National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Judge Beverly J. Woodard

From the Washington Post:

IN PRINCE George’s County, it is now clear that the police, without provocation, can beat an unarmed young student senseless — with impunity. They can blatantly lie about it — with impunity. They can stonewall and cover it up for months — with impunity. They can express no remorse and offer no apology — with impunity.

The agent of this travesty of justice, and this impunity, is Judge Beverly J. Woodard of the Prince George’s County Circuit Court. Ms. Woodard has presided in the case involving John J. McKenna, a young University of Maryland student who was savagely beaten by two baton-wielding Prince George’s cops in March 2010, following a men’s basketball game on the College Park campus.

The beating of Mr. McKenna was videotaped; had it not been, the police, who filed no report and then falsely claimed that he instigated the incident and attacked them, may never have been investigated or charged. Yet despite the fact that a jury convicted one of the police officers, James Harrison Jr., of assault nearly two years ago, Ms. Woodard has now thrown the verdict out and closed the case.

Read the whole thing.

 

 

30 Days in Jail for Years of Abuse?

From the Denver Channel:

LOVELAND, Colo. – Fired Berthoud police officer Jeremy Yachik was sentenced Monday to three years of supervised probation and 30 days in a jail work-release program for physically abusing a 15-year-old girl.

A Larimer County judge also ordered Yachik to perform 80 hours of community service and to undergo a domestic violence evaluation to determine if he will be required to participate in a domestic violence-treatment program.

According to court records, the girl told Loveland police investigators that Yachik abused her almost daily for years. The abuse allegedly included restraining her hands with handcuffs or plastic zip ties and then slamming her head into a wall hard enough to leave a hole and choking her until she blacked out, according to a Loveland Police Department arrest affidavit.

The girl also said he beat her with ropes, restricted her food, shackled her in a darkened room for hours and force-fed her “ghost pepper sauce” that’s roughly 10 times hotter than habanero peppers, the affidavit said.

During a voluntary Sept. 27 interview with Loveland investigators, Yachik, who is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 270 pounds, admitted doing many of these things to the girl, the affidavit said.

Truck Driver Turns the Table on State Trooper

From ABC News:

When truck driver Brian Miner was pulled over by an Illinois state trooper for honking his horn unnecessarily, it was the trooper who got an earful.

Miner, with his camera recording, brazenly turned the tables on what he believed was a police trooper driving recklessly, with video of the encounter viewed more than 2.5 million times since it was uploaded on YouTube last week.

Miner says the trooper was speeding and holding his phone while driving on a wet highway. So when the trooper approached, threatening to give him a ticket, Miner started asking questions.

The trooper never said he was speeding, and said he doesn’t remember having his phone in his hand. But he did tell Miner that the law is on his side, as seen in the video.

“Police officers can actually use technology when they’re driving,” the trooper said.

“Oh, so you guys are above the law?” Miner asked.

“We’re exempt,” the trooper said.

Illinois law does allow officers to use technology while driving and also drive above the speed limit while on official business.

But Miner remained persistent. More than two minutes into the conversation, the trooper walked away from the truck, and when he returned, he thanked Miner for his concern.

“I understand you using the horn,” the trooper said, “You saw me speeding. I honestly wasn’t paying attention to my speed.”

The trooper declined to give Miner a ticket.

Miner says he’s not surprised that the trooper changing his tune. “And that’s what happens when they know you’re recording,” Miner said.

Double Standard for Shootings

From the Star-Tribune:

An Albuquerque police official says investigators waited more than 48 hours before they interviewed the officer involved in the troubled department’s latest shooting.  Deputy Chief Robert Huntsman tells KOB-TV (http://bit.ly/1pz2JzK ) there were several reasons for the delay in interviewing the officer who killed 19-year-old Mary Hawkes on Monday…. the department likes to give officers time to de-stress after a shooting.

If John Q. Citizen uses a gun in self-defense, the police do not give him/her a few days to “de-stress.”  Shouldn’t the police be held to the same, or perhaps even a higher standard?

Officer Involved Domestic Violence

From PBS Frontline:

Domestic violence is one of law enforcement’s most challenging crimes. It’s vastly underreported, dangerous and difficult to prosecute, with repercussions that extend far beyond the two parties involved. The perils only deepen when the abuser comes from within the law enforcement family — armed with training, weapons and the community’s trust.“You get that kind of a character in a badge, you got a real problem,” said Mark Wynn, a veteran police officer who trains departments on officer-involved domestic violence. “When you train someone to be a cop, you train them to challenge when confronted. …You train them to [use] fighting skills that no one else has. …You teach them all these skills, and then you add all of that to someone who is violent, you’ve got a lethal combination on your hands.”A nine-month investigation by FRONTLINE and The New York Times found that law enforcement often downplays domestic violence allegations in their own ranks, letting abusers remain on their beats and victims fall through the cracks of the criminal justice system.  Interviews with former prosecutors, judges and officers, and a review of police and court records show that most departments lack policies to deal with the problem, and harbor a general perception that OIDV isn’t as serious as other crimes. It’s an attitude that extends beyond law enforcement into the courtroom, where prosecutors and judges also play a role in failing to hold offenders accountable.“In many areas of law enforcement in general, we’ve been moving with jet-like speed,” said David Thomas, a 15-year veteran of the Montgomery County, Md. police department and domestic violence educator. “But with respect to violence against women and in particular OIDV, we’re still moving at a horse-and-buggy pace.”

Check your local listings to see the documentary film, A Death in St Augustine.

Houston Parking Enforcement Officer Gets the Boot

From Yahoo:

He was supposed to dole out tickets and make sure drivers were sticking to parking rules. But instead, one Houston parking enforcement agent broke the rules he was meant to enforce, getting fired this week after parking illegally in a handicapped spot and cursing at the fed-up civilian who filmed him in action.

“Like with any organization, there are some hires that work out and some that don’t,” Christopher Newport, deputy director of city parking management for Houston tells Yahoo Shine, confirming on Wednesday that the agent in question had been let go “as of yesterday morning.” And it was not his choice of parking spots that was the worst offense, Newport adds, but “his response,” which included the use of an expletive, despite knowing he was being filmed at the time. “If that’s how you make decisions, I don’t think we want you working for us,” says Newport.

Brian Moya, head of an online real estate company, filmed the unnamed parking agent pulling his city vehicle out of the spot and immediately uploaded the video to YouTube. He then called Newport’s office to log an official complaint.

Cato and Flex Your Rights are quoted later in the article.

Civilian Oversight

From the Washington Post:

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler regularly ordered state troopers assigned to drive him to turn on the lights and sirens on the way to routine appointments, directing them to speed, run red lights and bypass traffic jams by using the shoulder, according to written accounts by the Maryland State Police.When troopers refused to activate the emergency equipment, Gansler, now a Democratic candidate for governor, often flipped the switches himself, according to the police accounts. And on occasion, he became so impatient that he insisted on driving, directing the trooper to the passenger’s seat. Gansler once ran four red lights with sirens blaring, a trooper wrote. Another account said he “brags” about driving the vehicle unaccompanied on weekends with the sirens on.“This extremely irresponsible behavior is non-stop and occurs on a daily basis,” Lt. Charles Ardolini, commander of the state police executive protection section, wrote in a December 2011 memo that said the problem had existed for five years. “Attorney General Gansler has consistently acted in a way that disregards public safety, our Troopers safety and even the law.”

Attorney General Gansler is one of the key officials that Maryland residents depend upon to oversee problems relating to police misconduct.   Hmm.

To give credit where it is due, good for the state police for not playing along with politician misconduct.

And the governor played it straight as well:

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) was briefed, aides said, and authorized the police to take whatever corrective action they deemed necessary, including revoking Gansler’s transportation services.

Mr. O’Malley also seems to put up with traffic jams just like the rest of us.

Related item here.

20/20 Sets Up Speed Trap for Police Cars

An ABC News Crew from 20/20  set up a speed trap for police vehicles in North Carolina.

They filmed cops speeding all around town for non-emergency situations.

One of the speeders turns out to be a driving instructor for the police academy.

Question: Do you think the findings would be all that different in other states? If not, what would that tell us?

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.