A sheriff's deputy makes a stop to check on a driver sitting inside of a vehicle when he is ambushed by a man with a revolver. The shootout lasts several minutes until the attacker gets back into his pickup truck to lead the police on a short chase. More officers join in on the pursuit, and eventually the man stops his vehicle and gets out. He complies with all police orders, and is now facing multiple serious felony charges.
Two men were charged on Thursday for allegedly walking around an Inglewood neighborhood with assault rifles while dressed in camouflage and body armor, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.
The Santa Ana Police Department is among several law enforcement agencies statewide that have been entering people into a gang database without proper justification, according to a new report from the California State Auditor’s office.
One of the starkest examples across the so-called CalGang database was the inclusion of dozens of people whose birth dates showed they were less than one year old. Most of these 42 apparent babies were labeled as gang members for supposedly “admitting to being gang members,” auditors said.
The audit looked at four local law enforcement agencies across California: the Santa Ana and Los Angeles police departments; and the sheriff’s departments for Santa Clara and Sonoma counties.
A review of 100 people entered into the database between the four agencies found that 13 had inadequate justification to be included, a 13-percent error rate. With over 150,000 people in the database, even a 2-percent error rate would mean that thousands of people are wrongfully in the system statewide.
Among the 100 people reviewed by auditors, 25 were entered by Santa Ana police. And among those, auditors found that three failed to have proper documentation to justify their inclusion.
Rob Duke's insight:
Cops aren't above being sloppy in police work nor in entering folks who maybe aren't thoroughly documented as being gang members, but these cases of gang members being entered who are less than a year old is clearly a clerical error....a dose of common sense is needed by someone....
A new proposal from the U.S. Department of Justice hopes to change that as law enforcement agencies and coroner offices across the country are being asked to record and report arrest related deaths, including fatal officer involved shootings.
Judges in California are “casting a blind eye to prosecutors who place their thumbs on the scale of justice,” according to a report released yesterday by the Veritas Initiative, a new investigative arm at the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara University Law School.
The report, “Preventable Error: A Report on Prosecutorial Misconduct in California 1997–2009,” examined 707 cases in which courts had found prosecutorial misconduct in the 11 year period. Of all of those cases, only six prosecutors were disciplined.
Rob Duke's insight:
Here's the study mentioned in the audio story adjacent to this one....
CHICAGO (AP) — Seven Chicago police officers should be fired for filing false reports in the fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014, the police superintendent said Thursday, in a move aimed at repairing the reputation of a department dogged by decades of cover-ups and scandal. The release last year of official police reports that directly contradicted video evidence of McDonald's shooting by a white police officer turned a spotlight on longstanding concerns about a "code of silence" in Chicago's police force, in which officers stay quiet about or conceal possible misconduct by colleagues. Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement Thursday that after reviewing documents, video and other evidence, he was accepting the recommendation of the city's inspector general to fire seven officers because of their accounts of the incident. Johnson became the superintendent after Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired Garry McCarthy because of the McDonald shooting video and his recommendation marks the single biggest decision he has made for a department long dogged by suspicions that it condones or covers up the brutality and misconduct of its officers. Thomas Gradel, a co-author of Crime, Corruption and Cover-ups in the Chicago Police Department, a 2013 report published by the University of Illinois at Chicago, said the recommendation that so many officers be fired was unprecedented in the city and a step toward real reform. The release of the video the next year — on the orders of a judge — sparked days of protests, an investigation of Chicago police practices by the U.S. Justice Department and promises of reforms by Emanuel who found himself scrambling to restore public confidence in his office and the police force.
Eau Claire County District Attorney Gary King has cleared deputy Dustin Walters of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of David Mack of St. Paul, Minn. According to King, after resisting Walter’s arrest, Mack pulled what looked to be a small handgun and pointed it at the head of the deputy. The device in actuality …
The campaign against Gov. Jerry Brown’s ballot measure to make certain nonviolent felons eligible for early release is distributing sportslike trading cards with photographs of prisoners under the headline, “Meet your new neighbor.” The cards paint an extreme case.
A week after a grand jury indicted him for obstructing justice and lying, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded not guilty Friday to the charges in connection with inmate civil rights abuses and corruption inside county jails.Baca
In police departments across the country, a growing number of officers have more in common with Jones than with those who make headlines for killing black men. Although sometimes portrayed as a white occupying army at war with black civilians, American law enforcement has never been so diverse. In 2013, around 27 percent of the country’s 477,000 sworn local police officers were racial or ethnic minorities, up from 15 percent in 1987, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. There are now more female cops than there were decades ago—around 12 percent of local police—and more openly gay, lesbian and transgender officers as well.
Today’s police are also entering the force with higher levels of education and more special abilities, such as foreign language skills and technological expertise. Once they join a department, they often receive better training and equipment than at any other time in history. And regardless of what the public has seen in shocking videos of shootings, today’s cops have been trained to act with more sensitivity and restraint than previous generations of officers. The common refrain among those on the force is that they are guardians, not warriors.And yet the tension between law enforcement and large swaths of citizens has not been this high since the 1960s and ’70s, when riots and targeted cop killings were common. Many Americans feel the country’s 18,000 police departments need major reform, especially when it comes to the use of deadly force. Last summer, a Gallup poll found that confidence in the police was at its lowest level since the beating of motorist Rodney King in 1991 led to massive riots in Los Angeles. That incident was when filming police using excessive force emerged as a new phenomenon.
A video released by the Spokane Police Department of a drunken man berating an officer to the public before the lawyer had a chance to see it calls into question the motives of law enforcement with body camera footage.
A QUEENSLAND police officer is under investigation for allegedly helping his friend, who was the subject of a domestic violence order, to track down his former partner — and then joking about it.
In stunning allegations lodged with the Crime and Corruption Commission but referred back to the Queensland Police Service’s Ethical Standards Command, the Brisbane police officer allegedly passed on address details of a Gold Coast woman to her former husband, a friend of the senior constable.
The complaint also includes allegations of text messages between the officer and his mate, where they joke about how the woman was likely to “flip out” once she knew she had been tracked down.
The woman, who now has a new partner and three young children, said she was disgusted that a police officer could be involved in such behaviour.
“It is disgraceful that this officer has deliberately given out my personal information and jeopardised the safety of myself and my children,” she said.
Rob Duke's insight:
The Troggs say it all in the first line of this song:
The best way to stop police brutality is not, as is sometimes assumed, lawsuits or criminal prosecutions against aggressive officers. Such individual actions may make the public feel as though injustices are being addressed – and in some sense they are — but these strategies do not produce lasting reform. Aside from the fact that police are immune from punishment for “reasonable” conduct, jury bias in favor of police makes damages suits difficult to win. Even when successful, lawsuits are resolved many years after the incidents occurred and police officers are indemnified by states or localities. Evidence of these suits may not become part of officers’ personnel files and may not prevent their promotion. And then nothing changes.
The only effective mechanism for addressing police brutality is top-down, systemic reform of the police organization itself. This includes introducing community policing; training officers in de-escalation skills and the use of non-lethal tactics; increasing the diversity of departments; improving data collection and public transparency; and enhancing the screening of police recruits. So why have most police departments failed to embrace these reforms?
Rob Duke's insight:
It's the nature of the reform that is the big question...
Norm Stamper's new book says that we should put all the police under DOJ accreditation, licensing, monitoring, and even individual discipline.
I don't agree with Norm, but I do think what we're seeing is the individual officers response to the institutions (e.g. rewards, punishments, incentives, expectations, etc.) and his or her compliance with the expectations of the police sub-culture.
California lawmakers are getting closer to passing a bill that would throw the book at prosecutors who withhold evidence in criminal trials.
Assembly Bill 1909 (Lopez) would make prosecutorial misconduct a felony, instead of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to three years in jail.
The main sponsor of the bill, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, writes: "In 2014, prominent 9th Circuit Justice, Alex Kozinski, stated that prosecutorial misconduct is an epidemic in our criminal justice system. Nationwide, we've seen stories of innocent persons being sent to prison for decades because of a bad-acting prosecutor placing their self-interest and conviction rate ahead of seeking justice."
The primary opponent of the bill is the Orange County Deputy District Attorneys Association. Those prosecutors argue current law allows for sanctions against prosecutors who withhold evidence.
Rob Duke's insight:
There's a podcast on this one too.
Good that we're looking at something like this, then we can get rid of Brady v. Maryland and do something more reasonable. See the essay in Unit 8.
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