National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Mackala Ross and Delores Epps















Former Memphis police officer Alex Beard was speeding to a call with no siren when he rammed into a car, killing 13-year-old Mackala Ross and her mother, Delores Epps, age 53.  Mackala’s father, Michael Ross, was severely injured, but survived the crash.

This week the former officer was offered a plea deal by prosecutors: six months in jail.  Mr. Ross said the sentence was like a “slap in my face.”

The prosecutor said “this was the best that could be done.”   Hmm.

The above photo is Mackala’s school locker where her classmates made a little memorial.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 09-12-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, September 12, 2013:

  • Natchitoches, Louisiana: A police officer has been charged with first-degree murder, second degree kidnapping, and home invasion in the beating death of a man. The body was found in a shallow grave, and the district attorney filed notice of his intent to seek the death penalty against the officer.
  • Elkhart, Indiana: A police officer will be suspended for 35 days without pay for the way he handled a domestic violence case. He failed to follow standard procedures and lied to his supervisors.
  • South Lake Tahoe, California: A police officer was sentenced to 18 months in prison for one count of obstruction of an official proceeding. He allegedly tampered with a witness in an investigation into his own conduct, as well as a gang member’s conduct.
  • Lewis County, Washington: A sheriff’s deputy was arrested on charges of driving under the influence. He tried to drive into an area of the freeway that was closed.
  • Jupiter, Florida: A police officer surrendered to authorities following an independent probe. He is accused of using excessive force and beating a man after the man was arrested.
  • San Diego, California: The city has settled a case a woman filed in federal court for $135,000. The woman says she was being held against a concrete barrier with her wrists cuffed behind her back when she was picked up and slammed face first into the ground. She had to have her jaw wired shut for two months as a result. The officer said he could not comment for policy reasons.
  • Seattle, Washington: The interim police chief handed an eight-day suspension to a patrol officer, finding the officer used excessive force and unnecessarily escalated a confrontation with a man suspected of hit-and-run driving.
  • Mahoning County, Ohio: A deputy, who was originally charged with drunk driving following a two-car crash, has been convicted of a less serious charge. He pleaded no contest to failing to control his vehicle.
  • Ascension Parish, Louisiana: A sheriff’s deputy was arrested and fired after deputies found alleged evidence he exchanged inappropriate pictures and text messages with a 15-year old juvenile.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 09-11-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, September 11, 2013:

  • Spearsville, Louisiana: The police chief, accused of aggravated rape of a child under the age of 13, has been indicted by a grand jury. The indictment and arrest came after a yearlong investigation by sheriff’s investigators.
  • Miami Beach, Florida: At least three people claim they’ve been beaten and arrested by a veteran police detective. “He can’t just keep beating people, getting sued, and they pretend like nothing ever happened,” said an attorney representing one of the victims. The FBI’s public corruption task force is also investigating the detective.
  • New London, Connecticut: A man who sued the city and two police officers after he said he was strip-searched by police in the back room of a Radio Shack will receive $25,000 from the city. He says he was searched for drugs, but none were found.
  • Update: Medford, Massachusetts (First reported 08-19-13): A police officer has pleaded not guilty to trying to cover up an alleged drug deal that led to a slaying at his home. He was accused of lying to investigators and removing evidence from his home.
  • Mille Lacs County, Minnesota: A deputy who allegedly had sexual contact with several children is charged with two felonies for sexual contact with another child. He was placed on administrative leave after being charged and remains in the county jail.
  • Update: Memphis, Tennessee (Previously reported 05-13-13): A now-former police officer pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and aggravated assault after a car wreck that killed two people and injured one. As part of the plea deal, he was sentenced to six months in jail and six years probation.
  • New Canaan, Connecticut: A police officer has been suspended for his role in a bar fight. He was accused of fighting while off-duty and has been suspended for 10 days without pay.
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: A woman is suing a police officer over allegations that the defendant had forced sexual intercourse with her.
  • Parkersburg, West Virginia: A settlement was reached in a police brutality lawsuit against a police officer. The man, who said officers slammed his head into the hood of a police cruiser while he was handcuffed, has been awarded $135,000.
  • Greenfield, Wisconsin: A police officer has been accused of using excessive force while arresting a woman who was believed to be driving drunk. He was placed on paid suspension and the district attorney’s office is reviewing the case.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 09-10-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, September 10, 2013:

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: A police officer has been charged with criminal homicide in the shooting death of a longtime friend during a fight in a bar.
  • Update: Sweetwater, Florida (First reported 08-29-13): The FBI is investigating several officers. A detective has been arrested and two other officers were relieved of duty with pay. “I’m the chief of police, everything that’s good reflects on me, and everything that’s bad reflects at me,” said the chief. “There’s disappointment of course, because we’ve had several officers that are under investigation and an officer has been arrested. You know, this happens everywhere. It just so happens it’s us now.”
  • Burgettstown, Pennsylvania: An off-duty police officer was arrested after police said he allegedly got into a physical altercation with another person outside the ZZ Top and Kid Rock concert.
  • New York, New York: A police officer was charged with driving while intoxicated. He refused to take a breathalyzer when he was pulled over.
  • Dallas Texas: A senior corporal has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation of a disturbance that led to his arrest. He is accused of lifting a wooden barricade and throwing it at the front of a woman’s car in a parking lot. He was off-duty when the incident occurred.
  • Old Forge, Pennsylvania: The police chief and a police captain were charged with sexually assaulting the same teenage girl around the same period of time. The captain has resigned.
  • Wagener, South Carolina: A police officer was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. He was arrested and booked into a detention center.
  • Fruitland Park, Florida: A police officer has been accused of tipping off a drug dealer. The officer resigned the same day prosecutors decided not to file charges. He could have been charged with a felony.
  • Plymouth, Pennsylvania: A woman suffering from a mental disorder has sued the police department claiming an officer who used a taser on her violated her constitutional rights and used excessive force. The suit says she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and that the police department has no policy for its officers dealing with mentally ill, law-abiding citizens.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 09-07-13 to 09-09-13

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, September 07 to Monday, September 9, 2013:

  • Upper Darby, Pennsylvania: A sheriff’s deputy has been charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and possession of a weapon after an incident. He allegedly pulled a firearm on three people in a car while he was driving his truck.
  • New York, New York: A detective pled guilty to stealing nearly $6,000 from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office where he had headed a wiretap and surveillance squad. The 18-year veteran forfeited his $70,000 pension and medical benefits, worth an estimated $3 million and must pay restitution.
  • Garden Grove, California: A police officer was convicted of sexually assaulting three women he had dated. He was found guilty of three felony counts of forcible sodomy and faces a maximum sentence of 24 years in state prison.
  • Alameda County, California: A sheriff’s deputy pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor for illegally helping a woman in a child-custody case. He has been fired from the sheriff’s office. He was sentenced to three years of probation.
  • Kentwood, Louisiana: The police chief has been indicted on a charge of malfeasance in office in connection with a missing evidence case. He faces two charges that each carry a prison sentence of up to 5 years and a fine of $5000.
  • Update: Los Angeles, California (Previously reported 07-31-13): A now-former police officer convicted of a lewd act on a child was sentenced to three years in state prison. The two victims were sisters.
  • DeKalb County, Georgia: A police officer was arrested on accusations he helped a ring of methamphetamine dealers, serving as a lookout and offering police information. He is charged with conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and was taken into custody as he came to work.
  • Pennsville, New Jersey: A now-former police officer was sentenced to 15 months in prison for obstructing the FBI’s investigation of his alleged possession of child pornography. He also must serve three years of supervised release.
  • Salem, Oregon: A veteran state police detective resigned the day after he was charged with patronizing a prostitute and official misconduct. “This is troubling news when we learn that one of our employees is alleged to commit any crime,” said the state police superintendent, “this obviously is a rare incident and should no way reflect on our other employees who do things right and don’t step outside of our laws and rules of ethics.”
  • Decatur, Alabama: A police officer was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance. He was booked into jail and has resigned.

The Monroe Isadore Case

From the Washington Post:

When the time came to move 107-year-old Monroe Isadore to a new home, police say he resisted and barricaded himself inside. Authorities tried using a camera to monitor him, along with negotiating tactics, and finally gas to get him to come out.

None of it worked.

So, a SWAT team went inside and was greeted by gunfire, authorities say. The team fired back, and Isadore died.

The weekend confrontation raised a flurry of questions Monday as residents struggled to make sense of how someone known as a pleasant, churchgoing man who was hard of hearing and sometimes carried a cane had died in an explosive confrontation. Did authorities know how old he was? Did they follow proper procedure? Could they have done anything differently?

“It’s just a big puzzle,” said Ivory Perry, who has known Isadore for decades.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 09-06-13

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, September 6, 2013:

  • Little Rock, Arkansas: A police officer has been fired after he allegedly displayed a gun at a bar. The police spokeswoman released a letter on the incident, which says he drew his weapon and waved it at people in the bar.
  • Fort Worth, Texas: A police officer was fired on accusations that he stole more than $20,000 from a business bank account to pay for rent, utilities, and jewelry. He was charged with theft and indefinitely suspended.
  • Update: Markham, Illinois (First reported 03-08-13): The now-former deputy police chief pleaded guilty today to lying to the FBI about sexual encounters he had in his city office, but continued to dispute that he coerced a woman who was in custody into having sex with him. He faces 5 years but could also receive probation.
  • New York, New York: A police officer and his two brothers were arrested for allegedly trafficking high-powered firearms out of the United States and into the Philippines. They each face up to five years if they are found guilty.
  • Update: Springettsbury Township, Pennsylvania: A police investigator determined two officers did not use excessive force during an arrest. The state police expert said that the officers who “used force in this incident did so reasonably under the totality of the circumstances confronting them.”
  • Harris County, Texas: A family is calling on the District Attorney’s office to file charges against a deputy for police brutality. The incident was caught on video and they say it will prove their case.
  • Update: Hartleton, Pennsylvania (First reported 05-07-13): New charges of criminal mischief and disorderly conduct have been filed against the already suspended police chief.
  • Dallas, Texas: A now-former police sergeant faces five counts of tampering with a government record with the intent to defraud or harm relating to overtime claims that he made.
  • North Charleston, South Carolina: A police officer was fired for his use of excessive force after a department investigation. The man who he used excessive force on is now suing the police department.
  • Fayette County, West Virginia: A sheriff’s deputy resigned after admitting to taking funds from a pair of organizations. He was given the opportunity to quit or to be fired.
  • Algiers, Louisiana: Two brothers have filed suit against the sheriff and seven deputies in connection with a police stop that resulted in both of them being hit with Tasers multiple times. In the lawsuit, they claim they were victims of excessive force, unlawful arrest, and improper seizure. It also notes the deputies were outside of their jurisdiction during the arrest.
  • San Bernardino, California: A police officer was arrested on charges that he forced two prostitutes to have sex with him while he was on duty. He was indicted on four civil rights offenses that involved aggravated sexual abuse “while acting under the color of law.”
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma: An officer has been arrested for engaging in prostitution within 1000 feet of a church and having a gun while committing a felony. When he was arrested police found a loaded gun on the off-duty officer.
  • Forward, Pennsylvania: The police chief is being charged in part of a large-scale video gambling ring that included 335 video gambling machines from roughly 70 locations, including bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, coffee shops, private clubs and convenience stores.

Worst of the Month – August 2013

For August, it was the home invasion by the Dekalb County officers.

There were probably worse consequences in some of the other August reports, but the DeKalb case didn’t result from a mere momentary lapse in judgment.  It resulted from an environment where an officer can rise to a high rank within a police force and think it acceptable and within his authority to harass and threaten citizens in the middle of the night in their own home, without any resistance.  This case shows officers that are either unfamiliar with, or totally indifferent about, what the Constitution has to say about searches.

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