A Wall Street Journal examination shows how states allow some police officers to remain on the force despite misconduct
Former Inkster, Mich., police officer William Melendez, here in court last year, was convicted of assault and misconduct. He is appealing the verdict. Photo: David Coates/The Detroit News/Associated Press
Gary Allen Steele fired a gun near his former girlfriend during an argument. Donald Snider harassed a minor. Claudia Wright faced forgery charges. Frank Garcia was accused of shooting out his window while driving drunk.
All pleaded guilty to crimes or left jobs to avoid prosecution. All were police officers at the time of their alleged misconduct. All still are.
They are among hundreds of officers in America who still have badges after being charged with crimes, The Wall Street Journal found in an examination tracking outcomes of police-misconduct cases across every state.
Infractions that can disqualify barbers, child-care providers and others needing state certification don’t necessarily bar officers from retaining jobs or getting new ones. In America’s patchwork system, most states let some officers remain on the force despite misconduct, including actions that other states might consider disqualifying.