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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-21-14 to 06-23-14

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, June 21 to Monday, June 23:

  • Pascagoula, Tennessee: A police officer was sentenced to 1 year in prison and five years post-release supervison for the hit-and-run death of a teenager.
  • Update: Fort Smith, Arkansas (First reported 09-18-13): A now-former police officer pled guilty to 5 counts of sexual assault in the 2nd degree. He was accused of having sex with a 16-year-old girl five different times. Police said at least one of the incidents happened while he was on duty as a patrol officer.
  • Fort Worth, Texas: Prosecutors say a police officer has been indicted for causing the death of a motorist as the officer rushed to assist with a traffic stop. A grand jury indicted the officer on a count of manslaughter.
  • Update: Taylor, Michigan (First reported 06-06-14): A now-former officer was sentenced to one year of probation and $1,600 in fines for misusing the statewide Law Enforcement Information Network computer system.
  • Richardson County, Nebraska: A sheriff’s deputy was fired and arrested after an investigation revealed he lied about a gun-shot wound.
  • Phoenix, Arizona: A police officer was arrested in a human-trafficking and prostitution sting on suspicion of soliciting prostitution and sexual abuse. He reportedly made unwanted sexual contact with an undercover detective.
  • Memphis, Tennessee: A police officer was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
  • Update: Washington, DC (Previously reported 12-12-13): A now-former police officer admitted in federal court that he forced underage teenagers to work as escorts out of his apartment. A judge expressed concern that the eight-year sentence negotiated by the prosecution and defense was too lenient.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-20-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, June 20, 2014:

  • Daytona Beach, Florida: A police officer was arrested on DUI charges after crashing into a drainage ditch, according to authorities.
  • Laceyville, Borough, Pennsylvania: An officer has been suspended for allegedly selling an AK-47 out of the back of the patrol car last week. He was on duty at the time of the apparent gun sale.
  • Update: Roseville, Minnesota (First reported 04-17-14): One of the police officers named as a defendant in a police brutality lawsuit has filed a response to the case, denying the alleged abuse.
  • Update: Rains County, Texas (First reported 04-24-14): A now-fired sheriff’s deputy has pleaded not guilty to an animal cruelty charge in the shooting of a farm dog that later had to be euthanized.
  • Update: West Valley City, Utah (First reported 06-14-13): A now-former police detective has been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of a woman. He faces 15 years in prison if convicted.
  • King County, Washington: A sheriff’s office deputy was arrested on suspicion of helping his wife start a prostitution business, as well as stealing ammunition from the sheriff’s office firing range and dabbling in a number of illegal drugs.
  • New York, New York: The mother of a mentally ill man who fell 10 feet to his death from a building ledge after an officer tasered him has accepted $700,000 from the city to settle a federal lawsuit., Maine: A man has filed a lawsuit against the city’s police chief and three officers in connection with his arrest. He filed a complaint alleging his civil rights were violated because police falsely arrested him and used excessive and unreasonable force against him.
  • Update: Arundel County, Maryland (First reported 02-04-14): A police officer has been cleared of wrongdoing in killing the dog of a family, whose lawyer said they are disappointed in the outcome.

Problems in San Diego


The San Diego Police Department enforced an “unwritten policy” that encouraged police misconduct and led to scandals involving former officers Anthony Arevalos and Christopher Hays, a new lawsuit against the department alleges….

The lawsuit claims officers felt they could get away with such inappropriate behavior after former SDPD Chief William Lansdowne and other officials disbanded the anti-corruption unit called the Professional Standards Unit (PSU) around 2003.

“The elimination of the PSU, this specialized unit, was a signal and affirmation to the SDPD, its police officers and its supervisory officials that those police officers who chose to exploit their positions of power, authority and trust by victimizing members of the very community they had sworn to protect would not be investigated, prosecuted, pursued or punished for their actions,” the lawsuit reads.

As an example, the court document claims another officer reported to his supervisors that Arevalos had taken Polaroid pictures of a nude, mentally disabled woman, taunting her to pose in a lewd manner with his baton.

Instead of punishing Arevalos or reporting the incident up the chain of command, the lawsuit claims his superiors instead destroyed the pictures and evidence of the incident and intimidated the officer who had reported it.

The lawsuit says the alleged cover-up is part of a “long-standing, unwritten SDPD policy that encouraged a two-tiered system of justice.”

That system includes laws that apply to ordinary citizens and a set of privileges and immunities that apply to SDPD officers and other members of the law enforcement community, according to the suit.

Additionally, the SDPD is accused of instituting a process that prevented the public from lodging complaints against officers directly with the internal affairs unit.

$40 Million Settlement in NY Central Park Case

From the New York Times:

The five men whose convictions in the brutal 1989 beating and rape of a female jogger in Central Park were later overturned have agreed to a settlement of about $40 million from New York City to resolve a bitterly fought civil rights lawsuit over their arrests and imprisonment in the sensational crime.

The agreement, reached between the city’s Law Department and the five plaintiffs, would bring to an end an extraordinary legal battle over a crime that came to symbolize a sense of lawlessness in New York, amid reports of “wilding” youths and a marauding “wolf pack” that set its sights on a 28-year-old investment banker who ran in the park many evenings after work….

The five black and Hispanic men, ages 14 to 16 at the time of their arrests, claimed that incriminating statements they had given had been coerced by the authorities. The statements were ruled admissible, and the men were convicted in two separate trials in 1990….

The lawsuit had accused the city’s police and prosecutors of false arrest, malicious prosecution and a racially motivated conspiracy to deprive the men of their civil rights, allegations which the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg denied and fought vigorously for more than a decade in federal court….

If the proposed settlement is approved by the comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, it would then be submitted for approval to Judge Deborah A. Batts of Federal District Court in Manhattan. In 2007, Judge Batts rejected the city’s motion to dismiss the suit and allowed most of the claims to proceed.

In such settlements, the city typically does not admit liability or wrongdoing

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-19-14

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, June 19, 2014:

  • Opa-locka, Florida: The police sergeant has been accused of false imprisonment. He allegedly illegally handcuffed and detained a man at the police station after the man tried to file a complaint.
  • Fair Bluff, North Carolina: A police officer faces several counts of secret peeping.
  • Lake County, Illinois: A sheriff’s lieutenant under fire for insubordination and misuse of county electronic devices will keep his job despite his boss’s attempt to fire him. But, he will be demoted under a disciplinary ruling.
  • Honesdale, Pennsylvania: A police officer who works for departments in Jessup and Honesdale was arrested after officers said he crashed into several parked cars. The officer refused to submit to a blood test, according to officers, and was charged with DUI and reckless driving.
  • Update: Cherokee County, South Carolina (First reported 01-28-14): A now-former deputy facing federal corruption charges pleaded guilty. The sheriff says the deputy is accused of acquiring electronic gambling machines and selling them for personal gain, rather than turning them in as contraband.
  • Update: Douglasville, Georgia (First reported 08-30-13) A now-former officer entered a guilty plea on driving under the influence charges and will serve three days in jail, pay a fine and lose his license for a year.
  • Ewing, New Jersey: A city woman received a $155,000 settlement after she was allegedly beaten by township officers.
  • Update: Little Rock, Arkansas (Previously reported 10-30-13): A now-former police officer has been convicted on one of five charges related to his escorting a van, while on duty. Prosecutors say the officer thought the van was carrying marijuana.
  • Update: Warren, Ohio (First reported 05-04-14): An officer plead not guilty to grand theft, theft in office and breaking and entering. He is accused of stealing a car from the locked garage of a vacant home by having it towed to a garage over which he has control.

SWAT officer involved with drugs, prostitution, and illegal slush fund


SEATTLE — A King County Sheriff’s Office deputy was arrested Thursday on suspicion of helping his wife start a prostitution business, as well as stealing ammunition from the Sheriff’s Office firing range and dabbling in a number of illegal drugs.

Seattle resident Darrion Holiwell, 49, is being held in King County Jail on $150,000 bail. He has been with the Sheriff’s Office since 1995 and was a member of the department’s SWAT unit and its chief firearms instructor until his arrest.

According to the charges filed Thursday in King County Superior, Holiwell has been violating the public trust and the law for years, with the charging documents stating he “displays a high level of disdain for the very law he has sworn to uphold.”

Note that the corruption was not exposed by an Internal Affairs investigation.  It came to light during divorce proceedings.  And the divorce happened because Holiwell slept with a friend of his then-wife.  Had the corrupt officer only stayed away from his wife’s close friends, it seems like the corruption would have persisted for many more years.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-18-14

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, June 18, 2014:

  • Baltimore City, Maryland: A police officer was arrested and charged with aggravated animal cruelty and other charges after cutting the throat of a dog.
  • Cleveland, Ohio: An officer was suspended for driving while intoxicated, rear-ending another car, and fleeing the scene of an accident.
  • Update: Parkersburg, West Virginia (First reported 11-26-13): A man has settled his lawsuit alleging a city police officer used excessive force against him. The police chief said that the city’s insurer agreed to pay $80,000.
  • Plant City, Florida: A police officer was arrested on a battery charge and has resigned from the police department.
  • Bastrop County, Texas: A sheriff’s deputy has been indicted on a murder charge in a woman’s shooting death.
  • Columbus, Ohio: A police officer is accused of attempting to illegally buy pain pills while on duty. The chief is recommending that he be fired.
  • South Congaree, South Carolina: The now-former police chief has been indicted by a state grand jury on a charge of misconduct in office. According to the indictment against him, he took money from a councilman, and in return the councilman would get gaming machines that had been seized by the police department.
  • Lexington County, South Carolina: The sheriff has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of public corruption and accepting bribes. The federal government says he “accepted bribes from friends in return for using his position, power, and influence as Sheriff to interfere with the proper identification and processing” of undocumented immigrants.
  • Chula Vista, California: A police officer has been placed on administrative leave after he got into a physical confrontation with a 16-year-old family member at a graduation ceremony that had to be broken up by the school’s principal.
  • Dillon, South Carolina: A now-former SC Highway Patrol officer is under investigation by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety’s Office of Professional Responsibility for allegations of falsification of documents.
  • Yakima, Washington: A police detective with more than 18 years on the force was fired for improperly sharing information with a potential witness in a double-murder case.
  • Update: Buffalo, New York (Previously reported 06-03-14): A man who was hit and kicked by a police officer filed a notice of claim seeking $500,000 in damages for his injuries and violation of his constitutional rights.
  • Update: Schenectady, New York (First reported 04-19-13): A now-former police officer was sentenced for two misdemeanors stemming from a “road rage” incident last year where he allegedly pointed his gun at a family.
  • Update: Colchester, Vermont (First reported 03-26-14): A police officer has pleaded guilty to the drunk driving charge leveled against him. On the night of his arrest his blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-17-14

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, June 17, 2014 :

  • Springfield, Oregon: A detective has been placed on paid administrative leave after being charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants and resisting arrest.
  • Placer County, California: A deputy is accused of engaging in sexual acts with a 17-year-old girl who was a volunteer at the sheriff’s office.
  • Madison, Wisconsin: A 71-year-old woman who says her hand was injured while she was in police custody has filed a complaint with the department, claiming an officer used excessive
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana: A now-former police officer was arrested after he was accused of getting paid from working extra detail and also from the police department simultaneously.
  • Pontotoc County, Tennessee: A sheriff’s deputy has been indicted on charges in a shooting. He is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of employing a firearm to commit a felony.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: A police officer has been suspended from active duty after a clip of a violent arrest at Pittsburgh Pride surfaced online. The clip showed the police officer grabbing a woman by the head and punching her, before restraining her in front of the crowd.
  • Ivey, Georgia: The now-former police chief faces criminal charges for allegedly pawning four city-owned weapons. GBI arrest warrants showed he pawned one of those guns eight times.
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma: The family of a man shot and killed by a police officer during a drug raid is now suing the city. Attorneys for the family claim police violated the man’s civil rights by using deadly force.
  • Prince George’s County, Maryland: An off-duty police officer pled guilty to second degree assault, officials said.
  • Douglas County, Nebraska: A sheriff’s deputy faces a charge of possession of a controlled substance following an investigation.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-13-14 to 06-16-14

Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, June 13, to Monday, June 16, 2014:

  • Everett, Massachusetts: A police officer forced his 10-year-old son to lie face-down as he whipped the boy with a belt. He pled not guilty to one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and was held on $1,000 bail.
  • Update: Gautier, Mississippi (First reported 02-10-14): A police officer was sentenced to 25 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with 20 years to serve day-for-day and five years on post-release supervision. He pled guilty to three counts of sexual battery and one count of touching of a child for lustful purposes.
  • Oklahoma County, Oklahoma: A now-former sheriff’s office lieutenant has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the case of an inmate who died after having his shoulder and wrist dislocated in the county jail.
  • Kingsland, Georgia: The police department is reviewing a case where officers used a taser on a man during an arrest. The family of the man said police brutally beat him. But, the department says he struggled with officers, even after being handcuffed.
  • Brazoria County, Texas: A now-former deputy has been charged with oppression and deadly conduct. According to investigators the officer was at an after-hours party while off duty. During an argument, investigators say he displayed his badge and gun in a threatening manner.
  • Update: Oxnard, California (First reported 04-11-14): The city will pay a family $6.7 million after the accidental shooting death of an innocent man. It’s the largest amount ever paid by the city in a wrongful death case.
  • Atlanta, Georgia: Reviews suggest that at least 500 law enforcement officers in Georgia, including an Oconee County sheriff’s deputy who was subsequently fired, may have lied about fulfilling required training in the last year.
  • Irwindale, California: Prosecutors filed several sex charges against a now-former police officer who allegedly molested a 14-year-old. He is accused of using a minor for sex acts, sending harmful matter, oral copulation of a person under 16, sexual penetration by a foreign object and two counts of contact with a minor for sexual offense.
  • Laporte, Indiana: The president of a local FOP called the acts of a police officer accused of embezzling more than $7,000 from the group “selfish and foolish.” The officer served as the lodge’s treasurer/secretary at the time the funds went missing. “It is unfortunate that a fellow police officer and FOP member would commit such a selfish and foolish act when considering he is technically stealing from not only his brothers and sisters, but from the community organizations that the FOP donates the money to,” said the president.
  • Nashville, Tennessee: A lieutenant was arrested on after being indicted on charges of raping a woman with whom he had a long-term relationship. Police said he was taken into custody after a three-count rape indictment accused him of having non-consensual sex with the alleged victim three times.
  • Kenmore, New York: A police officer has resigned after allegedly drawing a gun on a man while working a side job as a bowling alley.
  • Nashville, Tennessee: Three officers were decommissioned after one of the officers was not immediately arrested when he allegedly arrived at his post drunk. “All members of this police department are expected to conduct themselves in such a way that enhances the trust and confidence Nashville’s citizens have in us,” the chief said in a prepared statement. “It goes without saying that supervisors should lead the way. The events…are serious and are being treated as such.”
  • St. Petersburg, Florida: A police officer was arrested on a drunken driving charge.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-12-14

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, June 12, 2013:

  • Newport News, Virginia: A man who served 22 years in prison for capital murder only to see his conviction overturned is suing the police chief for $25 million. He claims police failed to turn over to prosecutors – and in turn, his defense attorneys – a Polaroid picture that cast doubt on the state’s theory of what happened.
  • Update; Barbour County, West Virginia (First reported 02-24-14): The now-former sheriff was sentenced to prison today for scheming to defraud an insurance company.
  • Cleveland, Ohio: A police officer pleaded guilty to aggravated menacing and was fined $500.
  • Indianapolis, Indiana: An officer has been charged with two counts of driving while intoxicated after investigators say he showed up for work drunk.
  • Bibb County, Georgia: An officer was fired for not following orders. He had been told not to “engage in any law enforcement functions,” and then stopped some people “acting suspiciously.”
  • Update: East Hampton Village, New York (First reported 01-23-14): A police officer who was reportedly found “in a compromising position” with a female companion in an unoccupied home has resigned.
  • Daphne, Alabama: A police captain was booked into the county jail and arrested on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence third degree harassment.
  • Update: Pasadena, California (First reported 04-07-12): The father of an unarmed 19-year-old who was shot and killed by police officers, has agreed to settle a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against the city.
  • Raritan, Florida: A man has filed a federal lawsuit against township, its police department and several officers, claiming he was the victim of excessive force when he came to the aid of his daughter during a traffic stop.
  • Update: Des Plaines, Illinois (First reported 02-25-13): A now-former police commander accused of padding DUI arrest records to obtain federal grant money for the police department plead guilty to a lesser charge in federal court.

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