Police Behaving Badly 3.8.16

More than 800,000 United States citizens serve as local and state law enforcement officials in the United States. These police officers are charged with upholding and enforcing the law, maintaining order, and providing general services. To carry out these duties, police officers possess certain powers, granted by the state. If the situation calls for it, police officers can frisk, detain, and arrest civilians, as well as seize property. In addition, depending upon the situation, police officers are empowered to use force to defend themselves or civilians (the amount of force extends along a spectrum from police presence through deadly force). Given the powers that police officers have, it is incumbent upon them to maintain a level of professionalism in the course of their duties and to wield their powers responsibly and ethically. Unfortunately, there are countless examples of cops engaging in a range of irresponsible, unethical, immoral, and/or illegal activities from bribery and unjustified arrests to illegal search and seizure and the use of excessive force. Here are five examples of

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Georgia Police Chief, Officer Arrested on False Imprisonment Charges

Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman Greg Ramsey says 58-year-old police chief David King and 26-year-old officer Black Scheff of the White Police Department were charged on Wednesday with false imprisonment under color of legal process, theft by extortion and violation of oath by a public officer.

Ramsey says the incidents occurred between December 2011 and April 2015. King and Scheff’s arrest comes after the FBI and GBI executed search warrants at the White Police Department and White City Hall on January 21.

King and Scheff are being held at the Bartow County Jail. It’s not clear whether both have an attorney.

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Indiana Sheriff Indicted on Bribery, Intimidation Charges

The documents filed Monday in Kosciusko County court allege that Sheriff Aaron Rovenstine took $40,000 in exchange for granting special privileges to an inmate and a visitor at the Kosciusko County jail in Warsaw. The charges against Rovenstine include three counts of bribery, one count of intimidation, one count of assisting a criminal and five counts of official misconduct.

The warrant orders Indiana State Police to arrest the sheriff, who must appear before Kosciusko County Circuit Court Judge Michael W. Reed.

According to the indictment handed down by a grand jury on Friday, Rovenstine allowed unrecorded and unsupervised visitations and phone calls between the prisoner and the visitor. Rovenstine did so “with the intent to hinder the punishment” of the inmate, the indictment stated.

The indictment also stated that Rovenstine threatened a law enforcement officer.

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CHOWCHILLA POLICE OFFICER ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED CRIMINAL CONDUCT

A 35-year-old Chowchilla Police Officer was arrested by Madera County Sheriff’s deputies today for alleged sexual misconduct with a minor. Officer Tyler Hormel, who was featured in a post on a Chowchilla Elementary school in 2015, has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

Although Hormel is a School Resource Officer, the allegations involving the officer’s conduct occurred at a location in Madera County and that the crime did not occur at any of the schools Hormel was assigned to. “This circumstance is still under investigation however there is currently no evidence that indicates that any of the alleged criminal conduct occurred while he was on duty or acting in an official capacity,” stated Sheriff Jay Varney.

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Family of Man Killed in Wheelchair Sues City

The incident was captured on a cellphone by a witness and it shows McDole sitting calmly in his wheelchair when the white police officers arrive on the scene.
With weapons drawn, the officers tell McDole to show his hands and drop the gun. Although it is not clear in the video if McDole has a gun, he does move his hands up towards his waist band at one point. That is when the officers shoot McDole multiple times. McDole then slumps over and falls out of his wheelchair onto the street.
The lawsuit filed last Thursday says that a “cowboy mentality seeped into police work” when the officers “shot Jeremy sixteen times while acting in the course of their normal police duties,” and they “would never have shot a similarly situated white person, and not sixteen times.”
McDole’s mother and grandmother point to the video as evidence that the unidentified police officers “never identified themselves to [McDole] verbally as ‘police’ when they issued him commands before recklessly shooting him excessively.”
The cops also “never warned Jeremy that deadly force would be used against him to take his life if their commands were not followed,” according to the lawsuit.
“The officers involved allegedly violated the Wilmington Police Department ‘use of force’ directive, due either to their poor training or lack of qualifications to be police officers licensed to use deadly force,” the 20-page complaint states.
The lawsuit says the police department directive requires that an officer “‘shall’ identify himself as a ‘police officer’ and ‘shall give warning'” prior to using a firearm.
“Sixteen shots were grossly excessive and evidence [of] wanton and reckless, intentional behavior toward a minority and a disregard for human life,” which constitutes excessive use of force and a violation of McDole’s rights, according to the lawsuit.
McDole’s family claims that that “lesser forms of force could have been utilized” such as “a stun gun, 15 foot range pepper spray, tear gas or other chemical weapon, a taser, rubber buckshot or a bean bag shotgun.” They also say that McDole was unarmed at the time he was shot and killed.

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LAPD Officers Must Face Evidence Fabrication Claims

Roy Galvan, who was acquitted of the murder of Joey Gutierrez, sued Los Angeles and LAPD Officers Miguel Terrazas and David Nunn in January 2014, alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution.
An unknown assailant shot Joey Gutierrez to death on Jan. 28, 2011 in Los Angeles. Gutierrez was a member of the Hang Out Boys gang. Galvan was arrested on March 1, 2011 and remained in jail until he was acquitted in a 2012 jury trial. He sued the city and the officers in January 2014.
Galvan claims Terrazas and Nunn fabricated and failed to disclose key pieces of evidence that led to his arrest and prosecution.
He claims the officers harassed and threatened two homeless men, Mark Loving and Syrella Carpenter, to provide testimony that tangentially linked him to the murder.
The officers allegedly tore the top off the homeless men’s tent, pushed them up against a fence, threatened them with arrest and took them to a police station. Galvan says the men would have told the officers whatever they wanted to hear to stop the harassment.
Loving’s testimony – which was the basis for Galvan’s arrest – contradicted the information the officers had at the time, including testimony from an eyewitness to the murder, Galvan says.
U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder ruled on March 1 that Galvan has provided enough evidence to take his unlawful arrest claim to a jury.
“Taking Galvan’s version of the disputed facts as true – that defendants continued to pursue and arrest Galvan based on testimony that had been coerced from a vulnerable, unreliable witness, despite additional evidence that rendered that witness’s testimony unlikely if not impossible – a reasonable jury could conclude that defendants did not have probable cause to arrest Galvan,” Snyder ruled.
Galvan also claims that Officer Terrazas fabricated evidence, including making up a phone call from eyewitness Ernesto Jurado.

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Police Behaving Badly 3.8.16
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