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National Police Misconduct NewsFeed Daily Recap 04-15-10

Well, it’s been a pretty busy day here with the NPMSRP. Not only was there a larger than normal number of police misconduct reports to track today, but I’ve also been busy trying to finish up the 2010 Q1 statistical report.

Fortunately I’ve not been the only person that’s been busy though. Rick Horowitz over at Probable Cause – The Legal Blog with the Really Low Standard of Review wrote a pretty strong piece that builds on a post made by Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice yesterday in his “But for video” series.

Rick and Scott both write about topics I try to explain to my readers from time to time, but do a better job of it than I do. Scott writes about how hard it is to convince people that police misconduct happens and how difficult it is to convince most police accountability activists that most people don’t even believe police misconduct happens.

Rick takes it further to explain that most people who advocate for police accountability don’t do it because they want you to think all cops are evil, they do it because all cops are human and thus deserve the same level of accountability, scrutiny, and healthy skepticism that everyone else is exposed to.

In any case, because of the video theme of both their posts, I’ll start off with a few videos from the 29 reports of police misconduct that were tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed today, April 15, 2010:

  • Most of the internet-connected world has probably seen this video of Prince George’s County Maryland police officers beating a college student and are aware that the police then lied about what happened in charging papers to cover up the beating by arresting the student on false charges. The update here is that two more officers have been identified for their involvement in the case, bringing the total so far to 4 police officers under suspension while investigated over the incident.

  • A Streamwood Illinois police officer has been charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct for beating a motorist with his baton at least 15 times after he had tasered his passenger and it was all caught on dashcam. The men he tasered and beat were unarmed and didn’t present a threat to the officer who is now on paid leave and may face more charges in the case.

  • A South Bend Indiana police officer is facing a disciplinary hearing after his police chief recommended that he be suspended for 30 days over what happened in this video released today. The officer is accused of excessive force for intentionally hitting a suspect who was fleeing on foot with his cruiser, shattering his knee. The officer claims he turned into the grass to avoid hitting the suspect, thought the video appears to contradict that claim.
  • A Warren Ohio police officer may be facing disciplinary action after an internal investigation found that the officer violated use of force policies by detaining 3 children,  ages 7, 9, and 10, at gunpoint while he searched their backpacks allegedly because he thought they were burglars. The boys were innocent as the incident occurred in broad daylight as the kids were coming home from school. While there were also allegations of racial profiling, the investigation did not sustain that finding.
  • An Arizona Department of Public Safety police officer has been fired after an investigation sustained allegations of dishonesty and misuse of property that included accusations that he fraudulently billed the state for nearly 40 hours of work that he didn’t do.
  • A Port Richey Florida police sergeant, who is the third in command for the department, has been suspended for 1 day for his supervision of an incident where an innocent man was tasered 3 times after officers woke him while he was asleep in his car. He’s also facing another day off as discipline in a separate case where he failed to get evidence during a burglary investigation. So far he’s had 31 career disciplinary findings for misconduct.
  • The Oakland California BART police force is in the news yet again after the chief ordered all officers to turn in their tasers pending additional training after one of their police officers attempted to taser a kid on bicycle while he was chasing him in a moving police cruiser.  The teen was the subject of an assault investigation. For those who don’t remember, it wasn’t too long ago that a cop in Florida tried the exact same thing… but with fatal results.
  • A LaGrange Park Illinois police sergeant is on medical leave after he was charged with driving while intoxicated. He was stopped when witnesses called cops to report his erratic driving while he was off-duty.
  • A Lee County Mississippi deputy has plead guilty to misdemeanor charges for stealing money from the wallets of at least 4 motorists that he had pulled over.
  • A Jackson County South Dakota deputy was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing over $3,000 and a gun from the sheriff’s department. However, the judge suspended that sentence and ordered the officer to spend 90 days in jail instead.
  • A Houston Texas police union official who was responsible for their political action committee has been indicted for embezzling over $200,o00 in funds that were meant to help injured cops. He allegedly transferred funds from the account to his personal credit card.
  • The Olathe Kansas police department has settled a lawsuit for $5,000 to a man who got a ticket for flipping off cop and swearing at him. The ACLU, who received a $1k cut from that check, sued claiming that flipping off cops is constitutionally protected free speech.
  • A Berkeley California police officer and some of his coworkers are accused of unnecessarily beating and arresting a college student who objected to girl he was with being shoved by the officer at an accident scene. An independent witness who lives near by has corroborated their side of the story.
  • A Washington DC police officer has admitted that he lied about being carjacked after his car and gun was stolen by girl he gave ride to in exchange for $10.
  • A Lake County Colorado deputy has been charged with official misconduct, obstruction, & trespassing for arresting and jailing a fire captain who was en route to a medical emergency.
  • A Providence Rhode Island police officer has been convicted of 1st degree sexual assault for raping a woman while on-duty in an empty police substation after he picked her up and offered to drive her home when she was denied entry to a bar because she was too drunk.
  • A Lowellville Ohio police officer who is facing trial for sexual imposition and stalking was threatened with contempt over his casual attire at court. The judge admonished him and suggested that he might want to dress as if this were an important event in his life. However, the judge did dismiss a count of indecent exposure against him… simply because the statute of limitations had expired.
  • A Dallas Texas police officer’s suspension was reduced from 15 days to 5 days for his filing of a false arrest report that resulted in a wrongful conviction. He accused the wrong man of holding a bag of drugs even after video evidence showed he fingered the wrong guy. The chief accepted his claims that it was a simple honest mistake.
  • A Brunswick Georgia police officer is the subject of a lawsuit alleging that he falsely arrested a minister for protesting without a permit because he stopped to tell anti-Obama protesters that he disagreed with their opinions while on a public sidewalk… which isn’t something anyone needs a permit to do.
  • A Lee County Florida deputy was suspended for a week for insubordination after refusing to stop a car chase that was against policy when he was ordered to do so.
  • At least 2 Spokane Washington police officers will be facing a federal grand jury for obstructing an investigation into the beating death of mentally disabled man and the hands of a Spokane police officer because he wouldn’t drop a plastic bottle of cola. Investigators say that accounts of the incident were altered to cover up the incident, that was captured on the convenience store’s cameras.

That’s it for today… Stay safe out there!

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