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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Worst of the Month — June 2013

For June it was the woman who found herself arrested for simply asking to see the warrant the police claimed to have for her son.

Turns out the police did not have any warrant at all.    A false arrest is bad enough when one is accused of a crime like theft or DUI–but here the false arrest pertains to the exercise of one’s constitutional right.  A flagrant abuse of power under the color of authority.

Problems in Miami Police Department

From the New York Times:

Federal officials have found that the Miami Police Department engaged in a pattern of excessive force that led to a high number of shootings by officers, among them episodes that resulted in the deaths of seven young black men over an eight-month period in 2011….

The number of officer-involved shootings in recent years was especially high when compared with that of other big cities like New York and Washington, Mr. Ferrer said. In 2010, he said, there was one fatal shooting for every 4,300 officers in New York, compared with one for every 220 in Miami.

In its report, the Justice Department described “egregious” delays in the investigation of officer-involved shootings by the Miami police; in one case, the officers in a shooting had not provided statements about what occurred more than three years later.

In many cases, officers were returned to duty on the streets while investigations into shootings were still in progress. Officers also showed bad marksmanship and poor judgment, the investigation found, firing their weapons at moving vehicles or when pedestrians were nearby.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-09-13

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, July 9, 2013:

  • Hattiesburg, Pennsylvania: A police department officer has been charged with driving under the influence following an accident that left a 3-year-old injured.
  • Update: Cook County, Illinois: A sheriff’s officer pleaded guilty to his role in a protection racket. He also pleaded guilty in federal court to extortion. That crime that could see him locked up for between two and four years.
  • Jersey City, New Jersey: An off-duty police detective has been charged with drunk driving following an incident in which he allegedly fired his service weapon while inside a police vehicle he was not authorized to have while off-duty.
  • Update: Washington, DC: A police officer accused of threatening Michelle Obama has been cleared of administrative charges related to the first lady but was found guilty of posting a derogatory job description on social media and depicting the president as a communist.
  • Update: San Luis Obispo, California: A police officer pleaded guilty to federal charges of extortion. He was arrested and accused of taking cash and drugs from two people, then selling fake drugs to dealers.
  • Quincy, Massachusetts: A police captain has been placed on paid administrative leave after allegedly assaulting his pregnant wife. He has been charged with aggravated assault.
  • Logan County, West Virginia: A man is suing the sheriff’s department over a beating he claims deputies gave him after his arrest. He says he called 911 during a fight with his girlfriend and when he went outside to talk to two deputies he was immediately pepper-sprayed and shoved into a patrol car.
  • Update: Greeley, Colorado: An officer  has been accused of stealing $3,000 by submitting false information about the time he had worked. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge.

Police Union Says Videos Are ‘Gotcha’ Tools Against Cops

To their credit, the police fired the officer and the prosecutors filed charges.  But according to the news article, the judge did not view the tape!  And the police union wants the officer rehired!

With respect to the “gotcha” comment from the police union rep, that is just some sorta bizarre spin on the subject.  The tape shows what it shows.  Take each incident at a time on its own merits.  What the judge did here is very hard to understand.

H/T: Jonathan Turley blog.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-06-13 to 07-08-13

Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, July 6, to Monday, July 8, 2013:

  • Bridgeport, Connecticut: A state police officer, awaiting sentencing for assaulting his former girlfriend, was arrested again after police said he called her from a diner and threatened her. He is on paid administrative duty, and was released after posting bond and agreeing to wear a GPS monitoring device.
  • Update: Itasca County, Minnesota (First reported 03-08-13): A now-former deputy has been sentenced to two years of probation on a felony charge of interfering with the privacy of a minor for attempting to videotape a teenage girl before and after she showered.
  • Howard County, Maryland: A police officer has been indicted on second degree assault charges. The incident happened while he was off-duty, and he has been placed on “no-duty” status with pay.
  • Osage County, Missouri: The state highway patrol is conducting a preliminary investigation into allegations against the sheriff. He has been accused of harassing a woman.
  • Update: Oakland, California (First reported 11-14-11): The city council has agreed to pay more than $1 million to a settle a lawsuit filed by a dozen Occupy Oakland protesters who said they were the victims of excessive force during clashes with police.
  • Cobb County, Georgia: An officer is under investigation; he was accused of using steroids to bulk up. He has since resigned.
  • Update: Seminole County, Florida (First reported 12-04-12): Two men who filed a $1.5 million lawsuit in federal court after they said deputies used excessive force on them during a traffic stop reached a settlement.
  • Summit County, Ohio: A sheriff’s deputy was charged with possession of marijuana and a license plate violation.
  • San Antonio, Texas: A police officer has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of deadly contact. He has been put on administrative leave.
  • Indianapolis, Indiana: A sheriff’s deputy was fired after being arrested for reportedly driving drunk downtown. He was driving an unmarked MCSO vehicle
  • Update: Haverhill, Massachusetts (First reported 05-05-13): A police officer has been fired for stalking and harassing his estranged wife and her boyfriend and misusing police resources and databases to search the boyfriend’s background and history.
  • Pasco County, Florida: A deputy was arrested on a charge of child abuse. He was accused of choking and threatening a 16-year-old jail inmate. He has been the subject of three internal investigations now.
  • Lexington, Nebraska: A former police officer has been arrested on a warrant charging him with burglary, criminal trespass, and official misconduct. He was on duty and without a law enforcement purpose when he entered a store after business hours.

Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins

From the Washington Post:

In March, a grand jury determined that no criminal charges against the officers involved in Mr. Saylor’s death were warranted. So why not release the results of the investigation that shed light on the officers’ actions — specifically, the statements of moviegoers who may have witnessed the altercation? For what possible reason do these accounts remain secret? Were they even presented to the grand jury?

Just two days before Mr. Saylor’s death, Frederick County deputies shot to death Daniel Vail, 19, who was a suspect in a home invasion. The sheriff’s office asserts that Mr. Vail pointed a shotgun at deputies when they executed a no-knock warrant at his mother’s home around 1 a.m. on Jan. 10. Mr. Vail’s mother and a lawyer for the family dispute that account. There are reports of a grand jury investigation, but precious little information has been made public.

The use of deadly force is exceedingly rare, even in big-city police departments. Back-to-back fatalities involving sheriff’s deputies in a county the size of Frederick is rarer still. Mr. Jenkins, the public deserves answers.

Previous coverage here.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-04-13 to 07-05-13

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, July 04, 2013 to Friday, July 05, 2013:

  • Apple Valley, Minnesota: Witnesses saw a police officer’s squad car run a red light and hit a minivan, the Minnesota State Patrol says. Two people were hospitalized after the crash. The officer was on duty had not activated the lights or siren.
  • Update: Springdale, Pennsylvania (Previously reported 03-11-13): A man has sued a police department for allegedly failing to prevent one of its former officers from using a stun gun on him while he was handcuffed. The officer has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of violating the man’s civil rights by punching and stunning him after he was handcuffed and not resisting.
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida: The city and three of its police officers are being sued in federal court by a man who claims he was stopped for trumped-up reasons, mainly because he was driving through the “inner city” after midnight in a Mercedes Benz.
  • Jackson, Mississippi: A now-former narcotics officer pleaded guilty to agreeing to fix a drug case in exchange for a commercial lawnmower or $5,000. He said the $45,000 bribe would be split among him and two other officers.
  • Henderson, Nevada: Police arrested a family for refusing to let officers use their homes as lookouts for a domestic violence investigation of their neighbors, the family claims in court.
  • Update: Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana (First reported 11-30-13): The now-former sheriff was sentenced to 3 years and 10 months for conspiracy to commit fraud and bribery. “Corruption from the top leads to corruption all around,” said the Judge after announcing the sentence. He was also fined $10,000.
  • Camden County, New Jersey: A police officer has been arrested and charged with interfering with a murder investigation in another county.
  • Maywood, Illinois: A deputy police chief pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for lying to police about an incident in which he allegedly struck a young man in the head with his gun. He was sentenced to 12 months of probation.
  • Baytown, Texas: The family of a 13-year-old said he was beaten up by a police officer. His mother says it was a case of mistaken identity while police were looking for males who had reportedly been attempting to break into homes and cars. The family filed a complaint.
  • Maricopa, Arizona: A detective has been arrested on charges of theft, forgery, attempted money laundering, and tampering with public records. “Whenever a law enforcement officer allegedly uses their position for personal gain, it diminishes the public’s trust for those who wear the badge proudly and serve the American people each day,” said a FBI Special Agent.
  • Hampton, Virginia: A police officer has been charged with assaulting her mother in an altercation during a car ride.

The Anthony Mitchell Case

From the legal complaint filed in federal court:

[Henderson police officers] banged forcefully on the door and loudly commanded Anthony Mitchell to open the door to his residence. Surprised and perturbed, plaintiff Anthony Mitchell immediately called his mother (plaintiff Linda Mitchell) on the phone, exclaiming to her that the police were beating on his front door.

Seconds later, officers, including Officer Rockwell, smashed open plaintiff Anthony Mitchell’s front door with a metal ram as plaintiff stood in his living room. As plaintiff Anthony Mitchell stood in shock, the officers aimed their weapons at Anthony Mitchell and shouted obscenities at him and ordered him to lie down on the floor. Fearing for his life, plaintiff Anthony Mitchell dropped his phone and prostrated himself onto the floor of his living room, covering his face and hands.

Addressing plaintiff as “asshole,” officers, including Officer Snyder, shouted conflicting orders at Anthony Mitchell, commanding him to both shut off his phone, which was on the floor in front of his head, and simultaneously commanding him to ‘crawl’ toward the officers. Confused and terrified, plaintiff Anthony Mitchell remained curled on the floor of his living room, with his hands over his face, and made no movement.

Although plaintiff Anthony Mitchell was lying motionless on the ground and posed no threat, officers, including Officer David Cawthorn, then fired multiple “pepperball” rounds at plaintiff as he lay defenseless on the floor of his living room. Anthony Mitchell was struck at least three times by shots fired from close range, injuring him and causing him severe pain.

H/T:  Jacob Sullum at Hit & Run.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-03-13

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, July 3, 2013:

  • Cleveland, Ohio: A police officer has been suspended over his actions with a female inmate. He was found to have violated department polices when he entered her hospital room and had a sexually explicit conversation with her.
  • Pearl Mississippi: A state trooper has been arrested and charged with domestic assault. He turned himself in after a woman filed an assault charge against him. He is on administrative leave with pay pending the investigation.
  • Beaumont, Texas: An officer is charged with driving while intoxicated, and has been suspended with pay pending an investigation. A sergeant says that the department of public safety has zero tolerance for drunk driving.
  • Waukegan, Illinois: The police chief resigned from his post at the mayor’s request after acknowledging he made false claims about his military career. He will remain at the department with a lower rank.
  • Pigeon Forge, Tennessee: The discovery of a recorded conversation in which three police officers allegedly discussed killing their day shift colleagues began after a young woman complained that one of the men was harassing her. All three were fired.
  • Wilson, North Carolina: An officer accused of damaging parked cars outside a bar has been suspended while police investigate the incident. He is on administrative leave.
  • Cave Spring, Georgia: An officer has been arrested and charged with aggravated child molestation, sexual battery, and aggravated sodomy. He has been terminated.
  • Update: Eureka, California (First reported 04-18-13): A sergeant pleaded not guilty to charges that he used excessive force and filed a false report while on duty. He faces misdemeanor charges of committing assault under the color of authority and knowingly filing a false police report.
  • Marinette, Wisconsin: A police officer stole $480 from his department to feed what he said was a gambling addiction. He approached the police and admitted the thefts, and pleaded guilty to the charges.
  • White County, Arkansas: A deputy was arrested, along with his spouse, after authorities were dispatched to their residence concerning a domestic disturbance.
  • Update: Washington, DC (First reported 02-20-13): A now-former police officer was sentenced to more than year in jail for stealing her brother’s identity.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 07-02-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, July 2, 2013:

  • Centerville, Iowa: A woman has filed suit against a police officer and the city. The suit alleges that an officer violated rights and maliciously charged her after she refused to allow an examination on her then-12-year-old daughter. It then says a police officer fabricated statements and charged her in an attempt for retribution for the refusal of the procedure.
  • Kernersville, North Carolina: A 12-year-veteran has been suspended with pay and found in contempt of court for causing a disturbance after a man was found not guilty of misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
  • Williamson County, Washington: A lieutenant has been accused of driving while intoxicated. A witness called 911 to report a reckless driver who was running red lights, swerving into oncoming traffic, and speeding.
  • Update: Highland Park, Michigan (Previously reported 06-04-13): A now-former police officer was sentenced to prison for conspiring with three other officers to commit extortion and protect a shipment of cocaine. He had agreed to take money in exchange for delivering a four-kilogram shipment of the drug. He brought his badge and gun to protect the shipment.
  • Columbus, Ohio: A police officer was sentenced to seven years in prison for luring two high school students into a sexual relationship. He pleaded guilty to coercing and enticing two 15-year-old girls.
  • St. Lucie County, Florida: A sheriff’s office deputy was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence after he crashed his patrol car. “As sheriff, I do not condone any type of drinking and driving, let alone by a deputy sheriff, whom I hold to a higher standard than a member of the public,” said the sheriff.
  • Update: Minidoka County, Idaho (First reported 06-24-13): The county sheriff turned in his resignation as part of a plea deal. He was charged with felony misuse of public money for allegations he used his county debit or credit card to buy gasoline for a female county employee.
  • Rio Grande City, Texas: An officer has been arrested on sexual assault and other charges after he was accused of forcing a woman in custody to perform a sexual act.
  • Ripley West Virginia: A police officer has pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. According to prosecutors, he established a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old and took sexually explicit pictures and video of the minor.

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