The National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (NPMSRP) “Worst Police Misconduct Video of the Year” readers poll is part an examination of how our readers view police misconduct and part effort to garner more interest into the issues of police misconduct, transparency, and accountability.
Though so many of the thousands of cases we cover each year are bad even when they don’t include video of the incident, we pick about 20 each year that did have publicly accessible video associated with their cases and ask our readers to vote for the worst… and this is the third year we’ve run the poll.
There are no awards, prize packets, or even fake gotcha trophies in this contest that, ultimately, has no real winners. Just the shameful knowledge that hundreds of people decided that the officers involved took part in the worst example of police misconduct immortalized on video in the year of 2011.
With that said, here are the results of our poll:
The fifth worst police misconduct video of 2011 – 67 Votes (15%)
Date: March 2010 (video leaked February 2011)
Officers: 9 Houston TX police officers
Victim: Chad Holley
Status: 4 of 9 officers involved were fired and charged with official oppression and/or civil rights violations.
This video that almost never made it to the light of day shows several Houston TX cops piling up on a 15-year-old burglary suspect after he was clipped by a police car and appeared to surrender. The officers then proceed to take turns repeatedly punching, kicking and kneeing the young teen for a span of minutes as he laid on the ground before taking him away. The mayor and police bitterly fought to keep this video from being released and complained fiercely that the person who leaked it should have been arrested.
Latest Update: http://www.khou.com/home/Judge-denies-venue-change-in-Houston-cop-case-128256043.html
The fourth worst police misconduct video of 2011 – 77 Votes (17%)
Date: September 2010 (released Nov/Dec 2010 but not on our site until Jan 2011)
Officers: Approx 6 Weber-Morgan UT Narcotics Strike Force officers
Victim: Todd Blair
Status: Lawsuit pending, IA ruled shooting justified.
This controversial and disturbing video of a no-knock raid performed by the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force in Utah appears to show a raid that went wrong and didn’t conform to standard planning practices. The multi-agency task force decided to rush into performing a raid on a home they suspected had housed a meth dealer in September of 2009. However, the raid only turned up a small amount of marijuana by one account or a small amount of an unidentified substance according to a different report. Needless to say, it appears as though their target wasn’t a dealer but, at most, an addict who died with $4.00 in his possession. The fatal shooting occurs very quickly after officers burst through the door, about 1 second after they spotted the victim holding a golf club at least 15 feet away. The report claimed the victim was approaching officers menacingly but, as the video shows, he was stationary at the time and appeared to have just woken up.
Latest Update: http://www.standard.net/topics/drugs/2010/10/29/family-planning-lawsuit-prevent-repeat-drug-raid-shooting-death
The third worst police misconduct video of 2011 – 78 Votes (17%)
Date: December 2011
Officers: Approximately 6 Maricopa County AZ deputies and approximately 4 Phoenix AZ police officers
Victim: Ernest Atencio
Status: Under Investigation
Several Phoenix AZ police officers and Maricopa County AZ deputies are seen in surveillance video taking down a detainee who didn’t appear to be presenting any visible threat then choking and tasering him repeatedly before dragging him into a “safe cell” where they stripped him naked and left him for several minutes. When they checked on him again he was unresponsive and not breathing. He died several days later when he was taken off life support while brain dead. While the Phoenix PD insisted their role in the incident was minimal, the video appears to contradict them.
Latest Update: http://tucsoncitizen.com/hispanic-politico/2011/12/26/law-enforcer-mike-stauffer-reacts-to-death-of-ernest-m-atencio-death/
The second worst police misconduct video of 2011 – 131 Votes (29%)
Date: March 2011
Officers: Las Vegas NV police officer Derek Colling
Status: Officer fired, lawsuit pending.
In Las Vegas NV, police officer Derek Colling was fired after an investigation into his actions for beating and arresting a man for videotaping police from his own yard. The video of the incident, shown above, was posted by the victim on YouTube.
The Worst Police Misconduct Video of 2011 – 227 Votes (49%)
Date: July 2011
Officers: 6 Fullerton CA police officers
Victim: Kelly Thomas
Status: Police chief on extended sick leave, 2 officers charged with murder/manslaughter, 4 officers still on paid leave, lawsuit vs Fullerton PD, lawsuit vs Orange Co DA, and recall effort against several public officials.
6 Fullerton CA police officers can be heard on this video, but not clearly seen, beating Kelly Thomas as Thomas heartrendingly cries out in pain for his father in an encounter, stemming from a questionable car prowling call, that ultimately led to Kelly Thomas’s death from numerous injuries. After a lengthy investigation 2 of the officers were charged with murder/manslaughter and excessive force over the incident. Other videos from surveillance cameras exist but are being kept secret as were a lot of details, which led to recall efforts against public officials who defended the police and tried to whitewash the incident prior to the criminal charges being filed. The incident also led to a flood of other misconduct reports involving that city’s police department being brought out and other legal cases as well.
Latest Update: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/12/kelly-thomas-mother-sues-da-beating-death.html
Visit here to see all the video candidates and full results of the poll.
Results from the previous Worst Police Misconduct Video Reader’s Polls can be found at the following locations:
Worst Police Misconduct Videos of 2010
Worst Police Misconduct Videos of 2009