MHPD investigates officers for inappropriate behavior - Gilroy Dispatch: Articles From Morgan Hill

MHPD investigates officers for inappropriate behavior

D.A. finds no illegal conduct, but chief takes “corrective action”

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Posted: Friday, February 10, 2012 7:03 pm

A recent internal investigation found at least two officers acted "inappropriately" in response to a suspected crime last summer, and the department took unspecified punitive action against those officers, according to Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing.

Swing said though prosecutors did not find any illegal or criminal conduct on the part of the officers, he felt the incident was serious enough to continue the internal investigation.

The investigation is related to an incident that happened July 16, 2011 in which Morgan Hill officers arrested two suspects on suspicion of public intoxication, Swing said. The arrests happened on Oak Drive in Morgan Hill.

The suspects were cited that evening and released from the police station the next morning. The Santa Clara County district attorney's office subsequently did not file charges against the two suspects.

Days later one of the subjects visited the police station on Vineyard Boulevard to file a complaint accusing at least one of the officers involved in the July incident of misconduct, Swing said. The subject alleged the officer improperly accessed information on the subject's smart phone, and accused the officer of posting photographs on the person's Facebook account.

Swing declined to identify the content of the photographs that were allegedly posted.

The police department investigated the verbal complaint, which the chief felt was serious enough to begin an inquiry, Swing said.

"We took immediate action to investigate the complaint, and we initiated our investigation without waiting for a formal (written) complaint," Swing said.

The department contacted the D.A.'s office, which found the officers who were the subject of the investigation did not commit any illegal conduct, Swing said.

However Morgan Hill police continued an internal investigation, which "did find that the officers acted inappropriately, and we responded with corrective action to hold them accountable," Swing said.

The chief declined to name the officers involved in the case, but confirmed that more than one officer was investigated. He cited state laws prohibiting him from releasing any more details of the case, including what kind of punitive or corrective action the city took toward the officers, and details about the nature of the complaint.

Swing emphasized that even though the details cannot be released and the city has not previously announced the fact that an investigation was underway, the department "quickly recognized that mistakes were made" and knew that the complaint should be looked into.


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  • Mr Brooks posted at 1:02 am on Sun, Feb 19, 2012.

    Mr Brooks Posts: 72

    Well I, for one, kind of took you up on your challenge. I did some research into infectious deaths just in the US. According to the CDC about 20,000 people a year die from influenza alone. And that's where I stopped. I didn't look into any of the others nor did I look into how many innocent people were killed by the police because I know it falls far short of the 20,000 mark. As a matter of fact you are more likely to be killed by a criminal, to include drunk drivers, than you are by the police.

    But if you have research that proves different then by all means cite websites so we can all review it and come to our own conclusions. Not to be negative, but I doubt you are the leading authority on the subject and you "word" means nothing without evidence.

    To be honest, the way things are going, I don't think the police are being "heavy handed" enough. Do what it takes to clean the streets up. If you are afraid to walk down any street in your town for fear of the criminal element then the police aren't doing their jobs well enough. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to tieing the hands of the police. We don't want to police to do anything unless the have a mountain of evidence first. The law isn't a two way street, it has to be applied equally to the citizens as well as the criminals. We have made these laws to cater to us but at the same time it is working against us because it caters to the criminals also. We need to give the police more rope. It may sting a bit at first but the result will be a much safer nice town to live in once again. The criminals will be scared to be out on the street and not the public.

    In this news story, he screwed up and needs to be fired and not allowed to hold a police position ever again. What he did was just plain vindictive.

  • Liesandtheliarsthattellthem posted at 12:13 pm on Wed, Feb 15, 2012.

    Liesandtheliarsthattellthem Posts: 1

    @ Higherpotential... Are you really that naive? Have you not witnessed the militarization of the police EVERYWHERE? Have you not seen the endless stories of police brutality? Have you not heard about how "it is getting dangerous for cops" when in fact there is no safer job and the statistics do NOT support the cops claim? They simple use that as an excuse to gun down grandfathers holding children, shoot veterans for protecting their families, execute no knock warrants... Your rights under the Constitution are eroded every day to "protect police" when in fact they are the killers. You are far more likely to die from a police action than you are to die at the hands of a terrorist. In fact, you are more likely to be killed by a cop than you are from most infectious diseases. Do a little research and stop being so naive!

  • Higherpotential posted at 9:04 pm on Sun, Feb 12, 2012.

    Higherpotential Posts: 36

    I find it hard to believe that cops actually break the law... I have a problem with that. I tend to expect higher standards and have never experienced anything but professional conduct.

    The other day a young acquaintance came to Church and his arms were bruised badly. I asked him what happened and he said that the cops beat him up... I asked why.. He said because that's what they do to young Mexicans...It's happened twice. He seemed afraid and fearful.. I don't know what to believe.. I still side with the law.

    If in fact this is true it makes me sick.. I'm going to keep my eyes on this issue.. I've heard rumors about this sort of abuse..

    He didn't get arrested or booked and there was no paperwork.. Just beat up... (according to him)