- Tulsa, Oklahoma: A sheriff’s deputy, who has now resigned, is accused of sexually assaulting two women at home. He was being held on $65,000 bond for sexual assault and battery complaints. http://ow.ly/BHfo3
- Update: McHenry County, Illinois (First reported 08-15-12): A 10-year veteran sheriff’s deputy, who once served on a child pornography task force, will spend the next 50 years in federal prison for sexually abusing a child and distributing images of the attack online. http://ow.ly/BHaDR
- Richland County, South Carolina: Sheriff’s deputies are investigating whether a deputy’s use of a stun gun on a handcuffed suspect was excessive force. http://ow.ly/BHa8I
- Update: Elmwood Park, Illinois (First reported 01-03-14): A police officer accused of swindling an 85-year-old man with dementia has resigned. He was arrested and charged with forging a $20,000 check from the man.http://ow.ly/BH6tU
- Iberia Parish, Louisiana: Federal authorities confirmed they launched an investigation into the shooting death of a 22-year-old black man who died in the backseat of a police car. The family had demanded a Justice Department probe after the coroner ruled that the man, whose hands were cuffed behind his back, had committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest with a handgun. The full coroner’s report indicated that he died from a single shot to his right chest, contradicting the initial police statement that he had shot himself in the back. http://ow.ly/BCoTm Continue reading
Every so often a police department will come under fire about its traffic or parking policies. Things like speed traps or a policy of only writing tickets to people from out-of-town are among the most common allegations. Usually these are one horse small towns trying to generate some money to put in a stop light or something along those lines.
But Washington DC has come under attack for their policies, or in some cases lack of policies regarding their traffic and parking enforcement. Washington DC generates $179,000,000 a year in traffic citations. Almost a quarter of a billion dollars annual, I think some people might take notice of what is going on.
On Monday the DC Inspector General issued a 115 page audit of the three police agencies tasked with parking and traffic enforcement in the DC area. According to the report drivers get tickets for violations they did not commit while driving vehicles they have never owned.
The report portrays the District in a negative light especially when compared with neighboring jurisdictions. The report says there is a shortage of regulations, a legion of ticket writers often confused about the rules, “arbitrary” decision-making about who gets some speed-camera tickets and parking-meter monitors who get called on the carpet if they don’t write enough tickets.
According to a senior district official who was given anonymity in the report “One of the beauties of parking, it’s like the [Internal Revenue Service]. If you get a parking ticket, you are guilty until you have proven yourself innocent . . . . And that’s worked well for us.”
Two of the report’s most revealing details focus on the use of automated speed cameras and how tickets are handled when vehicle registration documents show a license plate and the car it’s attached to don’t match.
According to the report officials reviewing speeding camera make arbitrary decisions on which car is the violator when two cars are traveling side by side. As a former traffic officer I know that cars traveling side by side can causing tracking issues with certain types of radar devices. That is why police are required to have a visual confirmation that a vehicle is speeding in addition to radar confirmation to issue traffic citations in most jurisdictions.
However, in DC they figure more times than not, the car closer to the radar is giving off the reading so that is the vehicle that is mailed a citation. Despite the fact that it usually is the car closer to the radar that is giving the reading, the reviewing official has the discretion to issue the citation to either vehicle. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.
The other major issue is the fact that citations are issued to the registered owner of a license plate, even when the plate is not on their car. The theory according to police is that drivers frequently switch license tags around on their own vehicles. Never mind the fact that plates are often stolen and drivers rarely notice they are missing. They still issue a citation to the registered owner of the plate creating confusion especially when a driver knows they were not even in DC.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier called the report “flawed” and “sensationalist.” She said there is widespread support for the District’s use of automated speeding and red-light cameras.
Among many issues with the system the report also calls into question privacy laws. The report asks under what circumstances could traffic camera’s be subpoenaed to court. The reports asks could the pictures be used in criminal, civil and child custody cases?
I am sure we will hear a lot more about this issue in the days to come.
Here are the latest police misconduct reports as tracked by PoliceMisconduct.net.
- Atlanta, Georgia: A now-former police officer was indicted for allegedly beating a man so badly that the man suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung. http://ow.ly/B9yjY
- Louisville, Kentucky: A police officer is being accused of shoplifting from an outdoors store. The officer faces charges of theft by unlawful taking under $500http://ow.ly/B9oTt
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: An off-duty state trooper got involved in a fight during a wedding, and also became aggressive with police. He is now facing charges of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and obstructing law enforcement, along with an internal investigation. ow.ly/B9nT4
- Update: North Hodge, Louisiana (First reported 08-15-14): The assistant police chief was arraigned after victims have come forward claiming he sexually violated them. He pled not guilty to seven counts of malfeasance in office, two counts of forcible rape and one count of indecent behavior with a juvenile. ow.ly/B8O6r
- Baltimore, Maryland: Police are investigating whether officers used excessive force in the arrest of a pair of brothers, the department said. Officers say that one man punched an officer as the two resisted arrest, while witnesses alleged that officers used unnecessary force in detaining the men following a dirt bike crash. ow.ly/B8Ams
- Broward County, Florida: A veteran sheriff’s deputy was arrested after investigators found in his marked patrol vehicle prescription drugs that had belonged to a dead man. The deputy faces one count each of armed trafficking in hydrocodone, possession of alprazolam, grand theft of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence and official misconduct/falsifying public or court records, according to the sheriff’s office. ow.ly/B8mR5
- Montgomery County, Ohio: An area woman and her attorney are preparing to file a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office after she says a deputy lifted her off the ground and slammed her head on a concrete floor while booking her into jail. ow.ly/B8mws
- Thibodaux, Louisiana: A police officer was fired after allegations of misconduct surfaced. The issue is under investigation and disciplinary action has been taken against more than one officer. ow.ly/B8jiM
A popular Chicago Police Department Commander, Glenn Evans, was charged last week with shoving the barrel of his gun down a suspects throat.
Evans a popular Commander within the department has 45 prior complaints against him for excessive force. In this case Evans was charged with excessive force and official misconduct. He was released without having to post bail and has been assigned desk duty pending an investigation.
The case all started January 30 when Evans was on patrol in an area where a child had been shot the previous day. According to Evans he saw a subject holding a gun in his hand and chased after him. The man ran into a building and tried to hide in a closet. Evans saw the man and wrestled him to the ground. According to the the 22 year old, who has not been identified, Evans stuck his firearm down the man’s throat. Evans then pulled out his Taser and stuck it to the man’s groin area. Evans was cussing and demanding the man tell him where the firearm was.
The man was arrested and placed in a patrol car. Despite a search of the area no firearm was ever recovered but the man was charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct. The case was later dismissed when no police officers showed up for court.
The man filed a complaint the next day and complained of severe soreness to this throat claiming Evans shoved the gun all the way to the back of his throat.
Evans filed a report that gave no mention of a struggle or brandishing his firearm.
A month later during an investigation into Evans actions a DNA swab was taken from the barrel of Evan’s gun. The DNA found on the barrel was a match to the man making the complaint against Evans.
Evans attorney Laura Morask, says the investigation is flawed and Evans can explain how his actions were justified. She claims Evans was never given an opportunity to tell his side of the story. Really? Let’s see sticking a gun in the mouth of a suspect is something police are specifically taught NOT to do in all but the worst life or death of situations. Considering Evans failed to even mention any struggle, I doubt he feared for his life when he stuck the gun in the man’s mouth. Evans did in fact have a chance to tell his side of the story in his incident report. It certainly is something that if his actions were in fact justified, Evans should have mentioned in his report.
It amazes me that someones action are so far outside of what is acceptable and some people will continue to try to justify it. Many Chicago residents are upset that the Mayor has tip toed around condemning Evan’s actions.
Getty images photographer Scott Olson was arrested on Monday while photographing the protests taking place in Ferguson, Mo related to the shooting death of Michael Brown. What did he do wrong? He was in the wrong place.
Media reports are conflicting on what exactly took place. Some reports say Olson was told to move by police and did not get out of the way fast enough, so he was arrested. However, most media outlets are reporting he was simply in an area that the media was not allowed to be.
Getty images released the following statement about Olson’s arrest:
“Getty Images condemns Scott’s arrest and is committed to ensuring that he and our other photographer colleagues are able to report this important story.”
Olson’s arrest has caused an uproar by media outlets and the public. Olson’s arrest is yet another example of the terrible response by law enforcement to the civil unrest taking place in Ferguson. With the multiple complaints that police have been heavy handed in their response to the protests, their continued restrictions on media attempting to cover the situation only adds to the public’s negative perception of their actions.
Law enforcement needs to be transparent. Limiting the constitutional rights of the news media to report on a story is only going to continue to add to the problem. Add a series of video’s post on YouTube of police officers in Ferguson being condescending to reporters and citizens only adds fuel to the fire.
Here is one of the last images Olson captured before his arrest.
Up until now I have refrained from commenting on the shooting death of Michael Brown. The reason is because so few details of the incident are known. We are not a site devoting to bashing cops, we are a site devoted to holding police officers accountable for their actions. As a former police officer who was involved in numerous high profile investigation I am very well aware of the games law enforcement plays. However, I am also very well aware that the vast majority of police officers are good people, and public perception is in many cases, unnecessarily harsh when it comes to the use of force by police.
Typically I like to comment on situations where there is either video, or some form of statement that raises question by law enforcement that would lead me to believe some type of cover-up or after the fact justification is taking place. In this situation, I have not heard much to make me have a strong opinion one way or the other. However, due to the intense public scrutiny of this case, I felt compelled to share my thoughts. I will attempt to do so from both the stand point of why the shooting may legitimately be justified, as we as why I think it may not be a justified use of force. I sincerely have no strong feelings either way at this time because it all depends on what exactly Officer Darren Wilson said in his statement and how that compares to the physical evidence.
Regardless of whether the shooting was justified or not, the law enforcement response to the protests has been horrible and I intend to discuss that in a separate post. Because their are so many unknown variables to this case that I will explore point by point giving different scenarios, this will be a very long article so please bare with me.
LACK OF AN IMMEDIATE ARREST
The fact that the police have been slow to make an arrest or a ruling on the justification of the shooting is about the only thing police have done right since the shooting. In the rare situations where a citizen kills someone and makes a claim of self defense, they are very rarely arrested at the scene unless their is overwhelming evidence that their statement is false from the onset of the investigation.
A situation with an officer involved shooting should be no different. You have witnesses to interview, physical evidence to examine and an autopsy that should be conducted to corroborate or contradict the self defense claim. Unlike television programs where this all happens in a one hour time span, these investigations take time. Not only to conduct the investigation but to prepare the reports for the District Attorney. I am sure this case will have thousands of pages of reports associated with the shooting. If charges are brought against Officer Wilson, without the necessary reports being completed an arrest would be pointless because he would be released by the court, creating even more tension. Continue reading
A Bakersfield Police Officer was arrested and fired within days of graduating the Police Academy in what may be the shortest career a cop ever.
According a report by the Bakersfield Californian, Peter Martinez graduate from the police academy on August 15, 2014. That night around 9:00 pm Martinez was allegedly involved in a domestic violence incident. Five days later Martinez was arrested at police headquarters and terminated.
The article did not provide very much detail, but I would assume the police department had some fairly strong evidence against Martinez to terminate him so quickly. Most likely they ended his employment by simply failing his one year probationary period that most law enforcement agencies in California have. As a probationary employee the agency can terminate you for virtually any reason.
New York City Police Chief, Phillip Banks recently sent out a memo to his department reminding his officers something they should already know, photography is not illegal. Specifically Banks reminded his staff that on-duty police officers are subject to being photographed and video recorded while on duty in public areas.
“Members of the public are legally allowed to record police interactions. Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or ordering the person to cease constitutes censorship and also violates the First Amendment.”
This memo comes nearly two years after Washington DC Police issued a similar memo. It seems like nearly every day a new video emerges of a police officer violating a citizen journalist’s right to photograph law enforcements interactions with the public.
Websites such as PhotographyisNotaCrime.com, which I think only creates more problems for photographers, is notorious for posting videos of police interactions with citizens and journalists armed with cameras.
While I am quick to point out mistakes made by law enforcement, I think photographyisnotacrime.com is anti-law enforcement. They want to take jabs at police officers anytime they can, even when the police were not involved in any misconduct.
The people involved in this website are notorious for going around and shoving cameras in police officers faces or video recording federal buildings. When they are asked what they are doing they become argumentative. Then they cite case law that protects their right to video.
This type of childish behavior makes photojournalists look bad. But on occasion, the sites creator Carlos Miller gets a reaction that is inappropriate and he jumps all over law enforcement for their mistake. Continue reading
Most people don’t think of the word cute when they think of law enforcement. But Eau Claire a Wisconsin police officer is working on changing that thanks to his simple act. What Claire did was not a heroic act of valor, but it was something you do not see everyday.
When Claire saw a mother duck and her ducklings trying to cross a busy road, he stop his patrol car and traffic to make sure the family crossed safely.
Claire has received a lot of good-natured teasing from his colleagues ever since. Duck cupcakes, stuffed animals and everything else you can imagine with a duck on it has appeared on his desk since the video appeared. Claire has taken it in stride with a smile.
Camden New Jersey Police Lt. Benito Gonzalez Junior has been removed from duty and has been charged with disorderly lewdness, for allegedly pulling his shorts down and masturbating in a Starbucks Coffee Shop.
According to various media reports, local police posted a photo of Gonzalez online asking the public to help identify the man. The post has since been removed.
Gonzalez is a 17 year veteran and was assigned to the narcotics unit. He was off-duty at the time of the alleged “stick up”.
Police Chief Scott Thomas said the department was “deeply troubled by the allegations of this off-duty conduct.”
Gonzalez is scheduled to appear before a judge June 4.