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Friday, December 12, 2008

Police Misconduct NewsWatch for 12-12-08

In Local News:

9th Circuit Court Rules Seattle's Parade Permit Law Unconstitutional
The court of appeals ruled that Seattle's permit laws violate the constitution's first ammendment since it vests the Seattle Police chief with full authority to decide whether people may use public property to broadcast their message.

The ruling stems from a dispute between the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality and the city when the police, in 2003, refused to allow the group to march even after they had gathered permits for the protest.

King County Deputy Testifies Against Fellow Deputy In Federal Civil Rights Case
King County Deputy Thomas Calabrese testified against deputy Brian Bonnar in a criminal deprivation of civil rights case stemming from an October 2005 case where a suspect rammed two police cars while trying to flee while allegedly under the influence of crack and alcohol.

Bonnar allegedly fired his taser at the female driver when she refused to get out of the car and another deputy smashed the window. The woman was then pulled from the car while she struggled against deputies. Another deputy punched the woman twice and she stopped resisting while she was put in restraints. But the allegations allege that Bonnar looked aroun then dropped a knee on her head twice while she was restrained.

Deputy Calabrese then alleges that Bonnar then yanked her up by her hair and that Bonnar then slammed her face down on the back of a patrol car while Calabrese tried to position her away from Bonnar. Calabrese later filed a misconduct complaint against Bonnar in relation to the incident which reportedly divided the department between deputies who wanted Bonnar fired and those who felt he shouldn't be punished.

The Sheriff, Sue Rahr, had to send out a memo to deputies ordering them to attend the trial in civilian clothes and on their own personal time after a memo circulated in the department asking deputies to attend the trial in support of Bonnar. Bonnar was suspended for 20 days after an internal investigation into the case, but was never fired despite recommendations suggesting he should be.

Gig Harbor Washington Cop's Perjury Trial May Endanger Several Drug Convictions
While Gig Harbor Washington police officer Matthew Dougil awaits his court date in February for charges of perjury related to allegations that he prevented other officers from searching an informant's car prior to drug buy sting operations and then filed police reports stating that those requisite searches were completed the city has aleady paid $45,000 to one person convicted by one of Dougil's busts... with more lining up to challenge their arrests and/or convictions.

In National News:

Sandy Oregon Officer's Plea Postponed In Bizarre Courtroom Twist
The Sandy Oregon police officer, William Bergin, who stands accused of giving teenage girls drivers licenses that he confiscated from drivers he stopped was due to enter his plea in court when, in a strange twist, his lawyer was served with a subpoena to testify against Bergin in a civil case against him for the wrongful death case of Fouad Kaady.

Bergin's lawyer asked the judge to reschedule the plea so he could recuse himself and help Bergin get a new lawyer. The Kaady case involved Bergin and a Clackamas County sheriff who shot the unarmed Kaady after Kaady was badly burned in an auto accident in 2005. While never charged or disciplined in that case, Kaady's family filed a civil suit against Bergin in a trial due to start in 2009.

Local papers have opined that if Bergin doesn't plea guilty in the identity theft criminal trial, that other details will emerge that could implicate Bergin in his relationship with those underaged girls he gave IDs to.

From Western Massachusetts Copwatch: Cops Who Shot Unarmed Teen Go Unpunished
The Hampden County DA will not charge two Springfield Massachusetts police officers for shooting an unarmed teenager, allegedly because they mistook a bottle the teen was holding for a gun.

The police commissioner hailed the officers as heroes for shooting the unarmed teen, stating that they "exemplify the type of courage that our officers display every day..." The injured teen is still recovering and is considering a civil suit against the city.

Also In Springfield Mass... Two Cops Arraigned For Theft
Two Springfield police officers are facing charges of larceny after they were accused of stealing at least $2,000 from three immigrants during a traffic stop. The trio claim that during the stop the officers took their wallets, presumably to review their ID's, but when the wallets were returned their money was missing.

In an odd "coincidence", a local restraraunt where the three usually hang out was recently raided by the police and workers there claim they were harassed by the police because of this case.

Tip thanks to akahn from

Hunter NY Police Officer Charged With Rape And Child Endangerment
The North Country Gazette reports that a Hunter New York police officer has been arrested and charged with rape, criminal sexual acts, and child endangering related to accusation that he had sex with an underaged girl on multiple occations, some of those while he was on-duty.

New York State Trooper Indicted For Writing False Tickets For Revenge
A NY State Trooper is facing 17 charges related to his writing traffic tickets against someone he never pulled over. The tropper, Lester Hooper, apparently got into an argument with someone while off-duty and wrote down the person's licence plate number. Later, the trooper wrote him several tickets for speeding as revenge for his refusal to move his parked truck during that dispute.

Utah's Hero Cop Faces Multiple Misconduct Complaints
With the filing of a federal civil rights lawsuit against Ogden police officer Ken Hammond come new disclosures about an officer who racked up several misconduct complaints that were apparently ignored due to his newfound hero status after he stopped a man who had went on a murder spree in an area mall.

The lawsuit filed against the city of Ogden and Hammond alleges that Hammond took a woman he detained into a dark street away from other officers and began pulling her hair and wrenched her handcuffed wrists behind her back, causing her to fall. It then alleges that he slammed her to the ground, afterwards he then pulled her pants down while walking her back to his cruiser where he rubbed up against her while her pants were around her ankles.

Hammond was suspended earlier the same week this lawsuit was filed in a seperate, but as of yet unspecified, allegation of misconduct.

Worcester Massachusetts Police Finally Comply With Public Records Request... By Giving Paper Inked-Out Records
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette in Massachusettes is considering asking a judge to force the Worcester Police Department to release more details about the history of complaints against police officer Mark Rojas. The newspaper claims that of 1,508 pages of internal affairs files related to complaints against the officer that were released under a public records request, 776 were completely or at least so blacked out with redactions.

State records experts say that it should be difficult, under disclosure laws in the state, to justify the redaction of so much information, especially related to such records.

Baton Rouge Newspaper and TV Station Fight To Gain Access To Misconduct Records
In a seperate effort to gain access to secretive police misconduct files, The Advocate in Louisiana is arguing in court that the rules surround what police may redact when they release disciplinary records should be less vague in their battle to get files related to alleged Katrina-related abuses that occured in Baton Rouge that were so bad they caused volunteer officers from other states to withdraw their offers of assistance during that disaster.

In International News:

"Rainbow Killer" Serial Murderer May Have Been A Cop
Finally, MSNBC reports that Brazil's Rainbow Killer, who is suspected of murdering 13 homosexuals, may be an ex-cop. Brazillian authorities have detained an ex-cop after a witness claimed to have seen the officer shoot a man multiple times in the park where the murders occurred and that he's seen the officer try to pick up other men in the park many times.


akahn said...

Thanks, I appreciate the Western Mass coverage.

Packratt said...

Anytime, no problem! You guys keep up the great work out there!

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