Posts Tagged ‘police bill of rights laws’

Police roundup

  • Investigation of problems with no-knock “dynamic entry” police raids [Kevin Sack, New York Times; cf. Radley Balko’s work] But her living room furniture was just sitting there! Why shouldn’t we take it? [C.J. Ciaramella on Mississippi case]
  • Minnesota judge approves (which doesn’t mean Google will go along with) police demand for all search records on a certain name from any and all users in town of Edina [Mike Mullen, City Pages]
  • “The L.A. County sheriff wants to release names of 300 deputies with histories of misconduct. He can’t.” [Jessica Pishko, Slate; Tim Cushing, TechDirt (list is of cops considered highly impeachable in court testimony)]
  • Just catching up with this still-relevant Joshua Muravchik critique of Black Lives Matter [Commentary]
  • Feds indict seven members of elite Baltimore police gun trace task force on racketeering charges; underlying predicates include robbery, swearing out false search warrants, false overtime claims (“one hour can be eight hours.”) [U.S. Department of Justice, Baltimore Sun, Washington Post]
  • “New Orleans Police Chief Says He Needs to Hire and Fire Commanders at Will to Protect Reforms” [Ed Krayewski]

Reuters investigates police union contracts

“Over the last 40 years, cities have bargained away the power to discipline police officers, often in closed negotiation meetings with local unions.” Contracts frequently call for discipline records to be erased at short intervals, allow officers accused of misconduct to see the opposing evidence before having to commit to a story, and require dismissal of citizen complaints not filed within a very short window, such as 30 days, or with signed affidavit. Those are among things Reuters found in its investigation, which doesn’t even get into the effect of “police bill of rights laws” enacting some of the same measures legislatively.

Police and community roundup

Maryland falters on LEOBR reform

Following a series of episodes including the death of Freddie Gray in a Baltimore police van, sentiment seemed to run high for reconsidering at least some of Maryland’s “Law Enforcement Bill of Rights” law, which erects tenure-like obstacles to firing or disciplining police over suspected misconduct. But critics say by the time a commission’s recommendations made it to legislative consideration, they had been watered down to accomplish relatively little and even give the state’s police unions more power than before [WBAL, Jim Giza/Baltimore Sun]

Police union roundup

Great moments in public employment: correctional officers’ rights

“Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan blamed the state’s largest employee’s union for not being able to remove corrections employees who face charges that range from driving under the influence to assault….Since 2013, more than 200 Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services employees have been charged with crimes that include DUI, assault and having sexual relations with an inmate, yet they remain on the job.” Union officials, however, say the governor is in error, and that it’s state law, rather than AFSCME contract terms, that restrict dismissals. So no problem! [WBAL, auto-plays; earlier on Maryland’s Correctional Officers Bill of Rights law, a younger sibling to its Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR) law for police]

More background on police bill of rights laws, and their origin in the wake of the Kerner commission report on 1960s civil unrest [Scott Greenfield] Veteran police lawyer Herbert Weiner, general counsel to Maryland State FOP Lodge, defends the state’s LEOBR [Al-Jazeera] And commenter Daniel Martin at Popehat on some curious implications of Maryland’s LEOBR, which prohibits investigating cops for some types of misconduct “until the victim, their immediate family, or a direct witness swears out a complaint.”

Yet more: In Pennsylvania, “members of the Fraternal Order of Police are rallying behind legislation to shield the identities of officers who use force.” It’s backed in Harrisburg by Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) and Sen. John Sabatina, D-Philadelphia. [Watchdog] And with respect to our post of the other day, a commenter writes that the city of Tucson’s two-tiered informational release — withholding the names of police in a prostitution investigation while releasing those of civilians — was not done at city authorities’ discretion but in compliance with a newspaper’s public records request, in conjunction with a state law shielding police privacy.

Tucson’s two-tiered shaming

“Tucson PD releases names of people possibly connected to prostitutes — after removing those who happen to be cops.” That’s the headline atop a Radley Balko post about a decision by authorities in the Arizona city to do a splashy public release of the names and numbers of persons found on cellphones confiscated from massage parlors, despite the police chief’s own confirmation that the “inclusion of information in this list is in no way indicative of involvement in criminal activity”:

…before releasing the names of hundreds of people who appeared in the phones, the city police checked the names against the city’s roster of police officers. They then redacted those names, and released all the others. The police officers’ information won’t be released until they’ve had a chance to clear their names through an internal investigation. As for everyone else, well, good luck explaining…

P.S. But note that according to an anonymous commenter below, the general release of names wasn’t something up to city authorities’ discretion:

the names weren’t “released”, the Arizona Daily Star requested the names from police records (under a public records transparency law.) The police redacted the officer names because under the law they were under active investigation, which is a legal exception carved out due to unions.

If this account is accurate, while the episode had the effect of splashily shaming various Tucsonians who did not benefit from the special privacy protection available to cops, it’s misleading to suggest that that was the city’s intent.

August 26 roundup

  • Government as source of product misinformation [David Henderson notes my City Journal discussion of NY AG Eric Schneiderman’s crusade on herbal supplements]
  • “Under Armour is suing pretty much every company using the name ‘Armor'” [Washington Post]
  • Maryland police unions defend LEOBR (“bill of rights”) tenure laws [my Free State Notes, Ed Krayewski, Scott Greenfield]
  • Someone uses an iPhone to transact Islamic State business; could a court find Apple liable for providing material support for terrorism? [Benjamin Wittes, Zoe Bedell, Lawfare]
  • Maybe green-lighting a union for tax collecting staff wasn’t such a hot idea in the first place [Washington Post]
  • Seventh Circuit: “Appeals court apologizes for literally misplacing case for five years as lawyers wondered what was taking so long” [Jacob Gershman, WSJ Law Blog]
  • For the sake of professional dignity, in future employ authorized methods only: “Italian lawyer steals French tourist’s wallet” [The Local, Italy]

Police unions roundup

  • Police union files grievance to regain job for University of Cincinnati cop charged in Sam DuBose death [WXIX] Also Ohio: “Forget Criminal Charges. Disciplining Officers In Cleveland Is Hard Enough” [Carimah Townes, ThinkProgress] “How Police Unions Contribute to the Police Violence Problem” [Ed Krayewski]
  • Profile of Fraternal Order of Police head [Politico via Radley Balko, who comments] When taking on public employee unions, GOP governors often sidestep police, firefighters [New York Times in March]
  • FOP president says Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR/LEOBOR) laws don’t “afford police any greater rights than those possessed by other citizens” Reality check please [Scott Greenfield on NY Times “Room for Debate“, Marshall Project “Blue Shield” in-depth look, earlier on these laws]
  • El Paso union contract “gives cops two days to get their stories straight after a shooting” [see “Responsive Documents,” p. 55, in public records request via @TimCushing] Frequent-flyer testifier in police shootings: “His conclusions are consistent: The officer acted appropriately.” [New York Times]
  • Private sector unionism, public, what’s the difference? Now we’re finding out [Greenfield]
  • Trying to picture a US politician talking back to organized constabulary the way the UK’s Theresa May did a few weeks back [BBC]
  • “‘It seems like the citizens would appreciate a lack of police presence, and that’s exactly what they’re getting,’ he said.” [Washington Post (“vacate the streets and see how the community likes it”)] “Baltimore killings soar to a level unseen in 43 years” [Juliet Linderman/AP “Big Story”; WBAL; earlier on NYPD’s “strike while still getting paid” tactics]