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Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force

Last December Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel formed a task force to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the Chicago Police Department.  That move followed calls for Emanuel’s resignation in the wake of the video release of the Laquan McDonald shooting.

The Task Force released its report yesterday.  Here is an excerpt:

The public has lost faith in the oversight system. Every stage of investigations and discipline is plagued by serious structural and procedural flaws that make real accountability nearly impossible. The collective bargaining agreements provide an unfair advantage to officers, and the investigating agencies—IPRA and CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs—are under-resourced, lack true independence and are not heldaccountable for their work. Even where misconduct is found to have occurred, officers are frequently able to avoid meaningful consequences due to an opaque, drawn out and unscrutinized disciplinary process… Any one of these metrics in isolation is troubling, but taken together, the only conclusion that can be reached is that there is no serious embrace by CPD leadership of the need to make accountability a core value. These statistics give real credibility to the widespread perception that there is a deeply entrenched code of silence supported not just by individual officers, but by the very institution itself….Simply put, there is no ownership of the issue within CPD leadership or elsewhere, and thus there have been no substantive efforts to address these problems which continue to cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year.

The full report is close to 200 pages and we have not yet studied the whole thing.  Most of the criticism is directed at the police department itself–and it is damning.  The executive summary says little about Mayor Emanuel or his culpability.  Hmm.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-12-16

Here are the 10 reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, April 12, 2016:

  • Update: San Antonio, Texas (First reported 04-07-16): The SRO caught on film slamming a 12-year-old girl face-first to the ground has been fired.
  • Sanford, Florida: A lieutenant was arrested after allegedly head-butting and punching woman in the nose after off-duty barhopping.
  • Update: Mansfield, Ohio (First reported 02-13-15): An officer is currently on trial facing 35 criminal charges. According to the report, those charges included “15 counts of misuse of a computer, 11 counts of dereliction of duty, burglary, trespassing into a habitation, attempted gross sexual imposition, sexual battery, attempted sexual battery, menacing by stalking, public indecency, and two counts of tampering with evidence. incl. misuse of police computers and sexual misconduct.”
  • Update: North Augusta, South Carolina (First reported 09-30-14): A now-former officer was sentenced to three years’ probation for fatally shooting 68-year-old Ernest Satterwhite in his car. The City settled a civil suit with Satterwhite’s estate for over $1,000,000 in 2015.
  • Update: Newark, New Jersey (First reported 06-25-15): An officer was indicted for misconduct, conspiracy, and computer theft for allegedly selling personal information retrieved from a law enforcement database.
  • San Diego County, California: A deputy was fired for slapping a woman who was in a wheelchair while he was off duty and intoxicated. He pulled his badge when others intervened.
  • Pinellas County, Florida: Two deputies were suspended. One was suspended for failing to note a driver’s impairment after a fatal crash. The other was involved in an off-duty bar fight.
  • Update: Wichita, Kansas (First reported 01-08-15): A now-former officer pled guilty to making a felony criminal threat. He was originally charged with 13 counts of domestic violence against his wife. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 26.
  • Update: Hartsville, Indiana (First reported 07-24-15): A now-former deputy town marshal pled guilty to attempted dissemination of harmful material to a minor. He sent inappropriate text messages to a 12-year-old girl. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 12.
  • Update: Marion County, Florida (First reported 01-27-16): A deputy was acquitted in a federal civil rights trial for beating an unarmed man.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-11-16

Here are the 14 reports of police misconduct tracked for Monday, April 11, 2016:

  • Update: Stockton, California (First reported 01-08-16): An officer is no longer on the force after he was accused of issuing a retaliatory ticket against an outspoken citizen who had complained on social media. The citizen’s car was ticketed while on his private property.
  • Indiana State Police: An officer was fired for proselytizing motorists during traffic stops.
  • Houston, Texas: An officer arrested a man for pointing a gun at him twice in an off-duty incident at a gas station. The surveillance footage supports defendant’s claim that he his legally permitted gun fell to the ground by accident and that he never pointed the gun at the off-duty officer.
  • Oilton, Oklahoma: An officer was charged with child pornography possession.
  • Anne Arundel County, Maryland: The sheriff was arrested for second-degree assault against his wife.
  • Glynn County, Georgia: A deputy was charged with improper use of county credit card and falsifying records.
  • Update: Benton County, Arkansas (First reported 02-26-16): A now-former deputy pled not guilty to having sex with a minor and child pornography possession.
  • Benton County, Arkansas: A deputy is no longer on the force after his off-duty arrest for public intoxication.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: An officer was arrested DUI and accidental bodily injury after two car crash.
  • Update: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (First reported 12-05-13): A now-former officer was indicted on federal charges for punching a handcuffed suspect in an interview room.  He was acquitted on state charges related to the incident.
  • Auburn, Georgia: An officer was arrested by for extortion conspiracy. He took $40,000 from a driver during a bogus traffic stop that was actually a DEA sting.
  • Roscoe, Texas: An officer was arrested for DWI and was fired.
  • Dennis, Massachusetts: An officer was sentenced to probation for OUI.
  • Osage County, Missouri: The sheriff was charged with unlawful use of a weapon while intoxicated for pulling a gun outside of bar while off duty.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-08-16

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Friday, April 8, 2016:

  • Update: Oakland, Florida (First reported 03-09-15): A now-former officer was sentenced to 25 years in prison for child molestation and child pornography convictions.
  • Barrow County, Georgia (Initially reported as Bartow County): A deputy was charged with sexual assault and false statements for actions against a female detainee. He has been fired.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: An officer will not be charged in the non-fatal shooting of John Rau, who was unarmed.
  • Waukesha County, Wisconsin: A deputy resigned after falsifying police reports and payroll records. He will not be criminally charged.
  • Dubuque, Iowa: The City settled an excessive force lawsuit for $50,000.
  • Leadville, Colorado: A now-former chief was charged with 14 felonies for stealing departmental firearms and accessories. He allegedly kept some of them and sold others at a pawn shop.
  • Rossford, Ohio: An officer was charged with domestic violence for hitting his father who had been arrested and detained in the back of a patrol car. The officer was on duty at the time.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: An officer on trial for perjury, falsifying records, and civil rights violations for off-duty
  • Roanoke, Virginia: An officer was charged with one count of forcible sodomy.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-07-16

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

  • Caldwell County, Texas: A deputy is under investigation after fatally shooting a man armed with a shovel.
  • Pinellas County, Florida: A deputy was suspended for 40 hours for engaging in a high-speed pursuit at speeds approaching 130mph and not reporting it.
  • Update: Los Angeles County, California (First reported 05-14-15): The now-former undersheriff Paul Tanaka was convicted of corruption and obstruction in the latest case in the long-running jail abuse and cover-up fallout.
  • El Paso, Texas: An officer was charged with aggravated assault after pulling a gun on a man after being kicked out of a bar.
  • Baltimore, Maryland: A family demands answers after a father and son were fatally shot by two officers who fired 56 rounds.
  • St. Louis, Missouri: An officer pled guilty for beating a shackled suspect and sticking a gun in his mouth.
  • New York, New York: Four officers were suspended or reprimanded as internal and federal corruption investigations continue into karaoke bar protection scheme.
  • San Antonio, Texas Independent School District: An SRO was captured on video slamming a 12-yr-old student to the ground face first thus knocking her unconscious.
  • Update: Winona County, Minnesota (First reported 06-04-15): A now-former deputy was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation for solicitation.
  • Update: U.S Customs and Border Patrol (McAllen, Texas) (First reported 02-01-16): A now-former officer pled guilty to bribery for accepting $3,600 to manipulate the visa process for two separate people.

Can the Feds Fix Broken Police Departments?

From the National Interest (Online):

 It has been one year since Freddie Gray died while in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department. Gray’s death sparked peaceful protests and then calamitous riots that brought international attention and prompted the deployment of National Guard units. While local prosecutors indicted the officers involved in Gray’s arrest, the federal government promised to investigate the entire police department for a “pattern or practice” of constitutional violations. The impending outcome of that inquiry seems foreordained. The real question is whether federal monitoring can truly fix a broken police department. The conventional wisdom is that it can, but experience tells us that it can be counterproductive….

When the feds do intervene, everyone seems to be pleased. The heat is off the local officials to address police misconduct. They say they’ll have to await the outcome of the federal investigation before taking any action. Federal officials are pleased because they are seen as the cavalry coming to the rescue. Civil rights activists are satisfied because they think a federal lawsuit will bring about needed reforms. The police department and police union benefit as well. The intense media scrutiny will now fade as the months roll past.

Unfortunately, federal intervention has a counterproductive “enabling” effect: it allows local officials to evade their responsibility to fix broken police organizations. When the local politicos make a plea for federal intervention, it deflects attention away from their oversight failure and actually squanders the prospect for sweeping changes at a pivotal moment.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-06-16

Here are the eight reports of police misconduct tracked for Wednesday, April 6, 2016:

  • Update: East Stroudsburg University (Pennsylvania) (First reported 10-15-15): A now-former officer was sentenced to three years’ probation and fined $3,000 after he pled guilty to prescription drug charges. He was arrested on similar charges before (see NPMRP report from July 23, 2009) but retained his job.
  • Update: Checotah, Oklahoma (First reported 08-06-15): A now-former K-9 officer pled guilty to larceny and drug possession for stealing drugs. He was given a five-year deferred sentence with one year of supervised probation. He was also ordered to enter a drug rehabilitation program.
  • Update: Maui, Hawaii (First reported 06-04-15): An officer was arrested five times in one year and remains on the force.
  • Update: Weld County, Colorado (First reported 11-19-14): A now-former deputy was acquitted in the 2011 shooting death of his wife.
  • Horry County, South Carolina: A senior detective was fired for sexual harassment. Seven of his criminal cases have been re-opened. One notable case involved a victim who claimed she was raped while she was drunk. No criminal charges were filed after her initial complaint, but a suspect has since been arrested after the case was re-opened. More than 100 of his cases are now under review.
  • Update: Austin, Texas (First reported 01-15-16): An officer who was suspended for 90 days for repeatedly tasing a homeless man will not face criminal charges.
  • Saline County, Arkansas: A deputy was arrested for DWI after a single-vehicle crash.
  • Eddy County, New Mexico: A deputy was arrested for transporting stolen livestock and unlawful disposition of animals, both felonies.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-05-16

Here are the nine reports of police misconduct tracked for Tuesday, April 5, 2016:

  • Update: Bastrop County, Texas (First reported 06-18-14): A now-former deputy’s bench trial for second-degree murder is underway. The state rested Monday, and the defense began Tuesday. His first jury trial ended in a mistrial.
  • Update: Grand Rapids, Michigan (First reported 03-03-15): A now-former officer was found guilty on one count of criminal sexual conduct for an assault on his ex-girlfriend. He was acquitted on three other criminal counts related to the incident, including home invasion.
  • Update: Louisiana Department Public Safety (First reported 11-04-15): An officer who shot his wife pled guilty to negligently injuring her. He was sentenced to six months in jail, deferred, and six months of probation.
  • Update: St. Charles County, Missouri (First reported 04-01-16): A now-former officer who pled guilty to tampering for stealing from a bait car on duty also faces four tampering felonies in Pike County.  His next court date in Pike County is April 11. His sentencing in the former case is scheduled for May 16.
  • Update: Bastrop County, Texas (First reported 02-02-16): An officer who was arrested for DUI after being found in his patrol car with a half bottle of vodka and prescription pills while on duty has resigned.
  • Update: Marion County, Florida (First reported 02-25-16): A deputy who resigned after the state attorney general released a scathing report about his use of force is having his cases reviewed by the FBI for possible civil rights violations.
  • Update: Paterson, New Jersey (First reported 06-17-15): An officer who was accused of leaving the scene of a fatal accident has been indicted. .
  • Forrest County, Mississippi: A deputy was indicted for tax evasion and filing false returns.
  • Update: Loudon County, Virginia (First reported 07-10-15): A now-former deputy was found guilty of stealing more than $229,000 from the department’s asset forfeiture program.

National Police Misconduct Newsfeed Daily Recap 04-04-16

Here are the 11 reports of police misconduct tracked for Monday, April 4, 2016:

  • Seminole County, Florida: A deputy was charged with misdemeanor battery for punching a handcuffed man detained in the back of a patrol car.
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee: An officer is under investigation for an on-duty sexual assault and other inappropriate sexual behavior.
  • Update: Duluth, Minnesota (First reported 02-15-16): An officer pled guilty to careless driving and was sentenced to one year of probation. He still has a domestic violence case pending.
  • Denver, Colorado: An officer resigned amid allegations that he worked security for a marijuana business.
  • Greensburg, Pennsylvania: An officer was fired and charged with falsifying commercial truck inspections.
  • New York, New York: A detective was arrested for rape and sexual assault after a woman called 911 from his home.
  • Lucas County, Ohio: A now-former detective pled guilty to stealing $900 from a suspect. He is slated to be sentenced May 9. Upon the initial investigation into the incident, the detective retired preempting completion of an internal investigation, thus leaving his pension unaffected by his guilty plea.
  • Pomona, California: An officer was suspended while he is being investigated for having sex with an underage girl.
  • Pomona, California: The City is being sued because officers allegedly discarded medical identification and other personal property from indigent persons.
  • Update: Las Cruces, New Mexico (First reported 11-20-14): The City settled a lawsuit filed by a police intern who was sexually assaulted by a now-former officer on a ride-along. The suit alleged that the now-former officer had a history of abuse the department failed to address. The settlement was for $3,000,000. The now-former officer is serving nine years for the crime.
  • Update: Cleveland, Ohio (First reported 03-22-16): An officer was indicted on felony assault, kidnapping, and abduction charges for off duty incident in which he is alleged to have slammed a woman’s head against a car bumper.

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