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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Police Misconduct NewsWatch for 12-28-08

A review of police misconduct and jail abuse stories making the headlines

Washington State Democrat Pushes For DNA Testing Upon Arrest
Democratic state representative Mark Miloscia is introducing a bill into the Washington state legislature that would allow police to collect a suspect's DNA upon arrest instead of at the time of conviction for a felony crime.

Washington state law currently only allows genetic information to be kept if a person is convicted of a felony or sex-related offense, but the democrat and some of his largest political donors, a lobbyist group that represents a coalition of Washington State police unions, are pushing to have the power to record genetic information without having to prove that a suspect is guilty first.

Currently 13 states mandate the collection of DNA upon arrest and federal authorities will begin doing so after this month as well. So much for being innocent until proven guilty.

A Retrospective On The Ten Year Anniversary of the Tyisha Miller Shooting
On a tip from Five Before Midnight, The Press-Enterprise issued a series of reports on the 1998 killing of Tyisha Miller by four Riverside California police officers and examines whether things have changed in the ten years since that fateful night when officers unloaded 12 rounds into Tyisha's body after she was found asleep in her car with a gun on her lap.

More Stories Of Torture In American Jails
This comes straight from the cover of the of the Sand Diego Weekly Reader released earlier this month. A story detailing human rights abuses in ICE detention centers and state prisons via the denial of medical care as a matter of policy.

One striking story that dominates this article is of an inmate who suffered untreated cancer of the penis while incarcerated, only to be released in time to have his penis amputated... and then to die a year later of a cancer that could have otherwise been easily treated. Horrific stuff.

Inglewood California's Police Department Sexcapades
The LA Times has another article in a series detailing problems with the Inglewood California police department. This one details a series of sex scandals that includes an officer accused of downloading child porn, an officer accused of photographing an inmate during a strip search, an officer accused of rape, and officers who may have frequented prostitutes.

Indictment of Suspected Drug Dealing Cop Results In Several Reversed Convictions
The indictment of a Benton Harbor Michigan narcotics officer for dealing drugs and accusations that he used drugs obtained from busts to obtain fictitious search warrants and embezzle funds has resulted in the dismissal of several convictions and charges against people that he was involved in arresting.

The common rumor comes to mind about how many officers often keep small amounts of drugs on them in order to frame people they bust... with so many stories like this coming out it makes you wonder if it really is just a rumor, huh?

Officer's Illegal Search Exposes Department To Lawsuit
Sarasota County Florida sheriff's department is facing a lawsuit over an illegal search without a warrant. A real estate agent says she told a deputy twice that he didn't have permission to enter her home but after asking a third time she turned to look at the back door where other deputies had moved to and when she turned back the deputy at the front door entered and commenced searching, saying that her silence when asked a third time equaled consent.

While the deputy involved was disciplined with a demotion, upon appeals a review board reduced the discipline to a brief unpaid suspension instead.

Cop Accused of Soliciting Sex In Exchange For Dropping Tickets Freed For Christmas
A North Las Vegas police officer accused of soliciting women he stopped for sex in return for getting out of traffic tickets was arrested on 7 felony counts of misconduct and color of law abuses after spending 5 months on paid administrative leave while the accusations were investigated.

The officer left jail after having his bail reduced on Christmas Eve... on the condition he not attempt to contact any of the 5 women who have stepped forward so far to testify against him.

Indicted Cop Sues Police Union For Refusing To Represent Him
Meanwhile, another North Las Vegas officer who has been accused of laundering money and providing false testimony to the FBI is still his firing from that police department. The officer is arguing that he should have been represented by a union official when he was fired and the state's review board agreed and has ordered the department to give the officer $28,000 in legal fees and back pay.

In this case, however, it's the union that's fighting the ruling, claiming that the officer in question was appointed as a chief marshal, and thus was never represented by the union.

The Chicago Press Calls Him "The Shakedown Cop"
An Oak Lawn Illinois (suburb of Chicago) officer was arrested on charges of official misconduct on allegations that he stole a gun from the department. This after he was already accused of pulling over drivers and threatening them with jail if they didn't bribe him and being convicted of drug possession earlier this year... of course he was released on his own recognizance anyway.

Capitol Cops Accused Of Being Toys For Tots Thieves
The Christmas issue of the Washington Post has a story about Washington DC police officers who have been accused of stealing toys from a Toys For Tots donation program that takes donations of new toys and gives them to needy children.

An investigation into those allegations has apparently uncovered evidence that at least 4 officers have taken toys that were donated to the toy drive.

Remember That Denver Police Union That Printed Those Shirts Celebrating Brutality?
A high ranking officer in the Denver Colorado police department has been suspended with pay during an investigation into unspecified allegations of police misconduct.

The department and city refuses to provide any information about the allegations or current investigation, which is the result of a secretive policy similar to the one in Seattle and a few other cities that try to hide cases of police misconduct from the public, but insiders say this officer was sexually involved with a junior officer and that there were video tapes and pictures taken of the affair.

The officer apparently used to be the vice president of the police union that created thousands of t-shirts which glorified the mistreatment of protesters at the hands of Denver officers during the DNC in 2008.

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