«• May 3, 2009 — The mother of a teen who died after being shocked by police with a stun gun has settled her wrongful death lawsuit with the city of Jerseyville, Illinois. Rita Cummings confirmed Sunday that the recent settlement over the death of her only son, Roger Holyfield, involved a payment. She declined to specify the amount or terms. Jerseyville police have said Holyfield was shocked twice with a stun gun in 2006 after officers approached him and he turned combative. A probe found the officers were not criminally responsible for the death.

• Monday, March 2, 2009; 5:04 PM: Jury awards $3 million in Texas stun gun death. -- A jury in Texas has awarded $3 million to the mother of a mentally ill man who died after he was shocked 18 times with a stun gun and hogtied during an arrest.


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Three Worst Cases of Police Abuse in 2009

The foundation of this country's creation is the United States Constitution, which specifically gives every person, regardless of race, creed, color, or ethnic origin, the right to be free from certain governmental behavior. When a government official, acting under color of law, deprives a person of his/her constitutional rights, that may well give rise to legal liability on the part of that individual and potentially his/her government employer. It is imperative, in every situation that possibly involves police (or other governmental) liability, that you immediately consult with an attorney to determine the particular type of notice, if any, that must be given to the government. Frequently a failure to give such notice will bar absolutely any claims under the pertinent tort claims/sovereign immunity act.

***PUBLICATION ADVISORY***

June 15, 2011 WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today published the ninth publication from the Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety, a roundtable managed by Harvard Kennedy School's Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management and funded by NIJ. The Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety brought together police chiefs, union leaders, academics and criminal justice policy leaders from across the country for seven meetings over three years to find solutions to today's most pressing law enforcement issues. Police Discipline: A Case for Change was written by Darrel Stephens, a member of the Harvard Executive Session and Executive Director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. He examines the challenges of managing disciplinary procedures in law enforcement agencies and the difficulties of reforming officer behavior. The disciplinary process is an ongoing source of conflict and tension for the law enforcement community. The process can be ineffective because punitive measures may do little to change behavior, and appeals processes can sometimes take an excessively long time to complete. Stephens suggests the best option for reforming disciplinary policies and practices is an environment that uses formal disciplinary procedures as the last and least frequently used option. He suggests intervention at the lowest level possible, fair and consistent application of discipline, a focus on activity that changes behavior, timely action on disciplinary cases, and transparent policies and procedures. The paper also examines alternative disciplinary approaches undertaken by police departments around the country, such as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's philosophy of consistency and fairness in discipline, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's "Education-Based" approach. TITLE: Police Discipline: A Case for Change, part of the Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety series published by NIJ. AUTHOR: Darrel Stephens WHERE: National Criminal Justice Reference Service, NCJ234052 The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has seven bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; the Community Capacity Development Office, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP and its components can be found at http://www.ojp.gov . SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice - Office of Justice Program
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Mehserle Released!

June 13, 2011 Oakland, California - BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in July for killing Oscar Grant III, 22, on the Fruitvale BART station platform early Jan. 1, 2009. Several months after his conviction, Mehserle was given what Grant's family argued was a lenient punishment, when Perry sentenced the 28-year-old to a two-year prison term. Because of credits for time served, Mehserle served just 11 months in LA County Jail. January 1, 2009 (@ 07:00)
The criminal case filed by the Alameda County District Attorney against Mehserle is certainly over. The 29-year-old former officer was released from the Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail early this morning after serving 11 months of his two-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter.

The only other remaining piece of the legal puzzle is a potential civil rights case against Mehserle or BART — the U.S. Department of Justice has not yet indicated if it will pursue one. Protesters gathered yesterday in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles to urge a federal indictment for Mehserle. Sunday afternoon saw another protest here in Oakland, which has been the epicenter for activism around Grant’s death and the scene of several civil disturbances over the past two years.


Posted by Harry Williby
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