Saturday, May 07, 2011

Fish stories and dog tales: Police misconduct roundup

Here's a roundup of recent police accountability stories that were big enough to make it onto Grits' radar screen but haven't found their way into individual posts:

Firing too harsh for failure to report jail beating?
Three Cameron County jailers have been fired: One for beating an inmate and two for watching and failing to report. The two who covered up the incident  say firing them was too harsh. Let me know if you agree in the comments.

Sheriff convicted over fish story
Sheriff Weldon Tucker in Bandera County was convicted of a felony charge of abuse of official capacity after he was caught using the department's rescue boat to check his trot lines. The offense seems trivial except that he lied about it: "In 2009, Tucker publicly denied using the boat recreationally, or outside Bandera County. But a game warden had stopped him as he used it to retrieve trot lines at Choke Canyon after his personal boat broke down."

Dogs v. State
Under pending legislation, you could soon get life in prison if your dog attacks and kills someone under 18 or over 65, but if a cop comes on your property without a warrant and shoots your dog, they won't pay the vet bill because they're not liable for property damage. Go figure.

Not quite a 'mastermind'
Reports AP, "A former Dallas police officer convicted of aggravated robbery for masterminding a heist at a Sam's Club while working there off-duty as a security officer has been given probation." When you fail at robbing a place where you yourself are providing security, perhaps "mastermind" isn't the right word.

Shake down
Another cop, this time in Houston, arrested for allegedly shaking down drivers at traffic stops. Here's an interview with the fellow who reported the alleged extortion.

Prostitution stories
A former Houston police officer was sentenced to six years in prison for raping a prostitute, while a Harris County deputy constable was murdered after an argument over money with a pimp whose employee's services he'd just enjoyed.

Wrongful death suit over off-duty shooting
The family of a wrecking truck driver has filed a civil rights suit over his death at the hands of an off-duty Houston police officer, alleging that Officer Ryan Gardiner "shot and killed John T. Barnes under circumstances where no reasonable police officer would have done so."

Bystander shot after foot chase
A Bryan police officer chasing a man, apparently, because he ran, shot him several times at the denouement of a foot chase, also injuring a construction worker/bystander. "The shooting happened Friday morning as an officer was running after a suspicious person who may have been intoxicated, according to the Bryan Police Department." He and another officer are on administrative leave pending the investigation.

Second time's the charm
An arbitrator upheld the second firing of Austin police officer Leonardo Quintana over a domestic violence allegation after he'd been reinstated to the force after his earlier firing in the wake of shooting Nathaniel Sanders, which is the subject of an ongoing civil rights lawsuit by the family of the deceased.

Deputy allegedly picking colleauge's bones
From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "A former deputy recently fired by the Parker County Sheriff's Department surrendered to authorities Saturday after he was indicted in the theft of thousands of dollars from a memorial fund set up to benefit the widow and son of a fellow deputy." Yikes!


Anonymous said...

Well lets see. In other news Kudos: Officer’s act of feline compassion leaves positive impression

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Excellent, especially after coming up with the headline, I'd have picked up a cat theme if I'd seen it. :)

PAPA said...

If they break the LAWS, CODES, POLICIES, RULES, REGULATION, etc...they go to jail just like anyone else, NO IMMUNITY, will clean up the corruption of the guru mafia group of guards, jailers, lawenforcers, they should be held more responsible and accountable than anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Regarding your invitation for commenting on the jailers. Absolutely all of them needed to be fired and the two non-beaters should be prosecuted for accessory. To stand by and allow someone else to be beaten in that manner, and then not report it is hiding the truth. Wives of bank robbers get prosecuted for the same things, why not these two boneheads.

Regarding the shooting the fleeing suspect. I am not sure if anyone has thought about this before, but did you know that shooting a non-aggressive soldier that you have or are attempting to take prisoner violates several international laws in war? if this is true, then how can a beat cop be justified in shooting a suspected criminal for running? I thought that was what Tazers were for?

Paul-UK said...

I wonder how these officers can get away with so much? On this side of the pond there would be riots! (I am not kidding about that, after the Brixton and other riots the Police and Criminal evidence act was brought into effect which laid down the rules for search, detention, questioning and investigations.) More recently there has been the case in the UK where a member of the public died after being struck by a police officer. The jury at the coroners court have returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

If you are up to it you may read the coroners summing up to the jury.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

On the issue of custody, the London Evening Standard had an article about independent custody visitors who monitor the custody suites and detainees welfare.

Anonymous said...

Family sues officer, city over 2008 police shooting in Gatineau
Leclairs calling for probe since February '09
A Gatineau family is suing the City of Gatineau and a Gatineau police officer over the fatal police shooting of 35-year-old David Leclair in 2008.
The $430,000 civil suit was filed on June 23, just five days before the three-year deadline for civil actions. Leclair was shot on June 28, 2008, during a confrontation with Gatineau police officer Pierre-François Blais.
Leclair was the youngest of nine siblings and had custody of his daughter Britney, then nine years old, at the time of the shooting.
Donna Leclair, one of his sisters, said Thursday that his family will not stop asking the Quebec government for a public inquiry, which they have been fighting for since February 2009 when an investigation by the Sûreté du Québec cleared Blais of wrongdoing in Leclair's death. The officer had gone to Leclair's home to arrest him in relation to assault allegations.
"We're not giving up, we're not going away, we're not shutting up," Donna Leclair said. "You can't shoot someone in the back and think it's OK and think that we're going to shut our mouths and go away. Bottom line is, we are not taking no for an answer."
A coroner's report said David Leclair was shot three times: once in the right arm, once in the left arm, and once in the back. The report described David Leclair as "violent" and "menacing" during the attack. The report found that Blais "feared for his life" during the confrontation when David Leclair "seized an iron bar and threatened the officer."
Donna Leclair said her youngest brother's death has been hard on the family. Britney, now 12, has been growing up without a father, his mother Dorothy Leclair and others in the family watched the shooting unfold, and Donna Leclair lives with the memory of hearing his last words.
"How do you get on with that?" she asked. "We live it every minute.
"We're trying every legal avenue that we have at our disposal to have recognition, to get our story out there, and to get justice and peace and closure for us and for David. Because what this officer did is not OK, and his employers, too, have to pay the price."
The civil suit alleges that the coroner's investigation got its information from Blais, and not five witnesses who saw the confrontation. It also alleges that Blais acted in an uncaring, illegal and abusive way by not waiting for backup, that pulling out his gun showed a lack of judgment, that he used excessive force and that he lost control of the situation.
The suit alleges that the City of Gatineau, meanwhile, employs a police officer who doesn't care about people's lives, did not give him adequate training and did not suspend him while they looked into the matter.

Anonymous said...

in the case of pierre francois Blais who assaulted a 73 year old woman and killed her son David Leclair in gatineau, pictures at the scene show Blais wearing an illegal military combat uniform so it is clear that David leclair might have concluded that Blais was an intruder and leclair simply wanted to defend and protect his family against what he perceived to be a crazed mad man not a cop.

Anonymous said...

Pierre-François Blais of Gatineau police is back in trouble again. He has been charged in 2 other incidents. Charged with assault, racism, torturing a man in his custody by turning on car heater in the middle of August, use foul language, writing a false report and fabricating evidence. He has been ordered for 2 separate disciplinary hearings from April 2016 to June 2016.