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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Police Misconduct NewsWatch for 02-25-09

Just a brief note first, I apologize for the infrequent updates lately, I've been exceptionally busy and just haven't had any time to post new articles. There are several new stories in the works, hopefully I'll get a chance to post them soon! Trust me, I would rather be doing something that helps people like this than some of the other things I've had to deal with lately.
Thanks for reading!

Portland Oregon Paying $100,000 To Settle Police Sexual Harassment Cases
Nearby in the city of Portland Oregon, city officials appear ready to settle a misconduct case against their police department over a 2006 traffic stop where a (now fired) Portland officer, John Alexander, had ordered two women to lift their skirts to show him their underwear or risk getting a ticket.

The officer later plead guilty to two charges of official misconduct and agreed to be fired and have his certification revoked in 2006. The city will pay one woman $53,000 and other other $52,000 to settle a suit by the women that claims this wasn't the first time Alexander had done this and that the city should have known he was at risk for doing this again.

Atlanta Cops Who Killed 92 year-old Kathryn Johnston During Illegal Drug Raid Sentenced
US District Court Judge Julie Carnes has sentenced three of the Atlanta Police officers who shot 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston during a drug raid based on an illegally obtained warrant, let her slowly bleed to death, and then attempted to plant drugs in her house when they didn't find any, and then tried to lie about all of it.

Officer Jason Smith faces 10 years with additional sentencing for state charges coming next month.

Officer Gregg Junnier faces six years in prison but also faces sentencing next month for voluntary manslaughter charges.

And Officer Arthur Tesler faces five years.

While the Atlanta Police department claims it is trying to restore trust in the community after the case, this seems counter to their efforts to weaken a newly-created civilian oversight board that was enacted after the case went public. Reporters claimed that the trio cried with regret over the killing... though I'm more inclined to think they they cried over getting caught.

(Simple Justice has a very interesting discussion going on about this case.)

Woman on Trial for Releasing Police Misconduct Files
Butte County CA grand juror charged with leaking confidential documents that detailed excessive force complaints against two officers to a defense attorney involved in another case where allegations of excessive force had been made has agreed to a deferred plea deal that will allow her attorneys to review several pages of investigative documents related to the case.

When asked why she released the documents, the juror said that it seemed like it was the right thing to do...

Our question, of course, is why police misconduct files are kept so secret that cities are willing to prosecute anyone who releases them?

Chicago's Police Chief Ignores Judge So He Can Protect Cops With A History of Misconduct
Chicago's police chief has refused to cooperate with a judge's order to reveal a list of Chicago police officers who have had at least five misconduct complaints since 2000 and a stunning list of 662 officers who have at least 10 misconduct complaints between 2001 and 2006.

The judge's order comes in a case against the department filed by the mother of an 11 year old son and 13 year old daughter who were arrested and beaten by a Chicago police officer over an alleged playground dispute involving that officer's son. The mother's attorney wants the lists to demonstrate the pattern of hiding and tolerating police misconduct that exists in the Chicago PD.

Chicago Man Claims Police Officers Are Targeting Him, But He Doesn't Know Why
Mark Geinosky has a problem. Apparently some Chicago police officers have targeted him for retaliation even though Geinosky isn't sure why. What kind of retaliation?

Over the 16 months he's received 24 parking tickets for various offenses, 13 of which were written by one officer at 10:00pm exactly for a couple different dates and issued in sequential order, meaning that the officer just wrote tickets to Geinosky and nobody else and did so one right after the other. Many of the tickets were for violations at desolate roads where Geinosky has never been and many were written after he sold his car and put his old plates in his garage.

The department claims they are investigating but Geinosky says that, as of yet, no investigators have contacted him.

Navy Veteran On Trial For Resisting Arrest Alleges Police Racism And Brutality
US Navy veteran and bronze star awarded Kuldip Nag's trial on charges of obstruction and aggravated battery of a Joliet Illinois police officer resumed again last week.

Nag claims that the Joliet Police Officer, Ben Grant, peppersprayed him in the face and repeatedly hit him in the head with his baton while calling him an arab after he asked to call the officer's supervisor. The case has sparked outrage all the way out to India as Nag is a Sikh immigrant.

The officer claims he was attacked by an agitated Nag and his wife, but questions have been made by the judge who has asked why the officer was on Nag's property writing a ticket for expired tags when the vehicle being ticketed wasn't even on the street, let alone being driven.

There has still been no word on any progress in the case as the judge awaits word on the ordinance the officer claims to have been enforcing that day.

Ex-Chief With History of Misconduct Gets New Job As Chief In Another City
Remember the article I wrote about all those cases of police chief misconduct lately... Guess we'll be seeing more soon thanks to stories like this:

Fountain City Colorado has picked former Pueblo County Sheriff Dan Corsentino as chief of their police department. Last year Corsentino was suspended for leaving his gun in a restaurant bathroom and in 2004 he was investigated over sexual misconduct allegations from four separate women including allegations from one woman that she was blackmailed into withdrawing her complaint that he tried to get her to have sex with him while her husband was jailed by someone who claimed to have nude photos of her.

The city manager says of their pick "We're very excited about the desire he has to reconnect the department with the community." I'm not sure if the community will want to be connected in that way though.

Detroit Settles Wrongful Death Suit for $2,000,000 After Police Denied Dying Man Medical Treatment
The city of Detroit Michigan has settled a wrongful death lawsuit for a reported $2,000,000 against their police department over the death of 67 year old James Stone. Stone was arrested in August of 2005 and was being held at the department's second precinct while complaining of chest pains for hours.

Officers refused to provide him with medical attention or transport him to the hospital and he died of a heart attack in his holding cell. The judge in the case had berated the city for misconduct in the case when the city's attorney repeatedly refused to give Stone's estate's attorney information related to the case.

Trust me, given the shear volume of messages people have been sending me, it looks like the denial of medical care is the big trend in police abuse. It's much harder to prosecute or result in an official misconduct finding, hence that form of abuse's growing popularity.


Phil said...

typo in second section: 92 vs. 29

Packratt said...

Thanks Phil, good catch! I fixed it.

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