Minneapolis Bans ‘Warrior-Style’ Training for Police Officers

CINNAMON JANZER     APRIL 30, 2019

During his State of the City address on April 18, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced that the city will ban its police officers from participating in “warrior-style” training, even when it’s self-funded and off duty.

While the Minneapolis Police Department doesn’t currently offer any fear-based trainings, they “remain available to officers off-duty,” Frey said. “That’s why today we’re announcing that the Minneapolis Police Department will be — we believe — the first major department in the nation to prohibit fear-based training” both on and off-duty.

“Warrior-style” training takes a fear-based approach to policing that prioritizes officer safety over community safety by conditioning trainees to view all encounters as inherently dangerous. The most well-known examples are offered by retired Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman and his Grossman Academy. The philosophy behind his courses and his book, “On Killing,” is this: Both soldiers and police officers should be trained to kill with less hesitation.

After praising the department for various achievements like offering wellness trainings to help officers combat the trauma they experience on the job, Frey explained that the popular fear-based trainings run counter to the department’s vision.

“There are external trainings that have no place in the vision and culture shift outlined by our chief. Chief Medaria Arradondo’s MPD rests on trust, accountability, and professional service. Whereas fear-based, warrior-style trainings like ‘killology’ are in direct conflict with everything that our chief and I stand for in our police department,” Frey said.

“Fear-based trainings violate the values at the very heart of community policing. When you’re conditioned to believe that every person encountered poses a threat to your existence, you simply cannot be expected to build meaningful relationships with those same people.”

“Basically, the issue is that Grossman’s ‘killology’ idea and course has no scientific basis in reality,” says Michelle Gross, the president of Minneapolis’ Communities United Against Police Brutality. Gross’ organization has met with Mayor Frey and has been working with Chief Arradondo since he assumed the role in 2017 to oust fear-based training, a term Gross says her organization coined in order to describe trainings like Grossman’s and more.

“We wanted to make it clear that these trainings are under all kinds of names and have a very powerful influence on police,” she says.

Gross, who became interested police brutality activism after experiencing it herself, sees no need for the warrior-style trainings that Frey has moved to eliminate. “This kind of training where danger is lurking at every corner and you should be prepared to gun down people … basically teaches officers to be fearful when they don’t need to be. What we see as a result is what’s happened with Officer Yanez who killed Philando Castile.” Yanez had taken a “Bulletproof Warrior” seminar through Grossman’s organization before the 2016 traffic stop in which he shot Castile.

Frey’s announcement comes as another police brutality trial is underway in the Twin Cities, this time of Mohamed Noor, a former Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Justine Damond in Minneapolis in 2017.

Not everyone is pleased with the announcement. Last week, the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis — the union that represents officers, sergeants, and lieutenants across the MPD and park police — announced an exclusive partnership with Law Officer, a self-described “industry leader” in law enforcement training, to provide fear-based training through the company’s website and app for the rest of Frey’s term for free, defying Frey’s ban.

Travis Yates, director of training for Law Officer, said in a press release that “it is both an honor and a privilege to provide the heroes of the Minneapolis Police Department daily training that can ensure they will return home each day to their family regardless of the dangers that they may face and the ignorance of some politicians.”

In the release, President of the Police Officer’s Federation of Minneapolis Lt. Bob Kroll thanked Law Officer for defying the mayor, adding that “while it seems that the lives of our officers are not important to politicians, they certainly are by Law Officer and we are grateful for this partnership.”

In response, Frey has doubled down on his commitment to ban the trainings. “We have adopted this new policy because proper training on use of force and de-escalation is of paramount importance,” Mayor Frey said in a statement. “Officers found to pursue any training that conflicts with MPD’s training and has not been preapproved will be subject to discipline.” Chief Arradondo’s public information officer refused to make him available for this story.

The move could set the stage for a court case, and the union, at least, is ready. “We’ve ran it by our attorneys and are prepared to go down that route … for unfair labor practices,” Kroll told Next City.

Last week, union leadership met with Chief Arradondo, but no agreement has been reached, the Star Tribune reported.

In the meantime, Gross remains hopeful as her organization continues to combat police brutalities.

“Getting rid of this training is a life-saving measure because [the training] promotes killing more people. We would like it if they didn’t kill anybody at all,” she says. “I hope it’s a chance to change the culture of policing and … change it in a way that police will be less likely to kill people and less likely to be brutal and more prone to use methods of de-escalation.”

CINNAMON JANZER, APRIL 30, 2019, “Minneapolis Bans ‘Warrior-Style’ Training for Police Officers”, https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/minneapolis-bans-warrior-style-training-for-police-officers

Advertisements

Check Out This New Database of Corrupt Cops

USA Today launches an important new tool for tracking officers who have been fired for misconduct.

| 

USA Today has partnered with its affiliate newsrooms and a nonprofit group in Chicago to launch an important new database that documents law enforcement officers with records of misconduct.

Part of that database is now available for public searches. USA Today has documented at least 85,000 cops who have been investigated or disciplined for misconduct across the past decade. But this initial document dump focuses just on 30,000 cops who have been “decertified” by various state agencies for misconduct.

There are 44 states that have an internal decertification process that is intended to try to make sure that bad cops can’t migrate to other cities or states to land new jobs at other agencies after they’ve been fired for misconduct. But as Anthony Fisher documented for Reason in 2016, there’s really no centralized tracking going on so that it’s easy to determine who is on any of those lists, and even decertified cops can go on to find new jobs in law enforcement agencies elsewhere. Several of these states require officers to actually be convicted of crimes before they’ll actually be decertified. And police unions have resisted any efforts to make a national decertification database.

So it’s possible that this USA Today database is a useful resource to other law enforcement agencies in states that don’t participate in the decertification process or are otherwise struggling to get the information.

But there are still huge gaps—California does not participate in this 44-state decertification program and they’ve got more police and deputies than anybody else. It was just with the start of this new year that California changed its record laws to unseal records of police misconduct that had been hidden from public view.

Of the cops who were decertified, USA Today notes that the greatest number of them had been banned for drug or alcohol issues (DUIs, for example) and for assaults or violence. But a good number of them (close to 2,000) had been banned for sexual misconduct. Another 2,777 had been banned for “dishonesty,” a category that covers behavior like perjury or tampering with evidence.

Also worth note: USA Today‘s data show that only 10 percent of officers in most police forces get investigated for misconduct. But among those who have been banned, nearly 2,500 had been investigated on 10 or more charges. A small group of them (20) had faced 100 or more allegations and were still serving. If it’s bad apples spoiling the bunch, some of them are really bad.

USA Today ends its piece by openly calling for cooperation from journalists at other media outlets, from members of the public, and even from law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to fill out this database. The opening of police records in California has prompted media outlets there to work together to track down decades’ worth of what had been secret details of police misconduct. Maybe they’ll add their work to what USA Today is doing.

Check out the database here.

 

“Check Out This New Database of Corrupt Cops”, https://reason.com/2019/04/25/check-out-this-new-database-of-corrupt-cops/

How an officer fired twice from one police department became chief of another

David Cimperman

A lot of police departments don’t have the money or resources to do thorough background checks on candidates, and police misconduct is often secretive and hard to uncover, reports CBS News’ Jeff Pegues. He spoke to an Ohio police chief who said an officer fired twice from his department went on to become the police chief of a nearby town.

Michael Goodwin, the police chief of New Philadelphia, Ohio, said there is one word that comes to mind when he hears the name of his department’s former officer, David Cimperman: chaos.

“He was here for 15 years before he resigned. The city fired him twice. An arbitrator gave him his job back twice,” Goodwin said. “He was being wrote up or disciplined by his supervisors on a regular basis.”

Cimperman was hired in the early 1990s. Internal police reports and county records obtained by USA Today Network show years of misconduct followed. Among the allegations: Cimperman tampered with police radios so he could “make untraceable calls,” which blocked 911 calls from coming through. He was also accused of engaging in a high-speed chase with a motorcyclist who didn’t pull his visor down. Cimperman crashed, flipped his patrol car and had to shoot a window to get out.

Even after Cimperman was fired and rehired twice, Chief Goodwin says allegations continued to pile up, and in 2012, the department gave Cimperman an ultimatum – resign or face more possible disciplinary action. He chose to resign on his own accord, which allowed him to get another job.

Three years later, Cimperman was back on the force, this time,as chief in nearby Amsterdam, Ohio. Nobody from Amsterdam called to check on his past – something that doesn’t surprise Goodwin.

“What we are finding out is, across the state, police departments are not doing a thorough background check,” Goodwin said. “I think they are in a hurry to get a body or boots on the ground.”

Gary Pepperling is the mayor of Amsterdam. He hired Cimperman, whose misconduct allegedly continued.

“We needed a police officer bad, and he fit the bill for what we thought he would do,” Pepperling said. “I think he’s a criminal and that’s disgusting, you know? And I feel bad I let the people down and didn’t get rid of him sooner.”

According to interviews and hiring forms obtained by USA Today Network, Cimperman allegedly added officers to Amsterdam’s roster even though many of them never did any work. Instead, they allegedly logged hours for a private security company he ran on the side. A now published internal report also accuses Cimperman of misplacing evidence. The mayor said Cimperman was forced to resign.

Chris Davis, the vice president of investigations for USA Today Network, and his team analyzed troves of records and data from around the country, publishing many online. They found 85,000 police officers who have been disciplined or in trouble. Dozens of them are still working in departments, including some previously found guilty of a crime.

“It’s not easy to find information often about officers who have been in trouble,” Davis said. “You need a resource that is better than what exists to keep track of officers who have had problems and there is no national complete data set that’s available.”

Chief Goodwin agrees. He wants to see departments doing background checks and thoroughly investigating officers before they are hired, something he says his department already does.

“Things are getting kind of set aside that’s not fair to the people who pay our salaries, which are the citizens of our cities,” Goodwin said.

USA Today Network published a list of more than 30,000 officers in 44 states who have been decertified, or essentially banned, from being an officer in their state. They hope this searchable database will help the public and future employers identify dangerous officers.

Cimperman told us “the article is not accurate, and places me in a false light.” USA Today Network says he is still commissioned and working in Ohio as a paid part-timer.

 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/officer-fired-twice-from-one-police-department-became-chief-of-another/

Broward County Deputies Assaulted a Black Teen. But ‘Accountability’ Is Not Enough.

Video still from footage of a Broward County Sheriff's deputy assaulting a black teenager, April 2019.

Video still from footage of a Broward County Sheriff’s deputy assaulting a black teenager, April 2019. Photo: Screenshot via Broward County Sheriff’s Office

The sheriff’s office in Broward County, Florida, has promised to investigate two of its deputies for assaulting a black 15 year old on Thursday. An 18-second video shows the officials — Christopher Krickovich and Sergeant Greg LaCerra — pepper-spraying the teen in the face, banging his forehead against concrete, and punching him on the side of his head. (The teen’s name has not been disclosed in news reports, but he has been identified on social media as “Lucca.”) Footage of the incident has circulated nationally, prompting outraged responses from celebrities and lawmakers alike. Sheriff Gregory Tony tried to assuage the concerns of local black civic leaders by vowing a “tactful” investigation. “That’s the most electrifying and dangerous situation for a law enforcement administrator to handle,” Tony, the county’s first black sheriff, said on Saturday, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Any time a white deputy is involved in contact with using force on a black youth, this thing blows up.”

That such a thing might “blow up” is appropriate. Years of activism and reporting have demonstrated the racism with which law enforcement is applied across the United States. In Broward County, its impact on black youth has been a point of special focus. A 2013 initiative led by Robert Runcie, superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, sought to eliminate disparities in the rates at which black students were suspended and arrested for in-school misconduct compared to their white peers. (During the 2011-2012 school year, black students were roughly two-thirds of those suspended, mostly for minor incidents — like using profanity or disrupting class — despite being 40 percent of the student body, according to the American Prospect.) Runcie partnered with local advocates and law enforcement to implement alternatives to suspension and prohibit arrests — 71 percent of which were for misdemeanors — in some cases where they had been allowed before. (Officers were, however, allowed to override some of these prohibitions: “I wanted to make sure deputies always had discretion,” then-Sheriff Scott Israel told the Prospect.)

The effect was almost immediate. By the end of 2013, suspensions had dropped 40 percent and arrests of students had fallen 66 percent. A more humane tint began to color how local law enforcement treated black children for whom youthful mistakes often meant years of condemnation as criminals. But Thursday’s incident proves that progress on one front does not constitute a sea change any more than it precludes regression. After 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last February, criticism of how Broward County Sheriff’s deputies handled the shooting — including their failure to immediately enter the school when gunshots were reported — prompted an emphasis on meeting perceived threats with swift violence, according to the Washington Post. Deputies have since been re-trained on how to subdue subjects in what one sheriff’s union official described to the Post as a “Fight Club atmosphere.” Some participants have suffered injuries in the process, ranging from fractured bones to a detached retina to brain bleeding.

So when dispatchers on Thursday received calls that a group of teenagers had gathered in a McDonald’s parking lot in Tamarac — a popular hangout for local high schoolers — and that some of them were fighting, they applied the kind of immediate and decisive force that many wished they had wielded against Cruz. Among the differences was that such force is used traditionally against black youth with no such justification — as examples ranging from the 2015 police assault on a black girl in Richland County, South Carolina, to the February police beating of a black girl in Chicago illustrate. For these victims, the misapplication of brutal police training was their lot well before Parkland. That the 15 year old on Thursday committed no clear infraction, let alone a crime, highlights the absurdity of continuing to apply it after. In effect, the training changes in Broward County seek to level against men like Cruz a degree of violence that, for many unarmed black children, was already a danger. Such are the wages of a culture that looks to atrocities like Parkland to shape law enforcement policy, but seems unable or unwilling to ensure that officers do not greet innocent people with the same violence.

Accordingly, Krickovich, who wrote the police report about Thursday’s incident, seemed to inflate Thursday’s threat to justify his response. In his telling, he was arresting another teen for trespassing when Lucca bent down to pick up the boy’s cell phone. “While I was dealing with the male on the ground, I observed his phone slide to the right of me and then behind me,” Krickovich wrote, according to the Sun Sentinel. “I observed a teen [Lucca] wearing a red tank top reach down and attempt to grab the male student’s phone.” In the video, another deputy — identified by the Sun Sentinel as LaCerra — is seen shoving Lucca, after which Lucca appears to object verbally. In the report, Krickovich wrote that Lucca “took an aggressive stance” toward LaCerra, “bladed his body and began clenching his fists.” (The video shows no such clear aggression.) LaCerra then pepper-sprayed Lucca in the face and threw him to the ground. Claiming that he feared for his safety, Krickovich “jumped on [Lucca],” grabbed the prone teen by both sides of his head, slammed his forehead against the concrete, and punched him before another deputy helped him apply handcuffs.

Whether the deputies were actually afraid is less knowable — and arguably less telling — than their confidence that claiming they were would exonerate them of wrongdoing. Racism shapes this expectation. Outlandish scenarios arise from police accounts of the dangers that young black men allegedly pose. Officer Darren Wilson equated Michael Brown to a “demon” during his testimony about the 2014 shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, that sparked protests and riots. “[He] had the most intense, aggressive face,” Wilson told a grand jury. “The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon.” If one accepts that Brown was “like a demon,” claims that he barreled toward a police officer through a hail of bullets become palatable. (No criminal charges were filed against Wilson.) If one concedes that Lucca was similarly endowed, assertions that the unarmed teen posed a threat to gun-toting sheriff’s deputies — despite video evidence to the contrary — is plausible enough for Krickovich to gamble on investigators siding with him.

In a sense, Thursday was a predictable outcome of asking an institution whose job is violence to escalate. Lucca and Cruz — or Lucca and anyone who seeks to harm police officers, really — exist on polar ends of most realistic threat spectra, but separating them is of secondary concern to those convinced that safety means reflexively treating more people like the latter. Krickovich banked on this ambiguity. Racism likely helped rationalize his response, despite it transpiring in a community whose administrators, in the past, sought to reduce disparities. Indeed, it is hard to believe that he and LaCerra would have treated a white child the same way they did Lucca. But when an assault like Thursday’s is permissible as long as officers claim they are afraid — and can convince investigators that their response was consistent with what others would have done in their place — then the bigger issue is more fundamental than whether they were white and the victim black. The problem, one of many, is the public and institutional instinct to let the worst set the standard rather than remain outliers. Humane rules of engagement evaporate where every suspect is a demon. And whatever the outcome of the department’s investigation, it is worth asking if that is a reasonable price to pay for feeling safe.

 

Zak Cheney-Rice, NYMag., “Broward County Deputies Assaulted a Black Teen. But ‘Accountability’ Is Not Enough.”, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/04/broward-county-deputy-beats-black-teen.html

Broward Police Officer who Assaulted 15 Year-Old Suspended From Force

 

Cellphones have been an instrumental tool in capturing alleged incidents of police brutality. This weekend, there were multiple videos taken of a Broward County, Florida police officer slamming a young black teenager’s head into the ground.

As the videos spread around social media, there were numerous calls for the officer involved to be fired. Deputy Christopher Krickovich has now been ordered to surrender his gun and badge as he is being suspended while the incident is investigated.

The arrest of 15 year-old Luca drew attention from Broward County’s Mayor, Mark Bogen. Bogen tweeted, “The behavior of these BSO deputies is outrageous & unacceptable. The officer who jumped the student, punched & banged his head should be fired. I have a problem with the deputy who threw him to the ground after he pepper sprayed him. He could’ve easily arrested him after the spray.”

Mayor Mark Bogen@mark_bogen

The behavior of these BSO deputies is outrageous & unacceptable The officer who jumped the student, punched & banged his head should be fired. I have a problem with the deputy who threw him to the ground after he pepper sprayed him He could’ve easily arrested him after the spray.

South Florida Sun Sentinel

@SunSentinel

Broward Sheriff’s Office investigates after video shows deputies pepper-spraying and punching teens https://trib.al/7OTBElf 

View image on Twitter
3,363 people are talking about this

Bishop Talbert Swann also weighed in, writing, “Demand that Broward Sheriff, Gregory Tony drop all the charges against Delucca, fire and arrest the racist, rogue officers that used excessive force and brutalized an innocent 15 year old boy.”

Bishop Talbert Swan

@TalbertSwan

Here’s another angle that shows @browardsheriff’s deputy pepper spraying unarmed Black boy, Lucca, who posed no threat. He then slammed his head into the concrete, arrested him & charged him with ASSAULTING the cops.

This is brutality.

Embedded video

Bishop Talbert Swan

@TalbertSwan

Demand that @browardsheriff Gregory Tony drop all the charges against Delucca, fire and arrest the racist, rogue officers that used excessive force and brutalized an innocent 15 year old boy.

Sign the Petition! http://chng.it/5KhTfFXw  pic.twitter.com/gR4sU4WZaN

View image on Twitter
5,317 people are talking about this

Golden State Warriors’ Coach and frequent Trump critic, Steve Kerr, also gave his opinion. “What the hell is wrong with our country? This is insane yet routine. So demoralizing,” wrote the Coach.

Steve Kerr

@SteveKerr

What the hell is wrong with our country? This is insane yet routine. So demoralizing.

Keith Boykin

@keithboykin

This is police brutality. https://twitter.com/TalbertSwan/status/1119612441049075713 

37.6K people are talking about this

Broward’s Sheriff, Gregory Tony is doing his best to manage the situation. Talbert Swann writes, “Gregory Tony held a meeting with Black Elected Officials & emphasizes a commitment to transparency & accountability.” The 15 year old boy involved in the incident is still facing charges.

 

TODD NEIKIRK, https://hillreporter.com/broward-police-officer-who-assaulted-15-year-old-suspended-from-force-32157

NYC spent $230M on NYPD settlements last year: report

NYC spent $230M on NYPD settlements last year: report
NY City Comptroller Scott Stringer (Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News)

New York City taxpayers spent a whopping $230 million to pay off 6,472 lawsuits settled against the NYPD in the last fiscal year, according to an annual report released Monday by Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office.

The amount reflects settlements made from July 2017 through June 2018, and marks a 32% decrease from the prior year, when the city paid out $335 million for lawsuits against the police department.

Roughly $108 million was related to allegations of police misconduct like false arrests and excessive force, more than doubling the $48 million paid out for such issues a decade ago.

The total number of police misconduct claims filed last year increased from 2017, despite the fact that the total number of settlements issued in cases against the department declined.

Stringer’s report noted that a handful of claims inflated the total cost of last year’s settlements — five wrongful conviction cases accounted for roughly 14%, or $33 million, of the NYPD payouts.

Police spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie said the reduction in claims shows the department’s ability to fight frivolous cases and provide top-of-the-line training to its officers.

“These gains represent another example of how the NYPD is building greater trust and respect with the community to collaboratively solve problems, drive down crime, and enhance public safety,” McRorie said.

Critics say the numbers in the report are not indicative of a reformed police department.

“This is just another spin effort by the comptroller and the Law Department,” said civil rights lawyer Joel Berger. “The trend over the past 10 years tells you there’s a lot of dissatisfaction out there, and not everyone harmed by the police files a lawsuit. Plenty of people decide they don’t want to go through the hassle.”

Berger pointed out that 44% of the claims against the city resolved by settlements of judgement in 2018 were against the NYPD, and took issue with the police department and unions claiming that many of the cases against the NYPD were frivolous.

“The public should not be fooled by government and union officials who attempt to spin statistics in an effort to claim that police-community relations are improving,” said Berger. “They aren’t.”

 

CORRUPTION IN UNIFORM: THE DOWD CASE; Officer Flaunted Corruption, And His Superiors Ignored It

The article as it originally appeared.

VIEW PAGE IN TIMESMACHINE
July 7, 1994, Page 00001The New York Times Archives

Over a span of six years, the New York City Police Department received 16 complaints alleging that Police Officer Michael Dowd had been robbing drug dealers and dealing cocaine as part of a gang of corrupt officers in the 75th Precinct in the crime-ridden East New York section of Brooklyn.

That wasn’t all. The officer drove to work in a bright red Corvette and sometimes had a limousine pick him up at the station house for gambling trips to Atlantic City.

Yet in a clear example of what went wrong with the department’s handling of corruption cases, an investigative panel, the Mollen Commission, has concluded that senior officers repeatedly ignored allegations against Officer Dowd or blocked efforts to check them out in a deliberate policy to shield the department from scandal. Officer Dowd was eventually arrested by another department and is now facing sentencing on drug charges.

The senior officers’ behavior, the panel concluded, was influenced by the tone set at the top. The panel’s report, which will be released formally today, found that Benjamin Ward, who was the Police Commissioner when the first allegations were made against Officer Dowd in 1986, had been deeply shaken by a corruption scandal in another Brooklyn precinct at about the same time.

And it quoted Charles J. Hynes, who was then the state’s special prosecutor for police corruption, as saying that Mr. Ward was convinced that further revelations of police misconduct would cripple the department.

But whatever the motivation, the commission said, Mr. Ward and Daniel F. Sullivan, the chief of the Inspectional Services Bureau from 1986 to 1992, “by their action — or inaction — created an unmistakable policy to avoid corruption scandals.”

Mr. Ward said he could not comment on the report because he had not seen it. Chief Sullivan told the commission that his subordinates never informed him about Officer Dowd until 1992.

Because of the perceived policy, Mr. Dowd and his “crew” of crooked officers flaunted the illegal wheeling and dealing that brought some of them as much as $8,000 a week for not interfering with drug sales along with whatever cocaine they could steal as they broke down doors at drug dens and ripped off dealers.

And even though complaints about Officer Dowd had been submitted as early as 1986, his 1987 performance evaluation described him as an officer with “excellent street knowledge” who is “empathetic to the community.”

It concludes, “Good career potential.”

Officer Dowd, who is 32, was finally arrested in 1992, not by New York City Police investigators, but by officers from Suffolk County. They had intercepted telephone conversations between the officer and a small-time drug dealer. He is now in the Manhattan Correctional Center awaiting sentencing on drug charges. The revelations that grew out of Officer Dowd’s arrest led Mayor David N. Dinkins to announce the creation of the Mollen Commission on June 25, 1992.

The panel’s report concluded that for nearly a decade the Police Department had abandoned its responsibility to insure the honesty of its members.

Fearing that reports of corruption in their commands would damage their careers, senior officers looked the other way, the commission said. Information in internal investigations was deliberately fragmented, rather than woven together to form a pattern, and cases were closed well before all leads had been exhausted.

In the fall of 1992, a report issued by Police Commissioner Lee P. Brown blamed the department’s failure to intervene in the crimes of Mr. Dowd and his fellow rogue cops on a breakdown in procedures.

But the Mollen Commission said it concluded that the problem was “a willful effort” by commanders of the Internal Affairs Division, the principal anti-corruption unit, to impede the investigation. Internal Affairs, it said, treated allegations against Mr. Dowd as separate incidents and withheld critical information from another investigator.

“By doing so,” the commission said, “Internal Affairs commanders doomed any hope of a successful investigation of Dowd and other corrupt officers of the 75th Precinct.” Holdup Provides Example

One example of how police investigators failed to make the most of leads was the holdup on July 1, 1988, by three officers in the 75th Precinct of a grocery store that was serving as a front for drug dealing. Officer Walter Yurkiw and two others were charged with the crime after robbery investigators found the car they had used, with money and drugs visible inside, parked near the station house.

Three weeks after the robbery, the precinct commander, Deputy Inspector John Harkins, told Captain Thomas Callahan of the Internal Affairs Division that he had heard rumors that Mr. Dowd was also involved in the robbery, the commission said. A few days later, a precinct lieutenant told Internal Affairs that Mr. Dowd had reportedly been seen at a bar with Officer Yurkiw and the others shortly before the robbery.

About two weeks later, two drug dealers told an Internal Affairs officer that their drug organization was paying Mr. Dowd $3,000 to $4,000 a week, plus an ounce of cocaine, for protection.

All this came to nothing. Instead, the robbery investigation remained focused on the three officers.

A few months later, Officer Yurkiw’s girlfriend, who told the police she used cocaine, got in touch with Internal Affairs, saying that Officer Yurkiw had threatened to kill her unless she provided an alibi for him in the grocery store robbery. She also told Internal Affairs about Mr. Dowd and others at the precinct.

An Internal Affairs officer reported that the woman’s “credibility and allegiances were suspect.” Yet, the Commission said, her testimony was nevertheless used.

Despite “incontrovertible indications of serious corruption,” the commission said, Internal Affairs never initiated a single investigation of Officer Dowd and, until the Long Island police intervened, the allegations against him “inevitably died a natural death.”

July 7, 1994, NYTimes, “CORRUPTION IN UNIFORM: THE DOWD CASE; Officer Flaunted Corruption, And His Superiors Ignored It”, https://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/07/nyregion/corruption-uniform-dowd-case-officer-flaunted-corruption-his-superiors-ignored.html

Detroit police officer attends breathalyzer training intoxicated

DETROIT – A Detroit police officer attended a Michigan State Police training class with alcohol in his system, officials confirm.

WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) reported that the training took place Thursday, and Detroit Police Chief told the TV station that an internal investigation would be conducted.

“The bottom line is that he showed up to work under the influence of alcohol,” Craig told the television station. “This was a Michigan State Police training, he blew a .08. Certainly that’s a problem, it’s a problem for me, and it may be a problem on how it was handled after that.”

The officer was not disciplined by state police at the event.

More: There was so much booze in the air at a frat party that it registered on cops’ breathalyzer

State police Lt. Mike Shaw told the Detroit Free Press the officer was attending a DataMaster training class. A DataMaster is an instrument used to analyze blood alcohol concentration via a breath sample.

“During that class he volunteered to give a sample and it was determined he had alcohol in his system. The MSP sergeant dismissed him from the class and sent him to his department. His command staff was notified. He does not work for us so we can not discipline him. That will be up to his employer.”

A Detroit police spokesperson confirmed Saturday morning that an internal investigation is underway, but did not share more information about the officer or the incident.

 

Aleanna Siacon, Detroit Free Press, April 6, 2019, “Detroit police officer attends breathalyzer training intoxicated”, https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/nation/2019/04/06/detroit-police-officer-attends-breathalyzer-training-intoxicated/3387634002/

Violent ‘Bacon Dispute’ at Georgia IHOP Raises Questions About Police’s Use of Force

“Reducing it to bacon is inflammatory, discriminatory and offensive,” said defense attorney Sarah Flack.

Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

Bettina Makalintal, Apr 3 2019

When local news stations picked up a story about a police altercation at a Georgia IHOP earlier this week, they wrote that a lack of bacon was to blame for the physical fight between the Marietta Police Department and local chef Renardo Lewis early Sunday morning. “Bacon Dispute At Marietta IHOP Lands Man In Jail,” wrote Patch; according to WSB-TV, Marietta police officers were called after Lewis allegedly “threatened to kill everyone inside over bacon.”

“Dispatchers advised officers that an employee from IHOP called 911 and stated a customer ‘had made threats, including gesturing like he (the suspect) had a gun,’” the Marietta PD wrote on Facebook. According to the department, Lewis’s wife had told them the issue “was not about threats, but that she needed IHOP employee names and their telephone numbers because she was upset they did not have bacon.” The department wrote that both Lewis and his wife became “more and more agitated” as the police gathered statements, and that they tried to place Lewis in handcuffs.

In the violent altercation that followed—which was caught on video and circulated on Facebook and Instagram—Lewis was allegedly “tased, punched, and kicked by up to six Marietta police officers,” 11Alive reported yesterday. According to Lewis’s attorney Sarah Flack, turning the fight into a “bacon issue” dismisses the department’s use of force.

“Marietta Police said it’s about bacon. This case has nothing to do with bacon,” Flack said in a press conference. “Reducing it to bacon is inflammatory, discriminatory and offensive.” (MUNCHIES has reached out to Flack for comment, but has not yet received a response.)

In response to the video, the Marietta PD has defended its use of force, claiming that officers were responding to a call that a customer “had made threats and motioned like he had a handgun.” The department further claimed that Lewis had attempted to strangle an officer while resisting arrest, which was why Tasers and punches were used. “While the video may seem shocking to some, we are very proud that all officers used only the force necessary to place Mr. Lewis in handcuffs,” the department added.

The Marietta PD characterized the fight as a “wrestling match,” but according to Flack, “It was a mob-style attack of five officers on one man. He never resisted.”

In a statement to WSB-TV, IHOP’s corporate office stated, “Our top priority is the safety of our guests and team members. […] The franchisee’s team quickly followed protocol and alerted authorities. We’re grateful to the police for their quick response and for keeping the guests and team members in the restaurant safe.”

Flack is pushing not only for the charges to be dropped, but also an investigation into the Marietta PD’s use of force, and an apology from IHOP. As Lewis’s wife told 11Alive, “He doesn’t even eat pork.”

Bettina Makalintal, Apr 3 2019, Vice.com, “Violent ‘Bacon Dispute’ at Georgia IHOP Raises Questions About Police’s Use of Force”,  https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/03/28/fairfield-cop-fired-for-sexual-misconduct-at-golf-course-was-called-creepy-joe/

Court upholds broad release of police misconduct records in California

A new law granting public access to police misconduct records and investigations of officers’ use of force applies to all records that existed when the law took effect this year no matter when they were created, a state appeals court has ruled in a decision with immediate statewide impact.Police unions in numerous localities, including Contra Costa County and five of its cities in the current case, sued to block release of records created before 2019. The unions, which had opposed the disclosure law in the Legislature, contend the law was not drafted to apply to earlier records.

Superior Court judges around the state have generally disagreed with the unions. But in the first decision with broad impact, the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco late Friday published an earlier two-page order in the Contra Costa case making all existing records available to the public.

While the police unions had argued that applying the law to pre-2019 records would make it impermissably retroactive, the court said it was applying the law to events that happened after it took effect — requests by members of the public for documents a police agency already possessed.

Making officers’ records public also doesn’t impose any new penalties or other legal consequences for the officers’ previous acts, the court said, but “changes only the public’s right to access peace officer records.”

By issuing the ruling, Presiding Justice Stuart Pollak and Justices Alison Tucher and Tracie Brown upheld a decision by Superior Court Judge Charles Treat. As the first published appellate decision on the issue, it is binding on trial courts statewide unless another appeals court publishes a contrary ruling or the state Supreme Court intervenes. Police groups in other counties have asked the state’s high court to take up their case, but the court has refused.

“For the first time in a long time, the Legislature has decided it’s really important for public trust in law enforcement and the administration of justice in this state for people to be able to obtain records of serious incidents of police misconduct,” Tenaya Rodewald, a lawyer arguing for release of the records, said Monday. The American Civil Liberties Union and the California First Amendment Coalition also participated, along with several news organizations. The Chronicle has filed public records requests under the new law.

Michael Rains, the police unions’ lawyer, said the ruling reflected courts that “I don’t think … give one hoot about the rights of police officers,” including the right to keep their personnel records confidential. He said he would not appeal the Contra Costa case, since the records would already have been released, but the issue is still pending in appellate courts elsewhere in the state.

For decades, California has had some of the nation’s most stringent confidentiality standards for police personnel records. The new law, SB1421 by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, allows members of the public to obtain records of police disciplinary agencies that found officers had committed sexual assault or engaged in dishonest conduct at work, and of all investigations of an officer’s use of a firearm or of some type of deadly force.

Records cannot be disclosed if they would identify a confidential witness or informant, endanger an officer or interfere with a criminal investigation.

Rodewald said police organizations around the state have filed about 18 lawsuits challenging disclosure of records created before 2019. She said many police agencies, including those covered by the Contra Costa ruling, have begun releasing their records. And in a separate ruling Friday, a judge ordered the San Francisco Police Department to make its records public.

 

“Court upholds broad release of police misconduct records in California”, https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Court-upholds-broad-release-of-police-misconduct-13733312.php?psid=1R145