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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”

Former Village of Mukwonago officer charged with bank robbery

By Jesse Garza of the Journal Sentinel

A former veteran Village of Mukwonago police officer has been charged with robbing a bank in the village while still on the force.
Alvin J. Brook, 44, of Eagle was arrested Wednesday and faces charges in connection with a holdup at the former M&I Bank, now the BMO Harris Bank on June 15, 2010, according to a news release from the FBI.
Mukwonago police requested the FBI investigate the robbery at 730 Fox St. when it was determined that one of its former officers was a suspect, according to the release.
In September 2011, Brook pleaded no contest to felony misconduct in public office after being accused of falsifying preliminary breath test reports for his girlfriend.
The woman was under court order to maintain absolute sobriety after being convicted in 2009 of third-offense operating while intoxicated.
The charge against Brook was filed Nov. 15, 2010, five months after he allegedly robbed the bank.
Brook was found guilty of the misconduct charge and sentenced to two years of probation, three months of jail time with work release privileges and a stayed 2-month jail term, according to state court records.
Brook had been a day shift patrol officer who was with the police department for 21 years and was paid about $60,000 annually.

officer charged with misdemeanors

A Chillicothe police officer has been charged with two counts of a Class A misdemeanor, stemming from an incident last year.
Brent Schade was charged Wednesday with hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence by Brady Kopek, special prosecuting attorney of Livingston County.
According to the probable cause statement, Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. J. Pithan investigated a traffic accident on Aug. 18 on Route V near Chillicothe involving two individuals. During the course of the investigation, Pithan reportedly discovered both occupants of the crashed vehicle walked to a nearby residence and called Schade. The investigation suggests Schade drove to their location and provided transportation to both subjects before returning to the scene of the accident. Schade allegedly assisted with the recovery of personal items belonging to both subjects, including cell phones and a bottle of Captain Morgan. Schade allegedly did not report the accident to authorities and transported the two individuals to his residence in Chillicothe.

officer charged with helping drug trafficking

DENVER — Federal prosecutors say a former Glendale police officer used law-enforcement computers to help an alleged cocaine dealer.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Friday 39-year-old Scott T. Black of Firestone was indicted on charges including unauthorized use of a computer and lying to FBI agents. He surrendered to the FBI Thursday.
Prosecutors allege he used crime computers to check license plates for a drug operation. Prosecutors say Black was an officer at the time.
No phone listing could be found for Black. He hasn’t entered a plea.
He’s also charged with conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to a computer database and using a communications facility to help drug trafficking.

If convicted of all counts, he could face up to 29 years in prison.

Superior cop accused of assault is off streets during investigation

A Superior police officer accused of punching a woman in the face earlier this month has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of a private investigation ordered by the department.

By: Tom Olsen,

A Superior police officer accused of punching a woman in the face earlier this month has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of a private investigation ordered by the department.
Officer George Gothner is accused of assaulting 28-year-old Natasha Lancour outside the Keyport Lounge on Jan. 5. Gothner, responding to a fight call, arrested Lancour, who has been charged with battery of an officer and disorderly conduct.
Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse said in a statement Friday that the department is seeking all facts and interviews of available witnesses before reaching a conclusion.
“All records of the incident have been sent to an outside use of force instructor to allow an unbiased opinion on the appropriateness of the force used by the arresting officer,” LaGesse said.
Earlier in the day, Lancour’s attorney, Rick Gondik, expressed concern that Gothner was allowed to continue working on the streets during the investigation.
“It’s quite obvious from his demeanor, his aggressiveness, that there’s something going on,” Gondik told the News Tribune. “I’m not saying he should be fired, but he should be taken off the force and be evaluated. The chief can decide after the evaluations are done.”
Both Gondik and the department have asked citizens to come forward with videos or eyewitness accounts of the incident, which occurred just after 7 p.m.
Squad car footage of the incident shows Gothner arriving to find a group of people talking to other officers on the scene. Gothner immediately exits his car and approaches Lancour, who is yelling and gesturing with her arm.
After a brief confrontation, Gothner is seen dragging Lancour to the front of the squad car, where he slams her down on the hood. He then appears to punch her in the face with a closed fist at least once.
In his report, the officer wrote that Lancour scratched him in the face.
“Suddenly Lancour reached up with her left hand and struck and scratched me across the right side of my face. My reaction was that I gave her a closed-fist punch to the left side of her face,” he wrote.
The banter between Lancour and Gothner continued en route to the police station.
“You didn’t even warn me,” Lancour told the officer. “You didn’t even give me a chance. You just walked up to me and hit me.”
She then told him she would pray for him. Later, Gothner responds.
“There is no God, so be quiet,” the officer told her. “You’re saying what you believe. I can say what I believe.”
Gothner also pointed out the in-car camera to Lancour.
“When you watch the video with your big lawyer, Mr. Gondik, you’ll see where you’re wrong,” Gothner said.
Superior Police Department attorney Gregg Gunta told the Northland’s NewsCenter earlier this week that he had analyzed the video and believes it is a highly defensible case.
One person has already come forward with a cellphone video of the incident. The video was submitted anonymously to police and Gondik on Thursday.
Lancour will be in Douglas County Circuit Court on Friday for a preliminary hearing on the charges. Gondik said he intends to challenge probable cause and believes he has good reason for the charges to be dismissed.
“We’re hoping that the DA’s office does the right thing, although that remains to be seen,” he said. “I’m fairly certain that you couldn’t find 12 people on the planet, much less Douglas County that would convict her of battering a police officer. Besides, she’s been through enough with the police. She doesn’t need to be abused by the court system.”
District Attorney Dan Blank was out of the office Friday afternoon and did not immediately respond to an email request for comment on the charges

Cop Lamin Manneh Admits To Pimping Out His Teenage Wife

By Doris Quintanilla, 

A former Baltimore police officer has pleaded guilty to being a pimp to his 19-year-old bride.
Lamin Manneh, 32, admitted Wednesday that he arranged meetings between 300 clients, his wife and another woman online between February and May 2013.
Manneh drove the women to the meetings and waited outside with a service weapon in case the clients became aggressive, according to an FBI investigation. The former cop kept all his wife’s prostitution earnings and a percentage of the other woman’s, the Baltimore Sun reports.
He was arrested in May after an undercover police officer on a child-sex trafficking task force responded to one of his online ads and set up a meeting. The officer met with Manneh’s wife, Marissa, in a hotel room as Manneh waited in the parking lot.
After being arrested, Marissa Manneh said her husband “posts the ads and uses his credit cards to do so. He drives her from date to date since she cannot drive.”
She was arrested on a prostitution charge, but it was dropped in September because prosecutors said she had entered a “contract of slavery” with Manneh and agreed that he was her “master.”
The allegations against Manneh are a “disgrace and embarrassment to every member” of the police force, Baltimore City Police Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said, according to the Daily Mail.
“We expect every member of this department to hold themselves to the highest of professional standards,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “Our colleagues and our community deserve nothing less.”
Manneh could get up to fiver years in prison when he is sentenced on May 8.

cop charged with theft, worthless checks

A retired Dickson police officer and his spouse were charged last fall with felony theft and several counts of worthless checks.
Joseph Patrick “Pat” Martin, 52, and Chasity Leah (Givens) Martin, 28, both of Dickson, will appear Jan. 31 in Dickson County General Sessions Court.
Pat Martin retired Nov. 5 from the Dickson Police Department as a patrol officer after nearly 20 years of service. He was arrested Aug. 9 for two counts of felony worthless checks and one misdemeanor count of worthless check.
Dickson Police Chief Rick Chandler reported Martin was placed on administrative leave with pay after the arrest, and he elected to retire.
According to an affidavit, Martin wrote checks to spouse, Chasity Givens for $380 on July 19; $580 on July 29; and $640 on July 31, which Givens allegedly passed at the CeeBee store in Charlotte with insufficient funds.
Martin, along with Givens, faces a felony theft charge for allegedly “participat(ing) with his wife” in the theft of a purse Nov. 8 from his sister-in-law. The purse’s contents were valued at $1,016, and included over $400 cash and pills.
According to a Nov. 15 affidavit, Martin “pretended” to talk with police officers, who came to arrest Givens’ sister and another person, “so that (the victims) would hide in the closet.”
“There were actually no law enforcement officers at the residence,” the affidavit reported.
Martin allegedly drove Givens and the purse away in his truck.
Givens is charged with four additional felony theft counts.
From Aug. 20-Sept. 19, a victim allegedly gave Givens $575 toward rent, pet deposit and utilities for a house, but later learned the suspect “doesn’t even own a rental house,” an affidavit noted.
On Aug. 20-24, Givens allegedly wrote three checks – for $920, $670 and $1,284 – from the account of another person to third party, “without the knowledge, permission or consent” of the account holder, according to a Nov. 15 affidavit. The checks then were cashed at the CeeBee store in Charlotte.
Martin was released from jail in lieu of $1,000 bond. Givens was released in lieu of $5,000 bond.
Martin went to work for Dickson city in 1989 in the animal control department, before becoming a patrol officer in 1995.
Seven months before the alleged incidents began, Martin’s daughter, Ashlee Long was found dead in her home of an apparent homicide. Ashlee’s spouse, Morris Long II is charged with first-degree murder for her death, and awaiting trial.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation worked the murder case with the Dickson Police Department.

MARTINEZ, Calif. -- A San Francisco police officer appeared in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez Friday on charges that he molested a 15-year-old boy in Concord and kept child pornography.

Prosecutors last week charged 38-year-old Richard Hastings with nine felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a 15-year-old child and one felony count of possession of child pornography.

He turned himself in on an arrest warrant Tuesday at the county jail in Martinez, where he is being held on $910,000 bail, according to Deputy District Attorney Alison Chandler.

Chandler said the alleged molestation occurred between last June and August, but she declined to provide further details about the case.

Hastings was arrested in Concord on Aug. 21 on suspicion of child molestation after police launched an investigation into the allegations. He was later released on bail and prosecutors initially declined to file charges against him pending further investigation.

The San Francisco Police Department, where Hastings has worked since 2001, immediately suspended him without pay following his arrest, according to a San Francisco police spokesman.

Hastings is set to return to court on Monday for a bail hearing and arraignment.

Eileen Burke, a private attorney, said today that she expects to represent him.

LAPD officer awarded $260,000 over arrest by Pomona police

A jury found that LAPD rookie Sergio Arreola was the victim of excessive force by two Pomona officers. Arreola refused to resign or take a plea bargain, arguing that the other officers were lying.

A jury has awarded a Los Angeles police officer $260,000 after finding that Pomona police used excessive force on the young cop and unlawfully arrested him.
The verdict reached Wednesday evening was a final step in a nearly two-year effort by Sergio Arreola to clear his name after the 2012 encounter that left him fired from the LAPD and facing a possible prison sentence.
"This was about showing the officers and showing Pomona that they can't be treating others the way they treated me," Arreola, 27, said.
The Times first wrote about Arreola's case last year as he was fighting to get his job back.
In the morning on April 11, 2012, Arreola, who was then a rookie in the LAPD's Central Division, finished a night shift on patrol and drove to Pomona to meet his wife. While on the way, his wife called and asked Arreola to meet her in a nearby neighborhood where a relative had gotten into a minor traffic accident.
Things spun out of control quickly after Arreola arrived. Although Arreola identified himself as an off-duty LAPD officer, within minutes he was on the ground with Pomona officers piled on top of him, placing him in handcuffs.
One of the officers, Eric Hamilton, said in his arrest report that Arreola was aggressive and belligerent from the outset, refusing to obey the officer's commands. Hamilton and another officer, Chris Tucker, described Arreola's demeanor as "extremely angry." Tucker said in a report that when he tried to handcuff Arreola, he "began to twist and tense up, pulling his arms from our grasp." The officers alleged that Arreola tried to punch Hamilton in the face as they restrained him.
Pomona police officials notified Arreola's LAPD supervisors of the arrest and the account of his behavior that Hamilton and Tucker had given. The next day, Arreola's commanding officer called him into the station and gave him a choice to resign or be fired.
He refused to resign, saying that he had done none of the things the Pomona officers accused him of doing.
Out of a job, things worsened for Arreola when prosecutors in the Los Angeles County district attorney's office charged him with three misdemeanors of resisting arrest, assaulting Hamilton and obstructing the officers' work. They eventually dropped the assault charge but refused to budge on the others. Arreola refused to consider a guilty plea in exchange for a lenient sentence. "They've ruined my life, they've ruined my name," he recalled saying to his attorney at the time. "What's the worst they can do? Send me to jail?"
At his trial, jurors heard a starkly different account of the morning than the one the officers had told.
Arreola took the stand to challenge the officers' allegations, saying that Hamilton had been the aggressive one, cursing and yelling at him. He denied ever resisting the officers, saying that Tucker had intentionally pulled him off balance while he was being frisked and, when Arreola stumbled, the officer used it as an excuse to take him to the ground.
In an audio recording of the encounter captured by a recorder Hamilton carried, the officer is heard telling Arreola repeatedly to "stop resisting" and Arreola saying that he is not resisting. Arreola is also heard pleading with onlookers to record the scene. Once on the ground, Arreola said, the officers punched him repeatedly. Hamilton, he said, bent his left arm back violently and Tucker attempted to subdue him by using a choke hold.
Later in the recording, Hamilton told Arreola's wife, "I'm going to make sure your husband is never a police officer in the state of California again. I'll talk to Chief Beck myself personally," referring to the LAPD chief.
And jurors listened as Hamilton and Tucker recounted the arrest for other officers. "I just about broke his left arm. I wanted to break his arm," Hamilton said. "I had my arm around him to choke his ass out," Tucker said.
The jury found Arreola not guilty. After the acquittal, the LAPD offered Arreola his job back.
Pomona police officials could not be reached for comment. It is unknown whether the department has conducted an internal investigation into the conduct of Hamilton and Tucker.
Matthew McNicholas, Arreola's attorney in the civil case, said that although the jury did not award Arreola as much money as he had hoped, the verdict sent a message.
"The jury saw these officers beat him, just abused him intentionally. They took everything away from him…. This verdict completes Sergio's vindication."

Greenacres cop arrested by Sheriff's deputies

Victoria Price

GREENACRES, Fla -- A city of Greenacres police officer was arrested today,  police spokesman Lt. Brady Myers said.

The officer, Ervans Saintclair, was arrested by Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies and charged with two counts of uninformed HIV infected sexual intercourse.

The Sheriff's Office says detectives believe there may be additional victims.

Myers said Saintclair has been with the department since 2007.

He was placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the criminal investigation, Lt. Myers said in a news release. 

House arrest for officer charged in trying to kill his wife

A Prince George’s County judge has ordered that a D.C. police officer charged with trying to kill his wife be confined to his parents’ home with electronic monitoring.
Prosecutors requested Thursday that Samson Lawrence III be held or monitored electronically until trial because his wife fears for herself and her children. His attorney argued Lawrence hadn’t violated his bond terms and it would be unnecessary.
Lawrence had been out on a $200,000 bond after he was charged with attempted murder, assault and possessing a dangerous weapon with intent to injure.

Prosecutors say Lawrence beat his wife, who has a brain tumor, in the head in an effort to kill her at their Accokeek home. They say Lawrence also threatened her with knives and tried to keep her from calling 911.

Louisville police officer charged with driving drunk, fleeing police

By Mark Vanderhoff

A Louisville Metro Police officer was arrested earlier this month on charges of driving while drunk, according to police records.
Casey A Skeens, 29, of the 500 block of Orsmby Avenue in Louisville was arrested Jan. 4 and charged with driving while intoxicated, fleeing and evading police, disregarding a traffic light and reckless driving, according to his arrest citation.
Skeens had been an LMPD officer for less than one year and was still on probationary status, said Alicia Smiley, an LMPD spokeswoman. He resigned on Jan. 6, she said. He would not have been automatically dismissed because of the arrest, but could have been let go pending the results of an internal investigation and the outcome of his criminal case, she said.
An LMPD officer saw Skeens‘ car, a 2000 BMW 528i, stop abruptly around 4:38 a.m. in the middle of an intersection at South Third Street and West Kentucky Street, where the light had turned red. The car then sped off while the light was still red, and the officer followed to pull him over, according to his arrest citation.
Skeens refused to stop, running three more red lights before the officer lost sight of his car, according to the citation. The officer found Skeens’ car a short while later in a gated parking lot at his apartment building.
Officers later found him inside his apartment, according to the citation.
He had a .132 blood alcohol content, according to his arrest citation.
He was released later that day on his own recognizance and his attorney, Steven Schroering, entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf at his Jan. 8 arraignment, according to court records.

Ex-Marion policeman took money and drugs from dead person, SLED says

By WBTW News Staff

UPDATE: In a statement released by the City of Marion Tuesday morning, the Marion Police Department confirmed that PFC Andrew J. Ellis is no longer employed with the City of Marion Police Department.
In the release, it was stated that Ellis' termination occurred on January 16, and that all  questions about the case should be referred to SLED.

A Marion Police officer was charged last week with misconduct in office, SLED officials told WBTW.
Andrew Ellis, age 33, was arrested on Thursday and has since bonded out of jail, officials said.  SLED warrants accuse him of stealing from a dead person's house. The warrant states he took $100 from her purse as well as prescription drugs including Oxycodone and other substances.
It also states he used bolt cutters to steal from lockers with the Marion Police department.
Ellis is a 1998 graduate of West Columbus High School and is originally from Fair Bluff, NC, according to his Facebook page.
He was arrested in Horry County and placed in the J. Reuben Long Detention Center on Thursday, but was later transferred to Marion County, officials said.

Protesters Demand Westchester Police Reform

by Casey Donahue

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A group of community organizations led by the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform gathered in White Plains Friday afternoon to demand more oversight and accountability to prevent cases of police misconduct in Westchester County.
The rally also included members of local NAACP chapters, Westchester RISE, Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, the Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence, and local churches. The rally was held to speak out against uses of excessive and deadly force by police and to institute ways to hold officers, management and district attorneys accountable. Recent cases cited in the event included the shooting of Pace University student DJ Henry in Mount Pleasant, the shooting of Kenneth Chamberlain of White Plains, the death of Samuel Cruz in New Rochelle and the death of Irma Marquez in Yonkers.
“Failing to establish a system of accountability allows a uniform to become legitimized as a symbol of violence. We cannot allow this to happen.,” said Guisela Marroquin, a community organizer for the Lower Hudson Valley Civil Liberties Union. “If we are to break the patterns that allow power and privilege to victimize our families, neighbors, and friends, we must demand change from those who are hired to keep us safe.”
Stephen Glusker of WESPAC said that the goals of the movement are to establish independent oversight structures to review police practices and investigate potential misconduct, implement protocols in departments to address the use of force, reform training programs to emphasize nonviolence and increase the hiring and promotion of African American and Latino officers.
“The Westchester district attorney has failed to indict police officers for misconduct. An independent body of special prosecutors needs to be created to investigate and impose sanctions when local and county officials fail to act,” Glusker said.
Tom Kissner, a former police officer and former president of the Port Chester-Rye NAACP, said that police officers must be trained to act wisely and to disregard any stereotypes or personal insults when dealing with the public. “A police officer, someone who has been selected to have the awesome power to take human life should the circumstances require it, also must have awesome responsibilities,” Kissner said.
“We’re looking at millions of our tax dollars being spent unnecessarily when they can just properly train these officers and hold them accountable,” said Damon Jones of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America. He encouraged people to reach out to elected officials and demand change. “It cannot be politics as usual anymore. People are dying.”

Former police officer alleges department-wide misconduct

"I'm glad [Forseth] told us. That will need to be looked at."
-Raul Villanueva
Mayor Pro Tem

By Hannah Esqueda
A former reserve officer with the Parlier police leveled several accusations against the department and Chief David Cerda during the Jan. 15 City Council meeting.

Matt Forseth said he was fired in early December in retaliation for speaking out against the misconduct of several other officers in the department.

Cerda said that Forseth was not retaliated against but would not say why he was fired since it is a personnel issue.

“The police department doesn’t condone or tolerate any type of police misconduct,” Cerda said. “All matters are addressed and not ignored.”
Forseth addressed the council during the public comments portion of the meeting and said that he and several other officers had brought their concerns before Interim City Manager Anthony B. Lopez in late November.

When Lopez allegedly failed to respond to their information, Forseth said they met again on Dec. 12. Shortly after that meeting, Forseth said he was fired.

“I was searching for a reason, ‘Why? What did I do? What policy did I violate?’ “ Forseth said.

He said he believes he was fired in retaliation for speaking against a sergeant with the department who was his supervisor.

Calls to the city manager’s office for comment were not immediately returned.

While he would not name the sergeant, Forseth did pass out photos to the council members showing what he said was inappropriate behavior on the part of a Parlier police sergeant.

Forseth said the pictures showed the sergeant drunk in public, displaying his personal service weapon while drunk in a bar and urinating in public while naked.

In an interview, Mayor Armando Lopez confirmed that those scenes were depicted in the pictures Forseth passed to council members during the meeting. But Lopez, would not comment on whether he recognized the subject in the photos as being a member of the Parlier Police Department.

“I don’t want to say anything until we know what is OK legally,” he said.

But, he did say that the matter was a serious one and that the council would treat it as such.

In an interview, Mayor Pro Tem Raul Villanueva agreed.

“I’m glad [Forseth] told us,” he said. “That will need to be looked at.”

Before coming to Parlier, Forseth said he was an officer with the Fresno Police Department for nine years.

“Unfortunately, I made a poor ethical decision during my time there and was terminated due to having a relationship with a female,” he said. “I am very humble and very embarrassed to admit it, but we all make mistakes.”

Jaime Rios, spokesmanfor the Fresno Police Department confirmed that Forseth had worked there.

Forseth said he was hired in 2012 by the Parlier Police Department as a contract reserve officer, meaning he worked 40 hours a week with no medical benefits. He said that he became increasingly concerned with some of the conduct of his fellow officers and began speaking out in the fall of 2013.

“I was the key witness in a [investigation] of a sergeant who was recently terminated for his misconduct. I was concerned about retaliation as a result of that,” he said.

Forseth said the sergeant he testified against is not the one who he is the subject of the photos he gave to the City Council.

Forseth said he and five other officers plan to take legal action against the city of Parlier and Cerda. He would not name the other officers included in the pending lawsuit.

“They’re still employed there and are afraid of retaliation,” he said.

Forseth said he is working with a lawyer based out of Los Angeles and expects to file the lawsuit in a month.

Excessive Force Case In NJ Highlights Lack Of Nationwide Police Accountability

Not only is the number of complaints investigated startlingly low, it’s estimated that 70 percent who experience some form of police brutality never file a complaint.

By Katie Rucke

Only 1 percent of all complaints made against New Jersey police officers for using excessive force, among other types of police brutality, were deemed legitimate and investigated by internal review teams between 2008 and 2012, according to an investigation by a local newspaper.
The other 99 percent of complaints alleging brutality, bias and civil rights violations by officers at more than seven dozen police departments in central New Jersey during that five-year period were reportedly dismissed by internal review teams as being frivolous, lacking sufficient evidence, or in some cases the investigation was never closed, but the officers were still exonerated.
Since the national average is not much better — with just 8 percent of all police brutality complaints nationwide being investigated — many have begun to question whether police officers in the U.S. are ever held accountable for their actions.
Pete Eyre, of the organization Cop Block,which works to hold police accountable, told MintPress that while the percentage of complaints varies slightly between police departments, only a “miniscule amount” are ever investigated.
“The fact that almost all police complaints made are deemed ‘not sustained’ isn’t surprising,” since “Looking past stated veneer of accountability is a process of asking the friends of the aggressor to conclude that yes, they were indeed at fault.
“The incentive of those ‘investigating’ is to side with their colleagues. There’s no real negative consequence for that occurring and thus, it is the norm. Even if a community views their local police as largely being heavy-handed or corrupt, the police outfit – a coercive monopoly – can’t easily be fired in lieu of a better alternative,” Eyre said.
But South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka, a former president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police who has been called upon to provide expert testimony on police matters and worked on the revision to the state’s internal affairs guidelines, insists that “Agencies do a good job of self-policing.”
Representatives of Union County and Somerset Prosecutor’s Offices agreed, saying that there is nothing wrong with its policies, noting that investigations of police brutality are conducted when they are warranted — no more, no less.
But in a breakdown of each police departments’ police brutality complaints, the Central Jersey Courier News and Home News Tribune found that in many towns and cities not a single complaint was investigated.
In Elizabeth, N.J., for example, there were 203 recorded complaints in the five-year period and not one was found to be substantial. Similarly, Woodbridge, N.J., had 84 complaints, New Brunswick, had 81, Perth Amboy had 50 and Linden had 33.
Part of what is so surprising about some of these shockingly low rates of investigating claims of police brutality by New Jersey police officers is that there were low numbers across the board, including at some departments that have a notorious reputation for using excessive force.
In Edison, N.J., for example, there were 32 recorded complaints of excessive force, and one officer in particular was the subject of 11 of those complaints. Yet none of those complaints were determined to require further investigation.
However, there is a slight silver lining for those who complained against the unnamed officer,as he was later arrested on attempted murder and drug charges. During that investigation, lawyers said they found brass knuckles and a small club in his patrol bag, which are prohibited items.

Law Enforcement
Though Americans commonly believe law enforcement’s role in society is to protect them and ensure peace and stability within the community, the sad reality is that police departments are often more focused on enforcing laws, making arrests and issuing citations.
As MintPress previously reported, each year there are thousands of claims of police misconduct. According to the CATO Institute’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project, in 2010 there were 4,861 unique reports of police misconduct involving 6,613 sworn officers and 6,826 alleged victims. Most of those allegations of police brutality involved officers who punched or hit victims with batons, but about one-quarter of the reported cases involved firearms or stun guns.
Mike Prysner, one of the local directors of the Los Angeles chapter for ANSWER — an advocacy group that asks the public to Act Now to Stop War and End Racism — told MintPress that the “epidemic” of police harassment and violence is a nationwide issue.
He said groups like ANSWER are trying to hold officers accountable for abuse of power. “[Police brutality] has been an issue for a very long time,” Prysner said, explaining that in May, 13 people were killed in Southern California by police.
Similarly, some citizens have taken it upon themselves to form volunteer police watch groups to prevent the so-called “Blue Code of Silence” effect from occurring, in the hope that police officers feel safe speaking out against misconduct occurring within their department.

History of compliance
While the New Jersey report has been eye-opening and shocking to the masses, unfortunately this is not the first time complaints against police officers have fallen upon deaf ears.
In 2001, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report on police use of force in 1999 and found that about 442,000 people over the age of 16 were thought to have experienced excessive force by a police officer or were threatened with the use of excessive force. And in 2006, the DOJ issued another report that found that of the almost 27,000 complaints about the use of excessive force by about 5 percent of all police departments in the U.S., only about 2,000 of those complaints were sustained.
As many law enforcement reform advocates point out, not only is the number of complaints investigated startlingly low, it’s estimated that 70 percent of people who experience some form of police brutality never file a complaint. Human Rights Watch says this is likely because the process of filing a complaint is often “unnecessarily difficult and often intimidating.”
Eyre says one way to ensure that a claim of police brutality is not just brushed aside by an internal review team is to make the situation public by posting video or audio of the incident on YouTube, their own site, police accountability websites or an alternative media news site.
“Especially when the testimonial is buttressed by objective documentation, such as video or audio of the incident,” Eyre said the police department will take notice, since “The court of public opinion is very powerful.
“Filming the police interaction is probably the best thing a person can do to safeguard themselves or another and to bring-about justice in the long run. Ultimately the authority of the police hinge on the the legitimacy granted them. If a person sees a pattern of rights-violations then they can choose to withdraw their consent.”
Eyre reminded MintPress that video recording the police (or anyone in public) is legal in all 50 states but says that audio recording sometimes requires “a heads-up.”

Call for reform
Although law enforcement reform advocates and law enforcement officials have cautioned the public to not solely look at the statistics before judging departments or officers, some such as Richard Rivera, a former corruption-busting cop from west New York who now leads the Civil Rights Protection Project of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, said this is further proof internal affairs investigations should be available for the public.
“All the investigation reports should be made public. All of the data should be made public,” Rivera said. “The public will figure out quicker who the potential problematic officers are.”
Currently, almost all complaints against officers are kept confidential. The only information the public has access to is the number of complaints and whether they were investigated further.
While members of the public have the legal right to read synopses of all complaints where a fine or suspension of at least 10 days was assessed, the identities of officers, as well as the complainants, have to be redacted from these documents. Members of the public can’t even learn how an officer was reprimanded if the internal team found disciplinary action was necessary.
As Sergio Bichao wrote in his report for CentralJersey.com, “Police enjoy a level of workplace confidentiality not granted to private-sector professionals in the state, where complaints and disciplinary rulings against attorneys, plumbers, accountants and hairstylists, all identified by name, are posted on state websites.”

States should assume responsibility
Democratic Assemblyman Peter Barnes III of Middlesex, N.J., believes that all internal affairs investigations of police officers should be handled by county prosecutors or the state Attorney General’s Office, saying “It’s long since past the day where you can say with a straight face that it’s OK to have officers investigate their own. It just isn’t a good system.”
Last year, Barnes authored a bill that would allow the state Attorney General to take over the Edison Police Department, which has reportedly been “rocked by a series of scandals, including allegations that internal affairs officers investigated political enemies of department leaders.” The bill stalled in the state Senate, but Barnes says he plans to push another law allowing the state to investigate police complaints later this month.
“Investigations should not be handled by the agency,” he said. “It should be handled by a larger, impartial bureaucracy,” so that finding the money to pay for such a system can be done if lawmakers believe the issue is “something legitimate that deserves proper focus.”
Rivera agreed with Barnes and said that “Police in general are incapable of investigating their own officers. They do not adequately analyze complaints or use of force incidents. They are woefully under-trained in investigating complaints related to excessive force.”
But Hayducka disagreed that the police departments were not capable of conducting proper investigations of officers’ behavior, and said Barnes’ proposed law has to balance officers’ privacy with the public’s right to know because “the general public doesn’t understand why we do certain things.”
The police chief said that the department receives a lot of complaints, such as a second car was called to a traffic stop or there were multiple officers that responded to a domestic violence call. He said that these complaints are a result of the public’s lack of understanding that there are certain protocols in place to protect the officers.
But Alexander Shalom, a senior staff attorney of the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, says police agencies would benefit if they opened their internal investigation process, reasoning that if many of the complaints are frivolous like Hayducka says, then the public will be able to see that for themselves.
“The public comes into this with skepticism because they are going to complain about an individual in a certain entity to that entity,” Shalom said. “It’s not that if you do well you gain the public’s trust. If you gain the public’s trust you do well. Police will get better cooperation from victims and witnesses.”

DC police facing scrutiny over arrested officers

WASHINGTON — Police officials in the nation’s capital have been facing recent questions about headline-making arrests — not of hardened street criminals but of their own officers.
In a single month, one District of Columbia police officer was accused of taking semi-nude pictures of a 15-year-old runaway and another was charged with running a prostitution operation involving teenage girls. A third was indicted on an attempted murder charge, accused of striking his wife in the head with a light fixture.
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Police say the arrests aren’t representative of the entire department, which includes about 4,500 officers and civilian employees. Still, more than 100 officers in the last five years have been arrested on charges ranging from traffic offenses to murder to money laundering, and the latest instances have increased concerns about training, supervision and accountability. The D.C. Council has set a hearing to discuss the problem and Police Chief Cathy Lanier has met with residents to assuage fears of a misbehaving department.
“We don’t think we have a department out of control, and I think that oftentimes is the image that is portrayed,” she said in an interview, noting that the majority of arrests are not for on-duty corruption but instead involve off-duty misconduct that is harder to police.
The hearing Friday will focus on how applicants are screened and what services are available to prevent alcohol abuse and domestic violence, two prevalent problems, said Councilmember Tommy Wells, who chairs the public safety committee.
“I think it’s extremely important that the public have confidence in our police force and we’ve had three high-profile cases of serious police misconduct, albeit generally off-duty,” Wells said.
Police department figures show the arrests of about 110 police officers, for both on- and off-duty conduct, since 2009. Many of the arrests involved traffic violations or involved cases that were dropped or ended in acquittal.
Among the most serious cases was Richmond Phillips, who received life without parole last year for the slayings of his mistress and baby daughter. Wendel Palmer was convicted last year of sexually abusing a girl who participated in his church choir, while Kenneth Furr received a 14-month sentence for an armed altercation that began after prosecutors say he solicited sex from a transgender prostitute.
Lanier has said many of the arrested officers were brought onto the force during a time of lax hiring standards and wouldn’t be qualified to serve today. She said that in some cases the arbitration process has required the department to rehire officers it fired. She said the department has dramatically tightened its recruitment practices to mandate polygraph exams and that only one of about 25 applicants is now hired.
The department also tracks warning signs like missed commitments and abuse of sick leave. And it requires officers to report off-duty arrests, which Lanier contends can make the numbers look worse than in cities that lack that requirement.
“I feel comfortable that our recruiting process, the background screening we do, is as tight as we can get,” Lanier said at the meeting. “But I also realize that there are people that are on the police department that came through at a time when there was not that strict background (check), and those are the people that we want to make sure that if they are involved in misconduct, that we weed those people out.”
But resident Khadijah Tribble, 42, told the chief she was unconvinced the misconduct was isolated.
“Aren’t these trends troubling and isn’t it worth our due diligence to do a thorough, independent investigation of this trend?” Tribble said in an interview.
Robert Kane, the director of the Drexel University criminal justice program who has studied police misconduct, said the number of arrests wasn’t necessarily shocking for a big-city police department.
At least 43 New York City police officers are known to have been arrested between 2011 and 2013 on charges including gun-running, drunken driving, perjury, a ticket-fixing scam and a cannibalism plot. A Los Angeles police officer was charged with stomping a handcuffed woman who later lost consciousness and died. Dozens of Memphis, Tenn., officers have been arrested in recent years.
Kane said that on-duty police misconduct can be reliably defined, off-duty misbehavior by officers is studied less often.
“We know what factors explain police misconduct, when police officers stop people and extort money from them,” he said. “What do we know about officers who walk into a liquor store when off-duty and rob it at gunpoint for some beer?”
In D.C., the first of the recent arrests was on December 2 when officer Marc Washington was charged with taking semi-nude pictures while on-duty of a teenage runaway who had just returned home. Authorities say after responding to the girl’s apartment, he directed her into her bedroom and told her to undress so he could photograph injuries. He was arrested after the girl alerted her mother, who contacted police. Soon after being released from jail, Washington was dead from an apparent suicide.
The following week brought the off-duty arrest of Linwood Barnhill Jr., a 24-year-veteran who was charged after police came to his apartment and found a 16-year-old girl who had been reported missing. The girl told police Barnhill had photographed her and offered to pay her to have sex with other men, allegations also made by a second teenager. His lawyer says Barnhill never threatened anyone.
Lanier acknowledged the arrests, especially for on-duty conduct, have shaken the department. But she said she hopes the sight of handcuffed officers sends a message to other officers who would break the law.
“We would like the officers to know that if there’s somebody in our midst that is committing criminal conduct and we become aware of it, we will lock them up,” Lanier said. “We don’t need somebody else to lock them up. We will lock you up.”

Three Florida police officers suspended for Justin Bieber escort

MIAMI BEACH, FL -- When he debuted five years ago, Justin Bieber was a mop-haired heartthrob, clean cut and charming. But a series of troubling incidents have put his innocent image at risk, and none more so than his arrest on DUI charges Thursday.
Police say they arrested a bleary-eyed Bieber - smelling of alcohol - after officers saw him drag-racing before dawn on a palm-lined residential street, his yellow Lamborghini traveling at nearly twice the speed limit.
The 19-year-old singer later admitted smoking marijuana, drinking and taking a prescription medication, police say. Unlike previous episodes, this arrest has him facing potential jail time.
Bieber was charged with DUI, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest without violence. His Miami-Dade County jail mug shot showed the singer smiling in a bright red inmate jumpsuit, his hair still stylishly coiffed.
He was arrested with R&B singer Khalil Amir Sharieff, after police say they raced two luxury vehicles down the street at 4:09 a.m., with two other vehicles apparently being used to block off the area.
Police Chief Ray Martinez said the singer was initially not cooperative when the officer pulled him over. Martinez said the singer also had an expired Georgia driver's license.
Police said Bieber was driving the Lamborghini and Sharieff was driving a Ferrari. Both cars were towed. Police say Bieber was clocked at 55 to 60 mph in a 30 mph zone near a high school, youth center, golf course, city firehouse and small apartment buildings.
According to the arrest report, Bieber "had slow deliberate movements" and appeared to be in a stupor when the officer ordered him to exit his vehicle. Bieber was arrested after repeatedly refusing to put his hands on his vehicle so the officer could pat him down to look for weapons, the report said. It says he cursed several times at the officer and demanded to know why he was being arrested. At one point, Bieber said to an officer: "What the f--- did I do, why did you stop me?"
Bieber failed a field sobriety test and was taken to the Miami Beach police station for a Breathalyzer, police said. Results haven't been released.
"I think this case will proceed hopefully as any other case would proceed," said Bieber's attorney, Roy Black, whose other celebrity clients have included Rush Limbaugh and William Kennedy Smith.
Under Florida law, people under the age of 21 are considered driving under the influence if they have a blood-alcohol content of 0.02 percent or more - a level the 5-foot-9, 140-pound star could reach with one drink.
For a first DUI offense, there is no minimum jail sentence and a maximum of six months, a fine of $250 to $500, and 50 hours of community service. For anyone under 21, there is an automatic six-month license suspension.
A Miami-Dade County judge set Bieber's bond at $2,500 on Thursday afternoon. Sharieff's bond was set at $1,000 for a DUI charge.
Bieber left jail about an hour after court, popping through a window of his black SUV in a black hoodie and sunglasses to wave to crowds of reporters and young girls waiting to see him. He reportedly spent far more money at a Miami strip club Monday night, when the King of Diamonds club tweeted that Bieber ordered $75,000 in dollar bills. The club's operator later acknowledged that was an exaggeration, and that the singer only stayed about an hour.
Bieber and his large entourage were escorted to a closed-off section of the club. They enjoyed the dancers and ordered a large amount of bottled water, but no alcoholic beverages were sold to them, said Ricky "Disco Rick" Taylor in a statement.
"He had a lot of fun," Taylor said. "We hope he returns again."
The Canadian-born Bieber was only 15 when his platinum-selling debut "My World" was released. The singer from Ontario had placed second in a local singing contest two years earlier and began posting performances on YouTube, according to his official website. The videos caught the attention of a talent agent and eventually led to a recording contract.
He was positioned as clean-cut and charming - even singing for President Barack Obama and his family at Christmas - but problems began to multiply as he got older.
Bieber has been accused of wrongdoing in California but has never been arrested or charged. He is currently under investigation in a felony vandalism case after a neighbor reported the pop star threw eggs at his house and caused thousands of dollars of damage.
A neighbor had previously accused Bieber of spitting in his face, and a paparazzo called deputies after he said Bieber kicked him, but prosecutors declined to file charges in either instance. He was also accused of reckless driving in his neighborhood, but in October prosecutors refused to seek charges because it was unclear whether Bieber was driving.
His arrest in Miami is unlikely to affect the egg-throwing investigation, which included nearly a dozen detectives searching Bieber's home last week searching for video surveillance and other evidence that could be used to pursue a vandalism charge.
Bieber is also being sued by a former bodyguard who says the singer repeatedly berated him, hit him in the chest and owes him more than $420,000 in overtime and other wages. The case is scheduled to go to trial in Los Angeles next month.
Bieber's arrival in Florida earlier this week also is under investigation. Authorities in the suburban Miami city of Opa-locka are investigating whether the singer was given a police escort when he landed Monday at the Opa-locka Executive Airport.
Police escorts from the airport are not uncommon, but they must follow procedure because they involve city vehicles, Assistant City Manager David Chiverton said. Administrators had not authorized any escort for Bieber in this case.
"There's a procedure," Chiverton said. "These things must be approved, there's a process."
Despite all his legal troubles, the charges against Bieber likely won't put him at risk of being deported or denied entry into the U.S., said immigration attorney Ira Kurzban.

According to U.S. immigration law, authorities do not revoke an individual's visa unless the person has been convicted of a violent crime or has been sentenced to more than one year imprisonment.