National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Video Contradicts Testimony of 5 Chicago Cops

From the Chicago Tribune:

One by one, five police officers took the witness stand at the Skokie courthouse late last month for what would typically be a routine hearing on whether evidence in a drug case was properly obtained.

But in a “Perry Mason” moment rarely seen inside an actual courtroom, the inquiry took a surprising turn when the suspect’s lawyer played a police video that contradicted the sworn testimony of the five officers — three from Chicago and two from Glenview, a furious judge found.

Cook County Circuit Judge Catherine Haberkorn suppressed the search and arrest, leading prosecutors to quickly dismiss the felony charges. All five officers were later stripped of their police powers and put on desk duty pending internal investigations. And the state’s attorney’s office is looking into possible criminal violations, according to spokeswoman Sally Daly.

“Obviously, this is very outrageous conduct,” a transcript of the March 31 hearing quoted the judge, a former county prosecutor, as saying. “All officers lied on the stand today. … All their testimony was a lie. So there’s strong evidence it was conspiracy to lie in this case, for everyone to come up with the same lie. … Many, many, many, many times they all lied.”

What would have happened here had there been no video?   What about other cases handled by these cops?   Was this the very first instance of dishonesty?

Poor Hispanics ‘Easy Prey’ for Corrupt Police

From the Associated Press:

KING CITY, Calif. — A California farming town was grappling Wednesday with a profound violation of trust after learning the acting police chief and a handful of officers were charged with selling or giving away the impounded cars of poor Hispanic residents and other crimes.

The misgivings had been building for some time. Investigators heard people — many unable to speak English — complain that police were taking their cars and money, and there was nothing they could do about it….

Tuesday’s arrests, which also included a former police chief, came after a six-month probe of the police department launched in September when a visiting investigator — there to check out a homicide — heard from numerous sources that the community didn’t trust its police department. By this week, authorities said they had enough evidence to arrest a total of six people linked to the department for a variety of crimes ranging from bribery to making criminal threats.

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?

On-duty Rape by Dallas Police Officer

From WFAA.com:

La’Cori Johnson, a five-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, was arrested at police headquarters Tuesday, just after he resigned.

He was charged with sexual assault, a second-degree felony.

According to the arrest affidavit, the assault occurred September 9, 2013. Johnson detained a woman and a man in the 9200 block of Larga Drive, near Bachman Lake. He ordered the man to leave, but told the woman she had an outstanding warrant.

The affidavit states he ordered her into the back seat of his marked car and when she began to cry, he said, “Why are you crying? You don’t have to go to jail if you do what I tell you to do.”

According to the affidavit, Johnson drove his squad car a short distance, to a dead end circle in the 3300 block of Storey Drive, behind an apartment complex. The affidavit said he got into the back seat, took off his gun belt, placed it beside them, and raped the woman.

 

Florida Police Now Ready For Minefields

From the New York Daily News:

“If you see my SWAT team roll up in this thing … it’s over, so just give up,” said Chief R. Sean Baldwin in a release….

The police department was able to purchase the armored vehicle through the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act, which passes excess military supplies to U.S. law enforcement.

More than $4.2 billion worth of property has been transferred to law enforcement since the program’s inception.

One wonders if these guys shout ‘Yippee Ki-Ya!” as they drive down neighborhood streets.

When Resident Tells Police They Need a Warrant, Police Threaten Resident with Violence

From Fox4kc.com:

Eric Crinnian, a lawyer, heard a loud banging at his door Monday night, he was instantly alarmed since a neighbor’s house was robbed a few weeks ago, so he grabbed a crow-bar. Crinnian said three police officers were outside his house. “I open the door a little bit wider and he sees that I have something in my hand, so he pulls his gun, tells me to put down whatever I’ve got and then come out with my hands up, so I do,” Crinnian said. They wanted to know where two guys were, and Crinnian later found out police believed they violated parole. “I said, ‘I have no idea who you’re talking about I’ve never heard of these people before,’” he said. To prove it, he said police asked to search his house, Crinnian refused multiple times.  He said they needed a warrant. Then he said one police officer started threatening him saying, “If we have to get a warrant, we’re going to come back when you’re not expecting it, we’re going to park in front of your house, where all your neighbors can see, we’re gonna bust in your door with a battering ram, we’re gonna shoot and kill your dogs, who are my family, and then we’re going to ransack your house looking for these people.”

H/T: Turley Blog

Police Depts Getting Military Vehicles from Iraq War

From the Associated Press:

Coming soon to your local sheriff: 18-ton, armor-protected military fighting vehicles with gun turrets and bulletproof glass that were once the U.S. answer to roadside bombs during the Iraq war.

The hulking vehicles, built for about $500,000 each at the height of the war, are among the biggest pieces of equipment that the Defense Department is giving to law enforcement agencies under a national military surplus program.

For police and sheriff’s departments, which have scooped up 165 of the mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPS, since they became available this summer, the price and the ability to deliver shock and awe while serving warrants or dealing with hostage standoffs was just too good to pass up….

An Associated Press investigation of the Defense Department military surplus program this year found that a disproportionate share of the $4.2 billion worth of property distributed since 1990 – everything from blankets to bayonets and Humvees – has been obtained by police and sheriff’s departments in rural areas with few officers and little crime.

For related Cato work, go here and here.