National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

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?

Rights Violations in Memphis

From Knoxnews.com:

Twice in five days, Memphis Police officers have been accused of interfering with citizens who were using their cellphones to record police activities.

The First Amendment guarantees people the right to film public activities, civil liberties experts said Tuesday. Last November, the U.S. Supreme Court strengthened such protections when it refused to hear an appeal concerning an Illinois law that would have made it illegal to record police.

In both Memphis cases — one at a Midtown homeless shelter, the other a hip-hop gathering on South Main — those arrested were charged with disorderly conduct or obstructing a highway or passageway. Handcuffs effectively ended those recording attempts.

Civil liberties experts worry that police are using general laws to arrest people who disobey orders to put their cameras away.

“The people who are recording are winning in court. But the problem is that, out on the streets, police officers can informally order people to put their phones away or threaten them with arrest if they don’t,” said Tim Lynch, director of the criminal justice program of the Cato Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

 

Phoenix Police Taser Man, Drag Him Down Stairs By His Feet

I do not know what the anchorman is talking about when he says the police had to make a “split second” decision.  I’m skeptical the use of the taser was really a “split second” situation.  And leaving that aside, the manner in which the man was dragged down the stairs is indefensible.

12-Year Old Challenges Las Vegas Motorcycle Cop

From Examiner.com:

The 12-year-old boy, who’s name is Jeremy, confronts a Las Vegas Metro motorcycle cop after he noticed the cop was illegally parked on a sidewalk just to get something to drink. Earlier today, Gawker reported that the boy proceeded to ask the cop if he had any emergency reason to park, and then he asked for the cop to reveal his badge number.

After ignoring the boy’s questions, the cop then asks Jeremy if he is a lawyer. Jeremy states that he is just a 12-year-old citizen and continues to pressure the cop for his badge number….

The cop continues to refuse, and eventually leaves on his motorcycle. Before leaving the scene, the cop becomes agitated with the 12-year-old, and asks Jeremy for his ID then accuses him of loitering.

Video at the link above.

We may have a job for him here after high school.

Policing in Prince George’s County, Maryland

From the Washington Post:

Other Maryland students were roughed up and badly injured by the police after the basketball game. At least three were knocked unconscious; two of them required medical care. Nine students (in addition to Mr. McKenna) received a total of $1.6 million in settlements from the county stemming from police violence.

In the absence of video evidence in those cases, the officers who used Maryland students as punching bags faced no disciplinary consequences. Amazingly, the police department’s internal affairs division, which handled the abuse complaints, did not even interview most of the students who were injured. It follows that if no video had surfaced of Mr. McKenna’s beating, that too would have been swept under the rug of police impunity and official indifference.

Read the whole thing.   You really should do it.

Another Victory for First Amendment and Recording the Police

From the Chicago Tribune:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal of a controversial Illinois law prohibiting people from recording police officers on the job.

By passing on the issue, the justices left in place a federal appeals court ruling that found that the state’s anti-eavesdropping law violates free-speech rights when used against people who audiotape police officers….

Illinois’ eavesdropping law is one of the harshest in the country, making audio recording of a law enforcement officer — even while on duty and in public — a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Public debate over the law had been simmering since last year. In August 2011, a Cook County jury acquitted a woman who had been charged with recording Chicago police internal affairs investigators she believed were trying to dissuade her from filing a sexual harassment complaint against a patrol officer.

The government keeps losing in court on these matters, the main problem right now is a practical one (not so much a legal one)–when cops out on the street overstep their bounds and threaten people who have their smart phones out and are recording.   If bogus charges against a citizen-journalist are dropped, the cops likely face no adverse consequences–so it continues.

The John McKenna Case: Video Captures Baton Blows to University of Maryland Student

From the Washington Post:

The encounter between police officers and a University of Maryland student after a basketball game in 2010 lasted only 10 seconds, but how a jury interprets those moments, captured on video, will determine the fate of two veteran Prince George’s County police officers on trial this week.

The officers, Reginald Baker and James J. Harrison, are charged with first-degree assault and misconduct in office. Prosecutor Joseph Ruddy opened the government’s case against them Monday by slamming his palm against a wooden railing in a county circuit courtroom, eliciting a loud thwack.

“Did you hear that noise?” he asked jurors. “That was a baton striking John McKenna over and over and over again.”

Ruddy, an assistant state’s attorney, urged jurors to hold the officers accountable in what he called an unprovoked beating of a skipping, singing student during a postgame celebration on the streets of College Park.

Here’s the video:

According to the news article above,

Attorneys for the officers called the gathering an unruly riot that threatened to get out of control and characterized McKenna, then a 21-year-old student, as an aggressor who ran toward police with fists clenched, ignoring warnings to stand back.

The baton blows to McKenna were “lawful, justified and were not police brutality,” said William C. Brennan, an attorney for Baker.

Decide for yourself.

 

Police Seize Smart Phone From Bystander

The actions of the officer are troubling to some.

“A loitering ticket is the sort of thing that generally the crime, the offense is so miniscule that you would not normally be confiscating items. It looks to me like a dodge to try to justify what was arguably an improper act,” said State Senator Martin Looney.

Full story here.

And Find Out Why Your Police Dept Destroyed Evidence

From the Dallas Morning News:

MESQUITE — A Garland police officer is on restricted duty after authorities say he fired as many as 41 shots at an apparently unarmed man last month, killing him.

Garland police also said Tuesday that dash-cam video revealed that Officer Patrick Tuter crashed his squad car into a truck driven by the suspect, Michael Vincent Allen, before the shooting started. Initial reports had said Allen had hit Tuter’s car, prompting the officer to open fire.

“It’s still under investigation,” said Garland police spokesman Officer Joe Harn. “We’re trying to find out exactly why he started shooting.”

Well, isn’t he cooperating?  Perhaps a video would shed some light on this, but note:

Wallace took cellphone pictures and video after the shooting stopped, but he said Mesquite police confiscated the phone and deleted the video and pictures.

Hmm.

H/T: Carlos Miller.