Rampant Police Misconduct Scandals in U.S. — (Part 1)
Posted by Arroyoribera on January 10, 2008
“The history of these kinds of scandals is that cops go right back to acting as they always have when the dust settles, because the pressure they most feel is the pressure to produce results, the constant demand to get the job done.” (FBI Official Michael Kramer, “How cops go bad,” Time magazine, December 15, 1997.)
(To add to this list of police scandals, please send information to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Nationwide — “America’s National Scandal — Nationwide Police Misconduct” — (quote) Gary Sykes, director of the Southwestern Law Enforcement Institution and the Center for Law Enforcement Ethics in Dallas, has found that a surprising number of cities have had to deal with police corruption. “I’m talking about abuse of authority and patterns of misconduct,” he said. “There isn’t any major city that hasn’t gone through some embarrassing events that call into question the trustworthiness of police departments.” (end quote)
Tacoma, Washington — “Child-sex defendant was face of police” (Tacoma News Tribune, August 4, 2006) — Tacoma Police officer and spokesperson is accused of molesting a developmentally disabled boy who now resides in Spokane. The officer, Lee William Giles Jr, represented the Tacoma Police department in the media and in the schools.
Nationwide — “Inappropriate police responses to critical mass rides worldwide” (Critical-Mass.info) — Throughout the U.S., police departments have suppressed, surveilled, and brutally repressed Critical Mass bike rides. Among the cities where police repression has occurred include Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; Spokane, Washington; Bellingham, Washington; Tempe, Arizona; Reno, Nevada; Buffalo, NY; San Francisco, California; Austin, Texas; Denver, Colorado; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Spokane, Washington — Political Scandals of the United States — Spokane Mayor James West, an opponent of gay rights, denied accusations of having molested two boys while he was a sheriff’s deputy and Boy Scout leader in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but came under investigation (2005) for offering municipal jobs to men he met in gay online chat rooms. West was ousted in a recall vote December 2005.
Spokane, Washington — “Tapes, Witnesses Contradict Police Accounts of Zehm Arrest” (The Inclusion Daily Express) — Seven Spokane Police officers participated in the brutal homicide of Otto Zehm, a man with a mental disability and a mental illness.
Kalamazoo, Michigan — “Minority complaints rarely upheld” (Kalamazoo Gazette, June 11, 2000) — (quote) A Kalamazoo Gazette study shows Kalamazoo police rarely uphold minorities’ complaints against officers. Even less likely is that a police-dominated review board will side with a minority complainant in an alleged excessive force case, according to a review of city documents. Since 1997, a Police-Community Relations Board – comprised of a police union official, a chief’s office representative and a city manager’s designee – has rejected all 26 citizen complaints of excessive force, the Gazette review found. Most of those complaints were filed by minorities, who also are far more likely than whites to be pepper sprayed here, the documents showed. (end quote)
San Francisco, California — “Scandals punctuate the history of the San Francisco Police Department” (San Francisco Chronicle, December 11, 2005) — The recent video scandal involving SF police officers is only the latest in years of scandal going back decades.
San Francisco, California — “Bay area police scandal tarnishes top brass” (Christian Science Monitor, March 6, 2003) — (quote) Indictments in cover up case show that top police can be held accountable but reform is still needed. (end quote)
Port of Seattle, Washington — “Investigators: Report says handling of E-gate scandal was botched” (King 5 TV, May 31, 2007) — Scores of Port of Seattle police officials were involved in mailing of sexist and racist e-mails and videos over a period of two years.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — “Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States” (Human Rights Watch) — When the police are indistinguishable from the bad guys, this society has a serious problem, said Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham.
Schenectady, NY — “Grand jury blames poor leadership for Schenectady police scandals” (Times Union, November 19, 2007) — According to the Times Union, the Grand Jury report “blames nearly two decades of Police Department scandals on lax oversight of vice cases.” To read a PDF of the grand jury report on the Schenectady Police Department’s vice squad, click here.
Chicago, Illinois — “Scandals bring down Chicago’s elite police unit” (NPR, October 10, 2007) — (quote) The Chicago Police Department is disbanding its elite Special Operations Section. Seven officers have been charged with robbery and kidnapping. Chicago Tribune reporter Dave Heinzmann says Chicago Mayor Richard Daley cited systematic problems within the S.O.S. and the way the unit operates during the announcement of the unit’s closure. (end quote)
Boston, Massachusetts — “Source of Boston Police Department exam scandal still unknown” (WBZ-TV, January 4, 2008) — (quote) Boston police officers accused of cheating on a promotion exam. he department has spent months investigating what happened and the commissioner says his own officers didn’t cooperate. (end quote)
Dallas, Texas — “Dallas Officers Demoted Following Scandal” (TalkLeft-The Politics of Crime, December 4, 2004) — (quote) Concluding that the indictment of four police officers who arrested more than 20 people on bogus drug charges resulted from “a failure of management supervision,” the Dallas Police Department decided to demote two highly ranked managers. (end quote)
New York City — “A History of Police Misconduct Charges” (New York Times, January 23, 2008) — (quote) In the last five years, the New York Police Department has been embarassed by a number of scandals involving the conduct of officers on duty. (end quote)
State-by-state accounts of specific incidents of Police Misconduct at Bad Cop News (each incident includes a link to the original news story at the end of the posting).