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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Police Misconduct NewsWatch for 02-03-09

Screenshot of fake site created by SPD officers to gather information on police misconduct victims.

LOCAL NEWS

Seattle Police Department's Spy Website Still Active
The fake "Injustice In Seattle" website (click at your own risk), created by some Seattle Police officers in an apparent attempt to trick victims of police misconduct into giving up their personal information, is still operational over a year since it first popped up in response to this site being created.

I was hoping the domain registration they made at the GoDaddy-hosted site would have been allowed to elapse after a year but their host has now given them the domain for free. Sadly, the officers are apparently having some degree of success in gathering information from victims of misconduct for possible retaliation or who knows what reason.

I say it's probably being effective at tricking people into believing it's part of this site because it's recently risen in Google search rankings to just two spots below this site and is actually listed ahead of this site in MSN Search rankings... which means people are being tricked into going there, where they are immediately prompted for their personal contact information, more often.

Not much I can do about it though since it's not like I can call the police to complain about what the police are doing.

The SPOG Guardian Available To Public Again
Also in SPD news, the Seattle Police Officer's Guild has recently made their monthly newsletter, The Guardian, accessible to the public again after they had taken access away while the one of the Guild board members, and editor of The Guardian, was facing charges in relation to a Sturgis bike rally shooting, of which were dropped a few months ago.

The latest, December, edition contains the usual angry rantings against the Office of Professional Accountability (SPD's Internal Affairs department) and insists to members that the latest contract does not affect the existing loopholes in the accountability system that allows officers to get off scott free if they can delay an internal investigation past a 180 day limit and that the new language to fire officers found to have lied in investigations will be impossible for the OPA to actually enforce.

NATIONAL NEWS

Stoughton Police Officer Wins Suit Against Stoughton Police Department
The city of Stoughton lost a $165,000 civil suit that was filed by a Stoughton Police detectives supervisor who was demoted in retaliation for investigating the recently convicted police chief Manuel Cachopa.

Acting police chief Christopher Ciampa demoted Robert Welch in 2005 after he was assigned to assist a special prosecutor with the investigation and when he refused to support a petition to remove council members who were responsible for removing Cachopa as chief of police.

Both Cachopa and the officer he attempted to cover for, David Cohen, were recently convicted on a variety of charges including witness intimidation, attempted extortion, filing false reports, and accessory to attempted extortion over their efforts to discourage someone from filing a misconduct complaint against Cohen.


Michigan Officer Claims She Was Fired For Complaining About Misconduct
A Raisin township police officer in Michigan has filed a lawsuit against her own police department alleging that she was fired for complaining about misconduct within the department in an effort to keep that misconduct, including sexual harassment, under wraps. The department denies the allegations and, predictably, asserts that she was fired for misconduct herself.

In talking with other officers who have won similar suits against their police departments, the former officer's accounting of how she was fired and why strikes a familiar chord with them... as it did with me too.

The Million Dollar High-Five
The city of Hawthorne California has paid out a $1,000,000 settlement in a civil rights suit alleging that Hawthorne police officers brutally beat a man before and after he was handcuffed and then high-fived each other when one officer kicked the handcuffed man in the face so hard that his jaw was broken. All this over a noise complaint.

The suit also alleged that officers denied the man medical care and then arrested his wife only because she witnessed the attack. Criminal charges against the two failed to gain convictions and the couple sued. After their lawyers, Jonas & Driscoll LLP, revealed they had video evidence of the officers congratulating each other for the beating and a picture of one officer kicking the handcuffed victim in the head while he was laying face down on the ground, the city apparently decided to settle. No word on whether the officers were ever disciplined, but I'd bet they weren't.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Indian Police Beat Up Six Year-Old Girl
In a market near Lohamandi in India, two officers have been suspended after two officers assaulted a 6 year old Dalit girl while six other officer looked on silently. Images of the assault have sparked rebukes from human rights organizations and charges may be filed against all officers involved. Charges have also been filed against the girl under allegations that she stole a walled from a woman at the market.

2 comments:

Five Before Midnight said...

I think my city's police union newsletter is still underground after some of us put some choice tidbits of it on blast.

Today is another round in the fight for civilian review in my city. Hopefully a good turnout. The city's been trying to strip its boards and commissions of their investigative power in different ways and now it's the turn of the police commission. It's my first meeting with my new video camera. So it will be challenging as well.

Packratt said...

Yeah, the guild here started sending out threats to local bloggers here when we published a cartoon they ran in their newsletter that suggested they hated the idea of Miranda rights. They still publish some, interesting, ideas... like how they wish there weren't internal affairs like it was in the past so they would just get yelled at if they did anything wrong instead of facing disciplinary action.

But, nobody around here really cares, obviously, so it doesn't bother them to air all of that out there publicly. Even when it would seem obvious to them that it might bother the community to see their police officers continually rant and rave against the idea of being held accountable for misconduct.

I hope you have a good turnout as well, it's nice to hear that you have some support out there and I hope you guys can make some progress. I know it's a tough uphill fight but you've been doing a great job of it... can't wait to read about how it goes!

All the best!

 
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