As seen in...
ABC News
Washington Post
The Economist
The Atlantic
National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-31-13

Here are the 12 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 31, 2013:

  • Washington, DC: A police officer pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder drug money. He faces around 10 to 16 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.
  • Kannapolis, North Carolina: A police officer and his wife have been arrested on charges of federal child pornography. Both are charged with receiving, possessing, and distributing child pornography and making false statements.
  • Spokane, Washington: An officer has been suspended for two months without pay after the department determined he had been associating with a woman engaging in prostitution, drugs and burglary.
  • Update: Los Angeles, California (First reported 05-22-13): A police officer pleaded no contest to two felonies. He was arrested for sexually molesting one girl and attempting to molest a second after luring them to his home.
  • Burlington, Vermont: A deputy police chief was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. This is not his first alcohol-related arrest.
  • Update: Albuquerque, New Mexico (Previously reported 07-12-13): A policeman was acquitted of killing his depressed wife with his department-issued gun and then trying to make it look like a suicide.
  • Salt Lake City, Utah: After police watched their attack dog rip apart a sleeping woman’s leg, the cops told its handler “Severe trauma to the leg? … Awesome … you deserve a slurpee,” the woman claims in court.
  • Cary, North Carolina: A police officer resigned from the department hours after she was charged with driving while intoxicated. She is accused of sideswiping four parked cars during the incident.
  • Darby, Pennsylvania: An officer has been charged with allegedly holding women against their will in his police car. He faces 16 charges, including multiple counts of simple assault and harassment to kidnapping and stalking.
  • Baltimore City, Maryland: A police officer has been suspended amidst an investigation into the capture of a teen involved in a chase. Officials say the officer used excessive force in the apprehension of the teen. “The commissioner, Commissioner Batts and myself, are very disappointed and troubled by what we saw on the video,” said Deputy Commissioner Rodriguez.
  • Springfield, Tennessee: A police officer was arrested on a domestic assault charge. Following the opening of the investigation, he was terminated from his position at the police department.
  • Update: St. Louis, Missouri (First reported 06-05-13): A police officer, accused of driving drunk and crashing into a police truck, changed his plea, and was sentenced. He pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault – operating a vehicle while intoxicated, resulting in injury.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-30-13

Here are the 12 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, July 30, 2013:

  • Santa Fe, New Mexico: Police are under fire for handcuffing a woman who was having a diabetic attack. They thought she was drunk after she crashed into another vehicle, and left her face down and handcuffed on the road.
  • Fergus Falls, Minnesota: A sheriff’s deputy has been accused of sexually abusing several boys while volunteering as a fishing guide at a church camp. He has been charged with criminal sexual conduct.
  • Update: Sarasota, Florida (First reported 10-09-12): An officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing after an internal investigation into an incident. The incident involved a homeless man who was accused of disorderly intoxication and was thrown into a metal railing.
  • Escambia County, Florida: Two sheriff’s deputies have been placed on paid administrative leave after they opened fire and shot an unarmed black man in his own driveway. Neighbors describe the man as mild-mannered and law abiding, and a teenage girl who witnessed the shooting said she did not see the 60-year-old provoke the incident. “He wasn’t belligerent or anything,” she said.
  • Update: Woodstock, Georgia (First reported 06-20-13): A police officer will be suspended and receive a $6,000 pay cut after his K-9 partner was left in a patrol car and died of a heat stroke.
  • Rocky Mount, Virginia: A police officer and another man have been indicted on federal charges accusing them of acquiring guns through straw buyers to resell them at a profit. Department policy calls for an officer accused of a felony to be suspended without pay.
  • Christian County, Kentucky: A deputy sheriff was arrested for allegedly having sex with a now-former inmate at the jail. He has been charged with official misconduct, third degree sodomy, and two counts of third degree rape.
  • Mingo County, West Virginia: Three sheriff’s deputies are accused of brutalizing a man following an altercation he had with one of the deputy’s loved ones. The man says that at no time did he pose a threat or evade or resist arrest.
  • Garland County, Arkansas: A now-former deputy pleaded guilty. He arranged for a minor to travel and engage in prostitution.  A U.S. Attorney said, “[The officer] abused his position of public trust to engage in illegal activities involving prostitution. This activity is unacceptable, and we will continue to bring to justice those individuals who seek to use similar positions to perpetrate crimes.”
  • Amity Township, Pennsylvania: A police officer has been charged with shoplifting from Giant. He is charged with retail theft and receiving stolen property.
  • St. Clair Shores, Michigan: An officer was suspended without pay after he was accused of being part of a duo who robbed people while posing as cops. Reports said that police were investigating incidents of men posing as officers who beat and robbed their victims, and the 20-year veteran was arrested.
  • Palmdale, California: A deputy was arrested on suspicion of committing 11 criminal counts. They include sexual penetration under the color of authority, soliciting a bribe from alleged victims and rape under fear or distress. His pay was suspended following the arrest.

‘It was like a firing squad’

From the Pensacola News Journal:

Middleton, 60, of the 200 block of Shadow Lawn Lane in Warrington, was shot in the leg about 2:42 a.m. Saturday while trying to retrieve a cigarette from his mother’s car in the driveway of their home.

A neighbor saw someone reaching into the car and called 911. While he was looking into the vehicle, deputies arrived in response to the burglary call.

Middleton said he was bent over in the car searching the interior for a loose cigarette when he heard a voice order him to, “Get your hands where I can see them.”

He said he initially thought it was a neighbor joking with him, but when he turned his head he saw deputies standing halfway down his driveway.

He said he backed out of the vehicle with his hands raised, but when he turned to face the deputies, they immediately opened fire.

“It was like a firing squad,” he said. “Bullets were flying everywhere.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-27-13 to 07-29-13

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, July 27 to Monday, July 29, 2013:

  • Update: Birmingham, Alabama (First reported 06-17-13): A now-former police officer was sentenced to 100 years in prison on arson convictions related to six fires. He started the fires while he was in uniform and on duty.
  • Grand County, Utah: A sheriff’s deputy was arrested after an investigation into attempted murder following an alleged attack on his father. He has been charged with two misdemeanors.
  • Petaluma, California: An officer pleaded no contest to an alcohol related reckless driving charge. The police chief said the department is taking the incident seriously and understands members of the community who have expressed disappointment in the officer’s behavior.
  • Birmingham, Alabama: A police officer was arrested and fired. He has been charged with two counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of ethics violations.
  • Seattle, Washington: A police detective was arrested after an investigation into reports he cyber-stalked and stole the identity of a woman he was romantically involved with. He has been jailed and placed on administrative leave.
  • Tallahassee, Florida: A police officer has been suspended for illegally accessing his estranged wife’s email account. The internal affairs report indicated he intended to use the emails against her in a divorce and custody case. He could have faced felony charges for illegally accessing the email account, but the state’s attorney’s office chose not to prosecute him.
  • Orange County, California: A deputy sheriff was suspended without pay after she was arrested in connection with a real-estate scam. She was jailed on charges of grand theft, scheme to defraud, and uttering forgery.
  • Sacramento, California: A highway patrolman has been accused in a sexual battery incident against a disabled man that took place inside a department store’s public restroom. He was off-duty at the time of the alleged battery.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-23-13 to 07-26-13

Here are the 26 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, July 23 to Friday, July 26, 2013:

  • Burlington, Vermont: The deputy chief has been arrested for driving under the influence. He was stopped for failing to use a turn signal.
  • New Hanover County, North Carolina: A fourth sheriff’s deputy in as many months has been fired. He was terminated for violating the department’s standard of conduct.
  • Littleton, Colorado: A police officer was arrested on federal drug charges by the FBI. According to the police commander, the drug activity was on a personal level, there is no indication that other officers were involved, and the drug activity had nothing to do with his function as a police officer.
  • Columbus, Ohio: The FBI announced that a detective was arrested for the attempted distribution of heroin and for carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.
  • Denver, Colorado: The Civil Service Commission upheld a four-day suspension against a police officer for using unnecessary force during the arrest of a shoplifting suspect. The video of the incident shows the officer shoving a handcuffed suspect into a wall and then grabbing the man’s hair and pushing him to the ground.
  • Harvey, Illinois: Two high-ranked officers have been reassigned amid an investigation that found records showing them working for two communities during the same hours and getting paid by both.
  • New Ulm, Minnesota: The city has agreed to pay $570,000 to family members of two people killed when a police car crashed into their vehicle. The officer was not charged, but the family sued him and the city, claiming he was negligent because he was traveling at least 70 mph in a 30 mph zone and did not have his emergency lights or siren activated.
  • Update: Warwick, Rhode Island (First reported 07-17-13): A lieutenant of the police department has been accused of using excessive force on a jailed suspect. He was caught on camera assaulting a suspect in custody. The officer pleaded not guilty in court.
  • Update: Newport News, Rhode Island (First reported 05-23-13): A police officer facing criminal charges in an indecent exposure and indecent liberties case was fired.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A police officer arrested a woman and threw her in jail for the sole purpose of strip searching and sexually assaulting her, the woman has claimed in court.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: A metro police officer was suspended for 40 hours for his decision to shoot a man believed to be involved in a domestic violence situation. The suspect was sitting in the passenger seat of a car and was shot in the leg.
  • Update: Wauwatosa, Wisconsin (First reported 07-18-13): A police detective has been charged with misconduct in public office. Investigators say the detective stole narcotics from the police evidence room.
  • Barbour County, Nevada: The sheriff is accused of sexual assault in a lawsuit recently filed by a woman. The lawsuit alleges that he also assaulted five other women besides the plaintiff.
  • Eugene, Oregon: A police officer who sexually abused and harassed women while both on-duty and off pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges involving 6 women. He pleaded guilty to one count of sexual harassment and one count of third degree sex abuse and sentenced to 140 days in jail.
  • Citrus County, Florida: A lawsuit was filed in federal court alleging an officer “used unnecessary force without justification and in violation of [the man’s] civil rights.” The man was arrested and faced a weapons charge. The case was later dropped.
  • Orange County, Florida: The family of a man shot at more than 130 times by deputies has settled a federal lawsuit. The judge in the civil case likened the shooting to an “execution” rather than attempted arrest.
  • Prince George’s County, Maryland: A police officer who struck and killed the driver of another vehicle should not have been driving with his lights on and sirens flashing at the time of the crash. “This non-life-threatening collision didn’t warrant a priority response,” said the department spokesman.
  • Update: McAllen, Texas (First reported 07-01-13): A now-former officer who allegedly conspired to steal drugs from smugglers and resell them to a drug trafficker pleaded guilty to one drug conspiracy count.
  • St. Petersburg, Florida: A police officer was suspended for dragging a drunken woman across the floor after she refused to cooperate while being booked into jail. The police chief says that he used an excessive amount of force.
  • Muscatine, Iowa: A former officer has been arrested and charged with sexual assault against a drunken woman. He is being held in jail.
  • Abingdon, Virginia: A lawsuit filed accuses two law enforcement officers of shoving, punching, and kicking an elderly man and woman during an incident.
  • Rancho Santa Margarita, California: A lawsuit was filed against the deputy who shot an unarmed man four times in the front of his home. It accuses the officer of “intentionally and maliciously fabricating and reporting the events of the shooting,” as well as “attempting to kill plaintiff.”
  • Winooski, Vermont: An officer has pleaded not guilty to three criminal charges stemming from the non-fatal shooting of a mentally ill man after he and another officer were assaulted. The case centers on an initial claim that the man who assaulted them had a knife, but an investigation proved he did not.
  • Denver, Colorado: A jury awarded a man $40,000, saying that an ex-sheriff’s deputy violated his civil rights when he beat him in a jail. The jury saw video of the incident, which shows the man being cuffed and then the officer can be seen raising his leg and bringing his foot down on what was said to be the plaintiff’s head.
  • Bibb County, Alabama: A deputy resigned after allegations were made against him, the sheriff has confirmed. He resigned after learning of allegations of excessive force against him.
  • Update: Glasgow, Kentucky (First reported 11-20-13): A sheriff who was convicted of witness tampering will resign from office. The sheriff and two other law enforcement officers were charged. They were accused of beating a man after putting him in handcuffs, and then lying to federal investigators about it.

The Rise of the Warrior Cop

This week Cato hosted a book forum for Radley Balko’s new work, The Rise of the Warrior Cop.   We strive to host events where there can be a civil exchange of views with folks who may see matters differently–so we were pleased that Mark Lomax of the National Association of Tactical Officers accepted our invitation to offer comments on the book.  Go here to view the event.

We at Cato have been criticizing the militarization trend in American policing since 1999.  Ilya Somin, law professor at George Mason University, offers some thoughts on the Balko book here.

Chicago to Pay $10 Million for Police Misconduct Case

From the Chicago Tribune:

Caine’s case was the latest in a series of lawsuit settlements involving disgraced former police Cmdr. Jon Burge and detectives under his command that have brought the tab to nearly $70 million when legal fees are counted.

Caine’s attorney, Jon Loevy, used Wednesday’s news conference to sound a warning that even as cases involving Burge and his men get resolved, there are scores of others involving other Chicago detectives who “made cases regardless of guilt or innocence.”

Loevy said that while the city has been forced to come to terms with Burge’s wrongdoing, the tendency is to resist acknowledging that the problem of police misconduct was systemic.

“There are obviously a small number of police officers where there are great clusters of accusations that improper tactics were used and wrongful convictions occurred,” Loevy said. “The city would have us believe that if we just take care of the Jon Burge cases, the problem will go away. Not so.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-20-13 to 07-22-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, July 20 to Monday, July 22, 2013:

  • Little Rock, Arkansas: A trooper has been arrested and accused of taking drugs from the agency’s evidence room and turning them over to a drug dealer. He was fired the same day he was arrested. “It’s a very sad day when a law enforcement officer violates the public trust,” said a U.S. attorney. “Thankfully, because of the integrity and leadership at the Arkansas State Police, information regarding [the officer’s] illegal actions was turned over to the FBI to ferret out the dishonesty by one of their own.”
  • Goodyear, Arizona: A police detective has been arrested on suspicion of having sex with a 12-year-old girl a decade ago. He is being held without bail on multiple counts of sexual conduct with a minor, molestation of a child, sexual abuse, and indecent exposure. The victim, now 22, told police the officer molested and had sex with her.
  • Update: Apollo County, Pennsylvania (First reported 05-03-13): A now-former police chief was sentence to serve 9-27 months in the county jail. He pleaded guilty to charges of theft, theft by deception and receiving stolen property, and to two misdemeanor charges involving the theft and sale of police guns and equipment.
  • Saline County, Arkansas: Sheriff’s deputies tied a man to a chair for eight hours and beat him “until his teeth were knocked from his mouth” – after a traffic ticket, the man claims in court. He seeks damages for constitutional and civil rights violations, excessive force, and other things.
  • Varnell, Georgia: An officer pleaded guilty to first-degree vehicular homicide and reckless driving. He was off-duty when he slammed his police cruiser at 104 mph into a newspaper delivery car and killed the man using it. He was given 10 years probation, 300 hours of community service and a $2,500 fine.
  • Palm Beach County, Florida: A sergeant was arrested on allegations of lewd conduct involving a minor. He faces charges of lewd/lascivious conduct and video voyeurism. The resident is alleged to have used his department issued camera to make videos of a female under the age of 16.
  • Buckner, Illinois: A police officer has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated battery and official misconduct in the death of a man. According to the indictment, the officer pushed the man, while he was handcuffed, to the ground and struck him on the head.
  • Los Angeles County, California: A federal jury awarded more than $200,000 to a man who accused sheriff’s deputies of illegally detaining him and using excessive force during an encounter that left him with a fractured rib. The man, then 60, was injured when a deputy repeatedly kneed him in the side after knocking him to the platform floor at a train station. Witnesses loudly complained that deputies were beating an “old man.”
  • Update: Chicago, Illinois (First reported 10-31-12): A former police officer who extorted protection payoffs from drug dealer at a housing project has pleaded guilty to theft charges. He was accused of stealing about $5,000 from an FBI informant posing as a drug dealer.

City of St. Paul Pays One Million in Police Lawsuits

From the Associated Press:

St. Paul spent about $1 million to settle or defend itself against lawsuits alleging police misconduct last year, which was the largest amount in at least 17 years, a newspaper reported Sunday….

The total costs — settlement amounts, city attorney staff time and court costs — were almost $800,000 in the Smith cases and more than $230,000 in the Harrington cases, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported ( ).

One case that was settled for $400,000 involved a woman who suffered serious burns when police used a flash-bang device while executing a search warrant at her home.

In another case, a man who ran from police wound up with a skull fracture, gashes on his head that required 21 staples to close and burns to his face caused by chemical spray. The city settled his lawsuit, which alleged that officers used excessive force, for $249,000.

Creative Commons License
This work by Cato Institute is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.