Under court order, District Attorney Krasner releases list of tainted police

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner speaks during a news conference.

Responding to a judge’s order, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has released a secret list of current and former police officers whom prosecutors have sought to keep off the witness stand after a review determined they had a history of lying, racial bias, or brutality.

>> THE LIST: Here are the 29 Philly cops on the DA’s ‘do not call’ list

The names of the 29 officers were included among a larger roster of 66 provided to the Philadelphia Defender Association on Monday and obtained Tuesday by the Inquirer and Daily News. The full list combined two groupings — the officers whose serious misconduct rendered them problematic as witnesses and 37 officers who have been charged with lesser offenses or have been involved in other legal conflicts, often while off duty.  Under prosecution policy, the second group can testify, but defense attorneys must be told of their legal issues.

In a detailed fact summary about each officer on the “Do Not Call” list, prosecutors said that the 29 former and current officers had engaged in a wide range of wrongdoing and had, as a result, often faced criminal charges or been found guilty by the department’s internal Police Board of Inquiry.  The offenses included numerous cases of lying to police investigators, filing false police reports, use of excessive force,  drunken driving, burglary, and others.

The list included former Officer Ryan Pownall,  35, a 12-year veteran of the department who was fired last year after he fatally shot a man running away after a traffic stop in North Philadelphia; former Office Emmanuel R. Folly, 26, a three-year veteran fired last year upon his arrest on pending charges of  sexual abuse of children and dissemination of child pornography; and former Officer Stanley Davis, a narcotics officer who pleaded guilty last year to giving heroin to women in exchange for sex acts.

The roster also included Sgt. Michael Spicer, 50, who was acquitted in 2015 with five other narcotics officers in a heavily publicized  federal corruption probe. He and other officers were later awarded their jobs back by an arbitrator. A source familiar with the list said he had been added because prosecutors deemed some of his recent arrests problematic. His attorney declined comment.

The 29 officers collectively made more than 800 arrests in the last five years, records show.

Common Pleas Court Judge Tracy Brandeis Roman last week ordered that the names, badge numbers, and background information of the officers be turned over to the public defenders office. The defenders demanded the list from District Attorney Larry Krasner after the Inquirer and Daily News revealed its existence last month.

The list was drawn up by prosecutors in March 2017 at the order of former District Attorney Seth Williams.  Before Williams pleaded guilty to corruption and resigned in June, he created a special Police Misconduct Review Committee to identify officers whose testimony might be problematic in criminal cases. In deciding whose testimony should be avoided, Williams limited the review, in large part, to those found by the Police Board of Inquiry, from the summer of 2016 on, to have committed serious misconduct.

Williams and his prosecutors did not reveal the existence of the list, treating it as an internal guide to determine when a potentially tainted officer’s testimony could be used. Under the office’s policy, frontline prosecutors were instructed to get top-level permission before calling such an officer as a witness in a criminal case.

The list was kept secret by Williams, prosecutors said, out of concern for the officers’ privacy rights and the broad impact it might have on past convictions involving the officers. In the aftermath of previous scandals involving allegedly corrupt officers, the city has faced costly wrongful-arrest lawsuits and seen many previous convictions overturned.

The most recent such scandal unfolded when prosecutors charged seven narcotics officers with corruption.  While one officer pleaded guilty and cooperated with the probe, the six others were acquitted.  So far, prosecutors have thrown out 800 cases of those officers. About 300 defendants have sued the city after the dismissals.  With less than a third of those suits resolved, the city has agreed to pay out more than $2 million in settlements.

At last week’s hearing before Brandeis Roman, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Wellbrock agreed that the list would be provided on Monday.

Krasner, a former top defense lawyer who came into office promising to be uncompromising when it came to bad police officers, pledged at a public meeting last month that he would release the list and finally faced a judicial command that he do so.

In an interview Tuesday, Krasner said all assistant district attorneys have been instructed to tell opposing lawyers about officers on the list if it affected their cases. He said his staff had “moved quickly” to share the list after learning of it.

“It’s a daunting task to reverse years of potential Brady violations,” Krasner said, referring to a U.S. Supreme Court decision, Brady v. Maryland , requiring prosecutors to share evidence favorable to defendants with their lawyers.

In a statement, DA spokesman Benjamin Waxman said:  “As we have made clear on several occasions, this list was compiled and maintained by a previous administration.  We do not endorse the legal or factual validity of the information contained in the document. We also do not endorse any positions taken in regard to disclosure or non-disclosure of information contained in the document.”

Last week, in an interview, public defenders Bradley Bridge and Michael Mellon said the list was clearly covered by the 1963 Brady ruling.

Despite its existence, the list had never been used to bar an officer’s testimony, officials said. Instead, prosecutors have simply been dismissing cases involving problem officers.

For decades, critics, including former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, have complained bitterly about the police disciplinary system, saying a sluggish Internal Affairs Division, a weak police inquiry board, and an officer-friendly arbitration system have prevented the force from firing bad cops.

Beyond officers deemed too suspect to put on the witness stand, the DA’s Office had compiled a list of officers with their own legal cases pending. While those officers could still be called as witnesses, it was determined that defense lawyers needed to be told of their pending cases.

Of the 29 men and women on the more serious “Do not call” list,  about half appear to be still on the force.  The number  includes a lieutenant, four sergeants, one corporal, and one detective.

The District Attorney’s Office has also released the protocol detailing how officers were put on the list and how they could be removed.

Under the protocol, prosecutors left it to the Police Department to explain to officers on the list why they would not be called to testify in court.

A spokesman for Commissioner Richard Ross, Capt. Sekou Kinebrew, said the department “never received this protocol.” As a result, officers were never told they were on the list, he said.

The Fraternal Order of Police, the city’s police union, has said it also had never received the protocol. It had no further comment Tuesday.

While such lists of “rogue” police are unusual, they are not unprecedented.

In Seattle and 39 other towns in King County, Wash., with a total population of 2.5 million, prosecutors have made public such lists of officers for more than a decade.  Mark Larson, a top King County prosecutor, said the public at any time can request a copy of its list, which contains the names of 214 former or current officers.

, “Under court order, District Attorney Krasner releases list of tainted police”, http://www.philly.com/philly/news/larry-krasner-philadelphia-police-tainted-misconduct-secret-list-20180306.html


Secret Files Reveal NYPD’s Tolerance for Police Misconduct


Over the past several years, high-profile incidents involving police officers have put a renewed emphasis on the need for transparency in law enforcement. But the NYPD doesn’t agree. New York is one of three states with laws on the books to keep police misconduct secret from the public. And the nation’s largest police department has used a broad interpretation of state law to keep its records shrouded in secrecy.

But a new report by BuzzFeed News looks at some of these classified records. The resulting portrait is that of a police department with no rules in regards to how it handles cases of police misconduct. Hundreds of officers who have been charged of committing fireable offenses, like assault, lying, and sexual harassment, have instead been placed on “dismissal probation” — a toothless penalty that leaves offending officers collecting their full salary while continuing to patrol the streets.

Kendall Taggart is an investigative reporter with BuzzFeed News, and she joins the program to talk about the piece she co-wrote with Mike Hayes: “Secret NYPD Files: Officers Can Lie And Brutally Beat People – And Still Keep Their Jobs.”

Click on the ‘Listen’ button above to hear this segment. Don’t have time to listen right now? Subscribe to our podcast via iTunesTuneInStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts to take this segment with you on the go.


“Secret Files Reveal NYPD’s Tolerance for Police Misconduct”, From and https://www.wnyc.org/story/secret-files-reveal-nypds-tolerance-police-misconduct/

319 NYPD employees committed fireable offenses and kept their jobs: report

A New York City police car is seen in a 2013 file photo.

Fernando Carniel Machado / Getty Images

NEW YORK – According to an investigation by BuzzFeed News released Monday, internal NYPD reports show that employees who “lied, cheated, stole, or assaulted New York City residents” between 2011 and 2015, among other fireable offenses, kept their jobs. Thirty-eight were found guilty by a police tribunal of excessive force, fighting, or unnecessarily firing their weapons.

At least two dozen of the employees who committed offenses worked in schools, BuzzFeed reports.

In each instance of wrongdoing, the police commissioner assigned the employee in question to “dismissal probation,” for a period of one year, a penalty that does not affect the officer’s position or salary. The probation records cover a period of time when the department was headed by both Bill Bratton and Ray Kelly.

BuzzFeed News reports that it obtained hundreds of pages of secret files from a source who wishes to remain anonymous, and that its reporters subsequently verified the records “through more than 100 calls to NYPD employees, visits to officers’ homes, interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers, and a review of thousands of pages of court records.”

Under state law, disciplinary files are not normally not shared with the public. New York, California, and Delaware are the only states in the nation to have laws that block the public release of police misconduct records.

In the coming months, BuzzFeed reports it will publish a database of NYPD officers and civilian employees who were given “dismissal probation.”

According to the NYPD, another 473 officers who received probation were either forced to leave or resigned.

In a response to BuzzFeed, NYPD’s Kevin Richardson said that “the department is not interested in terminating officers that don’t need to be terminated. We’re interested in keeping employees and making our employees obey the rules and do the right thing,” adding that since he joined the department in 2014, he has been reviewing penalties for misconduct in order to make the process fairer.


Crimesider Staff CBS News March 5, 2018, “319 NYPD employees committed fireable offenses and kept their jobs: report”, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/319-nypd-employees-committed-serious-offenses-and-kept-their-jobs-report/

The cost of police misconduct in Milwaukee: $21 million – and growing

Kevin Crowe and Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Published 6:24 a.m. CT Oct. 25, 2017 | Updated 11:49 a.m. CT Oct. 25, 2017



Police misconduct has cost Milwaukee taxpayers at least $17.5 million in legal settlements since 2015, forcing the city to borrow money to make the payouts amid an ever-tightening budget.

That amount jumps to at least $21.4 million when interest paid on the borrowing and fees paid to outside attorneys are factored in, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis found.

In some cases, the costs pile up as the city continues to fight the cases for months or years, even after officers have been fired or criminally convicted in the same misconduct case. The costs far outstrip the $1.2 million the city sets aside each year for settling all of the claims it faces.

And they likely will keep rising.

The price of police misconduct has come under scrutiny as city officials face a daunting budget and consider closing six fire stations and cutting jobs in the police and fire departments. At budget hearings, Common Council members have repeatedly pressed police officials and the city attorney’s office on what more could be done to ward off lawsuits.

“Better training, better screening of applicants, all kinds of factors that could enter into the picture,” Ald. Robert Bauman said in an interview.

“But clearly, for acts that have already occurred, we’re on the hook,” he said. “Just have the police stop violating civil rights, and we’d have plenty of money for fire houses.”

RELATED: Appeals in police misconduct suits, including in case tied to serial killer Walter Ellis, cost city millions

In the past, aldermen have attempted to tie the lawsuits to the police budget, exploring options such as reducing the cost from the Police Department’s budget, but the city attorney’s office advised against it, Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton said.

“I wish we could really center our discussion around just protecting the constitutional rights of the citizens that the Police Department is sworn to protect and serve,” Hamilton said.

“But there’s actually a real financial impact of violating people’s rights.”

Legal costs mount

City Attorney Grant Langley’s office recently recommended paying $2 million to settle a wrongful imprisonment lawsuit.

The city also has two other high-profile lawsuits looming: one related to the 2011 in-custody death of Derek Williams and a class-action suit from the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin accusing the department of illegal stop-and-frisk practices and racial profiling.

RELATED: Milwaukee appeal could delay trial in civil rights lawsuit over Derek Williams’ death in police custody

RELATED: ACLU sues Milwaukee police over profiling, stop-and-frisk

The pending wrongful imprisonment settlement could push the total payouts to settle lawsuits so far this year to $9.4 million. That would be the most the city has paid out in a single year since at least 2008, according to the Journal Sentinel analysis.

The city is self-insured, meaning taxpayers bear the costs of any settlement.

Because the city only budgets $1.2 million a year for claims and lawsuits, it has resorted to borrowing to pay for the large settlements. Aldermen have approved borrowing $16.3 million to settle four lawsuits, and will soon vote on whether to borrow another $2 million to pay a fifth.

Those settlements alone will cost an extra $2.6 million in interest and borrowing costs over the next decade.

The city deals with hundreds of legal disputes a year, many related to property damage, collisions with city vehicles, personal injury claims or employment disputes. From 2008 to 2014, it paid an average of $2.5 million per year in settlements and court judgments. Most claims were settled for less than $2,000.

In 2015, a series of multi-million-dollar judgments and settlements related to police misconduct started to dramatically increase the costs of claims and lawsuits.

The city settled a wrongful conviction suit for $6.5 million with Chaunte Ott, who spent 13 years in prison for a homicide later connected to serial killer Walter Ellis.

RELATED: Suspected serial killer slipped through the cracks

RELATED: Innocence Project pushes to exonerate man caught up in serial killer’s wake

Then came a $5 million settlement that covered dozens of illegal strip search cases, a $2.5 million settlement paid to a woman who was raped by an on-duty police officer, and the $2.3 million payment to the family of Dontre Hamilton, who was shot and killed by an officer in Red Arrow Park.

RELATED: Milwaukee Common Council approves $2.3 million settlement for Dontre Hamilton’s son

The city’s most recent seven-figure settlement stems from the wrongful imprisonment of William Avery for another murder that was later linked to  Ellis. The Common Council has yet to vote on the $2 million settlement.

RELATED: $1 million verdict against city reinstated

The police claims are a significant portion of $41 million paid by the city in legal claims against all departments since 2008, according to the Journal Sentinel’s analysis.

Langley said his office last year devoted at least four attorneys, two paralegals and one office assistant entirely to police-related cases last year.

“It’s certainly a significant allocation of resources,” he said. “I’m hoping that as we move forward, that is reduced. But, we still have some significant cases to deal with.”

In some of the most complex cases, the city has also hired outside attorneys, which has resulted in substantial legal fees.

For example, the city paid the Crivello Carlson law firm $1.5 million from 2014 to 2015 to defend the city in the illegal strip search lawsuit, which involved 74 plaintiffs suing the city.

“It was, to say the least, more than this office could handle,” Langley said.

The city has hired the von Briesen and Roper law firm to defend it against the illegal stop and frisk lawsuit filed this year by the ACLU. Payments to the firm so far this year have totaled $159,000.

Fighting the cases

Some judges and attorneys have criticized the city’s handling of the police misconduct lawsuits, saying city attorneys unnecessarily drag out cases involving clear wrongdoing on the part of police officers.

The result is higher costs to taxpayers.

When the city loses or settles such lawsuits, the city can be held liable for the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees, in addition whatever it costs the city to fight the suit.

In a hearing last month, U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller Jr. chided a city attorney for repeatedly fighting the Avery wrongful imprisonment case, even after a $1 million payout to Avery had been reinstated by a federal appeals court.

The judge questioned why the city refused to resolve the cases and instead continued to take a “strident approach” of appealing “everything” when it did not seem to have the desired effect.

“These cases have all been around for a long time, and the media has given few of them considerable attention. But, the amount of payouts is staggering,” Stadtmueller said.

“And it does not appear to be in any sense abated as a result of all this litigation,” he said. “So, for plaintiff’s counsel, it looks like the cottage industry will continue.”

In addition to the $1 million judgment paid to Avery, the city will pay $987,000 for his attorney’s fees.

If there is a legitimate legal avenue to defend the city, attorneys are obligated to pursue it to “ensure that taxpayer money is not spent inappropriately,” said Deputy City Attorney Jan Smokowicz.

“We do not file appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court lightly,” he said of the Avery case, which he worked on. “It certainly was not simply a delay tactic.”

Smokovicz pointed to the $6.5 million Ott settlement as evidence the city doesn’t fight lawsuits just to fight them.

“We do try to asses each case on the merits, and we do try to resolve cases where appropriate,” Smokovicz said.

Ben Elson, one of Avery’s attorneys in the civil case, said the city’s approach to appealing the case amounted to a waste of taxpayer money.

“The longer the case drags out, the more money the city ends up having to pay,” he added. “It’s a bad financial decision and even more importantly, it unnecessarily delays justice for the victims.”

Elson’s firm, the Chicago-based People’s Law Office, has worked on many civil rights cases against the Milwaukee police.

“Filing frivolous motions and appeals is a stalling tactic they often use,” he said. “It shows a stubborn unwillingness on their part to ever acknowledge egregious police misconduct.”

Milwaukee attorney Jonathan Safran, who has sued the city in civil rights cases, said the city has a track record of fighting every case, even when there’s clear wrongdoing on the part of its employees.

Safran was part of the team representing Hamilton’s family, as well as several clients suing the city in the illegal strip search cases. The officer who killed Hamilton was fired. Four officers in the strip search case were criminally convicted.

“I suspect most taxpayers think there is somehow some insurance involved,” Safran said. “It’s just massive amounts of money.”

Milwaukee has long been self-insured and for many years the total payouts for claims had been relatively stable.

Some Wisconsin cities, including Madison, do have outside insurance. The family of Tony Robinson, who was shot and killed by a Madison police officer in 2015, reached a $3.35 million settlement with the city’s insurer in February. The city of Madison has typically paid insurance premiums ranging from $364,000 to $436,000, according to media reports.

Milwaukee’s budget office has researched insurance in the past and found most insurers are not willing to cover a city the size of Milwaukee and the plans from those that do are cost-prohibitive, said budget director Dennis Yaccarino.

How police officials manage risk

Policing a major city is an enormous source of risk for governments and potential civil lawsuits, Police Chief Edward Flynn said.

“It’s baked into the business,” he said during a recent budget hearing.

“It’s not something we like, but it’s a high-hazard occupation,” Flynn said. “It takes place frequently in violent and ambiguous circumstances, and sometimes people make the wrong decision, and sometimes people do the wrong thing.”

Flynn said his department is working hard to address misconduct and focusing on three main fronts.

“Did we supervise them appropriately? Did we train them appropriately? And when they engaged in wrongdoing, did we do the right thing?” Flynn said.

To that end, the department created a Risk Management Bureau in 2013 that focuses on training as well as regular officer evaluations to identify problems in their early stages.

One area of improvement is that Internal Affairs data is now available to supervisors and captains, said Inspector Terrance Gordon, who heads the bureau.

“That was a significant area of risk because once upon a time, a captain could have a problem employee and not know it,” Gordon said. “Those records were kept confidential.”

The department now analyzes every use of force complaint, Gordon said, and officers who receive too many are flagged for intervention, usually a discussion with a supervisor. That conversation makes officers aware of a problem and puts them on notice they are being watched – and it’s often enough for those officers to decline their use of force, he said.

The department received 152 citizen complaints last year, a 48% drop compared to the seven-year average of 291, and the frequency of officers’ use-of-force has declined every year since 2013, according to the Police Department’s 2016 annual report.

Critics of the department have argued complaints have declined because people don’t understand the process or because they don’t believe a complaint will lead to a fair resolution.

Most of the officers who were sued in the most recent set of misconduct settlements had not gone through all of the training Gordon outlined. That’s because most of the events leading to the lawsuits settled in 2015 through 2017 occurred before the Risk Management Bureau was created, officials said.

“The things that we have in place now hopefully will identify those officers a lot sooner than we had been able to do in the past,” Gordon said.

Several council members are pushing for more accountability and monitoring of how the department addresses risk from the city attorney’s office and the Fire and Police Commission, the civilian oversight board.

One of them is Ald. Milele Coggs, who chairs the Finance and Personnel Committee, who said lawsuits and attorney’s fees shouldn’t be the city’s only concern.

The council also needs to focus on “the damage that it does to citizens along the way,” she said.

FDLE claims West Palm Beach officer committed grand theft and police misconduct

Michelle Quesada, Mar 5, 2018,

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation into the alleged actions of a West Palm Beach police officer determined the officer committed grand theft and police misconduct, but the officer will not face charges.

The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office said the evidence presented by FDLE did not meet the elements for prosecution. This comes despite the fact that FDLE found six occasions where the lieutenant was paid overtime and was allegedly not working.

An FDLE report says a source came forward with surveillance video from a private investigator showing Lt. Gregory Babcock at home for at least two hours of the eight he clocked in to monitor a waterway as part of the Palm Beach County Manatee Enforcement Grant on December 10, 2016.

The State Attorney’s Office said the theft was a “de minimis amount” that should be handled administratively. The next day surveillance video showed Lt. Babcock worked on a car in his driveway when his time sheet said he worked eight hours of overtime on the Manatee detail. In an interview with FDLE, the senior county clerk said Babcock tried to rectify the error six months later.

“I received an email from Lieutenant Babcock stating that he had entered overtime into Telestaff for eight hours for a Manatee grant and it should have only been three hours,” said Taneisha Potter in the interview with FDLE agent Antonio Mathews.

Mathews then asks Potter to clarify the date of when the incorrect overtime was paid which was in December 2016 and when Babcock sent the email which was in May 2017.

“Did you find that odd?” Mathews asked Potter. “Yes,” she replied.

Babcock reimbursed the county for five hours. FDLE agents claim they found four other occasions when Babcock’s time cards did not match the boat meter readings for the days he was working.

The State Attorney’s Office’s No File Memorandum said, “The meter readings were presented by a biased party. Evidence should be looked at cautiously when the person presenting the evidence appears to have a vendetta, motive or bias.”

FDLE’s source is whistleblower Lt. Frank Alonso who has filed a lawsuit against the city of West Palm Beach. His lawsuit says he filed a report of alleged misconduct with FDLE in February 2017.

The State Attorney’s Office and the West Palm Beach police chief will not comment on this story because there is an ongoing internal affairs investigation.

The Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association also said it cannot provide a comment at this time because of the open case.

Gary Lippman, a former attorney for the PBA said the State Attorney’s Office may have decided the evidence did not meet the elements for prosecution, but if the internal affairs determined Babcock did commit police misconduct or grand theft, he could face de-certification and risk losing his pension.


“Satanic Killers” Exonerated After Police Misconduct Probe

On the evening of April 1, 1992, 19-year-old Rhonda Sue Warford stopped at a Kroger grocery store near her home in Louisville, Kentucky. When she returned home approximately a half hour later, she told her mother of a bizarre confrontation in the parking lot. A strange man had approached Rhonda and began harassing her, telling her that he wanted to marry her. While shaken by the incident, Rhonda informed her mother at about midnight that same evening that she was heading back out. That was the last time anyone from the Warford family would see Rhonda alive.

When Rhonda failed to return home, her mother filed a missing person report with the local police. Several days later, Rhonda’s body would be found in a field in neighboring Meade County, Kentucky. She had sustained multiple stab wounds including one that had severed her brain stem. The only other solid evidence found on the scene were several grey hairs clenched in Rhonda’s hands, as well as several others found on the red sweatpants she had been wearing at the time of her disappearance.

Investigators would soon learn from Rhonda’s mother that she had been involved in a tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship with a 22-year-old man named Garr Keith Hardin. According to a friend of Rhonda’s, at one point Rhonda had suspected that she was pregnant with Hardin’s child. Hardin was overheard telling Rhonda after she broke the news, “if you are pregnant, I will kill you and that [expletive] baby.”

While little other witness testimony could corroborate that Hardin had been physically or emotionally abusive to Rhonda throughout their relationship, prosecutors decided to take an unusual turn in this case and focus on the possibility that Rhonda Sue Warford was the latest victim in a rash of Satanic ritual murders taking place across the country.

The first suggestion that this case could be related to some form of Satan worship came from Rhonda’s mother. According to Mrs. Warford’s statement, Rhonda, Rhonda’s sister Michelle, Hardin, and an associate of Hardin, Jeffrey Dewayne Clark, had all been suspected of being Satanists. An inverted cross tattoo found on Rhonda’s left clavicle seemed to corroborate this possibility that Rhonda had fallen in with a rough crowd interested in partying, listening heavy metal music, and reading into the occult.

Police were able to find more evidence that they believed suggested this crime was somehow related to a Satanic sacrifice, including occult-related documents and texts found at the home of Garr Keith Hardin and knives that could have been the murder weapon.

Hardin was interviewed extensively by police. It was during these interviews that Hardin told investigators that on the night of Rhonda’s disappearance he had been with Jeffrey Dewayne Clark, helping him search for his lost snake and drinking beer. Hardin claimed that he had not seen or heard from Rhonda since March 29, 1992. This detail would be later refuted by police.

According to Rhonda’s mother, the red sweatpants she was wearing at the time of her murder had been freshly washed. According to a hair strand analysis, the hairs found at the scene were similar to a sample taken from Hardin. Investigators determined that Hardin’s claim that he had not seen Rhonda prior to her murder had been a lie since they believed there could be no other way the hairs could have gotten onto her clothing.

Considering Hardin’s friend, Jeffrey Dewayne Clark, as a possible accomplice, police also conducted multiple interviews and searched through his residence. While they were able to turn up several knives, there was no other evidence to suggest that Clark had been involved in Rhonda’s murder. Clark told police he had not seen Rhonda since December of 1991, yet a fingerprint belonging to Rhonda was found in Clark’s car, leading police to suspect that Clark had not been truthful about the last time he had seen the teen. However, this suspicion was later dismissed during trial when an expert testified that there is no way to date a fingerprint and it was possible that the fingerprint had been there for months as Clark had claimed.

In spite of having nothing but circumstantial evidence to pursue the case, both Hardin and Clark were charged with first-degree murder. Their motive? A Satanic ritual sacrifice authorities said Hardin and Clark believed would give them more power.

Spearheading the case was former Detective Mark Handy. It was Handy who originally suggested the theory prosecutors would later base their case on; that Hardin and Clark had killed Rhonda as part of a bizarre ritual.

Handy had a series of tactics that would quickly earn him the reputation as a “closer.” It was said that if anyone could get a confession, Handy was the man for the job. Unfortunately, Handy was not above using underhanded methods in order to secure these confessions. Lying to Hardin and Clark, Handy suggested that both men had failed a polygraph test and had pressured the men to confess to the murder of Rhonda Sue Warford. Both men refused.

Instead, a barrage of characters were called to testify during Hardin and Clark’s week-long joint trial. One witness, Clark’s ex-girlfriend, claimed that Clark had admitted to her that he was interested in Satanism and had even taken her to the secret spot Clark claimed he would sacrifice various animals. It was during this alleged conversation that Clark told the witness his desire to sacrifice a human. Clark’s ex-girlfriend also claimed that Clark, like Rhonda, had an inverted cross tattoo. This claim was later disputed by Clark’s parents.

Rhonda’s sister, Michelle, would also take the stand and claim that Hardin was involved in Satanism, but admitted that she had never witnessed him participate in any form of Satanic act.

A blood-stained rag and a broken glass with the presence of blood found in Hardin’s kitchen sink were also considered to be crucial pieces of evidence in the case. Hardin claimed he had cut his hand on the glass and then used the rag to wipe off the blood on his hand. Prosecutors, going on Handy’s theories surrounding the case, instead suggested that the broken cup was a ritual chalice used to drink blood and that the rag had been used to wipe up the blood that remained on Hardin’s hands after committing animal sacrifices – something Detective Handy alleged that Hardin had admitted to him.

The proverbial nail that would seal both men’s fate would rely on the testimony of fellow inmate and informant Clifford Capps. Capps would claim that Clark confessed to Rhonda’s murder twice while sharing a cell. During one of these alleged confessions, Capps claimed Clark’s confession was stated in jest, while during the second confession Capps told the court that Clark’s face took on a serious expression.

Capps’ testimony would convince the jury that both men had been involved in Rhonda’s murder, but they still refused to impose the death penalty. Hardin and Clark were instead sentenced to life in prison. It would be nearly 25 years after securing their conviction that the tactics of Detective Handy would be called into question.

Louisville’s Wave3 News reported in December of 2017 that Hardin and Clark are just two of four people suspected to have been wrongfully convicted in cases headed by former Detective Handy.

The same year as Rhonda’s murder, Keith “Kiki” West was tried and convicted for the shooting death of Kevin Harraway and Gerald White. Police claimed that West had been inside a vehicle with the two men when he shot and killed them. West then leaped from the vehicle moments before it crashed into a tree. West claimed that the two men had attempted to kidnap and sodomize him and that the shooting was in self-defense. Wave3 reports that inside the vehicle police found a knife, a pawn shop receipt for a gun, as well as “homosexually-oriented literature.” None of this was taken in as evidence by Handy. Additionally, West’s lawyer suggested that a witness interview had been rewound and taped over after Handy had fed the witness additional information to include on the tape. This information was persuasive enough for a judge to reduce West’s sentence to just 10 years in 1997.

After securing the conviction of Hardin and Clark, Handy then went on to bungle a fourth case that would ultimately cost the taxpayers of Louisville a whopping $8.5m in damages awarded to the defendant.

In 1993, Edwin Chandler was convicted in the shooting death of gas station attendant Brenda Whitfield. Though the shooting was captured by surveillance video, an employee had inadvertently taped over the footage with an airing of David Letterman. While there was no physical evidence to suggest that the then 19-year-old Chandler had been involved in the shooting, a former co-worker of Brenda’s came forward to testify that they saw someone who looked like Chandler on the footage.

Chandler agreed to turn himself in on an unrelated check fraud warrant. He initially told police he had no involvement in the shooting, but eventually confessed to Handy that he had been the shooter. Chandler was convicted of armed robbery and manslaughter. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Chandler later said that his confession was coerced after being threatened by Handy that he would have Chandler’s sister arrested for harboring a fugitive and claimed that Handy had fed him information about the murder in order to attribute that information as coming from Chandler himself.

It would be Chandler’s case that would start a domino effect. Handy’s lack of credibility after lying under oath on the case would begin to bring his conduct into question and on record. In 2009, the Innocence Project helped to have the case reexamined. Fingerprints discovered on a bottle found on the counter at the scene were connected to a man identified as Percy Phillips. Phillips would later be tried for the shooting and Chandler’s conviction has since been overturned, with Chandler being granted a hefty settlement in compensation for the wrongful conviction.

After helping Chandler in his case, the Innocence Project began examining the cases of both Hardin and Clark. A judge initially ruled against granting DNA testing on the hair samples taken from the scene of Rhonda’s murder, stating that doing so would not overturn Hardin or Clark’s convictions, it would only suggest a third unknown person could have been involved in the teen’s murder.

It was later learned through a complaint filed on behalf of Hardin that in addition to Detective Handy, Sheriff Joseph Greer had also assisted in corrupting the case against Hardin and Clark. Greer is alleged to have conspired with Clark’s former girlfriend to present information suggesting that Clark had an active interest in Satanism and the desire to kill people and animals. According to the complaint, Clark had witnessed his former girlfriend abusing her son and reported it to police. It is believed that Clark’s ex-girlfriend agreed to testify against Clark in hopes of receiving a reduced sentence in her own case.

Clifford Capps, Clark’s one-time cellmate who claimed that Clark had confessed the murder to him, was also offered a deal by Sheriff Greer. In exchange for Capps’ testimony, Greer told Capps he would receive leniency in his pending court cases.

As for the broken glass and rag, which served as the crux of the physical evidence this case relied on, DNA testing determined that the blood on both had belonged to Hardin as he had stated. Additionally, DNA testing on the hair samples found on Rhonda’s body were determined to belong to neither Hardin, Clark or Rhonda. Instead, these hairs were determined to have belonged to another man.

It was this same man, John Whitely, who in 1993 had confessed to the murder. Whitely had a sordid history of violent crimes, but prosecutors ignored this information and instead went forward with the case against Hardin and Clark.

It would be this combination of modern DNA testing, known police corruption, and the prosecution’s failure to examine other evidence suggesting the perpetrator was someone other than Hardin and Clark that would convince Kentucky’s attorney general to reexamine the case.

Now, after 22-years behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit, Kentucky’s attorney general has agreed to overturn the original rulings in the cases. Both men have been cleared on all charges and it would seem that the tables have turned. Detective Handy, whose testimony on the alleged Satanic rituals that convinced a jury to sentence two innocent men to life in prison, is now under criminal investigation for police misconduct.

Heather Sutfin, March 1, 2018, ““Satanic Killers” Exonerated After Police Misconduct Probe”, http://swordandscale.com/satanic-killers-exonerated-after-police-misconduct-probe/

Complaints show Philly police escape discipline for violent misconduct

Internal Affairs investigated. The allegations held up. But the PPD’s internal justice system remains slow-moving and mysterious. (Photo: Maria Young/Philadelphia Weekly)

On a clear September night in 2016, a 20-year-old black man and a female companion were driving through the darkened streets of Northwest Philadelphia when they noticed a 14th District patrol car tailing them. After a few blocks, two officers in the cruiser used their PA system to order the couple to pull over.

It’s unclear exactly what transpired next, but the male driver later affirmed in a formal complaint that one of the cops pistol-whipped him after he stepped out of the car. According to the complainant, he was struck in the mouth so hard that it chipped one of his teeth. As the driver’s companion panicked, the officer reportedly said, “Fuck your pretty teeth.”

Although the Internal Affairs Division rejects nearly 98 percent of physical abuse complaints lodged against Philadelphia police, they found this account to be credible. But nearly a year and a half later, neither officer has ever faced any disciplinary action over the use of excessive force.

They are hardly alone. A Philly Weekly and City & State PA analysis of 8,555 newly released civilian complaint records, dating from 2013 to the present, found that hundreds of allegations ruled credible by Internal Affairs have languished – sometimes for years – with no resolution.

Between 2013 and 2016, 138 cases that sustained allegations of misconduct against city police have no listed punitive action. Despite a requirement that Internal Affairs complete investigations within 75 days of receiving a complaint, an additional 172 cases have remained open for a year or more – and some may never be resolved.

“Any police department, institution or employer wants a procedure by which they can investigate wrongdoing by employees. But the unfortunate history of Internal Affairs in Philadelphia is that they don’t do a very effective job,” said attorney David Rudovsky, of the firm, Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinberg & Lin LLP, who has sued the city over police misconduct. “It’s police officers investigating other police officers.”

Even when Internal Affairs hands off credible cases to the Police Board of Inquiry for punishment, records show that the majority of officers still walk away with nothing more than recommendations for additional unspecified “training or counseling.” Even in cases that include potentially criminal allegations, many officers are ultimately ruled not guilty.

But most cases never get that far.

“The last time we looked at physical abuse complaints, around 2003 or 2004, something like 1 percent of complaints were sustained. Little meaningful punishment has ever been imposed by Internal Affairs in Philadelphia,” said defense attorney Paul Messing, who is Rudovsky’s law partner. “It’s substantially below the average of most big-city internal affairs units.”

But 15 years after Messing’s initial examination of police disciplinary complaints, records show that little has changed.

PPD Civilian Complaints: 2013-2017

Internal justice

Philadelphia has had a checkered history of police disciplining their own.

After a series of misconduct scandals in the late 1990s, then-Commissioner John Timoney promised to reform the Internal Affairs unit, which had long been treated as a stepchild by the department. At the time, a handful of staffers were split between tiny, crumbling offices scattered in different parts of the city.

“In some cases, we didn’t know if more than one unit was investigating the same person,” said John “Ziggy” Norris, a respected Internal Affairs inspector, told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1998.

Timoney centralized the unit under Norris, pledging to ramp up discipline. But from the beginning, critics questioned how committed the department was to policing itself.

The new unit was banished to an office in a distant pocket of Northeast Philadelphia, where many members of the department live. Norris would soon retire and his successor would be quickly removed by new commissioner Sylvester Johnson – who, news reports indicate, had a reputation for leniency – in the early 2000s over a residency requirement violation.

In the late 2000s, Johnson’s replacement as commissioner, Charles Ramsey, once again beefed up staffing at Internal Affairs, promising to crack down on dirty cops. But even in cases where the commissioner directly intervened in disciplinary actions, he butted heads with the Fraternal Order of Police, which seeks to shield officers from punishment.

“At times, Internal Affairs has operated well…but the unfortunate fact in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia is that the police have ‘super’ due process through union arbitration,” Rudovsky said.

More recently – and following another wave of corruption scandals – Mayor Jim Kenney named a former Internal Affairs deputy, Richard Ross, as his police commissioner. Last year, in an apparent effort to increase transparency, Kenney also ordered the online publication of thousands of complaint records filed by civilians against police officers.

Previously, certain unredacted records were only available via direct requests to Internal Affairs. But to critics’ dismay, the newly released records do not explicitly identify offending officers – or their victims – by name, reducing their identities to simple initials.

In a questionably timed move, since the release of the online complaint data, Internal Affairs has stopped disclosing the identities of any police officers named in complaints.

Today, not even the Police Advisory Commission, a civilian board established by the Mayor’s Office to independently investigate complaints against officers, has access to unredacted complaint records, and public defenders are forced to subpoena individual records. Moreover, records relating to investigations launched by Internal Affairs itself have never been made public.

Police department spokesperson Capt. Sekou Kinebrew declined to confirm the identities of any officers named in complaints mentioned in this story. The Kenney administration declined to explain the rationale behind the partial release of records.

Delays in discipline

Despite those redactions, data analysis suggests that a small number of police officers are likely responsible for a disproportionate number of complaints. Out of the department’s 6,500 staffers, some 2,000 officers received just a single complaint over a five-year period. Thousands of other officers appear to have received no complaints at all during that time.

Police officers interviewed for this article concurred that it was unusual for the average patrol officer to receive more than a few complaints over a five-year period, either due to good behavior or victims’ reluctance to file formal grievance.

“A lot of people say, ‘What’s the point?’ You file the Internal Affairs complaint and you don’t get anything, even if it’s sustained,” Rudovsky said. “I think most people who do file legitimate complaints do it because they think they’ve been wronged and maybe want the police officer fired or retrained.”

It is also worth noting that many of the 8,555 complaints lodged against officers are frivolous on their face: one officer rolled his eyes, another spoke too curtly. Other complaints detail terrifying abuses of power – officers allegedly beating their spouses, stealing money, using racial epithets, beating suspects – but have been deemed not credible by Internal Affairs for unknown reasons.

But in the rare instances when claims of extreme misconduct are sustained, consequences may never come – leading criminal justice advocates to question both the sluggish resolutions and the lack of punitive outcomes.

In one harrowing case, an officer facing domestic abuse charges was able to leave the department without facing disciplinary action.

A woman, identified in records only as “Ms. P,” said she had been repeatedly terrorized by an abusive ex-boyfriend who happened to be one of the department’s own higher-ups: a 15th District sergeant identified by the initials “JT.”

According to the 2013 complaint, “JT” repeatedly threatened to kill “Ms. P” when she sought to end their relationship – and later slashed her tires. One night, he used a copied key to enter the woman’s house uninvited while her teenage daughter was home alone.

Internal Affairs sustained portions of that account, including allegations of domestic violence. But Kinebrew, the department’s spokesperson, said that “JT” retired that same year prior to facing the disciplinary board.

But in potentially criminal cases, department policy says that both Internal Affairs and the Police Board of Inquiry have a responsibility to refer cases to the district attorney for review.

“If Internal Affairs develops credible information concerning off-duty misconduct or situations like domestic violence, they have a responsibility to report it. And if they don’t, they’re in dereliction of duty,” Rudovsky said.

Ben Waxman, spokesperson for DA Larry Krasner, said that it is “absolutely appropriate” for Internal Affairs to share information about problem officers.

The police department declined to identify specific cases that had been referred for criminal prosecution. But the District Attorney’s Office stated that between 2012 and 2017, Internal Affairs had referred 660 such cases – either from civilians or internally – for criminal charges. Just 62 resulted in arrests.

Despite internal findings that an officer may have trespassed and committed domestic abuse, “Sergeant JT” was never arrested over the incident or otherwise disciplined. Today, five years after he retired, police records still list the case’s resolution as “pending.”

In other cases of violent misconduct, both disciplinary action and Internal Affairs investigations appear to drag on with little urgency, including another physical abuse case involving a different police sergeant that is fast approaching its one-year anniversary.

Last April, according to this complaint, an 18-year-old white male and his female friend were driving the streets of Northeast Philadelphia on their way to pick up some groceries when they were stopped by an 8th District officer listed in city records only as “Sergeant FB.”

He accused the pair of making unspecified “offensive” hand gestures in his direction. During an ensuing altercation, the sergeant decked the 18-year-old and choked his female friend before arresting them both. Inspectors eventually sustained a charge of physical and verbal abuse against “FB” – but no punishment has been meted out to date.

The department offered no timeline for resolving that complaint and declined to identify the officer involved.

Police sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, said it is also not unusual for a year or more to pass between the start of an internal investigation and a final disciplinary hearing.

Department spokesperson Kinebrew said delayed verdicts can be caused by the complainant or the accused officer’s unavailability due to illness, injury or extended leaves of absence.

But records indicate cases have stalled out even when multiple witnesses identified themselves in the initial complaint.

In November 2016, a registered nurse claimed to have witnessed officers pulling over two parents for erratic driving. The nurse reported that the couple tearfully explained to the police that they were taking their gravely ill child to the emergency room.

As the hospital’s chief of staff and other employees watched, the father was allegedly removed from the vehicle at gunpoint, handcuffed, cursed at, and placed in the officers’ patrol vehicle.

The father was released only when hospital security intervened on the family’s behalf, at which point one officer reportedly commented: “You should be glad I have a heart.”

Nearly a year and a half later, that investigation is still technically ongoing.

“I think that a lot of time, you find investigations are not up to par,” Rudovsky said. “We’ve looked at a lot of instances where witnesses were never interviewed or evidence was never collected.”

PPD Civilian Complaints – Sustained

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The shadow tribunal

Internal Affairs sustained only 15 percent of all 8,555 civilian complaints filed over the last six years – more than some big cities, like Chicago or Baltimore, but fewer than places like New York City or Washington, D.C. But the occasional case does make it before the Police Board of Inquiry, a three-member panel comprised of a rotating cast of sworn officers.

The PPD has previously barred members of the public from attending these hearings, which departmental edicts describe as “informal” tribunals where “strict rules of evidence shall not apply.” After reviewing each case, the panel makes a disciplinary recommendation to the police commissioner.

Complaint records list these outcomes as “guilty,” “not guilty” or “training/counseling,” but do not specify the police commissioner’s subsequent actions – if any.

Over the last five years, internal investigators have sustained 1,122 complaints against officers. 95 officers – just over 8 percent of the sustained complaints – were later found to be not guilty by the board, another 840 were referred for retraining or counseling. Only 160 cases yielded a guilty verdict.

“(The process) rarely imposes punishment, even when there is a finding,” said Messing. “I don’t think there is a rationale to it. The disciplinary system was long ago found to be ineffective – and still is ineffective.”

Yet Philadelphia officers facing disciplinary threats still often retain counsel through their union, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5. Under its recently renewed contract with the city, the FOP wields outsized power to arbitrate cases and reinstate police officers who have been terminated for misconduct – though it remains unclear how many dismissals have stemmed from civilian complaints.

Union reps did not return multiple requests for comment on this story.

Advocates say the city needs to go further than releasing partially censored complaint records to right police discipline in Philadelphia. Some, like Marcel Bassett, the Police Advisory Commission’s public affairs specialist, say effective discipline can ultimately build relationships with those policed by the department.

“(The release of civilian complaints) helped by creating more transparency with the police department,” Bassett said. “But it alone did not and will not fully repair the bridge of trust we are tasked with repairing.”

*Editor’s note: Following publication, the Police Advisory Commission clarified that it does, in fact, have access to unredacted complaint records, although the commission declined to provide further details.

Complaints show Philly police escape discipline for violent misconduct”, http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news/complaints-show-philly-police-escape-discipline-for-violent-misconduct/article_c283b3da-1bc6-11e8-bfbd-47e1758196fe.html

Nicole Baukus’s new lawyer alleges police misconduct in DWI fatal crash

http://interactive.tegna-media.com/video/embed/embed.html?id=8014330&type=video&title=Claims%20of%20new%20evidence%20and%20police%20misconduct&site=285&playerid=6918249996585&dfpid=32805352&dfpposition=embed_preroll§ion=homeNicole Baukus’s attorney says she was not adequately represented during her first trial, in which she pleaded guilty. He has filed a motion for an evidentiary hearing and is requesting to cross-examine investigators at the crash scene.

The family of convicted drunk driver Nicole Baukus has hired attorney Randy Schaffer to appeal her case for a second time.

Shaffer says Baukus was not adequately represented during her first trial, in which she pleaded guilty. He has filed a motion for an evidentiary hearing and is requesting to cross-examine investigators at the crash scene. His ultimate goal is a re-trial.

A jury convicted Baukus of driving the wrong way on I-45 back in September 2012 after a night of drinking 21 alcoholic beverages at a bar in The Woodlands. Her truck collided head-on with driver Nicole Adams. Adams, 19, and her passenger, 18-year-old Travis Saunders, were killed in the crash. Another passenger, David Porras, then 22 years old, was critically injured.

Schaffer says police dash-cam shows a 7-second video clip of Baukus standing with her back to the camera, “wearing two tennis shoes. The same as when she left the bar.”

Shaffer says the first two law enforcement officers at the scene — one from the Shenandoah Police Department and the other from the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office — order Baukus to sit in the middle of the road. He says at one point, Baukus removed her shoe and a bloody sock to relieve pain from a broken foot. Shaffer alleges, “the left shoe and sock that she had taken off the in the road, end up getting planted in the driver’s floor board.”

Shaffer says the law enforcement officer tampered with evidence to frame Baukus as the driver and make a quick arrest in the case. He said prosecutors never proved Baukus was the one behind the wheel.

The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office refutes Schaffer’s claims, stating the Office is “confident that Baukus was the driver and the sole occupant of her vehicle. The Office believes that Baukus’s claims of misconduct are without merit.”

Fred Saunders, the father of one of the victims, says he vehemently agrees with the DA’s Office.

“This is a last-ditch effort to exonerate somebody who is clearly guilty,” he said.

Saunders said he cannot bear the thought of another trial.

“To see the wreckage again and to hear what my son went through…he saw it coming. He was not asleep,” he said.

Baukus is currently serving a 38-year sentence. She is not eligible for parole until she serves 19 years in prison.

Jessica Borg, February 20, 2018 , “Nicole Baukus’s new lawyer alleges police misconduct in DWI fatal crash”, http://www.khou.com/article/news/local/nicole-baukuss-new-lawyer-alleges-police-misconduct-in-dwi-fatal-crash/285-521115699

City settles police misconduct lawsuit after new evidence surfaces — again


police tape

Sun-Times file photo

Paradigm Shift: City Now Forcing Bad Cops to Pay Victims Out of Their OWN POCKETS—Not Taxpayers

In cases where cops are proven to have acted with malice, the taxpayers will no longer be held liable. Instead, the criminal cops will have their wages garnished until they pay it all back.

One of the most corrupt policies in place to protect police officers who commit violence in the line of duty is the legal protection that comes when a victim files a lawsuit against an aggressive cop. When a victim of a police assault wins a lawsuit against the police department, the city’s taxpayers are usually on the hook for the restitution fees. However, a new policy change in Baltimore—which will set a revolutionary precedent—will finally have the guilty officers feeling the pain in their pockets for once.

In a memo sent out by police union president Gene Ryan this week, Baltimore City officers were warned about how they could be charged with punitive damage if a jury finds that they acted with malice during an attack on a citizen.

The email stated that:

Many of our officers are sued for monetary damages by individuals they have arrested or have come in contact with.  These lawsuits allege wrongdoing on the part of the officer and oftentimes allege that the officer acted with malice.  Malice means that the officer’s alleged actions were motivated by a personal hatred towards the individual suing him or her.  If the person suing the officer wins on the question of whether the officer committed a wrong, the Plaintiff can recover monetary damages to compensate him or her for any injury and/or expenses incurred resulting from the officer’s actions.  If a jury finds that the officer acted with malice, the jury has the option to award punitive damages which are designed to punish the officer and to serve as a deterrent to the officer not to repeat the alleged wrongful conduct found to have occurred by the jury.

Most times, the officer who is being sued will dispute the allegations made by a Plaintiff and successfully defend a claim for punitive damages. However, many juries award punitive damages despite the lack of evidence of malice even in cases where the police officer has not been charged criminally and been found to have acted within the scope of his/her duties consistent with the rules and regulations of the Baltimore Police Department. In the past, the City of Baltimore has generally supported the officers by paying punitive damages as well as the compensatory damages awarded for the actual injury.  Since Andre Davis has been named as our new City Solicitor, he has adopted a policy of not paying any punitive damages despite the fact that the Police Officer has been found to have acted appropriately by the office of the State’s Attorney as well as the Baltimore Police Department.

What this means is that police officers are now required to pay these punitive damage awards, which can amount to thousands of dollars, out of their own pockets.  Since punitive damages cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, the successful citizen can file an attachment against your wages taking 25% of your net bi-weekly paycheck until the amount of the punitive judgment is satisfied.

Please keep this in mind as you go about performing your duties.

The email was leaked to Baltimore crime journalist Justin Fenton for The Baltimore Sun, who posted the following tweet on Tuesday.

City Solicitor Andre M. Davis responded to the leaked email on Wednesday by saying that the union was lying and that this policy has been in place for decades.

Former City Solicitor George Nilson has confirmed this, saying “In the past, the city law department has appropriately refused to pay malice judgments.”

Davis pointed out that the Local Government Tort Claims Act doesn’t require local governments to pay punitive damages for police officers but most local bureaucrats go along doing so anyway without question.

“The statement was flatly wrong in several respects and deeply misleading in other respects. The statute reflects the ordinary common sense notion that if government employees are told that no matter how badly they misbehave, no matter how maliciously they inflict harm or injuries on their fellow citizens, their employer will pay for that harm, then we can expect an increase in such harm. Employees, including police officers who, no doubt have the most difficult job in government, are not privileged to inflict gratuitous injury on others without also incurring personal consequences.” Davis told WBAL.

Davis also took issue with the fact that the email stated that officers are charged without evidence, which is an obviously false claim considering that police are held to a much lower standard than average citizens in the US legal system.

“Instead of speaking out forcefully to encourage FOP members to police in a professional and constitutional manner, as the Commissioner-Designate [Darryl De Sousa] has promised will be his guiding light, and as the federal court consent decree mandates the Police Department to achieve, the FOP leadership’s message seems to be an attempt to dissuade officers from continuing to do their challenging jobs in good faith reliance on the City’s contractual and state law obligation to protect them from baseless lawsuits. This is unfortunate and troubling. Nevertheless, the Law Department will always stand with our officers and give them the legal defense, counsel, and such additional training as may be needed so that they remain on the constitutional side of urban policing in the twenty-first century at all times,” Davis said.

The Baltimore Sun reported that as many as nine Baltimore police officers could have to pay tens of thousands of dollars in damages for recent cases where they found guilty of attacking someone with malice. These cases are reportedly what provoked this recent tantrum from the police union.