Sunday, January 16, 2011

Law enforcement misconduct roundup

I noticed several Texas police misconduct incidents that merit Grits readers' attention:

In Midland a constable pled guilty to a misdemeanor for misrepresentations to the state peace officer licensing agency (TCLEOSE), including allegedly tampering with documents submitted for licensing for a pair of officers. I found this notable because "the investigation was between [the constable] and the state. The county didn't bring any action" against him.
Fired Harris County Sheriff's deputy Richard Nutt was indicted for conspiring with three others to rob drug dealers. When he was arrested, a co-defendant "was driving and Nutt - wearing his Harris County Sheriff's Office police uniform and carrying his gun - was sitting in the front passenger seat, under which the packages of cocaine were hidden, reports show." 

Two Beaumont police officers received deferred adjudication and a year probation after allegedly falsifying records and tampering with documents related to a drug conviction which was overturned because of their misconduct. Bizarrely, the city is considering hiring them in a non-law enforcement capacity.

A Tarrant County jailer was given a two-year sentence for punching an inmate.

Having noticed these cases, I popped over to Injustice Everywhere which had recorded these additional recent incidents:

For starters, "the police chief of Gregory TX was arrested on criminal mischief and trespass charges on allegations that he, his wife, and a third person vandalized a car, though specifics weren’t available."

"A Center TX police detective has been charged with perjury over his grand jury testimony about a fight between two Shelby County deputies."

"A Houston TX police officer is under investigation after two witnesses stepped forward to contradict his version of a fatal shooting incident that left a young woman dead. While the officer claims he shot the robbery suspect when she pointed a gun at him and refused to drop it, the witnesses are saying they saw no gun and the officer opened fire immediately after he stepped out of his cruiser and announced himself."

"Three Houston TX police officers are under investigation on allegations that they rammed a woman’s head into the door frame of a police cruiser then beat her in a holding cell while she was cuffed after arrested on drunk driving charges."

Finally, though not "misconduct" per se, I was interested to read that the Corpus Christi PD witnessed "a year-over-year more-than-doubling of narcotics-related money seizures." That could be due to one or two large seizures and not necessarily indicative of a trend, but IMO it becomes problematic when agencies shift policing resources for the purpose of boosting asset seizures. It's one thing when that money comes in as a result of routine policing, quite another when forfeiture becomes the goal of routine policing. If that's a metric by which CCPD is judging "success," it's a bad idea.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget about all the jailers fired and/or charged in Longview after the death of one of the inmates.

Anonymous said...

Injustice everywhere seems to indicate that there is injustice in these cases of misconduct. Obviously police officers are being held accountable in accordance with the information provided by your blog.

So I suppose there is justice everywhere.

Anonymous said...

"police officers are being held accountable in accordance with the information provided by your blog."

Hah!! That'll be the day!

Anonymous said...

A Pineland, Texas officer, arrested in Jasper, for D.U.I. after fleeing from free continental breakfast at a motel where he wasn't a guest (last week).

Anonymous said...

This "roundup" represents only a small fraction of law enforcement misconduct because if anyone knows how to commit a crime and get away with it, it's a cop. Plus, most cops working in the same area will refuse and even hinder the arrests of their colleagues. And in many counties like Harris and Montgomery, the DA won't prosecute the turds because they fear upsetting the "working relationship" between cops and prosecutors.

If you read all of these articles regarding police misconduct an unmistakable pattern emerges, one of entitlement; cops feel like they are above the law. Indeed, if we had an agency dedicated to policing the police, it would grow into the largest law enforcement department in the country.

While InjusticeEverywhere only records those crimes committed by certified peace officers, everyone should rejoice the arrest of former Harris county, and current Galveston county prosecutor Lester Blizzard for DWI just before New Years Day. Be sure to read the comments as many are exceptional:

austex1151 said...

What Injustice Everywhere shows by case citing, is that police are largely not accountable for their actions. Even when caught, many seem to get only disciplinary actions for matters for which a civilian would get criminal charges. One of IE's cited cases involved clearly serious criminal behavior, but the judge opined that "losing his job was punishment enough" Really? Is that the standard for the rest of us? Not! As I've said many times, in these matters there are two legal systems: one for LE and one for mere civilians. That stinks!

On another note: Sadly Injustice Everywhere is in serious trouble financially and may have to either close or make itself subscription-based. That would be a sad loss of public notification of police misconduct.

Anonymous said...

The fox guarding the hen house scenario, but who guards against the fox?

These things have been going on for years, but proving them has always been a problem. However, people with cell phones, camera, video recorders are helping, or perhaps I should say, the knowledge that people have these abilities has helped. And, don't forget that cops are supposed to have audio and video recordings now.

A lot of this still goes on that is not reported, has not been caught on tape or people still have fear of the repercussions.

rodsmith said...

it's news like this that brings me to my decision. AS far as i'm concnered i will treat any one i catch comitting a crime just they would be treated when caught by law enforcment....EVEN if the ones being caught ARE law enforcment. SHOOT EM!

Anonymous said...

No Amnesty!

Anonymous said...

You should check out Montgomery County, although they do their best to keep their indescretions offline believe me, they are there.