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How Closely Has Police Misconduct Affected You?

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  • Bill: It does. With hiring standards being almost nonexistent, and given the type of people Law Enforcement attracts,...
  • Bill: Never put anything past them Mac. It would at least work as a threat. Besides that, is this the type of person...
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  • mepsipax: Wow, roll over and play dead. That is some straight up bs.

November 2009 National Police Misconduct Statistics

Introduction

The National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project utilizes news media reports of police misconduct to generate statistical information in an effort to approximate how prevalent police misconduct may be in the United States.

As part of this project, reported incidents of misconduct are aggregated into a news feed on Twitter and added into an off-line database where duplicate entries and updates are removed and remaining unique stories are categorized for statistical information in monthly, quarterly, and yearly reports here on this site. To view data from other months, refer to the Police Misconduct Statistics menu item located on the top menu bar.

*Note: This report is for incidents in November 2009 only. For more detailed and comprehensive statistics, please visit The NPMSRP 2009 Semi-Annual Police Misconduct Statistics Report which was released on 10/09/09.

General Statistics

The following report was generated from data gathered in the month of November 2009. In this month alone there were:

417 – Alleged incidents of reported police misconduct that were tracked in national news media.
13.9 – Reported incidents that were tracked per day on average.
510 – Law enforcement officers that were cited in those reports.
26- Law enforcement leaders (police chiefs & sheriffs) that were cited in those reports.
1,184 – Alleged victims specifically cited in those recorded reports.
35 – Fatalities reported in connection with alleged instances of misconduct or criminal activity.
$27,026,000 – Reported costs in police misconduct related civil litigation (not counting undisclosed settlements or legal fees).

Categorization

When examining misconduct reports by type, the top 3 complaints:
18.1% (97) officers were involved in excessive force complaints.
10.1% (54) officers were involved in general uncategorized complaints.
9.9% (53) officers were involved in civil rights complaints.

When examining reports by last reported status:
22.8% resulted in punitive actions taken against the officer involved.
31.3% were prosecuted criminally.
38.1% of criminal cases resulted in convictions.

Localization

10 worst cities by total number of officers reported in November alone:
1. Washington DC – 24
2. Chicago IL – 12
3. Phoenix AZ – 10
4. New York NY – 9
4. Pittsburgh PA – 9
6. Baltimore MD – 7
7. Minneapolis MN – 6
7. Salt Lake City UT – 6
9. Oakland CA – 5
9. Atlanta GA – 5
9. Flint MI – 5

10 worst states ranked by projected police misconduct rate (misconduct per 100k officers):
1. Vermont (7) – 8795.81 per 100k
2. Utah (11) – 2804.93 per 100k
3. Wyoming (3) – 2586.21 per 100k
4. Mississippi (10) – 2363.60 per 100k
5. West Virginia (6) – 1894.74 per 100k
6. New Hampshire (4) – 1870.62 per 100k
7. New Mexico (6) – 1747.57 per 100k
8. Arizona (19) – 1767.44 per 100k
9. Indiana (14) – 1606.12 per 100k
10. Connecticut (11) – 1529.19 per 100k
(National average is 834.69 per 100k)

The 10 worst state rankings by sheer number:
1. California – 40 (590.51 per 100k)
2. Texas – 35 (797.34 per 100k)
3. Florida – 31 (836.41 per 100k)
4. Illinois – 23 (740.98 per 100k)
5. Pennsylvania – 22 (1056.51 per 100k)
6. New Jersey – 21 (778.28 per 100k)
7. Ohio – 20 (1098.40 per 100k)
8. Arizona – 19 (1767.44 per 100k)
9. Massachusetts – 18 (1300.50 per 100k)
10. Michigan – 17 (1045.94 per 100k)

Projections

By projecting this month’s totals out to one year, the following comparisons can be made between the reported police misconduct allegation rate and the reported general crime rate* as published by the FBI and DOJ for 2008 (*please note that both the police misconduct and general crime rate statistics are allegations, not convictions):

General:

1 out of every 110.8 police officers in the US will be implicated in an act of misconduct or criminality in the news if November’s statistics were the average through the year of 2009.

Violent Crime:

  • 1 out of every 304 police officers will be accused of a violent crime.
  • 1 out of every 220 citizens will be accused of a violent crime.

Homicide

  • 1 out of every 1,448 police officers will be accused of murder, manslaughter, homicide, or causing a fatality unnecessarily in an act of assault or brutality.
  • 1 out of every 18,518 citizens will be accused of homicide, manslaughter, murder, or other act that unnecessarily takes a life.

Sexual Assault

  • 1 out of every 1,649 police officers will be accused of sexual assault.
  • 1 out of every 3,413 citizens will be accused of sexual assault.

Terminology

Misconduct Types:

Accountability – Incidents involving evidence of police misconduct cover-ups, lack of investigations, allegations of lax disciplinary response to sustained allegations, and other activities that involve accountability policies or processes.

Animal Cruelty – Acts of violence resulting in harm to animals both on and off duty that may include unnecessary shooting incidents, inappropriate training of K9 units, or other such activities.

Assault – Unwarranted violence occurring while off-duty

Brutality – Unwarranted or excessive physical violence occurring while on-duty

Civil Rights – Violations of general civil liberties that would be ruled unconstitutional yet not covered by other categories. For example, excessive force would be a violation of constitutionally protected rights, but is already covered in the Brutality class. However, complaints of warrantless eavesdropping or illegal disruptions of lawful protests would be deemed civil rights violations.

Sexual – Sex related incidents including rape, sexual assault, harassment, coercion, prostitution, sex on duty, incest, and molestation.

Theft – includes robbery, theft, shoplifting, fraud, extortion, and bribery

Shooting – gun-related incidents both on and off-duty, including self-harm

Color of Law – incidents that involve misuse of authority such as bribery or extortion by threat of arrest

Murder – non-negligent homicides occurring outside of the line of duty.

Perjury – includes false testimony, dishonesty during investigations, falsified charging papers, and falsified warrants.

Misconduct Status/Outcomes:
Allegation – First stage of a misconduct complaint, can be from victim, witnesses, relatives of the victim, and other sources. Simply an allegation of misconduct.

Investigation – Second stage of a misconduct complaint, can be an internal investigation, criminal investigation, external investigation, or a DOJ/FBI civil rights investigation.

Lawsuits – Civil complaints filed in court, generally requires more evidence than a simple allegation, but still within the realm of allegations.

Charges – Criminal complaints filed in court, generally requires more evidence than a simple allegation, but still within the realm of allegations.

Trials – Criminal trials in court, requires enough evidence to establish probable cause, higher threshold than civil litigation or criminal charges, but still allegations.

Judgments – These are rulings that support a civil litigation complaint but also include settlement agreements that are typically, officially, said to not be admissions of guilt. Should be considered a confirmed case of misconduct.

Disciplinary – Results of investigations that confirm misconduct complaints but do not result in termination of employment.

Firings – Results of investigations that confirm misconduct severe enough to warrant termination of employment.

Convictions – Results of criminal trials that confirm allegations serious enough to warrant criminal charges. These include both rulings and guilty pleas.

Methodology

Information Gathering:
Data is gathered from various media outlets by manual searches and review of daily news stories several times a day. There are no sufficient key terms that work well enough to automate this data gathering tasks, the results must be vetted by human intervention.

Information Storage:
Confirmed stories about police misconduct that have been vetted to ensure that the story is about a case of misconduct or allegation of misconduct are published to a Twitter-based National Police Misconduct NewsFeed. From there, the stories are copied to a spreadsheet where they can later be sorted and analyzed.

Data Analysis:
At the first day of the month, data from the previous month is sorted and analyzed in the spreadsheet. All duplicate stories, stories that are informational, stories involving policy, and legislative issues are purged from the spreadsheet. Any items involving a status change about a specific incident are culled so that only the latest status story remains to avoid duplicate data.

Data Presentation:
After all data has been analyzed it is presented on this site by General, Geographical, Type, and Status datasets.

Important Notes:
The data collected and presented here should only be used to provide a very basic and general view of the extent of police misconduct within the US. It is, by no means, an accurate gauge that truly represents the exact extent of police misconduct since it relies on the information voluntarily gathered and/or released to the media, not from information gathered first-hand by independent monitors who investigate complaints of misconduct since no such agency exists nationally.

This information has been gathered here because nobody else is gathering it and the national government has not gathered it for several years. Keep in mind that geographical distribution of misconduct reports can be representative of concentrations of corruption or permissive attitudes towards abusive police policies or can be indications of more open information sharing between police agencies and local media along with departmental efforts to reduce misconduct by actively engaging problematic officers. There is no real way to determine which is the case since there is no independent monitoring and investigation into allegations of police misconduct.

In generally, monthly reports do not provide as accurate a depiction of the overall extent of police misconduct in the US as do quarterly and yearly reports as there is a fair amount of fluctuation between incident types and rates month by month. Therefore, monthly reports should only be considered as the state of police misconduct in that month itself while the longer-term reports paint a more comprehensive and accurate picture of police misconduct in the US.

As always, I appreciate any recommendations, advice, requests, and general comments.

Thank you.

An Eye For An Eye Only Makes Everyone Blind

It’s terribly frustrating and depressing that I have to write about something like this again. Four police officers were fatally shot in a Tacoma Washington area coffee shop today in what is being described as a targeted attack. While no other information is currently available, it comes on the heels of similar attacks on Seattle police officers recently and is being described as an ambush attack with no other apparent motive but to kill the police officers who were simply sitting around drinking coffee and using their computers.

While there hasn’t been any word on possible motives or suspects, given the similarity and proximity of the attacks on Seattle police officers that was done in the name of fighting against police brutality, I want to be clear about this. I do not believe that the use of violence in response to police misconduct is a reasonable course of action. In fact, it only serves to make the problem worse, not better.

To be even more blunt… in my mind, there is no difference between a police officer who kills an innocent person in an act of misconduct and a person who kills police officers in cold blood in response to acts of police misconduct.

None of us has the right to act as judge, jury, and executioner… be that a police officer or not. While I certainly would hope that people who read this site appreciate the ethical problems involved with responding to police misconduct with arbitrary violence, I do know that for some victims, it’s a difficult point to accept.

So, if an appeal to ethical sense doesn’t reach you then look at it this way. Anecdotal evidence indicates that when police officers are attacked like this that it always results in a more aggressive response by police officers within that region, and sometimes nationally. In other words, a violent response like this never reduces police misconduct, it only increases it and makes the public and media more receptive to it.

Of course, there’s no indication yet that this had anything to do with police brutality or was anything like the attacks in Seattle. But… in the very remote chance that it was and that the person who performed this attack happens to be reading. Please stop, you’re not doing anyone any justice by doing this… in fact, by doing it, you may have made the problem worse.

UPDATE: Apparently, a “person of interest” has been named in the case and, if this person were to end up being the person responsible in this case, it would appear it had nothing at all to do with police misconduct.

Can Accreditation Affect Police Misconduct Rates?

In case you didn’t know, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida received a “Flagship Agency” certification from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies during one of their “tri-annual re-accreditation ceremonies in Salt Lake City, Utah this month. The Lake Wales News reports that this is the sixth time the agency was re-accredited and that this accolade demonstrates the agency is “the best of the best”.

For those who might scratching their heads right now… yes, this is the same Polk County Sheriff’s department that brought the world this video just two months ago:

The above video played on news reports around the world and shows several Polk County deputies playing Wii Sports while they were supposed to be conducting a thorough search of a suspected drug dealer’s residence. The seven officers involved received a disciplinary sentence of about 2-4 hours worth of “retraining”.

For those curious about what kind of professional standards body would consider this as a sign of excellence, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Incorporated (CALEA) was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority by a joint effort of several law enforcement organizations and lobbyists like the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriff’s Association. Today, a CALEA accreditation is one of the most sought-after credentials for police departments in the US and one of the most frequently cited as well.

CALEA’s stated goals purport to improve the delivery of public service by maintaining a body of standards and administering accreditation in recognition of professional excellence. But, with awards like those for Polk County, some might wonder what this means in terms of police accountability and police misconduct?

Well, among CALEA’s selling points is that an accreditation through their company can strengthen an agency’s accountability and limit an agency’s liability and risk exposure, which in turn would improve community relations and trust towards an agency that held this accreditation.

As offered proof of this, the CALEA Web site has a list of testimonials from participating agencies in which some claim that, because of this accreditation, they were able to head off costly civil rights litigation, reduce the insurance premiums they pay to cover civil rights complaints, and reduce the number of complaints made against that agency’s officers.

It certainly sounds like a reasonable claim since an adopted standardized set of policies and procedures that dictate proper behavior for employees and a set of acknowledged consequences for violations along with a set standard for investigating allegations of policy violations should accomplish improved accountability and professionalism.

But does it work in practice, especially when accreditation is a voluntary process and one which an agency apparently only need follow the letter of the recommended process and not the spirit of the process and one which we, the people, aren’t really made privy to what these actual recommendations detail?

In order to try and make a determination on how a CALEA accreditation might affect participating law enforcement agencies in the real world we took a look at what agencies currently hold a CALEA accreditation and compared that list with our National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (NPMSRP) statistics for agencies of similar size to see how CALEA agencies stack up against the norm.

By using the 6 month aggregate NPMSRP report issued in October and sorting a list of CALEA accredited agencies of at least 300 sworn employees with a total list of all agencies that number at least 300 employees as well as the total aggregate police misconduct rate nationally we find that CALEA agencies have more misconduct issues reported than the average.

  • National average of all agencies – 834.69 per 100k
  • Average for all agencies 300+ – 963.3 per 100k
  • Average for all CALEA agencies 300+ – 1164.97 per 100k

So, at first glance, it would appear that CALEA accredited agencies don’t fare any better than average when compared to other similarly-sized agencies nationally or to the national average itself. In fact, they appear to have higher police misconduct rates than the norm in both cases.

When we look at how likely it is that the difference is caused by more transparency about misconduct in CALEA agencies we can turn to the numbers again and look at the deviations between agencies to see if there are any wide variation between agencies or if the numbers for each agency are similar.

For CALEA agencies the median police misconduct rate of the 121 agencies listed is 785.24, which indicates that there is a pretty wide variation in range with more than half of the agencies reporting lower than average misconduct rates with a misconduct rate range between 0 and 10,000. If the higher average were a matter of more transparency in CALEA accredited agencies, we would see the median more aligned with the average and less variations between agencies.

In fact, it’s notable is that 25 of the CALEA agencies reported 0 cases in the last 6 months, including two agencies that have over 1,000 employees. Now, given that the average would be for there to be at least 8 officers out of 1,000 reported for misconduct, this is more indicative of under-reporting for those agencies than it is that these 0 report agencies are doing better than average for police misconduct.

In other words, the data does not indicate that CALEA agencies, as a whole, do any better with police transparency than average.

Of course, in CALEA’s defense, sometimes police departments can try to do everything right to deal with police misconduct but end up stymied by state legislation or a local government’s collective bargaining agreement with police unions that override a department’s disciplinary capabilities.

Also, the results of a standardized set of accountability and disciplinary protocols will largely depend on why a department’s leadership adopts those policies, after all, it’s still up to management to follow through or ignore their own policies.

But, regardless of the reasons, the results do appear to show that voluntary accreditation in and of itself does not make a police department more accountable to the people it serves.

The data:

Police Misconduct Rates for CALEA Agencies with over 300 employees

Note: PMR is the police misconduct rate per 100,ooo sworn law enforcement officers based on the number of officers cited in cases of misconduct within the specified reporting period.

City State PMR
Alameda County CA 0.00
Albuquerque NM 1749.27
Alexandria VA 623.05
Anne Arundel County MD 626.96
Arapahoe County CO 0.00
Arlington TX 325.73
Atlanta GA 1605.93
Aurora CO 642.05
Baltimore County MD 0.00
Baton Rouge LA 1592.36
Birmingham AL 2788.34
Broward County FL 2660.75
Cape Coral FL 2469.14
Chandler AZ 3571.43
Charles County MD 0.00
Charleston SC 0.00
Charleston County SC 787.40
Charlotte County FL 0.00
Charlotte-Mecklenburg NC 855.22
Chattanooga TN 4640.37
Cherokee County GA 578.03
Cincinnati OH 1292.71
Citrus County FL 1801.80
Collier County FL 2236.42
Colorado Springs CO 1192.25
Columbia SC 0.00
Columbus GA 992.56
Columbus OH 106.61
Coral Springs FL 0.00
Corpus Christi TX 1785.71
Cumberland County NC 0.00
DeKalb County GA 1263.82
Durham NC 444.44
El Paso TX 1594.33
El Paso County TX 843.88
El Paso County CO 440.53
Evansville IN 1444.04
Fall River MA 0.00
Fayetteville NC 1197.60
Fresno CA 1213.59
Gilbert AZ 892.86
Glendale AZ 1075.27
Grand Prairie TX 6451.61
Greensboro NC 337.27
Greenville County SC 0.00
Gwinnett County GA 2071.01
Hampton VA 3623.19
Harris County TX 253.16
Henderson NV 1078.17
Henrico County VA 343.64
Hillsborough County FL 164.88
Honolulu HI 470.59
Howard County MD 1431.98
Huntsville AL 1005.03
Independence MO 0.00
Indian River County FL 2970.30
Jacksonville County FL 1375.00
Jefferson County CO 747.66
Joliet IL 0.00
Knoxville TN 2666.67
Lafourche County LA 858.37
Lakeland FL 0.00
Lakewood CO 0.00
Las Vegas NV 158.10
Lee County FL 1246.11
Lexington County KY 0.00
Lincoln NE 636.94
Little Rock AR 383.14
Macon GA 2150.54
Manatee County FL 605.14
Maui County HI 0.00
Memphis TN 1525.26
Miami FL 559.18
Miami Beach FL 1630.43
Miami-Dade County FL 258.82
Mobile AL 781.25
Modesto CA 4597.70
Monroe County FL 1932.37
Monroe County NY 701.75
Montgomery County OH 900.90
Montgomery County MD 783.09
Nashville TN 487.80
New Castle County DE 0.00
Newport News VA 5301.20
North Charleston SC 0.00
Oklahoma City OK 958.77
Omaha NE 534.76
Orange County FL 643.60
Phoenix AZ 179.05
Pinellas County FL 597.01
Plano TX 0.00
Polk County FL 1550.39
Prince George’s County MD 1329.79
Prince William County VA 1084.99
Raleigh NC 290.28
Roanoke VA 2290.08
Rochester NY 527.01
Rockford IL 1986.75
Scottsdale AZ 475.06
Seattle WA 1517.45
Seminole County FL 510.20
Shelby County TN 1515.15
Spartanburg County SC 0.00
Springfield MO 1307.19
St. Johns County FL 1459.85
St. Louis MO 1565.84
St. Louis County MO 0.00
St. Petersburg FL 1571.71
Tallahassee FL 1685.39
Tampa FL 612.87
Toledo OH 1877.93
Topeka KS 1413.43
Tucson AZ 578.59
Tulsa OK 1458.08
Virginia Beach VA 492.61
Volusia County FL 10000.00
Washington County OR 0.00
West Palm Beach FL 3960.40
Wilmington DE 0.00
Winston-Salem NC 0.00
CALEA Average 1164.97
CALEA Median 785.24
National Average 834.69
National Average 300+ 963.30

Police Misconduct News Watch 11-25-09

Here’s a brief pre-Thanksgiving Smorgasbord of police misconduct from the National Police Misconduct News Feed… (as if there wasn’t already enough to make us sick)

Don’t Tread Investigate On Us!

, about 600 police officers, their families, and pals held a protest march against the city and police chief for… well… giving an officer a paid vacation while they investigate whether he violated policy when he shot a 12-year-old girl with a beanbag round from a shotgun at point-blank range. At least some media outlets are calling it like it is, a bunch of thugs protesting against accountability.

After all, the cop isn’t even being punished, just investigated. Which means they are protesting against the city being able to investigate them for allegations of misconduct apparently.

What We Need Is More…?

In Chicago Illinois, the police chief and media are raising the alarm about a potential police retirement wave next year and claiming that the department needs to hire at least 2000 more officers… Heck, Chicago can’t even keep the cops they already have under control, and now they want more?

Oddly missing from all these reports is the fact that, according to 2008 FBI/DOJ UCR numbers, the Chicago Police employ more officers per capita than any of the other top 20 most populated cities. In fact, only one other city employs more cops than Chicago, that’s New York… and they still have less cops per capita with 1 cop for every 233 people while Chicago has 1 cop for every 212.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the numbers:

City State LEO Pop Population Cops Per Capita
Chicago IL 13,359 2,829,304 211.8
Philadelphia PA 6,764 1,441,117 213.1
New York NY 35,761 8,345,075 233.4
Detroit MI 3,032 905,783 298.7
Memphis TN 2,098 672,046 320.3
San Francisco CA 2,391 798,144 333.8
Dallas TX 3,393 1,276,214 376.1
Los Angeles CA 9,743 3,850,920 395.2
Honolulu HI 2,125 906,349 426.5
Houston TX 5,048 2,238,895 443.5
Charlotte-Mecklenburg NC 1,637 758,769 463.5
Fort Worth TX 1,486 701,345 472.0
Phoenix AZ 3,351 1,585,838 473.2
Jacksonville FL 1,693 806,080 476.1
Indianapolis IN 1,590 808,329 508.4
Austin TX 1,466 753,535 514.0
Las Vegas NV 2,530 1,353,175 534.9
San Antonio TX 2,155 1,351,244 627.0
San Diego CA 1,987 1,271,655 640.0
San Jose CA 1,383 945,197 683.4
Would You Like A Souvenir Shirt Too?

TrophyPictureSpeaking of Chicago, a Chicago PD department chief and a police commander have been given wrist-slaps… er, I mean “official reprimands” for their role in the highly publicized “G-20 Trophy Photo” that was filmed during the G-20 police actions in Pittsburgh PA.

What? You expected real accountability in Chicago? They probably got nice CPD engraved picture frames with the letter of reprimand so they can hang that photo on their mantles.

No Honor Among Thieves Police?

Oh… and yet again from Chicago. The leader of the  Chicago Police Sergeant’s Association, a police union for sergeants apparently, has been arrested for allegedly stealing quite a large sum of money from that organization for things like trips to Vegas and a new home. While estimates of what he took were initially pegged at $600,000 that number has now been raised to a cool million.

He’s now out on bail after posting $35k in bail. Wonder if the police union will hold a benefit to support this suspect like they did for the Chicago police officer facing trial for killing two people while driving drunk?

Court Says, Just Roll Over And Play Dead

In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently ruled that, when considering a charge of battery to a law enforcement officer, that the officer need not be acting lawfully for the charge to stand. In other words, even if a police officer is harming you by acting illegally while on-duty within his or her jurisdiction, that you have no right to self-defense.

The case was spurred by an officer who ignored a homeowner who denied that officer the right to search the home but entered anyway, which resulted in a struggle between the officer and a suspect who was convicted of battery on an officer even though the officer was not in the home legally.

News Feed Status

injusticenews-iconSorry the InjusticeNews police misconduct news feed on Twitter has been a bit sporadic the last couple days, things have been a bit hectic here and I’m trying to get it caught up as I’m able.

It should be back to normal soon, thanks!

Giving Thanks

cornucopia

For the last five years we’ve had a tradition in our home to invite people who have no family to spend their thanksgiving holiday to come share in our thanks for the year with us. We do this partially because my wife and I are used to large family gatherings for holidays but have we both have no family left. But, it still feels like we have family being able to share what we have with so many others.

Alas, this year that tradition will end as we can’t really afford to feed the people we planned to have over and will probably postpone our own thanksgiving meal until sometime after the holiday. But, trust me, it could be worse… Those who know me probably realize that I know that all too well. After all, I’m alive, I’m free, and I’ll still be with the ones I love.

So I still have many things to be thankful for even if I cannot celebrate them in a traditional manner.

One thing I’m especially thankful for is that I’ve been able to continue working on this project and sharing what I’ve been discovering through that work with all of you who read the site and continue to support that effort through donations, words of encouragement, and by sharing that work with your readers as well.

Without all of you, this work wouldn’t happen… so it’s as much yours as it is my own. To celebrate that, I would like to continue my other Thanksgiving tradition of thanking all the people who have supported the project through this difficult year.

While I can’t name those who have sent emails of support or donations since I don’t want to betray anyone who did so in confidence, I wanted to thank all of you first. Even though your names don’t appear here, your shows of support have always come through when the help was needed most.

Thank you!

There are a few who’s help behind the scenes was exceptionally meaningful though… so much so that I really wish I could mention them by name but I can’t. Suffice it to say, they’re still helping more than I can say and I truly appreciate their support for this effort more than I can express.

Thank you so much for all you’ve done and continue to do! Not only for this effort, but all the others that you’re involved with!

Also, there are two people who helped out with the site and feed when things were difficult, one still works tirelessly on the InjusticeNews2 feed that outlines detainee and prisoner rights issues that I’ll be able to incorporate into the site more when I finally get the time… Namely:
Lorraine
and
Scott
Thank you both so much for your efforts, I really do appreciate them!

While there have been a surprising number of sites who have linked here this year, there are some who have really stood by this project and kept it going through their tireless support. Two of these people were the most supportive, being:
Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice who was always there with advice and encouragement, though he may seem like a curmudgeon, he’s really a great guy!
Karl Mansoor at Blue Must be True who I wish was still posting but is busy writing a book that I can’t wait to read!

Some others who’s support through their sites that I’m truly thankful for are:
Mark Bennett at Defending People who not only helped tremendously behind the scenes but also  uses our news feed on his site!
Radley Balko at The Agitator who’s work bringing police professionalism issues to the public’s attention is unparalleled, thanks for the mentions!
Joel Rosenberg at Twin Cities Carry who always had a kind word and has written more things than I ever realized!
The great folks at Popehat who offered me a home for my writing when I thought the project was going to fail.
Carlos Miller at Photography Is Not A Crime who, while we don’t talk much these days, still uses our news feed on his site and writes a mean journalistic article.
The folks at Freedoms Phoenix who not only send a riddiculous amount of traffic this way when they post one of our articles but who’s editor called our news feed “the most powerful use of Twitter he’s seen”. That was incredible praise, thank you!

There are so many others… from the nearly 700 people following our news feed on Twitter to the nearly 800 people who were following us on Facebook before I had to switch it over to a different account, thank you!

From the truly countless (really, I wanted to mention everyone who linked here but there were just so many!!!) other sites who’s writers who linked to us or our articles or used our news feed as a source of information to all the great people who forwarded us stories that they thought we missed in our news feed, thanks! I would never have thought there were so many who found what we’re doing interesting!

To all the people who visit here, especially those who keep coming back, thank you for spending some of your time with us!

To all those out there who keep up the fight to improve police accountability and transparency in the hopes that police misconduct can be reduced and responded to in a better, more productive way than it is now… Thank all of you most of all!

So, you see, I truly do have so much to be thankful for… and this Thanksgiving holiday, I truly hope that all of you do too.

The Corrupt Leading the Corruptible

In what’s turning out to be a running theme here on the site, I figured it was a good time to look at how law enforcement leadership is doing so far this month. (previously I’ve examined the problem here, here, and here) After all, when law enforcement leaders are behaving badly, we are all left to wonder at how badly those who follow that leader are behaving as well.

Thus far, there have been 215 police chiefs and sheriffs cited in 231 unique incidents within the last 7 months, April through October. This means there’s just a bit over one law enforcement leader cited in the news in relation to an act of misconduct per day. This is still on track for what I cited when examining police leadership issues near the end of October.

However, so far this month, there have been 16 police leaders directly associated with allegations of misconduct. So the trend might be declining slightly in this month, but we’ll see what happens by month’s end since there was a large influx of stories about law enforcement leaders at the end of last month that kept the trend steady for the year to date.

The law enforcement leaders cited so far this month include:

The new police chief of Hinton West Virginia is off to a bad start with several citizens complaining of rough treatment and harassment. The town shouldn’t be surprised since he resigned from his previous job as a state trooper while under investigation for allegations of sexual assault.

The police chief of Humboldt Iowa has been suspended while under investigation by state police for allegedly misusing police and driving records for his own gain.

The former sheriff of Coosa County Alabama has been arrested for ethics violations and theft on allegations he used his office for personal gain.

The sheriff of Dewey County Arkansas has been charged with embezzlement after selling a gun seized during investigation for personal gain.

The sheriff of Woodson County Kansas, who already announced his pending resignation while facing reimbursement fraud charges, has been arrested in an unspecified domestic incident.

The former police chief of Washington DC, who is the current Philadelpia police commissioner, has been accused of perjury over his testimony denying that he personally gave the order to mass arrest protesters, bystanders, and journalists during the 2002 IMF protest.

The police chief of Sarasota Florida was suspended for 2 weeks without pay for failing to intervene in a ill-concieved effort to pay off an injured detainee with a few hundred dollars who was kicked after falling out of a cruiser window face-first while cuffed in order to keep him from suing.

The police chief of Chicago Illinois and IRPA (review board) head have been subpoenaed for refusing to releasing their records of a questionable car chase shooting case to the lawyers representing the victim’s family in a lawsuit.

The now-former police chief of Morningside Maryland has been indicted for the possession and sale of a stolen firearm after he was fired while under investigation.

The Lincoln County North Carolina county commissioners had filed a petition in an effort to have their indicted sheriff removed from office. (A judge recently ruled against them though).

The police chief of New Castle New Hampshire has been indicted for felony theft after admitting to stealing over $8,000 from a food drive charity fundraiser.

The police chief of Hackensack New Jersey has been sued by 10 of his own police officers who are claiming that he pressures officers to support his preferred political and union candidates and retaliates against cops who don’t vote the way he tells them to.

The police chief of Prospect Park New Jersey faces an excessive force lawsuit and a whistleblower retaliation suit in the same case where he’s accused of beating a teenager in custody and then retaliating against the police officer who reported him for it.

The soon-to-be former sheriff of Rio Arriba County New Mexico has appointed a new sheriff to replace him after leaving in a cloud of misconduct allegations. Making sure that legacy continues, his replacement had his police certification is suspended for theft allegations and cannot cary a firearm because of it.

The former police commissioner of New York City took advantage of a plea deal and will supposedly get anywhere from a 27 to 33 month sentence for pleading guilty in all 3 federal trials currently pending against him.

The sheriff in Richmond Virginia
is under investigation by a special prosecutor over allegations of sexual battery made by one of his female deputies.

The Week In Video 11-20-2009

Police Misconduct News Watch 11-19-09

NewsEyeThere’s a lot going on this week, so I figure it’s a good time to do a quick review of what’s been in the news recently. (and drag out the ugly old police misconduct news eye I used to use on the old site for news watch posts) Anyway, here’s a few of the stories that are getting some attention this week.

Walls of Jericho… Still Crumbling

Let’s start in Jericho Arkansas… again… er, ok, maybe we should start with a review because this place is a mess:

Well, now it seems like residents are fed up with the corruption and have asked a county judge what they can do about it… the solution? Either vote in a new mayor or get 51% of residents to sign a petition to revoke the town charter, effectively dissolving the town and reincorporating it into the county, which would effectively rid the town of all the leeches in one swift kick.
Residents appear to be trying for the quicker approach with the petition.

What’s Next, Tasering Toddlers?

Elsewhere in Arkansas, Ozark to be exact, the now-infamous police officer who tasered a 10-year-old girl in the back after the girl’s sadistic mother goaded him to for the girl’s refusal to take a shower before bed has been given a paid vacation while the mayor tries to find someone… anyone… Bueller?.. from outside the department who would investigate the incident.

So far the feds and the state have refused to investigate because, well, they say there’s nothing to investigate because the officer followed the department’s policy which permits officers to taser anyone of any age for any act of resistance. God help any toddlers that cross paths with that officer.

While the latest news suggests the officer could face charges, nothing can come of it since he followed departmental policy and, since he followed policy, he gets qualified immunity. The worst he gets is a paid vacation.

Over at the always-great Simple Justice, a debate is brewing with some defending the officer in comments by suggesting that maybe the 10-yr-old deserved a good tasering, maybe she was “the debil”… perhaps missing the finer point that even the manufacturers of the taser, who’s once voiciferous cries that electrocuting people with a taser was as safe as throwing kittens at them have grown ever more quiet, recommend against tasing children. No matter how bad an unarmed 10 year old girl can thrash about, could she really have been that much of a threat to the officer that risking her life with a contramanded electrocution could have been justified?

…or are those defending the officer really just arguing that “street justice” via a taser to the backs of small children is alrighty by them?

Abbatement?

In Chicago Illinois, good old Anthony Abbate, the guy who savagely beat up a bartender on camera and got probation for it, is still a cop. Well, at least until the civil review board there makes a descision on whether or not to fire him for his felony conviction in that case. During the hearing it appears that he “plead the fifth” against self-incrimination nearly 100 times by refusing to answer apparently incriminating questions like “can you please state your name?”

Hard to have faith in a police disciplinary system that takes months to fire a cop with a felony conviction… huh?

Better Late Than Never?

I’m sure most of you recall Dolton Illinois police officer Christopher Lloyd? You know, the one shown on video beating up a child with learning disabilities for not tucking in a shirt in the middle of school? The one who was later found in an Indiana jail charged with sexually assaulting a woman when that school story broke?

Well, if you remember that, you might also recall that before he was Dolton’s problem, he was Robbins Illinois problem when he gunned down his ex-wife’s husband with 17 rounds but wasn’t charged because Chicago police didn’t investigate on Lloyd’s word it was self-defense?

Ah, well, seems that the Cook County state’s attorney is finally opening up an investigation into the shooting years after that incident while the cities of Chicago and Robbins both face down a civil suit filed by the man’s widow. But, in the meantime, watch out because this guy was recently released on bail.

Stay safe out there, people.

The Police Misconduct Index

As I mentioned previously, I’ve been working on a new way to analyze the data the NPMSRP gathers in order to create some sort of metric that would help predict where police misconduct is likely to trend upwards or downward in the future and give some indication as to why police misconduct rates might trend as certain way in one area but not another.

Of course, such an metric will take quite a while to develop, test, and refine before it’s finalized. A case in point is that I’ve already changed it a bit since I introduced the effort a few days ago, hence the new post… but I still want to share what I’ve developed so far and plan to test if the NPMSRP is able to continue past the end of this year. Mostly to see if there is any good feedback about the idea or any interest in it.

The Police Misconduct Index is an experimental measurement that analyzes NPMSRP statistics to determine where police misconduct rates are more or less likely to increase by determining how often police misconduct complaints result in disciplinary action, criminal charges, and criminal convictions under the assumption that the less often police misconduct is acted upon the more likely it is that police misconduct rates will increase.

For example, the following chart ranks states by projected Police Misconduct Rates as published in the NPMSRP Semi-Annual Statistical Report and further breaks down those statistics to determine how many, as a percentage, were followed by disciplinary action, criminal prosecution, and convictions. These statistics are then weighted and results in a PMI ranging from 0-10 which indicates how likely it is that misconduct rates will increase. (0 being least likely, 10 being most likely).

StatePMI

The PMI chart is color coded to indicate which areas have higher misconduct rates (red), lower misconduct rates (green), and average rate (white) as well as which areas discipline or prosecute misconduct less often (red), more often (green), or near the average (white).

PMR p100k indicates the projected police misconduct rate per 100k officers. In other words, if that area had 100,000 police officers, this is how many would be involved in a reported incident of misconduct within a year.

PMDPR indicates how many officers, as a percentage, out of those reported will end up being disciplined or criminally charged in relation to that incident.

PMCPR indicates how many officers, as a percentage, out of those reported will be criminally prosecuted in relation to that incident.

PMConR1 indicates how many officers, as a percentage, out of those prosecuted will be convicted on the charges made in relation to that incident.

PMConR2 indicates how many officers, as a percentage, out of those reported who will be convicted in response to the reported incident.

Since it is assumed that not all incidents reported are true, these rates are calculated on an average within each category which helps reduce the likelihood of false charges affecting the PMI.

The PMI charts not only give us a picture of how often misconduct is acted upon by disciplinary action or criminal charges to help determine where police get away with misconduct more or less often, but also helps determine where misconduct rates may be more or less affected by under-reporting. When PMR rates are low along with a corresponding low disciplinary rate this would indicate that there is a potential under-reporting issue due to state laws that restrict oversight or freedom of information releases for misconduct information.

For example, California has a low PMR, but also has low disciplinary rates. California also has a restrictive LEO Bill of Rights law that prevents police departments from releasing information about officers involved with alleged acts of misconduct and what happens as a result of that misconduct. This causes a problem with under-reporting and increases the likelihood that misconduct rates will increase and that currently reported misconduct rates are artificially low in that state.

The PMI can be used at a local level so long as the number of officers employed by a given law enforcement agency are significant enough to allow for accurate comparisons. Calculations for departments with fewer than 100 employees would be more susceptible to error due to a small sample size. However, when examining large departments, such as those with over 1000 sworn employees, the PMI can be used similarly as shown below when applied to the 10 worst departments with 1000+ sworn officers by PMR as ranked in the NPMSRP Semi-Annual report.

Loc1kPMI

When we look at the results in this localized PMI table and compare this with recent events documented in the media, we can see the two corroborate each other surprisingly well. For example, it’s well documented that a problem in Dallas Texas is that, while the police chief there has been aggressive about responding to police misconduct, state laws and local union contracts have stifled his ability to effectively act against misconduct, as reflected in a high PMDPR but low PMCPR and low conviction rates.

Conversely, Denver Colorado has been in the news for having a stunning 0% disciplinary rate for brutality complaints and a similar 0% conviction rate for officers criminally charged with serious acts of misconduct, but a high payout rate for misconduct civil suits. In Atlanta Georgia, we can see how the department there is under a lot of fire, but how a particularly high-profile incident has pushed them to begin addressing misconduct issues… though it’s still uncertain whether those efforts will ultimately be successful.

So, even though it’s still under development, the PMI and the data analysis used to generate the PMI, appears to be a pretty useful way to look at the data the NPMSRP has gathered so far. Not only because it shows misconduct rates in comparison to disciplinary rates, but also because it can act as an indicator as to how misconduct might trend in the future for a given agency or region.

As always, especially since the PMI is under development, I am interested in any feedback about how useful you think this information is in comparison to the current NPMSRP statistics made available on this site and if it should be included in our future reports as part of the NPMSRP statistical reports.

Let me know what you think in the comments below or send me an email at packratt@injusticeeverywhere.com

Do you think the new Police Misconduct Index is usefull?

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