Top 1,000 Cases of police brutality in the United States

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


  • October 6, 2012: 18-year-old Gil Collar was student at the University of South Alabama. While naked the 5’4”, 140 lb student walked to the campus police station early on a Saturday morning. Collar attempted to open a locked door and banged on a window to the police station. An officer exited the building with gun drawn. Video shows that Collar approached the officer with arms outstretched and palms up. As Collar approached the officer, the officer backed away, then shot Collar once in the chest. Collar was never closer than four feet from the officer and didn’t try to grab his weapon. A second officer arrived and assisted in handcuffing Collar. He died from the gunshot wound. It was later determined that Collar had taken LSD prior to the incident. The officer had both pepper spray and a baton with him.[1][2]


  • September 17, 2008: Phoenix police officers arrived at the home of Tony Arambula, when Arambula reported an intruder in his house. Officers arrived and saw Arambula holding the suspect at gunpoint, Officer Brian Lilly mistook him for the intruder and shot him six times. The police claimed that Arambula turned to them and pointed the gun at them, but Arambula said he was facing away from them. After getting the situation under control, the intruder was arrested and Arambula was taken to a hospital. Despite the medical exams and the 911 call that confirm Arambula’s version of the story, the police insist the officers did nothing wrong. The Arambula family has filed a lawsuit for 5.75 million dollars against the police, citing that the officers let the intruder go with a warning and never investigated the matter further, mistreated Arambula after taking him out of the house, tried to frame Arambula on false charges, and covered-up the incident.[3]
  • May 5, 2011: Former Iraq veteran Jose Guerena was shot to death by Pima County Sheriff SWAT officers. They suspected Guerena of being part of a drug dealing operation (he was not involved). The officers prevented the ambulance from getting Guerena medical attention until they searched the house. The officers even pointed their guns at Guerena’s wife and 4-year-old son. The Pima county Sheriff’s department released a 1:17 video of the incident [4] The SWAT team was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Pima County Attorney’s Office and never apologized to Guerena’s family. Neighbors also said that the SWAT officers burst into their houses after the shooting and intimidated them, which the officers deny.[5] The family had originally filed a $20 million complaint against all agencies involved, but none responded. Guerena’s widow has filed a lawsuit with the intent of letting a jury decide the award.[6]


  • March 7, 2006: Joseph Erin Hamley, a mentally disabled man, was shot and killed by state trooper Larry Norman while laying supine on the ground. Norman mistook Hamley for a fugitive. Norman later pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. The Hamley estate accepted a $1 million legal settlement from the state.[7] Although the Arkansas State Police expressed regret for the shooting of Hamley, they deny any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
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  • 1986: Michael Zinzun, a longstanding activist against police brutality, 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 from the Police department as a result.[9]
  • 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.[10]
  • April 1, 1996: Riverside sheriff’s deputies Kurt Franklin and Tracy Watson stopped two suspected undocumented immigrants, a male and female, driving a pickup truck carrying at least 20 people after a nearly 70 mile an hour chase through Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties. Franklin and Watson began beating the driver and passenger repeatedly with their clubs, even pulling on the woman’s hair. The beating was videotaped by a news helicopter crew. Both deputies were suspended. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department launched a criminal investigation into the incident.[13]
  • 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.[14]
  • 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.[15] 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.[16] Although all of the police officers involved were terminated, three were later acquitted of criminal charges while one fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution.[17]
  • July 6, 2002: Video footage taken by a tourist showed 16-year-old Donovan Jackson being beaten by officers from the Inglewood Police Department.[18] 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.[19] To date, legal settlements have cost the city of Inglewood over $3 million.[20] 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.[21]
  • 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.[22]
  • January 30, 2005: Four officers removed from the Pasadena Police Department arrested 35-year-old quadriplegic Cornell Greathouse from his wheelchair and hung him over a concrete wall to search him. Greathouse was hospitalized for six days for injuries sustained during the arrest. Greathouse sued the city and the four police officers as individuals for assault, battery, false arrest, false imprisonment, excessive force, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and negligence. A civil court jury found that the officers were not culpable on any of those counts, but found in favor of Greathouse on one count of a civil-rights violation against the city of Pasadena for failing to train its officers properly and awarded him $80,000.[23][24]
  • January 29, 2006: Elio Carrion, an Air Force senior airman who had recently returned from Iraq, was the passenger in a Corvette that led deputies on a high-speed chase. When the chase ended, Deputy Ivory Webb of the San Bernadino Sheriff’s Office held Carrion and the driver, Luis Escobedo, at gunpoint as a nearby resident videotaped the encounter. The video, which has been played repeatedly during the trial, shows Webb shoot Carrion three times as Carrion complied with the deputy’s orders to “get up.” Carrion survived the shooting, and Webb was terminated as a result of his actions. Webb was charged with attempted manslaughter and assault with a weapon, but was acquitted by a jury. The county settled with Carrion for $1.5 million.[25]
  • January 1, 2009: Oscar Grant, was shot in the back and killed by 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.[26] 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 video and later publicized. Officer Fierro was subsequently suspended.[27]
  • December 12, 2010: Several Long Beach police officers shot Doug Zerby 21 times, killing him instantly. Zerby was allegedly intoxicated and wielding what appeared to be a gun (it turned out to be a black metal-tipped water nozzle). The police were on the scene for around fifteen minutes and allegedly never identified themselves before shooting Zerby. The police claimed the use of force was necessary, but the family and filed a wrongful death suit against the police department.[28]
  • 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 passed away 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.[29] Four officers have been suspended and two have been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter.


Jason Kemp was shot and killed by a Colorado State Trooper when he refused entry without a warrant.
  • September 23, 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. Officers shot and killed Mena. Police said that Mena pulled a gun on officers and opened fire, necessitating deadly force. Investigations alleged, however, that Mena’s body may have been dragged from where it fell. Police reported that this occurred apparently while paramedics administered aid, and that gunpowder residue on Mena’a hands indicated that he had fired a weapon recently. 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.[30] Also, the American Civil Liberties Union criticized both the police department and the judge who approved the warrant for the following alleged problems with the affidavit: (1) relying on an unreliable informant, (2) failing to provide sufficient proof that drugs would be found on the premise, and (3) for failing to adequately explain how police would be endangered by knocking first.[31] 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. Bini again made headlines in June 2008 when it was revealed that he was being investigated for unlawful sexual contact and child enticement.[32]
  • April 8, 2006: Evan Herzoff was walking home past the parking lot near 14th Avenue and Pearl Street when he came across officers arresting a man and he then began videotaping the arrest. Shortly thereafter he was approached by two Denver Police Department officers. Officer Morgan demanded Mr. Herzoff’s identification. After examining Mr. Herzoff’s identification, Morgan told Mr. Herzoff that he was free to go. When Mr. Herzoff subsequently asked for Morgan’s business card, however, Morgan quickly changed his mind and told Mr. Herzoff, “Let’s take you to jail instead.” A trespass charge filed against Mr. Herzoff at the time of the arrest was dismissed after review of the video. After an internal investigation the city’s independent police monitor Richard Rosenthal stated that officer Morgan would receive a “fair punishment” but refused to say what that punishment was. The ACLU filed a lawsuit on Herzoff’s behalf after months of negotiations the city agreed to pay Herzoff $8,500, and the Denver Police Department will issue a training bulletin to all officers, stating that: “No retaliatory action shall be taken against any member of the community based on the request for identification.”[33]
  • April 4, 2008: John Heaney allegedly ran a red light while riding his bicycle. He was stopped by Detective Micheal Cordova in plainclothes while working a sting operation against ticket scalpers. Cordova testified in court under oath that Heaney swung and punched at him several times, forcing Cordova to punch back. Cordova said Heaney “continued to throw wild punches at me, hitting me in the chest area several times forcing me to punch him in the face several times”. When he was asked how Heaney’s two front teeth were broken, Cordova responded, “I have not a clue.” John Heaney was charged with assault on a police officer and faced a minimum 3 year sentence, before a video tape surfaced showing it was Det. Cordova who attacked Heaney, tackling him, punching him in the face several times, and finally smashing his teeth into the pavement; the district attorney’s office then dropped all charges against Heaney. A jury acquitted Det. Cordova on the assault charges and no charges were filed for his perjury.[34]
  • April 18, 2008: 16-year-old Juan Vasquez ran from police and hopped several fences, an officer shouted for him “to stop or he would shoot him in the back.” The officer 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. With that officer sitting on Vasques’s back, the officers began to punch and kick him as Vasquez “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. 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 caused the injuries during the arrest and 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″.[35][36]
  • January 15, 2009: Alexander Landau and his passenger Addison Hunold were pulled over for an illegal left turn.[where?] Officer Randy Murr asked for consent to perform a search of the vehicle. Landau asked to see a warrant, to which Officer Randy Murr responded by punching him in the face and knocking him to the ground. Officer Murr joined by Officers Ricky Nixon and Tiffany Middleton proceeded to beat him for several minutes with police radios and a flashlight. When it was all over, Landau heard one officer say to him, “Where’s that warrant now, you fucking nigger?”. When the incident went to court, Murr had already been fired because of his involvement in the beating of Michael DeHerrera and Nixon was fired because he was involved in an incident at the Denver Diner where women were clubbed to the ground and maced. The City of Denver agreed to settle the case and gave Landau $795,000.00.[37]
  • April 4, 2009: At approximately 12:14 a.m, during the arrest of his friend Shawn Johnson for allegedly using the women’s restroom at Denver’s LoDo Night Club, Michael DeHerrera claims he was severely beaten by several Denver Police Department officers. Video taken by the DPD’s own High Activity Location Observation (HALO) system shows DeHerrera talking on his mobile phone with his free arm across his chest grasping his other arm when officer Devin Sparks walks up to him, grabs his arm, and appears to start yelling at him. Within seconds Officer Sparks grabs DeHerrera by the head and throws him into the pavement. The video footage suddenly pulls away for roughly 35 seconds while DeHerrera is allegedly beaten. The camera then slowly pans and zooms back into the scene while DeHerrera is being handcuffed by three officers with several other officers standing in the vicinity of the scene. He is then wrenched up from the pavement, visibly bloodied and having difficulty maintaining balance or standing. He is then led staggering to the back of a DPD cruiser and partially searched. He is then placed in the back seat of the cruiser. The officer then slams the door, which is stopped by what DeHerrera claims is his ankle, the officer then slams the door again which then closes. DeHerrera claims that he remembers nothing from after the initial alleged assault until waking up in his hospital bed due to post-concussion syndrome[clarification needed]. Initial police reports filled out by Officer Sparks claim that DeHerrera “Spun to his left attempting to strike me in the face with a closed right fist.”, a statement directly contradicted by the video of the incident. Both Johnson and DeHerrera were initially charged with interference and resisting arrest but the charges were dropped after the video came to light by Assistant City Attorney Vince DiCroce who said “there is no likelihood of conviction.” Independent Monitor Richard Rosenthal has recommended that both Officer Sparks and another officer Corporal Randy Murr be fired for their actions in relation to the incident. Safety Manager Ron Perea however, who has final say in officer disciplinary actions claims that Rosenthal’s recommendation is inappropriate. The only disciplinary actions taken so far have been to suspend Sparks and Murr without pay for three days. “The video, when viewed in isolation, seems to portray the subject officers as overly aggressive for the situation. There is no audio and it appears that there is a man on the phone ignoring but not being overtly aggressive towards the officer when the officer takes him down. The video, however, does not tell the entire story.” Perea said of the incident.[38] Both officers were eventually fired when Perea resigned and the new Manager of Safety recommended their termination. The city settled with DeHerrera and Johnson for $17,500.
  • March 16, 2010: Mark Ashford was walking his two dogs near the streets of 20th and Little Raven[where?] when he saw a police officer pull over a driver who had run a stop sign. Ashford claiming that he saw the man stop at the stop sign approached the police car to volunteer information and to appear in court about the incident. Ashford claims that the officer “didn’t like it at all” and asked Ashford his ID, which he provided. Afterwards, another Denver Police officer arrived on scene and Ashford, who claims he was nervous, began taking photos of the two officers on his cell phone. In the HALO surveillance video released by the city & county of Denver, a Denver Police officer appears to hand Ashford back his ID and a piece of paper. Afterwards, Ashford pulls out his cell phone to photograph the two officers. The two officers approach Ashford and one of the officers grabs Ashford’s hand in an attempt to get Ashford’s cell phone. The other officer also tries to help restrain Ashford. In the ensuing struggle Ashford tries to spin away from the officers and is again thrust into the guardrail by the officers. One officer appears to spear Ashford with his knee and punches Ashford several times. Eventually, the two officers gain control and are able to handcuff Ashford. Ashford’s attorney, William Hart, claims that his client was arrested on suspicion of interference and resistance. After the incident, Ashford was taken to St. Andrew’s Hospital where he was treated for a cut on his eye and a concussion.[39] Despite the video, the officers were cleared of any wrongdoing. The city agreed to give a $35,000 settlement to Ashford.
  • July 9, 2010: Marvin Booker, 56, was arrested[where?] for possession of drug paraphernalia. Half-asleep about 3 a.m., Booker walked to the desk in his socks, forgetting to put on his shoes. The female deputy ordered Booker to sit in a chair in front of the desk. Booker responded that he wanted to stand. When the deputy threatened to have him placed in a holding cell if he did not sit, Booker told her he would go to the holding cell, ‘Let me get my shoes’, he said as he walked toward the chairs to get his shoes. The deputy asked him repeatedly to stop, got up and followed Booker. Booker turned and repeated that he was getting his shoes. The deputy grabbed Booker by the arm. Booker, who was 5 feet 5 and weighed 175 pounds, hit her and pushed her away. At that point, four other deputies wrestled Booker to the floor for assaulting the female officer. They slid down two steps to the floor in the sitting area. The deputies each grabbed a limb while he struggled. A fifth deputy put Booker in a headlock just as the female deputy began shocking him with a Taser. Booker’s wrists were handcuffed behind his back, Booker was placed in a holding cell. When the officers came to check on Booker a half hour later they found him unresponsive in the cell.[40] No action was ever taken against the officers responsible nor was there an investigation.
  • July 20, 2010: Jason Alan Kemp, 31, was shot at point-blank range and killed when he refused to allow officers to enter his home in Redlands, Colorado without a search warrant.[41] The state troopers were investigating a minor traffic accident when they kicked in the door and blinded Jason with pepper spray when he refused entry without a warrant. Trooper Lawyer then allegedly fired one shot which struck Jason. He died at the scene.[42] A Mesa County grand jury indicted Trooper Ivan Gene Lawyer and Corporal Kirk Firko with felony charges including criminally negligent homicide, second-degree assault, illegal discharge of a firearm, first-degree criminal trespassing, prohibited use of a weapon, and criminal mischief.[43] On May 3, 2012, a jury found Lawyer not guilty of four of the six charges and was unable to reach a verdict on the remaining two. The state subsequently dropped all charges.[44] The Colorado State Police then placed Lawyer on paid (rather than unpaid) administrative leave, awarding him back pay for time he was on unpaid leave.[45]


January 29, 2008: Video screenshot; Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff’s Office Deputy Charlette Marshall-Jones dumped quadriplegic Brian Sterner from his wheelchair
  • December 17, 1979: According to police officer accounts, insurance agent, Arthur McDuffie, was beaten to death by police following an arrest for outstanding traffic violations. The officers involved were later found not guilty, leading to the Liberty City riots on May 8, 1980. The Liberty City riots are the worst ever racial riots in the history of the United States.
  • January 6, 2006: Martin Anderson died at a Florida juvenile detention facility after allegedly suffering a beating by as many as eight guards, recorded by videotape. Various charges were brought against several guards, who were ultimately acquitted at trial.[46]
  • 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.[47][48] The video raised concerns about police treatment of the disabled after being widely circulated on news channels and YouTube.[49] The deputy later resigned and was charged with felony abuse on a disabled person after the video was publicized. Charges were dropped when she agreed to a plea deal which she agrees to never work in law enforcement again and does 100 hours of community service with the disabled. Several other deputies were suspended without pay and one supervisor was fired for not reporting the incident.
  • March 27, 2009 : Nick Christie was strapped naked to a chair at Lee County jail and died of heart failure after being pepper sprayed. The District 21 Medical Examiner “ruled his death was a homicide because he had been restrained and sprayed with pepper sprayed by law enforcement officers.” The officers responsible were cleared of wrongdoing, but Christie’s family has filed a lawsuit against the police for his wrongful death[50]
  • July 17, 2011 : Leila Tarantino was pulled over by an officer with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Department. Tarantino says she came to a full stop and should have never been pulled over in the first place. A passing cop pulled a u-turn, flashed the lights, and rolled up behind her. Tarantino claims that the cop immediately drew his weapon, pulled her from the car, and refused to explain why he pulled her over. Tarantino’s two young children watched all of this unfold from inside her car. The cop then placed Tarantino in the back of the squad car, where she allegedly sat for two hours. When backup arrived, Tarantino was strip searched on the side of the road, where passing motorists could see everything. Then a female officer “forcibly removed” a tampon from Tarantino. The police were allegedly looking for drugs, but the lawsuit notes that a drug-sniffing dog was never called in, and no contraband was found. Police released Tarantino with a citation.[51]


  • January 23, 1943: Police in Baker County, Georgia beat Robert Hall with their fists and with a solid-bar blackjack about eight inches long and weighing two pounds. After Hall, still handcuffed, had been knocked to the ground, they continued to beat him from fifteen to thirty minutes until he was unconscious. Hall was then dragged feet first through the courthouse yard into the jail and thrown upon the floor, dying. An ambulance was called, and Hall was removed to a hospital, where he died within the hour and without regaining consciousness.[52][53]
  • 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.[54] She had fired one shot over the heads of the police, who she assumed were intruders, when they knocked down her door.[55] Those responsible later admitted to planting marijuana in Johnston’s house and submitting cocaine into evidence, lying that it had been bought there.[56] Two of the three officers involved would eventually plead guilty to charges including manslaughter.[56] The three were sentenced to five, six, and ten years in prison.[55]
  • September 10, 2009:[57] A unit of the Atlanta Police Department raided a gay bar called the Atlanta Eagle without a warrant.[58] The police made dozens of customers to lie on the floor for up to an hour.[58] Police searched patrons who were not suspected of any criminal activity, emptying their pockets, confiscating their identification, and entering every patron’s name into a computer. The police detained all of the patrons between thirty and ninety minutes, handcuffed some of them, and forced them to remain face-down on the floor long after they had been searched and found to be unarmed. The police never explained why they were there. Patrons reported that police made racist and anti-gay slurs and taunted patrons and told them to “shut the fuck up”.[58] The Atlanta Citizen Review Board, which investigates allegations of misconduct against Atlanta police officers, ruled that two dozen officers and several supervisors were guilty of misconduct. As of November 15, 2011, the department still claimed that the officers did nothing wrong and followed department protocol.[57] The city eventually paid $1.5 million to settle the subsequent claims and another $1.2 million on an investigation into the matter.[59] Seven officers were ordered to turn in their guns and badges and placed on administrative duty because of their activities during the raid, and other officers were also disciplined.[60]
  • January 22, 2011: When Latricka Sloan approached a safety checkpoint on the highway, she made a U-turn back towards her home. An officer from the checkpoint caught up to Sloan about five miles from the checkpoint and performed a PIT maneuver on Sloan’s vehicle. Sloan’s vehicle spun around and flipped into a drainage ditch. A witness reports that Sloan was not traveling fast and the witness thought the officer was going to pass Sloan’s vehicle but instead hit her vehicle. Sloan was killed in the crash. It was later determined that Sloan was not licensed to drive in Georgia and her Florida license had been revoked. The only reported violations on Sloan’s records were traffic citations.[61][62]


  • August 21, 1992: The home of Randy Weaver, a white separatist and survivalist, was assaulted by federal agents during the Ruby Ridge incident. During the incident, Weaver’s wife was killed along with his son, and Weaver’s friend Kevin Harris was wounded. The U.S. Justice Department did not press charges against the agents involved.[63]


  • 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.[64]
  • 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.[65] 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.[65] 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.[66]


  • 2010: LaDonna Dixon called 911 when her friend suffered a seizure. Dixon, who claimed to be three months pregnant, repeatedly asked the responding officer if she could see her friend. He then threw her to the ground and repeatedly kicked and punched her. He even ignored her pleas that she was pregnant. Dixon claimed that she miscarried after she was arrested and put in a holding cell. She received severe bruises and cuts from the beating. The officer was never disciplined and the Indianapolis Police Department rejected her claims of brutality. Dixon has filed a lawsuit against the city for the wrongful death of her baby and excessive force.


  • February 5, 2009: Sofia Salva, a Sudanese native was driving to the hospital when she felt she was having a miscarriage. Two Kansas City 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.[67]


  • 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.[68] 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.[69]
  • September 2, 2005: Henry Glover was shot to death and his body was burned by two New Orleans police officers following Hurricane Katrina. Glover was near a strip mall looking for baby clothes for a relative when officers Greg MacRae and David Warren drew their guns and shot him, and prevented anyone from helping Glover. They later threw his body into a car and set it on fire. MacRae was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison for covering up the crime and violating Glover’s civil rights. Warren was sentenced to 25 years in prison for manslaughter.[70]
  • 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.[71] 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.[72]
  • 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.[73] However, charges were dropped against two officers and one committed suicide pending a trial.


  • 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, securing him in the seat with the seat belt and closed 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.[74][75]
  • 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.[76][77]
  • 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.[78] 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.[79][80]
  • 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.[81] In January 2011, the suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money and various SWAT reforms.[82]
  • 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,[83] 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.[83][84] Officer McAleavey has since returned to duty and the case is under federal investigation.[85]


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.[86][87]
  • May 16, 2010:7-year-old Aiyana Jones was shot and killed by Detroit SWAT officers. Jones was shot in the head or neck area. Police claimed Jones’ grandmother grabbed an officer’s gun and set it off, but other witnesses said the officers threw a gas bomb into the house and fired into the house despite being told there were children in the house. The officer who shot Jones has been charged with manslaughter. Jones’ family has filed suit against the city and police for Jones’ wrongful death. Months after the incident, it was discovered that the same officer had been part of another controversial raid, which he pointed his gun into the faces of children as young as one year old.


  • 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.[88]


  • 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.[89]
  • 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.”[90] In the civil lawsuit which ensued, the Williams estate obtained a settlement of $3.5 million from Harrison County.[91]


  • February 11, 2010: A 26-year-old man who was suspected of having a large amount of marijuana had his home raided by members of the Columbia Police Department‘s SWAT team with an 8-day old search warrant and no previous surveillance of the property. A video taken during the raid shows the SWAT team firing at two of the man’s dogs (which were acting protectively), one of which was killed in the raid.[92] Only a small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia was found.[93]

New Jersey

  • May 29, 2009: Police officer Joseph R. Rios III was recorded by a surveillance camera assaulting 49-year-old schizophrenic Ronnie Holloway in Passaic, with his fist and a baton.[94][95][95] 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.[96][97]

New Mexico

  • January 24, 2012: Former Doña Ana County, New Mexico prisoner Stephen Slevin,of Virginia Beach, Va., was awarded $22 million by a Federal jury – 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.[98][99] He was finally seen by a judge on June 25, 2007; the judge declared him mentally incompetent and dismissed the charges.[100] 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.[101][102] County officials denied allegations their jail was a ‘rathole’.[100]

New York

Justin Volpe; former NYPD officer sentenced to 30 years for sodomizing a detainee with a broken broomstick
  • December 22, 1994: Anthony Baez died after being arrested by NYPD Officer Francis X. Livoti.[103] A lawsuit filed by the Baez family was later settled for $3 million.[104] 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 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.[105]
  • 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.[106] Two officers were convicted of the cover-up while one was acquitted.
  • February 4, 1999: Amadou Diallo was shot 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.[107]
  • May 22, 2003: Ousmane Zongo was shot to death by plain-clothed New York 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.[108]
  • 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.[109][110] Neri was later cleared of criminal responsibility, but given a 30-day suspension without pay.[111] The family’s lawsuit against the city was settled in 2007 for $2 million.[112]

Memorial to Sean Bell at the place of the shooting
  • 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.[113] The incident sparked fierce criticism of the police from some members of the public and drew comparisons to the 1999 killing of Amadou Diallo.[114] Three of the five detectives involved in the shooting went to trial[115] on charges ranging from manslaughter to reckless endangerment, and were found not guilty.[116] 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.[117]
  • October 15, 2008: The NYPD subway sodomy incident took place after the arrest of Michael Mineo by New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers. According to Mineo, the arresting police officers pinned him to the ground, while Richard Kern, one of the officers, pulled down Mineo’s pants and sodomized him with a police baton. On December 9, 2008, the Brooklyn District Attorney indicted the three arresting officers and charged them with felonies. Richard Kern was charged with aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree, assault in the first degree, and hindering prosecution. Two other officers, Andrew Morales and Alex Cruz, were charged with hindering prosecution and official misconduct. All three were tried and found not guilty of all charges.
  • November 19, 2011: Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., an ex-Marine aged 68 years, was tasered and then shot and killed in his home by police officers who responded to a falsely triggered medical alert device.[118] The family alleges that the officers shouted racial epithets towards Chamberlain, and that he stated that he did not want to open the door because he believed the police would kill him.
  • June 28, 2011: Gabriel Díaz, Cynthia Rosa, Louis Peña, Jade Everett, and James W. Ayala ‘The Monumental 5′, were beaten, maced, and arrested that night outside of Tammany Hall by New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers. NYPD police officers used unnecessary force to disperse all people within the vicinity of Tammany Hall in New York City which caused severe bruising and bodily inflictions upon those arrested.[119]


  • August 21, 1995: Kenneth Michael Trentadue died while in Department of Justice’s Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City during the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing. Mistaken for John Doe 2, it is supposed that Trentadue was interrogated to make him talk, and died during the interrogation.
  • May 24, 2010: Maurice White an Emergency medical technician(EMT) was assaulted by Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Martin.[120] In the dash camera video,[121] 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 and proceeded to verbally assault the driver and ignore the family’s pleas to go to the hospital. 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 taken by a son accompanying the patient 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.[122] A few months later, Trooper Daniel was again put on on paid administrative leave after being accused of using excessive force on a Holdenville man and it was discovered that he had been fired from a previous department for being abusive to citizens.[123]


  • 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.[124] 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.[125] 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.[126]
  • 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.[127] 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.[128]


  • 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 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 concerned that he could have fallen 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 and left her bleeding on the street without administering medical attention. 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
  • September 17, 2006: James Chasse, an American singer and writer from Portland, Oregon.was beaten to death by Multnomah County police officers following an altercation. Officers at the scene described Chasse as a homeless person (even though they had his ID card with his address) and said that he ran away from them and fought with them.[129] He was beaten and shot with a Taser multiple times. After the beating, 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, causing an outcry from the public.


  • October 12, 1995: Johnny Gammage was a black motorist who died in a scuffle with white police officers. Three officers were charged with involuntary manslaughter. After two mistrials, one was acquitted and charges against the others were dropped.[130]
  • January 12, 2010: At the time of the incident, Jordan Miles was a student at Pittsburgh‘s Creative and Performing Arts High School. While walking to his grandmother’s house, he was aggressively approached by three plainclothes officers who, according to Miles, immediately shouted at him “Where’s the money? Where’s the drugs?” without identifying themselves as police officers. Miles tried to run, slipped on the icy sidewalk, and was severely beaten by the officers and arrested. The police report claims that they saw a heavy-looking bulge in Miles’ coat pocket which they mistook for a gun, but that after subduing him, they found it to be a bottle of Mountain Dew. Miles claims that he wasn’t even carrying a soda bottle, and his pockets were most likely empty.[131] The city has reached a partial settlement with Miles, but further civil and criminal litigation against officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak, remains ongoing as of March 2012.[132]

South Carolina


  • January 1, 2003: 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.[137][138]


Viet Nam veteran, Joe Torres
  • 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.[139] 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.[140] The two, and another officer were later convicted of federal civil rights violations. They served nine months in prison.
  • November 12, 2010: 14-year-old Derrick Lopez was shot and killed by a Northside Independent School District (NISD) police officer in San Antonio. After assaulting another student off campus, Lopez was spotted by the NISD officer. Despite being told to stay with the other student, the officer chased Lopez and shot him. After discovering that the officer had a history of misconduct and was the subject to termination before, Lopez’s mother filed a lawsuit against the officer and the school, citing negligence and indifference to allowing a dangerous officer to work in the school while knowing his background.[141]
  • August 31, 2012: Officers attempted to stop a vehicle that matched the description of vehicle that had been involved in a previous chase. The prior chase followed a failed traffic stop a few days earlier in a nearby town. Michael Vincent Allen led officers on a 30-minute chase that reached speeds of 100 mph. Allen turned into a cul-de-sac and officer Patrick Tuter rammed his squad car into Allen’s truck. According to a witness, the police yelled “Get out” then began shooting without giving Allen a chance to comply. Allen was unarmed. Tuter fired his weapon 41 times, requiring two reloads to do so. A witness took photos and video of the scene, which police confiscated. Tuter claimed that Allen had rammed his squad car, but video from the squad car’s camera established it was Tuter that rammed Allen.[142][143][144]
  • October 25, 2012: Game wardens attempted to pull over a pickup truck suspected of smuggling narcotics. When the vehicle fled a DPS helicopter was called in for assistance. The tactical flight officer in the helicopter shot at the truck with an AR-10 rifle because it was “traveling at reckless speeds, endangering the public” on an unpaved rural road. Three people hidden in the rear of the truck under a tarp were hit by the rifle fire, two of which died. The two were Guatemalan citizens, males aged 20 and 25, attempting to enter the country illegally.[145]


  • November 30, 2006: Optometrist Salvatore Culosi was shot to death outside his home by Fairfax police officer Deval V. Bullock. Mr. Culosi was to be arrested on allegations of gambling charges. Officer Bullock accompanied a SWAT team to assist in the arrest of the unarmed suspect. As Mr. Culosi answered the door, Bullock shot him through the heart. Officer Bullock claimed the shooting was accidental, and no charges were filed.[146]

Washington State

  • 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, the first officer on the scene was charged with excessive force and falsifying a report.[147] 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.[148]
  • November 29, 2008: A 15-year-old girl was beaten by King County Sheriff’s Department deputy Paul Schene. A security camera captured the beating and was released to the general press on Feb 27, 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, striking either her stomach or upper thigh area. He smashed her head against a corner wall before flinging her to the floor by her hair. He then squatted down on her and made “two overhead strikes,” though it’s unknown where the blows landed. After handcuffing the girl, Schene lifted her up by her hair and led her from the holding area.[149] 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 body-slammed 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 Harris to stop running. Witnesses said that Paul failed to identify himself and that it was too dark for Harris to realize that Paul was an officer. On a surveillance camera, Paul can be seen 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.[150]
  • August 30, 2010: John T. Williams, a Native American 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. Williams was neither breaking any laws, nor was he intoxicated when Birk confronted him, firing 5 shots at close range, four hitting Williams, in rush-hour traffic. 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.[151][152][153]

Washington D.C.

  • February 25, 2007: Metropolitan Airports Authority Police beat up Robin Kassner, a 31 year-old New York City native at Reagan National Airport, throwing her across the room into another woman and a metal chair. They, then, bashed her head into a metal table, giving her a concussion and permanent brain damage. Police Officer Michael Jose Urbina, who delivered the concussion blow to her head, filed false criminal charges against her for disorderly conduct. Kassner is suing the police for assault and battery.[154][155][dead link][156]


  • 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.[157] However, the three officers were later convicted on civil rights violations and assault in federal court. Other officers plead guilty to lesser charges of violating Jude’s civil rights. One officer was acquitted of all charges.[158] 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.

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