Tag Archives: settlement

$3.5 Million Settlement for Handcuffed Woman That Fell Out of Moving Police Car to Escape Sex Assault by LAPD Cops

California taxpayers will be forced to pay a woman that was seriously injured after falling out of an LAPD squad car in 2013 $3.5 million. (Video embedded below.) Kim Nguyen, who was being arrested on charges of being drunk in public, was handcuffed at the time she fell out of the car. She also was not seat-belted in and the door which she fell out of was not locked properly.

More importantly, she maintains that the reason she fell out of the car was that she was attempting to get away from one of the two Los Angeles Police Department officers that was in the back seat with her and had been trying to sexually assault her. The fact that she CCTV video from a nearby business shows that her skirt was raised above her waist at the time she was ejected from the vehicle, as well as the fact that the two officers who arrested her chose not two arrest two male companions that were also drunk at the time bolsters her version of events.

Via MyNewsLA.com:

Officers David Shin and Jin Oh arrested Nguyen for public intoxication after they saw her run across the street about 3 a.m. on March 17, 2013. At the time, Nguyen was a graduate student in her last semester at Loyola Marymount University’s MBA program.

Nguyen was handcuffed and put in the back seat of a squad car off Sixth Street between Oxford and Serrano avenues, according to her court papers, which state that she “was not seatbelted into the car and the manual door lock was not engaged.”

The officers chose not to arrest a male companion who also was drunk, according to Nguyen’s lawyers, who also alleged that one of the officers got into the back seat with their client and inappropriately touched her.

Nguyen huddled against one of the patrol car doors to protect herself and minutes later fell out of the vehicle as it was being driven east on Olympic Boulevard at about 30 mph, according to her lawyers’ court papers, which say she fell face-first onto the pavement, causing injuries to her brain, face, head and teeth.

A building security camera captured the aftermath after Nguyen was ejected, according to her attorneys’ court papers, which say that one of the officers was “nonchalantly standing over plaintiff who lies bloodied, with her face swollen, in the middle of the street.”

Nguyen was hospitalized for 17 days and underwent “extensive and painful surgeries,” her court papers state.

This also does not represent the only recent allegations of rape against officers from the LAPD.

Philadelphia Taxpayers Forced to Pay $4.4 Million to Innocent Delivery Man Undercover Cops Ambushed

Last week, the Philadelphia Police Department agreed to the largest settlement in the history of the city to pay off an innocent man that two undercover cops shot at fourteen times. In April of 2014, Philippe Holland was delivering food when Officers Mitchell Farrell and Kevin Hanvey ran at him without ever identifying themselves as police officers.

Holland, having no reason to know they were cops and seeing that one of them was holding a gun, believed he was being robbed and tried to escape in his car. In spite of it specifically being against policy to do so, Farrell and Hanvey used the excuse that they “feared for their lives” from the car being used as a weapon to open fire on Holland. As a result, Holland, who was twenty years old at the time, now suffers from a permanent seizure disorder and still has bullet fragments lodged in his brain.

In spite of witness statements that contradict the two officers’ story, the district attorney (not at all surprisingly) declined to press any charges against them. Instead, they’ve been given a paid vacation for the past two years, while the slap on the wrist they will eventually receive from the department remains “pending.”

Via Philly.com:

It is the largest settlement in a police shooting case in the city’s history, according to Philadelphia Law Department records.

Then-Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said shortly after the shooting that Officers Mitchell Farrell and Kevin Hanvey had fired at the wrong man.

On Friday, the mayor’s office called the shooting “an unfortunate, regrettable series of events.”

“We will strive to ensure that tragedies such as this do not happen again in our city,” City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante said in the statement.

Philippe Holland was delivering a cheeseburger to a house on the 5100 block of Willows Avenue in West Philadelphia on April 22, 2014, as police responded to reports of gunshots nearby.

In a deposition, he said he saw Farrell and Hanvey approaching him and thought he was about to get robbed. He slipped into his car through the passenger door, he said – and that’s when one officer shined a light into the car and Holland saw a gun in the other’s hand.

He told police that Farrell and Hanvey never identified themselves as police officers. He said that he panicked and tried to pull out of his parking spot – and that the two men opened fire on him, hitting him in the head and body.

At the time, it was against police regulations for officers to fire at a moving vehicle unless someone inside the car was threatening them or someone else with some form of deadly force other than the vehicle itself.

Hanvey and Farrell told investigators they approached Holland because they saw him walking past a Chinese restaurant on 51st Street and asked a witness on the street where the gunshots she’d heard had come from. They said the woman had pointed toward Holland and said the shots came from where he was walking.

But the woman later told police investigators she had only pointed toward the Chinese restaurant, and didn’t mention a man at all.

Hanvey and Farrell insisted that they told Holland they were police and that he drove his car toward them, making them fear for their lives.

Holland, a student at Delaware County Community College, was left with a permanent seizure disorder and has bullet fragments in his brain, according to his attorney, Tom Kline, who announced the settlement Friday.

The District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges in the case. According to police documents Kline provided to the Inquirer and the Daily News, the department’s Use of Force Review Board concluded that Farrell and Hanvey had violated department policy, though the board did not specify a punishment for that violation.

A police spokesman said that the two have been on administrative duty since the shooting, and that “discipline is still pending.”

The department could not say whether the officers will return to the street.

At least the taxpayers of Philadelphia get to pay for this “unfortunate, regrettable series of events,” while the two officers actually responsible for it have had plenty of time to sit home getting paid to think about what they did. That certainly should ensure that “tragedies such as this do not happen again” in their city.

Colorado Citizens Forced to Pay $325,000 for Mass Detention of Motorists by Aurora Police

A total of 14 drivers in Aurora, Colorado have received a settlement of $325,000 for a 2012 incident, in which local police decided to detain everyone within an intersection at gunpoint in order to search for a bank robbery suspect. Those motorists had filed a lawsuit in 2014 based on violations of their Fourth Amendment rights during the detention.

After the bank robbery, police had used a tracker within the stolen money to determine that the robber, Christian Paetsch was at the intersection. However, the tracker wasn’t precise enough to pinpoint which car he was in. In the process of the detention, over two dozen people, including children, were forced out of their cars at gunpoint, some of them were verbally berated and even physically abused. Several of them are reported to have suffered medical episodes as a result, including a woman who suffered a panic attack and a seven year old child who had an asthma attack. Neither were given any assistance by the police officers detaining them.

Even after Paetsch had been identified as the robber and arrested, those 28 people were held in handcuffs, threatened with arrest, and subjected to illegal searches of their bodies and vehicles. Prior to being released, they were all forced under duress to sign forms stating that they had consented to the search. (Read the PDF containing the full court documents here: Aurora Colorado Mass Detention Lawsuit Complaint and Jury Demand)

Via the Denver Post:

The incident occurred on June 2, 2012, at the intersection of Iliff Avenue and Buckley Road after Christian Paetsch robbed a Wells Fargo bank branch and police used GPS technology to home in on a tracking device that was hidden in the stolen money. The tracking technology, however, wasn’t precise enough to allow officers to determine which vehicle contained the robber.

Police decided to surround 19 vehicles — containing 28 occupants — stopped at a red light at the intersection in an effort to find the suspect, demanding that “all vehicle occupants hold their arms up and outside of their vehicle windows,” according to the suit.

“They brandished ballistic shields and pointed assault rifles directly at innocent citizens, including children under ten years old. Officers with police dogs were at the ready,” the suit reads. “No one was free to leave.”

Some motorists were patted down, handcuffed and made to sit on the side of the road while police searched their cars.

“This all occurred despite the fact that the officers had removed and handcuffed a single individual — Christian Paetsch — from his vehicle just 30 minutes after the initial stop,” the lawsuit reads.

Essentially, the Aurora police decided that once they already had everyone at their mercy (quite literally, based on the descriptions of the hostility involved in the detentions) and they had already found the suspect, they might as well go on a fishing expedition and see what else they could subject them to. I have little doubt that they were hoping to generate a little revenue in the process, as well.

Fresno CA Taxpayers Forced to Pay $2.2 Million Settlement to Family of Man Executed by Police

The family of a man who was shot as he climbed a fence then executed by a Fresno police officer  has received a settlement of $2.2 million. In June of 2012, Jaime Reyes Jr. was shot by Officer Juan Avila while attempting to escape arrest by climbing over a fence near a school. After falling from that fence, Reyes was then shot in the back an additional three times by Avila as he lay wounded and defenseless on the ground.

The fact that the fence Reyes was climbing was at an elementary school and that police later found a gun in his pocket were used as justifications for the murder. However, information released as a result of the law suit indicated that the gun was not only unloaded, but also was inside a plastic bag. Therefore, in spite of police claims that Reyes represented an “imminent threat,” there’s no way he threatened them with it or even could have done so at the time he was shot. One of the officers at the scene also stated in a deposition that there was a pause between the time Avila shot Reyes the first time and the subsequent three shots.

Supposedly, along with the settlement that taxpayers will be forced to finance, the Fresno Police Department will be explaining to the cops working there what the word imminent actually means and making other “minor changes” within their use of force policies. That includes teaching cops to assess whether someone needs to be shot in the back while they are already lying on the ground unable to move.

In addition, homicide detectives and Internal Affairs officers will be strongly encouraged not to ignore witnesses who provide information that doesn’t fit the predetermined narrative. For instance, in this case a woman who witnessed Officer Avila murder Reyes stated that she “saw an execution,” but officers with internal affairs were reported (by me) to have responded by putting their fingers in their ears and yelling, “I can’t hear you” until she gave up and left the area.

Via the Fresno Bee:

With the settlement comes major changes for the Fresno Police Department, said Oakland attorneys Michael Haddad and Julia Sherwin, who represented the parents of Jaime Reyes Jr., 28, who was shot while climbing a fence at Aynesworth Elementary School in southeast Fresno in the afternoon of June 6, 2012.

Haddad said Tuesday that if the lawsuit had gone to trial, the evidence would have shown that Officer Juan Avila shot Reyes near the top of the fence. Once Reyes toppled to the ground, Avila shot him three more times in the back as he lay wounded, face down on the ground, Haddad said…

Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer acknowledged that the city has agreed to review policies and recommend any appropriate minor changes. The city, Dyer said, “has always felt that this tragic shooting was legally justified and settlement should not be viewed as an indication that this view has changed.”

According to Dyer, Reyes was a gang member under the influence of methamphetamine who fled from officers while carrying a stolen handgun into a schoolyard occupied by children. “However, circumstances unrelated to the actual incident have dictated that it would be economically sound for the city to settle this matter before incurring the costs of trial,” he said.

Documents provided by the Fresno Police Department say the fatal shooting of Reyes was justified. Avila no longer works as a Fresno police officer.

Haddad disagreed with Dyer’s assessment of facts. He said Reyes never pointed a gun at the officers nor threatened them. After he was fatally shot, officers found a gun in Reyes’ shorts pocket, but the firearm was unloaded and wrapped in a plastic bag.

City officials agreed to the settlement on Nov. 18 in U.S. District Court in Fresno. As part of the settlement, Haddad said the Fresno Police Department has agreed to change its use-of-force policy. Before, officers could shoot a suspect if he posed an imminent threat. “Fresno police have a unique interpretation of what ‘imminent threat’ means,” Haddad said. To police, it means a pending threat or a threat in the near future, Haddad said.

The settlement mandates that Fresno police are only allowed to shoot a suspect if the suspect poses an “immediate threat,” or a threat at this very moment, Haddad said.

Sergeants and patrol officers also will be trained to “assess every shot,” Haddad said. This way, an officer doesn’t fire extra bullets when the situation doesn’t warrant it, Haddad said, noting that Reyes was incapacitated with the first shot, therefore he didn’t need to be shot three more times in the back.

In addition, the settlement requires additional training for homicide detectives and the police Internal Affairs officers. The training will require them to consider statements by witnesses that contradict statements by officers at the scene. In the Reyes shooting, a female witness said she “saw an execution,” Haddad said. But homicide detectives and Internal Affairs officers disregarded her statement, Haddad said.

“We’re hopeful that these policy changes could prevent some future shootings by police,” he said.

Minor policy changes that reiterate what cops and the cops that “investigate” them should already be doing is likely to do that.

Chicago to Pay $2 Million to Police Whistle-Blowers After “Few Bad Apples” Destroyed Their Careers

On Monday, Chicago’s City Council Finance Committee approved a settlement of $2 million to two police officers that were the targets of extensive and widespread retaliation after they exposed corruption within the police department. Shannon Spalding and Daniel Echeverria had gone to the FBI back in 2007 after they were told by superiors to ignore illegal activity by Ronald Watts, a sergeant with the Chicago Police Department.

After Watts was convicted of extorting drug dealers and sentenced to prison, Spalding and Echeverria became targeted for retaliation throughout the department. This included threats of physical violence against them, ostracization, and overt attempts to ruin their careers. According to their accounts of the retaliation they experienced, it’s almost as if the “Few Bad Apples” were the ones running the entire police department and somehow outnumbered all of the “Good Cops” we hear so much about.

Via the Chicago Sun-Times:

Spalding and Echeverria allege they were retaliated against for helping to expose police corruption nearly a decade ago.

The partners had alleged their superiors told them in 2007 to ignore evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Sgt. Ronald Watts. Instead, on personal time, they said they reported it to the FBI.

What the officers thought would end with a simple meeting eventually turned into “Operation Brass Tax.” And while they tried to limit their involvement in the investigation to personal time, it became so time-consuming that the officers were forced to tell CPD’s internal affairs. As a result, they were formally detailed to the FBI.

Spalding and Echeverria spent two years working exclusively on the Watts investigation. Watts was sentenced in October 2013 to 22 months in prison for shaking down drug dealers.

But lawyers for the two officers say Internal Affairs Chief Juan Rivera blew their cover. Spalding and Echeverria were branded “rat motherf——” and told their bosses didn’t want them in their units. They were allegedly told their careers were over, given undesirable assignments and shifts and told fellow officers wouldn’t back them up. Their actions allegedly made the brass so angry that Spalding was warned to “wear her vest” so she wouldn’t be shot in the parking lot for crossing the thin blue line.

“One of the defendants … charged with some of the retaliatory conduct resigned in December of 2015 before the Police Department initiated disciplinary proceedings against him for his role in the re-investigation of the David Koschman case,” (First Deputy Corporation Counsel Jenny) Notz told aldermen Monday.

“Also in 2015, a key CPD witness who would have rebutted some of the plaintiffs’ most serious allegations of retaliation relating to their experiences in the Narcotic Unit was indicted on felony perjury charges relating to testimony that he gave in another case. … The police superintendent recommended [in March] that this officer be terminated.”

Notz added, “The plaintiffs would certainly, if this case went to trial, use these recent developments to attack the credibility of two of the defense’s key witnesses at trial, making this case difficult to win.”

The settlement was reached one day before Mayor Rahm Emanuel would have been forced to testify at their civil trial. This has spurred speculation that the settlement was really intended to keep Emanuel from having to testify about a code of silence within the CPD, that he has already publicly acknowledged.

Michael Slager’s Trial has Begun; Will He be Acquitted Even with Walter Scott’s Murder Caught on Film?

The trial of North Charleston, SC Police Officer Michael Slager, who was caught on video murdering Walter Scott last year, began on Monday with jury selection. That jury has now been selected and after a request for a change of venue by Slager’s defense team was rejected, opening statements were scheduled to begin later today (Thursday).

(See Videos and Links to Related Posts on the CopBlock Network Below)

The fact that the jury consists of six white men and five white women with just one black man is an early question, being that Slager is white and Scott was black. The shooting has stirred controversy over race relations and police violence against minorities since the video taken by a bystander (unbeknownst to Slager) first emerged.

Beyond that, the obvious question is whether a jury will convict Slager even with the abundance and obviousness of the evidence against him. Jurors have a well documented bias toward police based on the social engineering that tells people from the moment they are born that police are heroes and more trustworthy than everyone else, in spite of evidence to the contrary. In addition, prosecutors often “throw the game,” intentionally slanting their performance in favor of the police officers that they work with and are dependent on in order to convict regular citizens.

Regardless of that, the aforementioned solidness of the evidence against Slager makes it hard to believe that he would be able to walk in this particular case. The graphic video that was taken by a random bystander clearly shows him shooting Walter Scott in the back as he is running away from him and posing no danger whatsoever. It also captured his attempt to plant a taser near Scott’s body to justify the murder.

It would be beyond outrageous if Michael Slager somehow manages to walk free in this case. What type of Policeman’s Discount he receives from the judge during sentencing might be another question, altogether.

Related Posts:


Chicago Cop Who Shot Teens on Video Leaked by Judge Charged With Using Unreasonable Force (Update)

Marco Proano, the Chicago police officer who was recorded by a dash cam shooting at a car full of teenagers in December 2013, has now been indicted for civil rights violations. He stands accused of using unreasonable force against two of those teenagers, both of whom were injured in the shooting.

As was reported last year by CopBlock Network Contributor , the dash camera footage of that shooting only came to light almost two years later when an ex-judge leaked it to the public. In doing so, retired Cook County Judge Andrew Berman described the video as “the most disturbing thing he has seen in his 35 years in the Windy City court system.” (That says a lot when you are discussing violence in Chicago.) Which of course means that not one single one of the Good Cops in the video or who later watched the video and then decided to try and make sure it never saw the light of day again did anything to prevent that Bad Apple from spoiling the bunch.

Watching the video, it could not be more obvious that the teens represented no danger whatsoever to Officer Proano (or any other police on the scene) as they backed away from him. In fact, the video shows another car arrive at a nearby house and then back up out of the area shortly before the shooting. If anything, Proano endangered those innocent bystanders by shooting a dozen shots at the teens while they were in the same general area as them.

The teens had only been stopped for speeding, but the car they were in was later determined to be stolen. However, the one teen charged with possession of a stolen vehicle subsequently was acquitted of the charges.

Via Fox6Now.com:

The video shows Proano shooting multiple times at the vehicle as the driver tries to back away. The car then hits a streetlight before one injured teen stumbles out.

Police had pulled over the car with six teens for speeding, according to CNN affiliate WLS. One teen was wounded in the shoulder, the other in his hip and heel.

The victims suffered bodily injuries because of “unreasonable force by a police officer,” according to the indictment.

“When a police officer uses unreasonable force, it has a harmful effect on not only the victims, but also the public, who lose faith and confidence in law enforcement,” said Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

He said his office will continue to “vigorously” pursue civil right prosecutions of police officers to “strengthen trust in the police.”

The Chicago police department said it is fully cooperating with the US attorney’s office and has “zero tolerance for proven misconduct.”

As is noted in the full Fox 6 article, Officer Proano was finally fired after the video became public. Also, taxpayers had to bail out the Chicago Police Department once again, as a result of his actions.  The two teens shot during the incident received a $360,000 settlement.

Las Vegas Police Jailed Paraplegic for Two Weeks; Accused of Robbery Where Suspect Ran Away

On May 21st, Antwine Hunter was assaulted by an officer from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and slammed onto the ground outside a pizza place near downtown Las Vegas. Not long after, he found himself inside a cell at the Clark County Detention Center with the leg braces he had worn since being paralyzed in a drive-by shooting 17 years ago in California at the age of twelve having been confiscated.

Initially, he was unable to move without the braces and not much better off once he was given a cheap, undersized, and uncomfortable wheelchair to use. After being informed that he was arrested on a warrant for burglary and larceny charges, Hunter couldn’t fathom how he could be wanted for those crimes. The confusion deepened when he was told that he was being accused of running into a UPS driver’s truck, grabbing his cell phone and scanner, and then escaping by running away.

Obviously, someone who is paralyzed from the waist down couldn’t have ran into and then away from the truck. So, logic would tell you that Hunter wasn’t the man who really committed that crime. Unfortunately for him though, nobody within the LVMPD stopped to actually use logic or anything even remotely close to it.

Not the officer who sadistically threw him to the ground during the arrest. Not the detectives who issued the warrant and then never bothered to even interview him after he was arrested. (In fact, in the video embedded below Hunter states that when he tried to explain to an officer that was reading the description of the charges and the details of the allegations against him that it couldn’t have been him, he was told to “shut up.”) Not even the judge who ordered him held on a $20,000 bail, which was too high for him to pay.

Instead, Hunter suffered for two weeks in jail before he finally went before Justice of the Peace Eric Goodman to face the charges. Amazingly, once a jail guard wheeled Hunter into the courtroom everyone, including the judge, the prosecutor, and the UPS driver whose property was stolen, instantly knew he wasn’t the droid they should have been looking for.

Herbert Hutson, the UPS driver immediately informed Prosecutor Elana Graham that Hunter wasn’t the person who had robbed him. Graham quickly realized, for what should have been obvious reasons that Hunter wasn’t even capable of being the one responsible for committing the crime and Judge Goodman dismissed the case. Meanwhile, the unnamed arresting officer never even bothered to show up for court and Metro had no comment when asked about the case by the Las Vegas Review Journal.

So, how did it get to the point that Hunter was left to suffer for two weeks in jail without proper medical care or the necessary accommodations for his disability, in spite of being completely innocent and very obviously not even being physically capable of having committed the crime he stood (no pun intended) accused of? For some reason, Hunter was included within a photo lineup that was presented to the UPS driver. Even more inexplicably, when Hutson picked him out as the man he believed stole his equipment, instead of explaining that it couldn’t have been him since he couldn’t actually run, detectives simply issued a warrant for his arrest and sent an officer out to (violently) arrest him.

Prosecutor Graham called the dismissal, “a totally fair resolution.” – Because those two weeks of his life and the physical hardships inflicted upon him during his time in jail don’t really count. She also made sure to caution everybody that just because the charges were (finally) dismissed, that doesn’t mean he isn’t a criminal, just that he wasn’t THAT criminal. – Because dragging the reputation of the people accused of crimes through the mud, even if they are shown to be innocent, is kind of a tradition among prosecutors and the police in Las Vegas. You’ve gotta seize every opportunity you get, especially when someone has some old convictions for victimless crimes (that he maintains involved the use of marijuana for the pain caused by the injuries that left him severely disabled).

For his part, Judge Goodman stopped short of throwing the case out altogether. Instead, he ruled that those detectives who did such a great job the first time and/or the prosecutors could refile the charges against Hunter if some sort of evidence surfaced that he was actually involved in the robbery. So, for instance, if it comes out that Hunter has just been faking that he is a paraplegic since 1999 as part of an elaborate ruse to eventually steal a cell phone and UPS code scanner, they can send someone back down to bodyslam him again.

Meanwhile, Roy Nelson, the defense attorney that represented Hunter, stated that his client “could pursue litigation against the police,” as well he should. The only thing more obvious in this case than the incompetence and shitty job pretty much everyone involved did, is the fact that the taxpayers of Clark County, Nevada are going to have to pay a pretty penny to bail Metro out on this one.

Close behind those two factors in obviousness is the certainty that none of those people that completely screwed up this case, then abused and traumatized a completely innocent man, will suffer any sort of consequences, whatsoever. There’s no shortage of precedent for that eventuality throughout the history of Las Vegas area police.

NYPD Costs Taxpayers Over $66 Million Dollars After Six People Wrongfully Imprisoned For Murder

Four men and one woman have accepted a settlement offer after being released for a 1995 murder they didn’t commit. Each of them had served 18 years in prison due to “unethical tactics” by NYPD detectives, including coaching witnesses, breaking the rules for photo lineups, and withholding video evidence that would have contradicted a major witness.

The “Soundview Five” will receive $40 million dollars collectively from New York taxpayers in this settlement. Previously, they had received $19.45 million in another settlement over the wrongful convictions. In addition, the estate of a sixth person also falsely convicted, who has since died, received a $6.89 million settlement. All told, the totals for all three settlements equal $66.34 million that the NYPD will be forcing the citizens of New York State to pay.

Via the New York Daily News:

The city settled lawsuits Thursday brought by five wrongly convicted people who spent nearly two decades in prison, agreeing to pay out $40 million — one of the largest such amounts in city history.

The four men and one woman were wrongly identified as the killers in two 1995 murders, at least one of which was linked to a vicious gang in the Soundview section of the Bronx called “Sex Money Murder.”

The quintet was dubbed the “Soundview Five,” a reference to the high-profile Central Park Five who settled their lawsuits with the city for $41 million in 2014, after being wrong convicted of beating and raping a jogger in 1989.

The Soundview Five were released in 2012 and 2013 after new evidence surfaced that the real killers had confessed to one of the murders. Before Thursday’s agreement, they had previously settled with the state in the Court of Claims for a separate $19.45 million.

Earl Ward of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady and Julia Kuan of Romano & Kuan, the lawyers for Perez and Michael Cosme, another member of the quintet, issued a joint statement Thursday.

“So many lives were ruined by the shoddy, flawed, and unconstitutional police work that no amount of money could ever compensate our clients for their lost years,” the statement said. “But the settlement reaffirms what they have been saying for 20 years — ‘We are Innocent!’ ”

Perez, Cosme, Cathy Watkins, Eric Glisson and Devon Ayers were just starting their lives when they were arrested by police for the murders of a cab driver and a Federal Express executive in the Bronx in 1995.

Glisson, Vasquez, Ayers and Cosme knew each other from the neighborhood, but Perez and Watkins didn’t know any of them. Watkins didn’t even live in the Bronx.

Cops used unethical tactics to build their case against the quintet, including coaching witnesses on what to say and violating rules for photo lineups, Ward said. He said police also withheld a security video that would have undermined a key witness’s testimony.

“These suits were brought by people who together spent nearly one hundred years in prison, whose convictions were vacated by the Court after reviews by federal and local prosecutors,” a city Law Department spokesman said. “The parties have agreed to resolve these longstanding and complex cases through settlements we believe are fair and in the best interests of the city.”

All five were convicted and got life sentences, but they never gave up trying to get someone to listen to their pleas of innocence. They wrote letter after letter after letter to everyone they could think of.

In 2012, the convictions began to collapse when Glisson wrote a letter to an investigator with the U.S. Attorney’s office. That investigator, John O’Malley, read the letter and recalled that when two of the gang members agreed to cooperate years earlier, they admitted to killing the cabbie.

“He told us that when he read the letter, it sent shivers up his spine because he realized two people he had spoken to years earlier had confessed to the crime,” Ward said.

O’Malley provided an affidavit to the court, and the Bronx District Attorney eventually agreed not to oppose their release. The quintet then filed suit.

Perez, who was knifed in prison in 2003, said he clung to his faith to survive the long ordeal.

“I cried every day for 18 years,” he said. “You have that faith that someday you will be free. One day.”

Of course, there’s nothing in the article about the punishment the cops and prosecutors who ruined these six people’s lives will (not) be receiving for the “shoddy, flawed, and unconstitutional police work” that sent them to prison for 18 years each, even though they were completely innocent. Not surprisingly, the taxpayers will be the only ones being punished for that.

Police Wife Writes About the “Secret Epidemic” of Police Domestic Violence

This post was originally published at the “Ms. Magazine” blog in October of 2015 by and (who was married to a police officer for 20 years) under the original title “Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence.” (See below for their full biographies.)

Domestic violence takes place in up to a staggering 40 percent of law enforcement families, but police departments mostly ignore the problem or let it slide, write ex-police wife Susanna Hope and award-winning investigative journalist Alex Roslin in their new book, Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence. The following excerpt is adapted from their book, available on Amazon or as an eBook from their website, and is being published as part of the Ms. Blog’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month series.

According to Alex Roslin, “Police Wife” itself has more than 60 pages of appendices giving advice and resources to survivors, family and friends plus recommendations for advocates, police, governments, journalists and researchers.

In order to help survivors and others, they’ve made virtually all of the appendices available for free through their website. Here is the direct link to this extended free excerpt.

The propensity for police to abuse their wives, children, and other family members is, of course, no secret among people who read CopBlock.org. It’s rare that more than a few days go by without a report of a cop having committed domestic violence and several CopBlock Network Contributors have posted about the increased risk that entails marrying or having the bad fortune to be the child of a cop. Obviously, the habitual efforts of Good Cops to cover up the crimes of those Bad Apples, is also a large factor in its commonality.

Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence

In 2009, in Utica, New York, police Investigator Joseph Longo Jr. killed his estranged wife, Kristin Palumbo-Longo, stabbing her more than a dozen times in their home, then stabbed himself to death. One of the couple’s four children discovered the horrifying scene on coming home from school that afternoon.

Police Officer Cop BlockUtica’s then-Police Chief Daniel LaBella said the killing was completely unexpected—an incident “no one could have prevented or predicted.” But Kristin’s family filed a $100-million wrongful-death suit saying city and police officials didn’t do enough about Longo’s troubling behavior before the tragedy.

Kristin had contacted police at least five times in the weeks before she was murdered, saying she feared her husband might kill her and their kids, but police supervisors discouraged her from making reports or seeking a protection order, the lawsuit said. In a preliminary ruling, a federal judge agreed that the police actions may have “enhanced the danger to Kristin and amounted to deliberate indifference.” The city settled the suit in 2013, paying the couple’s children $2 million.

The murder wasn’t an isolated tragedy. It was unusual only because it was so public and so bloody. A staggering amount of domestic violence rages behind the walls of cops’ homes, while most police departments do little about it. In the vast majority of cases, cops who hurt a family member do so in utter secrecy, while their victims live in desperate isolation with very little hope of help. Research shows:

  • An astonishing 40 percent of cops acknowledged in one U.S. survey that they were violent with their spouse or children in the previous six months.
  • A second survey had remarkably similar results—40 percent of officers admitted there was violence in their relationship in the previous year. The abuse rate for cops is up to 15 times higher than among the public.
  • Police discipline is startlingly lax. The LAPD disciplines cops with a sustained domestic violence complaint less strictly than those who lie or get in an off-duty fight. In the Puerto Rico Police Department, 86 percent of cops remained on active duty even after two or more arrests for domestic violence.

It seems incredible that a crime wave of such magnitude and far-reaching social ramifications could be so unknown to the public and yet at the same time an open secret in a mostly indifferent law enforcement community. It is surely one of the most surreal crime epidemics ever—at once disavowed, generalized and virtually unchecked.

Aptly summing up the bizarre disconnect, retired Lieutenant Detective Mark Wynn of the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department in Tennessee told PBS in a 2013 story on the issue: “What’s amazing to me is we’re having this conversation at all. I mean, could you imagine us sitting here talking about this and saying, how do you feel about officers using crack before they go to work, or how do you feel about the officer who every once in a while just robs a bank, or every once in a while decides to go in and steal a car from a dealership? We wouldn’t have this conversation. Why is it that we’ve taken violence against women and separated that from other crimes?”

Domestic violence is bad enough for any woman to deal with. Shelters, many of them chronically underfunded, regularly turn away abused women because they’re full, while only about one in four incidents in the wider population ever get reported to police. Hundreds of U.S. communities have adopted “nuisance property” laws that encourage police to pressure landlords to evict tenants who repeatedly call 911 over domestic abuse, further dissuading victims from seeking help.

But abuse at home is far worse for the wife or girlfriend of a cop. Who will she call—911? What if a coworker or friend of her husband responds? Police officers are trained in the use of physical force and know how to hurt someone without leaving a trace. They have guns and often bring them home. And if a cop’s wife runs, where will she hide? He usually knows where the women’s shelters are. Some shelter staff admit they are powerless to protect an abused police spouse. Her abuser may have training and tools to track her web use, phone calls and travels to find out if she is researching how to get help or, if she has fled, where she went.

In the rare case where the woman works up the nerve to complain, the police department and justice system often victimize her again. She must take on the infamous blue wall of silence—the strict unwritten code of cops protecting each other in investigations. The police have a name for it—extending “professional courtesy.” In the words of Anthony Bouza, a one-time commander in the New York Police Department and former police chief of Minneapolis, “The Mafia never enforced its code of blood-sworn omerta with the ferocity, efficacy and enthusiasm the police bring to the Blue Code of Silence.”

It all adds up to the police having a de facto licence to abuse their spouses and children. And it’s a worldwide phenomenon that police families struggle with everywhere from Montreal to Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, the U.K., Australia and South Africa.

The torrent of abuse is virtually unknown to the public, but without realizing it, we all pay a steep price. Domestic violence is the single most common reason the public contacts the police in the U.S., accounting for up to 50 percent of all calls in some areas. Yet, a battered woman who calls 911 may have a two-in-five chance of an abuser coming to her door. Official investigations have found law enforcement departments that tolerate abuse in police homes also mishandle violence against women in other homes.

Abusive cops are also more prone to other forms of misconduct on the job—such as brutality against civilians and violence against fellow officers. We all pay as taxpayers when governments have to settle multi-million-dollar lawsuits with victims of police abuse or negligence. Police domestic violence also has close connections to a host of other problems—police killings of African Americans, sexual harassment of female drivers at traffic stops and women cops, and even more broadly, issues like growing social inequality and subjugation of Native Americans.

And police officers themselves are victims, too. Even though our society calls cops heroes, we give them little support to cope with the pressure of police work. A big part of the job is to wield power to control other people. As a result, policing attracts people who are good at controlling others or may have a craving for that kind of power—and then trains them to use their power better. Control is also the main driver of domestic violence. Is it a surprise then that so many cops are violent at home?

Support the Ms. Magazine Prison and Domestic Violence Shelter Program today and show women fleeing domestic violence that they’re not alone.

Susanna Hope (a pseudonym for security and privacy reasons) is a Canadian professional writer who was married for over 20 years to a police officer. She has two sons and two grandchildren.

Alex Roslin is an award-winning Canadian journalist who was president of the board of the Canadian Centre for Investigative Reporting. His investigative and writing awards include three Canadian Association of Journalists prizes for investigative reporting, a gold prize in the National Magazine Awards and nine nominations for CAJ awards and NMAs.