Police

About That New Police Professionalism

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From ProPublica and the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

The disciplinary file on the New Orleans Police Department's Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann is inches thick—as thick as any on the police force.

The lieutenant has weathered more than 50 separate complaints, ranging from accusations of brutality and rape to improper searches and seizures. But none of the allegations ever stuck, although two complaints are still pending. Every time, Scheuermann was cleared and sent back onto the streets.

He has also fired his gun in at least 15 different incidents, wounding at least four people. Experts on police practices say the number is unusual—most officers never fire their weapons.

Scheuermann's history of complaints would seem to make him an obvious candidate for the NOPD's early warning system, which aims to highlight and rehabilitate possible problem police officers.

Yet according to the city attorney's office, Scheuermann was never flagged for entrance into the monitoring program…

Amid the complaints, Scheuermann has received plenty of commendations. The awards depict Scheuermann as a top cop, a relentless workhorse whose arrest numbers are unparalleled and a leader who has patrolled the most dangerous corridors of the city over a 23-year career. He has been a hero in the eyes of many of his peers.

In an NOPD yearbook is a photo of a smiling Scheuermann shaking the hand of former President Bill Clinton, who bestowed a national award on him for "outstanding productivity throughout his career."

And now?

Today, Scheuermann, 49, is preparing to stand trial on some of the most disturbing charges ever filed against a New Orleans police officer. Federal prosecutors accuse Scheuermann and a colleague of setting fire to a car containing the body of Henry Glover, who had been shot by a different police officer in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Again, it isn't that there was a bad cop at NOPD. It's that nothing was ever done about it. It in part goes back to the twisted incentives that drive statistics-driven policing.

Agencies encourage officers to be proactive and make arrests, viewing big numbers as a sign of productivity. But when an officer who puts up big arrest numbers is accused of cutting corners or violating civil rights, supervisors often brush it off and declare the complaints unsustained, said Anthony Radosti of the watchdog Metropolitan Crime Commission.

"Where there is smoke, there is fire," Radosti said. "The more productive you are, the less you are scrutinized. Production means arrests, it's quantity versus quality. These arrest numbers became more important to the command structure in their efforts to regain control of the crime situation."

Back in 2008, I talked with former Baltimore cop and co-creator of The Wire Ed Burns about how the numbers game rewards the wrong sort of police work, and does little to make communities safer.

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  1. He has also fired his gun in at least 15 different incidents, wounding at least four people.

    I love that this trigger-happy idiot is apparently incapable of hitting a target. It’s probably a good thing he’s not 15/15.

    1. It is the orgasm he is having each time he shoots that spoils his aim.

    2. Even the dogs laugh at him.

  2. Federal prosecutors accuse Scheuermann and a colleague of setting fire to a car containing the body of Henry Glover, who had been shot by a different police officer in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

    Jesus, is he Vic or Shane? I can’t tell.

    1. He’s no Dutch.

  3. So, dozens of his colleagues didn’t know this guy was bad and cover for him?
    And just where were those 99 percent of the cops who are supposedly good guys?

    1. There are no “good guys” on the NOPD.
      The cop in question likely really is the cream of that crop.

      1. There are no “good guys” on the NOPD any police force.

        FIFY

      2. There are no “good guys” on the NOPD any police force.

        FIFY

  4. “He has also fired his gun in at least 15 different incidents”

    Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann: Well, when an adult male is chasing a female with intent to commit rape, I shoot the bastard. That’s my policy.
    The Mayor: Intent? How did you establish that?
    Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann: When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher’s knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn’t out collecting for the Red Cross!
    [walks out of the room]
    The Mayor: He’s got a point.

    1. Mayor: Now Drebin, I don’t want any trouble like you had on the South Side last year, that’s my policy.
      Det. Frank Drebin: Well, when I see five weirdos, dressed in togas, stabbing a man in the middle of the park in full view of a hundred people, I shoot the bastards, that’s *my* policy!
      Mayor: That was a Shakespeare-In-The-Park production of ‘Julius Caesar,’ you moron! You killed five actors! Good ones!

  5. Hurricane Katrina was an isolated incident.

    1. Federal prosecutors accuse Scheuermann and a colleague of setting fire to a car containing the body of Henry Glover, who had been shot by a different police officer in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

      The authorities disarmed the wrong group of people.

  6. Dunnnnnnnnnnnpy, oh dunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnfy…..where aaaaaaaaaaaare you?

    1. Also, Radley, thanks for the mandatory Friday nut kick. DAMN, I needed that! Thanks again!

      1. And it was a nice cajun spiced Big Easy nutpunch, too!

        1. Nuthin’ “Easy” about it.

  7. The case will get pled down.

    1. Illegal bar-b-que.

      1. Unlicensed cremation?

        1. Illegal fireworks.

            1. Creating a disturbance

              1. It’ll be turned into an award of some kind.

                1. He’ll be promoted.

                  1. Unlicensed flambeau operation. Local humor, say “wha?”

      2. You have a very sick sense of humor.

        I like it.

  8. Hey, I’ve been looking for Clarence Thomas’ dissent in Hudson v. Michigan and can’t find it. As the most liberty loving justice on the SCOTUS I know he couldn’t have signed on to Scalia’s absurd New Professionalism opinion, but I can’t seem to find his scathing dissent. Any help?

    1. It’s right there, along with the support for liberalized marijuana laws, the end to the Iraq war, the increased government transparency, and an end to DADT and DOMA by the Democratic President and the congress totally controlled by Democrats for the past two years.

      Let me know when you find them.

      1. You’ll find it in the same place you’ll find Steven Breyer’s dissent in Kelo v. City of New London. Etc. etc. etc.

    2. Unfortunately, you can’t win ’em all.

      1. Hah, says you.

        And we’ll never let anyone forget we won ’em all, cause that’s just the kind of assholes we are!

      2. Ahem….

        1. “All” includes spelling bees.

          1. He was referring to their name in the French vernacular.

            But he spelled that wrong too. So… yeah.

    3. Being “the most liberty loving justice on the SCOTUS” is kind of like being the most liberty-loving member of the Warsaw Pact in 1979.

      1. Or winning a hogging contest.

  9. Today, Scheuermann, 49, is preparing to stand trial on some of the most disturbing charges ever filed against a New Orleans police officer. Federal prosecutors accuse Scheuermann and a colleague of setting fire to a car containing the body of Henry Glover, who had been shot by a different police officer in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

    If any of you guys have ever read up on the history of New Orleans police corruption, this is about on par.

    1. Like I said above: By NOPD standards, Scheuermann probably is one of the few “good guys”.

      1. By NOPD standards, the ones that walked off the job after Katrina and never came back sound like the ‘good guys’ at this point.

        1. They walked off the job during Katrina. Those fuckers should never work in law enforcement again.

      2. Yeah. After all, he didn’t walk into a Vietnamese restaurant and shoot one of his fellow officers, did he?

  10. A man’s got to know his limitations.

  11. The lieutenant has weathered more than 50 separate complaints, ranging from accusations of brutality and rape to improper searches and seizures. But none of the allegations ever stuck, although two complaints are still pending. Every time, Scheuermann was cleared and sent back onto the streets.

    Thank you, sir. May I have another?

  12. I like how the shocking part is he set the car on fire to cover up a shooting. It’s not that the other cop capped some poor guy for no good reason. The cover-up by car arson is the ‘disturbing’ problem.

    So, I guess they expect NOPD officers to shoot the darkies, but not to burn the corpses afterward? That’s just going too far?

  13. “The cover-up by car arson is the ‘disturbing’ problem.”

    Of course it is disturbing. There is no reason to try to cover up something like that in New Orleans. It is unnecessary and reckless.

  14. That is some messed up stuff. And I didn’t even have to read the post past “Balko …. Police … New Orleans”. I’ll save myself the depressing read.

  15. Yeah, I was thinking of The Shield as I was reading this. This guy would be heralded on other websites as a paragon of the tough behavior needed to counter the tough streets of New Orleans–a big, mean dog to fight the other big, mean dogs in the world.

    Makes me wonder if the other cops on the force were afraid to stand up to him, if his capacity for violence intimidated his fellow officers (think Bud White from LA Confidential).

    1. A lot of times, it’s also political. Stay on the good side of the higher-ups, and you can get away with just about anything. At least based on various cop-related employment discrimination cases I’ve read. Believe me, any cop trying to reform the system has a target on their back.

  16. Miss me yet?

  17. I guess they expect NOPD officers to shoot the darkies, but not to burn the corpses afterward? That’s just going too far?

    It demonstrates a disturbing lack of confidence in their colleagues to cover up for them. It’s all about trust.

    1. So, they find their own lack of faith disturbing?

      [force-chokes self]

  18. I’m going to play the devils advocate and defend the cop for a second here.

    If he was indeed a “workhorse” who worked in the most dangerous parts of the city with a very high arrest record, it is entirely likely that ANY file related to him would be very long, and he might have used his gun more often.

    A cop with a completely clean complaint file mgiht also be a cop who doesn’t do anything, or, worse, a corrupt cop who gets paid off by local gangs.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean the guy isn’t a bad cop. But taking the number of complaints and using that as a direct indicator of abusiveness, is kind of it’s own form of statistic driven policing.

    Maybe a ratio of complaints to arrests would be a better messure.

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