Police Corruption News Stories
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable news media sources. If any link fails to function, a paywall blocks full access, or the article is no longer available, try these digital tools.
The House committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021, is nearly finished. Nearly 900 ... criminal prosecutions of alleged rioters remain underway, and one case has shed troubling new light on how the FBI investigated these defendants. The suspect's name is David Rhine. His lawyer is the first to present a potentially successful challenge to the geofencing warrant the FBI used to place some defendants inside the Capitol building during the attack. A previous Wired report last year found 45 federal criminal cases citing the warrant, which required Google to provide the FBI with data on devices using its location services inside a set geographic area. Rhine's case has revealed just how expansive the FBI's request to Google really was. Google initially listed 5,723 devices in response to the warrant, then whittled the tally to exclude likely Capitol staff and police as well as anyone who wasn't "entirely within the geofence, to about a 70 percent probability." The final list of identifying details handed over to the FBI had 1,535 names. It included people whose phones had been turned off or put in airplane mode, and "people who attempted to delete their location data following the attacks were singled out by the FBI for greater scrutiny." It's ... easy to envision geofencing warrants undergoing the usual surveillance mission creep. Left unchecked, law enforcement could decide geofence data would come in handy while looking for a journalist's whistleblowing source, or perhaps at political protests.
More than 119,000 people have been injured by tear gas and other chemical irritants around the world since 2015 and some 2,000 suffered injuries from “less lethal” impact projectiles, according to a report released Wednesday. Physicians for Human Rights and the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations, which produced the report, called it “the most comprehensive study on crowd-control weapons to date.” The report on casualties from a largely unregulated industry cites an alarming evolution of crowd-control devices into more powerful and indiscriminate designs and deployment, including dropping tear gas from drones. Some of the injuries were fatal but it was impossible from the data to estimate the total number of deaths, said the report’s lead author, Rohini Haar. The vast majority of the data comes from cases in which a person came to an emergency room with injuries from crowd-control weapons and the attending doctor or hospital staff made the effort to document it, Haar said. Protesters have been blinded and suffered brain damage from beanbag rounds. In November, the city of Portland reached a $250,000 settlement with five demonstrators in a federal lawsuit over police use of tear gas and other crowd-control devices during racial justice protests. But last month, a federal judge threw out an excessive force claim against an unnamed federal agent who fired an impact munition at the forehead of protester Donavan La Bella, fracturing his skull.
Note: For an idea of how common the deployment of nonlethal weapons against protesters has become, see a list of incidents of police violence that took place in the US in 2020. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and non-lethal weapons from reliable major media sources.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation regularly seizes cash, cars and other valuables that belong to people who aren’t accused of any crimes. Months later, many of those people receive a dense, boilerplate notice stating that the FBI plans to keep their property forever, without any explanation of why—a blatantly unconstitutional practice. That’s what happened to Linda Martin. When the FBI took her life savings from a safe-deposit box during a 2021 raid of US Private Vaults in Beverly Hills, Calif., she assumed her money would be returned. The company’s alleged wrongdoing had nothing to do with her. But several months later, she—and hundreds of other innocent people who had their safe-deposit boxes taken—received a notice stating that the government wanted to forfeit her money. The [notice] didn’t accuse Ms. Martin of any crime or even lay out why the FBI was trying to take her property. The FBI sends out similarly inscrutable notices whenever it wants to forfeit property, in a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment. Federal agencies keep the proceeds from forfeited property. In the US Private Vaults case, the FBI admitted under oath that even before the raid occurred it had decided to pursue property forfeiture against everything worth over $5,000 in the renters’ boxes. Using federal forfeiture records, the Institute for Justice calculated that from 2017 to 2021 Justice Department agencies gained more than $8 billion through forfeiture, with the FBI taking in more than $1.19 billion of that bounty.
Note: Read more about the government's theft of private property under civil asset forfeiture rules. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Since the night Tyre Nichols was kicked, pepper-sprayed, punched and struck with a baton by Memphis police officers, six cops have been fired and five of them charged with murder. Seven others face internal disciplinary charges. Nichols died three days after the January 7 traffic stop and subsequent fatal encounter captured on video and principally involving five officers with two to six years on the job. The death of the 29-year-old Black man comes at a critical juncture in American law enforcement, as departments across the country – including the Memphis PD – struggle to recruit qualified officers and fill shifts, lure candidates with signing bonuses worth thousands of dollars, and at times curtail standards and training. “That is a recipe for disaster,” said Kenneth Corey, a retired NYPD chief who once ran the training division. “We’ve seen it happen before. You couldn’t fill seats. You lowered standards. And now you’ve got scandal and use of force. And when you look at the individuals involved you say, we never would have hired this guy once upon a time.” [Corey] added, "What we ask of our cops is that they think like lawyers, speak like psychologists, and perform like athletes but we pay them as common laborers. A starting officer in New York City makes $42,000 a year, which means about $20 dollars an hour. It also means that at McDonald's they could be making $15 dollars an hour with none of the stress, trauma or risk."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
American policing is plagued with many problems, but when it comes to the inappropriate use of violence, one culprit is weaknesses in the selection of police officers and in academy training. Better selection and better training can reduce the problem of police brutality, and one strategy for improving both is expanding the use of police apprenticeships as an alternative to the traditional police academy. Unlike the shorter police academies, future officers serve as apprentices or cadets for a two-to-three-year program involving comprehensive learning through years of field experience and classroom instruction. Most officers spend far less time receiving field training than they do in a classroom, where they are insulated from the realities of police work. While average training in the U.S. is about 20 weeks in the academy and 13 weeks of field training, Japan's officers undergo 15 and 21 months of training, and many European countries require two to three years of training, much of which is in the field. Moreover, other countries emphasize communications and interpersonal skills far more than the U.S. does. In Switzerland, psychological training and "softer" qualities are considered essential for a professional police officer, and the recruit curriculum focuses largely on appreciation of emotion, sensibility, and understanding of a variety of situations. In Scotland, communication skills are emphasized throughout the recruit curriculum, particularly when teaching de-escalation skills and dealing with people in crisis.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
In the pandemic’s bewildering early days, millions worldwide believed government officials who said they needed confidential data for new tech tools that could help stop coronavirus’ spread. In return, governments got a firehose of individuals’ private health details, photographs that captured their facial measurements and their home addresses. Now, from Beijing to Jerusalem to Hyderabad, India, and Perth, Australia, The Associated Press has found that authorities used these technologies and data to halt travel for activists and ordinary people, harass marginalized communities and link people’s health information to other surveillance and law enforcement tools. In some cases, data was shared with spy agencies. China’s ultra-strict zero-COVID policies recently ignited the sharpest public rebuke of the country’s authoritarian leadership since ... 1989. Just as the balance between privacy and national security shifted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, COVID-19 has given officials justification to embed tracking tools in society that have lasted long after lockdowns. What use will ultimately be made of the data collected and tools developed during the height of the pandemic remains an open question. Australia’s intelligence agencies were caught “incidentally” collecting data from the national COVIDSafe app. In the U.S. ... the federal government took the opportunity to build out its surveillance toolkit, including two contracts in 2020 worth $24.9 million to the data mining and surveillance company Palantir Technologies Inc.
Note: Read an essay by constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead on COVID and the surveillance state. Detroit police recently sought COVID relief funds to install ShotSpotter microphones throughout the city. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
Public outrage over how police use force has fueled protests in the streets, spurred calls to cut their funding and ignited broad debates over how to reform law enforcement. Despite this intense focus on the present and future of policing, one key component has remained woefully inadequate, according to a report from a prominent policing think tank: how new officers are trained. Training for recruits “presents an immediate crisis for policing,” according to the report from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). The report describes a system that, even after years of push and pull over change, is “built to train officers quickly and cheaply.” That system then hurries the new officers onto streets across the United States without helping them develop vital skills, including crisis intervention and communication, that they will need on the job. Police in the United States typically spend about 20 weeks in the academy, the report said, while recruits in Japan might spend up to 21 months training. Their peers in many European countries spend two to three years training. The report also touches on why, despite all the pleas to rethink policing, training remains behind the times in many places. “At many academies,” the report said, instruction “is based largely on what has been taught in the past.” In many cases, the report continued, academies “seem to rely almost exclusively on current or retired law enforcement officers to develop their training curricula,” even though these people lack backgrounds in designing course instruction.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Authorities swiftly called the death a homicide. The victim was 44-year-old Michael Williams. Days later, law enforcement agencies announced they had arrested and charged a 31-year-old army veteran, Steven Vogel, with murder. Williams had been strangled, according to the medical examiner’s office. Authorities arrested and charged three others with helping Vogel move the body. The case attracted national attention. Michael Williams was Black, and his body was burned and dumped in an almost-exclusively white part of Iowa. The four people arrested were white. These events occurred 15 weeks after Minneapolis police publicly murdered George Floyd. And yet, law enforcement immediately declared that no evidence suggested the murder had been motivated by racism. Williams’s family and other members of central Iowa’s Black community weren’t convinced. The simple fact a white man hanged a Black man with a rope and then set him on fire in an easily visible spot – with three other white people helping cover up the murder – was telling. Data analyzed by the Guardian reveals this to be common: victims’ loved ones clearly see racist motives, while law agencies often don’t. From the outset, authorities rejected a racial motive. “They never pursued it,” says Paula Terrell, Williams’s aunt. “They just kept saying ‘it’s a love triangle.’” In fact, Williams’s murder was one of several incidents in central Iowa that targeted Black people in short sequence.
Detroit’s city council will soon vote on whether to spend millions in federal cash meant to ease the economic pains of the coronavirus pandemic on ShotSpotter, a controversial surveillance technology critics say is invasive, discriminatory, and fundamentally broken. ShotSpotter purports to do one thing very well: telling cops a gun has been fired as soon as the trigger is pulled. Using a network of microphones hitched to telephone poles, rooftops, and other urban vantage points, ShotSpotter is essentially an Alexa that listens for a bang rather than voice commands. Despite ShotSpotter’s corporate claims of 97 percent accuracy, the technology’s efficacy has been derided as dangerously ineffective — a techno-solutionist approach to public safety. ShotSpotter’s opponents in Detroit agreed that gun violence is a serious problem but said Covid-19 relief money would be far better spent on addressing the social ills that form the basis of crime. “If people had jobs, money, after-school programs, housing, the things that they need, that’s going to reduce gun violence,” said Alyx Goodwin, a campaign organizer with Action Center on Race and the Economy. Snyder pointed to the fundamental irony of diverting public money billed as form of relief for the pandemic’s downtrodden to surveil those very same people. ShotSpotter explicitly urges cities to tap funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, intended to salve financial hardship caused by the pandemic, to buy new surveillance microphones.
Where community activists, use-of-force victims and city officials have failed to persuade police departments to change dangerous and sometimes deadly policing practices, insurers are successfully dictating changes to tactics and policies. The movement is driven by the increasingly large jury awards and settlements that cities and their insurers are paying in police use-of-force cases, especially since the 2020 deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Those cases led to settlements of $12 million and $27 million, respectively. Insurance companies are passing the costs — and potential future costs — on to their law enforcement clients. Larger law enforcement agencies — like the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department or the New York Police Department — handle it in different ways, often by creating a special fund to finance settlements or by paying those costs from the county’s or city’s general fund. This insulates them from external demands by insurers. Departments with a long history of large civil rights settlements have seen their insurance rates shoot up by 200 to 400 percent over the past three years, according to insurance industry and police experts. Even departments with few problems are experiencing rate increases of 30 to 100 percent. Now, insurers also are telling departments that they must change the way they police. A Post investigation in March documented more than $3.2 billion spent over the past decade to resolve nearly 40,000 claims at 25 of the nation’s largest police and sheriff’s departments.
Nearly one third of people killed by US police since 2015 were running away, driving off or attempting to flee when the officer fatally shot or used lethal force against them, data reveals. In the past seven years, police in America have killed more than 2,500 people who were fleeing, and those numbers have slightly increased in recent years, amounting to an average of roughly one killing a day of someone running or trying to escape, according to Mapping Police Violence, a research group that tracks lethal force cases. In many cases, the encounters started as traffic stops, or there were no allegations of violence or serious crimes prompting police contact. Some people were shot in the back while running and others were passengers in fleeing cars. Despite a decades-long push to hold officers accountable for killing civilians, prosecution remains exceedingly rare, the data shows. Of the 2,500 people killed while fleeing since 2015, only 50 or 2% have resulted in criminal charges. The majority of those charges were either dismissed or resulted in acquittals. Only nine officers were convicted, representing 0.35% of cases. The data, advocates and experts say, highlights how the US legal system allows officers to kill with impunity and how reform efforts have not addressed fundamental flaws in police departments. US police kill more people in days than many countries do in years, with roughly 1,100 fatalities a year since 2013. The numbers haven’t changed since the start of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Note: Explore the database of the Washington Post on police killings. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
A former Boston police officer who was beaten more than 25 years ago by colleagues who mistook him for a shooting suspect will be the new leader of the city's police department, Mayor Michelle Wu announced. Michael Cox, 57, will return to his hometown of Boston after working as the police chief in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to lead the same force he once brought a civil rights case against over his beating by fellow cops. Cox, who is Black, will take over as commissioner next month. Before becoming chief in Ann Arbor in 2019, Cox was part of the Boston police force for 30 years, where he rose through the ranks after fighting for years to get justice over his beating that left him seriously injured. Cox was working undercover in plainclothes as part of the gang unit in January 1995 when officers got a call about a shooting. Cox, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, spotted the suspect. The suspect started to scale a fence and Cox was struck from behind just as he was about to grab the man. He was kicked and punched by fellow officers, suffering head injuries and kidney damage. Cox has described facing harassment in an effort to silence him after the beating became public despite efforts by his colleagues to cover it up. A department injury report said Cox lost his footing on a frozen puddle, causing him to fall and crack his head. Cox chose to stay in the police force after what happened to him and try to improve things instead of walking away from a job he loved.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A police officer armed with a rifle watched the gunman in the Uvalde elementary school massacre walk toward the campus but did not fire while waiting for permission from a supervisor to shoot, according to a sweeping critique ... on the tactical response to the May tragedy. Some of the 21 victims at Robb Elementary School, including 19 children, possibly "could have been saved" on May 24 had they received medical attention sooner while police waited more than an hour before breaching the fourth-grade classroom, a review by a training center at Texas State University for active shooter situations found. The report is yet another damning assessment of how police failed to act on opportunities that might have saved lives in what became the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The report ... follows testimony last month in which Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told the state Senate that the police response was an "abject failure." McCraw said police had enough officers and firepower on the scene of the Uvalde school massacre to have stopped the gunman three minutes after he entered the building, and they would have found the door to the classroom where he was holed up unlocked if they had bothered to check it. In the days and weeks after the shooting, authorities gave conflicting and incorrect accounts of what happened.
Note: It is just by chance that the police made this many deadly errors and lied in their reports? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
A new wave of anger swept through Uvalde on Tuesday over surveillance footage of police officers in body armor milling in the hallway of Robb Elementary School while a gunman carried out a massacre inside a fourth-grade classroom where 19 children and two teachers were killed. The video published Tuesday by the Austin American-Statesman is a disturbing 80-minute recording of what has been known for weeks now about one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history: that heavily armed police officers, some armed with rifles and bulletproof shields, massed in the hallway and waited more than an hour before going inside and stopping the May 24 slayings. But the footage, which until now had not surfaced publicly, anguished Uvalde residents anew and redoubled calls in the small South Texas city for accountability and explanations. The footage from a hallway camera inside the school shows the gunman entering the building with an AR-15 style rifle and includes 911 tape of a teacher screaming, “Get down! Get in your rooms! Get in your rooms!” Two officers approach the classrooms minutes after the gunman enters, then run back amid the sounds of gunfire. As the gunman first approaches the classrooms a child whose image is blurred can be seen poking their head around a corner down the hallway and then running back while shots ring out.
The Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation Thursday of the Louisiana State Police, launching the review after a series of videos showed officers brutally beating Black motorists. One particularly violent video showed state troopers punching, stunning, and dragging an unarmed man, Ronald Greene, as he apologized for failing to stop during a high-speed chase in 2019. He died shortly after, but state police initially told his family that he was killed when his car hit a tree. “We find significant justification to investigate whether Louisiana State Police engages in excessive force and in racially discriminatory policing,” said Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general in charge of the civil rights division. State Police Superintendent Lamar Davis has said he would welcome the Justice Department investigation. Two-thirds of his agency’s uses of force have been directed at Black people, he [said]. Greene’s arrest was one of least a dozen over the past 10 years in which state police troopers or their superiors ignored or concealed evidence of beatings. Under Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Justice Department has opened similar investigations of police departments in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd and in Louisville, Kentucky, following the death of Breonna Taylor.
Uvalde city officials are using a legal loophole and several other broad exemptions in Texas to prevent the release of police records related to last month's mass shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead, according to a letter obtained by NPR. Since the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School, law enforcement officials have provided little and conflicting information, amid mounting public pressure for transparency. The Texas Department of Public Safety, which is leading the state investigation, previously said that some accounts of the events were preliminary and may change as more witnesses are interviewed. The City of Uvalde has hired a private law firm to make its case, which cited the "dead suspect loophole," to deny the release of information because the gunman died in police custody. The legal exception bars the public disclosure of information pertaining to crimes in which no one has been convicted. The Texas Attorney General's Office has ruled that the exception applies when a suspect is dead. The maneuver has been used repeatedly by Texas law enforcement agencies to claim they're not required to turn over the requested information because a criminal case is still pending, even though the suspect is dead. The loophole was established in the 1990s to protect people who were wrongfully accused or whose cases were dismissed, said Kelley Shannon, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. "It is meant to protect the innocent," Shannon said.
Nearly a month after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers inside Robb Elementary School, shattering a West Texas community, a litany of key questions about the police response remain unanswered. The shifting narrative from state and local leaders in the massacre's aftermath could threaten to exacerbate the trauma for those affected. "These types of tragedies can tear communities apart," said John Cohen, a former senior Homeland Security official who is now an ABC News contributor. "One of the ways the healing process can begin is for the community to have a clear understanding of what happened, and of what will be done to prevent something similar from happening again." As families of the victims lay their loved ones to rest, residents of Uvalde continue to hope for answers. They may start to get some on Tuesday, when a Texas House panel convenes to hear testimony regarding the shooting. Since the very first days after the attack, law enforcement officials have said their response was stymied by ... a locked door. But now surveillance video shows that police never tried to open the door. Two months before the mass shooting, the Uvalde school district hosted an all-day training session for local police and other school-based law enforcement officers that was focused on "active shooter response." But basic training protocols - including those involving communication channels and chain of command - went unheeded.
Security footage shows cops at the Uvalde, Texas school massacre waited 77 minutes before even trying to open the doors to two classrooms where the shooter killed 19 children and two teachers last month, a new report said. The latest revelation, published Saturday by The San Antonio Express News, is the latest detail that shows a botched police response to the massacre, which is now under investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Video shows that gunman Salvador Ramos, 18, was able to open the door to classroom 111 on May 24, even though it was supposed to lock automatically when shut. Once inside the classroom, Ramos was able to access classroom 112 through another interior door. It was unclear if the door was locked while Ramos conducted the shooting spree, but police did not even check or try to open it, despite having access to a Halligan tool which could have broken the lock. Uvalde school district police Chief Pete Arredondo was in charge of the operation. He previously told The Texas Tribune that he waited for 40 minutes for keys from the custodian to try to open the classroom door. Finally, at 12:50 p.m., police breached the door and shot and killed the suspect who had first broken into the school at 11:33 a.m. through an exterior door that had also failed to automatically lock. Texas investigators say Arredondo mistakenly treated the shooting as a barricaded suspect incident instead of an active shooter situation.
Two Uvalde city police officers passed up a fleeting chance to shoot a gunman outside Robb Elementary School before he went on to kill 21 people inside the school, a senior sheriff's deputy told The New York Times. That would mean a second missed opportunity for officers to stop Salvador Ramos before the May 24 rampage inside the school that killed 19 children and two teachers. Officials said that a school district police drove past Ramos without seeing him in the school parking lot. The unidentified officers, one of whom was armed with an AR-15-style rifle, said they feared hitting children playing in the line of fire outside the school, Chief Deputy Ricardo Rios of nearby Zavalla County told the newspaper. Rios said he had shared the information with a special Test House committee investigating the school massacre. Uvalde police officials agreed Friday to speak to the committee investigating, according to a Republican lawmaker leading the probe who had begun to publicly question why the officers were not cooperating sooner. “Took a little bit longer than we initially had expected," state Rep. Dustin Burrows said. On Thursday, Burrows signaled impatience with Uvalde police, tweeting that most people had fully cooperated with their investigation “to help determine the facts” and that he didn't understand why the city's police force “would not want the same.” He did not say which members of the department will meet with the committee, which is set to continue questioning witnesses in Uvalde on Monday.
The more details that emerge about how police responded to the massacre in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, the clearer it is that the already well-funded, heavily armed and amply trained law enforcement officers on the scene failed to save the lives of 19 children and two of their teachers. Salvador Ramos murdered 21 people. Despite earlier, misleading claims from law enforcement officials, it appears that no police officers engaged with the shooter before he entered the school. Instead of rushing in to protect the children and staff when reports of a gunman approaching the school were made at 11:30 a.m., police instead waited outside and aggressively confronted parents who were begging them to enter. The parents were threatened with arrest — one cop brandished a Taser — as they attempted to access the school to save their kids themselves. The police failed at protecting the schoolchildren, yes, but we should not be under the illusion that this is an example of the cops failing at their jobs. As far we can tell from reports, police at the scene acted as they usually do, in accordance with standard policing practice: Rather than risk a hail of gunfire to stop the killer, they kept themselves safe. It is disgusting, not shocking, that police officers would sooner harass and handcuff parents — parents begging them to save their children from a massacre — than they would run in and put themselves in the line of fire.
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