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"I don't like this book because it don't got know pictures" Chief Rhorerer

“It’s becoming a disturbingly familiar scene in America - mentally unstable cops”

“It’s becoming a disturbingly familiar scene in America - mentally unstable cops”
“It’s becoming a disturbingly familiar scene in America - mentally unstable cops”

Kingman Officer Arrested On Child Sex Charges

KINGMAN, Kan. (KAKE) -- A former Kansas police officer has been arrested on child pornography charges.
Kingman County Sheriff Randy Hill says Dustin D. Morris, 41, of Kingman, was arrested on Tuesday. He faces charges of Soliciting Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Possessing Visual Depiction of a Child under 18 years of age and Distributing Visual Depiction of a Child under 18 years of age.
Hill says the arrest follows a month-long joint investigation with the Kingman County Sheriff's Office, Wichita Police Department, and Ford County Sheriff's Office. The case will be turned over to the Kingman County Attorney.

Kingman City Manager Frank Soukup confirms Morris worked as a Kingman police officer from May 2005 to April 2012. Soukup says Morris resigned to take a job in the private sector.

Yamhill reserve police officer arrested on child abuse accusations

By Casey Parks

A Yamhill reserve police officer has been arrested on charges of assaulting his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son. McMinnville police officers arrested Michael Shane Abo, 34, in Sheridan early Saturday morning after a three-day investigation.
The investigation began New Year’s Day with a medical call regarding injuries to the 4-year-old boy. The boy, who is still in critical condition, was transported to Oregon Health & Science University via Life Flight.
Because Abo is a former Yamhill County Sheriff’s deputy, Sheriff Jack Crabtree asked the McMinnville Police Department to handle the investigation. Investigators believe that the injuries to the 4 year old were a result of physical abuse caused by Mr. Abo.
Abo was booked in the Yamhill County Correctional Facility on two counts of first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment. His bail is $1 million.

Ex-D.C. cop sentenced in money order theft

By Patrick Svitek

A former D.C. police officer was sentenced Friday to 40 hours of community service and six months of probation for taking nearly $1,000 in money orders from a woman who was under arrest, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Alexander Rodriguez, 33, pleaded guilty in November to second-degree theft, agreeing to pay the woman $1,200 in restitution and to resign after more than five years working for the department, authorities said.
The incident followed a traffic accident involving the woman in the early morning hours of July 4 near the intersection of Benning Road and Southern Avenue SE, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Authorities said that after the woman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, Rodriguez stole two money orders worth $962 from the woman’s purse and failed to list them on an inventory of her possessions.
Rodriguez was caught after the woman was released from jail, picked up her property and noticed the money orders were missing, authorities said. She traced them through Western Union and learned they had been cashed by a person later identified as Rodriguez, according to prosecutors.
D.C. Superior Court Judge John McCabe imposed a 90-day sentence but suspended it as long as Rodriguez completes the terms of his probation, authorities said.

LAX Cop Sexually Assaulted Passenger Waiting To Board Plane

A former police officer for LAX was sentenced today to four years in prison for sexually assaulting a passenger while he was on duty at the airport.
Michael Wayne Staunton, 56, was convicted of sexual battery by restraint, assault by a peace officer and false imprisonment by fraud by a jury this November. Today he was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender, according to the District Attorney's Office.
The sexual assault took place in April 2011. A then-25-year-old woman was sitting on a bench with a friend, waiting to board her plane. Staunton was on duty at his station in Terminal 1 just inside the security screening area. He came up to the woman and made some sort of sexual comment.
He returned later and motioned for the woman to come with him. District Attorney Jane Robison told LAist, "She thought maybe they were in trouble."
Staunton led the woman to a storage area that required a security access card. He then proceeded to sexually assault her. He walked her back to the departure area where the woman met up with her friends. She told them what happened, and they immediately reported the assault to the LAPD, which investigated the case (the airport police and LAPD are separate agencies).

Los Angeles World Airports police told LAist they were not commenting on the case. Staunton is no longer with the agency.

Seattle cop gets 90 days for explicit Web photos of ex-lover

Seattle police Detective David Blackmer was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to cyberstalking by posting sexually explicit photos of an ex-lover after she told his wife about their extramarital affair.

By Sara Jean Green

EVERETT — Detective David Blackmer, a 17-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department, was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in jail for cyberstalking an ex-lover by posting sexually explicit photos and videos of the woman online in retaliation for ending their extramarital relationship.
Though Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Randy Yates had asked District Court Judge Tami Bui to revoke Blackmer’s right to possess a firearm — which would have ended his law-enforcement career — Bui opted not to do so based on the facts of the case.
Defense attorney Ryan Wood had argued that Blackmer was charged with cyberstalking/domestic violence, a gross misdemeanor that is not among the domestic-violence crimes listed in state law that require revocation of a defendant’s firearms right.
Blackmer is tentatively scheduled to report to the Snohomish County Jail on Feb. 4, he said.
“Having a police officer incarcerated is unusual,” Wood said, noting there are “logistical issues” jail officials must first work out to ensure Blackmer’s safety while he’s behind bars.
Blackmer, who was arrested in July and placed on paid administrative leave, will remain on leave while the Seattle Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) conducts an internal investigation. The OPA investigation was put on hold until resolution of Blackmer’s criminal case.
“His status remains the same,” Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, a department spokesman, said Wednesday.
Blackmer, a 44-year-old father of two, made $102,580 last year, according to a database of the city payroll.
Blackmer had vowed to “ruin” the life of the victim after she went to Blackmer’s home in unincorporated Snohomish County in July to tell his wife about their affair, according to prosecutors.
While there, the woman argued with Blackmer, who grabbed her by the neck and pushed her to the ground, charging documents say.
Blackmer and the then-31-year-old Auburn woman had begun a sexual relationship in December 2012 after meeting on an Internet dating website, according to the documents.
Within hours of the confrontation at Blackmer’s home, the woman noticed the explicit photos and videos on a phony Facebook page Blackmer created, the documents say. Some of the photographs and videos were taken by Blackmer while Blackmer and the woman were engaged in sexual activity.
She reported the incident to Seattle police, telling investigators she felt “violated” and “degraded.” Police disabled the Facebook page.
Blackmer originally was arrested on investigation of second-degree identity theft — a felony — and cyberstalking/domestic violence, but court records show the case was dismissed because prosecutors didn’t file charges by July 31.
He was charged with the gross misdemeanor on Dec. 10 and pleaded guilty at his arraignment a week later, according to the records.
Bui sentenced Blackmer to 364 days in jail, but suspended all but 90 days, with credit for the two days Blackmer already has served in jail. Bui ordered him to serve five years on probation, pay a $1,000 fine and have no contact with the victim for five years.
Noting that Blackmer underwent treatment for 30 days at a Florida treatment center, Bui said probation officials will decide if that program meets Washington standards; if not, Blackmer also will have to undergo domestic-violence batterers’ treatment as part of his probation.
Blackmer told the judge he was diagnosed with an “attachment disorder” while at the Florida treatment center, which made him emotionally detach from his wife and led to self-destructive behavior and the relationship outside his marriage.
Since returning to his Everett-area home, Blackmer said, he’s been involved in a Christian-based recovery program through his church.
Saying he takes full responsibility for his actions, Blackmer apologized “for my actions to the victim, my family and those I’ve disappointed.”

Bradford detention officer charged with sex battery on a child

By Cindy Swirko

A Bradford County Sheriff’s Office jail detention officer was arrested Friday night on allegations he sexually battered a child.
Charged with capital sexual battery was Robert V. Melton, 59, of Starke, reported sheriff’s Capt. Brad Smith. Smith added that additional charges are possible.
Melton resigned after being interviewed during the investigation, which is being done by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Sheriff’s Office.
“The initial information came through the (Florida) Department of Children and Families, and they transferred it to FDLE,” Smith said. “They determined there was some validity to the allegations, and that’s when they contacted Sheriff (Gordon) Smith. It involved a child under the age of 12. There are some other possible victims that are being interviewed.”
Brad Smith said that depending on those interviews, additional charges may be filed against Melton.
Search warrants were obtained for Melton’s house and for a rental storage shed in Starke.
Melton was hired in May 2007 and held the rank of corporal.
Brad Smith said Melton filed a written resignation after a break in his interview.
“Investigators did the initial interview with him and stepped out of the room for a period of time. During that time he wrote it out and got the attention of an officer walking by the door,” Brad Smith said. “He handed it to him, and then we determined it was a resignation letter.”
Melton will be held in an undisclosed correctional facility for security purposes.
Sheriff Smith was quoted in a press release saying the organization should not be judged by the case.
“I am deeply disturbed by this arrest and will continue to work closely with FDLE until this case is complete,” the sheriff said. “The men and women of the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office are a fine group of professionals. This organization should not be judged on the deplorable actions of this individual. We will continue to move forward being constantly vigilant against any wrongdoers.”

Memo: Austin police corporal demoted, suspended for 20 days for insubordination, neglect of duty

By Ciara O'Rourke

An Austin police corporal has been demoted to the rank of police officer and suspended for 20 days after officials say he failed to follow orders over the summer, according to a disciplinary memo made public Thursday.
Cpl. Jerry Muhamet was specifically cited for insubordination and neglect of duty after he wasn’t present for at least 30 minutes on several dates in July in the office where officers turn in equipment at the end of a shift, according to the memo.
On June 26, it says, Muhamet also failed to update his status when he was responding to, or was at, the scene of a call, and he failed to respond to a request for additional officers at the scene of a large disturbance.

The memo says Muhamet agreed to a voluntary demotion, effective Thursday, and that he agreed to a probationary period of one year with the understanding that if during that period he commits the same or similar violations, he will be fired without the right to appeal.

Suspended Cops Used Force to End 'Emotional Rollercoaster'

The town will soon confirm the names of the three suspended police officers and provide additional statements about the investigation.
Posted by Kyle Stucker (Editor

Seabrook Town Manager Bill Manzi will issue a new statement Wednesday afternoon about the investigation into three officers suspended due to alleged police brutality against a local teen, and the names of the officers are expected to be released at that time.
Manzi will meet with the Seabrook Board of Selectmen in a non-public session at 1 p.m., after which he said he will hold a short press conference. He declined to release or confirm the names of the officers before that session, even though other media outlets have obtained that information through a police report detailing the events of the Nov. 11, 2009, arrest that have led Michael Bergeron Jr. to make his police brutality claims.
The police report, which reportedly characterizes a then-19 Bergeron as combative and aggressive, was released to certain outlets by the Seabrook Police Department either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, although Patch was unable to obtain the report.
Seabrook Deputy Police Chief Mike Gallagher said the report is no longer available because the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office has requested that the documents no longer be released.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said her office won't release the report "because this is an ongoing criminal investigation" that she said could be compromised by the continued release of the documents.
Young confirmed that her office is conducting a criminal investigation into the three officers and that her office is working to "determine whether there was any type of criminal conduct on behalf of anybody" in connection to the incident, although she said her office won't release the documents because it has a duty to protect all parties involved and to protect the integrity of the investigation.
No charges have yet been filed against any parties involved.
"We are looking at all of the facts and circumstances," said Young, later adding that she "cannot make [a] prediction" about the length of the investigation.
The Union Leader has published excerpts of Bergeron's arrest report, which names Officers Mark Richardson and Adam Laurent as two of the individuals shown in a YouTube video that has now gone viral.
Richardson is reportedly the officer who used an "armbar" to allegedly bring Bergeron to the floor. The surveillance video posted by Bergeron appears to show Richardson forcing Bergeron face-first into a cinderblock wall using his arm.
Laurent is identified as the officer who used pepper spray to subdue Bergeron while Bergeron was already on the floor. The Union Leader reports that Bergeron was pepper-sprayed because of "prior spitting and failure to comply" with officers while Bergeron was "on an emotional rollercoaster."

Plea bargain in works for officer

January 10, 2014
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - A plea bargain is being worked out in the case of a city police officer accused of raping a 16-year-old girl, and the deal may result in his resignation, attorneys said.
Lawyers associated with the case involving suspended city Patrolman Adam Schwabrow wouldn't say whether the plea will involve jail time.
The 32-year-old Schwabrow, accused in September of felony statutory rape, was due to be in City Court Thursday. A court official said Acting City Court Judge Lisa Lorman canceled that proceeding and moved it to 9 a.m. next Thursday.
Defense attorney Michael McDermott of Albany didn't return a phone call Thursday or this morning seeking comment.
Special prosecutor Jennifer Buckley of the Saratoga County District Attorney's Office on Thursday said, "The [defense] attorney and I are discussing plea negotiations."
She said it is "possible" the matter might be transferred to Fulton County Court. Plea negotiations are expecting to end soon.
Schwabrow was charged Sept. 19 by his own police department with felony third-degree rape, commonly known as statutory rape.
He is accused of having sexual contact with the girl sometime over the past year and a half.
Schwabrow is the department's former Johnstown Police Benevolent Association president and K-9 officer.
If convicted, Schwabrow would face the possibility of 1 1/3 to four years in state prison. Schwabrow is free on $5,000 cash bail.
Attorney Mary Roach, a city labor counsel from the Albany law firm of Roemer Wallens Gold & Mineaux, said Thursday she couldn't comment on Schwabrow's suspension from the police force.
"The city is hopeful that part of the plea arrangement will be a resignation," Roach said.
City police Chief Mark Gifford said Thursday that Schwabrow currently is suspended with pay.
Schwabrow had also served as director of the Montgomery County Emergency Management Office, but the county legislature last week appointed Jeff Smith as his replacement.
Gifford previously said Schwabrow was arrested after an investigation revealed evidence he had sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl.
Saratoga District Attorney James A. Murphy III said last fall the victim "was known to the defendant" and that Schwabrow didn't attack the victim.
He also said his office was investigating whether Schwabrow pulled his police firearm while fellow officers were trying to arrest him in September at City Hall.
Buckley this week declined to comment on the alleged gun incident. She said her office is working with Johnstown police.
Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said after the arrest the alleged rape took place in the city of Johnstown. She said there has been no allegation or evidence of forced sexual contact between Schwabrow and the victim.
She said forced sexual contact typically falls under the category of first-degree rape, which was not alleged in this case.
She said people younger than 17 in New York state cannot legally consent to sexual contact with an adult.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

Man Posts Video of Alleged Police Brutality Inside Station

Three local police officers have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into an incident involving a man in custody.
Posted by Kyle Stucker
SEABROOK, N.H. – An aspiring rapper may seek a lawsuit against a local police department because of lasting injuries he claims were suffered during an alleged beating he received while in police custody — an incident that has been captured on video.
Mike "MJB" Bergeron, a Seabrook resident, has posted a Seabrook police station surveillance video on YouTube that Bergeron claims shows Seabrook police officers slamming him face-first into a cinderblock wall and pepper spraying him while he was already on the floor.

Elmwood Park cop charged with stealing $20,000 from man with dementia

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE January 10, 2014 10:

A west suburban police officer was arrested Friday and charged with forging a $20,000 check from an elderly man with advanced dementia.
Elmwood Park Police Officer John Wasilenko, 39, of Norridge, was taken into custody Friday and charged with senior financial exploitation and official misconduct, according to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff’s office.
In December 2012, an 84-year-old man with advanced dementia contacted Brookfield police claiming he did not write a $20,000 check that was made out to Wasilenko, the sheriff’s office said.
The man’s account was being monitored after he had reported an earlier theft that year at his Elmwood Park home, police said. Wasilenko apparently befriended the man after he was one of the officers responding to the burglaries.
Wasilenko deposited a $20,000 check written to himself from the man’s account, police said.
Wasilenko was placed on administrative leave in December after being named in a Citation to Discover Assets filed Dec. 20 by Cook County Public Guardian Robert Harris.
Wasilenko allegedly called the bank employee on Dec. 19, 2012, telling her he was a “friend” and “sort of care giver” for the man, and questioned why his bank account was frozen. He told the woman he had a personal relationship with the man, and often did favors for him, like driving him around to various appointments, the citation said.
When the bank employee told Wasilenko the man had alleged the check was forgery, Wasilenko was heard yelling at the elderly victim saying, “Why did you tell them it was not your signature on the check?” the citation alleged.
Wasilenko admitted his name was on the $20,000 check and that the man gave him the money as a gift, officials said.. When questioned further about whether he thought taking a check from an elderly citizen might be misconstrued, “Sgt. Wasilenko responded by stating he did not think anything was wrong with taking the money,” since he ran errands for him, according to the citation.
Wasilenko joined Elmwood Park Police Department in 2004 and was promoted to sergeant in 2008.

Wasilenko is scheduled to appear in bond court later Friday.

Cheshire cop arrested in theft of union funds


CHESHIRE [Dash] A former police officer was arrested on Thursday and charged with stealing $50,000 in police union funds.
Robert Anderson Jr., 43, of 9 Powder Horn Hill Road in Wilton was charged with two counts of first degree larceny.
The charges come months after Anderson resigned from Cheshire Police amid allegations of fund misappropriations.
A warrant for Anderson's arrest alleges that he made cash withdrawals of more than $22,000 from ATMs and charged $27,400 to debit cards linked to the union's bank accounts.
Anderson served as union president in 2008 and as vice president from 2011 though 2012.
The charges are based on a complaint filed in February 2013 with the Office of the Chief State's Attorney by Cheshire Police Chief Neil Dryfe and leaders of the Cheshire Police Union, according to a press release issued by the Chief State's Attorney on Thursday afternoon.

Anderson, a member of Cheshire Police for 11 years, resigned from his job on Sept. 20, following an investigation by the town into allegations of missing union funds.
The town's investigation also implicated Jay Markella, a former captain who lead the department's detective division and who served as department spokesman.
Markella, also resigned from his job in September 2013.
It wasn't clear on Thursday if Markella will also be facing criminal charges.
The investigation into the missing union funds is continuing, according to the Office of the Chief State's Attorney.
Anderson was arrested by inspectors from the Statewide Prosecution Bureau, part of the Office of the Chief State's Attorney. He was released on $100,000 surety bond and is due in Meriden Superior Court on Jan. 17.

Cheshire cop arrested in theft of union funds


CHESHIRE [Dash] A former police officer was arrested on Thursday and charged with stealing $50,000 in police union funds.
Robert Anderson Jr., 43, of 9 Powder Horn Hill Road in Wilton was charged with two counts of first degree larceny.
The charges come months after Anderson resigned from Cheshire Police amid allegations of fund misappropriations.
A warrant for Anderson's arrest alleges that he made cash withdrawals of more than $22,000 from ATMs and charged $27,400 to debit cards linked to the union's bank accounts.
Anderson served as union president in 2008 and as vice president from 2011 though 2012.
The charges are based on a complaint filed in February 2013 with the Office of the Chief State's Attorney by Cheshire Police Chief Neil Dryfe and leaders of the Cheshire Police Union, according to a press release issued by the Chief State's Attorney on Thursday afternoon.

Anderson, a member of Cheshire Police for 11 years, resigned from his job on Sept. 20, following an investigation by the town into allegations of missing union funds.
The town's investigation also implicated Jay Markella, a former captain who lead the department's detective division and who served as department spokesman.
Markella, also resigned from his job in September 2013.
It wasn't clear on Thursday if Markella will also be facing criminal charges.
The investigation into the missing union funds is continuing, according to the Office of the Chief State's Attorney.
Anderson was arrested by inspectors from the Statewide Prosecution Bureau, part of the Office of the Chief State's Attorney. He was released on $100,000 surety bond and is due in Meriden Superior Court on Jan. 17.

Police Misconduct — The Worst Case in December


Over at Cato’s Police Misconduct web site, we have identified the worst case for December. It was the case of Eric Crinnian, a Kansas City man who was threatened by police for refusing them warrantless entry into his home. When Crinnian, a lawyer, refused to let officers search his home in the middle of the night without a warrant, he says an officer told him, “If we have to get a warrant, we’re going to come back when you’re not expecting it, we’re going to park in front of your house, where all your neighbors can see, we’re gonna bust in your door with a battering ram, we’re gonna shoot and kill your dogs…and then we’re going to ransack your house looking for these people.”
That kind of conduct shows a clear contempt for the Constitution, which is supposed to be the law of the land.
We welcome assistance from readers. If you see a police misconduct story while you are reading the news, send it our way using this form. Thank you.

2 Atlantic City cops sentenced for misconduct while on the job

MAYS LANDING, New Jersey — Two former Atlantic City police officers won't be going to prison for official misconduct while they were working.
A judge has sentenced Sgt. Richard Halvorson and Officer Troy Maven to two years' probation.
Maven admitted he was in uniform when he offered cash to a female in exchange for sexual favors in his patrol car.
Halvorson admitted using cocaine while in uniform.

The Press of Atlantic City (http://bit.ly/1d7lPEX ) reports both must perform 50 hours of community service and forfeit future public employment.

Settlement reached in alleged police brutality case

By Allison Sampite-Montecalvo

CHULA VISTA — The city of Chula Vista has agreed to pay $125,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a Navy surgeon who said a city police officer beat him as he was leaving a concert.
Dr. Eric Harris, chief spinal surgeon at Naval Medical Center San Diego, said Officer Fred Krafft beat him Oct. 16, 2008, following a Jimmy Buffett performance at what was then called the Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre.
“The city’s decision to settle the case was a business decision based on the city’s interest in managing the significant costs and inherent risks in litigation,” city officials said in a statement released Friday.
The parties agreed to the settlement Dec. 24 and have jointly filed in court for dismissal of the case.
The Harris family filed the suit in federal court in October 2009, stating that as concertgoers were leaving a traffic-jammed parking lot Harris got out of his car to help create a space to merge.
Harris’ wife, May, said in the lawsuit that Krafft yelled at Harris to get back into his SUV. Harris began walking back to his car but muttered a curse word under his breath.
The lawsuit alleges Krafft then came up behind Harris and slammed his face into the window of his SUV several times while his children watched from the back seat.
Harris was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public and resisting arrest. His attorney, Mary Frances Prevost, said the District Attorney's Office did not file charges against Harris.
Weeks after the incident, Harris was diagnosed with depression and severe post-traumatic stress disorder because of the incident, according to the lawsuit. He was later deployed to Afghanistan.
In addition, Prevost has said Harris was denied a promotion, lost $200,000 in outside work because of his injuries and would incur at least $60,000 in medical bills.
A spokesman for the Police Department said Krafft’s actions were “appropriate and justified.”
Prevost said four witnesses came forward to corroborate Harris' story, saying Harris did nothing to cause Krafft to attack him.
City officials said the incident was caused “by the plaintiff’s own negligence, fault, reckless or unlawful conduct,” according to court documents.
The case had been set to go to trial last year.
Capt. Gary Ficacci said Krafft remains on the police force. Krafft has been a Chula Vista officer for 11 years.
“We are still confident that our officer at all times acted in an appropriate manner,” Ficacci said.
Court documents show that in 2009, the city of Chula Vista and the Chula Vista Police Department settled a lawsuit filed by Felix Espino, who alleged excessive use of force by Krafft and other officers before and after they arrested him. The case was settled for $85,000.
Krafft was not placed on leave following the incident involving Harris.
“We thoroughly investigate any and all allegations of misconduct of any employees and like many cases where there’s an allegation of wrongdoing in the department we examined what officer Krafft did,” Ficacci said.
In 2008, Prevost sued the city in federal court on behalf of Christian Morales, a former Otay Ranch High School student who said Chula Vista police beat him and knocked him unconscious in his driveway after mistaking him for a thief.
The city paid $400,000 to settle that lawsuit.

Hundreds of excessive force complaints against Central Jersey cops, but departments dismiss all but 1%

Bridget Haymon of South Amboy was leaving a New Brunswick courtroom in August 2012 when Middlesex County Sheriff's Officer Lawrence Madigan grabbed her arm. Surprised, she pulled away. That’s when he reportedly grabbed her again, threw her to the ground and jumped on top of her.
Madigan later filed a report claiming Haymon had assaulted him. But the Prosecutor’s Office determined that report was false and charged Madigan with lying and simple assault. He was suspended without pay and returned to the job last year.
That incident — the subject of a federal civil rights lawsuit that was dismissed in October pending an out-of-court settlement — is notable for being an exception in cases where citizens complain about police brutality.
While excessive force complaints against police are not rare, cases in which police internal affairs investigations side with citizen complaints are indeed rare. That’s a disparity that raises a red flag for some lawmakers and police reform groups.
From 2008 to 2012, citizens filed hundreds of complaints alleging brutality, bias and civil rights violations by officers in more than seven dozen police departments in Central Jersey. Just a fraction of those complaints were upheld by the internal units tasked with investigating complaints against their colleagues, according to a Courier News and Home News Tribune review of hundreds of police documents.
Just 1 percent of all excessive force complaints were sustained by internal affairs units in Central Jersey, the review found. That’s less than the national average of 8 percent, according to a federal Bureau of Justice Statistics report released in 2007.
Law enforcement agencies in Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties were less likely to sustain excessive force complaints — that is, find enough evidence to warrant discipline against an officer — than to sustain complaints of rule infractions filed internally by superior officers.
Most Central Jersey police departments never sustain any of their large volume of complaints alleging excessive force or brutality
A whopping 99 percent of all complaints regarding police brutality are left uninvestigated in central New Jersey, according to a Courier News and Home News Tribune report published this week.
Between 2008 and 2012, citizens "filed hundreds of complaints alleging brutality, bias and civil rights violations by officers in more than seven dozen police departments in Central Jersey," the report reads. However, it adds that only 1 percent of these complaints -- seven percentage points below the national average of 8 percent -- were "upheld by the internal units tasked with investigating complaints against their colleagues."
In the majority of cases, the police agencies reportedly "either 'exonerated' the officers, dismissed the complaints as frivolous, determined that they did not have sufficient evidence or simply never closed the investigation."
Although an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union called these numbers "serious," the report quotes a South Brunswick police chief who insists that the agencies "do a good job of self-policing." Representatives of the Union County and Somerset Prosecutor’s Offices were also quoted as saying that investigations are conducted when they are warranted.
(Read the full report here.)
Several high-profile cases involving alleged police misconduct in New Jersey have made headlines in the past year.
In June, for instance, a 20-year-old man named David Castellani was allegedly hit, clubbed and kicked by a group of five police officers outside an Atlantic City nightclub, CNN reports. Castellani, whose family has filed a lawsuit against Atlantic City police, also alleges that a sixth police officer allowed his police dog to attack him.
"It's definitely the worst thing that's ever happened to me in my life," the college student told the outlet of the incident, which was captured on surveillance video. (Watch it below.)
According to Philly.com, K-9 officer Sterling Wheaten, one of the police officers allegedly involved in the attack, has been the "subject of more than a dozen internal affairs investigations and 21 civilian complaints of misconduct." He has also been sued on several occasions for alleged assault or the use of "excessive force," the report notes.
In December, Wheaten was found guilty of assaulting a 39-year-old man in 2008. The court determined that Wheaten should pay him $250,000 in compensatory damages, Philly.com writes.
Also last year, two New Jersey men filed a suit against the Paterson Police Department, alleging police brutality. Alexis Aponte and Miguel Rivera said that police officers used excessive force during a 2011 arrest, in which Aponte was allegedly kicked and dragged down the street.
The incident was apparently captured on video. The officers were eventually found not guilty of any crime by the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office, according to NorthJersey.com.

Chief: Alleged Police Brutality a 'Dark Cloud' Over Dept.

Three officers are on paid administrative leave and the AG's office, FBI and U.S. Attorney are all investigating and pledging to "get to the bottom" of the incident.
Posted by Kyle Stucker 
Seabrook Police Chief Lee Bitomske pledged Wednesday afternoon that his department, in cooperation with state Attorney General's Office, "will get to the bottom" of whether three of his officers are guilty of criminal misconduct during the arrest of Michael Bergeron Jr.
Bitomske, Deputy Police Chief Mike Gallagher, Town Manager Bill Manzi and the Seabrook Board of Selectmen held a press conference Wednesday afternoon following a nonpublic selectmen session to discuss the incident and the subsequent AG investigation into the matter.
"Obviously it's a major setback for us," said Bitomske. "It's a dark cloud, but I can assure the people of Seabrook we do have professional officers in the department — men and women... I hope this will be dealt with swiftly and sooner rather than later, but we will get to the bottom of this with the resources that are available to us to help us out."
Seabrook Patrolmen Mark Richardson, Adam Laurent and Keith Dietenhofer have all been placed on paid administrative leave while the AG's office conducts a criminal investigation into recently-surfaced surveillance footage that shows the officers using force in the Seabrook police station following Bergeron's arrest on driving while intoxicated charges on Nov. 11, 2009.
U.S. Attorney John Kacavas confirmed to Patch on Wednesday that his office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are also involved in the investigation due to possible civil rights violations.
Gallagher said the AG's office has assumed the lead in the investigation and that Seabrook's investigation is "on hold" until the AG has completed its findings.

"We will not be running a parallel investigation because the officers have due process rights under the [U.S.] Constitution and they also have due process rights under their collective bargaining agreement," said Gallagher. "One investigation might affect the other."
Officer Dave Hersey, the fourth officer shown in the video, which was posted by Bergeron to YouTube on Monday, hasn't been placed on administrative leave.
Manzi said the incident isn't a reflection of the regular protocol of the Seabrook Police Department and that the members of the department will continue to "do an outstanding" and "exceptional job" for local residents.
"Everybody at this table stands behind the police department and the men and women of the police department," said Manzi. "We don't consider anything we're looking at as the norm."
Bitomske said the video was made available to Bergeron as part of the discovery process of a potential court case started by Bergeron at some point following the incident, which is consistent with Bergeron's version of the events.
The reason the court case never came to fruition was still unknown Wednesday, and it is still unknown why the video surfaced this week more than four years after the arrest of the then-19-year-old Bergeron, a Seabrook resident with a lengthy history of arrests.
Bergeron, now 23, has not answered media requests for comment.
Gallagher and Bitomske both said Wednesday that they each saw the video for the first time this week, and that they are working to determine whether anyone else saw the video after it was recorded in 2009.
“We’re looking for answers at this point ourselves,” said Gallagher, answering a question about how the events could take place on station surveillance cameras without the incident being brought to the attention of supervising officers or other members of the department.

DC police chief meets with residents about police misconduct

By Audrey Barnes, @AudreyFox5DC

Residents of the Seventh District packed the Faith Tabernacle Church on Alabama Avenue in Southeast D.C. to get the latest on misconduct cases against two 7D officers.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier told the crowd she believes the officers' behavior is not commonplace in her department.
"I don't know right now that there's any cause for alarm, that there's widespread corruption and misconduct in the Seventh District," Lanier says.
Officer Marc Washington drowned in an apparent suicide after his arrest for taking nude photos of a 15-year-old runaway.
Lanier says they have now identified an adult female he may have also victimized.
And in the case of 47-year-old Linwood Barnhill, the officer accused of pimping out a 16-year-old runaway, the chief says two additional victims -- a 17-year-old and another adult -- have been identified.
Lanier says, "We have not come up with any indicators that anybody else was involved, that these two officers were in any way involved with each other, or that that they are connected in any way."
If anyone knows the pain the two victims may be feeling, it's Anthony Green.
"When I was young … a preteen actually, I was sexually assaulted on the way to school. I didn't tell anyone,” says Green.
Green says Lanier has to restore the community's faith in its police force.
"The message has to be sent that this is something that cannot be allowed at all," Green says.
That is a message the chief was happy to deliver.
"We don't have any problem, and we would like the officers to know, if there's somebody in our midst that is committing misconduct and we become aware of it, we will lock you up," Lanier says.
D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) is holding an oversight hearing on police misconduct on January 24.

Police brutality cause for ballot issue

Written by Jamie Keith

 The Committee For Professional Policing is working to pass an amendment to the Minneapolis City Charter, which would be voted on as a ballot issue in the November 2014 election. This amendment would require police officers to carry personal liability insurance, much like the malpractice insurance doctors are required to carry.
CFPP officially formed as a political committee in the spring of 2013. The original idea for the liability insurance model came from Communities United Against Police Brutality, an all-volunteer organization founded in 2000 which focuses on advocacy, education and political activity to end police brutality in Minneapolis and the surrounding metro areas.
According to statistics gathered by CFPP, the City and its taxpayers have spent $20 million on police misconduct payouts since 2006.
“Right now, the city covers pretty much all acts of misconduct by police officers, but it's not actually required to do so,” explained Dave Bicking, the Chair of CFPP.
This means that officers are covered only arbitrarily by the city's current provisions.
“This is not an anti-cop deal by any means,” said Michelle Gross, President of CUAPB. “It is a way to get rid of the bad officers and keep and protect the good ones.”
According to Bicking, the impetus for the charter amendment comes from a long history of issues with holding police officers accountable for misconduct.
“We've been frustrated with the fact that the city politicians, the police chief and the union really have no interest in disciplining officers or holding them to account for their conduct,” Bicking said. “All that's been effective is lawsuits. While those are important to get some kind of compensation to the victims, they do very little to solve the underlying problem of preventing future problems, because the payments are made by the taxpayers.”
Under the charter amendment, the city would pay the base insurance rate covering officers, while any insurance premiums brought on by “risky” conduct would be covered by the officers themselves.
Bicking likened the proposal to car insurance.
“If you're a really, really bad driver, it becomes too expensive to drive or even own a car anymore,” said Bicking. “Similarly, some officers would become uninsurable, and that would finally get those officers off the force.”
Such police misconduct is difficult to track using data, since no centralized agency is responsible for keeping it.
“Statistics about police brutality not collected by the police,” said Gross “No cities keep this data in any real way. The FBI is mandated to keep this data, but no one really does it. So it's this big problem that everyone knows about, but nobody wants to quantify.”
However, CUAPB tracks data that comes through their 24 hour hotline. From 2001-2006, CUAPB recorded 464 cases for analysis. Of these cases, 92 percent cited an infringement of First Amendment rights, 56.6 percent cited justice system misuse, and 56 percent cited unjustified force. Of these hotline callers, 67 percent were African American and 16 percent were other or unspecified.
Given the general dearth of statistics available, it is difficult to pin down exactly how these policies are affecting the Native American community in Minneapolis. However, according to a national study conducted by the United States Commission on Civil Rights, the Native American incarceration rate is 38 percent higher than the national average. The study cited racial profiling, lack of access to legal counsel and disproportionate police contact as the underlying causes of this disparity.
Both CUAPB and CFPP would like to do more to engage volunteers and activists from the Native community. In order to make the charter amendment a ballot issue in the 2014 election, CFPP will need to gather 15,000 petition signatures by May of 2014. To get involved as a volunteer to collect signatures, help with fundraising or do media and publicity work, please contact CFPP organizers at 612-715-8784 or on their Web site at cfppmpls.wordpress.com.

Attorney renews push to reinstate suspended Hinsdale Police Chief

By Phil Demers, Berkshire Eagle Staff

HINSDALE -- Suspended Police Chief Nancy Daniels could be reinstated if the town submits to the state a more-detailed request for a training waiver, according to her attorney.
In a presentation to the Hinsdale Select Board on Wednesday, attorney Mark T. Brennan said that Daniels and Selectman Bruce Marshall attended the Massachusetts Municipal Police Training Committee's meeting last month to make the case for Daniels' waiver.
What they found, Brennan said, is that the committee rejected the initial request submitted by the Select Board in November because it was insufficient in detail.
"My request would be another letter requesting a [270-day] waiver," Brennan said. "This would just contain a little bit more information [about the medical reasons for] the delay."
Daniels, a former part-time officer who was appointed chief last January, was placed on paid administrative leave in November because she has not completed the six-month Municipal Police Training Academy course that is mandated for full-time officers in the state. She failed her first attempt and was unable to retake the course last summer due to an ankle injury and other medical issues.
Responding to repeated requests by Daniels and her supporters, Hinsdale Select Board Chairwoman Bonnie Conner submitted a letter in November requesting a waiver for Daniels.
When that request was rejected, Conner and Select Board member William Goddard Jr. put Daniels on leave, saying the town faced liabilities by keeping Daniels on because her police powers had expired absent the training.
But the attorney said Conner composed the letter alone and, despite his requests, neither he nor Marshall nor Goddard reviewed its contents prior to it being sent.
Brennan, citing the MPTC's November minutes, said Conner's letter contained no mention of Daniels' medical issues last summer. The committee ultimately rejected the request after concluding that she had missed two additional opportunities to take the test.
If Conner's letter had been more thorough, Brennan said he was told, the vote would have gone differently.
During the December meeting, he said, "the [committee] basically stated that the letter -- that was sent without my review -- was inadequete to explain why Chief Daniels was requesting it."
The Eagle has requested a copy of Conner's letter from the MPTC.
In the meantime, Brennan said, the town needs an active police chief to approve firearms licenses, register sex offenders and testify in court cases.
"[Daniels] has not been able to testify in various court cases due to orders of the Select Board," he said. "Those court cases have allowed a couple of second-offense drunk drivers to walk free. Speaking as a defense lawyer, that's a dream. But I don't think it's good news for the town."
Residents who possess a license to carry require Daniels' check-off this year or they'll need go through firearms safety training again, Brennan and Marshall pointed out.
Goddard and Conner opposed a motion from Marshall to draft new letter to the MPTC, each wanting to see the minutes from the MPTC's December meeting before making a decision.
Conner also wanted town counsel's opinion on discussing Daniels' medical issues in a letter to the MPTC.
"I will contact legal [Thursday] and ask their opinion," Conner said. "I want to talk to legal first."
Brennan told the Select Board he'd be available on Friday to help draft the letter.
Marshall said the MPTC also suggested, as many others have, that there is a simple way to circumvent the state requirement.
"I would say the easiest way to put this whole thing to bed is let her work 32 hours per week," Marshall said.