National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Prosecuted for Recording Bullies?

Disturbing report from the Pittsburgh area (South Fayette).  A 15 yr old high school student was being bullied by several boys in one of his classes.  Sometimes they would hit him with books and different kinds of abuse would occur almost every class.  His mom lodged complaints with the school, but nothing was done about it.

Since the bullying continued, the boy, who also has ADHD, used his iPad to record what his tormenters were doing so he could show his mother.  “I wanted her to understand what I went through,” he said.

Did the school officials say, “Good — this is the proof we needed to mete out discipline” ?   No.  The school officials forced him to erase the recording and then punished the bullying victim with a Saturday detention!

But it gets worse.

The school authorities also call in the police because  there is a “wiretapping” situation.The boy is charged with “disorderly conduct.”  The judge found him guilty and imposed a fine on the family.

The boy’s mom, Shea Love, says “The whole thing has been a horrible nightmare.”   Yes, the classmates, teacher, school officials, police, prosecutor, and judge all seem to have failed.

Go here for the story.

Update: Eugene Volokh has more details on this incident here.

 

Bureau of Land Mgt Under Fire in Nevada

Sacramento Bee:

A Republican U.S. senator added his voice Wednesday to critics of a federal cattle roundup fought by a Nevada rancher who claims longstanding grazing rights on remote public rangeland about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada said he told new U.S. Bureau of Land Management chief Neil Kornze in Washington, D.C., that law-abiding Nevadans shouldn’t be penalized by an “overreaching” agency.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval pointed earlier to what he called “an atmosphere of intimidation,” resulting from the roundup and said he believed constitutional rights were being trampled…

“No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans,” the governor said in a statement.

Sandoval said he was most offended that armed federal officials have tried to corral people protesting the roundup into a fenced-in “First Amendment area” south of the resort city of Mesquite.

The site “tramples upon Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution” and should be dismantled, Sandoval said.

BLM spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon and Park Service spokeswoman Christie Vanover have told reporters during daily conference calls that free-speech areas were established so agents could ensure the safety of contractors, protesters, the rancher and his supporters.

On Improving Trust between the Black Community and the Police

From the Associated Press:

Henderson had just left a meeting of the Community Empowerment Association, which seeks to address problems in poorer black neighborhoods, and that night, had discussed ways to improve communication and trust between the black community and the police.

Henderson was speaking to a photographer for the New Pittsburgh Courier, a newspaper that covers the city’s black community, in the street next to Henderson’s car when Gromek’s patrol car drove by close enough that Henderson and the photographer pressed against Henderson’s car for safety.

According to his lawsuit, Henderson said, “Wow!”—referring to the speed with which the officer was driving down a narrow street.

Gromek then turned around, stopped and confronted both of them and asked Henderson, “Do you have a problem?” eventually arresting the teacher when he and the photographer started using a cellphone to record the encounter as onlookers gathered.

Worst of the Month — February 2014

So for February, it was the case from Towson, Maryland, where the local police seem to think they can suspend the First Amendment.

A young man was recording a late night altercation involving arrests in downtown Towson when Baltimore County police noticed him recording, roughed him up, and threatened him with arrest if he continued to record the ongoing arrests. When the man cited the First Amendment right to record the police (which Baltimore County Police policy fully recognizes), the officer accosted him and shouted “You have no rights!”

Earlier in the recording, another officer tries to justify ordering the man to leave the scene, shouting “you diverted my attention from that… LEAVE!”  Then the officer immediately resorted to physical force to push the video recorder away from the scene.  The video shows multiple officers on the scene reacting violently to being recorded.  The fact that they are flouting the law and their department policy so willfully, while knowing they are being recorded, makes these Baltimore County police officers our prime candidates for the worst police misconduct for February.

For additional background, go here.

Texas Police Messing with the Homeless

From nbcdfw.com:

Two police officers in an oil-rich West Texas city spent weeks competing to see who could take the most cardboard signs away from homeless people, even though panhandling doesn’t violate any city law.

Nearly two months after the Midland Police Department learned of the game, the two officers were suspended for three days without pay, according to findings of the internal affairs investigation obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request.

Advocate groups immediately blasted the department’s handling, suggesting that the punishment wasn’t harsh enough and that the probe should have been made public much earlier, before news organizations, including the AP, started asking about it….

Police Chief Price Robinson said the actions were an isolated incident in a department of 186 officers and didn’t deserve a harsher punishment. After the investigation all officers were reminded to respect individual rights and human dignity, he said.

If it doesn’t stop here, it could escalate.  Remember poor Kelly Thomas.

NJ Police Attack Marcus Jeter, Then Accuse Him of Crimes

From ABC’s Good Morning America:

Marcus Jeter faced a years-long prison sentence.

The New Jersey DJ, 30, was arrested in a 2012 traffic stop and charged with eluding police, resisting arrest and assault. Prosecutors insisted that Jeter do prison time.

“The first plea was five years,” Jeter said.

But after Jeter’s attorney, Steven Brown, filed a request for records, all of the charges against him were dropped, with dash-cam video apparently showing what really happened June 7, 2012. Now, the officers are facing charges.

Video at the above link.

Only by chance, was the actual event caught by a camera.  Only by chance was an innocent man exonerated.  Only by chance were corrupt officers exposed.   What about the incidents where there is no camera rolling?