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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-25-13

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, June 26, 2013:

  • Update: Auburn, Washington (First reported 02-11-13): A now-former officer pleaded guilty to assault for fondling a woman during a traffic stop. He has been fired. The victim noticed a police car following her as she was driving home, but said he never pulled her over until she reached her driveway. Shortly thereafter, she said, the officer groped her under the guise of a pat-down while she was handcuffed.
  • Leander, Texas: A family dog was shot after a mix-up with warrants; the man police were looking for did not live at the home they went to. Police say it is policy to use lethal force on any animal they think is attacking, but the owners say the dog was just being friendly. The case is under administrative review and the officer is still on active duty.
  • San Francisco, California: A federal judge has ruled that a man who was videotaped being beaten by a sheriff’s deputy while being held in jail can sue the city and county. Captured on the jail’s close-circuited video, the man was seated in a chair – surrounded by as many as nine deputies – when one deputy went over and began punching him in the face. Charges were never filed against the man for whatever he had been taken into custody for.
  • Nassau, New York: A cabdriver filed a $30 million federal lawsuit against Nassau and Suffolk counties, both police departments and 18 named police officers and supervisors. The suit alleges that an off-duty police officer unjustifiably shot and beat him. In addition, it alleges that members of both police departments conspired to shield officers from charges by manipulating the facts and fabricating evidence. That led to the cabdriver to being falsely arrested for assault and reckless endangerment, the lawsuit states.
  • Federal Way, Washington: Police are reviewing their officers’ use of force during the arrest of a woman reported to be disabled. “It was horrible. I just didn’t understand any of it,” the woman said. ‘I told him about my condition. Punching me over and over in the eye is obviously excessive force. He could have handled it a lot differently.” An investigation is underway.
  • Trenton, New Jersey: A young man returning home from work was allegedly assaulted by police. Audio of the incident was recorded. He was in police custody for two hours and was given the option to stay in jail or receive a ticket for disorderly conduct. The young man said he knew he did nothing wrong because a police officer told him if he showed up to the court, the charges would be dropped.
  • Chicago, Illinois: A man has claimed in court that police officers verbally and physically tortured him for hours, including sodomizing him with a gun, “laugh(ing) hysterically,” until he agreed to buy drugs for the cops in a sting.
  • McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania: A man has filed suit, saying that police violated his constitutional rights when they arrested and prosecuted him on charges that were subsequently withdrawn.
  • Washington County, Minnesota: A sheriff’s deputy and two police officers entered a woman’s home, she says, without a warrant or her permission. She was startled awake by noises inside her apartment, opened her bedroom door, and came face-to-face with a police officer. The police chief says his officers left as soon as they realized it was an apartment and, he says, the department has apologized for the mistake.
  • Miami-Dade, Florida: Police say a 14-year-old boy gave them “dehumanizing stares,” and appeared threatening, and that is why they slammed him against the ground and put him in a chokehold.
  • Williams County, Ohio: The police chief has been suspended for two weeks without pay. He was sentenced to pay $500 for his role in the trapping and shooting of stray cats.

Chicago Policeman Richard Rizzo

From the Crime Report:

Over seven years, Chicago police officer Richard Rizzo has been arrested four times by fellow officers on charges including domestic battery, child endangerment, and aggravated assault with a gun. Each time, says the Chicago Sun-Times, prosecutors dropped charges against the 15-year police veteran. Rizzo, 44, is still a member of the department, making $80,724 a year. Now comes news that Rizzo was relieved of his police powers on June 13 — six days after the Sun-Times asked about his status.

The newspaper says Rizzo is among the fraternity of Chicago cops who, despite repeated run-ins with the law, have continued working for the department. In a three-year stint as police superintendent, Jody Weis tried to get 66 employees fired. Of those, 19 ended up fired by the Chicago Police Board, a nine-member panel of mayoral appointees. “It was frustrating,” Weis says. “Oftentimes, these guys are recidivists, where they’ll go out and embarrass the department again.”

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-22-13 to 06-24-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Saturday, June 22 to Monday, June 24, 2013:

  • Baltimore County, Maryland: Police have charged a police officer with DUI after the car he was driving, with children inside, struck a parked car. He faces numerous charges.
  • Cherryville, North Carolina: The now-former police chief has been charged with embezzlement. He has agreed to plead guilty. Court documents allege he embezzled more than $11,000 of city funds by forcing the Finance Director to issue city checks for purchase of firearms for his personal use.
  • Salem, North Jersey: A police officer was terminated from his position after more than a year of being held on suspension without pay. He was alleged involved in “three separate incidents on three separate dates” which led the city to decide to fire him. “Everyone has to be held accountable for their actions and no one will be placed above anyone,” the mayor said.
  • Update: Spokane, Washington (First reported 11-12-11): The family of a pastor shot to death after a confrontation with a deputy sheriff will receive $2 million. The Sheriff criticized the county’s insurance carrier for agreeing to such a large settlement instead of taking the case to trial as he and the county’s lawyers wanted, saying it sends the wrong message.
  • Lakeland, Florida: A police officer was suspended after he asked a woman to shake out her bra during a traffic stop to see if there were drugs. No drugs were found on her or inside the car. A state attorney has called for an internal investigation and says there was no reason to even suspect that the woman was carrying drugs.
  • Hanover, Massachusetts: A police officer has been fired after he allegedly was videotaped taking a packet of tanning lotion from a salon.
  • Madison, Wisconsin: The police chief is trying to fire a police officer for alleged misconduct that happened before he fatally shot a local musician. The officer allegedly violated departmental conduct rules repeatedly including using insulting, defamatory, or obscene language, disrespecting his supervisors, and failing to take proper care in handling weapons. The president of the Madison Professional Police Officers Association says the officer’s action do not constitute grounds for dismissal.
  • Update: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (First reported 04-24-13): A now-former police officer convicted of performing illegal strip searches and body-cavity searches on dozens of suspects has been sentenced to more than two years in prison.
  • Minidoka County, Idaho: The sheriff was charged with misuse of public funds by a public official, a felony. He is accused of using county money to buy gas for personal purposes.

Sexual Assault Under ‘Color of Authority’


The victim, 24-year-old Hannah Thompson, noticed an Auburn police car following her as she was driving home, but said he never turned on his flashing lights and never pulled her over until she reached her driveway.

Shortly thereafter, she said, Clemmons groped her under the guise of a pat-down while she was handcuffed.

The officer pled guilty and lost his job.

Someone will be scrubbing his record for previous complaints, right?

More here.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-21-13

Here are the 9 reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, June 21, 2013:

  • Schuykill County, Pennsylvania: A police officer has been accused of not reporting a crash he was involved in. There is an investigation underway. He has been taken off the schedule until the legal process plays out.
  • Macon, Georgia: A police officer was arrested following a drug raid at her home. She was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and child endangerment. “Of course we are very disappointed in the alleged behavior of this officer, but anyone within our ranks who breaks the law is not welcome in the Macon Police Department,” said the police chief in a news release.
  • Westerville, Ohio: The police department has agreed to pay $25,000 to settle a lawsuit by the family of a young brother and sister who were handcuffed by officers after a fight on a school bus. The children, ages 7 and 8 at the time, were handcuffed after the bus fight and then taken to the police station and put in a holding cell until their mother arrived. She accused police of civil rights violations and using excessive force.
  • Update: Baltimore, Maryland (Previously reported: 06-28-13): Jurors found a police officer not guilty in the death of the teenager he chased down and fought. He remains suspended pending an internal investigation, but will be able to draw a paycheck from his salary.
  • Memphis, Tennessee: An officer has been accused of forcing men to perform sexual acts in exchange for not arresting them on warrants. He resigned in the middle of the investigation, and now faces up to 6 years in prison if he is convicted.
  • North Muskegon, Michigan: Two police officers were fired and now the state police are conducting their own criminal investigation. The chief said the officers were fired for “violation of rules and regulations.” He wouldn’t say more than that but state police say the officer allegedly cheated on their payroll.
  • Update: Las Vegas, Nevada (First reported 01-18-13): Two women allegedly groped by a now former police officer have filed a federal lawsuit. The officer pleaded guilty to several charges against him, including coercion and open and lewd contact. He is in prison and the women are speaking out, hoping for a change in hiring practices.
  • Lewiston, Idaho: A police sergeant who has been on administrative leave resigned following an Idaho State Police investigation into an allegation of misdemeanor sexual battery.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio: The family of a man who died days after an officer shocked him with a Taser in the chest has filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging the weapon was improperly used. Although the coroner ruled the cause of the man’s death ‘undetermined,’ the family’s lawyer asserts he has evidence showing the Taser stopped the man’s heart and killed him.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-20-13

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Thursday, June 20, 2013:

  • Update: Belmont, Massachusetts (First reported 05-21-13): A veteran state trooper convicted of extorting and threatening a bookie was fired and given a dishonorable discharge. He was found guilty of one count of extortion.
  • Carter County, Missouri: The sheriff who resigned amid allegations of wrongdoing that included distributing methamphetamine has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.
  • Jacksonville, Florida: A police officer was arrested after conversations with a sergeant and officers were secretly recorded on her police computer. The 10-year veteran is on voluntary leave without pay as three counts of illegal interception of communication and one of tampering with evidence are investigated.
  • Ardmore, Oklahoma: Officials say the city’s police chief and deputy chief have been suspended, pending the outcome of an investigation. The suspensions were a result of an ongoing investigation into “various operational aspects” of the police department.
  • Grayson, Kentucky: A police officer was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident. He was immediately placed on administrative leave. The Mayor has since fired him.
  • Update: Battle Creek, Michigan (First reported 04-10-13): A now-former police officer pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and was sentenced to fines, court costs and one year probation under a plea deal.
  • Woodstock, Georgia: A police dog died of heat stroke after being left in a patrol car. The 3-year-old dog was found inside the K-9 handler’s car. The officer has been placed on administrative leave.
  • Don Ana, New Mexico: A man and his young grandson have filed a lawsuit, alleging deputies violated their civil rights by unjustly ordering them out of a vehicle at gunpoint and searching them.

The Case of Officer Julian Steele

This week the  Supreme Court of Ohio handed down a very important decision involving police misconduct, State v. Steele.  The facts are just awful–so brace yourself.

It began with some robberies in a Cincinnati neighborhood in 2009.  After one robbery, a resident took down the license number of a car that was perceived to be moving about suspiciously.  The police traced the plate to Alicia Maxton.

Now Officer Julian Steele enters the picture.  When he finds out Ms. Maxton has children, he goes to their school and arrests all three.  To protect the identities of the minors, the Court only provides us with initials.  One of the minors is RM.  RM  is driven to the police station where he is interrogated.   Mom is not informed because Steele instructed the school people not to tell her what was happening to her children.

RM denies any involvement in the robberies.  Steele tells this minor that if he does not confess, his mom will be jailed and she will lose custody of his siblings.  Frightened, RM falsely confesses, and Officer Steele records the “confession” a second time.  RM is then charged with the robberies and is imprisoned.

The next day, Steele tells the school that he does not really believe RM was involved in the robberies.  Among other things, RM does not match the physical description of the suspect.

Over the next week, Steele arranges several meetings with Mom under the guise of discussing RM’s case.  One such meeting is at Steele’s apartment and he tells Mom that he thinks he might be able to get RM out of detention because he can cut through all the damn red tape.  And he wants to help out because he does not personally believe RM was involved.  Then Steele changes the subject (or tries to anyway) to sex.   Mom goes along with the overture because she believes Steele is the one who has the power to get her son’s release.

Continue Reading →

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-19-13

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, June 19, 2013:

  • Maricopa County, Arizona: Deputies beat an attorney so badly his brain bled and his shoulder was dislocated as he tried to calm down a client at the scene of an accident, the attorney and client say in separate lawsuits.
  • Los Angeles, California: The county board of supervisors has agreed to pay $550,000 to a couple who alleged that sheriff’s deputies falsely arrested and framed them on drug charges. An officer reported he found methamphetamine in a patrol car he put the woman into. All criminal charges against the couple were dismissed.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: A police officer has been suspended without pay pending dismissal after he was accused of unlawfully obtaining prescription painkillers. His sentence will be deferred and might be dismissed if he successfully completes a drug rehab program.
  • New Britain, Connecticut: A federal jury awarded $80,625 to the man who accused a city police officer of excessive force. The officer was fired after the man accused him of slamming his head into a wall and then hitting him with a nightstick while he was handcuffed.
  • DeSoto County, Florida: An inmate says that deputies beat him on three separate occasions, slamming his head into a concrete wall, punching him in the face and chest, and choking him nearly unconscious.
  • Norwich, Connecticut: The family of a man fatally shot by police after calling them to a neighborhood park has notified the city they intend to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the seven police officers involved in the shooting. There is dispute between eyewitness accounts and the police reports of the incident that led to his death.
  • Atlanta, Georgia: An officer has been sentenced to two years in federal prison after prosecutors say he conspired to accept bribes and lied to FBI agents. Prosecutors say he worked in an illegal nightclub for three months, and was paid to protect the illegal activities going on inside of it.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A now-former police officer pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl and could face up to 36 months in prison. He offered to pay both women he slept with the night of the incident. He was fired after it happened.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: An officer was dismissed for violating the department’s police on moral conduct. He was pulled over for driving a truck without a license plate, and then it was discovered that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest for writing a faulty check.
  • Memphis, Tennessee: A police officer is charged with driving under the influence after refusing to submit to a BAC test. He has been relieved of duty pending the investigation.
  • Marion, Virginia: The police chief was arrested on drug distribution charges. According to the criminal complaint, he not only gave pills to an informant, but was recorded on video crushing one up and snorting it.

National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 06-18-13

Here are the 8 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, June 18, 2013:

  • Chillicothe, Ohio:  A police officer fell asleep at the wheel, drove his police cruiser off the road, and struck three parked vehicles.
  • Los Angeles, California: The man who was shot at in a case of mistaken identity during the frenzied manhunt for an ex-LAPD officer on a deadly rampage has filed an excessive force lawsuit against the officers involved in the shooting. He was on his way to the beach when officers fired their weapons at his truck without any warning.
  • Update: Loveland, Colorado (First reported 05-29-12): A police officer has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges. The officer resigned after the charges were filed against him.
  • Washington Township, Pennsylvania: An officer pleaded not guilty to official misconduct, falsifying records, and other offenses stemming from the traffic stop of an Assemblyman.
  • Country Club Hills, Illinois: The now-former police chief pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering charges related to the misuse of a $1.25 million state grant to a non-profit she ran with her husband. She allegedly used the majority of the money for her own personal use.
  • Update: Youngstown, Ohio (First reported 06-10-13): A police officer accused of taking nude pictures and soliciting sex from a 14-year-old girl is officially fired from his job. A disciplinary letter to the officer read, “It will be some time before the damage that you have inflicted on this Department can ever be repaired, and you have single handedly just made the job of every member of the Youngstown Police Department more difficult.
  • Cabell County, West Virginia: A man is suing the sheriff and the deputy sheriff after he claims excessive force was used on him. He says the deputy sheriff choked and assaulted him on three occasions, tried pushing his face into a toilet, and put him in a headlock, all while he was being held in jail.
  • LaRue County, Kentucky: The mother of a suspect who was fatally shot by police has filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s department, a deputy, and the county government. The suit says that the deputy used excessive force and displayed negligence when he shot the woman’s son. A grand jury cleared the deputy of all criminal charges in the case.

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