10 Years of Police Discipline

10 years of OKC police discipline

By Juliana Keeping  August 10, 2015

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When a passing motorist yelled “Road rage sucks” at Oklahoma City police Sgt. Matthew Downing during a January 2014 traffic stop, Downing chased the man down in a convenience store, wrestled him to the ground and arrested him.

A supervisor who soon arrived disagreed with Downing’s use of force and subsequent arrest. He ordered the man released and the charge dropped.

Police Chief Bill Citty directed the department’s Office of Professional Standards to conduct a criminal investigation into the incident.

In February, Downing pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery and was sentenced to 90 days’ probation. That same day, he resigned from the department, where leaders say he was still under administrative investigation for the incident. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said Downing’s guilty plea and resignation were part of his plea agreement, which is typical in criminal cases involving police officers.

Disciplining officers is one of the toughest parts of his job, Citty said. 

Police and punishment in Oklahoma City, by the numbers

“Even though I don’t always succeed, getting everything right in the management of the police department is important to me, especially discipline,” Citty said. “In disciplining employees, getting it right means being fair. Of all things, I want to be known as being fair to our employees. Getting it right can also impact the public’s trust in our department.”

In the past decade, the Oklahoma City Police Department has fired, demoted, suspended or accepted the resignations of at least 63 officers for e 

At a time when police conduct and discipline is coming under review nationwide, The Oklahoman examined discipline meted out to members of the Oklahoma City Police Department in recent years.

The review

•In several cases, the department rehired officers it had fired.

•Between 2005 and March 2015, six officers who lost their jobs for offenses ranging from driving under the influence, to lying, to criminal misconduct involving prostitution, were rehired after their cases went to arbitration.

•The department refuses to release the names of 25 officers who resigned while under investigation and the reason why. Such secrecy raises questions about whether the officers continued their law enforcement careers elsewhere and limits the public’s knowledge of possible police misconduct, police accountability experts and open records advocates say.

•A handful of officers have been suspended without pay more than once.

The way a department handles officer discipline is central to policing, said Sam Walker, professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and an expert on police accountability.

“Police officers have powers no other public officials have — to deprive people of their liberty, to arrest,” Walker said. “They are legally authorized to use physical force, and they are legally authorized to use deadly force. Teachers, social workers, no other public workers have such powers. We have to have the highest personnel standards.”

Any time someone is terminated or resigns under investigation, police departments are required to send notice to the Council on Law Enforcement Education within 30 days, according to state laws that govern police work. CLEET, the training and regulatory agency of Oklahoma law enforcement, can open an administrative investigation to see if its own policies have been violated.

Officers convicted of any felony for crimes involving moral turpitude or domestic violence are banned from doing police work indefinitely in Oklahoma. Other types of discipline are handled on a case-by-case basis. A disciplinary committee can issue a letter of reprimand, for example, or suspend for a certain period of time the officer’s certification under state law.

But the process doesn’t always go as planned. A 2013 investigation by Oklahoma Watch, an online investigative journalism organization, uncovered a dozen cases between 2003 and 2011 in which law officers convicted of felonies still were certified as peace officers by CLEET.

Fired and rehired

Since 2005, the Oklahoma City department has rehired six officers it fired, according to a response to an open records request filed by The Oklahoman. Three were fired for untruthfulness, one for criminal misconduct involving prostitution, another for driving under the influence and another for excessive use of force.

All six appealed their terminations to an arbitrator who ruled in their favor.

City officials declined an open records request seeking the identity of the rehired officers, as well as the final arbitration decision that led to their reinstatement, saying they were not required to do so and that the release of some personnel records is a “clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

Citty said while he supports due process for officers, he opposes the binding arbitration provisions included in the police union contract that allow officers a chance to formally challenge discipline or a dismissal. Under the contract, an arbitrator hears from both the officer and the department, then makes a decision that is legally binding under state law, meaning it can’t be overturned in court.  

Citty has been pushing to change state law so departments could appeal arbitration decisions in court. 

“It does not benefit law enforcement. It does not benefit the public,” he said of the current system. 

But John George, president of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of the Police, disagrees, saying arbitration is a fair and sound process.

“You have a neutral arbitrator picked by the city and the FOP that hears the case and makes a ruling,” George said. “The reason the ruling should be binding, if not, all those cases will go to district court, which will cost a lot more money and tie up the court system.”

Similar scenarios play out at police departments throughout the country, which Walker, the police accountability expert, finds troubling.

Brian Buchner, president of National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, called binding arbitration in police discipline cases, a “national problem that happens across the country.” 

“They (the police departments) want to separate the employees and now they’re forced to take them back,” he said. “What if the officer was separated for an integrity issue?”

Three Oklahoma City officers were rehired after being initially fired for lying, records show.

Questions surrounding a rehired officer’s integrity could dismantle a later case, Buchner said. 

Resigned under investigation

In the last decade, 25 Oklahoma City police officers voluntarily resigned while under internal investigation by the department for misconduct or violating department policies, but the public has no way of finding out who resigned or why.

A review of media accounts found three of those cases.

In 2011, Willie Williams  and Christopher Gayhart were accused of collecting paychecks while not working assigned shifts. Both of the former officers were arrested and charged with obtaining money under false pretenses. 

Both men pleaded guilty, but neither was sent to prison, court records show. 

Williams was ordered to pay restitution and received a five-year deferred sentence. Gayhart received a six-year deferred sentence, was ordered to pay court costs, restitution and surrender his law enforcement certification.

David Ellis, a former captain, resigned after he allowed a German man impersonating a law enforcement officer to ride and train with the department. Ellis was never charged with any crime.

The state’s open records law doesn’t prohibit the department from providing names of officers who resign under investigation, said Joey Senat, an Oklahoma State University associate professor of media law, but public bodies often refuse to do so.

The fact that the department won’t name officers who resigned while under investigation after being accused of wrongdoing is a matter of public concern, Senat said.

“Which officers are jumping from job to job without being disciplined for wrongdoing?” he said.

The public, Senat said, has no way of finding out.

“You have police officers who resign under a cloud, an investigation, who are then free to go be rehired by another police department,” Senat said.

Citty said it’s incumbent on police departments to conduct background checks on potential hires to avoid such scenarios. Departments also should have each new hire sign a waiver allowing release of personnel records from previous employers, he added.

Citty, though, said he has a reason for allowing officers to resign under investigation. If he fires them, there’s a good chance an officer will fight the dismissal through arbitration, win and be returned to duty. The only surefire way to rid the department of an officer accused of misconduct is to allow that officer to resign, Citty said. 

Double trouble

Three officers were suspended without pay more than once during the time period reviewed by The Oklahoman.

Then-Sgt. Frank Torres was suspended for improper use of force and an unspecified “policy violation.” He also was punished for forcefully putting his boot on the head of a suspect already in custody.

Anthony Germany was disciplined for a DUI and again for drinking alcohol on duty.

Gustavo Cabello, was suspended for conduct unbecoming an officer and an unspecified policy violation. 

Fired officers

Michael Sumpter was a police recruit when he was arrested and charged with domestic assault in the presence of a child in 2010. The department fired Sumpter the same year, but a judge dismissed the case.

He is one of six officers fired between 2005 and March.

Alan Cook was fired in 2007 after being accused of threatening somebody with bodily harm during an “off-duty disturbance.” He was never charged with a crime, records show.

Cody Harbison, was terminated for obtaining prescription pain medications without a prescription, department records show. Harbison, a police recruit who was fired in 2009, also was never charged with a crime, court records show.

The department terminated Lenon Williams in 2005 amid allegations that he worked an extra job without authorization while he was still in the Police Academy and Field Training Program, attempted to use his position as a police officer to influence a citizen during a civil dispute and that he was untruthful in the investigation.

Conduct unbecoming a police officer — namely foul language — as well as allegations of inability to perform physical training and lying in an administrative investigation, cost Johnny White his job in 2005.

The police department dismissed Leo Nash for untruthfulness during an investigation tied to allegations of dereliction of duty. The officer failed to perform his job by not responding to a call, according to the police department.

Other discipline

The police department provided a list of 27 incidents from the decade that resulted in officers being suspended without pay or given a disciplinary transfer.

Among the violations were drinking alcohol on duty, insubordination, improper use of force, injury car accidents, conduct unbecoming an officer and use of a controlled dangerous substanc

Reprieve

Every morning we are given a reprieve, an opportunity to correct t the errors and omissions of yesterday. This gift is ours whether or not we put it on a calendar. Be grateful for having a Being in your life that felt you worthy of another chance, be grateful for true love, family, friends and hope. Be grateful that somehow you inpired someone. Be grateful that you are grateful …

What Happened? TWIT

WTF Just Happened Today? 

Day 307: IT WAS ME.

by Matt Kiser
 1/ Trump called LaVar Ball an “ungrateful fool” and said that getting his son home was “a really big deal.” Trump tweeted that “it wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME.” Ball is the father of one of the three UCLA basketball players detained in China for shoplifting and has refused to thank Trump for getting the players out of China. (CNN / NBC News)
2/ Trump and the White House insisted that Trump was working from Mar-a-Lago and very busy today an hour before he went golfing. First, the White House told reporters that Trump “will NOT have a low-key day and has a full schedule of meetings and phone calls.” Soon after, Trump tweeted that he “will be having meetings and working the phones from the Winter White House in Florida.” But an hour later, Trump left Mar-a-Lago to spend the morning at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach. Since the inauguration, Trump has spent 98 days at his private properties – one out of every 3.1 days – and played golf approximately 60 times, or every 5.1 days. (Washington Post)
3/ The former director of the Office of Government Ethics filed a complaint over Kellyanne Conway’s comments about the Alabama Senate race. Walter Shaub said Conway may have violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from using their positions for political purposes. Earlier this week, Conway attacked the Alabama Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones, saying Jones “will be a vote against tax cuts. He is weak on crime, weak on borders. He is strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners.” (The Hill)
4/ Gary Cohn faked a bad connection to get off a phone call with Trump during a discussion with Democratic senators about tax reform earlier this month. The White House economic advisor wanted to have a conversation on tax reform without Trump, who was traveling in Asia at the time. Trump called in anyway and after 15 minutes, Senator Tom Carper turned to Cohn and said, “We’re not going to have a real conversation here – can’t you just tell the president that he is brilliant and say we’re losing … the connection and then hang up?” And that’s what happened. (CNBC / The Hill)
5/ The House GOP tax bill would cut the $250 educator expense deduction. The deduction covers out of pocket classroom expenses for America’s 3.6 million teachers and costs the federal government $210 million a year. The Senate GOP tax plan would double the deduction to $500, however only those in the 1% or at most the top 5% will benefit from the cut. (Washington Post)
6/ Out of 38 economists, 37 said the GOP tax plans would cause the debt to increase “substantially” faster than the economy. The 38th economist misread the question. (Washington Post)

Resist 

I listened as they called my President a Muslim. 

I listened as they called him and his family a pack of monkeys. 

I listened as they said he wasn’t born here. 

I watched as they blocked every single path to progress that they could. 

I saw the pictures of him as hitler.

I watched them shut down the government and hurt the entire nation twice.

I watched them turn their backs on every opportunity to open worthwhile dialog.

I watched them say that they would not even listen to any choice for Supreme Court no matter who the nominee was. 

I listened as they openly said that they will oppose him at every turn. 

I watched as they did just that.

I listened. 

I watched.

I paid attention.

Now, I’m being called on to be tolerant. 

To move forward. 

To denounce protesters. 

To “Get over it.” 

To accept this…

I will not.

I will do my part to make sure this great American mistake becomes the embarrassing footnote of our history that it deserves to be.

I will do this as quickly as possible every chance I get. 

I will watch his every move and point out every single mistake and misdeed in a loud and proud voice.

I will let you know in a loud voice every time this man backs away from a promise he made.

Do not call for my tolerance. I’ve tolerated all I can. 

Be aware, make no mistake about it, every single thing that goes wrong in our country from this day 

forward is now dump’s fault just as much as they thought it was Obama’s.

I find it unreasonable for them to expect from me what they were entirely unwilling to give.” 
Author unknown.

Traitor Reveal

Donna Brazile and Elizabeth Warren outed themselves today. I am officially DONE with these traitors to our Party.

Brazile is spreading Bernie’s lies to cash in on book sales. She claims Hillary “controlled” the DNC because of a fundraising deal but she fails to mention that Bernie Sanders signed the SAME fundraising deal with the DNC!

Obama had the same deal in 2008 and 2012. Obama left the party with millions in debt after the 2012 election. In 2015, DWS approached the Clinton AND Sanders campaigns and BOTH signed the same deal, so both campaigns could raise money for the DNC and state Democratic parties.

Clinton gladly supported her party and raised money for the DNC and down ticket candidates. What did Saint Bernie do? He ran on the Democratic Party ticket, accepted massive party resources, got tons of media exposure, raised $230 Million and kept every nickel of it for his own campaign and never gave the Democratic Party a dime. Bernie stuck us with the tab.

The Democratic Party is just that. It’s a party based on membership. It’s not a public entity. Party primaries are not public elections. They are party primaries for party members to select their party’s nominee, which we did. By a vast majority, real Democrats did not and do not want the divisive non-Democrat Bernie Sanders as our candidate.

Elizabeth Warren is a former Republican who has an anti-Democratic agenda. Her comments today about Hillary and “DNC rigging” are baseless. The evidence does NOT substantiate her claims. Not one single email leaked from the DNC shows ANY rigging or corruption or actual action taken against Bernie Sanders. A judge agreed and threw the case out of court.

Jumping on this propaganda bandwagon against the Democratic party is shameful. At least we now know officially where these women stand and we can react accordingly.

The Macho Paradox

Thanks Anyshka Van Dahl

Shared from a friend
“I draw a line down the middle of a chalkboard, sketching a male symbol on one side and a female symbol on the other. Then I ask just the men: What steps do you guys take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? At first there is a kind of awkward silence as the men try to figure out if they’ve been asked a trick question. The silence gives way to a smattering of nervous laughter. Occasionally, a young a guy will raise his hand and say, ‘I stay out of prison.’ This is typically followed by another moment of laughter, before someone finally raises his hand and soberly states, ‘Nothing. I don’t think about it.’ Then I ask women the same question. What steps do you take on a daily basis to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? Women throughout the audience immediately start raising their hands. As the men sit in stunned silence, the women recount safety precautions they take as part of their daily routine. Here are some of their answers: Hold my keys as a potential weapon. Look in the back seat of the car before getting in. Carry a cell phone. Don’t go jogging at night. Lock all the windows when I sleep, even on hot summer nights. Be careful not to drink too much. Don’t put my drink down and come back to it; make sure I see it being poured. Own a big dog. Carry Mace or pepper spray. Have an unlisted phone number. Have a man’s voice on my answering machine. Park in well-lit areas. Don’t use parking garages. Don’t get on elevators with only one man, or with a group of men. Vary my route home from work. Watch what I wear. Don’t use highway rest areas. Use a home alarm system. Don’t wear headphones when jogging. Avoid forests or wooded areas, even in the daytime. Don’t take a first-floor apartment. Go out in groups. Own a firearm. Meet men on first dates in public places. Make sure to have a car or cab fare. Don’t make eye contact with men on the street. Make assertive eye contact with men on the street.”
― Jackson Katz, The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help

Chieftain of Spite

Trump, Chieftain of Spite
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
By Charles M. Blow
The New York Times
OCT. 15, 2017
……………………

“It must be cold and miserable standing in the shadow of someone greater and smarter, more loved and more admired. It must be infuriating to have risen on the wings of your derision of that person’s every decision, and even his very existence, and yet not be able to measure up — in either stratagem or efficacy — when you sit where that person once sat.

This is the existence of Donald Trump in the wake of President Barack Obama. Trump can’t hold a candle to Obama, so he’s taking a tiki torch to Obama’s legacy. Trump can’t get his bad ideas through Congress, but he can use the power of the presidency to sabotage or even sink Obama’s signature deeds.

In fact, if there is a defining feature of Trump as “president,” it is that he is in all ways the anti-Obama — not only on policy but also on matters of propriety and polish. While Obama was erudite, Trump is ignorant. Obama was civil, Trump is churlish. Obama was tactful, Trump is tacky.

There is a thing present in Obama and absent from Trump that no amount of money or power can alter: a sense of elegant intellectualism and taste.

The example Obama set makes the big man with the big mouth look smaller by the day. But I believe that this nonadjustable imbalance is part of what has always fueled Trump’s rage against Obama. Trump, who sees character as just another malleable thing that can be marketed and made salable, chafes at the black man who operated above the coarseness of commercial interests and whose character appeared unassailable.

America — even many of the people who were staunch opponents of Obama’s policies — admired and even adored the sense of honor and decency he brought to the office. Trump, on the other hand, is historically unpopular, and not just in America. As The Pew Research Center pointed out in June: “Trump and many of his key policies are broadly unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the U.S. have declined steeply in many nations.” Trump is reviled around the globe and America’s reputation is going down with its captain.

All of this feeds Trump’s consuming obsession with undoing everything Obama did. It is his personal crusade, but he also carries the flag for the millions of Americans — mostly all Republicans — who were reflexively repulsed by Obama and the coalition that elected him.

Trump has done nearly everything in his power to roll back Obama’s policies, but none are as tempting a target as the one named after him: Obamacare.

Republicans — including Trump — campaigned for years on a lie. They knew it was a lie, but it was an enraging one that excited their base: Obama was destroying America’s health care system, but Republicans could undo the damage and replace it with their own, better bill.

First, Obama wasn’t destroying America’s health care system. To the contrary, he simply sought to make it cover more people. He moved to take American health care in a more humane, modern and civilized direction, to make it more universally accessible, even by the sick and poor who often took its absence as a given.

Second, the Republicans had no replacement plan that would cost less and cover as many or more people. That could not be done. So, their repeal-and-replace efforts failed. But that also meant that Trump’s promise was proven a lie. Trump has no problem lying, but in the end he wants his lies to look plausible.

Trump makes assertions for which there is no evidence — either knowingly lying, recklessly boasting or wishfully thinking — then seeks support for those statements, support that is often lacking because the statements are baseless.

He violates a basic protocol of human communication: Be sure of it before you say it. His way is to say something wrong, then bend reality to make it appear right. This is why the age of Trump is so maddening and stupefying: He is warping reality.

Last week he took more swipes at undermining the A.C.A.: Asking his administration to find ways to increase competition among insurers (a move many worry will move younger, healthier people out of the marketplace) and stopping the so-called “cost-sharing reduction” (CSR) payments — federal subsidies paid to insurance companies to help finance coverage for low-income Americans (a move many believe will send premiums soaring for those people).

Trump is doing this even though it will likely wreak havoc on countless lives. He is doing this even though a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll released Friday found that most Americans want Trump and Congress to stop trying to repeal the law, and instead work on legislation to stabilize the marketplaces and guarantee health care to Americans.

Furthermore, six in 10 Americans believe Congress should guarantee cost-sharing reduction payments, as opposed to only a third who view these payments as a “bailout of insurance companies,” as Trump has called them. There is no real reason to cut these payments, other than to save face and conceal the farce.

Trump isn’t governing with a vision, he’s governing out of spite. Obama’s effectiveness highlights Trump’s ineptitude, and this incenses Trump.”

In Defense of America

Borrowed from a friend’s page: David Tice-Mintz, Kandy Loyde “Dear obnoxious ungrateful conservatives who are suffering because of Hurricane Harvey, I am sorry for your suffering, sorry for your losses, sorry for the governance of your state that still hasn’t a clue how to prepare for hurricanes after dealing with Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Katrina, clear back to Hurricane Carla in 1961. I am sorry that the days to come will be fraught with despair, more terrible weather, shortages and the tedious and dangerous cleaning up to come in the aftermath of all catastrophes. I will send as much help as I can, because I hate that you are suffering and I don’t want anyone to do without during this bleak time. But will you, with your conservative views, take the help in the manner it is offered, as freely given by others, not as a right owed to you because of your skin color or political beliefs? Right now people are being saved by undocumented immigrants, so it’s a good thing that wall wasn’t built before this hurricane hit. Right now people are being saved by transgender people, gay people, women who have had abortions and the men that agreed that they had the choice to do so. Right now Muslims, Hindus, Jewish people and every other religion are working to make sure you have things you need; food, medical care, supplies. Right now the Clintons, Obamas and other democratic celebrities are sending help, money, raising awareness, where is the Trump Foundation in all this? Right now the people you call libtards are some of the first responders, they were helping evacuate and care for people right from the start. The people that you claim are stealing jobs are doing the dangerous jobs no one else wants to do. The people you proudly shake your rebel flag at to remind them of their ancestors’ slavery are carrying children out of flooded houses and rescuing nursing home residents. They overlook your hate and views because their goal is to help all people, not just a small chosen few of the right color or right religion. It’s times like this that bring us all together, but it also reminds us that last week you were shouting your racist, anti-immigrant, misogynistic, right wing, smaller government, “fake media” crap at anyone that had a different opinion. The “fake media” have been telling you this was going to happen for a week. The “fake” scientists have been warning about climate change for decades, while you and our president scoff at them. The races you maligned now have their hands out, offering you help that you can get nowhere else. Do you feel even ONE twinge of conscience? Do you feel ONE moment of shame that your political bigotry has maligned so many that are now helping you and those you love? Your state will be rebuilt by people that you have worked hard to take healthcare from, to ban from serving in the military, to prevent from marrying, to deport, and to oppress with your racist symbols. Believe me; it’s not going to ONLY be pristine whites that are all Christians doing the dirty work. And Trump is not going to share a dime of his billions without getting a kick back like he does when he charges us for the secret service staying at his properties. It’s 2017. I find myself amazed that racism is still an issue, that women can’t control their bodies, that white people were so threatened by a black president. I find it staggering that people deny science, that anyone’s consenting adult sex life is even a matter of discussion. I find it incredible that this type of stupidity still exists and is fed by Fox News, Breibart, Infowars ( by the way, where are they in this catastrophe?) I find it amazing that the insular news stations you watch and read are the actual fake news, while the reality of the communities you live in is disregarded because it doesn’t suit your biased views. So are you going to take the help offered, in the spirit it was offered, by the people of all races, religions, genders, nationalities and return the favor and treat them fairly, decently and with high regard? Or are you going to take the help and go back to being the conservative, racist, libtard hating oppressor you were before the storm hit? Because to do so goes against every rule of Christianity. The choice is yours; just realize that one day your views may drive others to take the same tack. One day the people that help may turn their backs on those that malign them. I can’t blame them; it’s gone on far too long. It’s time to let the hate and divineness wash back out to sea like the retreating flood waters. It’s time to realize that Fox News, Breibart, Infowars are playing on your fears and ignorance, while doing nothing of actual merit in the world. Until they give you a hand up, until they wade through the water to save a person’s life, until they look past skin color to help EVERYONE in need, they are the enemy of the United States. See them for what they are, and see the people around you for what they actually are, caring, helpful, hardworking, regardless of skin color, religion, sexual identity. They deserve respect and the right to be happy, not hatred and oppression.”