Police Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Police Corruption News Articles in Media
The Supreme Court unequivocally ruled [on June 25] that privacy rights are not sacrificed to 21st-century technology, saying unanimously that police generally must obtain a warrant before searching the cellphone of someone they arrest. While the specific protection may not affect the average American, the court made a bold statement that the same concern about government prying that animated the nation’s birth applies to the abundance of digital information about an individual in the modern world. Modern cellphones “hold for many Americans the privacies of life,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for a court united behind the opinion’s expansive language. “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.” Roberts said that in most cases when police seize a cellphone from a suspect, the answer is simple: “Get a warrant.” The ruling has no impact on National Security Agency data-collection programs revealed in the past year or law enforcement use of aggregated digital information. But lawyers involved in those issues said the emphatic declarations signaled the justices’ interest in the dangers of government overreach. Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University, said the decision is more than simply a warning to government officials employing high-tech forms of government surveillance. “This is a cruise missile across the bow of lawyers defending warrantless search programs,” Vladeck said.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing privacy news articles from reliable major media sources.
The American Civil Liberties Union has released the results of its year-long study of police militarization. The study looked at 800 deployments of SWAT teams among 20 local, state and federal police agencies in 2011-2012. Among the notable findings: 62 percent of the SWAT raids surveyed were to conduct searches for drugs. Just 7 percent of SWAT raids were “for hostage, barricade, or active shooter scenarios.” In at least 36 percent of the SWAT raids studied, no contraband of any kind was found. This figure could be as high as 65 percent. SWAT tactics are disproportionately used on people of color. 65 percent of SWAT deployments resulted in some sort of forced entry into a private home. In over half those raids, the police failed to find any sort of weapon, the presence of which was cited as the reason for the violent tactics. SWAT teams today are overwhelmingly used to investigate people who are still only suspected of committing nonviolent consensual crimes. And because these raids often involve forced entry into homes, often at night, they’re actually creating violence and confrontation where there was none before. In short, we have police departments that are increasingly using violent, confrontational tactics to break into private homes for increasingly low-level crimes, and they seem to believe that the public has no right to know the specifics of when, how and why those tactics are being used.
The number of law-enforcement officers killed by firearms in 2013 fell to levels not seen since the 19th century, according to a [new] report. The annual report from the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund also found that deaths in the line of duty generally fell by 8 percent and were the fewest since 1959. According to the report, 111 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty nationwide this past year, compared to 121 in 2012. Forty-six officers were killed in traffic related accidents, and 33 were killed by firearms. The number of firearms deaths fell 33 percent in 2013 and was the lowest since 1887. The report credits an increased culture of safety among law-enforcement agencies, including increased use of bulletproof vests, that followed a spike in law-enforcement deaths in 2011. Since 2011, officer fatalities across all categories have decreased by 34 percent, and firearms deaths have dropped by 54 percent. Fourteen officers died from heart attacks that occurred while performing their duties.
Note: Violent crime rates have dropped dramatically in the last 20 years, which is one of the least reported good news stories. For more on this, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
If you've ever been pulled over by a police officer for not wearing a seat belt, there's a decent chance the officer also wasn't buckled up either. While 86 percent of Americans wear seat belts, an upcoming study that will be published by California's Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training estimates that roughly half of law enforcement officers don't wear them. With traffic-related fatalities the leading cause of death of officers on duty, departments nationwide are buckling down to get officers to buckle up. In 14 of the past 15 years, it wasn't a shooting but a traffic incident that was the leading cause of officer deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of the 733 law enforcement officers killed in a vehicle accident from 1980 through 2008, 42 percent weren't wearing seat belts. "This is such low-hanging fruit. This fruit is on the ground almost," said Police Commission president Steve Soboroff.
A small organic farm in Arlington, Texas, was the target of a massive police action ... that included aerial surveillance, a SWAT raid and a 10-hour search. Members of the local police raiding party had a search warrant for marijuana plants, which they failed to find at the Garden of Eden farm. Farm owners and residents who live on the property [said] that the real reason for the law enforcement exercise appears to have been code enforcement. Local authorities had cited the Garden of Eden in recent weeks for code violations, including "grass that was too tall, bushes growing too close to the street, a couch and piano in the yard, chopped wood that was not properly stacked, a piece of siding that was missing from the side of the house, and generally unclean premises." The raid on the Garden of Eden farm appears to be the latest example of police departments using SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics to enforce less serious crimes. In recent years, SWAT teams have been called out to perform regulatory alcohol inspections at a bar in Manassas Park, Va.; to raid bars for suspected underage drinking in New Haven, Conn.; to perform license inspections at barbershops in Orlando, Fla.; and to raid a gay bar in Atlanta where police suspected customers and employees were having public sex. A federal investigation later found that Atlanta police had made up the allegations of public sex. Other raids have been conducted on food co-ops and Amish farms suspected of selling unpasteurized milk products. The federal government has for years been conducting raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized them.
Note: The author of this report, Radley Balko, is a senior writer and investigative reporter for The Huffington Post. He is also the author of the new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces. For an ABC News report on this disturbing raid, click here.
Four Central Intelligence Agency officers were embedded with the New York Police Department in the decade after Sept. 11, 2001, including one official who helped conduct surveillance operations in the United States, according to a newly disclosed C.I.A. inspector general’s report. That officer believed there were “no limitations” on his activities, the report said, because he was on an unpaid leave of absence, and thus exempt from the prohibition against domestic spying by members of the C.I.A. Another embedded C.I.A. analyst — who was on its payroll — said he was given “unfiltered” police reports that included information unrelated to foreign intelligence, the C.I.A. report said. The once-classified review, completed by the C.I.A. inspector general in December 2011, found that the four agency analysts — more than had previously been known — were assigned at various times to “provide direct assistance” to the local police. The report also raised a series of concerns about the relationship between the two organizations. The C.I.A. inspector general, David B. Buckley, found that the collaboration was fraught with “irregular personnel practices,” that it lacked “formal documentation in some important instances,” and that “there was inadequate direction and control” by agency supervisors. The declassification of the executive summary, in response to a Freedom of Information Act suit, comes ... comes amid lawsuits against the Police Department alleging unconstitutional surveillance of Muslim communities and mosques in New Jersey and New York.
Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Police failures over five decades allowed Jimmy Savile, one of Britain’s best-known television personalities, to escape investigation for a lifetime of sex offenses dating back to the early 1960s. [A] report detailed poor police procedures, missed opportunities and an unwillingness to pursue accusations against one of the country’s biggest celebrities, whose renown also inhibited victims from coming forward. According to Tuesday’s report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, which reviews police forces and policing in England and Wales and answers to Parliament, the police were first alerted to accusations of sex crimes by Mr. Savile in Cheshire in 1963. On that occasion, a male reported to a local police officer that Mr. Savile had raped him the day before, but was told to “forget about it” and “move on,” and no official crime report was made or investigation undertaken, the inspectorate’s report said. During Mr. Savile’s lifetime, the inspectorate found, the police recorded five accusations of criminal conduct and two further pieces of intelligence about his behavior; the earliest of these formal entries in the records dated from 1964. “We have not found evidence to suggest that any investigation was carried out as a result of that intelligence,” the document said. Since Mr. Savile’s death in 2011, more than 600 people have come forward with information about him, including 450 who have made specific accusations.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse scandals, click here.
U.S. auditors have concluded that more than $200 million was wasted on a program to train Iraqi police that Baghdad says is neither needed nor wanted. The Police Development Program -- which was drawn up to be the single largest State Department program in the world -- was envisioned as a five-year, multibillion-dollar push to train security forces after the U.S. military left last December. But Iraqi political leaders, anxious to keep their distance from the Americans, were unenthusiastic. A report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which was released [on July 30], found that the American Embassy in Baghdad never got a written commitment from Iraq to participate. Now, facing what the report called Baghdad's "disinterest" in the project, the embassy is gutting what was supposed to be the centerpiece of ongoing U.S. training efforts in Iraq. According to the report, the embassy plans to turn over the $108 million Baghdad Police College Annex to Iraqis by the end of the year and will stop training at a $98 million site at the U.S. consulate in the southern city of Basra. "A major lesson learned from Iraq is that host country buy-in to proposed programs is essential to the long-term success of relief and reconstruction activities. The (Police Development Program) experience powerfully underscores that point," auditors wrote in a 41-page summary of their inspection. An advance copy was provided to The Associated Press. "An overarching question is why expensive construction was initiated at both of these facilities without a formal programmatic agreement in place at the time construction began," the report stated.
Note: Have you noticed how often and how easily the US government throws around and wastes hundreds of millions of dollars lately? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
If terrorists ever target Fargo, N.D., the local police will be ready. In recent years, they have bought bomb-detection robots, digital communications equipment and Kevlar helmets, like those used by soldiers in foreign wars. For local siege situations requiring real firepower, police there can use a new $256,643 armored truck, complete with a rotating turret. Until that day, however, the menacing truck is mostly used for training runs and appearances at the annual Fargo picnic, where it’s been displayed near a children’s bounce house. Fargo, like thousands of other communities in every state, has been on a gear-buying spree with the aid of more than $34 billion in federal government grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The federal grant spending, awarded with little oversight from Washington, has fueled a rapid, broad transformation of police operations in Fargo and in departments across the country. More than ever before, police rely on quasi-military tactics and equipment. A review of records from 41 states obtained through open-government requests, and interviews with more than two-dozen current and former police officials and terrorism experts, shows police departments around the U.S. have transformed into small army-like forces. Many police, including beat cops, now routinely carry assault rifles.
Armed with a search warrant, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went looking for six missing cows on the Brossart family farm in [eastern North Dakota]. He called in reinforcements from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties. He also called in a Predator B drone. Sophisticated sensors under the nose helped pinpoint the three suspects and showed they were unarmed. Police rushed in and made the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator, the spy drone that has helped revolutionize modern warfare. But that was just the start. Local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators for other domestic investigations, officials said. The drones belong to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which operates eight Predators on the country's northern and southwestern borders to search for illegal immigrants and smugglers. The previously unreported use of its drones to assist local, state and federal law enforcement has occurred without any public acknowledgment or debate.
Note: "Looking for six cows," the Sheriff called in "a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties. He also called in a Predator B drone." Does that sound like a reasonable response to the problem of missing cows? Or could there be an agenda to establish aerial surveillance by drones as the norm in the US?
Police officer perjury in court to justify illegal dope searches is commonplace. One of the dirty little not-so-secret secrets of the criminal justice system is undercover narcotics officers intentionally lying under oath. It is a perversion of the American justice system that strikes directly at the rule of law. Yet it is the routine way of doing business in courtrooms everywhere in America. Why do police ... show contempt for the law by systematically perjuring themselves? The first reason is because they get away with it. They know that in a swearing match between a drug defendant and a police officer, the judge always rules in favor of the officer. Another reason is the nature of most drug cases and the likely type of person involved. The defendant is poor, uneducated, frequently a minority, with a criminal record, and he does have drugs. But the main reason is that the job of these cops is chasing drugs. Their professional advancement depends on nabbing dopers. It's reinforced by San Francisco's own sorry history of infamous undercover narcotics officers promoted to top levels in the department despite contempt for the law shown by bullying, brutality and perjury in carrying out illegal searches and arrests. So the modern narcotics officer is just following a well-worn path.
Note: For lots more on government corruption, click here.
Can you invent a realistic scenario wherein you shoot a man dead; justify it with a story witnesses contradict; confiscate any surveillance video; claim a "glitch" makes it impossible to show the video to anyone else – all while enjoying the support of state legal apparatus? Police in Las Vegas did that last month, after they shot Erik Scott seven times as he exited a Costco. Cops say Scott pointed a gun at them; witnesses say Scott's licensed weapon was in a concealed holster, and five of those seven shots hit him in the back. The confiscated surveillance video might settle the question; too bad about that glitch. At least Costco's not in trouble for recording police actions. That's illegal in 12 states, even (or especially) when you record police misbehaviour. Even in states where it's allowed, officers are wont to ignore the law and go after photographers anyway, and they can always record you with their own dashboard cams. Whenever Tasers are issued, they're used with shocking (sorry) frequency. With guns, police at least have to argue "Oops, I thought he was dangerous", after shooting you; Tasers don't even require that. In 2004, Malaika Brooks, then seven months pregnant, was stopped for speeding in Seattle. She refused to sign the ticket – a non-arrestable misdemeanour at the time, though she was arrested for it anyway – and was Tasered three times. Last March, a federal appeals court ruled that the Tasering, which left permanent scars, was not "excessive force" since it only inflicted "temporary, localised pain".
Note: The short video in this article of a mother being tazed for no apparent reason is particularly revealing.
*Lulu Maxwell, 17, Grade 12, Rosedale Heights: Maxwell and a friend were hanging around near Queen and Dufferin Sts. at a convergence centre for protesters on Sunday afternoon when police started making arrests. “My friend was blowing bubbles and I was scribbling peace signs on the sidewalk.” Within minutes, her friend was grabbed and Lulu was put up against a wall. Her backpack was searched and Lulu says an officer said she could be charged with possession of dangerous weapons “because I had eyewash solution in my backpack.” She was taken to the detention centre and almost 12 hours after her arrest was allowed to call her parents. She was released, without charges being laid, at 5 a. m. *Erin Boynton, 24, London, Ont. She was arrested at The Esplanade early Sunday morning after police boxed dozens of protesters in. “I was with a protest marching peacefully down Yonge from Dundas Square,” she said. “When the cops came at us, many people scattered and those who were left in front of the (Novotel) got arrested.” She said police came from all sides and “squished us in. They didn’t give us a warning to leave…. just announced that we are arresting all of you.” She said a lot of people at the detention centre were innocent bystanders. “The police violated all our rights . . . there was police brutality. Quite frankly, it was quite disgusting.” Boynton wasn’t charged.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on mounting threats to civil liberties, click here.
Protesters marching at the G20 summit next month may be greeted with ear-splitting “sound cannons,” the latest Toronto police tool for quelling unruly crowds. Toronto police have purchased four long-range acoustic devices (LRAD) — often referred to as sound guns or sound cannons — for the upcoming June 26-27 summit. Purchased this month, the LRADs will become a permanent fixture in Toronto law enforcement, said police spokesperson Const. Wendy Drummond. “They were purchased as part of the G20 budget process,” Drummond said. “It’s definitely going to be beneficial for us, not only in the G20 but in any future large gatherings.” But critics say they are really non-lethal weapons and infringe upon protester rights. LRADs can emit ear-blasting sounds so high in frequency they transcend normal thresholds of pain. LRADs are being increasingly employed as a crowd-control device and at last year’s G20 summit in Pittsburgh, police used them on protesters before deploying tear gas and stun grenades. The acoustical devices can also be pointed at specific targets, transmitting a “laser” of sound that is less aggravating for anyone standing outside its beam.
Note: This is the sort of thing on which the $1 billion in security preparations for the upcoming G8 and G20 meetings is being spent. For revealing reports from reliable sources on the grave risks posed by so called "non-lethal" weapons, click here.
Simon Glik, a lawyer, was walking down Tremont Street in Boston when he saw three police officers struggling to extract a plastic bag from a teenager’s mouth. Thinking their force seemed excessive for a drug arrest, Glik pulled out his cellphone and began recording. Within minutes, Glik said, he was in handcuffs. The charge? Illegal electronic surveillance. Civil libertarians call [such arrests] a troubling misuse of the state’s wiretapping law to stifle the kind of street-level oversight that cellphone and video technology make possible. “The police apparently do not want witnesses to what they do in public,’’ said Sarah Wunsch, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. With the advent of media-sharing websites like Facebook and YouTube, the practice of openly recording police activity has become commonplace. But in Massachusetts and other states, the arrests of street videographers, whether they use cellphones or other video technology, offers a dramatic illustration of the collision between new technology and policing practices. Police are not used to ceding power, and these tools are forcing them to cede power.
Note: For lots more on increasing government and corporate threats to civil liberties, click here.
The Maryland State Police surveillance of advocacy groups was far more extensive than previously acknowledged, with records showing that troopers monitored -- and labeled as terrorists -- activists devoted to such wide-ranging causes as promoting human rights and establishing bike lanes. Intelligence officers created a voluminous file on Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, calling the group a "security threat" because of concerns that members would disrupt the circus. Angry consumers fighting a 72 percent electricity rate increase in 2006 were targeted. The DC Anti-War Network, which opposes the Iraq war, was designated a white supremacist group, without explanation. One of the possible "crimes" in the file police opened on Amnesty International, a world-renowned human rights group: "civil rights." The [surveillance] ... confirmed the fears of civil liberties groups that have warned about domestic spying since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "No one was thinking this was al-Qaeda," said Stephen H. Sachs, a former U.S. attorney and state attorney general appointed by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to review the case. "But 9/11 created an atmosphere where cutting corners was easier." Maryland has not been alone. The FBI and police departments in several cities, including Denver in 2002 and New York before the 2004 Republican National Convention, also responded to [dissent] by spying on activists.
Note: For wide coverage from reliable sources of disturbing threats to civil liberties, click here.
Not all stops are created equal. Sometimes the police pull people over for traffic-safety reasons – for speeding or running a red light, for example. More nefariously, recent reports ... have shown that police departments ... have used traffic enforcement to generate fines to fund local government. But [another] kind of stop – an investigatory or pretext stop – uses the traffic laws to uncover more serious crime. Such stops (and subsequent searches) exploded in popularity in the 1990s. Pretext stops are responsible for most of the racial disparity in traffic stops in the US. Political scientist Charles Epp found that when the police are actually enforcing traffic safety laws, they tend to do so without regard to race. But when they are carrying out investigatory or pretext stops, they are much more likely to stop black and other minority drivers: black people are about two-and-a-half times more likely to be pulled over for pretext stops. The damage from a pretext stop – of a driver, a pedestrian, a loiterer – doesn’t end with the stop itself. The pretext-stop regime ... propels disparities in the rest of the criminal justice system. By ... 2000, we had been steadily, incrementally, building the punitive criminal justice system we still live with today. Most of the pieces – the aggressive prosecutions and policing, longer sentences, prison-building, collateral consequences of convictions such as losing the right to vote or the chance to live in public housing – had been put in place. The years since [have] been primarily dedicated to maintaining ... that basic architecture.
Was it coincidence that a mass raid on two Memphis homes occurred on the first day of a trial in which police face claims of illegal surveillance of Black Lives Matter campaigners? More than two dozen police cars, most unmarked, blocked off the street before officers raided two homes. Witnesses described more than 50 heavily armed officers: local police, sheriff’s deputies, some from other agencies. Many shielded their identity with black ski masks. Minutes away, at a downtown courthouse, the police department was entering its first day on trial. The case, brought by activists and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), alleges the Memphis police department (MPD) engaged in illegal surveillance of activists involved with Black Lives Matter and Fight for 15, including “catfishing” them with fake social media accounts. The homes raided belonged to the uncle and grandmother of ... one of the targets of the alleged police spying. Following the raids, activists reported police searching a community garden, tailing activists in unmarked cars, and ... pulling over a vehicle in which one passenger was an ACLU lawyer representing the activists. The lawyer was briefly detained, in handcuffs. A federal judge is currently considering his verdict on the ACLU lawsuit. He has already ruled that the city violated a federal consent decree barring the city from engaging in political surveillance.
Note: Memphis police were recently reported to have systematically spied on community activists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
As has happened before in Florida, "stand your ground" is being appropriately scrutinized in the aftermath of the shocking shooting death of Markeis McGlockton, an unarmed black man who was gunned down for trying to protect his family - including his young children - in a dispute over a handicapped parking space. The local sheriff concluded that shooter Michael Drejka pulled the trigger because he was in fear, and therefore stand your ground applied. According to this inexplicable interpretation of the law, Drejka needed to defend himself from a man who ... was backing away from the confrontation. Florida’s stand your ground law emerged as an outgrowth of the traditional “castle doctrine,” which allowed individuals to defend their home (or “castle”) with whatever force was necessary. Somehow, that concept has been warped into a virtual get-out-of-jail-free card that is essentially a license to kill. Five members of Congress, including three U.S. senators, have called for the Department of Justice to investigate why stand-your-ground immunity was extended to a man carrying a concealed weapon who angrily approached a car ... and created a confrontation. Had McGlockton been the one to pull out a gun, there is no way stand your ground would have been extended to him, a man of color. The Journal of the American Medical Association has reported a significant increase in unlawful homicides since stand your ground was enacted in Florida in 2005.
Note: Watch the disturbing video of the incident at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
State police have detained and disarmed the entire police force of a town in western Mexico where a mayoral candidate was killed on Thursday. Video of the detention aired by local media showed uniformed officers hitting each other as gunshots go off in the background. The Michoacán state police force said, "All the officers of the Ocampo municipal police force were detained for an internal affairs investigation." The state police department did not directly tie the detentions to the ... killing of Fernando Ángeles Juárez, the mayoral candidate for the leftist Democratic Revolution Party. He was killed in Ocampo, Michoacán. Ángeles Juárez is just one of at least 18 candidates killed so far in campaigns leading up to the July 1 elections. Just last week, another mayoral candidate was also gunned down in the conflict-ridden rural town of Aguililla in Michoacán. Almost all of the 18 candidates killed across the country so far have been running for local posts in the July 1 elections, which will also decide the presidency, governorships and Congress. Other politicians who were considering a run have been killed before they could even register as candidates. [Mexican security analyst Alejandro] Hope noted, “there has been a breakdown in the management of disputes,” largely in rural areas, where turf wars between rival gangs have heated up, even as the government has become overextended and less able to intervene.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
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