In Illinois and California, public servants skate in police abuse cases

posted at 9:21 pm on July 9, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

In abuse cases, it’s not that hard out there for a public servant. Whether it’s the IRS, VA, DEA, or state police, the government’s agencies of immense power too often abuse that power and cover up their misdeeds. When found out, they either allow those who oversaw the abuse to investigate themselves or retaliate against those who had the temerity to report them. And, when it’s all said and done, we find they’re rarely subject to the same standards, scrutiny and treatment to which they subject the American people.

Take, for instance, the Inspector General report, released today, on a 2012 incident in which a 24-year-old San Diego man was arrested in a drug sweep by the Drug Enforcement Agency. The DEA did not charge him, but left him in a cell without food or water for days:

On the morning of April 21, 2012, Chong was detained with six other suspects and transported to the DEA field office, where agents determined that he was not involved in the ecstasy ring that was under investigation.

A self-confessed pot smoker, Chong told investigators he had gone to the University City apartment that Friday night to celebrate April 20 — an important day for marijuana users — and spent the night.

After being interviewed at the DEA field office Saturday, agents told Chong he would be released without charges and driven home soon.

But agents forgot about him and Chong spent the next four and half days inside the five-by-10-foot cell without food, water or a toilet. He said his screams for help went unanswered.

Chong was discovered near death on Wednesday afternoon. Agents called 911 and he was rushed to a hospital. Chong spent four days in the hospital for multiple conditions but has since recovered.

Chong later won a $4.1 million settlement. The DEA put the officers connected to Chong’s detention in charge of the investigation of his neglect, for which the IG faulted the agency. The IG also recommended improved monitoring of prisoners, though it appears that several officers connected to Chong’s case did indeed see him during his detention and still did not provide him food or water, suggesting more than mere negligence that can be corrected with new processes:

An internal Justice Department review into the 2012 improper detention of a San Diego college student, who was held by the Drug Enforcement Administration for nearly five days without food or water, found that four agency employees had either seen or heard Daniel Chong during his confinement but did not act because they “assumed” that agents directly assigned to the case would tend to him.

There were no criminal charges filed against any of the agents, and the report declines to inform us whether any of them have been disciplined or fired, out of respect for their privacy. Radley Balko of the Washington Post notes that American citizens don’t get such courtesies from the DEA:

The DEA now claims to be “deeply troubled” by Chong’s treatment. But the agency refuses to say whether any agents were fired or disciplined. This is to protect the professional privacy of the agents involved.

When the federal government arrests you for drug crimes, they release your name to the media. Sometimes the federal prosecutor in charge of the investigation will hold a press conference, publicly besmirching your reputation before you’ve had your day in court. Here, federal drug cops nearly killed a man, then tried to cover it up. But we don’t get to know their names or whether they were disciplined — out of respect for their privacy.

Even the OIG, which is supposed to be the people’s watchdog, affords Chong’s captors more dignity than the federal government ever afforded Chong.

Click through to read the chilling stories of Michael Saffioti and Jonathan Magbie.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, a convicted felon and former police commander involved in police brutality cases for years will be getting his lavish taxpayer funded pension while behind bars:

On July 3, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in favor of a decision by Chicago’s police pension board allowing disgraced former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge to continue receiving his approximately $3,000 per month pension.

That’s despite the fact that Burge is currently serving a four-and-a-half year sentence in federal prison.

He was convicted for lying about the torture of police suspects who were later imprisoned for crimes they did not commit…

In 2010, after Burge’s conviction, he and his pension were judged by the city’s police pension board, an eight-person group that included four of Burge’s fellow Chicago policemen.

When the board held a vote on whether Burge should be allowed to receive his full pension, the four current or former Chicago police officers on the board voted for the criminal to keep receiving his payment, while the four civilian trustees voted against it, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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I’m pretty sure it’s no different in any of the other 55 states either …

ShainS on July 9, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Speaking pf Police,……………..LIVE NOW:

Shooting in Harris County, Texas, July 9, 2014
9m
Photo: SWAT van is pushing Harris County, Texas, shooting suspect’s car backwards in standoff – @BillBishopKHOU
see original on twitter.com
==============================

LIVE STREAMING:

Latest News Headlines
WATCH LIVE: Police standoff in north Harris County

http://www.khou.com/home/238613191.html

canopfor on July 9, 2014 at 9:27 PM

And Cheech was let off with a warning.

rbj on July 9, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Anyone wanna make the case that policing is an honorable profession?

gryphon202 on July 9, 2014 at 9:32 PM

On July 3, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in favor of a decision by Chicago’s police pension board allowing disgraced former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge to continue receiving his approximately $3,000 per month pension.

That’s despite the fact that Burge is currently serving a four-and-a-half year sentence in federal prison.

He was convicted for lying about the torture of police suspects who were later imprisoned for crimes they did not commit…
=================================================

Chicago Thuggery eh!!

canopfor on July 9, 2014 at 9:35 PM

An actual pothead named Chong, this is awesome.

Bishop on July 9, 2014 at 9:40 PM

Abolish the DEA.
Seriously, take it out, completely, roots and branches and every last stinking bit.

anotherJoe on July 9, 2014 at 9:40 PM

IL, of course, doesn’t believe in the rule of law, anyway.

formwiz on July 9, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Gawd,..both SWAT Trucks have this clown sandwiched,
give him/her the order to surrender,….or spray the
car and end it!!!!

canopfor on July 9, 2014 at 9:43 PM

The Bishop ‏@BillBishopKHOU 1m

Turning dark. Deputies shine lights on the suspect car. He’s inside, alone. #KHOU http://bit.ly/1nntrdq pic.twitter.com/RXyfOBQ4i2

https://twitter.com/BillBishopKHOU/status/487049038215147521/photo/1

canopfor on July 9, 2014 at 9:44 PM

Hitler’s birthday is an important day to pot smokers?

mankai on July 9, 2014 at 9:45 PM

The police in California are notoriously corrupt, and the only thing in California more corrupt then the police is the court system. The cops in California are little more then the enforcers for the State Government which is little more than a Mafia styled organized crime syndicate. It’s all about using the “Legal System” to extort “Protection Money” out of Californians.

oscarwilde on July 9, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Shooting in Harris County, Texas, July 9, 2014
5m
Update: 6 people killed in Harris County, Texas, shooting, deputies say; SWAT standoff continues – @KHOU
Read more on khou.com

canopfor on July 9, 2014 at 9:49 PM

Hitler’s birthday is an important day to pot smokers?

mankai on July 9, 2014 at 9:45 PM

ROTFLMAO… No, it’s symbolic of the Medical Marijuana Law, which is called State Bill 420.

oscarwilde on July 9, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Abolish Radley Balko! He’s a hack who hasn’t met a deathrow prisoner he isn’t willing to lie for.

Blake on July 9, 2014 at 9:58 PM

The police in California are notoriously corrupt, and the only thing in California more corrupt then the police is the court system. The cops in California are little more then the enforcers for the State Government which is little more than a Mafia styled organized crime syndicate. It’s all about using the “Legal System” to extort “Protection Money” out of Californians.

oscarwilde on July 9, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Yep.

The CA Franchise Tax Board is particularly egregious. Just one example (punishing a guy for daring to leave CA for NV):

California Demands $55 Million from Microprocessor Inventor –
The state has been harassing him for decades

ShainS on July 9, 2014 at 9:59 PM

But agents forgot about him and Chong spent the next four and half days inside the five-by-10-foot cell without food, water or a toilet. He said his screams for help went unanswered.

That really sucks. I hope to God that FEMA has things better organized for their camps.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 9, 2014 at 10:29 PM

Anyone wanna make the case that policing is an honorable profession?

gryphon202 on July 9, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Yeah! I was a cop for 30 years. During that time I got one cop fired for discrimination, another got 7 years for stalking and burglary.

Can YOU name a profession that DOES NOT have asshol.. in it?

GarandFan on July 9, 2014 at 10:32 PM

I wonder if Chong got a visit from Randall Flagg

gxbhkt on July 9, 2014 at 10:36 PM

Can YOU name a profession that DOES NOT have asshol.. in it?

None that allow you to shoot or imprison people without cause and get away with it, no.

orangemtl on July 9, 2014 at 10:48 PM

I’ll again offer my old adage:

“Don’t do the crime if you can’t afford (or know) the judge.”

viking01 on July 9, 2014 at 10:57 PM

Anyone wanna make the case that policing is an honorable profession?

gryphon202 on July 9, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Nope.

The vast majority of my interactions with police (I’m no perp) have been negative.

Power drunk a-holes. Never found a damn thing of mine that was stolen and laughed at the very thought of doing anything but filing a report. But as a law-abiding citizen, I’ve been harassed by cops. After asking one cop a question about child safety, he said, “are you threatening me!?” Seven weeks later cops showed up at my door and summoned me to the magistrate’s office. They read his report to me. Unbelievable lies. When my lawyer and the court arbiter asked for a dismissal, the assistant DA said she “heard differently” from unnamed sources and prosecuted anyway. It cost me a fortune.

The good cop is the exception, not the rule.

mankai on July 9, 2014 at 11:13 PM

Can YOU name a profession that DOES NOT have asshol.. in it?

GarandFan on July 9, 2014 at 10:32 PM

Funny. Name another profession that trains and encourages their assho1es to beat, torture, and/or kill whoever they choose and call it “their job”?

BobMbx on July 10, 2014 at 12:44 AM

…it’s US vs. THEM!

JugEarsButtHurt on July 10, 2014 at 1:00 AM

The only thing that the DEA is upset about in the Chong case is that their brutality was exposed for the entire world to see.

Another Drew on July 10, 2014 at 1:12 AM

Bishop on July 9, 2014 at 9:40 PM

A guy is nearly killed slowly, tortured for days, the perps are probably getting away with it, & you think it’s funny.

itsnotaboutme on July 10, 2014 at 3:42 AM

Blake on July 9, 2014 at 9:58 PM

I might be silly but I kinda think that we should all be subject to the same laws and bad cops like politicians should be held accountable.

I know. Fantasy world.

Closet Optimist on July 10, 2014 at 7:37 AM

Here we go again. Time for the HotAir comments section to be indistinquishable from a Rage Against the Machine fan site or the DailyKos.

DethMetalCookieMonst on July 10, 2014 at 7:59 AM

Anyone wanna make the case that policing is an honorable profession?

gryphon202 on July 9, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Hey look, everyone! It’s Tom Morrello!

DethMetalCookieMonst on July 10, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Obama’s Civilian Defense Corpse.

Experts at 3AM Commando raids.

Not very expert at using Google Maps.

ConstantineXI on July 10, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Funny. Name another profession that trains and encourages their assho1es to beat, torture, and/or kill whoever they choose and call it “their job”?

BobMbx on July 10, 2014 at 12:44 AM

Law enforcement has a problem similar to islam. People keep defending both types saying “there are good cops, there are good muslims, etc”. But you know what happens, the supposed GOOD ONES tolerate the BAD ONES and do nothing about it.

Which is why I condemn the “good” cops with the bad ones. If you don’t stand up you are an ENABLER.

ConstantineXI on July 10, 2014 at 8:02 AM

Bishop on July 9, 2014 at 9:40 PM

A guy is nearly killed slowly, tortured for days, the perps are probably getting away with it, & you think it’s funny.

itsnotaboutme on July 10, 2014 at 3:42 AM

Bishop is right, it’s funny they got “Chong”. Bummer, man.

As to the situation itself – that’s why they call it “dope”.

whatcat on July 10, 2014 at 8:32 AM

Wow! The DailyKos managed to change their URL to http://www.hotair.com. How did that happen?

DethMetalCookieMonst on July 10, 2014 at 9:23 AM

This isn’t limited to Illinois and Kalifornia, it is nationwide. Here in New Hampshire last year state cops murdered a woman whose only crime was running a stop sign. A covered up internal investigation ensued and nothing else has been heard. Manchester. NH cops kicked a man into a coma about 4 years ago outside a local pub. They are all back on their jobs, never lost pay or were charged with crimes.

These people are not “public servants”, they are a blue uniformed gang of thugs. Cops are more dangerous to public safety than criminals and cops commit most of the violent crime n this country, but they are also involved in white slavery, prostitution, drugs, robbery, witness intimidation, lying on the stand, conspiracy, extortion as well as assault, and murder.

Cops murder more people every year in the US than the number of US forces that have been killed in the entire war in Afghanistan.

Cato Institute has a section dedicated to cops abusing the law and citizens and the Las Vegas news paper has a good section on it as well that documents local abuse by cops.

I no longer have any respect for any legal or government authority. The entire legal system is totally corrupt. As far as I am concerned they are all thugs. They scare the hell out of me and I want nothing to do with them, but I do not respect them and when they are killed, I am happy about it. That is a shame, and it took me a long time to get to this point, but I have plenty of company.

earlgrey on July 10, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Hitler’s birthday is an important day to pot smokers?

mankai on July 9, 2014 at 9:45 PM

ROTFLMAO… No, it’s symbolic of the Medical Marijuana Law, which is called State Bill 420.

oscarwilde on July 9, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Actually 420 reffers to the old days of pagers , before text messaging and plentiful cell phones hit the scene, folks looking to purchase marijuana would send the page of 420 to the dealers. The State Bill you referr to is named 420 in reference to this.

Von Kleist on July 10, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Anyone wanna make the case that policing is an honorable profession?

gryphon202 on July 9, 2014 at 9:32 PM

It can be. And in many places it probably still is. But the abuse of power is spreading. And it is worst in places where the abuse of political power is greatest.

Cops are more dangerous to public safety than criminals and cops commit most of the violent crime n this country,

earlgrey on July 10, 2014 at 9:42 AM

You are right to mistrust authority, but this statement is bullhockey.

The real issue here is the same, however, as it is in so much else: the people. If the people aren’t standing up to it – either because they don’t want to make waves or because they benefit in some way from the status quo – then they will get what they deserve. When 47% are devoted to voting for folks who give them goodies, they will tend to win. We must change those 47% or divorce from them. That is the only way to succeed.

GWB on July 10, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Any government employee that uses their power of office to commit their crimes, like Lerner and that police chief, should lose their pensions. If you commit your crimes separate from your office, like domestic violence or drunk driving for the 10th time, or whatever… then I think it’s reasonable to let them still have it, and be subject to garnishment by victims in any settlements.

Capricio on July 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Any government employee that uses their power of office to commit their crimes, like Lerner and that police chief, should lose their pensions.

Capricio on July 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Exactly. Of course, self-funding retirement would solve this problem, too.

GWB on July 10, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Abolish the DEA.
Seriously, take it out, completely, roots and branches and every last stinking bit.

anotherJoe on July 9, 2014 at 9:40 PM

BATFE too. Root and branch. Shoot ALL the agents and nuke it from orbit to be sure.

Quartermaster on July 10, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Cops are more dangerous to public safety than criminals and cops commit most of the violent crime n this country,

earlgrey on July 10, 2014 at 9:42 AM

You are right to mistrust authority, but this statement is bullhockey.

GWB on July 10, 2014 at 10:50 AM

I can say the same about your comment. The fact is, you can’t prove I’m wrong, and I can’t prove I’m right because there is no data on the crimes that cops commit – it isn’t collected. The only thing the FBI collects is the number of cops killed every year. But they still commit a huge proportion aof all the crime in this country and if their actions were taken into consideration, I think the numbers would at least double. There is a reason cops don’t want citizens video recording them – they break the law all the time and they know it. And it isn’t just while they are on duty.

Let me remind you of the motorcycle gang that repeatedly terrorized drivers and pedestrians in New York city and assaulted the man and his wife and children in the minivan after they caused him to run over one of their POS off-duty motorcycle cop thugs. Notice how that has been hushed up when the press started to report how many of those biker thugs were off-duty cops? That’s the other reason you can’t prove me wrong – because I’m not wrong, and you know it.

earlgrey on July 10, 2014 at 3:19 PM

The fact is, you can’t prove I’m wrong, and I can’t prove I’m right because there is no data on the crimes that cops commit – it isn’t collected.

It doesn’t have to be. Given the sheer population size of America, the demographics of those who commit a preponderance of the crimes, and the paucity of police officers in relation to that demographic (much less in relation to the entirety of the US) it is simply not reasonable to make such a claim. It is statistically ridiculous, and it belies common sense. The chip on your shoulder constitutes neither data nor argument.

GWB on July 10, 2014 at 3:36 PM

earlgrey, You are absolutely wrong. Cops commit most of the violent crime in the country? This is hysterical nonsense. You have no proof of this because there is no proof to be had. As the blogger does at the head of this blog, you can point out terrible things that police officers have done as individuals. You can do this for any profession, government sponsored or not. It proves nothing. If you are an irrational cop hater, just say so. Don’t try to dress it up in the language of logic.

CL on July 10, 2014 at 3:41 PM

GWB on July 10, 2014 at 3:36 PM
CL on July 10, 2014 at 3:41 PM

You are both right that I don’t like cops (and you two are probably cops or married to cops), but there is nothing irrational about it as my examples of cops abusing citizens proves, and it isn’t a few “individuals”, as Cl is trying to claim, when the ENTIRE police force, and the police union work in concert to cover it up as they do in EVERY city across the country. If you were to do that it would be called conspiracy. It is the same thing when cops or any other govt. agency does it. I’ve already offered several examples of proof of it, and I don’t need to add more. You can find them for yourselves. I’ve even given you some places to look.

earlgrey on July 10, 2014 at 4:27 PM

It’s not just the “bad cops” that make policing dishonorable. It’s the “good cops” that won’t testify against the bad ones. To excuse the Danny Chong debacle as a one-off, even if that were true, misses the point.

gryphon202 on July 10, 2014 at 5:18 PM