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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 07-07-16

Here are the ten reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, July 7, 2016:

  • Erie County, New York: A deputy was arrested for his role in a burglary and beating at a motel.
  • St. Anthony, Minnesota (Originally tweeted as Minneapolis): An officer fatally shot Philando Castile after Castile told the officer he was legally armed.
  • Dexter, Maine: A now-former officer had LE license revoked after fixing a speeding ticket.
  • New York City Dep’t of Citywide Administrative Services: An officer was arrested for punching brother in the face in an off-duty incident.
  • California Highway Patrol: An officer’s fatal car shooting is under scrutiny. According to the report, it was “not clear if [the victim] knew he was being followed by” police as the preceding chase was in an unmarked vehicle. Such shootings into moving vehicles have long been held “unsound” by law enforcement experts and leadership.
  • New York, New York: An officer is being investigated for the off-duty killing of Delrawn Small in an alleged road rage encounter.
  • Update: Fresno, California (First reported 06-29-16): Two officers’ fatal shooting of unarmed teen Dylan Noble was caught on newly released cell video. The department has refused to release body cam footage despite public demands to do so.
  • Highland Park, Michigan: An officer was suspended after intervening on behalf of a reserve officer in an off-duty incident with Dearborn police. The reserve officer was fired.
  • Ferndale, Michigan: An officer was charged with assault for abusing a larceny suspect during an arrest in April.
  • Update: Fairview Township, Pennsylvania (First reported 12-21-15): An officer had two of eight federal charges dropped in his criminal case alleging theft from drug traffickers.

A personal comment on Dallas

I echo what Tim said in his post about the massacre in Dallas last night. But I wanted to go a bit further.

As Dallas Police Department Major Max Geron said when he came to Cato last year for our policing conference, some of his colleagues thought the Cato Institute was an “anti-police organization.” This is not at all true, and I want to take this opportunity to explain that.

The National Police Misconduct Reporting Project is dedicated to tracking police misconduct in its myriad forms throughout the country. Police misconduct happens more often than many people realize and we believe it is a public service to show what we know about how it manifests itself, how it is handled by the departments that experience it, and how that misconduct is treated in the greater criminal justice system. It is not a website dedicated to proving police officers are bad or evil writ color fwpd

Beyond my professional interest, this distinction is personal to me because my father was a decorated police officer. He retired after 20 years as a detective lieutenant in the Fort Wayne, Indiana Police Department. He unsuccessfully ran for sheriff in 1980 and returned at least twice in retirement to work as a desk sergeant for the FWPD. He was proud of his time on the Force, and I am proud of him.

Although my father passed before I came into my position as managing editor of, he knew I was researching the topic and was supportive of my work. He knew that, as in any job, there are people who are not good at what they do. And he also knew that some departments are better than others.

But none of this can excuse, nor should it be used to excuse, what happened in Dallas last night. It was an atrocity that should not be allied with activists and critics who have been overwhelmingly peaceful and respectful in their demonstrations and grievances.

Moreover, Dallas PD, by all accounts, is one of the most (small-p) progressive police organizations in the country. Before the massacre began, DPD was using social media to show the cooperation and mutual respect between the demonstrators and the officers there to protect them.

This is how policing should work.

I see a lot of vitriolic comments and blanket condemnations about police officers on our social media feeds. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and, in the spirit of free speech, we do not use a heavy hand in censoring the content of those individuals. But they do not reflect NPMRP’s mission nor the opinions of our contributors.

Our hearts go out to the DPD and our gratitude to all officers who fulfill their roles admirably and honestly across the country. We have our differences on many issues of policy and practice, but at the end of the day, reformers and police alike want a safer and better society for everyone.

Our condolences to the families who lost loved ones last night.

Ambush in Dallas

From today’s New York Times:

DALLAS — At least one sniper, who said he wanted to shoot white police officers, killed five officers and wounded seven others in a coordinated ambush at a demonstration in Dallas on Thursday night against police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, officials said. The sniper was killed, and three other people are in custody, officials said….

“He said he was upset about the recent police shootings,” Chief Brown said. “The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

The police killed that suspect using an explosive delivered by a robot, he said, and arrested three other people. The chief said the snipers had worked together, firing rifles from triangulated positions, some of them looking down from elevated posts in downtown buildings.

The sequence of events this week tore at a nation already deeply divided over questions of policing and race, pivoting from anger and despair over shootings of black men by the police to officers being targeted in apparent retaliation. “All I know is that this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens,” Chief Brown said.

An absolutely horrifying attack on police officers.  There is no justification for criminal violence.  Just a few months ago, Major Max Geron of the Dallas Police Department graciously accepted our invitation to speak at a Cato conference on policing.  Let’s hope Major Geron and his colleagues are able to apprehend all of the culprits and bring them to justice.  More here.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 07-06-16

Here are the ten reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 6, 2016:

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Two officers were placed on leave after fatally shooting Alton Sterling, who appeared to be pinned while he was on the ground when an officer shot him in the chest and back.
  • Cape Coral, Florida: An officer who was suspended for dishonesty resigned. He admitted he left his previous law enforcement job amid rape allegations that he did not disclose to CCPD.
  • Miami, Florida: An officer was suspended for two weeks after a civilian review found he abused a homeless man during an off-duty detail and was dishonest in his account of the incident that was captured on surveillance cameras. This decision overruled the Internal Affairs “inconclusive” finding that resulted in no discipline.
  • Update: Reading, Pennsylvania (First reported 05-26-16): An officer had all criminal charges against him dismissed. He had been accused of oppression and tampering for seizing cell phones of women who recorded him.
  • Greene County, New York: A deputy pled guilty to misconduct for altering police report to obtain prescription medication and resigned. He had been trying to replace a legally valid prescription he had lost but wanted to hide the fact he was taking it because patrol officers are not allowed to be on certain medications.
  • Ventura County, California: A deputy was suspended because he is under suspicion for stealing prescription drugs from a community drop-off box.
  • Otero County, New Mexico: A deputy was arrested for an off-duty domestic battery incident in January. He resigned.
  • Berrien County, Tennessee: The sheriff pled guilty to civil rights violations for using excessive force against compliant suspects. He was removed from office and replaced with his chief deputy.
  • Update: Onslow County, North Carolina (First reported 05-15-15): A now-former deputy was sentenced to six years in prison for receiving child pornography.
  • Update: Austin, Texas (First reported 02-10-16): The family of David Joseph, 17—who was naked and unarmed when he was fatally shot by an Austin police officer—filed a wrongful death suit against the APD & the officer who shot him.

The Philando Castile Shooting

Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer from St. Anthony, Minnesota, a suburb of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metroplex. According to the video recorded by his girlfriend who was in the car when he was shot, Castile was legally carrying a firearm and was shot after telling the police officer about that firearm.

This case raises questions about police tactics and training. Moreover, that Mr. Castile was black and pulled over for a minor violation that led to his death raises inevitable questions about racial bias in both the initial stop and fatal escalation.

It is too early to know exactly what happened before the camera was turned on, but Mr. Castile’s death is undoubtedly one more in a long list of tragedies that have come at the hands of police officers.

Keep an eye on this space for updates in this case.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 07-05-16

Here are the 15 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, July 5, 2016:

  • Update: Asbury Park, New Jersey (First reported 06-23-15): An officer was indicted for conspiracy, tampering, misconduct and insurance fraud.
  • New York, New York: An officer was arrested for DWI after an early afternoon off-duty crash into several parked cars.
  • Orange County, Florida: A now-former deputy was arrested for raping male sex workers while he was on the force by using the threat of arrest.
  • Update: Los Angeles County, California: The now-former undersheriff Paul Tanaka was sentenced to five years in prison for his obstruction conviction in the L.A. County Jail conspiracy case.
  • St. Landry Parish, Louisiana: An officer was charged with obstruction and malfeasance for his mistreatment of a domestic violence suspect.
  • Elkhorn City, Kentucky: The chief was suspended without pay after she was arrested for an off-duty DUI crash.
  • Update: Paterson, New Jersey (First reported 07-07-11): An officer has agreed to retire after nine years of paid leave. He was acquitted of sexually assaulting a woman while he was on duty. The City settled a lawsuit with the woman for $710,000. Over the course of his leave, he was paid approximately $985,000 in salary and paid leave. He may qualify for health benefits and pension because the department never followed through with the administrative charges against him in order to terminate him.
  • Brevard County, Florida: A deputy was charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder for an off-duty shooting believed to be related to road rage.
  • Van Zandt County, Texas: A deputy was charged with manslaughter after the driver she hit while speeding through an intersection on duty succumbed to her injuries.
  • Update: Knox County, Tennessee (First reported 04-28-14): The City agreed to pay $100,000 to a University of Tennessee student who was choked out by a deputy. The now-former deputy, who has since retired, will pay $200.
  • Clearwater, Kansas: An officer was arrested for domestic battery.
  • Fort Worth, Texas: An officer was charged with intoxicated assault after a suspected DUI crash with injury while he was off duty.
  • Phoenix, Arizona: Two now-former officers were indicted for tipping-off strip club employees and patrons about police drug investigations.
  • Pomona, California: The City dropped charges against a man and his son. The son was recording the father’s rough arrest. The family claims both arrests were wrongful, and they intend to sue.
  • Update: Baltimore, Maryland (First reported 05-01-15): Lieutenant Brian Rice, who is the highest ranking officer indicted in the death of Freddie Gray, waived his right to a jury trial and will have a judge hear the case.

The Alton Sterling Shooting

Overnight, cellular phone video of a Baton Rouge, Louisiana officer shooting and killing Alton Sterling went viral. Sterling, who was black, was on the ground when he was shot several times in the back and chest. Protests have started in Baton Rouge and the outrage is palpable all over social media.

Media reports are still coming in, and they are already bringing upsetting, if somewhat predictable, news:

Officers likely had not been interviewed by investigators, as the agency typically gives its lawmen 24 hours before questioning them after this type of incident, he said.

“We give officers normally a day or so to go home and think about it” before being interviewed, [BRPD spokesman Cpl. L’Jean] McKneely said. He said being part of a shooting is a stressful situation that can produce “tunnel vision” for the officers involved and might not lead to the best information.

These “cooling off” periods are common in many departments, and sometimes mandated by legislation known as Law Enforcement Officers’ Bills of Rights. People who are not officers who shoot others, whether in cold blood or self-defense, are not automatically given such grace periods before answering questions. At a time when police need the community’s trust and cooperation most, such double standards can aggravate community tensions, making situations worse after tragic events.

But there is more:

Both officers at the store were wearing body cameras and cars had dash cameras, McKneely said. Muflahi said police also took surveillance footage from his store and seized his entire video system.

McKneely said both body cameras came loose and dangled from the officers’ uniforms during the incident.

Hopefully, the video from all available sources can supplement the cell phone footage to make clear what prompted the officer to shoot what appeared to be a prone man.

We will keep an eye on this case as the story develops.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 07-01-16

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, July 1, 2016:

  • St. Louis, Missouri: A deputy marshal was arrested for threatening to initiate a workplace shooting.
  • Eagle County, Colorado: A now-former deputy pled guilty to crimes related to using his patrol car for sexual activity over a two-year period.
  • Onondaga County, New York: A deputy was charged with larceny, misconduct, and drug possession.
  • Update: Sacramento County, California (First reported 06-18-15): A now-former deputy was sentenced to 18 months in prison for illegal firearms dealing.
  • Orangeburg County, South Carolina: A deputy was fired after a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted by him while he was on duty.
  • Update: Buffalo, New York (First reported 07-23-15): A now-former officer pled guilty for falsely imprisoning a witness to a fatal incident at a pub in 2014.
  • Valley Center, Kansas: An officer was arrested for trespassing in Wichita.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: An officer was charged with robbery after taking $38 during a dispute over pizza.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 06-30-16

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, June 30, 2016:

  • Wisconsin Capitol Police: A now-former officer pled guilty to felony theft for stealing a state-owned painting from the governor’s mansion.
  • Denver, Colorado: An officer was fired for repeatedly lying about his threatening confrontation with a teenage runaway.
  • Update: Seminole County, Florida (First reported 04-04-16): A deputy who was fired for punching a handcuffed detainee struck a deal and entered a pretrial diversion program. The charge will be expunged upon completion of the program and not being arrested for nine months.
  • Update: Minneapolis, Minnesota (First reported 09-15-15): An officer was convicted of fraud for stealing from a program for low-income residents.
  • Update: Grand Traverse County, Michigan (First reported 03-14-16): A deputy was acquitted of assaulting a man at a bar. An internal investigation is now underway to determine if he will face disciplinary action or
  • Update: Illinois State Police (First reported 08-14-15): A trooper was acquitted of felony charges but convicted of a misdemeanor for shooting into the home of his ex-girlfriend home.
  • Garden City, Kansas: An officer was arrested for domestic battery.
  • Update: Yuba City, California (First reported 04-16-15): A now-former officer pled guilty to federal bribery charges.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 06-29-16

Here are the ten reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, June 29, 2016:

  • Memphis, Tennessee: An officer was arrested for DUI while on duty after hitting a curb and damaging his cruiser.
  • Update: Rock Falls, Illinois (First reported 05-26-16): A detective already charged for stealing cash from a deceased overdose victim has been charged with theft from evidence and marijuana distribution.
  • Update: Richmond, Virginia (First reported 11-10-15): A now-former officer who had been charged with child rape has an additional charge of child pornography possession added.
  • Detroit, Michigan: Three officers had their obstruction of justice charges thrown out by the Supreme Court of Michigan. One assaulted a motorist and all three lied about it in reports. According to the report, the charges were dismissed because statements they made could not be used against them in a criminal proceeding as a result of the Disclosures by Law Enforcement Officers Act.
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan: The City will  pay $99,999 to a black motorist who was “manhandled and roughed up” by police during a traffic stop.
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma: An officer was charged with embezzlement and false statement of ownership for selling two department-issued guns to a pawn shop.
  • Fresno, California: The police are investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting of an unarmed teen. Protesters have made public calls for the department to release body cam footage.
  • Update: Tucson, Arizona (First reported 06-09-15): A now-former detective who was fired amid a prostitution scandal will have his state law enforcement certification suspended for one year.
  • Washoe County, Nevada: A now-former deputy was arrested for selling law enforcement information in an alleged drug scheme while he was on the force.
  • Update: McKenzie County, North Dakota (First reported 03-25-16): A deputy was acquitted of reckless endangerment for hitting a fleeing motorcycle during a chase.

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