Trial for Rochester police officer charged in brutality case to be held in March

Howard Thompson, Posted: Jan 15, 2019 01:42 PM ES

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – The case against a Rochester police officer facing an assault charge in a reported case of police brutality will head to trial, a judge ruled on Tuesday.

A judge denied a motion Tuesday to dismiss charges against Officer Michael Sippel, who is accused of assault in the third degree in the attack of Christopher Pate.

The trial for Sippel is now set to start on March 25.

Pate says he was beat up by Officer Sippel and another Rochester officer after being mistaken for a wanted man during a traffic stop on Fulton Avenue last May. The police department said last year that, even after Pate provided documents to prove his identity, Sippel and the other officer persisted with the arrest, during which Pate was beaten and tased.

As a result of the incident, Pate suffered fractures to his jaw and skull.

Pate was initially charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. However, charges were later dropped by the district attorney’s office.

After the body camera footage of the incident was reviewed, the police department suspended both officers without pay. However, a grand jury only brought charges against Officer Sippel.

The brutality case became an impetus behind the push for a new police accountability board, which is now being considered by city leaders.

Howard Thompson, Jan 15, 2019,, “Trial for Rochester police officer charged in brutality case to be held in March”,


Settlements resulting from alleged police misconduct are costing Pittsburgh taxpayers millions. What can be done to lessen the burden?

“You can never make Leon Ford whole, but we sure as hell cannot tolerate officers acting in such a cavalier fashion.”


In 2009, the City of Pittsburgh approved a $3.7 million settlement for musician Thomas Doswell. The settlement was the result of Doswell’s decades-long struggle to clear his name after he was falsely arrested and imprisoned in 1986.

Doswell spent 19 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of rape. He was ultimately freed following the results of a DNA test in 2005.

His $3.7 million settlement was the highest the city had seen in recent years, until now. This month, the city announced it had reached a $5.5 million settlement with Leon Ford, a man who was paralyzed after a Pittsburgh police officer shot him during a routine traffic stop in 2012.

Last year, Ford’s civil suit against the Pittsburgh police officers involved in the stop went to trial. The jury deadlocked on a claim of excessive force against David Derbish, the officer who shot Ford five times, paralyzing him. The other officers at the scene were cleared of wrongdoing by the jury, and the suit against Derbish was expected to go back to court this month before it was settled.

“After five years of arduous litigation, all parties are pleased to announce that we have reached an amicable resolution in the federal lawsuit Leon Ford brought following the November 11, 2012 shooting incident,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said in a statement. “The City has agreed to pay Mr. Ford and his attorneys $5.5 million dollars. This settlement is in the best interest of Mr. Ford, Officer Derbish and the City of Pittsburgh, and will provide all involved the closure needed to move forward in a positive direction.”

City Paper asked the city for records of all settlements resulting from civil-rights complaints over the past 10 years. According to those numbers, from 2008-2017, the city had paid out $5,781,178.26 in settlements. At $5.5 million, Ford’s settlement alone nearly equals the price tag for police settlements doled out over the prior decade.

In light of the financial challenges facing the city, Ford’s multimillion-dollar settlement might be hard to swallow. Since 2004, the city has been operating under Act 47, a recovery program designed to help distressed municipalities strengthen their finances. And many city sectors — including the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, which has been in the news regularly for problems resulting from crumbling infrastructure — are in need of costly updates.

Many believe Ford’s settlement is necessary to repair the damage he has suffered. But should taxpayers carry the burden of alleged police misconduct? Whether it’s making police officers personally liable for their actions or requiring changes to police-department policies and procedures, advocates say the city must do more to hold police accountable, not taxpayers.

“You can’t help but look at the settlement of Leon Ford and be grateful that that young man is going to be taken care of,” says Beth Pittinger, director of the Citizen Police Review Board. “It’s outrageous that we’re paying $5.5 million to settle a case that resulted from a police officer’s conduct. You can never make Leon Ford whole, but we sure as hell cannot tolerate officers acting in such a cavalier fashion.”


From 2008-2017, the city paid 43 settlements resulting from claims of police misconduct including excessive force, false arrest and imprisonment, and free-speech violations. The payment amounts ranged from $995 to $250,000, the highest amount of any settlement from the past decade, not counting Doswell’s.

“Mr. Ford is just one example,” says attorney Todd Hollis, who represented an individual who received a $40,000 settlement from the city in 2015. “Payments like these are to compensate victims for injuries they have sustained at the hands of police. I don’t know that you can put a price tag on it.

“If the community is upset about these large payouts, they should be upset about the police officers in the department. They should restructure the rules so they can get rid of bad police officers.”

Hollis’ client Paul Parrish was involved in a police chase in 2012. Hollis says Parrish eventually came to a stop and exited the vehicle with his hands up in a gesture of surrender when he was pistol-whipped by a Pittsburgh police officer.

“If you want to avoid these situations, perhaps they should be more cognizant of hiring better-trained police officers who work within the boundaries of the law,” Hollis says. “There is no excuse for a police officer to pistol-whip anyone. Particularly someone who has their hands up and has surrendered. There are some very good police officers who have never had to use their guns.”

(Two years after Parrish received the settlement, a 3-year-old girl shot and killed herself with a gun found in his home. Parrish was barred from owning a firearm due to a prior conviction. A few months later, he was arrested by Pittsburgh Police’s Narcotics and Vice Unit after a month-long drug investigation.)

Hollis says the police bureau must do more to discipline officers, including firing them. For example, Derbish, the officer who shot and paralyzed Ford, remains on the force.

Certainly after they spent that money, why in the world are those police officers still enforcing the law? Why are they still there?” Hollis says. “The solution to the problem should begin with the government no longer employing these police officers.”

Pittinger, of CPRB, says the bureau has seen improvements in holding officers accountable in recent years. She says former Chief Cameron McLay set the bureau on a path to correct these problems, and current Chief Scott Schubert is continuing that work.

“What we’re seeing is holding officers to standards and making sure they’re trained to meet those standards,” Pittinger says. “It’s different from where we were maybe 15 or even 10 years ago. Over the last several years they have improved the relationship with the community. You can’t always measure these things, but you can notice that there is a difference with the tension level. They’re making a concerted effort to professionalize the officers.”

In addition to these changes, CPRB has suggested requiring all officers to carry the equivalent of law-enforcement malpractice insurance. The recommendation was discussed with Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration when he first took office, but Pittinger says she was told it wasn’t an option for officers in Pennsylvania. The mayor’s office and the police bureau declined to comment for this story.

“Several years ago, we looked at whether you can hold someone responsible for the amount of civil damages a city absorbs because of their actions,” Pittinger says. “If there’s no finding, what do you do? How do you still hold that person responsible if no one has determined if they are responsible? That’s an incredibly gray area.”

But the city has tried to hold an officer personally responsible, at least partially, in recent years. In 2011, the city paid $40,000 to Kaleb Miller following a claim of excessive force against Pittsburgh police officer Paul Abel. In June 2008, Abel allegedly assaulted Miller and shot him in the hand while off duty. Abel’s homeowner’s insurance was supposed to pay out an additional $4,500 as part of the settlement for Miller, but the decision was ultimately overturned and the city ended up picking up the tab for the additional $4,500. Following the incident, Abel was fired, charged criminally, acquitted by a judge and then given his job back by an arbitrator.

“It’s time for some policies that make it clear that there’s going to be some personal responsibility when any employee acts beyond the scope of their duties or outside of policy, and there’s going to be some consequence for it,” says Pittinger. “Right now, that’s not the world we live in.”

Instances of alleged police misconduct aren’t the only cases where the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police has cost the city money over the past decade. In 2015, the city reached a $985,000 settlement with a group of African-American applicants to the police force. The federal class-action lawsuit against the city alleged that the police department had a “longstanding pattern and practice of racial discrimination against African-Americans in its hiring process for entry-level police officer positions.”

That case was handled by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. The group has been involved in several civil-rights suits against the police bureau over the past 10 years, including four that resulted from the international G-20 summit in Pittsburgh in 2009.

The G-20 cases were not included in the numbers the city sent CP because these settlements were paid by an insurance policy the city took out to cover the summit. According to the ACLU, these settlements totaled approximately $800,000.

The ACLU often works on free-speech cases where clients say the police department has infringed on their First Amendment rights. Over the past decade, the city settled five civil-rights claims involving free speech or religious freedom.

“We’ve had numerous complaints about police officers citing people for disorderly conduct for using profanity,” says Sara Rose, senior staff attorney with ACLU Pennsylvania. “We had a case where a guy was driving and had given another driver the middle finger, and a police officer saw him, pulled him over, and issued him a citation.”

In that case, the ACLU obtained a $50,000 settlement for its client, David Hackbart. But the group also had the city agree to change its training policies.

“Part of the settlement was the city would provide additional training to all officers on the constitutional rights of individuals using profane languages or gestures, that they would adapt a procedure whereby supervising officers review citations for summary offenses written by officers or personnel in the field on a regular basis,” says Rose.

As a result of this change, Rose says the ACLU has received significantly fewer complaints about police officers issuing citations for the use of profanity in Pittsburgh.

“When we settle a case, we can ask to incorporate anything, so that’s one of the reasons we bring these kinds of damages cases, with hope that we’ll be able to settle them with some kind of changes to training and policy,” Rose says.

The ACLU also worked on the case of Dennis Henderson, a Pittsburgh Public Schools teacher who was arrested after he made a comment to a police officer whom he says was speeding down a residential road. Henderson received a $52,500 settlement in 2015, and the city ended up changing its procedures for tracking pedestrian stops.

“At the time, if an officer stopped a pedestrian on the street and even frisked them, they weren’t even tracking those stops,” Rose says.

These kinds of policy changes tied to settlements are something Rose would like to see more of. Only in this way, she says, can the city ensure that such incidents don’t continue.

“We have limited resources, so we try to use our litigation to achieve broader goals,” says Rose. “Obviously, we want to represent the interests of the person whose case it is, but we don’t just want to get relief for them. We want to get broader relief for everybody so we don’t have to go back to court again in two years.”

, “Settlements resulting from alleged police misconduct are costing Pittsburgh taxpayers millions. What can be done to lessen the burden? “,

California is on the verge of three important steps toward police accountability

Jun 01, 2018 | 4:10 AM

California is on the verge of three important steps toward police accountability
Shown is the scene of an officer-involved shooting in Pacoima. (Los Angeles Times)

Californians have lost much of their former ability to monitor the performance of police officers and agencies, due in large part to a series of unfavorable court rulings and to the timidity of elected leaders who repeatedly bowed to pressure from law enforcement labor unions. The Legislature now has taken up a modest yet valuable bill that would allow the public to learn which officers fired their weapons, used other serious force or lied about their actions. Senate Bill 1421 has cleared the Senate and deserves Assembly approval.

Access to such information is essential — and is readily available to the public in one form or another in more than half the states. But not in this one. Without such data, it is nearly impossible to learn which officers account for disproportionate injuries, deaths and public liability. Nor is it possible to determine whether agencies operate effective internal investigations and unbiased disciplinary systems. That leaves police departments shockingly free of real oversight from the public they serve.

Officers contend that their personnel files are their own business and should be as shielded from outside scrutiny as those of teachers, sanitation workers and any other public employees. And officers do indeed deserve a measure of privacy, as do the rest of us.

Unlike teachers and sanitation workers, though, law enforcement officers take up badges and weapons and are uniquely granted the authority to arrest or even kill in the name of the law. In return, some modicum of access to police records is required to prevent abuse of that enormous power.

The bill, authored by Democrat Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, is so measured that the state’s district attorneys have dropped their opposition. It would make public the currently confidential reports that police departments prepare on a variety of incidents involving officers, including discharging a firearm or using a Taser or other electroshock weapon, striking a person on the head or neck or taking any action that results in serious injury or death.

Some modicum of access to police records is required to prevent abuse of [their] enormous power.


Access also would be granted to records that show an officer sexually assaulted a member of the public, or lied or falsified evidence in the course of a police investigation or criminal prosecution.

Today, these sorts of records are available almost exclusively to defendants in criminal cases — in order to help them establish that the officers involved in their prosecution have a history of misconduct.

The Skinner bill would allow any member of the public to seek this information by filing a Public Records Act request.

In addition to Skinner’s bill, lawmakers should send Gov. Jerry Brown two other worthy bills dealing with public disclosure of police matters, including surveillance technologies such as license plate readers and drones.

Under SB 1186 by San Mateo Democrat Jerry Hill, which also recently passed out of the Senate, police departments wouldn’t be able to use drones or other surveillance technology without a city council, police commission or other public body first adopting a deployment policy at an open meeting at which the public has an opportunity to weigh in.

Police would still be able to snoop, and they would still be able to spend public money to do so. But they at least would be required to disclose how they’re doing it. Without safeguards and disclosure, police power is too intrusive and is insufficiently balanced by accountability to the public.

Even with the disclosure that Hill proposes, which is similar to the process used by the Los Angeles Police Commission in its drone program, some opponents of the bill argue that any surveillance is abusive. But, of course, the bill does not require police surveillance; it merely attempts to keep it from being excessively secret.

Assembly Bill 3131 by Democratic Assemblymen Todd Gloria of San Diego and David Chiu of San Francisco would require a similar public process before a police agency could acquire surplus military equipment. That move would restore in California an approach that was put in place nationwide by the Obama administration but then was rescinded by President Trump. Currently, police chiefs (even school police) can accept U.S. military equipment, such as grenade launchers, without requiring any training or deployment plan. As a result, too many routine police operations, such as delivering search warrants or controlling crowds, have become virtual military exercises in which police use equipment and tactics more suited to occupying armies than to peace officers.

None of the three bills would prevent police from doing their work, but would merely ensure that they do it openly. They are all important adjustments in the relationship between those employed to protect the public, and the public itself.

Jun 01, 2018, LA Times, “California is on the verge of three important steps toward police accountability”,

Alleged no-show job scam another black eye for Edison Frat House police

Baltimore City Councilmen voice concerns over city’s handling of civilian police oversight board

Luke Broadwater The Baltimore Sun, August 21, 2018

Two Baltimore city councilmen on Monday sent a letter to city solicitor Andre Davis voicing concerns over his management of the Civilian Review Board, which investigates police abuse and misconduct allegations.

In the letter, Councilmen Brandon Scott and Ryan Dorsey, who are chairman and vice chairman of the Public Safety Committee, respectively, said they are concerned Davis — whose Law Department recently began managing the board — is limiting the panel’s work.

“We believe a conflict of interest may exist in the Law Department both overseeing the Board, who has the duty to render an opinion as to whether an officer has acted inappropriately, and representing the Police Department, whose employees are the object of the Board’s opinions,” the councilmen wrote.

The Civilian Review Board has not received any completed cases from the Police Department’s internal affairs division since July 19, when board members refused to sign a confidentiality agreement. Members voted unanimously to subpoena about 19 case files from the department.

The councilmen asked Davis whether he has taken actions to curb the board’s independence, including asking members not to communicate with the Department of Justice; not send letters of their investigative findings to victims of police abuse; and sign a new confidentiality agreement.

In a response to the letter, Davis said he saw no issue with the Law Department managing the Civilian Review Board or in asking board members to sign a confidentiality agreement. He said the agreement is merely asking members to abide by state law governing personnel issues. He argued he has not stood in the way of the board issuing subpoenas or conducting investigations.

“I wish to state in no uncertain terms that we are every bit as determined as the members of the City Council, as well as the members of the CRB, the consent decree monitors, and citizens of Baltimore to root out ‘bad cops’ and to bring an end to practices and approaches that undermine the Mayor’s commitment to creating a new era of community-based, constitutional policing for the citizens of Baltimore,” Davis wrote.

Davis, a former federal appellate judge, emphasized his commitment to cracking down on police misconduct.

“When I voluntarily retired from my lifetime appointment as a federal judge a year ago to join Mayor Pugh’s administration, a principal motivation for doing so was to join in the City’s effort to reform, indeed, ‘clean-up,’ the Baltimore City Police Department,” he wrote.

Tension between the city’s Law Department and Civilian Review Board arose in April over the case of Keith Davis Jr., the man who has been charged in the shooting death of a Pimlico security guard — and was shot by officers prior to his arrest. Davis has maintained his innocence, and his latest trial was declared a mistrial in June. State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is considering trying him a fourth time.

The Law Department says the Civilian Review Board released findings in its investigation of the case that should have been redacted. The board found officers used excessive force and recommended two be terminated and two others receive a 30-day suspension.

In his written response to the councilmen, Davis wrote that conflict between the Law Department and the Civilian Review Board is overblown.

“What we have required, in accordance with our interpretation of Maryland law, is that confidential information not be included in such letters,” the former judge wrote. “This contentiousness should stop, and it should stop now. The members of the CRB should sign the Confidentiality Agreement and get on with its important work.”

Dorsey said he believes Davis’ logic is “reasonable for somebody in his position, but the fact remains that the board is statutorily entitled to receive documents that are presently being withheld by the police department, at the request of the City Solicitor.”

“His sense of duty has clearly led him to a creative attempt to make up new rules, which are now inhibiting the Board’s execution of its duties,” Dorsey wrote in an email. “I’m interested in what might be possible if the same creative energy might be applied to finding the way to provide the Board the independent counsel it should have, rather than simply invoking barriers to it.”

Luke Broadwater The Baltimore Sun, August 21, 2018, “Baltimore City Councilmen voice concerns over city’s handling of civilian police oversight board”,

California law enforcement unions seek to block release of officer disciplinary records

, Jan 17, 2019 | 5:25 PM

California law enforcement unions seek to block release of officer disciplinary records
Law enforcement unions in Los Angeles, Orange and other counties are heading to court in an effort to stop departments from releasing disciplinary and other records issued before a new disclosure law took effect this year. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A landmark attempt to open up records of police use of force and misconduct in California has turned into a broad legal battle as law enforcement unions across the state have gone to court to stop the release of some of the documents.

An Orange County judge on Thursday issued a temporary restraining order to block the Sheriff’s Department from disclosing records from incidents that took place before Jan. 1, when the transparency law went into effect.

Like other unions, the Assn. of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs argued that applying Senate Bill 1421 retroactively would violate longstanding legal protections for officer personnel files.

“To have the rug pulled out from under them isn’t fair,” Jacob Kalinski, an attorney for the AOCDS, said after a hearing on the request. He noted his request is meant to pause any release of records so the legal issues involved can be examined more closely.

Laura Knapp, an attorney for Orange County, opposed the union’s move, arguing that the new law applies to documents currently in the county’s possession, which includes records of incidents before Jan. 1.

“We are committed to transparency,” she told Superior Court Judge Nathan Scott at the hearing.

The Times, along with Voice of OC and Southern California Public Radio, applied to intervene in the case in favor of disclosure.

In Los Angeles County, open-government advocates and media organizations, including The Times, filed court papers Thursday asking for permission to challenge a temporary order blocking the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Department from releasing the same kind of records. The order was requested by the union that represents LAPD officers.

The unions representing deputy sheriffs in Los Angeles County and Ventura County have each filed their own requests to block disclosure of records of incidents prior to Jan. 1. A judge in San Bernardino County granted a similar request from a local law enforcement union.

Until last year, the state’s powerful law enforcement unions repeatedly blocked attempts to make any disciplinary records public. But lawmakers approved SB 1421 amid a heightened debate over how officers use force and interact with communities of color.

The law covers records of shootings by officers, severe uses of force and confirmed cases of sexual assault and lying by officers. Proponents of the measure say restricting its reach to records of incidents after Jan. 1 severely limits the law’s impact and shields misconduct by some officers who remain on the job.

“Officers have been escaping responsibility for their past acts,” said Melanie Ochoa, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which supports disclosure and filed to intervene in the lawsuit brought by the union representing LAPD officers.

Ochoa said there have been records released under the new law that show a pattern of misconduct that could otherwise have remained hidden. In San Mateo County, the district attorney said he would consider reopening a criminal investigation into an officer accused of an attempted sexual assault after records surfaced showing the officer had a history of similar allegations.

“There is a pressing, current need to make sure officers are not engaged in very egregious acts of misconduct and to understand how police departments are evaluating use of deadly force,” Ochoa said.

Scott Tiedemann, an attorney who represents police managers across California, says many of the law enforcement unions appear to be concerned that records created with an expectation that they would be kept private will now be subject to disclosure.

Tiedemann said police agencies do not have the funding to respond to voluminous requests for records that date back decades. He said a more reasonable solution would be for the law to be interpreted to apply to records as far back as five years.

“There are many good things that can happen as a result of the increased transparency,” said Tiedemann, a managing partner of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore. “But right now, public resources are being spent on disclosing old records for incidents where the people don’t necessarily work at those departments anymore and the incidents … don’t necessarily reflect the practices of the agencies now.”

Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who wrote the law, said her intent was for it to apply to any records in a department’s possession. But she said if a court decided otherwise, she believes the rules would still provide a needed boost to transparency surrounding police activities.

, Jan 17, 2019, Los Angeles Times, “California law enforcement unions seek to block release of officer disciplinary records”,

Police misconduct and crime : bad apples or systems failure?

Dean, Geoff, Gottschalk, Petter, & Glomseth, Rune (2012) Police misconduct and crime : bad apples or systems failure? Journal of Money Laundering Control, 15(1), pp. 6-24.


There is a debate in the research literature whether to view police misconduct and crime as acts of individuals perceived as ‘rotten apples’ or as an indication of systems failure in the police force. Based on an archival analysis of court cases where police employees were prosecuted, this paper attempts to explore the extent of rotten apples versus systems failure in the police. Exploratory research of 57 prosecuted police officers in Norway indicate that there were more rotten apple cases than system failure cases. The individual failures seem to be the norm rather than the exception of ethical breaches, therefore enhancing the rotten apple theory. However as exploratory research, police crime may still be explained at the organizational level as well.

police misconduct and crime bad apples or systems failure


2018 Police Shooting Database

Fatal Force


people have been shot and killed by police in 2018

Updated Jan. 25 at 2:55 p.m.

Search the database





Mental illness


Body camera

Fleeing the scene

998 people shot and killed by police

An unidentified person, an 18-year-old man armed with a knife, was shot on Dec. 31, 2018, in Van Nuys, Calif.



Unknown race

18 to 29

No/unknown mental illness


Body cam recording

Not fleeing

Jesus Ramos, a 34-year-old Hispanic man, was shot on Dec. 31, 2018, in Longmont, Colo.




30 to 44

Mental illness

Weapon unknown

No body cam recording

Fleeing by foot

1 of 998

987 people were fatally shot by police in 2017

As of a week ago, there this year than at the same time last year.

Fatal police shootings by year



Where the 2018 shootings took place

Each marks the location of a deadly shooting.

Shootings per million people




There are 74 shootings with unverified locations that are not shown on the map.

The Washington database contains records of every fatal shooting in the United States by a police officer in the line of duty since Jan. 1, 2015.

In 2015, The Post began tracking more than a dozen details about each killing — including the race of the deceased, the circumstances of the shooting, whether the person was armed and whether the person was experiencing a mental-health crisis — by culling local news reports, law enforcement websites and social media, and by monitoring independent databases such as Killed by Police and Fatal Encounters. The Post conducted additional reporting in many cases.

The Post is documenting only those shootings in which a police officer, in the line of duty, shoots and kills a civilian — the circumstances that most closely parallel the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., which began the protest movement culminating in Black Lives Matter and an increased focus on police accountability nationwide. The Post is not tracking deaths of people in police custody, fatal shootings by off-duty officers or non-shooting deaths.

The FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention log fatal shootings by police, but officials acknowledge that their data is incomplete. Since 2015, The Post has documented more than twice as many fatal shootings by police as recorded on average annually.

The Post’s database is updated regularly as fatal shootings are reported and as facts emerge about individual cases. The Post seeks to make the database as comprehensive as possible. To provide information about fatal police shootings since Jan. 1, 2015, send us an email at

January 25, 2018, Washington Post, “2018 Police Shooting Database”,


A Case Study on Police Misconduct in the United States of America and an Applicable Model for the Turkish National Police.

This study explores the underlying causes and deterrent control mechanisms of police misconduct in the United States. Outcomes of causes and control mechanisms constitute the basis for an applicable model for the Turkish National Police (TNP). Why is some police behavior deviate? What are the main determinants of police misconduct? Is police misconduct a result of sociological behavior and subcultural development within police organizations or a psychological behavior as an outcome of officers’ personal traits? What are the control mechanisms for police misconduct? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Do they deter or not? Is there a control mechanism that … continued below


Lofca, Izzet August 2002.,

a case study on police misconduct in usa



The high cost of pushing out honest officers

Harassment of whistleblowers leads to million-dollar bills for taxpayers.

This is a part of “Protecting The Shield” – a two-year Asbury Park Press investigation that probes gaps in police accountability, which can harm citizens and cost New Jersey taxpayers millions of dollars. Read our complete investigative series

When police officers stand up to wrongdoing by other cops, the results can lead to upstanding officers being punished by their departments for daring to break what appellate judges in one case recently called the “‘blue wall’ of police silence.”

  In turn, whistleblowing officers and those subject to internal harassment seek relief through lawsuits which can prompt towns to make secret settlements that can add up to more than $1 million. Some of the most significant whistleblower payouts identified by the Asbury Park Press include:

Retaliation “sends a chilling message to the rest of the agency: toe the line and keep your mouth shut,” said former police officer and internal affairs expert Richard Rivera.

Rivera was fired from the West New York Police Department shortly after going undercover for the FBI in the mid-1990s. He helped expose officers who were taking kickbacks to protect illegal gambling operations, prostitution rings and other rackets. He recounts his undercover work in the video with this story.

He sued, claiming retaliation, and was reinstated long enough to retire. He also received a $650,000 settlement.

Until recently in Tinton Falls, the borough government and the police department were headed by members of two tightly-knit families. In a pair of lawsuits, the town paid a total of $1.1 million to two police officers in 2015 and 2017 who claimed they were harassed after blowing the whistle on a fellow cop they accused of “illegally” siphoning municipal water for his home. One complaining officer resigned.The other remains a Tinton Falls police officer.

A panel of appellate judges who reviewed the case said some of the conduct alleged in one of the lawsuits “smacks of perpetrating an illegal police cover up.”

Gerald Turning Sr., who was police chief at the time of the 2008 claim, served as mayor of the borough when the settlements were made.

The conduct of his son, Sgt. Gerald Turning Jr., was described by the appellate judges as allegedly being part of the “cover up.” Turning Jr. was later promoted to captain.

Sgt. David Scrivanic, who was alleged to have “diverted” the municipal water, was also later promoted to captain. No criminal charges were filed.

More: Involved in a traffic stop? Know your rights

John Scrivanic, David’s brother, became chief of the department. The township and officers, through court documents, denied any wrongdoing.

An earlier investigation by the Press exposed the payouts that led to Turning Sr. losing re-election for mayor in November 2017.

Vito Perillo, a 93-year-old World War II vet, outraged by news of the settlements, campaigned against Turning, defeating him 53 percent to 47 percent. After the victory, Perillo spoke against nepotism and took a stand for government transparency.  You can watch the 93-year-old victor tell his story in the video above.

“I think the public should know what’s going on, period,” he said. “If there’s something important that’s going on, they should be aware of it.”

UP NEXT: Part 5 looks at how money and silence push along bad cops

Asbury Park Press reporters dug into more than 30,000 public records for two years to produce “Protecting The Shield.” These same journalists report daily as watchdogs in the public interest: examining tax spending, exposing wrongdoing, highlighting advances and often inspiring change that makes New Jersey a better place to live. Follow their work at and support local journalism today.

Andrew Ford and Kala Kachmar, Asbury Park Press Jan. 22, 2018, “The high cost of pushing out honest officers”,