National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Another DC Cop Arrested

From NBCWashington.com:

A D.C. police officer tried to kill his wife last month, using Lysol, a metal light post and knives to attack and restrain her in their home, according to prosecutors.

Officer Samson Lawrence has been indicted in Maryland on charges of attempted first- and second-degree murder in connection with the Nov. 24 attack, Prince George’s County State Attorney Angela Alsobrooks announced Friday….

According to court documents, Lawrence was trying to hang a projection TV in his Accokeek home when he became angry that his wife didn’t know where the screws to hang it were. He allegedly grabbed a can of Lysol and sprayed his wife in the face every time she spoke.

Legal Payouts for Deputy Now Surpass $2 Million

From the Sacramento Bee:

Once referred to by a local attorney as the “Million Dollar Man,” a former sheriff’s deputy cost the county of Sacramento more than $2 million in awards and settlements during his 23 years on the force.

By the time Donald Black retired Oct. 1 following his arrest on suspicion of child molestation and steroid possession, his actions had resulted in at least 10 payouts by the county, most of them involving excessive force allegations, according to a spreadsheet provided to The Sacramento Bee in response to a Public Records Act request. The largest payout – $1.5 million – went to a woman who had a 3-inch chunk of flesh taken out of her calf by Black’s then-K-9 partner. In another case, according to a court complaint, Black and another deputy allegedly terrified a man during a traffic stop by pointing an unloaded pellet gun at his head and pulling the trigger….

At the time that he retired, Black, 43, earned about $95,000 annually, including educational incentive pay. He has begun to draw his pension, totaling almost $5,400 per month, according to county spokeswoman Chris Andis. Even if Black is convicted of any of the charges he faces, he is likely to remain eligible for that money, according to guidelines in the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2014.

Minneapolis Cops Rarely Disciplined After Lawsuits

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Despite nearly $14 million in payouts for alleged police misconduct over the past seven years, the Minneapolis Police Department rarely concluded that the officers involved did anything wrong, according to a Star Tribune analysis.

Of 95 payouts from 2006 to 2012 to people who said they were victims of misconduct, eight resulted in officers being disciplined, according to records from the police and the city attorney’s office.

The 12 costliest settlements were for cases that did not result in any officer discipline, the Star Tribune found. They included the $2.19 million paid in the case of Dominic Felder, a mentally ill man shot dead in 2006 by police, and the $1 million paid in the case of Rickia Russell, a woman severely burned by a police flash grenade in 2010.

Ticket Quotas in Fort Worth

From cbslocal.com:

We have obtained internal Fort Worth Police Department memos that show some officers who are part of a special enforcement program – funded by a federal grant and administered by the state — must make at least four traffic stops an hour.

 It is against the law in Texas for police to have a traffic ticket quota. But a veteran Fort Worth officer, who spoke to the I-Team on the condition that he remains anonymous, says the Fort Worth PD runs a quota system anyway….

Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead initially agreed to be interviewed, but he cancelled only hours before the meeting was to begin.

The department said the police chief could not address our questions about a quota system because of pending court cases against several officers accused of falsifying information on traffic tickets.

Holding Bad Cops Accountable

From the Washington Post:

[W]hen I interviewed community members who had filed complaints against officers, I was disappointed to learn that, despite my reassurances and best efforts to conduct impartial inquiries, many complainants believed that a fair investigation was simply not possible. Nor do misconduct investigations satisfy a skeptical public. If an officer is exonerated, the community often believes that malfeasance is being covered up. …

And why shouldn’t every police contact with the community — every traffic stop, every interrogation — be recorded on video? If Dorner and his partner had had a cop-cam, his claim that his partner used excessive force might have been resolved the same day. There’s just no excuse for not recording police contacts with the public. Technology has made cameras effective and affordable. Some officers already record their arrests to protect themselves against false allegations of misconduct. This should be standard operating procedure.

‘A slap on the wrist’

From the Washington Post:

IF A WITNESS hadn’t shot video of two Prince George’s County police officers savagely beating John McKenna, a University of Maryland student, after a March 2010 men’s basketball game, that would probably have been the end of it. The officers didn’t file a report, as required, on their use of force. When initially questioned about the beating, they lied. And when they filled out the initial paperwork on the incident, police said Mr. McKenna had sustained his injuries, including a concussion, from being kicked by a police horse.

Yes, a real eye-opener.  Consider: If there was no video, the cover-up would have succeeded.  Even with compelling videotaped evidence of wrongdoing, just a slap on the writs–just enough to say, “something was done about it.”