A blue uniform makes one no more likely to tell the truth (and more likely to lie?)
When I remind judges that the law does not cloak police with any more credibility than a civilian, they readily agree with me. However, in reality, a huge percentage of judges seem to assign a higher level of credibility to police. It is exasperating to say the least, and a violation of the Constitution’s Due Process guarantees and the judge’s oath of office.
Praised be writer Michelle Alexander for her recent New York Times op-ed article showing why lying is common among police. As I view it, a huge percentage of the general population routinely lie, police are drawn from the general population, so lying will be very common among police.
Here are some points in Ms. Alexander’s article:
- Grant money for law enforcement encourages lying, to show success that justifies getting the grant money.
- For police to show they are productive, they may feel the pressure to lie.
- “Peter Keane, a former San Francisco Police commissioner, wrote an article in The San Francisco Chronicle decrying a police culture that treats lying as the norm.” He says lying is common by police as to disenfranchised people because police can do it in the first place, and because they figure nobody cares about such people.
- In 2011, in condemning “a widespread culture of lying and corruption in the department’s drug enforcement units”, New York Judge Gustin Reichbach declared: “‘But even this court was shocked, not only by the seeming pervasive scope of misconduct but even more distressingly by the seeming casualness by which such conduct is employed.'”
- In September 2011, “it was reported that the Bronx district attorney’s office was so alarmed by police lying that it decided to stop prosecuting people who were stopped and arrested for trespassing at public housing projects” unless a prosecutor first verified the charges by directly talking with the police officer.
- “In 2010, a New York City police officer named Adil Polanco told a local ABC News reporter that ‘our primary job is not to help anybody, our primary job is not to assist anybody, our primary job is to get those numbers and come back with them.’”
What do judges, prosecutors and jurors have to fear about not cloaking police in a higher plane of credibility? Do judges fear having more evidence suppressed? Do all three groups fear having criminals hit the street again because the prosecutor has been unable meet his or her burdens of proof? Judges, jurors and prosecutors take oaths to loyally and fully satisfy their functions; they are not permitted to escape their oaths.