List of cases of police brutality in the United States

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The following is a compilation of cases of police brutality in the United States involving local, state and federal law enforcement officers.

Arizona[edit]

  • November 5, 2010: Danny Rodriguez, 28, was fatally shot by police officer Richard Chrisman during a domestic disturbance at a home in Phoenix. Rodriguez was Tasered and pepper sprayed by officers, and he then picked up a bicycle from the living room. Chrisman then shot him twice, and also shot Rodriguez's pit bull. He was fired from the Phoenix Police Department in 2011 and was charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, and animal cruelty. In 2013, Chrisman was convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter and aggravated assault, and was sentenced to 7 years of prison.[1]

California[edit]

  • 1986: Michael Zinzun became involved in a scuffle with police when attending the scene of an arrest, and was permanently blinded in one eye. He won a $1.2 million settlement as a result.[3]
  • March 3, 1991: Rodney King's arrest and beating by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department was videotaped by a bystander. Four law enforcement officers—Stacey Koon, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, and Theodore Briseno—were charged locally with assault and other charges, of which they were acquitted, leading to the 1992 Los Angeles riots. King accepted a $3.8 million settlement in his civil lawsuit against the city, while the officers were later charged in federal court of violating King's civil rights. Two of them were convicted.[4]
  • August 25, 1995: Wayne Calvin Byrd II along with four other associates were beaten and arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department's CRASH unit in the Marina Del Rey community of West Los Angeles.[5] Although attempts were made by the City of Los Angeles to settle the case, several Pacific Division Los Angeles Police Department officers, including Officer Ramirez, Officer Villalpando, Officer Damiano, and Officer Williams were found guilty of various civil rights violations, including false imprisonment.[6] All charges against the four victims were eventually dropped.
  • October 12, 1996: Javier Ovando was shot and paralyzed by LAPD Officer Rafael Pérez and his partner Nino Durden. The two officers planted a gun on the unarmed gang member and testified that Ovando shot first. The truth was revealed in 1999 as part of the Rampart investigation, and in the largest police misconduct settlement in city history, Javier Ovando was awarded $15 million in November 2000.[7]
  • June–July 2000: A string of incidents of police misconduct by a group of officers from the Oakland Police Department known as "the Oakland Riders" came to light.[8] 119 people pressed civil rights lawsuits for unlawful beatings and detention, ultimately settling for $11 million with an agreement that the Oakland Police Department would implement significant reforms.[9] Although all of the police officers involved were terminated, three were later acquitted of criminal charges while one fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution.[10]
  • July 6, 2002: Video footage taken by a tourist showed 16-year-old Donovan Jackson being beaten by officers from the Inglewood Police Department.[11] In the video, Officer Jeremy Morse is seen repeatedly punching Jackson, and then picking him up and slamming him down on the back of a police car.[12] To date, legal settlements have cost the city of Inglewood over $3 million.[13] Officer Morse was terminated from the force and charged with assault, but the charges against him were dropped after two trials ended with hung juries. His partner, Officer Bijan Darvish, was suspended and charged with filing a false police report, but was acquitted by a jury.[14]
  • December 23, 2004: Juan Herrera was shot and killed by Officer Ron Furtado after a car pursuit in Buena Park, California. Officer Furtado claimed that Herrera was reaching for a gun. Herrera's family sued and hired a forensic expert who was prepared to testify otherwise. However, the city settled with the Herrera family for $5 million. Officer Furtado was not charged.[15]
  • January 1, 2009: Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle while on the ground at a train station in Oakland, California. Initially charged with second-degree murder, Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. He made an apology to Grant's family while he was on trial. On November 5, 2010, Mehserle was sentenced to two years, minus time served, with the possibility of being paroled after about 1 year.[16] Mehserle was released on June 13, 2011 after serving 11 months. Grant's family accepted a $1.5 million settlement from the city.
  • May 13, 2009: Officers from the El Monte Police Department were involved in a vehicle pursuit of suspect Richard Rodriguez. Rodriguez stopped, exited the car, and ran. Shortly afterward, Officer George Fierro cornered him at a dead-end street. It is alleged that when Rodriguez laid on the ground, Officer Fierro kicked Rodriguez in the head and gave a high-five to three other officers who arrived immediately afterward. The entire scene was captured on videoand later publicized. Officer Fierro was subsequently suspended.[17]
  • July 5, 2011: Kelly Thomas was a 37-year-old homeless man suffering from schizophrenia and living on the streets of Fullerton, California. He was fatally beaten by members of the Fullerton Police Department. He died from his injuries on the 10th of July 2011. Unarmed and mentally ill, Thomas was shocked with tasers and beaten with flashlights by up to six police officers. An investigation into the beating has been launched and the FBI has become involved. A protest over the beating was held outside the Fullerton Police Department on 18 July 2011.[18] Four officers have been suspended and two have been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter. Proceedings concluded on January 13, 2014 with both Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli being found not guilty of any criminal charges.
  • November 18, 2011: UC Davis pepper-spray incident. During an Occupy movement protest at the University of California, Davis campus, a group of protesters who were seated on a paved path were pepper-sprayed by UC Davis Police officer John Pike. On September 26, 2012, The University of California announced its decision to offer $30,000 to each of 21 plaintiffs who were pepper-sprayed by John Pike, according to a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit. UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi apologized to the students, saying that the police had acted against her orders for there to be no arrests and no use of force.[19][20]
  • April 4, 2014: Former West Sacramento police officer Sergio Alvarez was sentenced to 205 years on 18 counts of kidnapping and sexually assaulting women while he was on duty during the "graveyard shift." In a letter to the court, Alvarez's estranged wife Rachael Alvarez stated: "Sergio Alvarez was the fire that destroyed my family’s home," while West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon described the crimes as "reprehensible." The 38-year-old Alvarez was sentenced by Judge Timothy Fall for "forced oral copulation and rape," kidnapping, and "rape and oral copulation under color of authority."[21]
  • July 1, 2014: California Highway Patrol officer Daniel Andrew repeatedly punched Marlene Pinnock, a 51-year-old bipolar woman, near the side of a freeway in Los Angeles. In September 2014, Pinnock received $1.5 million after a lawsuit was settled against the CHP, and Andrew agreed to resign from his job. Criminal charges against Andrew are pending.[22]

Colorado[edit]

  • September 1999: a Denver Police SWAT team performed a no-knock raid on the home of 45-year-old Mexican national, Ismael Mena, believing there to be drugs in the house. Police said that Mena pulled a gun on officers and opened fire, necessitating deadly force be used. Allegations of a police coverup of the shooting were never substantiated. Information from Mexican authorities indicated that Mena was a suspect in a homicide there. No drugs were found on the premise. Media and critics of the police department's handling of the situation have pointed out inconsistencies in officers' stories.[23] Joseph Bini, the officer who gave the address to the SWAT team, was charged with first-degree official misconduct, and sentenced to 12 months probation. The city of Denver later settled a lawsuit filed by Mena's family out of court for the amount of $400,000.
  • April 2008: 16-year-old Juan Vasquez ran from members of the Denver Police Department and hopped several fences, an officer shouted for him "to stop or he would shoot him in the back." The officer then threw his flashlight, hitting Vasquez "with such force that it shattered on impact," When Vasquez fell in the alley, the first officer jumped on his back and sat there while the officers punched and kicked Vasquez as he "begged" them to stop. Two of the arresting officers testified that Officer Charles Porter began jumping up and down on the teen's back while he was handcuffed and lying face-down on the ground. Vasquez, who is 5-foot-6 and 130 pounds, was hospitalized with a lacerated liver, a ruptured spleen, damage to both kidneys and bruised or fractured ribs. He spent three days in intensive care handcuffed to the bed. Officer Porter was charged and acquitted of felony assault charges. He was the only witness at his defense and claimed the other officers who testified against him had caused the injuries during the arrest and had conspired to pin the blame on him. Vasquez filed a lawsuit for 1.3 million dollars, and the city settled for "just under $1,000,000".[24][25]
  • January 2009: Alexander Landau and his passenger Addison Hunold were pulled over for an illegal left turn. Officer Randy Murr asked for consent to perform a search of the vehicle. Landau asked to see a warrant, and Officer Murr responded by punching him in the face and knocking him to the ground. Officer Murr, along with officers Ricky Nixon and Tiffany Middleton, then proceeded to beat him for several minutes with police radios and a flashlight. After the beating had stopped, Landau heard one of the officers say, "Where's that warrant now, you fucking nigger?". By the time the incident went to court, Officer Murr had been fired because of his involvement in the beating of Michael DeHerrera. Officer Nixon had been fired as well, due to his involvement in an incident at the Denver Diner wherein women were clubbed and maced. The City of Denver agreed to settle the case and gave Landau $795,000.00.[26]
  • July 2010: Denver police officers' use of force resulted in the death of Marvin Booker, according to the federal lawsuit won by Booker's family that resulted in $4.65 million being awarded by a jury in October 2014.[27]

Florida[edit]

January 29, 2008: Video screenshot; Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff's Office Deputy Charlette Marshall-Jones dumped quadriplegic Brian Sterner from his wheelchair
  • January 29, 2008: Quadriplegic Brian Sterner was dumped from his wheelchair as he was being booked for an alleged traffic violation at the Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff's Office jail facility. Surveillance video showed Sterner tumbling to the floor and officers searching his clothing as he lay prone.[28][29] The video raised concerns about police treatment of the disabled after being widely circulated on news channels and YouTube.[30] After the video was publicized, the deputy responsible resigned and was charged with felony abuse on a disabled person. Charges were dropped when she agreed to a plea bargain in which she would perform 100 hours of community service with the disabled and agree never to work in law enforcement again. Several other deputies were suspended without pay, and one supervisor was fired for not reporting the incident.

Georgia[edit]

  • November 21, 2006: Kathryn Johnston, an 92-year-old Atlanta woman, was shot and killed by police officers who had entered her home with a no knock warrant that had been based on false information.[31] She had fired one shot over the heads of the police, who she assumed were intruders, when they knocked down her door.[32] Those responsible later admitted to planting marijuana in Johnston's house and submitting cocaine into evidence, lying that it had been bought there.[33] Two of the three officers involved would eventually plead guilty to charges including manslaughter.[33] The three were sentenced to five, six, and ten years in prison.[32]

Illinois[edit]

  • October 7, 2009: 15-year-old Marshawn Pitts, who is an intellectually disabled student, was beaten by Dolton police officer Christopher Lloyd at a school for special needs children Pitts attends and Lloyd works at. The assault was caught on surveillance cameras. Lloyd said that he ordered Pitts to tuck in his shirt and Pitts had cursed at him and was acting belligerent. Pitts, however, said that he did not understand what Lloyd was saying and Lloyd proceeded to slam him against the wall, repeatedly punch him in the face, and hold his face onto the floor, breaking his nose and preventing him from breathing. Several students and teachers had to physically bring Lloyd off of Pitts. Lloyd was placed on administrative leave and later resigned.[34]
  • June 7, 2011: Flint Farmer was fatally shot three times in the back by Chicago police officer Gildardo Sierra. Sierra and a partner had responded to a domestic disturbance call allegedly involving Farmer. When confronted by the police, Farmer fled. Sierra shot at Farmer multiple times, hitting him in the leg and abdomen. Publicly available police video shows Sierra circle the prone Farmer as three bright flashes emit from approximately waist level.[35] The coroner who performed the autopsy on Farmer reported that Farmer could have survived the shots to the leg and abdomen, but any of the three shots through the back would have been fatal.[35] Although the Chicago police department ruled the shooting justified, by October 23, 2011 Sierra had been stripped of his police powers and the FBI had opened an investigation into the incident.[36]
  • March 13, 2013: 47-year old Cassandra Feuerstein suffered serious facial injuries after being forcibly thrown into a holding cell by Skokie police officer Michael Hart. Hart was later charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct.[37]

Louisiana[edit]

  • March 22, 1990: During a shootout, Adolph Archie, an African American killed a white officer, Earl Hauck in downtown New Orleans. Moments later a security guard shot Archie in the arm and he was taken into custody by police officers. As the prisoner was driven from the scene in a patrol car, angry officers could be heard on the police radio cursing and calling for him to be killed. The demands were heard all over New Orleans. When the car carrying Archie arrived at a hospital, a mob of screaming officers was there to meet it. No superior officers dispersed the mob. For reasons that have never been satisfactorily answered, Adolph Archie was not taken into the hospital, but was driven to a station house in the precinct of the officer he had killed. There he was fatally beaten. No officer was ever charged in connection with Archie's death.[38] A settlement of $333,000 was eventually reached between Archie's family and the city, with one-third of the sum going to the family of the fallen officer.[39]
  • September 2, 2005: Henry Glover was shot to death and his body was burned by New Orleans police officers following Hurricane Katrina. Glover was near a strip mall and mistaken for an armed looter when officer David Warren shot him. Glover was taken by a bystander to a nearby school for medical attention where other officers set fire to a car containing Glover's body. Several officers received lengthy sentences for burning Glover's body and the subsequent cover-up. Officer Warren was initially sentenced to 25 years in prison for manslaughter, but on appeal received a new trial which has yet to begin.[40]
  • September 4, 2005: A deadly police shooting occurred on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Six days after the hurricane, seventeen-year-old James Brissette and forty-year-old Ronald Madison were killed in the gunfire, and four other civilians were wounded. All victims were unarmed. Madison, a mentally disabled man, was shot in the back. Members of the New Orleans Police Department coordinated and fabricated a cover-up story for their crime, falsely reporting that seven police officers responded to a police dispatch reporting an officer down, and that at least four people were firing weapons at the officers upon their arrival. The officers also planted a gun at the scene to make it seem the civilians were armed.[41] On August 5, 2011, a New Orleans Federal Court jury found five police officers guilty of a myriad of charges related to the cover-up and deprivation of civil rights.[42]
  • October 9, 2005: Robert Davis was filmed in an altercation with New Orleans police officers. In the video, Davis is punched in the head several times by the officers and kicked as he laid on the ground covered in blood. An Associated Press reporter was also assaulted by one of the officers. Two officers were later fired and one was suspended when they were charged with battery as a result of the incident.[43] However, charges were dropped against two officers and one committed suicide pending a trial.

Maryland[edit]

  • June 18, 1993: 24-year-old Archie "Artie" Elliott III was driving home from his construction job in the late afternoon when Officer Jason Leavitt of the District Heights Police Department pulled him over for driving erratically. Leavitt administered a field sobriety test, which Elliott failed. After determining to arrest Elliott, Officer Leavitt searched Elliott, handcuffed him and placed him in the front seat of Leavitt's police car and securing him in the seat with the seat belt before closing the car door. Shortly afterward, Officer Wayne Cheney of the Prince George's County Police Department arrived as backup. Two officers were standing beside the car when they claimed that Elliott suddenly exited the car and pointed a gun at them. Both officers opened fire and shot Elliott a total of fourteen times. Police say they recovered a small, unloaded, .22 caliber handgun from the scene. Several witnesses disputed the officers' account of the incident,[who?] but a grand jury declined to issue an indictment.[44][45]
  • June 25, 2003: Albert Mosely was arrested for a probation violation and transported to the Baltimore Police Department's Western District stationhouse, where he became involved in an altercation with Officer Bryan Kershaw. Mosely was still handcuffed when Officer Kershaw picked him up and threw him into the concrete wall of a holding cell. Mosley was rendered quadriplegic, sued the city, and was awarded $44 million in damages. The city appealed and the suit was eventually settled for $6 million.[46][47]
  • February 2008: Officer Salvatore Rivieri was suspended from the Baltimore Police Department following the release of a video on YouTube showing him screaming at and manhandling a 14-year-old boy for using a skateboard at the Inner Harbor tourist area, where skateboards are prohibited.[48] The boy's mother filed a lawsuit against Rivieri in April 2008, two months after the video was widely circulated, seeking $6 million for assault, battery and violation of rights. The lawsuit was dismissed. Rivieri was eventually terminated in 2010 after another video of him verbally assaulting a film producer surfaced.
  • June 5, 2008: Tyrone Brown, a United States Marine, was fatally shot by an off-duty Baltimore police officer, Gahiji Tshamba. After partying at a night club, Brown made a sexual advance toward Tshamba's girlfriend. Tshamba pushed Brown away and shot him. Tshamba claimed Brown was being aggressive and he was in fear for his life. However, witnesses said that Brown was turning to leave when Tshamba shot him. Tshamba was subsequently convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison.[49][50]
  • July 29, 2008: Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo's house was raided by Prince George's Sheriff's Department SWAT team on suspicion of drug possession. It turned out that Calvo's address had been randomly selected by drug dealers. When SWAT officers entered the Calvo house with a no-knock warrant, Calvo's two dogs were shot to death and Calvo, who was in nothing but underwear, was handcuffed to his mother-in-law. Calvo was detained for two hours by police until they confirmed his identity and ultimately cleared him of being involved in the crime. Calvo claimed his dogs were shot as a "sport" by the SWAT team and the dogs ran away when the SWAT team entered the house. The police claimed the dogs tried to bite the officers, and the raid was deemed a "model operation". Calvo sued the city and police for the wrongful deaths of his dogs and excessive force from the raid.[51] In January 2011, the suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money and various SWAT reforms.[52]
  • March 3, 2010: Officer Sean McAleavey, of the Prince George's County Police, was suspended along with four other officers in connection with the beating of a University of Maryland student, John J. McKenna, 21,[53] after a college basketball game. The incident surrounding the beating was originally presented through court filed charging documents as an altercation between McKenna and a police horse, where McKenna allegedly struck the horse which then retaliated by kicking him. Video that surfaced, after McKenna hired a private investigator, showed officers in riot gear slamming him into a wall before beating him. McKenna suffered a concussion and contusions as a result of the altercation.[53][54] Officer McAleavey has since returned to duty and the case is under federal investigation.[55]

Michigan[edit]

Autopsy photo of Malice Green, showing head injuries
  • November 5, 1992: In Detroit, Michigan, Malice Green died while in police custody after being arrested by Detroit police officers Walter Budzyn and Larry Nevers during a traffic stop. Green allegedly failed to relinquish a vial of crack cocaine. Nevers struck Green in the head with his flashlight approximately fourteen times during the struggle which, according to the official autopsy, resulted in his death. An Emergency Medical Service (EMS) worker arrived on the scene and sent a computer message to his superiors asking, "(W)hat should I do, if I witness police brutality/murder?" Other officers and a supervisor arrived but did not intervene to stop the beating. Green had a seizure and died en route to the hospital. The official cause of death was ruled due to blunt force trauma to his head. Both officers were convicted of second degree murder, but in a retrial (due to juror misconduct), they were convicted of involuntary manslaughter.[56][57]

Minnesota[edit]

  • April 2, 2005: Al Hixon was handcuffed, pepper-sprayed in his eyes and nostrils, and arrested by Golden Valley Police for robbery. While the 911 transcript reveals that the Golden Valley police had twice been informed that a white male in a white van had robbed a local bank, two Golden Valley police officers proceeded rapidly to a nearby gas station and arrested Mr. Hixon, a dark-skinned black man, who was refueling his Jaguar automobile. Despite being informed twice that the robber was white, the officers arrested Hixon for the crime. The charges were dropped when they realized their mistake. Hixon was awarded the largest police brutality punitive damages in Minnesota history by a jury. No discipline was taken against the officers.[58]

Mississippi[edit]

  • May 14, 1970: Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, 21, and James Earl Green, 17, were shot and killed and twelve others injured as police attempted to disperse about 100 protesting black students near the campus of Jackson State University in Mississippi. Known as the Jackson State killings, the incident was overshadowed in the media by the Kent State shootings in which four white students were killed by the National Guard about a week earlier. A memorial to the two dead students has since been erected on the Jackson State campus.[59]
  • February 4, 2006: Jessie Lee Williams Jr. died of brain trauma after being beaten by jailer Ryan Teel during booking at Harrison County, Mississippi jail. Teel was later found "guilty of conspiring to deprive inmates' rights, using unnecessary, excessive force in Williams' fatal beating, and obstructing justice by writing a false report."[60] In the civil lawsuit which ensued, the Williams estate obtained a settlement of $3.5 million from Harrison County.[61]

Missouri[edit]

  • February 5, 2009: Sofia Salva, a Sudanese native was driving to the hospital when she felt she was having a miscarriage. Two Kansas City, Missouri police officers pulled her over for having stolen tags and suspected her to have stolen the car. On the police car's dashcamera, Salva pleads to the officers twenty times to let her go to the hospital, and one officer can be heard saying, "How's that my problem?" They eventually take her to jail, where she delivered her baby that lived for a minute. She was then treated at the hospital and returned to jail. The officers were suspended and eventually fired. The city settled a lawsuit brought by Salva.[62]

Nevada[edit]

  • 2011: Las Vegas policeman Derek Collings was fired for assaulting videographer Mitchell Crooks, allegedly in retaliation for filming his activities. Crooks suffered compound fractures, lacerations, and contusions. He received $100,000 to settle his lawsuit against Colling.[63][64][65]

New Jersey[edit]

  • May 29, 2009: Police officer Joseph R. Rios III was recorded by a surveillance camera striking 49-year-old schizophrenic Ronnie Holloway in Passaic, with his fist and a baton.[66][67][67] According to Holloway's attorney his injuries included a torn cornea and extensive bruising to the left side of his body. Rios was put on administrative duty and subsequently suspended. He was acquitted of aggravated assault and police misconduct charges, but has not been reinstated. Holloway's family accepted a $350,000 settlement from the city.[68][69]

New Mexico[edit]

  • January 24, 2012: Former Doña Ana County, New Mexico prisoner Stephen Slevin,of Virginia Beach, Va., was awarded 15.5 million for the ordeal by a Federal jury he had requested 22 million - one of the largest such awards in US history. Slevin was arrested in August, 2005 and charged with driving while intoxicated and receiving a stolen vehicle. He was jailed and kept in solitary for 22 months without a trial.[70][71] He was finally seen by a judge on June 25, 2007; the judge declared him mentally incompetent and dismissed the charges.[72] According to his lawyer, the car had been loaned to him by a friend. Slevin claimed that while he was jailed multiple requests to see a doctor were denied.[73][74] County officials denied allegations their jail was a 'rathole'.[72]

[75]

New York[edit]

Justin Volpe; former NYPD officer sentenced to 30 years for sodomizing a detainee with a broken broomstick
  • April 17, 1985: Mark Davidson was arrested by NYPD detectives on charges of selling marijuana and taken to the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park section of Queens, where he was tortured with a stun gun and threatened with torture on his genitals. Sgt. Richard Pike and Officer Jeffrey Gilbert were convicted in 1986 of violating Davidson's rights and received 2–6 years, but were paroled after serving respective 3–5 years.
  • December 22, 1994: Anthony Baez died after being arrested by NYPD Officer Francis X. Livoti.[76] A lawsuit filed by the Baez family was later settled for $3 million.[77] The officer was cleared of Baez's death but was eventually found guilty of violating Baez's civil rights in federal court and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
  • July 4, 1996: Nathaniel Levi Gaines was shot by New York City Police officer Paolo Colecchia while unarmed on the southbound D train platform at 167th Street and the Grand Concourse. Colechia shot Gaines in the back as he fled down the deserted Bronx subway platform, and was sentenced to 5–15 years in prison for homicide; the third New York City officer ever sentenced to prison for committing homicide while on duty.[78]
  • August 1997: Abner Louima was sodomized with a broken broomstick handle while detained in a New York City police station by Officer Justin Volpe. Louima was left bleeding from the rectum in a booking cell. Despite an initial cover-up by various members of the NYPD, Volpe was convicted of assault and sentenced to 30 years.[79] Two officers were convicted of the cover-up while one was acquitted.
  • February 4, 1999: Amadou Diallo was shot 41 times and killed by New York City police officers while unarmed after the officers claimed they believed he was reaching for a gun. Four officers were indicted for second degree murder but later acquitted.[80]
  • May 22, 2003: Ousmane Zongo was shot to death by plain-clothed New York City Police while unarmed. Officers suspected him of being part of a CD theft operation (he was not involved) and shot him when he ran. The officer who shot Zongo received five years probation for negligent homicide.[81]
  • January 4, 2004: Timothy Stansbury, a 19-year-old New York City teenager, was shot and killed by New York City Police Department Officer Richard S. Neri Jr. Neri’s partner pulled open a rooftop door so that Neri, gun drawn, could scan for drug suspects. Stansbury was coming up the stairs with a pile of CDs in his arms, intending on using the roof as a shortcut to go to a party in the adjacent building. Neri fired one shot.[82][83] Neri was later cleared of criminal responsibility, but given a 30-day suspension without pay.[84] The family's lawsuit against the city was settled in 2007 for $2 million.[85]
  • November 25, 2006: The Sean Bell shooting incident took place in the New York City borough of Queens, on November 25, 2006, in which three men were shot a total of fifty times by a team of both plainclothes and undercover NYPD officers, killing one of the men, Sean Bell, on the morning after his bachelor party, and severely wounding two of his friends.[86] Three of the five detectives involved in the shooting went to trial[87] on charges ranging from manslaughter to reckless endangerment, and were found not guilty.[88] On May 18, 2010, Brooklyn Federal Judge Sterling Johnson lifted a stay on the civil lawsuit brought by Nicole Paultre Bell against the City of New York. On July 27, 2010 a settlement was reached. New York City agreed to pay Sean Bell's family $3.25 million. Joseph Guzman, 34, who uses a cane and a leg brace and has four bullets lodged in his body and Trent Benefield, 26, two passengers in Bell's car who attended his bachelor party and were wounded in the shooting, will receive $3 million and $900,000 respectively in the settlement, for a total of $7.15 million.[89]

Oklahoma[edit]

  • May 24, 2010: Maurice White, an emergency medical technician (EMT), was assaulted by Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Martin.[90] In the dash camera video,[91] Martin pulled over the ambulance for failing to yield (it turned out that there was a patient inside), claiming that the driver flashed an obscene finger gesture at him. White tried to explain to him that they needed to get to the hospital but Martin ordered him back into the ambulance. When White again asked to go to the hospital, Martin tried to arrest him and put him in a chokehold when White resisted. Eventually, another officer convinced Martin to let them go to the hospital. Martin claimed White assaulted him, but the cell-phone video contradicted that. Martin was suspended for five days and ordered to undergo anger counseling. White filed a lawsuit against Martin for violating his civil rights.[92]

Ohio[edit]

  • October 20, 2006: Hope Steffey called 911 for help after being assaulted by her cousin. Deputies from the Stark County Sheriff's department arrived, arrested her and brought her into custody. There, she was stripped naked by both male and female deputies and left in a cold cell and without a blanket without medical attention for injuries sustained during the ordeal.[93] Deputies claimed that she had answered a series of questions in a way that led them to believe she was suicidal, a claim Steffey denied.[94] When the video was publicized, several women came forward, claiming abuse and harassment from deputies. In 2009, the county and sheriff's department settled lawsuits brought by Steffey and other women for $200,000. The Stark County Sheriff's Department denying any wrongdoing.[95]
  • January 4, 2008: SWAT officers from the Lima Police Department raided the home of Tarika Wilson and her six children with an arrest warrant for her boyfriend, a drug dealer. However, upon entering the house, Tarika was fatally shot and her one-year-old son, who was in her arms, was wounded in the shoulder and hand.[96] Officers were looking for Wilson's boyfriend, who later pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. The officer who delivered the shots claimed that he heard shots from the house and was in fear of his life; it turned out that other officers were shooting at pit bulls that were attacking them. The shooting led to protests and demands that the officer be charged. The officer was acquitted of negligent homicide and misconduct charges by a jury and was allowed to return to work as a police officer, but not patrol the streets. Wilson's family accepted a $2.5 million settlement from the city.[97]

Oregon[edit]

  • May 5, 2003:Kendra James was a 21-year-old African American Oregon woman who was shot to death by police. The incident sparked a controversy over the use of deadly force by the Portland Police Bureau in Portland, Oregon. James was a passenger in a car that was stopped by Portland police officers Rick Bean, Kenneth Reynolds and Scott McCollister. After the driver and another passenger in the car were removed peaceably by the officers, James, who was wanted on an outstanding felony arrest warrant, jumped from the back seat into the driver's seat and allegedly attempted to flee the scene. McCollister claimed that he tried to pull the 115-pound James out of the car, but was unable. McCollister also claimed that he attempted to use pepper spray to subdue James, but was unable to operate the canister. McCollister claimed he felt the car move, and was being dragged while partway in the vehicle. He claimed that he feared for his life and that he could have fallen out of the moving vehicle and been run over. McCollister drew his handgun and fired a single shot. Incidentally, Reynolds also attempted to use a Taser on James somewhere in the progression of events, but it was unclear whether the device delivered an electrical shock to James. After the shooting, the officers handcuffed James, summoned EMS and secured the scene. Officers claimed they did not know James had been shot, and/or that they believed James was "faking" being unconscious. James died four hours later. The Multnomah County Grand Jury determined that McCollister acted in self-defense and he was not indicted.
  • September 17, 2006: James Chasse, a mentally ill, homeless person Portland, Oregon was tackled by Portland Police and a Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputy following an attempted contact, where Chasse was allegedly urinating in the street. Officers at the scene said that he ran away from them and resisted arrest.[98] He was tackled and while in the course of resisting arrest, received multiple cracked ribs and internal injuries. After taking him into custody, Chasse was cleared medically by fire and ambulance personnel. He was then restrained and driven to jail, where nursing staff refused to admit him because of his injuries. The officers were told by jail staff to drive him to a hospital across town. He died en route to the hospital. The case was presented to a grand jury and no charges were filed against the officers, however Chasse's family prevailed in a substantial civil suit, against the city of Portland. The citizens of Portland were outraged over the treatment of the mentally ill in their city and the US Department of Justice has been involved in an independent investigation of the Portland Police and are currently monitoring their use of force, particularly that used against the mentally ill.

Pennsylvania[edit]

  • 1985: Philadelphia police officers dropped a mixture of civilian and military explosives on a homemade wooden bunker, built on the roof of the Osage Avenue house occupied by members of the MOVE organization. The bomb ignited several barrels of gasoline, starting a fire which destroyed the entire block, leaving 250 people homeless, and killing eleven occupants of the house.[99][100][101]
  • 1988: Philadelphia police officers beat Tracy McDaniel, who received an $850,000 lawsuit settlement over the assault.[102]
  • 1990: Philadelphia police officers allegedly beat David B. Hayes with nightsticks, causing him permanent brain damage. Hayes received $500,000 to settle his lawsuit against the officers.[103]
  • 1994, Philadelphia police officers recklessly drove an unrestrained Gino Thompson in their van, causing him to fall, which resulted in Thompson's spine being severed. Thompson sued and settled for $600,000.[103]
  • 1996: Philadelphia police officers allegedly beat Anthony DiDonato to death. The family of DiDonato, a mental patient, received $1.1 million to settle their lawsuit against the officers.[107]
  • 2003: a minister filed a brutality lawsuit against Philadelphia police officer Kenneth Fleming that was settled for $750,000.[108][109][110]
  • 2003: Philadelphia police officer Walter Helinsky was convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl multiple times, on certain occasions whilst on duty. Helinsky was sentenced to up to 13 years in state prison.[111][112][113]
  • 2006: a federal jury ordered two former Philadelphia policemen, James Fallon and Timothy Carre, to pay $8.3 million to a female stripper whom the two had (on November 14, 2003) pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting while on patrol duty in December 2002. The stripper was one of nine women who had filed sex abuse-related complaints against the two officers.[114][115]
  • 2007: Philadelphia police officer Thomas Tolstoy allegedly sexually assaulted two women, who have received $227,500 to settle their lawsuits against Tolstoy.[116][117][118]
  • 2007: Philadelphia police officer Thomas Ohm fatally shot mental patient Reora Askew five times, including twice in the back. Askew's son, Marcus, received $500,000 to settle his lawsuit against the officer and the city over the shooting.[119]
  • 2008: Several Philadelphia police officers were videotaped beating three compliant black men during a traffic stop. The three men successfully sued the officers over the incident, settling out of court.[120][121] The three men were arrested but subsequently acquitted by a jury.[122]
  • 2008: Philadelphia police officer Thomas Schaffling allegedly assaulted and seriously injured a citizen, who received $231,000 to settle his lawsuit against Schaffling.[123]
  • 2010: Philadelphia police officer Malaika T. Mebane was convicted of charges related to the sexual assault of a prisoner and sentenced to two to four years in state prison.[124][125]
  • 2010: Philadelphia police officer Eric Burke severely assaulted Dr. Anthony Abrams, permanently damaging his eye socket and vision, according to Abrams' lawsuit that was settled for $285,000.[126][127][128]
  • 2010: Philadelphia police officer Jimmy Leocal beat community activist Askia Sabur. Sabur received $850,000 to settle his lawsuit against Leocal and the Philadelphia Police Department.[129][130]
  • 2011: Philadelphia police officers recklessly drove an unrestrained James McKenna in their police van, severely injuring him in the process. The lawsuit was settled for $490,000 in September 2014.[131]
  • 2011: Philadelphia police officers beat Kahlif Snowden and used a taser on him, causing debilitating injuries. His father successfully sued the city for $2.5 million.[130][132]
  • 2011: Philadelphia police officers killed mental patient Carmelo Winans. Two lawsuits were filed against them and the city by Winans' relatives. The suits were settled for over $400,000.[133][134]
  • 2014, six Philadelphia policemen were arrested by federal authorities on corruption and brutality charges. The officers, Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman, and John Speiser, were also fired (via a 30-day suspension process.) The six cops allegedly beat, robbed, and framed suspects. Prior to their arrests, the city had already paid over $1 million to settle misconduct lawsuits against the officers.[135][136][137][138]

South Carolina[edit]

  • February 8, 1968: The Orangeburg massacre was an incident in which nine South Carolina Highway Patrol officers in Orangeburg, South Carolina, fired into an aggravated but unarmed mob protesting local segregation at a bowling alley, hitting most of them in their backs. Three men were killed and twenty-eight more injured. After the shooting stopped, two others were injured by police in the aftermath and one, a pregnant woman, later had a miscarriage due to the beating.[139]
  • November 5, 2003: Police executed a raid at Stratford High School, forcing students as young as 14 to the ground at gunpoint while drug dogs searched their schoolbags.[140] In July 2006, a settlement of $1.6 million was reached in an ACLU-initiated lawsuit charging police and school officials with violating the students’ right to be free from unlawful search and seizure and use of excessive force.[141]

Tennessee[edit]

  • January 1, 2003: James Smoak was driving home to North Carolina with his wife, teenage son, and two mix breed bulldogs from a trip to Nashville. Smoak unknowingly left his wallet on his car hood after stopping at a gas station and a bystander called the police. The Cookeville police mistook this as a robbery, and with shotguns drawn, pulled the family over. Despite pleas to close the doors so the dogs would not get loose, the police ignored them and shot one dog that escaped. Smoak jumped and was violently shoved to the ground, causing permanent damage to his knee. They were held more than nine minutes in patrol cars after the officers realizes their mistake and are seen on the dashcameras laughing and smirking as the family cries. The family's lawsuit against the city was settled for $77,000 and they were awarded $9,000 in damages caused by the officer's use of excessive force on Smoak. The officers were not charged.[142][143]

Texas[edit]

  • May 5, 1977: Joe Campos Torres, a 23-year-old Vietnam Veteran had been arrested by Houston police at an Eastside bar for disorderly conduct. Six police officers took Torres to a spot called “The Hole” next to Buffalo Bayou and beat him.[144] The officers then took Torres to the city jail, where they were ordered to take him to the hospital. Instead of taking Torres to the hospital like they were told, the officers brought him back to the banks of Buffalo Bayou, where he was pushed into the water. Torres’ body was found two days later. Two of the officers involved were tried on state murder charges. They were convicted of negligent homicide and got one year probation and fined $1.[145] The two, and another officer were later convicted of federal civil rights violations. They served nine months in prison.

Washington State[edit]

  • May 30, 2006: Otto Zehm was beaten to death by Spokane police officers after he was falsely reported to be stealing from an ATM. He was hit multiple times from behind by a baton, tasered, hog-tied and left on his stomach. He was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced brain-dead and died two days later. None of the officers were disciplined for Zehm's death. In July 2009, Karl F. Thompson, Jr., the first officer on the scene, was charged with excessive force and falsifying a report.[146] On November 2, 2011, the officer was found guilty on the two counts: excessive force and lying to investigators about the confrontation that led to Zehm's death.[147]
  • November 29, 2008: A 15-year-old girl was assaulted by King County Sheriff's Department deputy Paul Schene. A security camera captured the incident and was released to the general press in February 2009. The video shows deputies Schene and Brunner as they escorted the girl into the holding cell. Schene had asked her to remove her basketball shoes, and, as she slipped out of her left shoe, she appeared to kick it at Schene. Schene then lunged through the door and kicked her. He forced her head against a corner wall before throwing her to the floor by her hair. He then squatted down on her and made "two overhead strikes". After handcuffing the girl, Schene lifted her up by her hair and led her from the holding area.[148] He was eventually charged with assault and went through two trials that both ended in a mistrial. The prosecutor decided to drop the case because of financial stress from the city and the officer was eventually fired.
  • May 10, 2009: Christopher Harris was forced into a wall by King County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Paul after being mistaken for an assault suspect. According to Paul, Harris fled when he identified himself and ordered Harris to stop running. Witnesses contradicted that claim. A video showed Paul pushing Harris against the wall after Harris stopped, and mishandling Harris, who was unconscious by then. Harris was left brain damaged and paralyzed from the neck down. The King County Sheriff's Office claimed that Paul's actions were legal; prosecutors filed no charges. Harris's family filed a $25 million lawsuit against the County, which was settled for $10 million.[149]
  • August 30, 2010: John T. Williams, from Canada was shot dead by Seattle, Washington officer Ian Birk after Birk accosted Williams for carrying what turned out to be a street-legal, closed, knife. Birk confronted him, firing 5 shots at close range, four hitting Williams. Birk claimed Williams had turned with the allegedly open knife and lunged at him, but multiple witnesses on the street contradicted his account. Birks' actions were ruled unjustified and against his training by the Seattle Police Department. Birk was allowed to resign rather than be fired, and King County prosecutor, Dan Satterberg, declined to prosecute. The city settled with the Williams mother for $1.5 million.[150][151][152]

Wisconsin[edit]

  • October 24, 2004: Frank Jude, Jr. was beaten at a house party while unarmed by three off-duty Milwaukee police officers, Andrew Spengler, Jon Bartlett, and Daniel Masarik. Several other officers, including one on-duty officer, took part in the beating. Jude's three friends were also assaulted by the officers, including two women who were pushed by the officers for calling 911 on them. All the officers were charged but acquitted by the state court.[153] However, the three officers were later convicted on civil rights violations and assault in federal court. Other officers pled guilty to lesser charges of violating Jude's civil rights. One officer was acquitted of all charges.[154] Bartlett was sentenced to 17 years, and Spengler and Masarik were sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. The other officers were sentenced from one year to four years in prison.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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