Philadelphia police officer Kevin Corcoran obviously wanted to teach Roderick King a lesson, not only for being part of a group that criticized him for making an illegal u-turn, but for daring to video record him as he stepped out of his marked SUV and walked towards the group.
Concoran probably figured it would work to his benefit in court, knowing the altercation was being recorded, figuring the courts would take his word over a black man standing on a street corner at 2 a.m.
But what he didn’t realize was that another man was video recording the altercation. And he also didn’t realize that King was an Iraq war veteran with a clean arrest record.
Philadelphia police officer Kevin Corcoran has been criminally charged for an incident caught on video last year.
After driving for several blocks, King informed him of all this, which made Concoran realized he had messed with the wrong person. He turned the SUV around and dropped King off at the same location where he had arrested him. King filed a million dollar lawsuit a month later.
Now, almost a year later, Concoran has been arrested, charged with false imprisonment, obstructing administration of law and official oppression. He has also been suspended from the department for 30 days and will probably be dismissed, according to Philly.com.
A federal judge in Los Angeles blasted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for sting operations that he said unfairly enlist people in a "made-up crime" by offering them a huge payday for robbing a non-existent drug stash house.
Declaring those tactics "outrageous" and unconstitutional, U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright took the unusual step last week of throwing out charges against a man arrested by ATF agents after one such sting.
"Society does not win when the Government stoops to the same level as the defendants it seeks to prosecute — especially when the Government has acted solely to achieve a conviction for a made-up crime," Wright wrote. He said the stings have done little to deter crime and instead are "ensnaring chronically unemployed individuals from poverty-ridden areas."
Police chopper video and a 9-1-1 recording capture an horrific event sparked by police incompetence and law enforcement’s tendency to escalate violence.
A San Diego couple falsely detained, pepper-sprayed, and stung with a taser gun will receive $450,000 in exchange for dropping their case against the city and police officers who errantly flagged their Pontiac Sunfire as stolen after punching in the wrong tag number.
The incident occurred in March of 2010 as Harrell and then-fiancée Robinson were driving to Canada Steak Burger at 36th and University Avenue in City Heights.
According to court documents, officers Ariel Savage and Daniel McClain spotted the maroon Sunfire and ran the plates to check if it was stolen. One of the officers accidentally typed in the wrong plate number and the car came back as a Honda, not a Pontiac. They turned on their lights and pulled the couple over.
Before exiting the car, the officers realized their mistake. After typing in the correct numbers, the car came back clean. Yet, despite the new information, Savage and McClain continued with an investigation, asking the pair for identification and vehicle registration.
The cop was right, that the phone was evidence of a crime. Part was just video of cops maybe doing their job. Taking the phone was the crime that was recorded.
But: "The State Attorney's Office found the case not suitable to prosecute, according to the lawsuit."
They were getting out of a taxicab, carrying a bag of the burgers, when they walked into cops rounding up a group of men suspected of looting a supermarket on Neptune Ave., lawyer Robert Marinelli said in the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.
The cops — it’s unclear if they were kidding or starved out of their minds — demanded the bag of food. The plaintiffs refused to turn over the burgers.
The cops allegedly demanded the bag of White Castle and the plantiffs refused. Glover and Maisonet claim they were struck with flashlights and handcuffed. They were charged with obstructing government administration and disorderly conduct — not looting.
Officer Angelo Pizzarro swore in the complaint that Glover and Maisonet were standing in his way and forced him to walk around them while struggling with the alleged looters.
The Kansas House Standing Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice has introduced a bill that will require private citizens who file complaints against police officers to sign an affidavit, acknowledging that if their allegations are proven false, they can be charged with perjury, which is a felony charge.
Furthermore, this bill prohibits a Kansas law enforcement agency from opening an investigation into a complaint if another law enforcement agency has already investigated the complaint and found in favor of the officer.
In other words, this bill would allow police departments to arrest the people who file complaints against police officers. In Wichita, Kansas, complaints are almost always dismissed, by the Wichita Police Department, so, according to this bill and its vague wording, the WPD, could now go arrest the people who file complaints against their officers.
For nearly four years, the dashcam video of a County police cruiser striking a wheelchair pedestrian in a crosswalk in broad daylight was the most shocking aspect of the case. Now, a new court filing drops additional bombshells– including one that may explain how it happened.
New information revealed in the course of the victim's civil lawsuit indicates that immediately before the incident, the Albemarle officer, Gregory C. Davis, was involved in "excessive texting." Furthermore, according to the document, Officer Davis may, under oath, have intentionally downplayed his texting.
"Members of the public who have seen this video probably wondered how in the world this officer could have missed this person in a wheelchair," says attorney Richard Armstrong. "This finally explains."
Messages left with Davis, his attorney, and the chief of police were not returned; and police spokesperson Darrell Byers says the ongoing litigation prevents comment.
The November 5, 2007 accident created widespread outrage, particularly after release of the dashcam video showing clear conditions at the intersection of West Main and Fourth Streets.
Feelings were already running high since the officer went uncharged while the injured man in the wheelchair, Gerry Mitchell, was served with a ticket in his UVA hospital bed. In the months following the accident, Mitchell– a longtime AIDS sufferer– alleged that he was hit not only by a police car but by a cascade of additional health woes.
After seeking a public apology from the officer who struck him and from the Charlottesville City police, Mitchell filed an $850,000 suit alleging negligence, malicious prosecution, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (While the City was dropped from the suit last spring, Davis and ticketing City officer Steve Grissom remain as defendents.)
Do you drive a car in the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area? According to the L.A. Police Department and L.A. Sheriff’s Department, your car is part of a vast criminal investigation.
The agencies took a novel approach in the briefs they filed in EFF and the ACLU of Southern California’s California Public Records Act lawsuit seeking a week’s worth of Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) data. They have argued that “All [license plate] data is investigatory.” The fact that it may never be associated with a specific crime doesn’t matter.
This argument is completely counter to our criminal justice system, in which we assume law enforcement will not conduct an investigation unless there are some indicia of criminal activity. In fact, the Fourth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution exactly to prevent law enforcement from conducting mass, suspicionless investigations under “general warrants” that targeted no specific person or place and never expired.
ALPR systems operate in just this way. The cameras are not triggered by any suspicion of criminal wrongdoing; instead, they automatically and indiscriminately photograph all license plates (and cars) that come into view. This happens without an officer targeting a specific vehicle and without any level of criminal suspicion. The ALPR system immediately extracts the key data from the image—the plate number and time, date and location where it was captured—and runs that data against various hotlists. At the instant the plate is photographed not even the computer system itself—let alone the officer in the squad car—knows whether the plate is linked to criminal activity.
Taken to an extreme, the agencies’ arguments would allow law enforcement to conduct around-the-clock surveillance on every aspect of our lives and store those records indefinitely on the off-chance they may aid in solving a crime at some previously undetermined date in the future. If the court accepts their arguments, the agencies would then be able to hide all this data from the public.
However, as we argued in the Reply brief we filed in the case last Friday, the accumulation of information merely because it might be useful in some unspecified case in the future certainly is not an “investigation” within any reasonable meaning of the word.
A Queens judge tossed out a driving while intoxicated arrest after ruling that NYPD officers created an illegal checkpoint in order to force the driver to stop — the fifth such case to be overturned since 2012, DNAinfo New York has learned.
Drunken-driving checkpoints — in which officers close off a roadway to inspect occupants to see if they've been drinking — are closely monitored in order to protect drivers from any breach to their Fourth Amendment rights, which protect against unreasonable search and seizure, defense lawyers say.
But the NYPD officers insisted to Hawkins, and in four similar cases, that while drivers have to slow down on the road and in some instances come to a full stop, they did not create checkpoints.
In the latest case to be tossed, the officers defended their arrest of a drunken driver about 11:45 p.m. Aug. 8, 2011, saying they pulled the man over after spotting objects hanging from the rearview mirror of his 1997 Mercury. The driver's name is being withheld by DNAinfo because the charges were dropped.
When the defendant couldn't produce a driver's license and officers said his breath smelled of alcohol, they asked him to take a Breathalyzer, according to court documents. The driver refused and was brought to the 112th Precinct, where he told officers he had consumed a Heineken and a shot, according to documents.
Judge Hawkins disagreed with the officers' description of the tactic, saying they had set up an illegal checkpoint — rendering the charges invalid.
Queens Criminal Court Judge Mary O'Donohue tossed out a similar DWI arrest in February 2013, saying the 2011 stop constituted an illegal checkpoint and the evidence was not valid, court documents show.
Honolulu police officers have urged lawmakers to keep an exemption in state law that allows undercover officers to have sex with prostitutes during investigations, touching off a heated debate over the provision.
Authorities say they need the legal protection to catch lawbreakers. Critics, including human trafficking experts and other police, say it's unnecessary and can further victimize sex workers, many of whom have been forced into the trade.
It's not immediately clear how often - or even if - Honolulu police have sex with prostitutes, and authorities assure legislators that internal policies and procedures are in place to prevent that scenario.
But experts say the exemption invites abuse and police can easily do their jobs without it.
The Hawaii bill that sparked the debate goes before a Senate committee Friday.
Here's how it's supposed to work: Upon evidence that a crime has been committed — Professor Plum, found dead in the conservatory with a lead pipe on the floor next to him, say — the police commence an investigation. When they have probable cause to believe that someone is guilty, the case is taken to a prosecutor, who (in the federal system, and many states) puts it before a grand jury. If the grand jury agrees that there's probable cause, it indicts. The case goes to trial, where a jury of 12 ordinary citizens hears the evidence. If they judge the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, they convict. If they think the accused not guilty — or even simply believe that a conviction would be unjust — they acquit.
Here's how things all-too-often work today: Law enforcement decides that a person is suspicious (or, possibly, just a political enemy). Upon investigation into every aspect of his/her life, they find possible violations of the law, often involving obscure, technical statutes that no one really knows. They then file a "kitchen-sink" indictment involving dozens, or even hundreds of charges, which the grand jury rubber stamps. The accused then must choose between a plea bargain, or the risk of a trial in which a jury might convict on one or two felony counts simply on a "where there's smoke there must be fire" theory even if the evidence seems less than compelling.
This is why, in our current system, the vast majority of cases never go to trial, but end in plea bargains. And if being charged with a crime ultimately leads to a plea bargain, then it follows that the real action in the criminal justice system doesn't happen at trial, as it does in most legal TV shows, but way before, at the time when prosecutors decide to bring charges. Because usually, once charges are brought, the defendant will wind up doing time for something.
An Illinois law that made it a crime to record a conversation without the consent of all the parties has been struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court.
In an opinion (PDF) released today, the court said the statute violates the First Amendment. The court said the statute is too broad, given the legislative purpose of protecting conversational privacy.
"The statute criminalizes the recording of conversations that cannot be deemed private: a loud argument on the street, a political debate on a college quad, yelling fans at an athletic event, or any conversation loud enough that the speakers should expect to be heard by others," the court said. "None of these examples implicate privacy interests, yet the statute makes it a felony to audio record each one.”
The court also found fault with the statute because it failed to distinguish between open and surreptitious recording of conversations held in private.
The court also struck down a separate provision of the statute that criminalizes the publication of any recording made on a cellphone or other such device, regardless of consent.
The challenge was filed by Annabel Melongo, who was charged under the statute for recording telephone conversations with a court-reporter supervisor and posting the audio to her website. Melongo spent 20 months in jail because she could not make bail, the Chicago Tribune reports.