UPDATE: “Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said he asked the FBI to get involved after learning that one of two phones seized from witnesses had no footage on it.” Hmm.
From the Associated Press:
With three new settlements this week and more lawsuits pending, Chicago’s price tag for legal claims against its police force is climbing and has already surpassed the $27 million the city set aside for this year.
The City Council agreed to settle three lawsuits this week for nearly $7 million. That’s on top of the more than $32 million aldermen signed off on weeks ago in two police misconduct cases. With three more lawsuits stemming from one of the most shameful chapters in the department’s history — the torture of murder suspects by detectives under the command of former Lt. Jon Burge — still in the legal pipeline and two more federal lawsuits filed this week, the total could climb significantly higher. …
Aldermen said that while they believed the three settlements last week were fair, they’re angry that such cases continue to come before the council. They said they still hear that the officers involved either remain on the payroll or continue to receive their pension, including Burge.
“These guys are untouched and unscathed, and they keep their jobs by and large and they keep getting a paycheck,” said Alderman Howard Brookins Jr. “It has to stop.”
Note well that the victims that receive compensation are just a fraction of the victims out there.
From the Charlotte Observer:
Mayor Anthony Foxx is questioning how Charlotte’s Citizen Review Board handles allegations of police misconduct.
Also, the review board’s chairman says the panel will consider drafting reform proposals for City Council to consider.
In his first public comments on the issue, Foxx said Friday that he has asked Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe to respond to last Sunday’s Observer investigation showing that the oversight panel has ruled in favor of police every time in its nearly 16-year history.
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.
WKYC in Cleveland has a report about lawsuit settlements against the city for police misconduct.
Video at the link above.
From the New York Times:
Ms. Steed pulled over Julie Tapia for speeding as she was driving home. Ms. Tapia was giving a ride to her ex-husband, who had been drinking, but Ms. Tapia herself does not drink, the suit said.
Ms. Steed claimed Ms. Tapia failed a field sobriety test and arrested her. But blood tests showed no presence of impairing drugs or alcohol in her system, according to the suit. The charges were ultimately dismissed.
Michael Studebaker, another lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said that he believes there are at least hundreds of additional tainted arrests involving Ms. Steed. “The 40 or so individuals that have contacted us have to be the tip of the iceberg because Steed arrested many other people,” he said. “Her actions are so blatant, that it is probable that she acted like this in an untold number of cases.”
Wake up, put uniform on, smear some innocent people with false charges, then call it a day. She was thriving — Trooper of the Year! Promotions seemed “inevitable.” If the evidence turns out to be as damning as it seems, her exposure is so much more than a “bad apple.” It exposes a dangerously dysfunctional system.
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
Eventually, Eric Hill proved his identity to the officers, and they took him out of handcuffs, the couple said. But the couple said the officers never further identified themselves or explained why they had come to their house.
Melanie Hill said one of the officers made a comment about her husband coming to the door with a bat, saying that had it been a gun, the officers would have “blown you away.”
“It was a split decision to grab that bat,” she said. “They could have killed him in his house for no reason in front of me and my kids. There should be other tactics to handle this kind of situation.”
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.
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.”