Police Corruption News StoriesExcerpts of Key Police Corruption News Stories in Major Media
This comprehensive list of police corruption news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
Local police departments will soon have access to grenade launchers, high-caliber weapons and other surplus U.S. military gear after President Donald Trump signed an order Monday reviving a Pentagon program that civil rights groups say inflames tensions between officers and their communities. President Barack Obama had sharply curtailed the program in 2015. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky called the plan a dangerous expansion of government power that would "subsidize militarization." Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina said the program "incentivizes the militarization of local police departments, as they are encouraged to grab more equipment than they need." Congress authorized the program in 1990, allowing police to receive surplus equipment to help fight drugs, which then gave way to the fight against terrorism. Agencies requested and received everything from camouflage uniforms and bullet-proof vests to firearms, bayonets and drones. More than $5 billion in surplus equipment has been given to agencies. The new order largely lets local agencies set their own controls and rules governing use of the equipment. The plan to restore access to military equipment comes after [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions has said he intends to pull back on court-enforceable plans to resolve allegations of pervasive civil rights violations. Sessions ... has also revived a widely criticized form of asset forfeiture that lets local police seize cash and property with federal help.
Note: The Pentagon's 1033 program now being revived led to what the ACLU called an "excessive militarization of American policing". The civil asset forfeiture program now being revived was widely criticized because it made it easy for corrupt police to steal money and property from poor people and seize private assets based on departmental "wish lists".
Body camera video produced Wednesday appears to show a Baltimore police officer plant drugs in late January, an act that later resulted in a criminal arrest. The 90-second Baltimore police body camera video, which was made public by the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, belongs to Officer Richard Pinheiro, who appears to hide and later "find" drugs among trash strewn on a plot next to a Baltimore residence. Two other officers appear to be with the Pinheiro as he hides the drugs. "This is a serious allegation of police misconduct," Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said. "There is nothing that deteriorates the trust of any community more than thinking for one second that police officers ... would plant evidence of crimes on citizens." One of the officers has been suspended, and two others have been placed on "nonpublic contact" administrative duty, Davis told reporters. Pinheiro is a witness in about 53 active cases, and he was even called to testify in a case earlier this week, the Public Defender's Office said. The new video has led to that case's dismissal after an assistant public defender forwarded it to the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office. Debbie Katz Levi, head of the Baltimore Public Defender's Special Litigation Section, said that Baltimore police have long had a problem with officer misconduct but that the city does not hold individuals accountable. "We have long supported the use of police body cameras to help identify police misconduct, but such footage is meaningless if prosecutors continue to rely on these officers, especially if they do so without disclosing their bad acts," Levi said.
Note: And how many thousands of times over the years has this been done and not recorded on video? Watch this video at the NBC link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A couple in the town of Mesquite, [Texas] have spent the past several years trying to learn how and why their son died after being arrested by local police. [Kathy Dyer was told that her son] Graham had been out of his mind on LSD and had bitten one of the officers while they were taking him into custody, [and that] hed seriously injured himself inside the police cruiser as they drove to the jail. After the funeral, his parents noticed items in the hospital records that didnt match the police account the night he was arrested. So they asked police department for records. They were denied. Under state law, police agencies arent required to turn over records from investigations that dont result in a conviction. Because Graham is dead, there would be no conviction. Grahams parents did finally get ... videos [of the arrest]. They showed clear discrepancies between how her son died and how local police claim he died. He was Tasered repeatedly, including in the testicles, and put in a restraint chair. Even after Graham showed signs of distress, police waited more than two hours to call an ambulance. Before they had obtained the video, the Dyers had filed a complaint in federal court. It was quickly dismissed for being too vague. After the videos, a federal ... judge allowed the lawsuit to go forward. This problem isnt limited to Texas. Law enforcement agencies know that federal courts require specificity in these types of lawsuits. So theres a strong incentive to be as stingy with information as possible.
If domestic abuse is one of the most underreported crimes, domestic abuse by police officers is virtually an invisible one. It is frighteningly difficult to track or prevent - and it has escaped Americas most recent awakening to the many ways in which some police misuse their considerable powers. It is nearly impossible to calculate the frequency of domestic crimes committed by police - not least because victims are often reluctant to seek help from their abusers colleagues. Courts can be perilous to navigate, too, since police intimately understand their workings and often have relationships with prosecutors and judges. Police are also some of the only people who know the confidential locations of shelters. Diane Wetendorf, a domestic violence counselor who wrote a handbook for women whose abusers work in law enforcement, believes they are among the most vulnerable victims in the country. Jonathan Blanks, a Cato Institute researcher who publishes a daily roundup of police misconduct, said that in the thousands of news reports he has compiled, domestic violence is the most common violent crime for which police officers are arrested. And yet most of the arrested officers appear to keep their jobs. An ABC 7 investigation this February found that nine of every 10 domestic violence allegations made against Chicago police officers by spouses or children resulted in no disciplinary action.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper says in his book To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America's Police that policing is in crisis. He says more emphasis needs to be put on community policing. "Policing is broken. Tragically, it has been broken from the very beginning of the institution. It has evolved as a paramilitary, bureaucratic, organizational arrangement that distances police officers from the communities they've been sworn to protect and serve," [said Stamper]. "We've got to find a way to build trust. And that's not going to happen as a result of some cosmetic public relations approach. The ... problem, I think, is that police officers in the United States believe that they must maintain control from beginning to end of every single contact they make. They're taught that by their culture. In some cases, they're taught that in the police academy. We've also militarized American law enforcement beyond all measure. The drug [war] has contributed dramatically to the militarization of policing. If you're engaged in a war, you have to have an enemy. You also have to have propaganda. You don't fight wars without enemies and propaganda. And so we've taught our cops that they're on the front lines of an occupational force. And I would argue that they lose control when they embrace that attitude.
Note: Watch an inspiring four-minute video of this courageous man. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The plan was ambitious: a sting operation to take on some of the nations most dangerous drug organizations. Posing as money launderers, the [Bal Harbour police and the sheriff's office of Glades County] became unlikely allies in a task force that took in more than $55.6 million from drug cartels and other criminal groups, while traveling across the country ... and frequently staying at luxury hotels. By the time it ended in late 2012, the Tri-County Task Force made no arrests or major drug seizures. For their role, the police laundered the money through hundreds of bank accounts - taking at least $1.7 million for themselves for brokering the deals - then returned the rest to the same criminal groups selling drugs in U.S. cities. The 12-member task force drew the attention of the Department of Justice ... in an investigation that found Bal Harbour misspent money from seizing cars and cash to pay for police salaries, leading to the resignation of Police Chief Tom Hunker in 2013. They also began withdrawing large amounts of cash ... without filing any documents to show how the money was spent. The Herald found that officers took out $547,000. Auditors have turned up [an additional] $800,000 [that was withdrawn] with no supporting records. The officers [also] began sending millions to banks overseas ... in laundering deals without alerting the DEA. Task force members said the total amount they laundered was $56 million, but records now being examined by auditors show the number was far higher - possibly $83 million.
Note: This is a summary of part one of a five part series which shows just how easily police, lawyers, and politician can be corrupted by big money. Explore other parts of this excellent series on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Jose Charles was dazed, bleeding from his head and surrounded by police. His mother had gone to take one of the 15-year-olds siblings to the bathroom at a Fourth of July celebration in Greensboro, N.C. - and returned to find an officers hand around Joses neck. Police charged Jose with four crimes, including attacking an officer. The teenager and his mother say police slammed and choked him without provocation. In a month, the courts interpretation of the incident could determine Joses fate. Body camera footage from several officers who were at the scene of the encounter is sitting ... where almost no one can see it. Standing in the way of clarity and transparency, critics say, is a new North Carolina law that makes it more difficult than ever to view recordings of controversial interactions between police and members of the public. The law requires anyone who wants to see police body camera footage to pay a fee and plead their case to a Superior Court judge. The law gives an inordinate amount of power to prosecutors. Jose Charless mom, Tamara Figueroa ... said [her son] suffers from schizoaffective disorder. She said prosecutors have told her that if Jose doesnt plead guilty to assault, theyll ask a judge to send him to a [facility] which Figueroa calls a kiddie jail, unequipped to treat his mental illness. The video could change public perception and her sons fate, Figueroa said: She has seen the footage and remains adamant that her son didnt assault a police officer.
Undercover officers in the New York police department infiltrated small groups of Black Lives Matter activists and gained access to their text messages, according to newly released NYPD documents obtained by the Guardian. The records, produced in response to a freedom of information lawsuit ... provide the most detailed picture yet of the sweeping scope of NYPD surveillance during mass protests over the death of Eric Garner in 2014 and 2015. Lawyers said the new documents raised questions about NYPD compliance with city rules. The documents, mostly emails between undercover officers and other NYPD officials, follow other disclosures that the NYPD regularly filmed Black Lives Matter activists and sent undercover personnel to protests. In one email, an official notes that an undercover officer is embedded within a group of seven protesters on their way to Grand Central Station. This intimate access appears to have helped police pass as trusted organizers and extract information about demonstrations. In other emails, officers share the locations of individual protesters at particular times. Throughout the emails, the NYPDs undercover sources provide little indication of any unlawful activity. The documents uniformly show no crime occurring, but NYPD had undercovers inside the protests for months on end as if they were al-Qaida, said David Thompson, an attorney of Stecklow & Thompson, who helped sue for the records.
Note: It was reported in 2015 that the Department of Homeland Security monitored the Black Lives Matter movement closely enough to produce "minute-by-minute reports on protesters movements". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was convicted Wednesday of obstructing an FBI investigation into corrupt and violent guards who took bribes to smuggle contraband into the jails he ran and savagely beat inmates. The trial ... cast a dark shadow over a distinguished 50-year law enforcement career that abruptly ended with his resignation in 2014 as the corruption investigation spread from rank-and-file deputies to his inner circle. Baca appeared to have escaped the fate of more than a dozen underlings indicted by federal prosecutors until a year ago, when he pleaded guilty to a single count of making false statements to federal authorities about what role he played in efforts to thwart the FBI. A deal with prosecutors called for a sentence no greater than six months. When a judge rejected that as too lenient, Baca withdrew his guilty plea and prosecutors hit him with two additional charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The federal probe began in 2011 when Bacas jail guards discovered an inmate with a contraband cellphone was acting as an FBI mole to record jail beatings and report what he witnessed. Word quickly reached Baca, who convened a group to derail the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lizabeth Rhodes said during closing arguments that corruption in the nations largest jail system started from the top and went all the way down. Bacas subordinates hid the FBI informant from federal agents [and] tried to intimidate his FBI handler by threatening to arrest her.
The head of the police force investigating reports of child sexual abuse by [former U.K. Prime Minister] Sir Edward Heath reportedly believes in the allegations 120 per cent. Chief Constable Mike Veale, of Wiltshire Police, is reportedly convinced by testimony from alleged victims of the former Conservative Prime Minister because they have given similar accounts to investigators. Sir Edward, who was Prime Minister between 1970 and 1974, died in 2005. Wiltshire Police appealed for information about claims he was involved in abusing children after the Independent Police Complaints Commission began investigating whether a similar claim, made in the 1990s, had been handled properly. A retired senior officer alleged that Wiltshire Police deliberately caused a criminal prosecution to fail in 1994 after the defendant, a brothel owner, threatened to tell the press she supplied Sir Edward with underage boys for sex if the trial went ahead. But the trial was dropped because witnesses refused to testify, the IPCC said, and it found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Note: Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this topic in the US. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
The problem of racial bias among police [has] been a concern of the FBI for at least a decade. 10 years ago ... the FBI warned of the potential consequences - including bias - of white supremacist groups infiltrating local and state law enforcement, indicating it was a significant threat to national security. In the 2006 bulletin, the FBI detailed the threat of white nationalists and skinheads infiltrating police in order to disrupt investigations against fellow members and recruit other supremacists. The bulletin was released during a period of scandal for many law enforcement agencies throughout the country, including a neo-Nazi gang formed by members of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department. Similar investigations revealed officers and entire agencies with hate group ties in Illinois, Ohio and Texas. Much of the bulletin has been redacted, but in it, the FBI ... warned of ghost skins, hate group members who dont overtly display their beliefs. At least one white supremacist group has reportedly encouraged ghost skins to seek positions in law enforcement for the capability of alerting skinhead crews of pending investigative action against them, the report read. Neither the FBI nor state and local law enforcement agencies have established systems for vetting personnel for potential supremacist links. That task is left primarily to everyday citizens and nonprofit organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of few that tracks the growing number of hate groups in America.
White supremacists and other domestic extremists maintain an active presence in U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies. [FBI] policies have been crafted to take this infiltration into account. An October 2006 FBI internal intelligence assessment ... raised the alarm over white supremacist groups historical interest in infiltrating law enforcement communities or recruiting law enforcement personnel. In 2009 ... a Department of Homeland Security intelligence study, written in coordination with the FBI, warned of the resurgence of right-wing extremism. The report concluded that lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent right-wing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States. The report caused an uproar. Faced with mounting criticism, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano disavowed the document. The agencys unit investigating right-wing extremism was largely dismantled and the reports lead investigator was pushed out. They stopped doing intel on that, and that was that, Heidi Beirich, who leads the Southern Poverty Law Centers tracking of extremist groups, told The Intercept. Daryl Johnson, who was the lead researcher on the DHS report ... says the problem has since gotten a lot more troublesome. Homeland Security has given up tracking right-wing domestic extremists. Its only the FBI now, he said, adding that local police departments dont seem to be doing anything to address the problem.
British journalist Julia Breen's scoop about racism at her local police force didn't just get her on the front page, it got her put under surveillance. Investigators logged her calls, those of her colleague Graeme Hetherington and even their modest-sized newspaper's busy switchboard in an effort to unmask their sources. The [Northern Echo newspaper] has often provided painful reading for Cleveland Police, a department responsible for a Chicago-sized patch of England's industrial northeast. The small force has weathered a series of scandals. A minority officer, Sultan Alam, was awarded 800,000 pounds ... after allegedly being framed by colleagues in retaliation for a discrimination lawsuit. The judgment made national headlines. Cleveland Police issued a statement insisting the force wasn't racist. The next day, an anonymous caller told Breen an internal police report suggested otherwise. The following morning her byline was across the front page beneath the words: "Institutional racism uncovered within Cleveland Police." Breen ... eventually forgot the episode. Cleveland Police didn't. The force secretly began logging calls to and from Breen, Hetherington and a third journalist from another newspaper. It was later calculated that the surveillance covered over 1 million minutes of calling time. The Echo isn't unique. Britain's wiretapping watchdog ... revealed in 2015 that 82 journalists' communications records had been seized as part of leak investigations across the country over a three-year period.
Young black men were again killed by police at a sharply higher rate than other Americans in 2016. Black males aged 15-34 were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by law enforcement officers last year, according to data collected for The Counted, an effort by the Guardian to record every such death. They were also killed at four times the rate of young white men. Racial disparities persisted in 2016 even as the total number of deaths caused by police fell slightly. In all, 1,091 deaths were recorded for 2016, compared with 1,146 logged in 2015. Several 2015 deaths only came to light last year, suggesting the 2016 number may yet rise. The total is again more than twice the FBIs annual number of justifiable homicides by police, counted in recent years under a voluntary system allowing police to opt out of submitting details of fatal incidents. Citing the Guardian findings, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) expressed renewed concern over Trumps nomination of Jeff Sessions for US attorney general. Sessions ... has been hostile to critics of police, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. The 2016 data showed a decline in the number of unarmed people killed by police, a central concern of protests across the country after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014. A total of 169 unarmed people were killed in 2016, compared with 234 in 2015.
The 30 largest U.S. cities saw a double-digit increase in their murder rate in 2016, according to a new year-end report, even as crime nationwide remains near all-time lows. Chicago again accounts for almost half of the total murder increase nationwide. New York Universitys Brennan Center for Justice projects that the 2016 murder rate for the largest U.S. cities is up 14% from 2015 while the violent crime rate rose by 3.3%. The overall crime rate, however, increased by just 0.3%, thanks in large part to historically low levels of property crime. Two cities are largely driving the spike in violent crime: Chicago and Charlotte. Violent crime in Chicago is up 17.7% ... this year, and the city accounts for almost 44% of the total increase in murders. Charlotte has experienced a number of drug-related murders as well as homicides related to domestic violence and is projected to see a 13.4% increase in violent crime this year. While the murder rate has increased, overall crime across the U.S. is near all-time lows. Of the 30 cities studied, just eight showed an increase in their crime rates from 2015.
Note: The media has given lots of attention to Chicago's major increase in murders in 2016, yet virtually no attention to the fact, as reported in this Wall Street Journal article, that the rate of major crimes in New York City dropped to the lowest levels yet recorded. Read more on the dramatic drop in violent crime rates over the past two decades in this informative essay.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Law Department again has been sanctioned for withholding records involving a fatal police shooting, marking the eighth time in recent years a federal judge has formally punished the city [of Chicago] for failing to turn over potential evidence in a police misconduct lawsuit. U.S. District Court Judge Joan Gottschall on Tuesday ruled that the city acted in "bad faith" when it ignored a court order and made little effort to provide documents to the lawyer for the family of 20-year-old Divonte Young, who was shot and killed by an officer in 2012. In a sharply worded 24-page order, the judge criticized the city for its approach to discovery, the legal process that allows the two sides in a lawsuit to uncover relevant facts. "The City's cavalier attitude toward the discovery process ... warrant findings of willfulness, fault and bad faith," Gottschall wrote. In imposing her punishment, Gottschall ... stripped the city of legal protections that would have allowed its lawyers to withhold some documents from the Young family's lawyer. A Tribune investigation last year that analyzed nearly 450 cases alleging police misconduct since Emanuel took office found that a federal judge had to order the city to turn over potential evidence in nearly 1 of every 5 cases. The issue came to a head in January 2016, when a federal judge sanctioned one city lawyer for intentionally concealing evidence and ... took the rare step of tossing out a jury verdict in favor of the city and ordering a new trial.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Oakland, California, police department has fired four officers and suspended seven in a major sexual misconduct case, but critics have questioned why officers havent faced criminal charges and why an exploitation victim at the center of the case remains behind bars. The disciplinary actions ... stem from a case involving a teenage girl who was sexually exploited by more than a dozen officers across the northern California region. In 2015, officer Brendan OBrien reportedly killed himself and left a note that launched an investigation into widespread misconduct allegations. The Oakland newspaper East Bay Express uncovered that three officers had allegedly had sexual relations with a teenage girl when she was underage. The girl ... said she was a sex worker at the time. By law, however, those relationships would be considered statutory rape and human trafficking. A total of at least 14 officers in Oakland as well as eight from other nearby law enforcement agencies are accused of taking advantage of the teenager. Months later, there are still no criminal charges. On the contrary, the woman recently went to a rehab center in Florida where she was arrested. She remains incarcerated at a local jail. Critics of the police department ... said they were particularly disturbed that the exploited woman was behind bars while the officers who have allegedly engaged in misconduct have remained free many of them still employed by the city.
Note: Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this topic in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about police corruption and sexual abuse scandals.
For a shocking glimpse of whats been happening in the name of criminal justice in America, look no further than a Justice Department report last week on police behavior in Louisiana. Officers there have routinely arrested hundreds of citizens annually without probable cause, strip-searching them and denying them contact with their family and lawyers for days - all in an unconstitutional attempt to force cooperation with detectives who finally admitted they were operating on a mere hunch or feeling. This wholesale violation of the Constitutions protection against unlawful search and seizure ... was standard procedure. The report described as staggering the number of people who were commonly detained for 72 hours or more with no opportunity to contest their arrest, in what the police euphemistically termed investigative holds. The sheriffs office in Evangeline, with a population of 33,578, initiated over 200 such arrest-and-grilling sessions between 2012 and 2014. In Ville Platte, which has 7,303 residents, the local police department used the practice more than 700 times during the same years. The residents faced demands for information, the report said, under threat of continued wrongful incarceration, resulting in what may have been false confessions and improper convictions. Literally anyone in Evangeline Parish or Ville Platte could be arrested and placed on hold at any time, the report found.
I was 29 and mowing the lawn at my mothers house in Birmingham, Alabama, on a hot day in July 1985 when I looked up and saw two police officers. I asked the detective 50 times why I was being arrested. Eventually, he told me I was being arrested for a robbery. I told him, You have the wrong man. He said, I dont care whether you did it or not. You will be convicted. At the station, it became clear Id been at work when the robbery occurred. The detective verified this with my supervisor, but then told me they were going to charge me with two counts of first-degree murder from two other robberies. When I met my appointed lawyer, I told him I was innocent. He said, All of yall always say you didnt do something. I might have seen him three times in the two years I waited for trial. The only evidence linking me to the crime was the testimony of a ballistics expert who said the bullets from the murder weapon could be a match to my mothers gun. They found me guilty. [In] 1986 I went to death row. Eventually, [in] 2015, the State of Alabama dropped all charges. I was released that same day. When youve been locked up for nearly 30 years, nothing is the same. It was like walking out on to another planet at the age of 58. Every night, I go outside and look up at the stars and moon, because for years I could not see either. Now, I am determined to go wherever I am asked to help end the death penalty. I am so thankful that I get to travel with Lifelines and [the Equal Justice Initiative], and share my story.
The Justice Department is moving forward with plans to collect data on how often law enforcement officers use force and how often civilians die during encounters with police or while in police custody. Demands for more complete data surfaced in particular in the last two years amid a series of high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of police officers, with the federal government unable to say reliably how often fatal encounters occurred across the country. The FBI plans to begin a pilot program early next year that would gather more complete use-of-force data, including information on cases that dont result in death. The earliest participants would be the largest law enforcement agencies, as well as major federal agencies such as the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The program would then be expanded to include additional agencies across the country, which would be expected to regularly disclose whether a use-of-force instance resulted in death, injury or a firearm discharge at or in the direction of a person. Though theres no legal requirement for law enforcement agencies to provide information on police force that doesnt result in death - the 2014 Death in Custody Reporting Act covered only interactions in which individuals died - the Justice Department said its requesting local agencies to disclose details on even nondeadly encounters. Reporting of nondeadly encounters would remain voluntary.
Note: This article was strangely removed from the Washington Post website, but it remains available from the Associated Press. The Guardian has counted nearly 900 killings by US police so far in 2016. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.