National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Fighting City Hall — The Kelly Thomas Case

From Huffington Post:

Kelly’s Army worked tirelessly to publicize the beating, which Establishment types would have liked to sweep under the carpet, subtly or not-so-subtly trying to blame Kelly for his own death. Kelly’s Army got the ear of the Orange County DA, which in itself was a stunner considering how the System protects its own. For the first time ever in Orange County an on-duty police officer was charged with murder — as if it were the first time in the history of Orange County that an innocent person was killed by rogue cops.

Kelly’s Army then dealt with the other part of the System. They got the unresponsive city council majority recalled. Travis Kiger, a smart and mild-mannered computer professional, who was one of the first to express his outrage and blog about Kelly’s killing, went from anti-Establishment blogger to City Councilman. The winds of change are indeed blowing through Fullerton.

Read the whole thing.   Previous coverage here.

NYPD On the Alert For … Citizens With Smart Phones!

From the NY Daily News:

A pair of  Occupy Wall Street lovebirds has been branded “professional agitators” by the NYPD, who have plastered their mugs on flyers the couple says look like wanted posters.

Christina Gonzalez, 25, and Matthew Swaye, 34, of Harlem say they’ve been singled out for simply posting dozens of videos on YouTube of cops conducting stop-and-frisks.

“What we do is not a crime,” said Swaye, adding that the NYPD flyer looks more like a “wanted poster” than a police department advisory.

“It’s more insidious than a wanted poster because it’s undefined,” Swaye said. “People can take their pick: Are we dangerous, criminal, insane?”

Swaye and Gonzalez, who met at a Pace University rally in December and shared their first kiss on New Year’s Eve at the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park, insisted, “There’s nothing radical about us.”

The couple said they first learned they were featured in an NYPD be-on-the-watch poster when they attended a precinct council meeting at the 30th Precinct stationhouse in Harlem on Thursday.

The poster with their mug shots from previous arrests for civil disobedience was taped to a precinct podium.

“Be aware that above subjects are known professional agitators,” read the flyer, warning cops that the “subjects’ MO” is to videotape officers “performing routine stops and post on YouTube.”

“Subjects’ purpose is to portray officers in a negative way,” the poster reads.

Gonzalez said she was shocked when she saw it. “I came in. I’m sitting down. I’m looking around, and all of a sudden I glanced to my left and I just see my face. And I am just like, ‘Oh, my God,’” Gonzalez said.

“My neighbors will look at it and think we are criminals and think we are bad people.”

Posting the couples’ home address too? 

Police Send Threatening Emails When Lawmakers Seek Police Accountability

Column by Thomas Shapley:

OLYMPIA — “We humbly apologize.”

Those are words no appointed state official wants to utter to the chairman of a key legislative committee after just three weeks on the job.

But Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste had little choice in making that apology after a state legislator received a barrage of nasty, even threatening, e-mail messages apparently sent by troopers and their families.

Batiste, who took the top WSP job earlier this month, offered the apology “as an individual and as a group,” to House Transportation Chairman Ed Murray, D-Seattle, and Rep. Toby Nixon, R-Kirkland, at a committee hearing Wednesday evening. “I and the union representative want to apologize for the behavior of a few,” he said.

Those few ripped into Nixon for sponsoring a bill on how traffic accidents involving state troopers are handled. The legislation grew out of the February 2002 death of Brock Loshbaugh as he tried to cross the Bothell-Everett Highway in Mill Creek one evening after dark.

The trooper whose vehicle hit him, Jason Crandall, had been a member of the State Patrol for only about eight months at the time of Loshbaugh’s death but had been involved in two previous accidents and reportedly has been involved in three other accidents since. The state has settled a lawsuit with Loshbaugh’s parents, who are outspoken proponents of the legislation, also known as the “Brock Loshbaugh Act.” The State Patrol cleared Crandall of any wrongdoing in the accident. He is apparently still on the road.

As recently redrafted, House Bill 2228 would require that an outside agency at least supervise the investigation of any serious crash in which any law enforcement officer is involved. The idea is to let the public see that police officers are not above the law and that agencies are not covering up for their officers’ mistakes.

The bill would also require that law enforcement officers determined to be at fault in four accidents in any three-year period be suspended from driving on duty for at least a year. It would also require drug and alcohol tests of all parties in any fatal auto accident.

The onslaught of e-mails to Nixon ran from the personal to the political.

“Shame on you, Mr. Nixon,” read one. “And hope one day you and your family need the help of a trooper or a police officer to save one of you, and that those officers would not respond on time.”

Another referred to the legislation as the “Crock” rather than “Brock” bill and threatened Nixon’s political future. “It is simple math … 1,100 troopers (times) 1,100 spouses/partners (times) all of their family members/friends/co-workers … .” The missive also credited the WSP with defeating the election bid of veteran Mercer Island Republican Sen. Jim Horn last November.

Another e-mail said Horn “lost his (seat) thanks to the WSPTA (Washington State Patrol Troopers Association). I hope you are next!”

That was news to Horn, who told me he had no knowledge of the agency or the troopers’ association having any role in his defeat, which he links to how poorly the Bush/Cheney national ticket fared among voters in his district.

Coming from the father of a son who’s honorably worn a badge, here’s the bottom line on this bill: Serious accidents involving police officers should get extraordinary and thoroughly transparent attention and investigation. They’re driving the taxpayers’ rigs, at taxpayers’ expense, acting in the public interest. Law enforcement management should have a mechanism to take demonstrably unsafe drivers out from behind the wheel of police vehicles.

Officers Accused of Breaking Laws–Trespass, Perjury–to Make Cases

From the Tampa Bay Times:

LARGO — Hydroponic marijuana has cast a disturbing haze over Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri’s election campaign.

Narcotics detectives pursuing indoor pot farmers have been put on leave, accused of breaking the law and lying to judges. Prosecutors have had to drop charges.

Former Sheriff Everett Rice, who wants his old job back, has said this issue is one reason Gualtieri should be tossed from office.

Yet Rice had similar problems during his administration.

One detective from the Rice era (1988-2004) gathered evidence illegally then lied about it under oath. He also justified a search warrant by calling in his own “anonymous tip” that pot farming was afoot.

In another case, deputies secured a search warrant without revealing that a key tipster had an axe to grind: His wife was having an affair with the suspect.

Three Pinellas judges wiped out grow house cases because Rice’s detectives seriously distorted facts. One detective was prosecuted for perjury.

“We’ve been seeing this go on for decades,” said Largo lawyer John Trevena, who has defended pot growers under both sheriffs.

Rice came into office as a reformer, vowing to clean up corruption complaints against his predecessor. ….

Current allegations involve detectives who obtained search warrants by telling judges they stood on public sidewalks or in neighbors’ yards and detected the scent of indoor pot farms.

Defense lawyers theorized that deputies actually gathered evidence by illegally trespassing. One grower said his surveillance camera images of a narcotics sergeant vaulting his fence were seized, then erased.

Suspicions gathered steam after the Tampa Bay Times reported that one narcotics detective had refused to answer under oath when asked if his colleagues ever trespassed.

Gualtieri has put four deputies on leave while investigating and prosecutors have dropped 18 pending cases, compared with three during Rice’s time in office.

Problems within Gualtieri’s department are not limited to grow house warrants, Rice noted, citing reports about slipshod internal affairs investigations, deputies loafing on the job and possible theft.

Chicago Police Misconduct Cases Drag on for Years

From the Chicago Tribune:

A Chicago police officer cracked Greg Larkins’ head open with a baton back in 2006, requiring him to be stitched up at a hospital.

Within a few days, several relatives of Larkins who said they witnessed the allegedly unprovoked attack gave statements to an investigator for the city. His mother also handed over photos of his injuries.

Yet more than five years passed before the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates allegations of wrongdoing against police, filed charges of excessive force against Officer Bruce Askew and called for his firing.

But the long delay proved costly. Late last month, the Chicago Police Board, which decides the most serious disciplinary cases, dismissed the charge not based on the evidence, but because by state law, the disciplinary action had to be filed before a five-year statute of limitations ran out.

“It just went on and on,” Larkins’ mother, Alice, 71, said of the investigation into her son’s alleged beating.

Because Everything Else in the IL Budget is Absolutely Vital

From Frontline:

In a scandal that’s unraveled over decades, a longtime Chicago police commander and some of his subordinates allegedly tortured more than 100 people, all of them black and some of them teenagers into confessing to murders and other crimes in the 1970s and 1980s.

Now, after pursuing only a fraction of the cases, the commission set up to investigate the abuse victims’ complaints is set to close later this month due to budget cuts.

The Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission was established in 2009 after reports emerged that Jon Burge, a Chicago police commander, and some of his subordinates had beaten, suffocated and in a few cases, submitted suspects to electrical shocks to force confessions.

David Thomas, the inquiry’s executive director, said Wednesday that he’d been given 48 hours notice of the loss of funding. The budget for the first year was $150,000, but it was set to rise to $235,000 this year. “I’ve heard it was a question of priorities and allocation of money,” he said.

The budget for the state will be about $24 billion next year.

Making Posters

So, I got a little tired of doing work all the time, decided to do some photoshopping instead and made a poster riffing off of the DHS “See Something” ad campaign. It also takes a subtle swipe at states that try to outlaw filming police in public. I was going to put some sponsor logos like the poster I based it off of had, but since we’re not really affiliated with anyone it’s blank space for now. The images are screen captures from a few of the videos we’ve tracked.

*Note: I’ve updated it based on some feedback, you can click on the image for the full-size version and the original is still here as well.

*UPDATE: Per a few requests I’ve added the poster to our online storefront. Of course, you don’t have to buy it to use it, just print it out on your own or modify it as needed. Sure, we always need donations, but we only make a small percentage of each sale so it won’t hurt us if you use the poster in other ways… think of it as a public service. So, if you don’t have time to get it printed on your own, go ahead and order a few from our store.

So, what do you think? Like it? Hate It? Let me know below:

[poll id="5"]

Rahm’s Choice?

Chicago Illinois mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel picked Newark New Jersey police director Garry McCarthy to be Chicago’s new police chief. The soon to be chief declared that “I’ll have cops’ backs” in response to the announcement. But what exactly does that mean?

Mr McCarthy will be leaving behind a Newark Police Department that ranked the 13th worst in the US for police misconduct in 2010 per our NPMSRP statistical report for departments of it’s size. The array of allegations against that department which led up to this ranking were so numerous and, interestingly, so rarely sustained that the ACLU formally requested a federal investigation to determine if the department could be subjected to federal oversight to deal with an apparent pattern and practice of excessive force and lack of accountability.

Among the 21 individual reports against Newark NJ police that we tracked in 2010 were cases that alleged a lack of accountability including allegations that police were covering for a detective involved in a fatal DUI accident when that detective remained on the job and wasn’t criminally charged over the incident and a narcotics detective who was returned to duty despite being arrested by the FBI for obstruction on allegations he coached a man to lie about how he paid for sexual encounters with minors and robbing alleged drug dealers.

By declaring up front that he will have the “cops’ backs” is Mr. McCarthy letting the Chicago police union, which protested against the current chief when they blamed him for an officer being sentenced to prison over a video of that officer hitting a man cuffed to a wheelchair, that he’ll run the Chicago PD in the same fashion as the Newark NJ police department? Is this a thinly veiled statement that there will be less accountability and transparency in a Chicago police department which already has been plagued with misconduct and accountability scandals that continue to this day?

One thing is clear, the people of Chicago, with the second largest police force in the US, should watch their police department carefully under Rahm Emanuel and Garry McCarthy’s leadership. Lest that city face the same problems that McCarthy is leaving behind in Newark which has a tenth of the number of officers employed by Chicago. Especially considering that, since 2008, Newark NJ has spent $1,700,000 settling lawsuit filed by officers mostly on discrimination complaints and over $766,000 in 18 of the 23 settlements offered to citizens in false arrest and other misconduct complaints.

With 10 times the officers as what he managed in Newark soon to be under his command, it should be concerning what that might cost Chicago if he uses a similar management style there, not only in litigation, but in civil rights and reputation as well.

Is There a Police Brutality Problem in Denver?

Image of a t-shirt that was sold by the Denver police union as a way to thank their member officers for what they did during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in a way that mocked allegations of excessive force during that event.

Denver Colorado has certainly been in the spotlight after a string of reports involving cases of excessive force came out in August. First there was the DeHerrera and Johnson case that was caught on a police “HALO” camera which oddly zoomed out just as the alleged beating occurred, which was followed by another videotaped instance of alleged brutality involving Mark Ashford who was walking his dog when officers appeared to attack him for taking pictures with his cell phone. This was then followed by the quiet settlement of an excessive force case involving James Watkins who accused police of beating him for saying “cops suck” in response to their flirting with a woman he was with.

All of this appeared to culminate with the resignation of Denver Manger of Safety Ron Perea due to public outcry over the apparent lax disciplinary response to these incidents including a 3-day unpaid vacation for the three officers involved in the DeHerrera/Johnson beating despite recommendations from the Office of the Independent Monitor that the officers be fired, not just for the use of excessive force, but for outright lying on their reports about the incident.

However, now the city council is trying to head off more criticism by promising to look into whether officers need more training based on how much the city has been paying out in police misconduct related legal battles, which is currently alleged to be just under $1,500,000 since 2008. Despite all these problems coming to the fore within just one month, Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman insists that there isn’t a problem within the Denver Police Department, in fact he insists that Denver police officers are better behaved than most cities based on an interesting “use of force per arrest” statistic he claims is lower than most cities.

Now, if you don’t remember, Police Chief Whitman’s spokesman used a similar “statistic” back in 2009 when the department was facing flack over another series of five excessive force lawsuits that were filed within a short span of one another. That time they claimed that the department didn’t have a problem because, out of 488,192 citizen contacts, only 149 resulted in complaints of excessive force and, of those, none were sustained.

Of course, this is the same as offering up that a murderer shouldn’t be convicted over that one time he killed someone because he had thousands of contacts with other people that ended great. However, there was another problem with that claim in that, according the the Denver Office of the Independent Monitor’s 2008 report, there were roughly 222 excessive force complaints filed against 154 officers within 2008, something that we called out back in July of 2009.

Since that statistic is suspect, let’s look at what the NPMSRP statistics show us about the recent disclosures in Denver and see if there might be a problem despite the police chief’s assurance that the Denver police are not out of control.

In our 2010 Semi-Annual Statistical Report Denver was the sixth worst city as ranked by Police Misconduct Rate for cities that had police departments with more than 1,000 sworn law enforcement officers out of about 63 such agencies that we tracked.

City State Officers Involved PMR
1 Atlanta GA 53 6547.25
2 New Orleans LA 36 4972.38
3 Fort Worth TX 23 3095.56
4 Louisville Metro KY 17 2816.90
5 Jacksonville FL 21 2480.80
6 Denver CO 19 2465.93
7 Newark NJ 16 2429.76
8 Nashville TN 14 2276.42
9 Detroit MI 33 2176.78
10 Seattle WA 14 2124.43
11 Orange County FL 13 2091.71
12 Dallas TX 33 1945.18
13 Orange County CA 16 1726.00
14 Prince George’s County MD 15 1724.14
15 Memphis TN 18 1715.92
16 Miami FL 9 1677.54
17 Baltimore MD 26 1671.49
18 Palm Beach County FL 10 1598.72
19 Milwaukee WI 16 1587.30
20 Jefferson Parish LA 7 1393.03

Beyond this, however, when we compiled our 2010 mid-year we also compiled a subset of our state-by-state Police Misconduct Rate (PMR) comparison which was a state-by-state comparison of excessive force reports and the corresponding per-police capita excessive force rates for each state. Within that subset of statistics we determined that the US average excessive force rate for the first half of 2010 was approximately 210 per 100,000 officers involved in excessive force cases, which is represented by the green vertical line in the following graph.

As you can see, the state of Colorado itself had a slightly above average rate of excessive force, but these numbers are only based on reports gathered between January 2010 and June 2010.

When we dive down and get more granular by comparing the publicized excessive force reports for law enforcement agencies with over 1,000 sworn officers over that same period of time, January through June for 2010, we see something different…

City/County State Officers EF Rate
1 Denver CO 17 2206.36
2 Jacksonville FL 12 1417.60
3 New Orleans LA 7 966.85
4 Orange County CA 8 863.00
5 Orange County FL 5 804.51
6 Milwaukee WI 8 793.65
7 Newark NJ 5 759.30
8 Baltimore MD 11 707.17
9 Prince George’s County MD 6 689.66
10 Seattle WA 4 606.98
11 Miami FL 3 559.18
12 Louisville Metro KY 3 497.10
13 Nashville TN 3 487.80
14 Palm Beach County FL 3 479.62
15 Los Angeles CA 17 348.97
16 Detroit MI 5 329.82
17 Memphis TN 3 285.99
18 Chicago IL 11 164.68
19 Fort Worth TX 1 134.59
20 New York NY 23 128.63

Denver appears to rank worst out of all 63 of those law enforcement agencies for credible excessive force reports with an estimated Excessive Force Rate of 2,206 officers involved in excessive force complaints per every 100,000 officers.

However, when we recalculate that rate based on reports issued up to August of this year, Denver looks even worse with an estimated Excessive Force Rate of 2,531 per 100,000, which is over 10x higher than the national average Excessive Force Rate of 210 per 100,000.

Clearly, Denver has a problem even if the police chief insists that there isn’t a problem, which is likely half of the reason why there is such a large problem in Denver since a problem ignored is a problem that is never fixed. This can be seen when we look at Denver’s 2009 numbers which, while better than the 2010 rate, is still an exceptionally high 1,071 per 100,000.

So, how can Denver lower their excessive force incident rate? The first step, of course, is to acknowledge that there is a problem. Once that’s done it’s clear that the city needs to re-examine how the department deals with allegations of misconduct, namely how earnestly they investigate such complaints and act upon sustained instances of misconduct. Report after report confirm that the problem in Denver is directly tied to an unwillingness to honestly investigate complaints and an unwillingness to effectively discipline officers involved in confirmed and repeated instances of misconduct.

To see what we mean, and to get an idea of what our numbers are based on, here are the reports that were tracked by the NPMSRP for 2009 and 2010 so far:

January 2009 – Denver settled an excessive force lawsuit for $10,000 to a woman who was caught on video when police shoved her to the ground, causing her to break her wrist, then lying about what happened on their report by alleging that she tripped over her own high-heel shoes, which she wasn’t wearing. The officer received no discipline for the use of force or for lying on his report.
Officer: Nicholas Rocco-McKee
Victim: Trudy Trout

April 2009 – The Denver police department was the subject of an excessive force lawsuit filed by John Heaney in April of 2009. Heaney was allegedly beaten by undercover detectives  assigned to catch scalpers but, instead, allegedly decided to stop Heaney for allegedly running a stop light on his bicycle (must have been a slow scalping day). Parts of the incident were caught on video showing Heaney being punched and choked before taken to the sidewalk where it appeared as though the detective bounced his face off the concrete, breaking his front teeth. The officer was later found not-guilty of assault by a jury in September 2009 based on defense claims that the loud crack heard as the victim’s head appeared to bounce off the pavement wasn’t his teeth, but the sound of a baseball bat at the nearby stadium. That suit appears to still be winding it’s way through to trial after a settlement conference was vacated in August.
Officers: Michael Cordova, other unnamed officers
Victim: John Heaney

September 2009 – Denver settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $225,000 to the family of a man who died after being repeatedly tasered and beaten with “impact weapons” by police when he was arrested while wearing only boxer shorts. The suit alleges he presented no threat that merited the use of such extensive force that broke 8 of his ribs and split open his tongue before he died.
Officers: Unspecified
Victim: Alberto Romero

December 2009 – Witnesses reported that they watched as multiple Denver police officers repeatedly beat and pistol-whipped a man that they had shot, yelling at him to shut up, until he went silent and died. While the DA justified the shooting itself, there appeared to be no investigation into the allegations of excessive force used after the shooting with the department justifying it out of hand.
Officers: Officers Ford, Garber, Mudloff, and DiManna
Victim: Nicolas Alvarado

May 2010 – Denver settled an excessive force lawsuit to Eric Winfield who suffered 2 black eyes, broken teeth, a broken nose, and permanent nerve damage after two officers mistook him for a bar fight participant in a bar he was never in and repeatedly beat him without provocation. The officer who inflicted the most damage was also a “cage-fighting” enthusiast and the other two officers involved apparently falsified their reports to cover for the incident. The department’s own investigation cleared the officers though charges against Winfield were also dropped.
Officers: Antonio Milow, Thomas Johnston, Glen Martin
Victim: Eric Winfield

June 2010 – 3 Denver police officers were involved in an excessive force incident that left a 16-year-old boy severely injured with a lacerated liver and broken ribs after one of the officers was accused of using a fence as leverage to jump up and down on the boy’s back while he laid prone on the pavement. The officer accused of that was found not guilty of assault in March 2009 even though the other two officers with him testified against him. The city paid out $885,000 in 2008 to settle a civil suit brought over that incident and later fired all three officers for their involvement in June of 2010.
Officers: Charles Porter, Luis Rivera and Cameron Moerman
Victim: Juan Vasquez

June 2010 – Four Denver police officers are the subject of an excessive force lawsuit alleging that officers beat a man while arresting him on suspicion that he was involved in a fight in the Lower Downtown area and then failed to report the use of force or identify themselves when asked. Three of the officers involved are accused of participating in the beating and the fourth is accused of lying about the incident in order to cover it up.
Officers: Michael Morelock, Adam Barrett, Stephen Kenfield, Eric Golladay
Victim: Nick Lynch

June 2010 – A denver police officer is the subject of an investigation that was opened in June of 2010 in association with 21 alleged incidents of excessive force within a span of 2 years including allegations by witnesses who claim he beat a man with a billy club then smashed his his own cruiser window in an attempt to justify the beating.
Officers: Michael Morelock
Victim: Alonzo Barrett

June 2010 – A Denver police officer was accused in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed in June of 2010 of beating a man without justification during an arrest for alleged vandalism and then lying when he reported that the suspect hit him so hard he nearly blacked out. The alleged victim suffered head injuries and a collapsed lung from being beaten with a flashlight. One of the officers in question is the subject of an internal investigation into 21 allegations of excessive force involving him over a period of two years which was opened in February of 2010 after the officer was arrested on a DUI charge.
Officers: Michael Morelock and Kimberly Thompson
Victim: Tyler Mustard

June 2010 – Four Denver police officers are the subject of a suit alleging that they followed a 17-year-old boy home after he allegedly witnessed the officers using excessive force on a group of kids and, according to witnesses, kicked his legs out from under him, put him in a chokehold, cuffed him, then beat him for 15-20 minutes with police batons.
Officers: Eric Sellers and 3 other unnamed officers
Victim: John Crespin

August 2010 – Three Denver police officers were investigated and one was suspended for 45 days over an incident in November of 2008 where one of the officers put a volunteer firefighter into a choke hold until he nearly passed out then cuffed him while berating him after he tried to get the officers to take his report about being assaulted by a man who punched him and knocked a pizza out of his hand in the LoDo district. The public safety manager was roundly criticized for not firing the officer for that unnecessary use of force or for lying about it, causing him to begin reconsidering the lax discipline in August of 2010 just before he resigned instead.
Officers: Eric Sellers and two unnamed officers
Victim: Jared Lunn

August 2010 – Two Denver police officers were caught on the department’s own HALO camera system using excessive force on two people in the town’s LoDo district while trying to arrest one of them on suspicion that he used a woman’s restroom at a bar and the other for talking to his father, a deputy, about what was happening to his friend. The officers could be seen on the ground with the one man when one points out the other, telling officers that he was recording and to get him. The camera then shows one officer get up, walk over, then almost immediately takes him to the ground without provocation when the camera mysteriously zoomed out. Still, despite zooming out a succession of rapid repetitive movements indicative of repeated blows could be seen being delivered by an officer who admittedly used a department-issued sap (which are illegal in most states). After the camera zoomed back in the officer is seen dragging the man to a police cruiser where he slams the door on the man’s leg after putting him halfway in. The officers were given a 3 day suspension for filing misleading reports despite a review that indicated the officers used excessive force and outright lied about what happened. This was also after the city settled suit for $17,500 to the man beaten while talking on his cell and $15,500 to his friend. The investigation was reopened after public outcry over the lax discipline.
Officers: Deven Sparks and Randy Murr
Victims: Shawn Johnson and Micheal DeHerrera

August 2010 – Two Denver police officers were the subject of a lawsuit and quiet settlement for $20,000 that was made over an incident where they allegedly beat a man after they overheard him saying “cops suck” when they allegedly began flirting with a woman he was with. The officers were accused of hitting him several times before driving him face-first into the pavement, leaving him with facial injuries. The man’s lawyer claims it settled because there was a witness and videotape involved.
Officers: John Ruddy and Randy Penn
Victim: James Watkins

August 2010 – Two Denver police officers are under investigation over a videotaped incident in March of 2010 where they detained a man who was walking his dog because he told a motorist that the officers pulled over that he would testify on his behalf since he witnessed the driver stop when he was pulled over for failing to stop. However, once the man started to use his cell phone to take pictures when he became nervous police officers took him to the ground and began to punch him while attempting to take his cell phone, all of which was caught on a bystander’s video.
Officers: John Diaz and Jeff Cook
Victim: Mark Ashford

August 2010 – Denver settled an excessive force lawsuit for $22,500 to a man in August of 2010 over an incident that was caught on video in April of 2010 where an officer entered an apartment building after resident over a supposed jaywalking incident and jumped him from behind, leaving him with facial injuries. The officer’s report appeared to be contradicted by the video evidence but it didn’t appear as though the officer faced any disciplinary actions.
Officer: Kenneth Johnson
Victim: Chad Forte

The National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (NPMSRP) is an independent project designed to analyze reports of misconduct in order to produce statistical data about police misconduct and accountability that are not otherwise available.

This effort is solely funded by reader donations and receives no organizational or governmental support whatsoever, which means this project cannot exist and continue to provide statistical-based reporting an analysis of police misconduct issues like this without your continued support.

So please consider donating to this project today, thank you!

Poetry Is More Important Than Police Accountability

Some might remember that I was deeply concerned about how to keep this project going when I found out the NPMSRP didn’t get funding from the Open Society Institute’s Justice Fellowship program that offers funds for individuals like myself who try to do work on projects like this.

Then, I was even more worried when I did some research and found out that I shouldn’t have been surprised because that organization has never given any funding for a project that researches issues of police misconduct… in fact, I couldn’t find too many organizations that did provide funding for police accountability initiatives like this.

But, I was still interested to see what kinds of projects the OSI felt were far more important than what the NPMSRP is trying to do. Well, today, the OSI finally released it’s list of 2010 Justice Fellowship winners and among the projects that were deemed far more important that trying to determine the extent and causes of police misconduct in the United States were:

  • A book of poetry about mass incarceration
  • A support group for families of juvenile offenders
  • And a project defending pleasure clubs in Louisiana

…and, yet again, not a single project that deals with the issue of police misconduct.

Really… a book of poetry beat out the NPMSRP for funding?

It’s days like this that make me wonder about just how far we’ve drifted towards a police state in this nation when so-called “justice” advocates would rather read some poetry than address the issue of police brutality and misconduct.