Posts Tagged ‘police misconduct’

If he is any bit a humanitarian, State’s Attorney, Joe Bruscato should not waste a moment in reviewing and dismissing the prosecution of John Horton, and ending the 23 years of suffering which this man has endured.

“…Eventually, the investigation of Hedges mushroomed until three more officers whom police commanders said had appeared to protect Hedges became the subject of internal investigations….”

Mentioned in the RRSTAR investigation about just one fellow-police officer response and incident by the Rockford Police Department are three other officers: Bruce Brannum, Rosemary Matthews and Leann Ness, who became the subjects of investigations by police Internal Affairs for their actions in possibly covering up alleged misconduct by officer Jonathan Hedges. The RRSTAR had to review hundreds of pages it obtained by FOIA from the police to piece together what happened when Hedges was found asleep or passed out in front of his house.

It is extraordinary and indicative of just how bad internal practices must be in the Rockford Police Department that head commanders have to force the issue in order to ensure that police officers are investigated and treated like ordinary citizens when they do wrong.

Bruce Brannum was one of the first responders to the Greg Clark murder scene in 2008. He reported to Greg Lindmark at the time. He may play a tangential role in Richard Wanke’s case and trial. However, his actions regarding the Hedges incident seem to indicate that his 35 years on the police force not only made him possibly susceptible to maintaining the “thin blue line” of silence about wrong-doing of fellow officers, but well-versed in taking the easy option out when under scrutiny; just retire to stop the questions. He allegedly smelled alcohol on Hedge’s breath. That should have sufficed to follow normal protocol. Instead he reached for the union first for Hedge’s benefit. It’s too bad that “retiring out”of  investigations is still allowed other places as well as locally. Police officer investigations should not be closed when officers retire. Any potential misconduct committed on the job should follow officers into private life same as holds true for the rest of us.


Read the article below about why and how a double standard exists in holding cops responsible for killing civilians such as in the Ferguson and Garner cases. The article spells out at least 10 ways the public either ignores, is not aware of, or doesn’t care about biases which are inherent and pervasive in our judicial system and police operations and which fail to hold cops responsible for actions which we would feel to be unlawful in under any other circumstances. Most of us don’t know how easily anyone can be endangered by the police who we automatically assume are always right. We never see how police departments, the courts and the prosecutors work to excuse or coverup their misdeeds when presenting to the Grand Juries and making determinations. It is shocking to read that literally hundreds of police killings have not been reported to the feds and that the exercise of excessive force is disregarded and common. Instead, we assume that our local controversies, (such as the Barmore shooting) are the rare exception in our local communities and resent being reminded of them. We need to wake and familiarize ourselves with exactly how our authorities operate. Grand juries need to stop rubber-stamping the perspectives of the State’s Attorney’s office and exercise the power they have to thoroughly independently call and investigate every matter brought before them to ensure that injustice does not continue to squeak by every day….

10 Ways the System Is Rigged Against Justice for People Wrongly Killed by Cops

Why is the legal system so biased against holding abusive officers accountable?


PASADENA — Two decades ago, a trio of Pasadena gang members stunned the City of Roses by gunning down six boys trick-or-treating, killing three and injuring three others on a night now known as the Halloween Massacre.

Now, after a 20-year police crackdown against gangs in one of Southern California’s most regal cities, the tide has turned, with crime at modern historic lows.

But instead of celebrating a hard-won victory, Pasadena police are themselves accused of kidnapping, beating and threatening to kill witnesses, withholding evidence in trials, attempting to bribe attorneys, wrongly shooting unarmed residents and a litany of civil rights abuses in their war against gangs and thugs.

“It’s gotten out of hand,” said Joe Brown, former head of the city’s NAACP branch, who has been tracking cases within the black community. “The problem is a lack of appropriate training and community policing.

via City of Thorns: Despite reforms, Pasadena police still face controversy –

The Herald-Tribune examines how Florida police officers can stay on the job despite multiple complaints, crimes

This site features a thorough series of 9 in-depth media reports exposing just how flawed Florida police departments are and how despite flagrant abuses Florida police officers not only remain on pay, but are protected by their unions and retire to public pensions. The Herald-Tribune points out systemic problems in Florida which need to be addressed in order to improve the quality of the state’s police departments; suggestions which also apply elsewhere: eliminating patronage, enforcing the laws which exist with regard to police officers, correcting a too cozy relationship between the police and the local State’s Attorney’s office which declines to charge when valid offenses are reported, and stop the hampering of internal police investigations and reviews. A lot of this series explains why your local police officers are seldom brought up on criminal charges despite wrongdoing which would land your average citizen in court. The reports are downloadable as pdfs.

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

More and more individuals are being empowered to use modern technology to defend themselves and to document events. Most individuals use their phone cameras and other devices automatically whenever they feel a need to record events which are transpiring and don’t even think twice about doing so because the technology is so immediate and easy to use. Plus, most of us feel that we have a right to protect ourselves, and we know that stuff you can get on YouTube or post on the internet is what will be listened to.

But, if you do this in Illinois, you face the risk of prosecution, even when you are recording wrongdoing by other individuals; not only law enforcement, but also just about any public official. As the article below shows, the law in IL is virtually the worst in the country. These laws need to be changed or challenged in court because they are being used improperly to sanction actions against ordinary citizens, and we have less freedom than individuals in other countries.

Chicago State’s Attorney Lets Bad Cops Slide, Prosecutes Citizens Who Record Them

“…In a study published the same year, University of Chicago Law Professor Craig B. Futterman found 10,000 complaints filed against Chicago police officers between 2002 and 2004, more than any city in the country. When adjusted for population, that’s still about 40 percent above the national average. Even more troubling, of those 10,000 complaints, just 19 resulted in any significant disciplinary action. In 85 percent of complaints, the police department cleared the accused officer without even bothering to interview him.

Yet Alvarez feels it necessary to devote time and resources to prosecuting Chicagoans who, given the figures and anecdotes above, feel compelled to hit the record button when confronted by a city cop…”

“…When a citizen and a police officer have a confrontation, the police officer’s narrative has always been given deference by prosecutors, judges and juries — in the same way governments in more oppressive parts of the world have the power to project their own version of events as truth.

Citizens in America and across the globe now have the ability to preserve and present a more objective narrative. This is a positive thing — for democracy, for good government and for a fairer criminal justice system. U.S. courts and legislatures need to make it abundantly, unambiguously clear that not only do citizens have the right to record on-duty police officers, but that cops and prosecutors who violate that right will be held accountable.”

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