrives on the scene and he immediately releases his dog to attack Castellani, who is still on the ground.  The dog proceeds to bite Castellani’s head and neck.

The runner up goes to the Houston police officer who raped a handcuffed woman in the backseat of his patrol car.  Responding to a fender bender, officer Adan Carranza handcuffed and arrested the victim and then waited for the other drivers involved in the accident to leave.  The victim said Carranza, wearing his gun and badge, then raped her in the back of the patrol car before driving her to jail for a reckless driving charge.  DNA evidence from the victim and back seat confirm the allegations, and Carranza has pled guilty—but only to attempted sexual assault.  Carranza’s lawyer is hopeful his client will be paroled after only two or three years of his ten year sentence, of which he could serve as little as six months if a judge agrees to “shock probation”.  One has to wonder how many rapists get that kind of deal.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 11-06-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, November 6, 2013:

  • Update: Glens Falls, New York (First reported 10-07-13): A police officer who remains jailed on charges that accuse him of assaulting his girlfriend has resigned.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: Prosecutors have charged a police officer who they said struck a person at the juvenile booking facility. He was charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
  • Update: Santa Rosa, California (First reported 10/30/13): The parents of the 13-year-old boy killed by a deputy who thought his airsoft gun was real has filed suit.
  • Gila, New Mexico: Another man, with another minor traffic violation, was subjected to medical procedures, including an anal exam, after a K9 dog falsely alerted officers to drugs. The dog is not certified in New Mexico.  The man was pulled over for not putting his blinker on.
  • Update: Washington County, Minnesota (First reported 03-01-13): A now-former sheriff’s deputy has been convicted in the theft of drugs from a locked pharmaceutical dropbox. He admitted to the charges.
  • Pinellas County, Florida: A deputy was fired and accused of inappropriate conduct while interviewing a 17-year-old alleged sexual assault victim. The officer said he was intentionally trying to make the girl feel uncomfortable so that she would tell the truth. The sheriff’s office said he overstepped interview boundaries and violated agency policy.
  • Update: Indianapolis, Indiana (First reported 02-15-13): A jury found an officer guilty of all charges against him. He was on trial for criminal recklessness and drunken driving charges for crashing his squad car while on duty into a group of motorcyclists. A man was killed and two other people were seriously injured.
  • Togiak, Alaska: A police officer has been charged with sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl. He allegedly had sexual relations with the girl in his city-owned cruiser.
  • Onalaska, Texas: A police officer has been sentenced to three years in prison for providing arms to a convicted felon.
  • Update: Alexander City, Alabama (First reported 10-07-13): A now-former police officer was sentenced to 89 years in prison. He pled guilty to sexual abuse, sodomy, and sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 11-05-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, November 5, 2013:

  • Deming, New Mexico: A man is now suing claiming he was subjected to repeated, humiliating, forced medical procedures after a traffic stop for failing to come to a complete stop. The officers say he appeared to be clenching his buttocks when he exited the car and thought that was probable cause to suspect he was hiding narcotics in his anal cavity. He was then taken to a hospital to be probed by doctors.
  • San Joaquin County, California: A now-former deputy has been charged with two counts of grand theft after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from a police canine association.
  • Manatee County, Florida: A former deputy was terminated he pled guilty to federal charges. He pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute anabolic steroids, according to court documents.
  • Greene County, Ohio: A man’s excessive force lawsuit can proceed against two sheriff’s deputies accused of slamming him into the ground so hard that he suffered a broken jaw, broken teeth, and facial fractures, an appeals court panel ruled.
  • Port Chester, New York: The police chief was arrested after refusing to leave a closed Board of Trustees meeting. He was already suspended from duty after he allegedly assaulted the acting chief.
  • Columbia, South Carolina: A police officer has been suspended after he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. He was arrested after officers saw him driving erratically.
  • Newark, New Jersey: A police officer has admitted to filing a false insurance claim after his vehicle was declared stolen and found torched. He pled guilty in court.
  • West Sacramento, California: An officer forced a woman to give him oral sex in his patrol car under threat of arrest. She sued the officer, the city, and the police chief in federal court.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: A police officer has resigned after being accused in federal court of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 11-01-13 to 11-04-13

Here are the 18 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, November 1, to Monday, November 4, 2013:

  • New York, New York: A man arrested for allegedly possessing meth rocks claims he was actually just carrying some Jolly Ranchers in his pocket. The complaint contends that the officers violated his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. It also says he experienced “emotional trauma and suffering” as a result of his false arrest and imprisonment.
  • Granite Falls, Washington: A police sergeant was demoted after city officials discovered that he had a bogus identification card saying he was the police chief. An investigation by outside police agencies concluded that he may have committed felony charges.
  • Richmond, Virginia: A police chief has been fired. He was placed on administrative leave last month following complaints and allegations involving fraud.
  • Brandenburg, Kentucky: A police officer who has been on paid administrative leave has resigned. This came after accusations of four police officers having an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old girl.
  • Update: South Barrington, Illinois (First reported 11/01/13): A now-former police officer was sentenced to 24 months of probation after pleading guilty to forgery, possession of a controlled substance, and official misconduct. He was also ordered to pay $1,400 in fines.
  • Tuckerman, Arkansas: A police officer was arrested after investigators say he stole and pawned several guns from a police organization.
  • Lexington, Kentucky: An officer has been cited for harassment with physical contact after confronting a 13-year-old referee following a youth soccer game.
  • Update: Berthoud, Colorado (Previously reported 10-24-13): A police officer was fired after being arrested in a child abuse case. He had allegedly confessed to abusing a 15-year-old girl. According to court records, the girl told police investigators that he abused her almost daily for years.
  • Brownsdale, Minnesota: The police chief has been charged with criminal sexual conduct. The charges say that he offered a woman a ride and then sexually assaulted her.
  • Natick, Massachusetts: A police officer accused of beating a woman during a domestic violence dispute has been placed on leave by the department. He has been charged with assault and battery.
  • Update: Hampton, Massachusetts (First reported 08-24-12): A federal judge dismissed three of eight counts in a lawsuit filed against police officers accused of using excessive force while arresting a man on charges of disorderly conduct outside a bar.
  • Newnan, Georgia: A now-former police officer accused of burglarizing a child care center while he was on duty has been sentenced to probation. He admitted to breaking into the All Stars Academy during a night patrol shift to steal tuition money and petty cash from the office.
  • Update: New London, Connecticut (First reported 04-03-12): A state panel has ordered the police department to rehire an officer fired last year for shooting and critically injuring a man suspected of stealing a truck. He shot a man, leaving him paralyzed. The man was unarmed.
  • Jeffersonville, Indiana: A police officer was arrested and charged with felony attempted possession of a controlled substance following a four-month Indiana State Police probe involving illegal steroids. He was taken to the county jail.
  • Haskell, Arkansas: An officer chased a woman through her workplace, shooting a Taser at her, because she refused to show him her breasts, the woman claims in court.
  • New Hanover County, North Carolina: A sheriff’s deputy has been fired after he tried to use his Taser on a utility worker at his home.
  • Madison County, Tennessee: A county sheriff admitted to having an affair with one of his female deputies, but denies her allegations of domestic abuse at her home.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: The family of a man who died in police custody has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the police, alleging that the man was viciously beaten by three officers before he died.


National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 10-31-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, October 31, 2013:

  • Update: Skokie, Illinois (First reported 10-10-13): A police officer has been charged after he was captured on video shoving a detainee into a cell with such force she hit her head on a concrete bench. He was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct.
  • St. Paul, Minnesota: A man claims two city police officers used unnecessary force when they arrested him because he wouldn’t turn down music playing in his apartment. The officers dispute all of his claims.
  • Update: Tampa, Florida (First reported 06-05-13): An officer who was fired after he spent hours drinking at a topless bar while on duty with his partner has been reinstated. Police attorneys said the officer thought his partner had logged them as off-duty.
  • Los Angeles County, California: A jury has convicted a sheriff’s deputy of repeatedly assaulting and threatening his girlfriend after she discovered he was having an affair. He faces up to eight years in state prison when he is sentenced.
  • Update: Jupiter, Florida (First reported 09-12-13): An attorney for the officer charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon said videotape released by the state attorney’s office showed the charge against the veteran law enforcement officer wasn’t warranted.
  • La Crosse, Wisconsin: The state justice department has charged a former police lieutenant with trying to steal pain pills. The officer resigned after he was arrested.
  • Whitley County, Kentucky: The now-former sheriff was sentenced to 17 years and ordered to pay $335,188 in restitution. The indictment charges him with 12 counts of abuse of public trust exceeding $10,000 but less than $100,000, 6 counts of abuse of public trust less than $10,000 and 3 counts of tampering with physical evidence.
  • Tempe, Arizona: A police officer has resigned and faces the possibility of criminal charges. Police have confirmed there is an investigation involving hindering prosecution happening within the department.
  • Macedon, New York: A police officer is accused of removing an item of evidence from the police department for his personal benefit. He is also accused of stealing approximately $2,200 from the Macedon Association of Police Officers.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 10-30-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, October 30, 2013:

  • Wyoming, Pennsylvania: The police chief avoided jail time after reaching a deal with prosecutors on charges he stole from the borough. He must repay the stolen money, serve 50 hours of community service and he faces a lifetime ban from serving as a police officer.
  • Update: Arlington, Texas (First reported 06-13-13): A police officer has pled guilty to passing unauthorized information to a drug dealer who authorities say gave him and other officers anabolic steroids. He entered his plea to exceeding access to a protected computer.
  • Hilliard, Ohio: An officer has been placed on paid administrative leave after he was accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct while on duty. The 10-year veteran was ordered to turn in his two police shields, city issued ID cards, and city-issued weapons, his marked police vehicle, and his officer canine.
  • Murray County, Ohio: A prosecutor says a police chief pled guilty to two misdemeanor charges of receiving stolen property from a murder suspect.
  • Updates: Sarasota, Florida (Three stories: Reported 02-26-12, 11-08-12 & 11-16-12): Three men are suing the city, claiming they were treated harshly and falsely arrested by police officers. One was arrested while writing peace messages on a sidewalk with chalk. The second man’s arrest was caught on video; the officer beat him until he was unconscious. The third man, who is homeless, was arrested for charging his cell phone in a public park.
  • Cherokee County, Oklahoma: A sheriff’s deputy has been fired after he was indicted on forgery and embezzlement charges. He has called the accusations a “misunderstanding.”
  • Update: Little Rock, Arkansas (First reported 07-01-13): A police officer who escorted what he believed to be a 1,000-pound shipment of marijuana through the city while on duty has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison. He has since been fired.
  • Santa Rosa, California: Locals are expressing their outrage over deputies who shot and killed a 13-year-old boy carrying a replica assault rifle that they thought was real. Ismael Mondragon said he saw the boy moments before he was killed with the gun in his hand. Mondragon said he warned the boy to get rid of such a real-looking weapon. “I saw him with that rifle in his left hand,” Mondragon said. “And I said, ‘Throw that thing away, the police are right behind you.'” The sheriff sent out a personal statement, saying he had two boys about the same age and “can’t begin to imagine the grief.” He vowed to be transparent in releasing information about the shooting as the investigation unfolds.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A woman says federal agents who raided her home got the wrong house. Following the incident, agents showed her a picture of a man that she did not know. DEA Officials in charge of the early morning raids as well as other law enforcement agencies had no comment on the incident.
  • Lawrenceville, Georgia: A nurse is suing four police officers for excessive force. The lawsuit said her Fourth Amendment rights were violated and excessive force was used at the Hospital.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 10-29-13

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, October 29, 2013:

  • Littleton, Colorado: A police officer pleaded guilty to firearm and drug trafficking charges. He was purchasing and using illegal drugs.
  • Los Angeles County, California: A sheriff’s deputy has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of assaulting a 19-year-old arrestee in the back seat of a patrol car. He entered his plea and was immediately given three years of probation and ordered to get a year of counseling.
  • Berkeley County, West Virginia: A sheriff’s deputy has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a wreck after he left a strip club. He was indicted on charges of giving false information to state police, filing fraudulent insurance claims and DUI. He has resigned.
  • Lead Hill, Arkansas: The police chief was arrested on suspicion of selling guns that he seized from a resident. He was arrested on suspicion of felony theft, abuse of public trust, abuse of office, and release or disclosure to an unauthorized person for allegedly misusing information from the Arkansas Crime Information Computer.
  • St. Charles County, Missouri: A drug task force officer charged in the beating of a wanted meth cook during an arrest pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor peace disturbance charge. He was given a suspended imposition of sentence and will be on probation for a year.
  • Prince George’s County, Maryland: A police officer was suspended after he was charged with driving under the influence. He was driving an unmarked cruiser.
  • Lansford, Pennsylvania: Authorities say an off-duty deputy sheriff took another off-duty officer hostage at gunpoint and then shot himself. He took ammunition and an unmarked police car from the station first.
  • Columbus, Ohio: Jackson A man has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and several city police officers, contending they violated his civil rights during a “brutal unjustified physical attack.” “As a direct and proximate result of the wrongful acts and omissions of the defendant officers, [the] plaintiff sustained severe and permanent injuries,” alleges the lawsuit.

Rights Violations in Memphis


Twice in five days, Memphis Police officers have been accused of interfering with citizens who were using their cellphones to record police activities.

The First Amendment guarantees people the right to film public activities, civil liberties experts said Tuesday. Last November, the U.S. Supreme Court strengthened such protections when it refused to hear an appeal concerning an Illinois law that would have made it illegal to record police.

In both Memphis cases — one at a Midtown homeless shelter, the other a hip-hop gathering on South Main — those arrested were charged with disorderly conduct or obstructing a highway or passageway. Handcuffs effectively ended those recording attempts.

Civil liberties experts worry that police are using general laws to arrest people who disobey orders to put their cameras away.

“The people who are recording are winning in court. But the problem is that, out on the streets, police officers can informally order people to put their phones away or threaten them with arrest if they don’t,” said Tim Lynch, director of the criminal justice program of the Cato Institute, a Washington-based think tank.


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