Saturday, September 17, 2011

Best way to cover up police misconduct: Plant drugs, ditch dashcam video, threaten subordinates, or have supervisor tell media 'all is well'?

Several police misconduct incidents caught this blogger's eye recently that merit Grits readers' attention:

False arrest covered up with planted drugs
At the Aransas Pass Police Department, "Several witnesses are coming forward saying they saw officers tase and beat a suspect only to find out they had the wrong guy. Witnesses also claim to have seen police officers plant drugs on the man." Six different people signed affidavits saying the drugs were planted after officers earlier announced they'd searched the suspect and found nothing. Sounds like a spur of the moment thing: Do you suppose the cop in question just carried drugs around on the job just in case?

Beating leaves cyclist on life support
Also from the Aransas Pass PD, Officer Jason Torres was placed on administrative leave over allegations that he knocked down a bicyclist then beat him so severely last month it left him on life support unable to speak. The badly beaten man, who was riding his bike to his home just blocks from the incident, was later charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest. The officer's dashcam conveniently failed to record the incident. The chief says he expects an investigation by the Texas Rangers to clear Torres, but the family's attorneys claim to be in possession of damning evidence. In any event, for a small town of around 10,000, that's a lot of cop controversy.

In-uniform cop hits school bus driving drunk to work
In Houston, reports the Chronicle, a police officer with a blood alcohol content of .205 was in uniform, driving to work, when his car slammed into a school bus. The cover up was nearly immediate: At the scene, responding officers ticketed the school bus driver (who told them the officer "smelled like alcohol, appeared to have been drinking and had open bottles of beer and wine in his vehicle"), then a supervisor "told reporters at the accident scene that blood tests would show [Officer Ruben] Trejo was not under the influence of any substances." Now the officer has been fired and the union has been informed that "at least two HPD officers, including supervisors, are under investigation for unspecified misconduct" related to the April 13 crash. In most allegations of police misconduct, of course, there is no forensic evidence available to debunk officers whose first instinct is to cover for one another. Good on HPD management for not sweeping the matter under the rug.

Recurring allegations by women against Brazos deputy constable
According to KWES-TV, "A Central Texas law officer who quit last week after being charged with kidnapping has been accused of trying to rape another female. College Station police say the second young woman came forward after hearing news reports about the first case." In the latest incident, Deputy Augustin Rubio was "charged with abducting a woman Aug. 31 while working off-duty security." The other woman making accusations was arrested by Rubio in June for alleged underaged drinking: she told authorities the deputy "tried to rape her before driving her to jail."

Indictment follows constable's retaliation threats against deputies
In Dallas, reports the Morning News, "Prosecutors on Friday accused indicted Dallas County Precinct 1 Constable Derick Evans of enforcing a ticket quota, retaliating against whistle-blowers, forcing on-duty deputies to distribute campaign material and raising campaign money with an illegal raffle for almost a decade." This stems from one of the investigations Dallas DA Craig Watkins handed off to a special prosecutor after sitting on the allegations for two years. Reported the News, "The court documents filed Friday also allege that Evans tried to intimidate potential witnesses against him last fall by referring to special prosecutors in the case as 'snakes' and threatened to 'chop the heads off' any deputies who cooperated with them." A trial date has been set for Nov. 28.


Audrey said...

How awful! How does a person protect themselves from those whom we commission to protect all of us? Another way to cover up is to ditch audio tapes of telephone conversations, allowing them to say anything that "works" when they testify against a person in their trial. How do they know what "works"? I suppose they would have to coordinate those efforts with the prosecutor.

gravyrug said...

I've noticed that the constables here in Dallas County have had a much lower profile over the last year than they had before the scandals started hitting the news.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, this type of behavior seems to be typical among law enforcement. The victims in cases where there are witnesses or video tape are the lucky ones. Many times its only the victims word against the officers, and who do you think people will believe.

I was assuaulted by an investigator in the Smith County District Attorney's office. Unfortuantely there were no security cameras in the office. I was told I was being arrested for disorderly conduct but later they concocted a story saying that I assaulted the investigator. This was done to justify the excessive force that was used. I hired an attorney that they were afraid of and they offered to drop the charge to a misdemeanor. My optionw as to go to trial on a felony, knowing they would lie to convict me and that jurors would most likely believe their lies, or plead to a misdemeanor. I wish I had fought but if I had I probably would have gone to prison for something I didn't do. So, I plead guilty to the misdemeanor. I would have given anything for a video tape. If there had been a camera there I would have had a good civil suit against them.

My point is that this type of thing occurs frequently, its just that they only occasionally get caught.

Anonymous said...

Audrey, if that tiny tidbit shocked you, this website will possibly give you a coronary:

And the webmaster also has a twitter account so that you can be updated as they occur:!/InjusticeNews

Go back through the list on the twitter account. What you see will likely blow your mind.

And if that isn't enough, try this facebook page that is devoted entirely to cops who have been convicted of molesting children. There are literally thousands upon thousands of links to the news articles.:

Audrey said...

Anon 1:57... Thanks for the links. I just checked them out. Shocking, indeed! What is most surprising is how commonplace these incidences are. Sad, really.

Actually I wasn't shocked by Grits post, my first line is dripping with sarcasm. I have been fighting my own case for 8 years now. I have had a complete turn around in my belief system, it seems the defense attorneys are the ones fighting for truth and justice. Unfortunately, the really big cases, where there is lots of money, such as OJ and Anthony continue to confuse the public on that subject.

Anonymous said...

There is one way to get their attention. Lawsuits which will bankrupt these podunk Texas towns and counties will get their attention and reverse this misconduct.

Audrey said...

Agree! Immunity quite often stands in the way. If taxpayers required accountability and consequences then we would have a different world. Nevertheless, we have to keep bringing the cases back to those who created them.

Anonymous said...

In order for lawsuits to have favorable results you must first find honest judges. Many judges in Texas will throw these suits out before they ever reach a jury. You can appeal, but the 5th circuit will always side with judge who threw the case out originally.

About the only way to achieve favorable results is to file the case in a federal court. Federal judges aren't beholding to the taxpayers in any particular county and will usually allow a jury to decide. The downside is that federal lawsuits can be a long time in coming. And extremely expensive.

john said...

Ironically--and though there are horrid bad seeds in high-stress law enforcement, they aren't trained in the law, anyway; and any problems they get into is another diversion to keep the people from awakening and holding accountable the creator of most trouble: the LEGISLATURE. Sure, the "lawyers' union" (the Bar) is a nightmare affliction to liberty, but the Legislature (were it not buddy lawyers, good grief) could fix even that.
SO THE LEGISLATURE IS GLAD POLICE MISCONDUCT CAN DISTRACT AND INTIMIDATE, EVEN TERRORIZE THE CITIZEN CONSTITUENTS. (Finally, the communitarian low side of it is the cops et al. need to keep their jobs, and are not likely to police fellow employees.) It's those in high power who allow it to keep We The People beaten down. They rely on us to be unorganized enough to be kept in submission. AND the NRA stands down. You can see why Legislatures want no militias.

Phillip Baker said...

1) Quit electing judges! What you get are politicians first, judges second. Stupid process!
2)Try ALWAYS to have a phone with video with you
3)Problem with suing is it takes a LOT of money. Like health care, we ration access to law by means. You got the $, you get the care/legal redress.
4)It's YOUR town- don't quit working for a professional PD till you get one. The alternative is just thugs with badges- all too common
5)Tho it is hard, always remember that the "justice" system in Texas is badly broken. You don't want to have to rely on fair play or justice to save you.
6)Quit electing DA's as judges
7)Where's the outrage that the Tx Court of Criminal Appeals is almost rabidly pro-prosecutor? Ya think most defendants even stand a chance?

WE have allowed this corruption for years. DO something to stop it.

Margarita said...

Texas is a police state, donchya know?
‘Police Misconduct in San Antonio: The Need for More Accountability, Transparency, and Responsivenes

RSO wife said...

And our illustrious governor wants to be president! Is this a great country, or what? If he gets to be president we will have reversed civilization a good 100 years, in Texas we've already done it.

Charlie O said...

"Many times its only the victims word against the officers, and who do you think people will believe."

I guess that's why I never seem to get on any juries. Me, I'd throw out anything testified to in court by a LEO as a outright lie in a heartbeat. I wouldn't piss in a cop's mouth if his lungs were on fire.

Anonymous said...

Everyone in Bee County seems to know the cops are crooked and prosecutor is in on it but nothing changes. How do you get these people investigated anyway?