People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Police Review Board Report Still Favors Cop Complaints Over Community
The July 2014 semi-annual Police Review Board (PRB) report was unusual in that no deadly force cases were included among the 15 hearings (no officer-involved shootings occurred in late 2013) and was slightly improved because of new summaries required by January's City Code changes (PPR #62). However, it still emphasized cop-on-cop complaints over civilian-generated ones and fell short of transparent information-sharing. Although 8 of the 15 incidents involved civilians, five likely were not started when a member of the general public filed a complaint (an officer's ex- wife filed two of them). Moreover, the most serious complaint-- in which an officer inappropriately used her Taser-- may have been internally generated, since her action injured not only the suspect who was already in custody, but also a fellow officer.
Included in the 15 cases were 31 allegations, of which 17 were recommended as "Sustained" (out of policy). In one other case the Citizen Review Committee (CRC) challenged the PRB's "Unproven" finding and the Chief sustained that as well (article). The Chief over-rode the PRB on two other allegations, finding them "Unproven" rather than "Sustained." The 15 cases involved just 11 suspect officers, of whom five resigned before discipline could be applied.
While some of the cases are high-profile, so the officers' names are known to the public, the report went beyond censoring officer names this time by blacking out gender-specific pronouns, thus denying the public to know even if the officer (or, in most cases where applicable, the recipient of the officer's alleged behavior) was a man or a woman.
The two cases other than the Taser case which may have been generated by the community are: (1) an incident in which Det. Jason Lobaugh was found out of policy for telling jurors in a case he was going to testify about, "the detective in this case is outstanding"; and (2) a case involving what appears to be racial bias-- but was handled as rudeness. The complainant, an African American woman, said officers racially profiled her son, and they responded by saying something like "you don't have to play the race card." The officer was found out of policy for escalating the situation using this language in a 3-2 vote, while two members (perhaps two of the three police members of the board, not the IPR Director or civilian member) felt the language was unfortunate but not a violation of policy. Other than when talking to a person of color, would the officer have said something about "playing the race card"? Why was this not investigated as an instance of discrimination?
The other five incidents involving community members were: (1) the case of Det. Lobaugh making "crude comments" to his ex-wife and her husband (which was "Sustained" after the CRC hearing); (2) a second case with Lobaugh where he taunted the new husband again after being told not to (and was found out of policy both for that behavior and failing to obey an order); (3) the same officer who apparently misused the Taser put herself in harm's way by confronting a suspect without backup and lied about filing reports (and despite the PRB's unanimous calls to fire her, the Chief gave her 80 hours suspension and a last chance warning); (4) a car crash where an officer inappropriately in an intersection rear-ended someone; and (5) a cop found out of policy for failing to search a person transported to Detox, thus not noticing or seizing that person's knife and alcohol. It's fairly certain that person was not the complainant in this case.
The seven fully internal cases included the findings that Captain Mark Kruger retaliated against a female Lieutenant in his charge (article) and that Captain Ed Hamann should be held accountable for unwanted sexual contact with a fellow officer-- an incident that happened in 1997 but was adjudicated when Hamann was about to take the helm of the Family Services Division. Hamann resigned before he could be disciplined.
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