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Police Misconduct

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NEWS
May 2, 2002 | By Jonathan Gelb INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Cheyney University officials said a panel will look into allegations of police misconduct stemming from the early morning arrest yesterday of a student. The five-person panel was convened by university president W. Clinton Pettus after he met with a group of students, spokeswoman Sharon Cannon said. The panel will look into claims by students that Pennsylvania state troopers from the Media barracks may have used unjust force in detaining Michael Vincent Etter, 21, of Philadelphia.
NEWS
March 18, 2011 | By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - The New Orleans Police Department has engaged in a wide-ranging pattern of misconduct including the excessive use of force and unconstitutional arrests, the Justice Department announced Thursday. In a lacerating report that followed an investigation requested by local officials, the Justice Department found the department had failed to adequately protect the city. There have been complaints about the department for years, but the difficulties reached a crescendo when unarmed people were shot amid the tumult of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
NEWS
April 22, 1986 | By Christopher Hepp, Inquirer Staff Writer
Citing a "widespread perception" that police abuse in Philadelphia "has been increasing and becoming more violent," a coalition of community groups yesterday recommended a series of reforms aimed at reducing police misconduct and increasing departmental accountability. The recommendations included requiring the mayor and police commissioner to give yearly public reports on the department; making public all police policies and procedures; toughening the department's deadly-force guidelines; increasing the number of blacks, Hispanics and women on the force, and changing the manner in which the department deals with reports of misconduct.
NEWS
December 13, 2013 | BY JAD SLEIMAN, Daily News Staff Writer sleimaj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5938
POLICE IN A Bucks County town acted appropriately when they stun-gunned a handcuffed teen fleeing arrest, prosecutors announced yesterday. Joseph Williams, 14, was handcuffed on suspicion of shoplifting and was fleeing arrest on foot when Tullytown cops shot him with a stun gun last month. His scraped-up mug made the rounds on social-media networks after his mother blamed his injuries on a police thrashing. Police maintained that the ninth-grader's face-first fall caused all the damage, including a broken nose.
NEWS
September 29, 1993 | by Kathy Sheehan, Daily News Staff Writer
Neil Ferber's 45 months on death row for a 1981 mob-related double murder he didn't commit will cost the city $4.5 million. A Common Pleas jury yesterday blamed the Police Department, and two officers in particular, with wrongfully prosecuting Ferber as one of two gunmen who blew away reputed mobster Chelsais "Steve" Booras and a dining companion at the Meletis Restaurant at 8th Street near Catharine. The jurors' award included $2.5 million in punitive damages, $750,000 for intentionally inflicting emotional distress, and $500,000 for the suffering of Ferber's ex-wife, Annette.
NEWS
July 3, 2010 | By Miriam Hill and Marcia Gelbart, Inquirer Staff Writers
A former city employee who investigated police misconduct says city officials fired him last year for giving to Philadelphia Daily News reporters information that led to their Pulitzer Prize-winning series on police corruption. In a federal lawsuit filed here Friday, Wellington Stubbs, who was the chief investigator for the Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission, created to handle reports of police wrongdoing, said Mayor Nutter and the deputy mayor for public safety, Everett Gillison, retaliated against him for helping the Daily News.
NEWS
November 17, 1995 | By Mark Fazlollah, Richard Jones and Daniel Rubin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS Inquirer staff writer Craig McCoy contributed to this article
Police misconduct is costing Philadelphia taxpayers a fortune. In the last 28 months, the city has agreed to pay about $20 million in lawsuits arising from citizen complaints, according to city Law Department records and court documents. The payments arose from more than 225 civil cases that the city has either settled or paid since July 1993. The cases include 78 complaints of police assault, 18 of civil rights violations, 50 of excessive force, 56 of false arrests, and 7 of police shootings.
NEWS
September 11, 1995
Dumfounding! Unbelievable! Beyond comprehension! I'm talking about the continuing police scandals in our city. To the remainder of the men and women of the Police Department, it is an unwarranted black eye. The majority of officers do their job without depending on manufactured evidence or falsely accusing anyone, but people think, "There's another one of those criminal cops. " All the honest hard work over the span of a career is put aside and forgotten each time people read of yet another cop gone wrong.
NEWS
December 15, 2010 | By JAN RANSOM, ransomj@phillynews.com 215-854-5218
Passion, anger, frustration and optimism radiated from testimony at a City Council hearing yesterday on police misconduct. "I fully acknowledge that we have a problem in our organization now and I'm committed to fixing it," said Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. Council members Donna Reed Miller and Curtis Jones Jr. held the nearly seven-hour committee hearing in hopes of garnering suggestions on how to improve police-community relations, publicize methods to file complaints and explore how police misconduct is being addressed.
NEWS
December 23, 1992 | By Fredric N. Tulsky, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In the early hours of Nov. 12, 1989, Officer Luis Lazarde arrested two men outside a bar on Germantown Avenue. Both men were taken to the hospital with head injuries that night. The officers who transported the prisoners said they found one of them - Ventura Martinez Perez - bleeding when they arrived that night. They said they saw Officer Lazarde strike the second prisoner - Victor Rodriguez. They also said Lazarde tried to get them to help cover up the incident. Lazarde denied the accusations and said his fellow officers were framing him. In April 1991, then-Police Commissioner Willie L. Williams announced that he was firing Lazarde for misconduct.
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NEWS
January 8, 2014
The New Jersey Legislature is by now intimately acquainted with the value of cameras in police cars: In a single year, video evidence was used to settle disputes between police officers and two of its own members. True, the Garden State's officials have earned a reputation for unusually frequent run-ins with the law. But their recent experiences suggest enough benefits to the general public and police alike to make cameras standard equipment in patrol vehicles. A bill requiring police departments to equip newly purchased patrol cars with cameras was passed by the state Assembly last month and by a Senate committee on Monday.
NEWS
December 13, 2013 | BY JAD SLEIMAN, Daily News Staff Writer sleimaj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5938
POLICE IN A Bucks County town acted appropriately when they stun-gunned a handcuffed teen fleeing arrest, prosecutors announced yesterday. Joseph Williams, 14, was handcuffed on suspicion of shoplifting and was fleeing arrest on foot when Tullytown cops shot him with a stun gun last month. His scraped-up mug made the rounds on social-media networks after his mother blamed his injuries on a police thrashing. Police maintained that the ninth-grader's face-first fall caused all the damage, including a broken nose.
NEWS
December 9, 2013 | By Sarah Smith and Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writers
This is what Philadelphia police say about James McKenna's conduct: He was drunk and belligerent - and broke his neck banging his head against cell bars. McKenna has a different account of what happened that June night in 2011. He says police arrested him outside a Center City bar and tossed him unrestrained into the back of a police wagon that sped along, then stopped abruptly again and again until he fell and broke his neck. "I went down two or three times," McKenna said.
NEWS
August 14, 2013 | BY WENDY RUDERMAN, Daily News Staff Writer rudermw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5924
SIGH. New York City, why couldn't you be more like your little sister to the south, Philadelphia? That's what a federal judge suggested yesterday in finding that the New York City Police Department's stop-and-frisk practices systematically violated the constitutional rights of scores of blacks and Latinos. U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, sitting in Manhattan, lamented that NYPD leaders hadn't followed Philly's lead and reached a settlement agreement to reform stop-and-frisk, rather than engaging in a drawn-out legal battle.
NEWS
July 30, 2013 | By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer
His grandfather escaped from the Treblinka death camp, his grandmother died there. Decades later, when Witold "Vic" Walczak returned to his family's native Poland, a young man amid the Solidarity protests of the 1980s, he got knocked around and strip-searched by police. "At that point, I knew I wanted to be a civil liberties attorney," said Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. Today, Walczak helps lead the legal fight for what is fast becoming Pennsylvania's preeminent civil rights issue: gay marriage.
NEWS
May 31, 2013
POLICE Commissioner Charles Ramsey is doing the right thing by asking the U.S. Justice Department to review incidents of deadly force by police officers. Although shootings by police are down this year, Ramsey made his call after a week where officers shot four people, three of them fatally. The department investigates all shootings by officers as a matter of course, but Ramsey said he thought that an outside review would have more credibility. He's right. Internal investigations and discipline have been weak points in the department for years.
NEWS
January 23, 2013
As a crime-fighting strategy, Philadelphia police need to be worrying more about making repairs to video surveillance cameras that don't work, rather than hassling citizens who happen to point a functioning cellphone camera their way. The 200 anticrime cameras posted around the city should be helping police nab the bad guys, but as many as one in four are down for maintenance. Meanwhile, far too many police officers seem to be camera shy when they have no legal right to be. Despite a directive issued more than a year ago by Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey that officers could be videotaped legally while performing their jobs, the Police Department last week was hit with the first of several federal lawsuits by a rights group that contends officers have intimidated and arrested people who tried to videotape them.
NEWS
January 18, 2013
Fla. terrorism case dropped MIAMI - Citing a lack of evidence, a federal judge on Thursday dismissed terrorism support and conspiracy charges against the younger of two Muslim clerics accused of funneling thousands of dollars to the Pakistani Taliban. U.S. District Judge Robert Scola ruled that "no rational trier of fact" could convict Izhar Khan, 26, who is imam at a mosque in Margate, north of Fort Lauderdale. Trial is continuing against his father, Hafiz Khan, 77. Scola said the evidence against him is much stronger.
NEWS
December 20, 2012
No, the city's top cop hasn't lost his mind. Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey absolutely took the right step in dismissing an officer accused of participating in fraud schemes designed to bilk the city and state out of property taxes on real estate transactions. The accusations against Elaine P. Thomas represent one more piece of crud thrown at a Police Department that for several years now has stumbled from one alleged act of impropriety by officers to another - from dealing drugs to shaking down convenience-store operators to sucker-punching defenseless women in the wrong place at the wrong time.
NEWS
October 5, 2012
WE HAVE argued many times for an independent authority to provide police oversight and accountability, a body to ensure that police don't abuse their power and that when they do, they are disciplined. We now have that authority in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, it's YouTube. The shocking sidewalk slam to Aida Guzman by Lt. Jonathan Josey at Sunday's Puerto Rican Day parade was captured on video, posted on YouTube, and as of yesterday had gotten 1,329,847 views. That means that Josey, who was suspended with intent to fire by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey on Wednesday, not only hit a woman, but also sucker-punched the entire city and the Police Department in front of the world.
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