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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Baltimore’s Top Officials Struggling With the Basics

From the Baltimore Sun:

While seeking approval this week for a $150,000 settlement in a lawsuit alleging brutality by a Baltimore detective, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s administration did not tell the city spending board that taxpayers had already paid $100,000 to settle another lawsuit against the officer….

The administration vowed to provide more details about settlements after a Baltimore Sun investigation found that taxpayers had paid nearly $6 million since 2011 in lawsuits alleging misconduct by officers — including some who had been sued multiple times. The investigation also showed that city officials lacked a comprehensive system to track such misconduct.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-07-15 to 02-09-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, February 7 through Monday, February 09, 2015:

  • Coffeyville, Kansas: An officer was arrested in a prostitution sting in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • Davidson County, Tennessee: A deputy was charged with aggravated assault, burglary, and vandalism after an alleged domestic dispute while on duty.
  • DeKalb County, Georgia: A now-former officer was sentenced to 3-10 years in prison after she pled guilty to reckless driving, violating her oath of office, and two counts of vehicular homicide. She was going 74 mph in a 35mph zone when she crashed into another car, killing both women inside.
  • Fairfax County, Virginia: The sheriff’s office is investigating the death of a woman in custody. The 37-year-old woman apparently went into cardiac arrest after being tased. She had been taken into custody for assaulting a law enforcement officer. The Fairfax County Police will also investigate the incident.
  • Paterson, New Jersey: The city settled a lawsuit that claimed officer recklessly caused an auto accident while in a police car.
  • Update: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (First reported 07-22-14): A now-former officer was sentenced to one day in prison and six months of house arrest. During a traffic stop, he took a driver into custody and drove him around in the back of his squad car until he learned the driver was a military veteran. The officer was charged with false imprisonment, official oppression, and obstruction of justice. He was acquitted on the first two counts but was convicted on the obstruction charge. According to the news report, the officer’s “career had been littered with complaints and lawsuits filed against him for incidents of police brutality and other inappropriate behavior.” In siding against the district attorney’s suggestion of 23 months in prison, the judge cited the officer’s “stellar” record and that such a sentence would be “unfair.” The former officer intends to appeal the conviction.
  • Update: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (First reported 11-16-14): A now-former officer pled guilty to robbery and conspiracy charges. He and his accomplices robbed drug dealers and drug buyers of both cash and drugs. He was not offered a plea deal and faces up to 120 years and a $1.5 million fine for all charges.
  • Adams County, Colorado: A deputy has been charged with perjury. His testimony in past cases is being investigated, as a result.
  • Update: Salem, Virginia (First reported 12-16-14): A now-former police officer and DEA task force member was sentenced to 2.5 years in federal prison. He solicited and received sexual favors from at least one suspect in exchange for potential support at sentencing.
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: An officer was charged with ten felonies for selling police equipment to a pawn shop.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-06-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, February 6, 2015:

  • Broward County, Florida: A deputy was arrested for firing his gun out of the window of a car.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Two officers were arrested for beating a motorist in 2013 after a video surfaced that contradicted their account of what happened.
  • Victoria, Texas: An officer was indicted for DUI and criminal mischief for hitting a parked car while intoxicated and off duty.
  • Niles, Ohio: A patrolman was suspended for 30 days for violating policies related to use of force and unlawful detention. He followed and threatened a romantic couple, he knew the woman personally. He has completed the suspension and is back on duty. No criminal charges will be filed.
  • Huntsville, Alabama: An officer was arrested for knocking a man unconscious in an off-duty altercation at a restaurant. She is on leave pending the outcome of her case.
  • Shreveport, Louisiana: An officer ran a red light and hit another car. According to the police report, the officer was doing just over twice the speed limit and was distracted at the time of the accident.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: A detective was arrested for DUI after he was found asleep in his car after a night out.
  • Yamhill County, Oregon: A now-former deputy was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for assaulting his then-girlfriend’s 4-year-old son. According to the news report, the boy suffered serious brain injury as a result of the assault.
  • Providence, Rhode Island:  A now-former detective pled guilty to misdemeanor assault. In exchange for the guilty plea, his earlier felony conviction for striking a suspect with a flashlight was expunged from his record, as the judge for that case declared a mistrial. He was sentenced to one year in jail, suspended, and probation. After five years, he can move to expunge the misdemeanor conviction as well. 

Accountability Measures Getting Talked About. Awaiting Enactment…

From the Washington Post:

More than a dozen states are considering new legislation aimed at increasing police accountability in the wake of incidents in Ferguson, Mo.; Staten Island, N.Y.; and Cleveland that left unarmed black men dead at the hands of officers.

Dozens of bills addressing body cameras for police have been filed in at least 13 states. Other proposed measures would change the way police departments report officer-involved shootings, racial profiling and the way courts deal with low-level offenders.

“There is a concrete coherent legislative agenda that we are pushing for,” said Cornell Brooks, president and chief executive of the NAACP. “We’ve been doing this from state capital to state capital, as well as here in Washington, D.C.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-05-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, February 5, 2015:

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A sergeant was charged with providing false identification information when turning in three guns to a gun give-back program. He became nervous and tried to leave but other officers stopped and questioned him. Upon stopping him, they determined he was carrying a firearm and told him to provide his permit to carry. His identification did not match the name and birthday he provided when turning in the firearms. The three weapons had been reported stolen.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: An officer was reassigned to administrative duty after use-of-force incident against three middle school students. The three female students were taken to the hospital. The police union stated that the use of force was justified, but the investigation is ongoing.
  • Update: Fort Collins, Colorado (First reported 09-19-14): A now-former officer pled guilty to charges related to stalking a woman. He used police resources to find out where she lived and worked.
  • Horry County, South Carolina: An officer was fired after his arrest for DUI. He was driving the wrong way down a state road.
  • Pasadena, Texas: The school district and school resource officer are being sued by a former student who claims he was beaten with a metal baton for swearing at the officer.
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas: An officer was placed on paid leave during an investigation into an alleged domestic violence incident at his home.
  • DeLand, Florida: An officer resigned after being pulled over with a known gang member in his car and marijuana that was found on the floorboard.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A homicide detective was indicted for obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges. He allegedly lied to investigators and helped his lover flee the jurisdiction. His paramour was wanted for stabbing her husband to death.

Two Philly Cops Charged With Brutality


[The arrest] on May 29, 2013, was allegedly so violent that District Attorney Seth Williams on Thursday charged two Philadelphia police officers with aggravated assault, conspiracy and related crimes.

After seeing the blood, [girlfriend] Scannapieco began asking questions.

She eventually found surveillance video, at a barber shop-auto detailing business on the block, that would exonerate Rivera and lead to the arrest of the officers who prosecutors say beat him without provocation and then falsely arrested him.

“This type of behavior has absolutely no place in our city, and I will prosecute these two officers to the fullest extent of the law,” Williams said.

The accused officers, Kevin Robinson and Sean McKnight, turned themselves in to police Thursday.

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey suspended the officers with intent to dismiss. Before the video of their arrest of Rivera surfaced, the officers’ account of what happened had been accepted as fact, Ramsey said….

Without the video, Rivera would have had little chance challenging the testimony of two police officers.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-04-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, February 04, 2015:

  • Update: New York, New York (First reported 07-29-14): An officer seen on video stomping on the head of a subdued suspect was indicted for assault and misconduct.
  • Louisville, Kentucky: An officer who worked as an SRO at a middle school was arrested for assaulting two 13-year-old students. Both incidents were caught on video. He appears to punch one in the face, with injuries that sent the student to the hospital. In a separate incident, he appears to put another student in a choke hold that rendered him unconscious.  The officer cuffed him and took him home without medical treatment and without telling the boy’s parents what happened. According to the news report, the student suffered brain damage from the choke-hold incident.
  • Bothell, Washington: An officer working as an SRO at a high school was charged with sexual misconduct for having a sexual relationship with a then-17-year-old student.
  • Update: San Antonio, Texas (First reported 07-08-13): An officer who held his wife and children at gunpoint, and had a standoff with police after the incident, pled no contest to disorderly conduct. He was sentenced to one day of probation and ordered to pay a $100 fine. According to the news report, “The plea deal struck out any reference to a gun or family violence,” and thus the officer will retain his peace officer’s license whether or not the SAPD terminates his employment.
  • Walton County, Georgia: A deputy was charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct for his actions that resulted in the death of his girlfriend.
  • King County, Washington: A deputy was arrested on domestic violence charges. He has surrendered his weapon and is on leave.
  • Buckeye, Arizona: An officer was cited for DUI and speeding after suffering a motorcycle crash that left him badly injured.
  • Update: Park Forest, Illinois: An officer was acquitted of criminal charges for using a succession of beanbag rounds against a 95-year-old WWII veteran. The veteran, who was allegedly wielding a knife, died hours after the incident.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 02-03-15

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, February 3, 2015:

  • New York State Police: A trooper was arrested for DWI after he was in a one-car accident.
  • Louisville, Kentucky: An officer was arrested for assaulting his wife as they were driving home from a party, causing an accident. When witnesses approached the vehicle to check for injuries, the officer yelled at them before attacking his wife again. One witness subdued the violent and highly intoxicated officer until police arrived on the scene.
  • Gasconade County, Missouri: A now-former deputy was charged with multiple criminal counts including acceding to corruption, sexual assault, statutory rape, and use of a child in a sexual performance.
  • Update: Edwardsville, Illinois (First reported 01-05-15): An officer that had already been arrested earlier this year for a string of robberies faces additional charges, including arson and money laundering.
  • Stockton, California: The district attorney filed a complaint against a school police officer for strip-searching a student against department protocol.
  • Miami-Dade, Florida: An officer was arrested and charged with misconduct for lying to investigators about vandalism to his patrol vehicle. The investigation into the damage implicated the officer in a hit-and-run accident, perhaps inside his station’s garage.
  • Update: St. Paul, Minnesota (First reported 06-09-14): A now-former officer was sentenced to 30 days in jail for identity theft. Through accounts she set up, she wired money to her incarcerated and gang-affiliated boyfriend under her friend’s name. Her friend was not aware that her name was being used for the illicit transactions. The now-former officer was acquitted of two counts of aggravated forgery.
  • Miami, Florida: An officer was arrested by the FBI for providing paid protection to an illegal gambling operation.

Worst of the Month — January 2015

The worst police misconduct for January comes from Miramar, Florida. The misconduct took place in the 1980s, but it took some time for it to be exposed.  A federal appeals court recently upheld a $7,000,000 judgment against two now-former officers

In 1983, the officers coerced a mentally challenged 15-year-old boy, Anthony Caravella, to confess to rape and murder. Furthermore, they withheld exculpatory evidence in his case. The victim served 26 years before being exonerated by DNA evidence in 2009.

From the Florida Sun-Sentinel:

Caravella was arrested by Mantesta and Pierson on Dec. 28, 1983, on a juvenile case that alleged he stole a bicycle and didn’t show up for court.

Over the next week, while in juvenile custody, Caravella gave a series of statements to the officers that culminated in him confessing to the murder.

Heyer said Caravella trusted Mantesta and the officers, who spent hours alone with him, fed him information about the crime scene and got him to repeat it back to them.

Caravella and his childhood friend, Dawn Simone Herron, testified in the 2013 civil trial that the officers coerced Caravella into falsely incriminating himself by telling him that if he gave a statement they would free the 16-year-old girl who was with him when he was arrested.

After that “police work,” prosecutors actually sought the death penalty, but the jury opted for a life sentence.

The man who was actually responsible for the rape and murder remained free, potentially endangering other members of the community.  The man implicated by the DNA analysis died in 2010 and never faced justice for this crime.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 01-31-15 to 02-02-15

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked between Saturday, January 31 and Monday, February 2, 2015:

  • Update: New York, New York (First reported 06-12-12): The City settled a wrongful death suit for $3.9 million. A police officer chased an unarmed 18-year-old man into his home and fatally shot him in 2012. The officer believed the victim, Ramarley Graham, had participated in a drug deal. The U.S. Department of Justice continues to investigate the possibility of civil rights charges against the officer and the department.
  • Seattle, Washington: An officer pepper-sprayed an activist walking by and talking on his cell phone at a Martin Luther King Day/Black Lives Matter rally. The man had previously spoken on stage at the rally and appeared to be leaving at the time of the incident.
  • Update: Cleveland, Ohio (First reported 12-18-14): An officer that had been arrested for domestic violence has been arrested again on new charges of domestic violence as well as kidnapping and intimidation.
  • Update: Fairfax, Virginia: According to four police witnesses, John Geer had hands up when he was fatally shot by an officer in 2013. The Washington Post editorialized, “Everyone involved in this case has dropped the ball and dodged responsibility, enabling what now looks like a coverup in a case of police impunity.”
  • Update: New York, New York (First reported 01-05-15): The police officer who allegedly choked an MTA (subway) conductor was charged with misdemeanor assault. Some critics have complained that assaulting an MTA employee is a felony, and thus the officer’s charge should reflect that.
  • Mission, Texas: A now-former officer and deputy U.S. Marshall pled guilty to fraud charges. He had an “accident only” insurance policy and forged a doctor’s signature on his false claim to the insurance company.
  • Update: Detroit, Michigan (First reported 09-27-13): A now-former officer was sentenced to 2-20 years in federal prison for racketeering, fraud, and bribery charges. For a fee, working in cooperation with a financial consultant, he filed false identity-fraud reports to a credit agency in order to raise the credit of the consultant’s clients. Additionally, he improved his own score by filing a report that he was a victim of identity fraud, but under the name of another police officer without that officer’s knowledge.
  • Jefferson County, Idaho: The sheriff was indicted for misuse of public funds. He allegedly bought personal cell phones for himself and his wife, as well as a lifetime membership to the National Rifle Association.
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: An officer was charged with misdemeanor negligent homicide after he was involved in a car crash that resulted in the death of a 79-year-old woman.

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