Archive for the ‘Police Misconduct’ Category

Video technology is now commonplace in it’s use by individuals as well as the government. Video and the internet played a major role in communicating the civil unrest in many societies this past year and basically proved impossible to suppress.The government and law enforcement has used video for years but, in Illinois, the police have selectively attempted to avoid either using it or else making recorded video available to defendants when it could possibly embarrass them. There was a pilot program  launched several years ago to require police to videotape all custodial interrogations of suspects. It was supposed to extend statewide, but pockets of local resistance to videotaping remain in Illinois law enforcement. In Winnebago County, for example, the Rockford Police state that it is now their policy to videotape all homicide interrogations, yet videotaping does not seem to be a consistent practice. Nationwide, video has been embraced by law enforcement as a means to ensure police compliance with industry standards and police departments adopting video; while skeptical of it at the outset, have come to generally find it helpful to show they are operating properly.

Illinois is the most restrictive state when it comes to the rights of it’s individuals to record the actions of law enforcement and governmental officials in the course of their duties. Most citizens are unaware that they can be criminally prosecuted by the State for recording events as they feel necessary. So, it is only fair turn-around that the authorities (who record the most) be required to release video to defendants during legal discovery. This IL Supreme Court decision is vital support for the civil rights of individuals in IL who are arrested or ticketed during traffic stops because the court is acknowledging for the first time just how commonplace videotaping is, and that the public is entitled to receive this information. This is an important start to ensuring that individuals are only prosecuted or fined when the circumstances justify it. The court is opening the door to it’s perspective being extended to many other situations where the public is subject to legal recordings.


Obama’s record so far is no better, and even worse in some respects than the Bush Administration regarding civil liberties and government surveillance powers. Previously, it would have been inconceivable that the CIA would be permitted to blatantly operate and direct the New York Police Department to covertly spy upon US Muslins in this manner.

CIA investigates whether laws broken helping NYPD

Annual city ethics statements are well, like annual. So, some of these cops, not just their supervisors, should have known they had to file their statements and the deadline for doing so. Cops have to do a lot of paperwork just like some of us at our jobs. We never really hear about cops messing up on their paperwork; either not getting it done, misplacing it, or taking it home to work on it. With time constraints and human abilities being limited; you know that this has to happen. It just isn’t publicly reported that often and cops rarely seem to get punished or prosecuted over it. There was the 2007 scandal in Harvey, IL where 200 rape kits and evidence was found unprocessed and cases were not investigated or prosecuted. Wonder how that mess ended up?

Hundreds of cops could be punished for not filing ethics statements: sources

Raid on Illinois Department Reveals Unprocessed Evidence

80 percent of rape kits go untested in Illinois
July 9, 2010

HRW set their sights statewide in Illinois, collecting comprehensive data from 127 of 267 jurisdictions and found that only 1,474 of the 7,494 rape kits booked into evidence since 1995 could be confirmed as tested.

“I Used to Think the Law Would Protect Me”

We found a good blog to check out with a whole lot of other online news reporting about police mishaps. Check it out here: IAPE NEWS – The EVIDENCE ROOM BLOG

Readers will love this news item! We have all experienced having been pulled over on the road by the traffic cop and being told some information that we find questionable. Most of us (as in 10,429 of these Floridia drivers) meekly accept what the traffic cop tells us or cites us for. Not this one guy, Eric Campbell, who was ticketed for attempting to warn other motorists of hidden speed traps by the Florida traffic cop. He took Florida to court and it looks like he might win a class-action lawsuit against the state!

Some organization out there needs to give Campbell, the “consumer hero of the year” award…since it appears that there has been a state-wide conspiracy among the traffic cops in Florida for years to misapply the Florida law below and wrongly cite drivers who flash their headlights  to warn other drivers of speed traps. Florida traffic cops have been raking in the bucks doing this and apparently having fun citing drivers who behave in this manner which they do not like.

Gosh, it must be fun to have the power to compel obedience and ticket folks! The power can go to your head and lead you to make up laws. How else can all these cops in Florida explain how they somehow individually came to misread the state statute below to find that it somehow applies to private motorists flashing WHITE headlights?

Talk about the stupidity of criminals! In retrospect, someone in charge in Florida, should have been able to foresee that the cat would get out of the bag at some point and that someone with an attorney would make the most of such a blatant disregard for the legal niceties.  Here’s hoping that Campbell wins his class-action and that Florida has to pay more than reimbursement to thousands of drivers…

Florida sued for ticketing motorists who warn others of speed traps

Florida Laws: FL Statutes – Title XXIII Motor Vehicles Section 316.001 Short title.

316.2397  Certain lights prohibited; exceptions.

(1)  No person shall drive or move or cause to be moved any vehicle or equipment upon any highway within this state with any lamp or device thereon showing or displaying a red or blue light visible from directly in front thereof except for certain vehicles hereinafter provided.

(2)  It is expressly prohibited for any vehicle or equipment, except police vehicles, to show or display blue lights. However, vehicles owned, operated, or leased by the Department of Corrections or any county correctional agency may show or display blue lights when responding to emergencies.

(3)  Vehicles of the fire department and fire patrol, including vehicles of volunteer firefighters as permitted under s. 316.2398, vehicles of medical staff physicians or technicians of medical facilities licensed by the state as authorized under s. 316.2398, ambulances as authorized under this chapter, and buses and taxicabs as authorized under s. 316.2399 are permitted to show or display red lights. Vehicles of the fire department, fire patrol, police vehicles, and such ambulances and emergency vehicles of municipal and county departments, public service corporations operated by private corporations, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Department of Corrections as are designated or authorized by their respective department or the chief of police of an incorporated city or any sheriff of any county are hereby authorized to operate emergency lights and sirens in an emergency. Wreckers, mosquito control fog and spray vehicles, and emergency vehicles of governmental departments or public service corporations may show or display amber lights when in actual operation or when a hazard exists provided they are not used going to and from the scene of operation or hazard without specific authorization of a law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency. Wreckers must use amber rotating or flashing lights while performing recoveries and loading on the roadside day or night, and may use such lights while towing a vehicle on wheel lifts, slings, or under reach if the operator of the wrecker deems such lights necessary. A flatbed, car carrier, or rollback may not use amber rotating or flashing lights when hauling a vehicle on the bed unless it creates a hazard to other motorists because of protruding objects. Further, escort vehicles may show or display amber lights when in the actual process of escorting overdimensioned equipment, material, or buildings as authorized by law. Vehicles owned or leased by private security agencies may show or display green and amber lights, with either color being no greater than 50 percent of the lights displayed, while the security personnel are engaged in security duties on private or public property.

(4)  Road or street maintenance equipment, road or street maintenance vehicles, road service vehicles, refuse collection vehicles, petroleum tankers, and mail carrier vehicles may show or display amber lights when in operation or a hazard exists.

(5)  Road maintenance and construction equipment and vehicles may display flashing white lights or flashing white strobe lights when in operation and where a hazard exists. Additionally, school buses and vehicles that are used to transport farm workers may display flashing white strobe lights.

(6)  All lighting equipment heretofore referred to shall meet all requirements as set forth in s. 316.241.

(7)  Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except as a means of indicating a right or left turn, to change lanes, or to indicate that the vehicle is lawfully stopped or disabled upon the highway or except that the lamps authorized in subsections (1), (2), (3), (4), and (9) and s. 316.235(5) are permitted to flash.

(8)  Subsections (1) and (7) do not apply to police, fire, or authorized emergency vehicles while in the performance of their necessary duties.

(9)  Flashing red lights may be used by emergency response vehicles of the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Health when responding to an emergency in the line of duty.

(10)  A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.

History.–s. 1, ch. 71-135; ss. 1, 23, ch. 76-31; s. 2, ch. 80-176; s. 1, ch. 84-49; s. 4, ch. 86-23; s. 1, ch. 87-157; s. 1, ch. 89-49; s. 58, ch. 93-164; s. 23, ch. 94-306; s. 900, ch. 95-148; s. 17, ch. 96-263; s. 2, ch. 96-312; s. 7, ch. 97-280; s. 17, ch. 97-300; s. 192, ch. 99-248; s. 134, ch. 2002-20; s. 3, ch. 2002-217; s. 1, ch. 2004-20; s. 1, ch. 2007-52; s. 2, ch. 2007-210; s. 1, ch. 2009-220.

Note.–Former s. 316.223.

Sections:  Previous  316.235  316.237  316.238  316.2385  316.239  316.2395  316.2396  316.2397  316.2398  316.2399  316.240  316.241  316.242  316.251  316.252  Next

Last modified: March 26, 2010

This article illustrates the ways in which police officers knowingly bend the rules and deliberately try to circumvent the rights of defendants when they are in jail.  They are not supposed to do this, but they do it all the time. Richard sent in this article as an example of what happened to him at the Winnebago County Jail when he was represented by the public defender but the police still attempted several times to question him without the knowledge of his attorney.  This probably still happens to others in the Winnebago County Jail, but it just isn’t often mentioned because it seems to be accepted as pretty typical.

Officers’ inquiry out of bounds

This article is substantially just a reprint of the same information the Rockford Register-Star prints on each anniversary of the murder of Greg Clark. The authorities put out the hint that they are confident that they have the right individual targeted in their investigation and that they simply are tightening up the evidence in the case before they arrest the suspect.

In reality, we know that the authorities don’t hold off waiting to arrest someone when they feel they have sufficient evidence of complicity in a crime. Saying they have a suspect when the evidence is not sufficient to connect the suspect to the crime is always a face-saving tactic, particularly when the investigation is not being worked for other angles and possibilities.

It it too bad that the RRStar and bereaved family members are simply accepting what the authorities claim. The RRStar should either investigate this story in depth from a new and broader perspective (we are sure that Clark faced threats from a few clients and that there were other security threats in his neighborhood) or join the family in pushing for a new, unbiased reinvestigation by police or an outside source.

We are just as interested in this happening, because, apparently, it will be necessary for someone else to solve this homicide and product the suspect to the police before they will consider other options. And otherwise, the longer this case pends out, the more likely it is, in this case as in others, that the authorities will simply stoop to manufacture the evidence they think they require. That will resolve nothing, and is exactly what causes wrongful convictions.


By Corina Curry RRSTAR.COM

ROCKFORD — A blizzard dumping historic amounts of snow across the city. Government offices, including the courthouse, shutting down because of the inclement weather. The buzz of snowblowers in neighborhoods across the city.

All stood as eerie reminders this week of a shooting three years ago that took the life of a local attorney.

Gregory H. Clark, 60, was killed Feb. 6, 2008, while pushing a snowblower on the sidewalk around his home in the 1700 block of Oak Forest Drive. Police said a gunman jumped out of a van, shot Clark several times in the back and jumped back into the van, which sped off.

It was just before 2 p.m. The Winnebago County Courthouse, where Clark mainly worked as a defense attorney, was closed because of a heavy snowfall.

Later that day, police arrested two people — housemates Richard E. Wanke, one of Clark’s clients, and Diane Chavez.

While prosecutors publicly called both people of interest in the homicide investigation, neither was charged with Clark’s death at the time and that has not changed in three years.

No one else has been charged, either — leaving the mysterious midday attack on an unarmed attorney clearing snow in front of his house one of the community’s most-puzzling unsolved murder cases.

“This time of year is difficult,” said Bart Henbest, Clark’s business partner and son-in-law. “Anytime there’s a bad snowstorm. It brings back memories.”

via Investigation goes on 3 years after Rockford lawyer’s shooting death – Rockford, IL – Rockford Register Star.

by Alex DiBranco January 22, 2011

It seemed like a pretty solid case against San Antonio, TX, Officer Craig Nash. The rape kit turned up his DNA, and GPS put his squad car where his accuser said she was taken captive and then raped. Gotta love technology. The victim went to the police station immediately to report the attack. Not only that, there was yet another rape charge against Nash in 2008. Yet in a shocking plea deal, Nash was given only one year for “official oppression” (having sex with somebody in custody, consensual or not) and both rape charges were dropped.

As Criminal Justice blogger Elizabeth Renter points out, this “slap on the wrist” hardly represents justice. What is looks more like is blatant favoritism toward an officer, and discrimination against the victim, a transgender sex worker. Police abuse and negligence regarding a sex worker or transgender person is hardly anything new. The victim, meanwhile, is now in prison for illegally engaged in sex work. I couldn’t discover how long her sentence is for, but since Nash received such a light term, I wonder who will get out first.

via Cop Gets One Year Sentence After Two Rape Charges | Women’s Rights |

News and Talk of Sonoma County

Posted: January 23, 2011 by scaryhouse in Bad Cops, Police Misconduct, Uncategorized

By KAREN HAWKINS Associated Press

A former Chicago police officer convicted of lying about the torture of suspects told a federal judge Friday he was sorry his case has harmed the reputation of the police department he loved _ but he stopped well short of admitting any guilt.

Standing before the court, Jon Burge said he knew his case brought the department into disrepute and “for that, I am deeply sorry.” While he continued to insist that he isn’t the person who’s been “vilified” by the media, he didn’t specifically address the allegations that he and officers under his command spent decades beating, shocking and suffocating suspects into giving confessions.

via News and Talk of Sonoma County.

mary mitchell

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow sentenced Jon Burge to 4½ years in prison for perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the systematic torture of African-American suspects in the 1970s and 1980s.

The sentencing of the former police commander closes an ugly chapter of Chicago’s history but does not in itself foster healing between the African-American community and the Chicago Police Department.

Anthony Holmes, one of Burge’s accusers, raised the question that needs to be answered before any real healing can take place.

“Why did you do this? You were supposed to be the law,” Holmes asked, reading from a written statement during the sentencing hearing.

Burge didn’t give an answer.

But it is clear from the long line of African-American suspects who accused Burge of torture, and were later exonerated, that race and status had a lot to do with the abuse.

via Burge’s sentence not enough to foster healing – Chicago Sun-Times.

By Annie Sweeney, Tribune reporter

Inside the interrogation room almost four decades ago, Anthony Holmes testified Thursday, he looked around at the other detectives as then-Chicago police Lt. Jon Burge electric-shocked and choked him.

Somebody would help, say “that is enough,” Holmes said he thought at the time. But no one did, he said at a sentencing hearing for Burge, 63.

Since that day in 1973, Holmes said, he dreams of that room, that he is still there and that, again, no one comes to help. Holmes eventually confessed to murder and went to prison, losing contact with most of his family and suffering long-term emotional pain.

“I just slipped through the cracks,” said Holmes, who was imprisoned for a decade. “I had to get help myself. I survived.”

Holmes was the first of five prosecution witnesses to testify Thursday in U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow’s courtroom. The judge could sentence Burge Friday after hearing from additional witnesses, some on Burge’s behalf.

via First day of sentencing finishes for Burge –