One Way To Deal With Problematic Cops

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Isn’t that called a ‘Brady List’?Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Yep. Giglio v. US says that the known dishonesty of a potential state’s witness must be disclosed to the defense, similar to the Brady rule of disclosing exculpatory evidence.
      A so-called “Giglio letter” is pretty much career-ending for a police officer. A cop who cannot testify because of a history of dishonesty is useless.Report

      • Avatar Phaedros in reply to Em Carpenter says:

        An associate told me of a documentary he had seen recently, which examined 600 prosecutors in their handling of evidence. Only one was found to not have withheld exculpatory evidence.

        Still searching for that documentary.
        I’ll give a shout when I find it.Report

  2. Avatar Phaedros says:

    This is fantastic.

    The STL County DA found that representation was unnecessary for misdemeanor defendants, which I thought deplorable.
    St. Louis has some serious police issues, both in the city and the county.Report

  3. Avatar Stillwater says:

    “I’m not going to speculate about the Circuit Attorney Office’s motivations for this,” Roorda [business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association] said, adding that the police union was “surprised and alarmed.”

    He’s not surprised and alarmed that union members, cops, have been lying to prosecutors to get convictions, but rather that the DA took this “dangerous” step at holding officers accountable. That’s everything wrong with cop unions in a nutshell.Report

    • Avatar Phaedros in reply to Stillwater says:

      They are right to be alarmed, and, from their POV, the danger is very legitimate.
      But that takes some unpacking . . .

      The first use of 501(c)(3)s to act as political front organizations for law enforcement unions was in the late ’70s. MADD came along and was co-opted to this purpose within a few years, and the founder left the organization for that reason. The MADD model proved to be non-duplicable for a number of reasons, and the trend stalled until the mid-90s. At that time, the correctional officers in California staged a take-over of two victims’ rights groups to oppose a ballot initiative. This strategy proved successful, and the model has become common-place since then.
      It is so common that, as of 2016, every graduate of the PoliSci program of the university I attended who goes into consulting work is expected to have at least one law enforcement union as a client at some point in their career. This typically means probation officers, correctional officers, or some other court-mandated peripherals, as the actual police unions have been so successful in getting what they want, there are few still seeking active take-over of a non-profit.
      There is no more bang for the buck to be had. It’s like comparing the height of a dog to a man to a tree to the orbit of a satellite.

      Where the danger comes in is when law enforcement personnel sit on the boards and executive committees of the non-profit, engaged in various decision-making functions.
      It is practically impossible for any such person to fulfill both the statutory duties of a director or officer while maintaining the professional (and often statutory) duties involved with their law enforcement position.
      This is definitionally white-collar crime.

      It becomes organized crime when some of the other people around such a person use their official positions to assist or look the other way; and particularly so if done prior to any pending action against the person with their hand in the cookie jar.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Phaedros says:

        They are right to be alarmed

        Yes they are!!

        I don’t understand how non-profits being ‘destroyed from within’ applies here, tho.Report

        • Avatar Phaedros in reply to Stillwater says:

          A “policy consideration,” we were told; not to think of that unless we were developing policy.

          It’s the white-collar crime aspect that makes it a hot potato.
          That, and it compels some proofs from those involved.

          To my knowledge, nothing really came of disclosure of such arrangements, for the most part, with one notable exception.
          A few years back, some enterprising investigative journalist uncovered the victims’ group opposing professional licensing for persons with criminal backgrounds was funded by a group representing probation officers, who did so ostensibly to keep recidivism rates artificially high. This started one of those “long conversations” as to which regulations were actually protecting the public as opposed to which were protecting the payroll of gov’t employees. IIRC, that “long conversation” lasted less than two months. Too much other garishness in state gov’t here to keep people focused on one thing for very long.
          The very reason for the use of non-profits to influence legislation is to mitigate political backlash where direct political action would produce negative effects. Seeing the man behind the curtain changes things a bit in the eye of the beholder.

          And, although there have been no prosecutions, to my knowledge, for such arrangements, prosecutable offenses definitely occur within the white-collar crime model, and moreso under the organized crime model.
          Considering it, prominent talking heads would be sure to decry such prosecutions as politically-motivated, and there is a very good chance they would be correct on that point.
          Law enforcement personnel tend to be very good at covering up any crimes they might commit, but sole custody of the paper trail no doubt assists in those efforts. Where documentation lies outside their control, things can trip up even experienced legislators.

          Considering the characteristics of someone willing to make waves like that, and in a position to do so. I don’t see it happening. The characteristics of the former cancel out the characteristics of the latter, and vice versa.
          Nonetheless, a possibility.
          A possibility more dim that finding a Trappist ale mis-priced as Keystone Light; but a possibility nonetheless.Report

  4. Avatar pillsy says:

    I once got out of jury duty for saying that I would place less value on a police officer’s testimony than that of another person. And I would, though it has nothing to do with a belief that cops are particularly likely to lie, and everything to do with a belief that they’re more comfortable on the stand, dealing with cross-examination, and the like, and thus are more likely to come across as convincing.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I love this idea. Tempted to call for perjury under color of law enforcement to become a federal law so that we could mandate the inclusion of police officers onto such lists after egregious acts.

    (Of course, that wouldn’t work…)

    Anyway, I love this idea. More should do it.Report

  6. Avatar b-psycho says:

    As long as cops insist on existing at all, their scrutiny compared to the population that isn’t granted additional powers by the government should be WAY higher, rather than lower as it is in practice.

    Don’t like it? Turn in your badge and kick rocks then.

    I’d even say there should be an effort to intentionally deny former cops and prosecutors higher office at least until the tide on such treatment turns. Complicity in the superiority complex of the police vs the general public should be punished, not rewarded.Report

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