The Norfolk Police Department (NPD) has a long history of misconduct toward citizens of Norfolk, Virginia. A police department cannot acquire a bad reputation on its own. Claims of misconduct begins with the actions of police officers who are sworn by oath to protect and serve. Many (not all) of these Norfolk officers lack compassion and experience.
According to an article in Pilotonline.com, ”the data shows that in 2005, the average experience level of the officer for each complaint was 9.8 years; by 2008, that level had dropped almost in half, to 5.3 years.” This number is still steadily declining while the number of complaints are continuing to rise.
Thousands of complaints have been filed against Norfolk police officers and employees for matters, including ethnic slurs, rudeness, perjury, harassment, making false statements, conduct unbecoming of a police officer, abusive language, violating citizens’ civil rights and acting in biased ways. Citizens feel betrayed and threatened.
All complaints made against Norfolk police officers are kept confidential and handled internally by the Office of Professional Standards in the department. In so many words, another police officer has the final word concerning other police officers. However, some information can be obtained using the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
With such an extensive list of complaints and allegations that are hidden from the public, who is the Norfolk Police Department protecting and serving, other than themselves?
If complaints against police officers are highly-publicized, it forces the department to take action and reprimand the offending officer. In some of these incidents, police officers are suspended or fired. However, many of them are sometimes transferred to other precincts or other positions. If incidents are ignored or left unreported, nothing happens and nothing changes. They continue with the same negligent behavior and misconduct.
In some cases, after explaining situations involving these officers to their superior, the superior will make excuses for the officers and claim they were following their training. By the end of the conversation, the officer is made to look like an innocent, misunderstood individual being verbally attacked by you.
In other cases, when speaking with an officer’s superior and trying to get information like badge number or names, they will refuse to give you the information in order to protect the officer.
The following recent stories are true encounters from Norfolk citizens, personal experience or directly ripped from headline news.
Car Theft (Date Unknown)
A Norfolk woman’s car was stolen from in front of her apartment and she called the police.
The officer showed up and did not even get out of his car. Instead, he peered out of his driver’s side window at the empty parking space and implied that the woman was lying in order to commit insurance fraud.
Perjury (Date Unknown)
A rookie cop told police that he was in high-pursuit of two bad guys firing guns. He claimed that while he was chasing behind and firing at these bad guys a bullet from his gun went through the dashboard of the police car. However, the camera inside the car told a completely different story. The hyper, inexperienced rookie had taken his handgun out of his holster while speeding to answer a call. The police car hit a bump in the road and his gun went off.
Story from Officer McKenna
Officer Tasers Unarmed Mentally Ill Woman (10/08)
Pamela Brown, a mentally-ill woman that is known for hula hooping and listening to her radio on a median on Granby Street was tasered by a Norfolk police officer.
The officer was responding to a noise complaint call. He felt threatened because she was reaching for her medical alert ID bracelet to show him. Then, he arrests her.
Hit & Run Victim Treated Like Criminal (5/12)
Donna Lea was a victim of a hit and run accident and was taken to the hospital .in 2012, The suspect left his information behind, but refused to wait around for police. When an officer arrived, Lea claims he was rude to her. He refused to file a police report for her and to get his point across he put his fingers in her face. Lea contacted the officer superior to file a complaint and he never returned her call or followed up about the accident.
Officer Says to Stop Calling Police (9/12)
NPD was anonymously called at 4 AM to an apartment complex because of strange noises coming from the bathroom area of an upstairs apartment. Ignoring the anonymous complaint, the officer knocked on the door of the person who called and told her to stop calling the police. In 2013, the same man in the upstairs apartment was indicted and arrested for manufacturing, distributing and possession of cocaine in his apartment.
NPD Deceived by Drug Dealer (11/12)
On the day before Thanksgiving, the Norfolk Police Department received two calls from tenants at Sunrise Apartments on East Little Creek Road. One of the calls was from a disabled senior and the other call was a local drug dealer the senior had been reporting.
Two officers from the Norfolk Police Department chose to answer the call of the drug dealer who was making a false complaint against the senior. When the senior answered the door, the two officers treated her like a criminal. She tried to tell them she had called 911 because the drug dealer and his accomplices were standing outside her door trying to break in.
The officers asked her to prove she had made a 911 call and she did, which did not make any difference. One of the officers even admitted the drug dealer that called them was under investigation by Narcotics. However, that did not stop them from taking the woman’s personal information and handing it to the drug dealer and his accomplices because they asked them for it.
Harassment and Civil Rights Violation (01/13)
Complainants Merle T. Rutledge Jr. and Vernon C. Evans-El were illegally stopped and harassed by two Norfolk officers. The two officers who pulled over Rutledge and passenger Evans-El claimed they were pulled over because the registration sticker on the car was peeled.
Theofficers called the City of Norfolk impound to see if the car was stolen. However, Rutledge said, “ I had new registration stickers, inspection sticker and decals put on the car which was paid for at the Virginia DMV office in Norfolk, VA. on November 14, 2012. ”
All checks performed by the officers proved that Rutledge was the actual owner of the car. The two officers still continued to ask for identifications, social security numbers and so on. Even threatening to take them into custody if they did not give them their information.
Officer Deceived by Criminal Tenants (02/14)
Tenants in a downstairs apartment owned by Gifford Management Group (GMG) was harassing a disabled woman and her daughter by repeatedly banging on their ceiling which was also their floor – as an act of intimidation for reporting their drug activities.
The police dispatch heard the banging over the phone while the daughter was trying to get assistance. Eventually, one of the downstairs tenants ran out the back way and came up to the front of the building to meet police to make it appear as if he was just coming back from work.
An older police officer and a rookie arrives, cordially speaks to the same suspect that ran out of the apartment earlier, passes by the suspects two vehicles parked outside and knocks on their door, but gets no response. So, they go upstairs to the victim’s apartment and say that they knocked on the door but no one was home.
The daughter starts to explain to them about the drug smells that were choking her and her mother and the constant noises that were coming from their apartment. The older officer laughs in her face and continued back downstairs.
The resident manager was waiting downstairs to tell them that the suspect was there the entire time, but according to the manager, the older cop still insisted on believing that the victim was lying. This is why some rookies stay inexperienced.
Officer is a Cellphone Addict (04/14)
Two managers at an apartment complex in Ocean View contacts police about a tenant. The police officer pulls up in the parking lot talking on his cellphone and continues to talk on a cellphone while getting out of the police car to handle a serious issue.
Officer Running Stop Sign (05/14)
A Norfolk police officer was caught on camera breaking the law by running a Stop sign while patrolling Norfolk’s West Freemason neighborhood, honored in 2013 by Urban Planners as one of America’s best neighborhoods.
Why was he patrolling a low-to-no crime area, instead of patrolling one of the many areas in Norfolk that needed him? This is one of the many issues that is frustrating Norfolk citizens.
A mother contacts police about her mentally ill son, David Latham, 35, who was holding a knife. She told Norfolk police on the phone that her son had a mental illness.
When NPD arrived, a group of cops shot him nine times, claiming they felt threatened. Police Chief Goldsmith says his officers shot him repeatedly because he was standing in the entrance of an occupied residence holding a knife.
However, the residents say police chased Latham into the residence, continuing to gun him down regardless if they were inside the building or not.
Some of these Norfolk police officers need more training and compassion. While compassion cannot be taught, training and etiquette can. Rookie should have a certain level of experience before they are permitted to handle serious incidents.
As for older officers, action should have been taken a long time ago. There is no reason why any officer should be annoyed with responding to police calls or receiving tips from concerned citizens.
A police department’s duty is to produce officers who are willing to keep citizens safe rather than their law enforcement career and retirement.
- Police complaints on the rise; most ruled baseless | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com
Thousands of complaints of misdeeds have been lodged against city police in the past four years, with rudeness and excessive force atop the list. Of those, 38 percent were found to have merit, not counting unresolved cases…
- Norfolk, Va Police Officers Plaza and Tessier discipline for civil rights violations.
Breaking News: The Norfolk, Va Police Department has discipline two more corrupt officers Tessier and Plaza. This brings the Merle T. Rutledge Jr holding officers accountable total to 27. This is based off the illegal stop and harrassment done by the…
- Donna Lea persistence for justice leads to 3 Norfolk, Va Police Officers being disciplined! |
Donna Lea, City of Norfolk, Va, complaint leads to disciplinary action of three bad City of Norfolk, Va Police Officers…Concerns about a “rude” police officers and actions taken in wake of a possible hit and run…