From the use of excessive force to stealing drugs from suspects…from racial profiling to abusing the power of their badges…from sexually assaulting suspects to planting evidence…there is a never-ending stream of stories of law enforcement officials behaving irresponsibly, unethically, immorally, and/or criminally. Here are five recent examples from across the nation:
From out of South Carolina come two stories of police brutality, both resulting in the firing of the officers involved (h/t to If You Only News). The first story involves the brutal beating sustained by Brian ‘BJ’ Hatcher at the hands of ex-police officers Robert Joshua Shaw and John Bell. The two officers pulled over Hatcher during a routine traffic stop in November 2014. While the situation began calmly, it quickly descended into the latest example of police brutality (warning: following the end of the material quoted, there will be a graphic image of Hatcher’s injuries):
Two Honea Path police officers have been fired after a traffic stop turned violent late last year, sending one man to the hospital.
Robert Joshua Shaw and John Bell were terminated on Friday, according to town officials.
Investigators say the traffic stop happened on November 14 when the officers pulled over Brian “BJ” Hatcher, 34, on US-76.
Officials say Hatcher, age 34, led them on a chase and when he stopped, he came at them with an object that appeared to be a knife. A fight then broke out, according to authorities.
State investigators said the officers claimed Hatcher was “originally compliant,” but then came at them with a knife and they did what they felt needed to be done to restrain the man.
Hatcher was charged with failure to stop for a blue light, driving under suspension and resisting arrest. Several items, including a knife, were put into evidence.
Hatcher’s family said he had to undergo facial reconstructive surgery for injuries he suffered during the arrest and said officers went too far.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division was called to investigate after the allegations of excessive force and the officers were placed on administrative leave.
Here is how badly ‘BJ’ Hatcher was injured (again, some may find the image disturbing)-
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The second story out of South Carolina involves a former police officer who has been charged with second-degree assault and battery and misconduct:
Anderson Police Chief Jim Stewart said a police officer with the city was fired Monday after an alleged assault.
According to Stewart, a woman said Lawyer Scott assaulted her while he was on duty at the Anderson Recreation Center on March 16.
Stewart contacted the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate the complaint, and Scott was placed on administrative leave without pay.
SLED officials said Scott was charged with second-degree assault and battery and misconduct in officer. They said the assault charge carries a sentence of up to three years in prison. The misconduct charge, a common-law charge, carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
SLED officials confirmed they are investigating at the request of the Anderson Police Department.
Police said Scott’s employment was terminated with the city of Anderson on Monday.
Scott was arrested and booked into the detention center on Thursday.
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According to the Orlando Sentinel, the 26-year-old victim was in tears as she told the court that her boyfriend had flagged down the deputy because she appeared to be unresponsive after a night of partying on New Year’s Eve.
In a complaint filed earlier this year, the woman said that she woke up to find Donnelly standing beside her SUV, and her boyfriend had been placed in the deputy’s cruiser.
On Tuesday, the woman testified that Donnelly groped her through the window, and used his hand to rape her.
She said the deputy promised not to take her boyfriend to jail if she did not report the rape.
A probable cause affidavit indicated that Donnelly told the woman that she was “f*cking sexy” and that he had a wife. The woman said that she felt scared and that her only choice was to cooperate.
A sexual assault examination later revealed that the woman had suffered a cervical injury.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) confirmed the woman’s story when it found three places in Donnelly’s patrol car with her DNA: the steering wheel, the gear-shifter knob and the officer’s flashlight.
Thankfully the department is in the process of firing this guy and hopefully justice will be served.
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The death of Michael Brown, Jr at the hands of the racist, murderous ex-cop Darren Wilson served as a lightning rod for the Black Lives Matter Movement (which actually began in the wake of the acquittal of the racist-as-fuck George Zimmerman). Since that day in August of 2014, protesters around the country have called for an overhaul of the criminal justice system, greater transparency from law enforcement agencies, accountability for police officers who kill civilians, and an end to police brutality (among other things). That last point has been a focus for many protesters (to the point that many people falsely believe the Black Lives Matter Movement is only in response to police brutality) and you’d think that the greater scrutiny being placed upon cops would cause them to reflect upon how best to serve and protect the citizenry. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case for many cops, like some in the Denver PD:
As cities nationwide rose up to protest in solidarity with Baltimore, we saw video after video of basic rights being violated. On of the most disturbing was incidents was recorded in Denver on Wednesday, as pepper spray was used liberally on peaceful demonstrators including a 12-year-old child. The incident was captured on video by two different witnesses.
Here is one of those videos.
I can’t embed the other video as it is posted on Vimeo, but click the link above and you can see for yourself. The Freethought Project also has a third video from the event, which was peaceful until law enforcement officials decided that no protest is complete without state-sanctioned violence.
If you’ve the stomach for it, the link I provided above quotes a response from an individual who supports the police response to this protest.
Oh, and this example of police brutality on the part of the Denver PD is but the latest in their very long history of violence:
Denver police have a very long history of violence. Most recently they have gained attention for the killing of Naeschylus Carter, also known as Naeschylus Vinzant, an unarmed man murdered by the same unit that arrested James Holmes, the Aurora shooter who killed 12 people and injured over 80 more. Holmes was in possession of automatic weapons and explosives, yet he was taken in alive. Carter’s family has not yet been notified of the killer cop’s name, and the community speculates it is because he is due to testify in the high-profile Holmes case.
A search for “Denver” on The Free Thought Project brings up nearly 23 pages of stories which can give you a glimpse as to why this community is outraged.
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The last story in this PBB entry enrages me beyond belief. Police officers are entrusted with power by the state to serve and protect the community. When they betray that trust…when they commit criminal acts, they should be arrested, charged, and should face the judgement of the courts. They should not, I repeat NOT be given their motherfucking jobs back after being charged with rape or possession of child porn (and no, I don’t give a flying fucking rat’s ass that they’ve been reassigned). But that’s exactly what has happened in New Orleans:
In the last 12 months, more than a half-dozen officers with the New Orleans Police Department have been booked and charged with various crimes.
In many of those cases, the officers are placed on what the NOPD refers to as “emergency suspension without pay.”
But the WDSU I-Team has learned that type of suspension only lasts so long and some officers charged with serious crimes are back on the job working — much to the surprise of some.
In a quiet Mandeville neighborhood, many people living in one subdivision near the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway know the NOPD sergeant who lives nearby. Several residents were shocked when the 16-year veteran of the force, Bradley Wax, 54, was arrested and charged with 38 counts of possessing child pornography.
When Wax was arrested, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office said investigators found pornographic images of children on computers and other electronic devices.
Because of the nature of the crime — and the number of counts filed — Wax faces a worst-case scenario of more than 500 years behind bars if he’s convicted. The NOPD wasted no time in announcing that Wax had been placed on emergency suspension without pay back in April of 2014.
Twelve months later, the I-Team found Wax on the job working in fleet management at NOPD headquarters in Mid-City.
Dr. John Penny, criminologist at Southern University at New Orleans, has followed NOPD issues for the bulk of his career.
“It’s incredibly hard to imagine anyone in that capacity would be back working and being paid for it at taxpayer expense,” Penny said.
But Wax is, and he’s not alone.
In February 2014, longtime NOPD Officer Michael Thomassie was arrested and charged with aggravated rape, the state’s most serious sexual assault charge.
In Thomassie’s case, prosecutors said the alleged victim was a child in his care and was younger than 10 years old when the crimes occurred. As with Wax, the police department placed Thomassie on emergency suspension without pay.
But the I-Team found him working in Algiers behind a desk at the NOPD’s Fourth District.
The I-Team asked the NOPD why Wax and Thomassie, who are facing felony charges, were back on the job. The department declined a request for an on-camera interview, but issued this statement:
“An emergency suspension is generally used as a tool for emergency situations when an officer has been arrested and is physically unable to come to work and perform their duties. Once the officer is able to return to work, they are reassigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation. Based on civil service rules, officers are disciplined after an investigation is completed and a formal disciplinary hearing has been held.”
Wax and Thomassie are set to go to trial this summer.
The Police Association of New Orleans admits the situation is “difficult” given the charges, but says the officers are innocent until proven guilty. Eric Hessler is an attorney for the association and claims that even though they wear the shield and wield the authority of any other officer, “It’s very rare they’ll be interacting with the public in any fashion.”
Wax is assigned to the fleet division and Thomassie is on desk duty. Those are different roles than they held before their arrests, but Penny is still concerned.
“It sends a very dangerous message to the citizens of this community,” Penny said.
NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble said that, according to policy, “An employee can only be suspended up to 120 days.”
And that puts the city of New Orleans in a quandary.
It may be hard to believe, but it’s true. Taxpayers are providing the salary for cops who have been charged with rape and possession of child porn. I cannot express how outraged this story makes me. The USAmerican criminal justice system is so fucked up I just can’t even…
Fuck me, I need a drink.
Btw, it shouldn’t need to be said, but I’ll say it anyways:
I do not believe that all cops are bad or corrupt. The purpose of this ongoing series is to highlight those officers who are not worthy to wield the powers they’ve been invested with by the state.