National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

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.

Deputy Accidently Shoots Woman During Raid

From Buckeye Country 105.com:

A Ross County law enforcement official is on paid leave after firing a shot that eventually killed a woman during a drug raid.

Members of the U.S. 23 Task Force raided a known drug house along U.S. 23 in southern Ross County late Wednesday night. As soon as they got inside, they found a woman with a head wound on the couch in the living room.

“It was discovered later that a bullet had accidentally discharged from outside the door of the trailer and went through the outside wall of the trailer and into the living room,” said Ross County Sheriff George Lavender.

The bullet struck Krystal Barrows in the head. She was flown to OSU Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, but she died from her wounds….

The sheriff says he was outside the home at the time of the raid and never heard a shot go off. He thinks it probably happened at the same time a flash-bang grenade was used as agents entered the home. Those devices are used to distract and confuse suspects.

And for the Nth time, those grenades also confuse the police–and that too often endangers people unnecessarily.

More here.

‘Give me the phone, you bitch’

From CNSPhilly.com:

Costantino says [Officer] Wheaten arrested her brother after he got into an altercation with another patron.

“Wheaten had my brother in a headlock and his arms were limp and his legs were weak,” Costantino said. “I screamed out that it was police brutality and that I was videotaping it all.”
That’s when she claims Wheaten turned on her.

“He was running at me and he says, ‘Give me the phone you b**h,’” she said. “He grabbed my bun and he was slamming my forehead into the floor.”

Wheaten then arrested Costantino but court records show the charges against her were later dropped. Costantino says she’ll never forget what one officer told her the night of the incident.

“He’s like, ‘Oh, that’s your first mistake,’” she said. “You shouldn’t be videotaping police officers.”

And then the story says:

The Atlantic City Police Department is also at the center of another lawsuit from one of their own. Sergeant Mark Benjamin sued the department after claiming he received death threats for reporting police misconduct to his superiors.

Hmm.

Dallas Police Shoot Mentally Ill Man

From Fox News:

Surveillance video showing a Dallas police officer shooting a mentally ill man standing still about 20 feet away contradicts the assertion of an officer that the man threatened his safety by lunging at him with a knife.

Bobby Gerald Bennett remains hospitalized after being shot in the stomach Monday. The officer who shot him, Cardan Spencer, is on indefinite administrative leave pending a criminal investigation after a neighbor released surveillance video that captured the incident.

 

 

 

Cassandra Feuerstein

Another case of a woman arrested for DUI and where the controversy concerns what was done to her after she was taken to the jail.

See the video below.  An officer gets angry when Cassandra Feuerstein does not follow his instructions for the mug shot and throws her head first into the concrete bed frame.

From ABC News and the Chicago Tribune:

Atlantic City K-9 Officer Sterling Wheaten

From NBCPhiladelphia.com:

On June 5, 20-year-old David Castellani Jr. exchanged words with three Atlantic City police officers after he was kicked out of a casino for being underage.

A surveillance camera from the casino shows the officers force Castellani Jr. to the ground. It then shows two other officers get involved moments later.

“It was horrifying,” said David Castellani, the man’s father. “Absolutely horrifying.”

But Castellani says the most horrifying part of the recording comes the moment when a K-9 officer, identified as Sterling Wheaten, arrives.

“With his hands behind his back, the K-9 truck pulls up and without any assessment of the situation, the K-9 officer releases the dog on my son’s neck,” Castellani said…

“I’m an attorney in the community and I’ve represented police officers before,” Castellani said.

 ‘“Never in my life have I seen anything like this before, let alone with my own son.”
Castellani is suing the officers involved, accusing them of excessive force.

There is a video at the link above.  In that video clip, the reporter says he asked the Atlantic City Police Department whether there were any other lawsuits against Officer Wheaten, and the department’s reply was….wait for it……. ‘we don’t know.’    Hmm.

 

Jury Rejects Police Story and Awards Chicago Man $1 Million for Beating

From ThinkProgress:

Seven years ago John Collins was charged with aggravated battery of a police officer, a felony in Illinois. He was sent to a Cook County jail and bond was set at $75,000, which he could not pay. The jail was overcrowded, so Collins slept on the floor. He remained there for 385 days, during which time he missed the birth of his first child, a baby boy. His fiancé brought his infant son to visit but he was not allowed to hold him, separated by a pane of glass. Sometimes, those visits were canceled “when the jail was put on lock-down for stabbings and murders.” Eventually, his fiancé left him, saying his time in the jail had changed him — he wasn’t the same person anymore.

Today Collins is a free man, acquitted of all charges, and the Chicago Police owe him $1 million. His seven-year odyssey may have finally ended this week, when a jury unanimously found the two officers involved guilty of malicious prosecution for fabricating the case against him.

Court documents and interviews reveal a remarkable story of a barber who blew the whistle on two veteran police officers and was vindicated. But the details of Collins’ case also underscore just how difficult it is for an ordinary citizen to prove misconduct by the police. Innocence, of course, is helpful. But luck is essential….

Several members of the jury, speaking with Collins’ lawyers after the trial, admitted that — despite the weight of the evidence favoring Collins — they still struggled mightily with the idea that police officers might not tell the truth. Which raises the larger question: What happens to people who are victims of police misconduct when there aren’t three disinterested witnesses to the event? Collins’ redemption is the exception that proves the rule. In many disputes between alleged criminals and the police, the police will win regardless of the facts.

According to data compiled by the CATO Institute, from April 2009 to December 2010 there were “8,300 credible reports involving allegations of police misconduct” but only 3,238 resulted in criminal charges. The conviction rate for law enforcement officers who were charged is just 37 percent, compared to a 70 percent conviction rate among members of the general public charged criminally. The CATO report notes that “prosecuting police misconduct in the US is very problematic with conviction rates, incarceration rates, and the amount of time law enforcement officers spend behind bars for criminal misconduct are all far lower than what happens when ordinary citizens face criminal charges.”