National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

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.

A Fundraiser for Corrupt Police?

From ABC.Local:

Some San Francisco police officers are coming to the aid of five fellow cops who were recently suspended without pay after being indicted on fed corruption charges.

Martin Halloran, the head of the Police Officers Association, talked with us exclusively about the fundraisers planned to help five fellow cops who are no longer collecting paychecks following federal indictments.

“They have mortgages and car payments just like everyone else,” Halloran said.

Hmm.

The Perils of Reporting Police Misconduct

From Radley Balko at the Washington Post:

A pretty awful new bill (PDF) in the Kansas legislature would require anyone filing a complaint against a police officer to swear an affidavit before the complaint will be investigated. If any portion of the complaint is later shown to be false, the complainant could then be prosecuted for perjury….

[T]he bill would prohibit any police agency from investigating a complaint against an officer if another police agency has already found the complaint to be without merit. In practical terms, that means a sheriff’s department or the state police couldn’t investigate the possibility that a city or town police department was covering up misconduct. It doesn’t happen often, but on a few occasions that sort of investigation has exposed corruption and patterns of misconduct. (This case from Kansas City is instructive, though it occurred on the Missouri side of the border.) Once an officer’s own police agency clears him of wrongdoing, he’s home free.

So you’re welcome to file a complaint. But the cop you’re complaining about will be investigated by his colleagues — and only his colleagues. If they find that he did nothing wrong, as they nearly always do, you could then be arrested for a felony.

Police Disciplinary Records: None of the Public’s Business?

From the Sacramento Bee:

[O]pen-records advocates say California residents today have some of the least access to law enforcement records of anywhere in the country. Bills to tighten the restrictions, pushed by politically influential law enforcement unions, routinely sail through the Legislature. Attempts to provide more disclosure have been few and unsuccessful.

Under state law, peace officer personnel records are confidential, including personal data, promotion, appraisal and discipline records, and “any other information the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Only a judge can order their release as part of a criminal case or lawsuit.

The restrictions regularly come into play. In Lodi, police officials have released little about the officers involved in the Jan. 25 shooting of Parminder Singh Shergill, an Iraq War veteran. In West Sacramento, Latino groups demanded information after the June 2005 police beating of brothers Ernesto and Fermin Galvan. There also was anger at the lack of details following the April 2009 shooting of Luis Gutierrez Navarro by Yolo County sheriff’s deputies.

Civil-rights lawyer Cruz Reynoso said community members in such cases confront a police “wall of silence.”

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.

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?

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.