By: Michael D. Jacobsen
We are a nation of laws. That is one of the few things that seems to hold our country together. Yet it does appear that at least for some people these laws are frequently ignored or at the very least loosely enforced. I am of course talking about the men and women of law enforcement. The very people who are there to make sure we obey the law seem to be routinely not holding themselves to the same standards.
Even as I am writing this I can see some of you rolling your eyes and thinking that this is another cop hating article. Lets get this out of the way, I do not hate cops. Most police are very good people who become an officer with the best of intentions. I think police are necessary for any society, and while I do think we could privatize at least some police forces, I will leave that discussion for another time. What I would like to talk about today are the officers who do break the law and the saddening frequency with which they get away with it either without charges or a slap on the wrist( firing,but can be hired by another police force).
In the age of a person being able to record just about anywhere, we are seeing more and more videos of police breaking the law. Not only that but news agencies are reporting stories about organized groups of police officers who conspire to break the law on a constant basis. This is the basis for this article and I will cover some of the worst examples, and what is being done about them, in the following.
One of the most shocking examples is the case involving eight members of Baltimore’s elite gun task force. These officers were arrested by federal authorities for robbing people then creating false paperwork to cover their actions. In addition these officers were known to carry BB guns in case they had to shoot someone while carrying out their illegal actions. This is especially disturbing because there have been several high profile police shootings across the nation in which the person as shot and killed for having a BB gun. As of now none of the shootings these officers have been involved in are being looked into, in spite of this testimony. Finally in early 2018 these officers were convicted of racketeering, conspiracy of racketeering, and robbery. While this might seem to be the end of the problem, there were several additional officers who were implicated in these crimes, but no charges have been filed, these officers still work for the Baltimore PD.
In Biscayne Park, Florida the chief of police and two officers are accused of charging innocent people with burglaries. Apparently this was done to have a 100% clearance rate of crimes in the city. While there are reports that several more officers might have gone along with this plan only those three officers are charged. These charged came about after number of disgruntled officers wrote letters to the village manager who in turn started an investigation and brought in federal help. The crimes of this department lasted for years before anything was done to stop it, and some of the officers that were involved will walk away free.
In Chicago there was a secret police station, called a “black site” at Honan Square, this site has been accused of “vanishing’ over 7,000 suspects by denying them an attorney and covered up many accusations of violent beating while these people were detained there. The only reason this site came to light was due to an investigation by the British site The Guardian, which looked into the thousands of complaints about this site. This apparently went on for over two decades at this facility. Yet until this was exposed by the Guardian no officer said anything about what was happening here, despite many complaints to the city, NOTHING WAS DONE. This shows just how little priority is shown to holding police accountable to the law. All cases leveled against this site are still pending.
There are many more examples of groups of police officers conspiring to break the law, the above list was some of the more shocking ones. After reading it you may wonder do officers ever try and prevent other officers from breaking the law? Of course they do, and when it is done other officers usually come together to intimidate or ruin the officer that tried to uphold the law. This is also called the blue wall of silence, it is an informal code for officers to not report other officers wrongdoings.
In 2015 in Dallas,Texas Officer Christopher Worden and his supervisor were punished when Officer Worden reported a fellow officer tried to fight a handcuffed suspect while his supervisor egged it on. The resulting investigation resulted in the two accused officers being suspended for a month, shorty after accusations were made against Worden and his supervisor which while they both were cleared led to them being passed over for promotions and caused them lost wages. The officers attorney stated that these actions were an “egregious” example of what happens to officers who report violations to internal affairs. Retaliation like this is common when officers report fellow officers. However there have also been many cases of it costing an officer their job.
In a complaint filed in 2016 Officer Jose Rosado claims he was fired for speaking out against his departments practice of arresting young black men without probable cause. Rosado says that on Jan. 7, 2014, he sent a letter to the city officials revealing violations of law, wrongdoings and public waste committed by various police officers, including Major Anthony Chapman, and that the following year, he gave sworn testimony in a lawsuit filed by a black man who claimed he was harassed and subjected to a bogus arrest by police. he’d been a victim of false arrest. Within 6 months of that testimony Rosado was fired. I could go on and on citing examples but i will link a few more as well. Offices receiving settlements for whistleblowing retaliation. A list of 8 times officers exposed corruption and ere retaliated against.
The sad part is that no action is taken against the officers that retaliate against the officers who expose their crimes. This disregard for the law that they are supposed to uphold only destroys the public confidence in the law and government as a whole. After all if we cannot trust the police to obey the law, who can we trust? The frequency with which these crimes are covered up is shocking,and it does prove that we cannot trust the police to police themselves. Not only that but the punishment when officers break the law is usually less than when a citizen breaks the same law. If anything when a public servant breaks the law they should receive a larger punishment not only for the crime,and often attempt at cover up, but for destroying public confidence in a system designed to try and protect them.
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