National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

The Carlos Miller Case: Jury Says ‘Not Guilty’

Carlos Miller was arrested for filming the police.  Resisting the pressure to accept a “deal,” he risked more prison time simply by insisting on his right to a jury trial.  According to Miller, the prosecutor told the jury that Miller did not behave like a “real journalist” because a “real journalist” would have obeyed all police requests and orders.  Miller’s attorney responded to that argument with the following:

“In this country, when you’re a journalist, your job is to investigate.

Not to be led by your hand where the police want you to see, so they can hide what they don’t want you to see.

No, when you’re a journalist, a real journalist, it’s your job to go find the truth. As long as you are acting within the law as Mr. Miller was, you have the right to demand and say, ‘no, I’m not moving, I have the right to be here. This is a public sidewalk, I have the right to be here.’

He did his job. He has the right to do his job the way he sees fit. It’s not up to these prosecutors to tell anybody, much less an independent journalist, how to do their job. It’s not up to the police officers, it’s not up to a judge or the president.

In this country, journalists do their job the way they see fit.

What’s he describing is Cuba. What he’s describing is a communist country. The government says you can’t be here because I say you can’t be here.

And it’s infuriating to me that a prosecutor would try to get up here and try to convince you that just because a police officer says something, that he has to bow his head and walk away.

That is a disgrace to the Constitution of this country.”

Congratulations to Miller and his attorneys.  More info, including video from the trial, at the link above.

‘Everything they say is a lie’

From the ABA Journal:

A New York judge who says a police officer struck him after apparently mistaking him for a heckler is blasting Queens District Attorney Richard Brown for refusing to prosecute.

Judge Thomas Raffaele claims Brown is orchestrating a cover-up, the New York Law Journal reports. A press release explaining the refusal to prosecute is full of falsehoods, Raffaele told the publication. “Everything they say is a lie.”

And:

[The judge] said investigators didn’t contact his witnesses until he complained. “Given the way the officers lied to cover up what this guy did who hit us, I have to wonder if the same cover-up attitude extends to the detectives in the DA’s office.”

Yes, you have to wonder, judge.

Previous coverage here.

Study Finds Crime Report Manipulation in NYPD

From today’s New York Times:

An anonymous survey of nearly 2,000 retired officers found that the manipulation of crime reports — downgrading crimes to lesser offenses and discouraging victims from filing complaints to make crime statistics look better — has long been part of the culture of the New York Police Department….

The survey, conducted earlier this year, was financed by Molloy College. Dr. Eterno and Dr. Silverman e-mailed a questionnaire to 4,069 former officers who had retired since 1941. Roughly 48 percent — 1,962 retired officers of all ranks — responded.

The respondents ranged from chiefs and inspectors to sergeants and detectives. About 44 percent, or 871, had retired since 2002. More than half of those recent retirees said they had “personal knowledge” of crime-report manipulation, according to the summary, and within that group, more than 80 percent said they knew of three or more instances in which officers or their superiors rewrote a crime report to downgrade the offense or intentionally failed to take a complaint alleging a crime.

The questionnaire did not ask for specific examples, but it did invite respondents to comment. The summary included remarks from six former officers, but did not indicate their ranks.

One officer, who retired in 2005, wrote that he heard a deputy commissioner say in a “pre-CompStat meeting” that a commanding officer “should just consolidate burglaries that occurred in an apartment building and count as one.”

“Also not to count leap-year stats.”

Another respondent, who retired in 2008, wrote, “Assault becomes harassment, robbery becomes grand larceny, grand larceny becomes petit larceny, burglary becomes criminal trespass.”

NYPD Officials deny widespread manipulation and say there are problems with this study.

 

Fort Lauderdale ‘Raiders’ Arrested

From Local10.com:

Three Fort Lauderdale police officers bonded out of jail Thursday night after they were arrested on charges of falsifying a police report and sworn testimony in connection with an officer-involved crash.

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department said that Sgt. Michael Florenco, Detective Matthew Moceri and Officer Geoffrey Shaffer surrendered Thursday at the Broward County Main Jail.

Their arrests stem from an investigation initiated after Kenneth Post filed a complaint following his Nov. 22, 2009, arrest.

According to the arrest warrants, the three officers responded to a report of the thefts of some liquor bottles that morning at the Hilton Hotel on Southeast 17th Street and saw Post, a suspect, trying to flee the scene. The officers followed him, and at some point, Post’s vehicle and an unmarked police vehicle driven by Florenco collided, police said.

Surveillance video shows Post stealing several liquor bottles from the hotel bar and three Fort Lauderdale officers arresting him.

Investigators said Moceri and Shaffer were also in the vehicle and helped Florenco arrest Post, who was charged with attempted homicide on a law enforcement officer, burglary, aggravated fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest with violence, aggravated assault and felony vandalism.

“The police say that he basically turned his car to intentionally try to kill them,” Local 10′s Bob Norman said to said Assistant Public Defender Kelly Murdock.

“And since Day 1, Kenneth has denied that that has ever happened. That’s something that the police said once he was beaten so bad. He was in the hospital. He suffered a broken nose because of this,” Murdock said. “They had beat him up and … they lied to cover themselves.”

The Public Corruption Task Force alleged in its investigation that physical evidence and at least one witness’ statement contradicted the officers’ reports, probable cause affidavits and sworn testimony. Crime scene photos did not show any damage to the front of Post’s white Cadillac nor to the side of the officer’s unmarked police car. Witnesses told investigators that what they saw was not what the officers said happened.

“This went from someone with an allegation of stealing liquor bottles to, ‘He’s out trying to kill police officers.’ And that never happened,” Murdock said.

All three officers face four counts of official misconduct and one count of conspiracy to commit official misconduct, both felonies, and four misdemeanor counts of falsifying records. Florenco and Moceri also face one charge of perjury in an official proceeding.