National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Thieves with Badges

From Philly.com:

TWO CRIMINAL investigators, part of an FBI-led task force, came to Juan Collado’s bodega in 2009 to hear his story.

Collado struggled to explain in English how a narcotics squad had barreled into his Tioga store, cut wires to his video-surveillance system and – once the cameras went dark – stole almost $10,000 and cartons of Marlboro Lights.

He asked them for a Spanish interpreter and they promised to return with one. They never did.

Now it’s too late.

Last week, news broke that federal prosecutors had decided not to file criminal charges against the officers. And the five-year statute of limitations has run out, not just in Collado’s case but for nearly two dozen other merchants with similar allegations.

“They played the clock game. They let time run out,” said Danilo Burgos, the former head of the 300-member Dominican Grocers Association

H/T: Overlawyered

Albuquerque Police: There is a Pattern of Excessive Force

CNN:

Albuquerque, New Mexico, police officers killed a 19-year-old as he “lay motionless on his back,” an unarmed drugstore robber who was walking away from officers and a 25-year-old veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who threatened to shoot himself in the head.

So says the U.S. Justice Department, which on Thursday issued a report lambasting the Albuquerque Police Department for a longstanding history of police brutality and unnecessary deadly force….

“For too long, Albuquerque officers have faced little scrutiny from their superiors in carrying out this fundamental responsibility,” the report says. “Despite the efforts of many committed individuals, external oversight is broken and has allowed the department to remain unaccountable to the communities it serves.”

To conduct its review, the Justice Department “reviewed thousands of pages of documents, including written policies and procedures, internal reports, data, video footage, and investigative files,” the report says. It also interviewed command staff, rank-and-file officers and community members, and held four community meetings where residents “provided their accounts of encounters with officers.”

San Diego Police Dept Now Under Review

From NBCSanDiego:

The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an independent audit of the San Diego Police Department after allegations of sexual misconduct by uniformed officers.

The audit is expected to look at both the professional and personal aspects of the police department. It will examine the department’s hiring process, the supervision of officers and the process in place to detect misconduct, as well as staffing levels, salaries and vehicle locator records.

Former San Diego Chief William Lansdowne had asked for an outside audit on the department after allegations surfaced of uniformed officers giving women improper pat downs and exposing themselves to women.

New Jersey’s Largest Police Dept Plagued with Problems

From The Star-Ledger:

The Justice Department will place the Newark Police Department under a monitor later this year, the first time in state history that a municipal police agency will operate under a federal watchdog, according to four sources familiar with the situation.

The decision follows a federal review of the way the state’s largest police force swept aside accusations of misconduct against hundreds of officers and its almost-total failure to address complaints of brutality and abuse lodged by Newark residents over the years.
The investigation began in 2011, a year after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a scathing 96-page petition with the Department of Justice, accusing Newark’s police of rampant misconduct.

The ACLU investigation found citizens filed 261 complaints with the department accusing officers of using excessive force, biased actions, improper searches or false arrests in 2008 and 2009. Only one complaint was sustained by the department.

One officer faced 62 internal affairs investigations during a 14-year career, according to the petition, while Newark shelled out nearly $5 million in response to civil lawsuits from 2007 to 2009.

Problems in Miami Police Department

From the New York Times:

Federal officials have found that the Miami Police Department engaged in a pattern of excessive force that led to a high number of shootings by officers, among them episodes that resulted in the deaths of seven young black men over an eight-month period in 2011….

The number of officer-involved shootings in recent years was especially high when compared with that of other big cities like New York and Washington, Mr. Ferrer said. In 2010, he said, there was one fatal shooting for every 4,300 officers in New York, compared with one for every 220 in Miami.

In its report, the Justice Department described “egregious” delays in the investigation of officer-involved shootings by the Miami police; in one case, the officers in a shooting had not provided statements about what occurred more than three years later.

In many cases, officers were returned to duty on the streets while investigations into shootings were still in progress. Officers also showed bad marksmanship and poor judgment, the investigation found, firing their weapons at moving vehicles or when pedestrians were nearby.

FBI Probes LAPD SWAT

From the Washington Post:

LOS ANGELES — The FBI is investigating whether members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s SWAT and special-investigations units violated the law by purchasing large numbers of custom-made handguns and reselling them for profit, according to interviews.

Federal authorities opened the inquiry into the alleged gun sales in recent weeks after police officials alerted them to possible gun violations, multiple sources told the Los Angeles Times.

LAPD Says Its Rehabilitation is Complete

From the Los Angeles Times:

The federal judge who oversaw a dramatic, forced transformation of the Los Angeles Police Department has freed the department from the final vestiges of federal oversight….

The dismissal of the so-called consent decree, which arose largely out of the Rampart corruption scandal and addressed basic problems of accountability that stretched back decades, delivered a largely symbolic, but nonetheless important milestone for the LAPD as it continues to disassociate itself from a past marked by abuses and turmoil. Following revelations in 1999 that officers assigned to the LAPD’s Rampart Division were implicated in serious misconduct, including physical abuse of suspects, evidence tampering and perjury, public trust in the police plummeted and federal officials responded to calls from a growing chorus of critics for intervention.

Corruption in the Philadelphia Courts

From Philly.com:

Nine current and former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges were charged with conspiracy and fraud Thursday, capping a three-year FBI probe into what authorities said was rampant ticket-fixing and pervasive corruption on the bench.

The charges, outlined in a 77-count indictment, described “a well-understood conspiracy of silence” that created two distinct courts: one where typical citizens paid for their infractions, and a second where offenders with the right connections won acquittals or saw their fines or cases disappear.

‘This is the most disgusting, disgraceful, despicable thing that could ever happen’

From the Miami Herald:

The U.S. Justice Department shut down Bal Harbour’s celebrated federal forfeiture program and ordered the police to return more than $4 million, slapping the agency with crushing sanctions for tapping into drug money to pay for first-class flights, luxury car rentals, and payments to informants across the country. …

One former prosecutor who ran the South Florida Money Laundering Strike Force said he was stunned by the development.

“Bal Harbour is going to have to answer for their transgressions,” said David Macey, a former Miami-Dade assistant state attorney who specialized in forfeitures. “I’ve never read any correspondence to a law enforcement agency threatening the entire agency with penalties and criminal sanctions.”