National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Peculiar Police Ticketing

From NBC 10 News:

Months after the NBC 10 I-Team revealed a parking ticket blitz in Cranston, Mayor Allan Fung on Thursday called for the firing of one of the city’s top police officers.

“Today we are announcing a recommendation, that is a recommendation of termination for Cranston Police Capt. Stephen Antonucci,” Fung said.

Fung said a state police investigation found it was Capt. Stephen Antonucci who ordered patrol officers to hand out more than 100 parking tickets.

All of the tickets were handed out in wards 1 and 3 after those council members voted against a new police contract.

Hmm.

Chicago Spends Hundred of Millions on Police Misconduct Cases

From the Chicago Sun Times:

Over the past decade, the City of Chicago has spent more than $500 million on police-related settlements, judgments, legal fees and other costs — raising new questions about the adequacy of training and oversight in the Chicago Police Department, according to a review by the Better Government Association.

In 2013 alone, the city shelled out $84.6 million — the largest annual payout in the decade analyzed by the BGA, and more than triple the $27.3 million the city had initially projected to spend last year….

In all, the BGA found more than $521.3 million has been spent to handle police misconduct-related lawsuits from 2004 to the present day. The true cost, though, is even higher, as the BGA counted settlements and judgments, legal bills and other fees — but not less tangible expenses related to, say, insurance premiums, investigators and the cost of incarcerating innocents.

In all, the BGA found 1,611 misconduct-related lawsuits had been filed against Chicago police from 2009 to 2013, a majority alleging excessive force.

A Fundraiser for Corrupt Police?

From ABC.Local:

Some San Francisco police officers are coming to the aid of five fellow cops who were recently suspended without pay after being indicted on fed corruption charges.

Martin Halloran, the head of the Police Officers Association, talked with us exclusively about the fundraisers planned to help five fellow cops who are no longer collecting paychecks following federal indictments.

“They have mortgages and car payments just like everyone else,” Halloran said.

Hmm.

Police Disciplinary Records: None of the Public’s Business?

From the Sacramento Bee:

[O]pen-records advocates say California residents today have some of the least access to law enforcement records of anywhere in the country. Bills to tighten the restrictions, pushed by politically influential law enforcement unions, routinely sail through the Legislature. Attempts to provide more disclosure have been few and unsuccessful.

Under state law, peace officer personnel records are confidential, including personal data, promotion, appraisal and discipline records, and “any other information the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Only a judge can order their release as part of a criminal case or lawsuit.

The restrictions regularly come into play. In Lodi, police officials have released little about the officers involved in the Jan. 25 shooting of Parminder Singh Shergill, an Iraq War veteran. In West Sacramento, Latino groups demanded information after the June 2005 police beating of brothers Ernesto and Fermin Galvan. There also was anger at the lack of details following the April 2009 shooting of Luis Gutierrez Navarro by Yolo County sheriff’s deputies.

Civil-rights lawyer Cruz Reynoso said community members in such cases confront a police “wall of silence.”

Another Police Pension Racket

From NJ.com:

The Paterson police officer who has been on paid administration leave for nearly seven years over allegations he forced a female prisoner to perform oral sex on him at police headquarters could receive $70,000 in paid leave time when his impending retirement becomes official, according to a news report….With more than 25 years on the force, Avila is eligible to retire with a full pension that includes lifetime medical benefits.

Hmm.  Sometimes you have to wonder about the things that are legal and the things that are illegal.

‘A Wild West of ethical lapses’

From the Chicago Tribune:

This is Illinois, where the state-imposed ethical standards for a cosmetologist are far higher than those for a cop.

A Tribune investigation found that police departments are largely left to police their own in what can be a Wild West of ethical lapses — unlike the high standards of some other states, or even the higher standards Illinois imposes on other professions. And that reality allows Illinois officers with questionable pasts to remain in what is supposed to be among the most trusted professions….

The Tribune reported Sunday on the south suburb becoming arguably the most lawless place in the area, with chronically high violent crime rates and few arrests, and about the people who suffer as a result.

In the latest investigation, the newspaper has found that state law allowed the department to keep officers whose work records are full of allegations of wrongdoing — incidents that could have gotten them disciplined by the state if they were accountants, physical therapists or dental hygienists.

In one example, a special state panel gave a bravery award to a Harvey officer two months after he was accused of slamming a pregnant teen to the ground so severely that she miscarried. A Cook County juvenile judge later found that the officer’s explanation of what happened with the teen was not credible, according to court records. That didn’t trigger a state review.

As for the officer who shot the teen and allowed the dump, he rose to become a veteran detective in Harvey, entrusted with investigating some of the worst crimes in one of the area’s most violent communities. His bosses later disciplined him for mishandling cases, but he kept his badge.

Overseeing the detective at one point was a commander previously fired for misconduct, then rehired, only to be pushed out again after a judge forced him to reveal tattoos that suggested ties to a violent gang.

A Scandalous Retirement System

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

A Milwaukee police detective charged with lying to an FBI agent has applied for duty disability retirement, saying the stress of being investigated, arrested and strip-searched has left him unable to be a police officer, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has learned….

If his application is approved, Huerta could be paid by the city for the rest of his life. In most cases, duty disability provides such retirees with 75% of their salaries, tax-free. His 2012 salary, including overtime, was more than $85,000….

And an opinion from the city attorney’s office said officers already receiving the benefit may lose it if their applications include potentially misleading information believed to be ghostwritten by “a retired police detective” — a reference to former union boss and felon Bradley DeBraska, who is known to have assisted at least 18 officers with their applications….

Even if Huerta is fired or convicted, he still may be able to get duty disability pay, because his application was filed while he was still an employee and before the retirement system instituted the rule changes.

As an example, former Officer Dwight Copeland didn’t show up for work for the equivalent of half of his 14 years on the force and was disciplined two dozen times for misconduct. Copeland was fired for lying about an application claiming he was disabled because of a shoulder injury and stress. His duty disability retirement was able to be approved last year because he filed it before he was fired.

Who created this system?  Is Wisconsin the only state operating like this?  Hmm.

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.

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept Hiring Practices

From the Los Angeles Times:

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department hired dozens of officers even though background investigators found they had committed serious misconduct on or off duty, sheriff’s files show.

The department made the hires in 2010 after taking over patrols of parks and government buildings from a little-known L.A. County police force. Officers from that agency were given first shot at new jobs with the Sheriff’s Department. Investigators gave them lie detector tests and delved into their employment records and personal lives.

 

The Times reviewed the officers’ internal hiring files, which also contained recorded interviews of the applicants by sheriff’s investigators.

Ultimately, about 280 county officers were given jobs, including applicants who had accidentally fired their weapons, had sex at work and solicited prostitutes, the records show.

For nearly 100 hires, investigators discovered evidence of dishonesty, such as making untrue statements or falsifying police records. At least 15 were caught cheating on the department’s own polygraph exams.