It’s probably worth reiterating from time to time that the point of these roundups is not to suggest all police officers are evil or corrupt or abusive. It is to suggest that the good ones tend to cover up for the bad ones, and the bad ones are rarely disciplined. The other point is of course to mock Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for his opinion in Hudson, where he argues that a “new professionalism” has taken root in police departments across America, negating the need for judicial remedies for police abuses. Your latest roundup:
• Police in Arkansas went out looking for a man who failed to show up for a reckless driving charge. They apparently saw a man jogging alongside the road with the same name, whom one of the officers recognized as a locally famous Special Olympics athlete. It wasn’t the man they were looking for. Nevertheless, when the learning disabled man pulled away from the cops—as most any of us might do if wrongfully arrested—they hit him with the Taser. The police chief says the entire incident was justified because the innocent guy “pulled away” from the officers.
• Atlanta PD: The gift that keeps on giving.
The husband of a city police sergeant was arrested on a child pornography charge on Thursday, and federal investigators said police officers had apparently withheld and destroyed evidence in the case.
• Local police were called to the home of suspected wife killer Illinois police Sgt. Drew Peterson 18 times in two years. Peterson’s third repeatedly told police Peterson had hit her and threatened to kill her. Peterson’s fellow officers never arrested him, though they did arrest and charge the wife on two occasions (she was acquitted). The third wife is dead now. And Peterson’s fourth wife is missing.
• By my count, 99 seconds from getting pulled over until the guy gets “a ride on the Taser,” as they say. More troubling to me is how many people watch these videos and find nothing wrong with them. I realize these people aren’t being as respectful with the police as they ought to be (if for their own safety, if not out of courtesy). But if we’ve gotten to the point where a paralyzing jolt of electricity is now an acceptable punishment for getting uppity with a police officer (or in this case, for not bowing to the officer’s uppity-ness), well, I find that a little troubling.
• Regular readers won’t be surprised by this:
Chicago police officers are the subject of more brutality complaints per officer than the national average, and the Police Department is far less likely to pursue abuse cases seriously than the national norm, a legal team at the University of Chicago reported Wednesday…
…According to the new report, rogue police officers abuse victims without fear of punishment, and the lack of accountability has tainted the entire department, resulting in a loss of public confidence. Patterns of abuse and disciplinary neglect were worst in low-income minority neighborhoods, said the authors, Craig B. Futterman, H. Melissa Mather and Melanie Miles.
• Wrong-door SWAT raid in Milwaukee. Looking for a suspected child pornographer, police turned an innocent woman’s house upside down, terrified her and her family, and roughed up a 74-year-old man. Had they bothered to check, they’d have discovered the suspect moved out five weeks earlier. When they realized their mistake, they told the innocent people they’d just raided that they’re “just another one of” the actual suspect’s “victims.”
• A Muncie, Indiana drug task force is facing some “accounting problems” with the money it has seized from drug suspects. Sure is a nice workout facility, though.
• The city of Seattle just had to pay a $185,000 settlement to an artist who was beaten bloody by several of the city’s police officers. The man’ s “crime” was to ask questions after a police officer confronted his friend for littering. He was arrested, charged with resisting arrest, and after arriving at the police station, had his hand slammed into a wall while still handcuffed. The criminal charges against the man were dropped when the city refused to turn over video of the arrest. A civilian review board investigation recommended the officers involved be disciplined. Not only did that not happen, the cop the police chief said was most responsible for the beating was…wait for it…promoted.
• Investigation finds Dallas cops lied on tickets, made false arrests, and belittled ticket recipients by writing made-up occupations on their citations. They might be disciplined, but won’t be criminally charged.