Police Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on police corruption
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A year ago, in a bureaucratic shift that went unremarked in the somnolent days before Michael Brown was shot dead in Ferguson, Missouri, the US government admitted a disturbing failure. The top crime-data experts in Washington had determined that they could not properly count how many Americans die each year at the hands of police. For the better part of a decade, a specialized team of statisticians within the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)... had been collecting data [on] any death, of anyone, that happened in the presence of a local or state law enforcement officer. In March of last year, the bureau pulled the plug on the project. As revelations about patterns of abuse in Ferguson and beyond rattle the US criminal justice system from bottom to top, calls for a national police-killings database have once again gained urgency. But an awareness of what has been tried - and failed - remains elusive. A detailed look at what went wrong with the arrest-related deaths count reveals challenges that run deeper than the unwillingness of local police departments to file a report. From 2003 to 2009, plus 2011, the FBI counted an average of 383 "justifiable homicides by law enforcement" each year. The actual number, as estimated by the BJS study, was closer to 928.
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A powerful new surveillance tool being adopted by police departments across the country comes with an unusual requirement: To buy it, law enforcement officials must sign a nondisclosure agreement preventing them from saying almost anything about the technology. Any disclosure about the technology, which tracks cellphones and is often called StingRay, could allow criminals and terrorists to circumvent it, the F.B.I. has said in an affidavit. But the tool is adopted in such secrecy that communities are not always sure what they are buying or whether the technology could raise serious privacy concerns. What has opponents particularly concerned about StingRay is that the technology, unlike other phone surveillance methods, can also scan all the cellphones in the area where it is being used, not just the target phone. “It’s scanning the area. What is the government doing with that information?” said Linda Lye, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, which in 2013 sued the Justice Department to force it to disclose more about the technology. In November, in a response to the lawsuit, the government said it had asked the courts to allow the technology to capture content, not just identify subscriber location.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the erosion of privacy rights from reliable major media sources.
Taser International, the stun-gun maker emerging as a leading supplier of body cameras for police, has cultivated financial ties to police chiefs whose departments have bought the recording devices. Taser is covering airfare and hotel stays for police chiefs who speak at promotional conferences. It is also hiring recently retired chiefs as consultants, sometimes just months after their cities signed contracts with Taser. The relationships raise questions of whether chiefs are acting in the best interests of the taxpayers in their dealings with Scottsdale, Arizona-based Taser, whose contracts for cameras and storage systems for the video can run into the millions of dollars. As the police chief in Fort Worth, Texas, successfully pushed for the signing of a major contract with Taser before a company quarterly sales deadline, he wrote a Taser representative in an email, "Someone should give me a raise." City officials and rival companies are raising concerns about police chiefs' ties to Taser. Charlie Luke, a Salt Lake City councilman ... said he was surprised when he learned last year that the city's police department had purchased Taser cameras using surplus money, bypassing the standard bidding process and City Council approval. The department declined to say how much it has spent acquiring 295 body cameras. Taser's competitors ... complain they have been shut out by cities awarding no-bid contracts to Taser and are being put at a disadvantage by requests for proposals that appear tailored to Taser's products.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Child sex grooming gangs have avoided prosecution due to a failure by one of the country’s biggest police forces to pursue claims against them. Greater Manchester police (GMP), the third largest force in England and Wales, has been accused by serving and former detectives of attempting to cover up failings to tackle gangs of Asian men who were abusing young girls. Responding to the claims, GMP chief constable Sir Peter Fahy [said] that officers had developed a “mindset” that victims in sexual abuse cases were “unreliable” but, while this had since changed, it was still present within the courts. The claims against GMP come just months after a damning report found at least 1,400 children were subjected to sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, with “blatant” collective failings by the council and South Yorkshire police blamed for the abuse. Another GMP detective, who has remained anonymous ... revealed there was reluctance by senior officers to investigate sexual abuse claims despite her warnings the problem was spiralling out of control. In a letter seen by ITV News, one serving officer claims there has been a “cover-up” and an internal report commissioned two years ago has been “re-written on nine separate occasions”. A statement from the police force said: “Considerable resources are now invested in a number of ongoing investigations and we have already made clear that further arrests will be made.
Note: Explore powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about sexual abuse scandals and government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Sometime after 9/11 strange stories began to emerge about small town police agencies all over the nation receiving grants from the newly formed Department of Homeland Security to buy all kinds of high-tech equipment to fight “terrorism.” As Radley Balko thoroughly documented in his book Rise of the Warrior Cop the military industrial complex has created a new industry: the police industrial complex. Since 9/11 the United States has been spending vast sums of money through DHS to outfit the state and local authorities with surveillance and military gear ostensibly to fight the terrorist threat at home. What we have been seeing in Ferguson, Missouri, these past few days is largely a result of that program — and an entire industry has grown up around it. In less than a month a group of militarized police equipment vendors across the nation will be gathering for an annual confab called “Urban Shield” in Oakland, California. It features dozens of sponsors, from the Department of Homeland Security and police agencies all over the country to such vendors as Armored Mobility Inc. The Department of Homeland Security disburses somewhere in the vicinity of $3 billion a year for this sort of thing. Add in the loot that’s legally appropriated by police agencies in the war on drugs and you have a massive incentive to turn the streets of Ferguson, Missouri ... into a scene that looks more like the siege of Fallujah. We’ve been spending billions of taxpayer dollars for decades to turn the streets of urban America into a war zone at the merest hint of dissent. And now it’s here.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A high-ranking friend of Cyril Smith tried to warn off police investigating claims that he had been sexually abusing boys, a report reveals. A senior detective investigating the claims against Smith said a magistrate made "veiled threats" to officers. The detective's 1970 report to the Chief Constable of Lancashire said there was "prima facie" evidence of the MP's guilt. The Director of Public Prosecution later advised against prosecuting. The 14-page report by the detective superintendent ... said that Smith would have been "at the mercy of a competent counsel", but also reported that the MP's magistrate "buddy" had warned of "unfortunate repercussions for the police force and the town of Rochdale" should he be prosecuted. Smith was interviewed by the detective superintendent, who reported to former chief constable William Palfrey that "it seems impossible to excuse [Smith's] conduct". "Over a considerable period of time, while sheltering beneath a veneer of responsibility, he has used his unique position to indulge in a series of indecent episodes with young boys towards whom he had a special responsibility," he wrote. He said Smith was "most unimpressive during my interview with him". The officer said: "He had difficulty in articulating and even the stock replies he proffered could only be obtained after repeated promptings from his solicitor. "Were he ever to be placed in the witness box, he would be at the mercy of any competent counsel. Prima facie, he appears guilty of numerous offences of indecent assault." The officer reported that he interviewed the magistrate who told him in his "personal opinion" he "sincerely hoped that this matter is not prosecuted before the court".
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse news articles from reliable major media sources.
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.
Note: For more along these lines, see this deeply revealing NPR report about The Pentagon's massive Program 1033 to widely distribute military hardware to domestic police forces.
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.
Note: For lots more on the militarization of US police from reliable sources, click here and here.
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.
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