Saturday, April 3, 2010

Residents of NJ City Claim Cops Worse Than Criminals

The story below is just one example of police corruption. Too bad we don't hear more about CONgressional corruption where the office holders are actually removed from their jobs, investigated and prosecuted.

CAMDEN, N.J. – Josephine Skinner's grandson Dequan was 11 or 12 years old a few summers ago when she says he had a run-in with a Camden police officer who neighbors claim terrorized them for years.

As the youth crossed the street to buy a soda at a store, she said Officer Jason Stetser — known on the streets as "Fat Face" — sprang from his cruiser.

"He grabbed my grandson and said he had $100 of stuff on him," Skinner said. "They tried to lock him up."

For years, residents say some police officers have bullied them in this impoverished city, making cases by planting drugs on suspects, falsifying police reports, and conducting searches without warrants. Now four officers, including Stetser, are being investigated by a federal grand jury.

And prosecutors say they've had to drop charges or vacate convictions in 185 criminal cases because of possibly corrupt police work — meaning scores of criminals could end up returning to drug-infested streets.

Another of Skinner's grandchildren, 15-year-old Artice Skinner, said he witnessed the episode between Stetser and Dequan and saw Stetser hold out his hand, overflowing with crack cocaine that the police officer said came from Dequan's pocket.

Skinner said Dequan was released after an aunt explained that he wasn't the neighborhood child police were looking for.

"The cops were more of a problem than the crime was," said Josephine Skinner.

Their Waterfront South neighborhood has breathed a little easier since November, when Stetser and at least three other officers were taken off the streets as authorities began their investigation.

Stetser's lawyer, Richard Madden, declined to comment.

Among those suspended was 29-year-old patrolman Kevin Parry. On March 19, he admitted in court that he stole drugs from some suspects, planted them on others, bribed prostitutes with drugs for information, conducted searches without warrants, lied on police reports and in testimony, and roughed up suspects. He acknowledged 50-70 acts of police misconduct from May 2007 to October 2009.

Residents say it was not uncommon for some officers to greet locals by punching them, using force to intimidate. The threat of criminal charges was the main police currency.


Staying Alive said...

Hang 'em and bag 'em. What else can I say?


Ol' Remus said...

Don't believe everything you read. Camden's newspapers are easily as corrupt as its cops.