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Police Report Part I: Badge Abuse

Published: May 4, 2015
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April 2015 was a tumultuous month for policing in “The Land of the Free”. From traffic stop confessions of ticket-writing “expectations” to men being beaten by uniformed officers for sadistic pleasure to a shackled city rupturing in violent riots, the past month has been a horrific case study on the state of police in the United States. This Police Report documents the most egregious cases of police brutality, wrongful deaths, extortion via court fines and surveillance tactics used by local law enforcement. We also explore the perspective from behind the body camera, speaking to a former police chief and current city manager who implemented body cameras in his city two years ago. The unprecedented national attention paid this month to the issue of police brutality will prove historic as citizens take power over the police narrative through camera lenses. This is the April 2015 Police Report.


We start with Badge Abuse.


Officer William Melendez of the Inkster PD in Michigan was fired and charged with three felonies after his January beating of an unarmed black man was captured on dashcam footage. After pulling over Floyd Dent, 57, Melendez yanked him from his car, put him in a chokehold and delivered 16 blows to his head. Though Dent doesn’t appear to be resisting arrest, rather resisting the punches Melendez was throwing, another officer who had just arrived uses his stun gun to taser Dent three times while being handcuffed by another officer.


While Dent was being escorted to the back seat of a squad car, he told The Guardian that he watched as Melendez approached his Cadillac, pulled a bag of out of his pocket, and tossed it under the driver’s seat, which you can see at 3:55 in the video above.

“I saw [an officer] with drugs in his hand, and I thought, ‘Look at them dirty dogs.’ After that I just held my head down.”

Dent’s mistreatment didn’t stop there. A video was released showing a bloodied Dent being stripped to his underwear and searched. Though his pleas for medical attention went unanswered, Dent fully cooperated with the officers while they took his mugshot and fingerprinted him, all the while acting as if he’s still a threat.

Having suffered four broken ribs and a fractured orbital in brutal beating that left blood on his brain, Dent was booked and processed before someone noticed that this man might need a doctor.After being taken to the hospital by EMS, Dent says officers denied him use of a phone. A woman identified as Marlene called Dent’s family on his behalf, alerting them and their legal team to the beating and arrest.

All charged against Dent have been dropped and Officer William Melendez has been charged with assault to do great bodily harm, mistreatment of a prisoner and misconduct in office. Thus ends an illustrious 22-year career for Melendez, during which his brutality earned him the moniker of “Robocop”.

Officer Cedric Greer was responding to a man-in-distress call at a motel in Albuquerque when he found an intoxicated man sleeping outside of his own room. Greer, accompanied by a cadet-in-training, found a couple joints on the man and ordered him to sit up on the curb. Greer allegedly became upset when the man kept looking at the cadet and ordered him to look at the ground. When the man’s gaze remained fixed on the young cadet, the officer responded by shoving him to the ground, knocking his head on the pavement – after turning off his department-issued lapel camera.

According to State Police, Greer “struck the individual’s head several times with a closed fist and then delivered several strikes to the individual’s chest causing bruising. Witnesses claimed the individual was cooperative with Mr. Greer before and after the battery.”

Another APD officer who’d run to his patrol car during the beating announced that they were “going live” before both he and Greer turned their body cameras back on.

The cadet who witnessed his training officer’s severe beating reported Greer and quit the police academy. According to the cadet, Greer repeatedly demanded “who’s the man” while pounding the individual, who received no medical attention following the incident.


Though the police announced Greer was being charged with misdemeanor battery, APD Police Chief Gordon Eden insists it was a court error that resulted in Greer being arraigned on a third-degree felony charge.




Anthony Jones was in courtroom 702 in the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center when a court crier asked him to take off his hat. Jones refused and after becoming upset was asked to leave.  As Jones yelled and cursed outside the courtroom, “something obviously [mentally] wrong with him,” public defender Paula Sen, an attorney for the Defender Association of Philadelphia, tried to defuse the situation, “just trying to get people to act like grown ups”.

Lawyer Richard Hoy, who witnessed the incident, said Sen had Jones “75 percent calmed down” when a group of six officers swarmed the 22 year old defendant. In attempting to punch Jones after knocking him to the ground, Officer David Chisholm’s fist made contact with the back of Sen’s head, sending her to join her firms’ client on the floor.
After a severe beating, Jones was left “bleeding profusely” but was given no medical attention, though Sen was taken to the hospital.
Police maintain Sen received her injuries by falling.
“It is ridiculous to think that I would jump into a fight involving at least six police officers and then just somehow fall. This young man was attacked. It was unprovoked, and I was collateral damage. If this is how these officers behave in the Criminal Justice Center with that many potential witnesses, how do they act on the streets when there are no witnesses?”


A video was uploaded to YouTube on 7 April showing Officer Glenn Ball of the Kennewick PD in Washington interacting with two teenagers following a traffic stop. The video begins with Officer Ball telling the teenagers: “This is the last day of the month. I get every stat I need just off of you guys.”
When asked by the passenger, who filmed the event, if they have quotas, Ball responds:
“We don’t have a quota. We have expectations. And what that means is, you will make so many arrests a month, you should write so many tickets a month, and you should haul so many dumbasses to jail a month. If we’re gonna pay you $100,000 a year, we should expect something back from you, shouldn’t we?”
Ball then asks the passenger if he’d “like to be apart of [his] quota tonight?”
When asked on what grounds would the officer arrest him, Ball replies:
“‘On what grounds?’ Oh, I don’t know, I’ll think of something. How about aiding and abetting reckless driving?”
After becoming irritated with the passenger for the alleged “shit-eating grin” on his face, the officer demands to see his ID, to which the passenger responds: “It’s cool, I got a clean record.”


It’s at this point in the video that Officer Ball makes his ability to destroy lives at a whim very clear:
“Yeah, but you know what? I’m the guy that can make that record look dirty.”
statement released by Kennewick PD said that the incident was under investigation and Ball, a 21-year veteran, is still on active duty.
Speaking of quotas…
A ThinkProgress article from 10 April titled “It’s Racist as Hell” includes a leaked letter from the mayor of Edmundson, Missouri to his city’s police officers. Mayor John Gwaltney was disappointed in their current performance, citing a “marked downturn” in citations:
“I wish to take this opportunity to remind you that the tickets you write do add to the revenue on which the P.D. budget is established and will directly affect pay adjustments at budget time.”
About one-fifth of the population in Edmundson lives under the poverty
line while 35% of the city’s revenue comes from court fines and fees.
The article details how some communities in Missouri, which has the nation’s second-highest rate of traffic cases, have far more outstanding warrants than citizens. Take Country Club Hills, for instance; a town with a population of 1,381 and 33,102 active warrants, rounding out to nearly 24 outstanding warrants per citizen. Similarly, Wellston has a population of 2,460 and more than 15,000 outstanding warrants, adding up to a ratio of more than six to one.

In Apple Valley, California, deputies were attempting to serve a search warrant for an identify theft investigation when Francis Pusok, 30, fled from the police. Initially driving away in a car, at some point during the nearly three-hour pursuit, Pusok stole a horse and attempted to out-gallup the 5-0.

[MORE: Diurna’s coverage of the Pusok case]

Upon catching up with Pusok, an officer is seen on film attempting to taser him and the suspect falls off the horse. Another officer approaches and uses his taser on Pusok. As the first two officers begin beating Pusok, several others arrive and pile in, none of them showing any restraint before laying into the defenseless man like schoolyard bullies.

In the 2 minutes 11 seconds following the initial taser shocks, Francis Pusok was kicked 17 times, punched 37, struck with a baton four times and received a dozen blows to the head. Following the vicious beating, Pusok’s body can be seen lying limp on the ground for 45 minutes, during which time he received no medical attention.

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon maintains the officers used force because the taser shocks were ineffective due to Pusok’s loose clothing:

“A Taser was deployed, but was ineffective due to his loose clothing. A use-of-force occurred during the arrest. An internal investigation will be conducted regarding the use of force.”

Pusok’s arrest prompted an FBI civil rights investigation and led to the suspension of ten deputies. Pusok agreed to a$650,000 settlement with the county.


These four cases only serve to highlight the most egregious examples of cops flexing their ego under the guise of law-enforcement; they don’t seek to define police brutality or the officers who commit it. There have been dozens of incidents in the past month of citizens having their rights violated without so much as a warning. Take the case of Chris Hoglan, who was walking down the street late at night in Missouri when he was stopped and asked to identify himself by police. When he refused, flexing his rights, the police officer took him to jail. Or Viviana Keith, who was being arrested for public intoxication in Texas when her arresting officer slammed her to the ground, hitting her head on the pavement and knocking her unconscious – while her 6-year-old daughter looked on in horror. How about Robert Liese, who was beaten so severely in an Orlando jail cell that his spleen ruptured. Instead of getting Liese the medical attention he needed, Officer Peter Delio and his comrades took photos of Liese and can be heard on film joking and laughing about the man who’s dignity they felt compelled to destroy.

These are not isolated incidents. Some believe that the stories about bad cops are the anomalies; that every profession has its share of bad apples. The key difference is that when UPS hires a ‘bad apple’ and fails to properly train such an employee, customers’ packages don’t get delivered. When a police department demonstrates the same lack of due diligence, citizens’ lives and well-being are threatened, and sometimes, worse. The issues facing law enforcement are widespread and systemic; not anomalies.


Part Two: Killed by Police – coming soon.

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