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Friday, November 21, 2008

Police Misconduct NewsWatch for 11-21-08 - Updated

Seattle's Infamous Aurora Bridge, home to the Fremont Troll and the most suicide attempts in the city

UPDATED: 17:50- 11/21/08

SPD Officer Investigated For Handling Of Aurora Bridge Suicide
A Seattle Police Department officer is under investigation over a suicide death. The suicide occurred off of the Aurora bridge which has been the matter of contentious debate over demands that a suicide prevention fence be built across the scenic span.

The investigation involves an officer's attempt to handcuff a man who was hanging off the bridge with his hands wedged in the railing and whether he had fell on his own or if the officer's attempt to stop him caused him to jump. Currently listed as a suicide the investigation may result to it being classified as an in-custody death.

The officer in question recently talked to reporters in his own defense and described the attempt to handcuff the suicidal man as an effort to save him after extended talks failed to get a verbal response from him and it became apparent that his grip on the fence was slipping. The handcuffs were apparently attached to a tether ahead of time for just such a reason.

Personally, and it's just my opinion, I think this one really was just a good faith effort by the officer in question to save a man's life when he didn't want to be saved, based on the information that has been made available so far. However, King County officials haven't ruled out the possibility of an inquest.

Man Tasered Four Times By Detective For Trying To Complain About Detective Wins Lawsuit
A Normandy Park, Washington Accountant won a $60,000 excessive force lawsuit against detective who tasered him four times in the back of the neck while he was being restrained by two officers for attempting to complain to the chief about the detective's rude behavior. The city is currently considering it's options for an appeal of the ruling.

Noted Police Misconduct Reporter Faces Questionable Charges For Photographing Police Chase
Diane Bukowski, a citizen journalist in Michigan known for her coverage of police brutality and detainee abuse issues, is facing charges that could carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The charges, made by a Michigan State Trooper, stem from Bukowski's coverage of a police chase that ended in a double fatality on November 4th. She had appeared at the scene and started taking pictures when the trooper yelled "Who the fuck do you think you are?" at her from across the street and then arrested her after she displayed her press credentials.

Originally only charged with obstruction, the officer and prosecutors later added charges of assaulting an officer and resisting arrest three days after the original incident where she was released at the scene.

Her lawyer states that "Their case against Bukowsi is like swiss cheese, it has holes in it, and it stinks" and the community has shown signs of outrage at the charges. The ACLU of Michigan has pledged to support Bukowski in her fight.

Chicago Lawfirm Finds That Several Were Attacked In Chicago On The Eve Of Obama's Victory
Chicago lawfirm alleges that 22 african americans were attacked by police on the evening of Barack Obama's election victory. They claim video and photgraphic evidence, along with license plate matches to the CPD, indicate that officers tasered, pepper-sprayed, and physically assaulted several people who were celebrating Obama's win. In some cases officers arrested those they attacked, but any charges brought by those officers were dismissed.

Green Bay Wide Receiver Donald Driver's Dad Hospitalized In Suspected Case Of Police Brutality
Marvin Driver Jr of Houston Texas, and father of Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver, appears to be yet another victim of police brutality after he was apparently arrested without incident for outstanding traffic violations but somehow suffered blunt force trauma to his head that was sufficient enough to render him unconscious with bleeding of the brain somewhere between the site where he was arrested and the jail.

His family claims officers stopped behind a local gas station and brutally beat him after arresting him and before taking him to jail where a jail doctor found him unresponsive and ordered officers to call for paramedics.

He is listed in stable condition currently, though originally in critical condition overnight. The officers who arrested him have been placed on administrative duty while the department investigates the incident.

Update: CNN reports that a third officer has given testimony that corroborates Mr. Driver's statements to investigators that he was beaten by the two Houston police officers who have been put on administrative duty.

A Record Settlement May Be Reached In The May Day LAPD Police Riot
LA may be paying out $12.85 million dollars over the attacks several suffered at the hands of LAPD's elite Metro Division during the May Day 2007 pro-immigration protest.

Many protesters and bystanders ranging from children to senior citizens filed lawsuits, alleging that they had been injured by police. One woman said she subsequently suffered a miscarriage. Some alleged physical and emotional distress from the incident. This settlement would not cover journalists who were also attacked by police during the protests.

Another Lawsuit Against LAPD Costs Los Angeles $2.25 Million More
Elsewhere in the LAPD, a female officer has won a $2.25 million dollar discrimination suit against the LAPD for the treatment she endured as the only female canine handler for the LAPD's canine bomb squad unit at LAX. She alleged that men in the unit took items from her desk and the women's locker room, used her shower and hygiene products, exposed their genitalia, made offensive and sexually explicit remarks, adn would blow cigar smoke in her face when she was barred from their "cigar meetings" held to discuss training and policy issues.

She finally decided to sue when supervisors told her to "stay out of the guys' business" when she complained and the harassment intensified.

NJ Trooper Found Guilty Of Theft And Drug Trafficking
A New Jersey state trooper has been convicted of stealing drugs seized during arrests and then selling those drugs for his own profit. The trooper, who allegedly had ties to a Columbian drug cartel, faces from 10 to 20 years in prison over charges that he would falsify police reports to cover for the thefts and use inside information to tip off dealers that he worked with so they could avoid raids in addition to the theft and dealing he did on his own.

Atlanta Adds Insult To Injury For Johnston's Family
The family of Kathryn Johnston, the 92 year old woman who was killed by Atlanta police in a mistaken drug raid that was then the subject of a police cover-up that resulted in the conviction of three different Atlana police officers is claiming that the city is dragging it's feet in settlement talks, adding even more insult to egregious injury.

NYPD Misconduct Report Isn't As Good As It's Been Spun
A report detailing the number of allegations against NYPD officers rose slightly last year is being described as proof that the 25% increase in misconduct problems was an aberation. However, consider that such a report actually means that the number of issues hasn't dropped back down to the levels they were before the jump in complaints but actually increased, thus showing that the problem is not getting better but actually getting worse.

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