In the wake of Jeff Sessions’ departure from the Justice Department, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is urging the Trump administration to resume federal oversight of troubled police departments and reinstate the Justice Department’s community policing office.
The police chief of Kenmore, N.Y., was placed on administrative leave after he was arrested and accused of stealing pain pills. He admitted an addiction. In a separate case, a police chief from Alabama was suspended last week after he was accused of masturbating several times in front of guests, including children and teenage girls, at a beachfront resort in Florida.
The unidentified officer was off duty, working security at a grocery store, when he used the device on a girl suspected of shoplifting. The cop was placed on restricted duty while officials investigate.
The department, which has been criticized for racial bias in its traffic stops, is preparing to comply with a new state law that takes effect on July 1. It mandates collection of detailed data on all officer interactions with the public in an effort to study and curb racial profiling.
The suit by several subordinates accuses State Police Chief Pete Kassetas of “blatant, ongoing and systematic discrimination” against officers based on gender and sexual orientation. The governor’s office called the allegations “ridiculous.”
The federal lawsuit alleges that the use of sound cannons by the NYPD against protesters constitutes excessive force. Police claimed immunity, but the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the case can proceed to trial.
A rookie cop fired two shots at a fleeing auto burglary suspect, an apparent violation of a 2016 policy reform. The police union is defending the officer, but an expert on the discredited practice says, “It is insanely reckless and dangerous to shoot at moving vehicles.”
New Jersey police Sgt. Philip Seidle shot and killed his wife in 2015, three weeks after their divorce became final. A lawsuit by the victim’s children says police officials ignored numerous signs of his potential for violence, including a long record of excessive force complaints and 12 different calls for help from the victim, Tamara Wilson-Seidle.