Having written extensively about the saga of fired Kansas City police officer Danny Holmes (who yesterday won a $6.5 million judgment against the police board), I wasn't surprised by much of the information presented in Jackson County Circuit Judge David Byrn's courtroom.
But Lyle Gregory, Holmes' attorney, did manage to surprise me by unearthing examples of "alleged misconduct" by KCPD employees who were not fired for their offenses. He used these as evidence to show the jury that Holmes was punished more harshly than usual by the KCPD's powers-that-be.
Among the offenses for which officers were not fired, according to Gregory's documents:
Allowing a crime scene to be contaminated. On April 5, 2007, an officer "responded to the scene of a reported suicide, failed to recognize that it might be a suicide, failed to properly process the crime scene by causing a box of bullets, a gun case, and two wine glasses to be recovered per KCPD policy, and then left the scene prior to the Medical Examiners Office arriving to remove the body. By the time the officer was sent back to the scene to process the scene, it had been contaminated."
Two officers weren't fired for failing to recover two crack pipes from an investigation. On November 3, 2006, two officers were dispatched to a scene where two people in a car were accused of trespassing. "The officers then arrested the female and male subjects for trespassing despite the fact that there were no 'no trespassing' signs posted. The two officers took the crack pipes from the male subject and failed to recover them. The two subjects filed a complaint, which was substantiated," against one of the officers.
Two officers illegally searched a house, then lied about it -- and weren't fired. A citizen complaint was filed on December 17, 2007, by a person who told officers that they did not have permission to search their house. The officers entered anyway, and searched the house. They later lied about it. "During the course of the investigation by the Office of Community Complaints, the officers reported that they had received permission to enter the house, but an in-car video showed that they had not received permission."
Gregory's evidence also described a few lesser offenses for which officers weren't let go: an officer failed to complete department-required activity sheets for more than three months, an officer failed to turn in more than 80 crime-scene reports, and a detective, while testifying on the stand, intentionally prejudiced the jury in a murder trial, causing its dismissal.