The Broward County, Fl., sheriff’s office scandal over the improper closing of property crimes also involves crimes of violence, the Miami Herald reports. Detectives cleared muggings, armed robberies, rapes and aggravated assaults –and buffed crime rates — some by persuading victims to waive prosecution. ”There are a lot of cases of violence,” said prosecutor Tim Donnelly, who has led the four-year probe into allegations that deputies falsely cleared thousands of crimes. One case involved the beating and robbery of a social worker in her driveway. Another involved a man’s robbery at gunpoint. Both victims accused a detective of tricking them into dropping their cases.
So far, six deputies have been charged, and four convicted, on misdemeanor charges involving false reports and making up confessions involving property crimes. One was acquitted. No charges have been filed over the improper clearing of violent crimes. Cases ”cleared by exception” involve suspects who have been identified, but cannot be charged for reasons beyond police control. The sheriff’s office had 10,054 exceptionally cleared cases from 2001 to 2003. The scandal erupted in 2003 under Sheriff Ken Jenne, who resigned earlier this month and pleaded guilty to public corruption charges. ”Every taxpayer, every citizen, and every public official should be outraged,” said Robert Jarvis, a law and ethics professor at Nova Southeastern University.