Two Franklin Police Officers Charged With Official Misconduct


FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Two former Franklin police officer face misconduct charges after an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

TBI agents began investigating allegations of misuse of information against Britton Cornell and Ryan Dugger, who were police officers at the time, on April 26.

During the course of their investigation, agents developed information that between January and April 2017 Cornell and Dugger allegedly used the criminal justice portal system for excessive inquires on their days off and after hours.

A grand jury returned indictments against both men on Tuesday, charging them each with one count of official misconduct and one count of official misuse of information.

Cornell was arrested on Wednesday and Dugger turned himself in Thursday morning. Both men were booked into the Williamson County jail on a $5,000 bond.

Franklin Police Chief Deborah Faulkner said, “After ordering an administrative investigation, I contacted District Attorney General Kim Helper to request a review of this matter by her office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The criminal indictments of Cornell and Dugger for official misconduct and official misuse of information were the result. Franklin police officers depend on and value the trust of our citizens. Violating that trust is never an option.”

Source: http://wkrn.com/2017/12/07/2-former-franklin-officers-charged-with-official-misconduct/

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City of Philadelphia Pays $250,000 After Cops Stop Officers Being Photographed


The City of Philadelphia has agreed to pay $250,000 to two people who claimed that police officers violated their First Amendment rights by blocking them from taking photos of police activity.

The settlements, announced Tuesday, ended years of legal wrangling over civil suits filed on behalf of Amanda Geraci, a local activist, and Richard Fields, formerly a Temple University student. The ACLU of Pennsylvania, which brought the claims for the pair, said it hoped their cases served as a “warning sign” against those who would seek to prevent recordings of cops.

“The best tool for police accountability available today is the smartphone in someone’s pocket,” Molly Tack-Hooper, an ACLU staff attorney, said in a statement. “We’re grateful to our clients for enduring years of litigation to protect this vital First Amendment freedom.”

The decision to settle the lawsuits is the latest ripple in a protracted, nationwide legal battle over whether citizens have a constitutional right to record the police — and perhaps the latest example of how that pendulum has largely swung in favor of the public.

City spokesman Mike Dunn said in a statement that the Police Department established a directive in 2012 allowing citizens to record officers on the job in public. He also said the decision to settle the cases from Geraci and Fields “was in the best interests of the city,” though he did not elaborate.

The Police Department has earned plaudits in recent years for its handling of large-scale events and demonstrations, and the city recently pledged to expand the use of police body-worn cameras.

Geraci and Fields had filed separate but similar claims for interactions that occurred several years ago.

Geraci, a self-described legal observer and member of a police watchdog group called Up Against the Law, said she had been attempting to take pictures of an officer arresting a protester at the Convention Center in 2012 when another officer pushed her up against a pillar and restrained her.

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Police Recorded Telling Reporter He Would ‘Like It Too Much’ If Officers Touched His Genitals


An independent journalist was arrested by Beavercreek Police during a protest against the shooting of an unarmed African American father, talking on his cellphone with the mother of his child and his own mother, who were baby-sitting. That man, John Crawford, was on his way to a cookout and stopped at Walmart for some things.

While talking on the phone, he picked up a legal, non-lethal air rifle toy that was open and on the shelves. He looked at it while speaking on the phone in the most remote aisle of the store.

Surveillance footage shows that no shoppers were threatened, nor were they panicking. Several shoppers came down the same aisle and saw he was no threat.

Even though he was immersed in a conversation, officers who arrived on the scene did not even give him two seconds to respond to their orders. As he turned to look, even while the toy was pointing away from the officers, he was shot by Beavercreek officer Sean Williams.

Protests have erupted on the streets of Greene County Ohio ever since. But at some of the more recent protests, officers have amped up their response: escalating violence against protesters and inciting rather than deescalating.

At the Christmas Eve “die in” at the Fairfield Commons Mall, right across the street from the Walmart where John Crawford was killed, several members of the media were threatened with arrest after they identified themselves as reporters and news photographers. One of them was Virgil Vaduva of the Greene County Herald. Unbeknownst to the police, the journalist’s cell phone continued to record the interaction with police and other arrestees, capturing what happened behind the “thin blue line” when police believed that nobody was recording.

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WATCH: St. Louis County Police Reprimand 11 MetroLink Officers in Investigation Into Covered Security Cameras


ST. LOUIS COUNTY – Eleven St. Louis County police officers assigned to patrol MetroLink were issued written reprimands — some for loitering in Metro security offices and others for covering security cameras in the offices.

County police, in a news release issued Friday, also said several other allegations of misconduct were determined to be “unfounded or not substantiated” in a 16-week internal affairs investigation of the department’s MetroLink unit.

Twelve reprimands were issued.

County Police Chief Jon Belmar initiated the investigation in July after Post-Dispatch columnist Tony Messenger published a series of reports alleging misconduct by officers.

The series, based largely on documents and videos obtained from MetroLink through a public records request, also reflected communication breakdowns between county police officials and transit managers.

The chief submitted the report to the county Police Board last week.

The names of the officers reprimanded were not disclosed in Friday’s news release.

Belmar, in a statement, said he began the probe because county officers are and should be held to a very high standard.

“This department has never shied away from discipline when appropriate,” the chief said.

Police Board President Roland Corvington in a statement said the board found the investigation “to be thorough and conducted to logical conclusion.”

Source: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-county-police-reprimand-metrolink-officers-in-investigation-into/article_756f52a5-4ba0-53c6-8088-c5aa5f674864.html#tracking-source=home-featured

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Officers Suspended Over Photo of Cops Pretending to Beat Up a Colleague at Arlington National Cemetery

The photo shows one officer on his knees in front of a squad car as he is held down by two colleagues, behind whom are three others simulating beating the kneeling officer with batons

Police officers have reportedly been suspended after a photo emerged of a group of cops pretending to beat a colleague at Arlington National Cemetery.

Officials at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall are said to be conducting an internal investigation into the picture, which showed the officers smiling and laughing.

It shows one officer on his knees in front of a squad car as he is held down by two colleagues, behind whom are three others simulating beating the kneeling officer with batons.

It is understood the photo, which was sent to Fox 5 by a whistleblower, involved officers who patrol Arlington

A Base spokesman told Fox at least two of the officers are on administrative duty while the investigation into the incident which occurred on Thanksgiving Day was investigated.

Graves of more than 400,000 US soldiers are located at the military cemetery, which has a mission statement of: ‘Honor. Remember. Explore.’

He added the officers were ‘horsing around’ and that the incident spiralled into ‘unprofessional behavior’.
As patrolling officers, they would have been responsible for responding to potential crime on the Arlington National Cemetery grounds.

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall said it did not fall in line with their views, and cemetery officials have not yet commented on the photo.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5120835/Officers-suspended-Arlington-National-Cemetery-photo.html#ixzz4zf5TgCeB

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WATCH: Downstate Correction Officers Convicted of Inmate Beating

Downstate Correctional Facility and Kevin Moore

NEW YORK – Four years after a violent attack on a Downstate Correctional Facility inmate, two former correction officers were convicted in federal court Monday of the beating, and of falsifying records to cover it up.

Former Downstate correction officers Kathy Scott and George Santiago Jr. were convicted in the beating of then-54-year-old Kevin Moore, on Nov. 12, 2013, according to Joon H. Kim, acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“This verdict should send a loud, clear message to the New York state prison system that the protections of the U.S. Constitution do not stop at the prison wall,” Kim said in a statement Tuesday.

Kim said Scott and Santiago repeatedly punched and kicked Moore in the head and body as he lay on the floor. Moore was then hospitalized for two weeks with facial bone fractures, five broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

Kim said the pair were also found guilty of conspiring to falsify state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision records regarding the assault.

Scott, 43, of Saugerties, and 35-year-old Santiago, of Fremont Center, were each convicted of one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. They were also convicted of one count of conspiracy to deprive civil rights, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; one count of falsifying documents, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of conspiring to falsify documents, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Three other former correction officers at the Fishkill prison — Andrew Lowery, Donald Cosman, and Carson Morris — have previously pled guilty to the same four offenses for their involvement in the incident.

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WATCH: Two Killeen Police Officers Face Brutality Suit Over ‘Body Slam’ of KISD Student


The family of a former Gateway High School student filed a federal brutality suit Tuesday after a Killeen officer allegedly body slammed the teen outside of a Killeen school district bus in April 2016.

A complaint filed in the U.S. Western District Court in Waco on Tuesday said Killeen police officers Travis Lundt and Stephen Frucella violated the constitutional rights of a then-15-year-old student during an arrest at approximately 2:55 p.m. April 21, 2016, after an altercation in the back of the bus.

In a video filmed above the driver’s seat of the bus, officers pulled the teen out of the front door after the student appears to lunge toward another student in the back of the bus. During a brief altercation, Frucella wrapped his arms around the back of the student and appears to pick him up off his feet and take him to the ground.

“A body slam is never an approved use of force,” the lawsuit said. “It is not a recognized ‘takedown’ maneuver under any training provided to Officers Lundt and Frucella.”

Prior to Frucella’s action, the teen appeared to touch Lundt in the chest and raise a pointed finger toward his face.

In an incident report filed by Frucella, the officer said he “placed (the teen) on the ground” after the student appeared to swing his right arm at Lundt.

A medical report provided to the Herald said the teen had two abrasions on his body and a split lip following the incident.

The city of Killeen is also named as a defendant in the suit for its alleged inadequate hiring and training policies for officers.

Rob Ranco, a lawyer with the Komie & Morrow Law Firm in Austin, sent a letter to Killeen City Manager Ron Olson and police Chief Charles “Chuck” Kimble Oct. 19 asking for possible mediation between the city and the teen’s family.

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How One Attorney Forces Police Chiefs to Rehire The Officers They Fire


In 2013, homicide detectives in Miami were finally closing in on suspects in the robbery and killing of a manager at a cellphone store six years earlier. A break in the case had led them to a colleague: police officer Adrian Rodriguez.

Rodriguez had been employed at the cellphone store before joining the Miami Police Department and was working there the night the manager was ambushed and shot to death. Investigators had come to suspect that the crime was an inside job, possibly involving Rodriguez, his brother and his father.

When Rodriguez refused to cooperate with detectives, the police chief fired him. Rodriguez then did what many other South Florida police officers have done to get their jobs back — he turned to Fort Lauderdale labor attorney Gene Gibbons.

Gibbons, who represents officers in job appeals on behalf of police unions across Florida, has over the past eight years won reinstatement for more than 22 fired officers, often returning them to work over the objections of police chiefs who say they are unfit for duty.

A former cop, Gibbons has prevailed by finding the weak point in a department’s case, no matter how severe the alleged misconduct. He frequently capitalizes on the mistakes of police officials, attacking sloppy investigations and hammering departments over missed deadlines.

“The city gives me ammunition to win,” Gibbons, 47, said of his strategy.

In May, Gibbons won again — persuading an arbitrator to order Rodriguez’s return to the Miami police force.

“He’s not fit to be a cop,” said Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes of Rodriguez. “How could we face the victim’s family if we didn’t fire him?”

Llanes claims Gibbons’s success is undermining his effort to hold his officers accountable. Gibbons’s efforts have forced Miami to reinstate six of the 12 officers the chief has fired since 2014.

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[WATCH] Two Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officers Who Killed Man With Hands Up Wont Be Charged


Two Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers will not be charged after killing a Charlotte man in September who carried an unloaded gun but had his hands raised when he was shot, Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray announced Friday.

Courtney Suggs and David Guerra have been on paid administrative leave since Sept. 6, when 29-year-old Ruben Galindo called 911 and was shot by officers responding to his call.

On the night of the shooting, Galindo told dispatchers he was trying to turn himself in for an upcoming court date involving an earlier arrest for pointing a gun at someone. In the 911 call released to the Observer, Galindo tells the dispatcher he has a gun on him, but repeats the phrase “I have no bullets” in Spanish.

In Murray’s report, he ruled Galindo failed to follow officers’ commands to put his weapon down. He also said Galindo was impaired during the encounter. (A toxicology report released Tuesday showed Galindo had a blood-alcohol level of .23 but no drugs in his system.)

“While it is entirely possible that Galindo’s intent was to surrender to police and give them the firearm, other alternatives that could have been lethal to the officers, neighbors in the community or other occupants of the residence were just as likely based on the information available to Officer Guerra in the seconds he had to evaluate the situation,” Murray said. “This officer-involved shooting was indisputably tragic, but it was not unlawful.”

Suggs has been working for the department since December 2014 and Guerra was hired in April 2013.

The police officers’ attorneys welcomed the decision, and said it was supported by fact, including Galindo’s refusal to put down the gun, his apparent drunkenness and that he had his upcoming court date.

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[WATCH] Two Shelton Officers Fired Won’t Face Criminal Charges After Beating Homeless Man


The Mason County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on Monday declined to press charges against two Shelton police officers who repeatedly struck, pepper sprayed and used a stun gun on a man who had been sleeping on a staircase behind a homeless shelter in May.

The decision runs counter to advice from Thurston County Sheriff’s Office investigators, who in July recommended assault charges after concluding the use of force that left 25-year-old Nicholas Heflin with a broken nose, eye injuries and broken bones in his face “was not necessary or reasonable.”

Earlier this month, the two officers, Justin Doherty and Matt Dickinson, were fired by the department after an internal investigation into the event, which was captured in part on the officers’ body cameras.

Michael Dorcy, the Mason County Prosecutor, said his office solicited advice from use-of-force and training experts who believed criminal charges weren’t warranted.

In a letter to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, Dorcy said he questioned some of the decision making by the officers but said their actions weren’t inconsistent with training or unreasonable.

Dorcy wrote, “The burden of proof cannot be met to sustain criminal assault charges beyond all reasonable doubt in court.”

Heflin plans to file a roughly $15 million civil claim against the City of Shelton in the case by Tuesday evening, said his attorney Jeanette Boothe. Boothe, who runs her own Shelton-based firm, said Heflin was “quite emotional about the fact that (the police officers) were not going to be criminally charged.”

Boothe said she is exploring whether other legal options against the officers are possible, such as a federal criminal investigation.

“We think this is an egregious assault on this young man,” Boothe said. “And he’s certainly going to have lasting results from it.”

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