New York Times Investigation Spotlights NYPD Practice of ‘Testilying’ – It’s Called “Perjury” or “Filing a False Report”, a Crime! – kra
I have written many articles about perjury by police, a real epidemic. “You take the truth and stretch it out a little bit.” Bullshit! That is perjury. Besides the obvious most awful consequence of having innocent people convicted, this article points out the other more subtle but terrible consequences to the system and society.
READ Rush to Sentence: http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/rush-to-sentence-a-major-awful-consequence-of-our-war-on-drugs/
Excerpts from the Article:
An extensive New York Times investigation of the New York Police Department has uncovered that “at least 25 instances were found where judges or prosecutors reportedly determined that a cop’s testimony was likely untrue or embellished” since January 2015. It’s what observers commonly refer to as “testilying.” According to NYPD Officer Pedro Serrano: “You take the truth and stretch it out a little bit.”
Officers take advantage of the fact that such a high percentage of criminal cases, especially with indigent defendants, generally end with a negotiated plea rather than a trial. As a result, many of the exaggerations and false statements are never subject to cross-examination and exposure, and the conduct carries over into the next case. However, the practice consists of more than just stretching the truth—it often crosses over into the more insidious practice of planting evidence, manufacturing testimony, and falsifying lineups.
The deceptive practices are taking place in an era when a majority of people have cellphone cameras, and few arrests or police encounters are not subject to some form of video recording. The widespread use of surveillance video on private and public premises, not to mention dashcam video and bodycams, also complicates the concealment of police misconduct.
Nonetheless, one Brooklyn officer told the Times, “There’s no fear of being caught. You’re not going to go to trial and nobody is going to be cross-examined.” Lawrence Byrne, a legal spokesman for the NYPD, maintains that, “it’s harder for a cop to lie today. There is virtually no enforcement encounter where there isn’t immediate video of what the officers are doing,” he said, saying that it’s a product of a “bygone era.” Or is it?
Despite the assertions of Byrne that, “Our goal is always, always zero,” of the “testilying” instances, it appears to still happen on an all-too-regular basis. The Times uncovered numerous instances where police officers embellished testimony or planted drugs or weapons on innocent individuals, and then lied about it.
In most instances where police are caught engaging in misconduct, prosecutors dismiss the charges and seek to seal the case. The Times reports that these summary dispositions of tainted cases make the tracking of police misconduct almost impossible, but the result of this misconduct is substantial. Ethics-challenged cops leave in their wake dozens of innocent individuals whose lives have been turned upside-down by the expense and life disruptions caused by defending themselves in court.
These instances of misconduct have other unfortunate effects on the criminal justice system. According to the Times, “Police lying raises the likelihood that the innocent end up in jail—and that as juries and judges come to regard the police as less credible, or as cases are dismissed when the lies are discovered, the guilty will go free. Police falsehoods also impede judges’ efforts to enforce constitutional limits on police searches and seizures.”
The Times found that officers lied not only to attempt to “tip the scales of justice” toward guilt, but also to defeat the “exclusionary rule” that mandates that illegally seized evidence be excluded from consideration in a criminal case. Recently, however, there have been cases in which NYPD officers have paid a price for their falsehoods.
According to the Times, “Earlier this month, two veteran NYPD detectives were indicted on charges of official misconduct and filing false paperwork for lying about a drug deal that went down in Queens.” A Brooklyn detective also was indicted on federal perjury charges, accused of attempting to “conceal the fact that he had falsified documentation” related to the photo lineups.
Another Brooklyn officer, speaking anonymously, said: “You’re either a ‘lie guy’ or you’re not” and that he had been pressed to embellish the facts of drug arrests and manufacturing “probable cause” to avoid the arrests being dismissed in a suppression hearing.
The question we should all ask ourselves is whether the misconduct of NYPD officers is unique to that city, or whether it is, in fact, engrained in the DNA of police departments in other cities and jurisdictions as well. It is certainly a question that deserves to be answered.
Entirely appropriate as compensation and as a deterrent when cops LIE, which they do all too often.
But look at the figures mentioned in the article: tens of millions of YOUR tax dollars to settle cases which could have been prevented by 1) better police training, and 2) more prosecutions of wrongdoing cops to deter others! This one is still on the job! 🙁
Excerpts from the Article:
In the largest-ever civil verdict against a city police officer, Philadelphia jurors Thursday awarded $10 million to an Oxford Circle man who was wrongly imprisoned for more than three years based on the officer’s false testimony. The money was awarded to Khanefah Boozer, 33, who was held in jail on $500,000 bail while he awaited trial for allegedly firing a gun at Officer Ryan Waltman. When Boozer finally had his trial in 2014, another man testified that he, not Boozer, had fired the gun — in the air and not at the officer.
Boozer’s attorney, Robert J. Levant, said at a news conference that the verdict was “a message that should be heard loud and clear throughout the city of Philadelphia, that this will not be tolerated.”
Levant said the case was not properly investigated, that Boozer was “obviously innocent,” and that while he was behind bars on the false testimony of police, his mother and sister died. Boozer, who worked at a Home Depot at the time of his arrest and aspires to be a barber, sat alongside Levant at the news conference but declined to comment.
Waltman, a 10-year veteran of the force, remains employed with a salary of about $75,000, according to payroll records.
The verdict represents a massive payout for an individual case in a police-related matter — more than twice the previous highest award, made to deliveryman Philippe Holland after he was mistakenly shot by city police officers in 2014. Between 2013 and 2016, the city averaged $9.7 million per year to resolve dozens of police-related civil rights cases filed in civil court, according to city figures. And in fiscal year 2017-18, which ends June 30, the city budgeted $44.9 million for indemnity to cover payouts in lawsuits against all agencies — meaning Boozer’s payout alone would account for 22 percent of that total.
Still, civil rights lawyers said it remained unlikely that Boozer will collect the full $10 million. Attorney Alan L. Yatvin said the city probably will not be held liable for $5 million in punitive damages included in the verdict. A decade ago, in what had been one of the biggest jury verdicts in a police case, jurors awarded $5 million but the plaintiff eventually settled for $500,000.
Alerted to the gunshots, Waltman pulled over the car driven by Boozer, and accused him of firing the gun, not in the air but at the officer. The suit said Boozer told police the gun actually had been fired by Bruno Rosales, but they never investigated.
Boozer was arrested, charged, and held on $500,000 bail. He couldn’t pay enough to secure his release. In September 2014, when the criminal case finally came to trial, Rosales testified that he fired the gun. Boozer was acquitted of all charges, then filed suit against Waltman and other officers less directly involved in the case. Rosales was never charged in the shooting.
The jury’s award — $5 million for punitive damages and $5 million in compensatory damages — was against Waltman because the city was not named as a defendant. Waltman was represented by a city attorney in the case.
Similarly, he said, when a jury finds that a police officer was not credible, both the police and the District Attorney’s Office should investigate to determine if false testimony by police had been deliberate.
Krasner’s office made headlines earlier this year when it disclosed that previous administrations had kept a list of officers deemed too untrustworthy to testify without a supervisor’s approval. Krasner has said his office is working to develop a fuller policy for how to handle such officers moving forward.
Data Shows Police Brutality in America is Getting Worse — 2018 Could Be the Most Deadly in Years – Killed by Police
Why is such cruel criminal conduct by cops not so much in the news? Surely we cannot accept it!
Remember THIS one?!
Did you see the video all over the news a day or two ago? Young man down, easily being cuffed by a cop, and another cop rushes in and KICKS HIM IN THE HEAD (apparently angry over the preceding car chase). YOU should write a Letter to the Editor about such things, calling for prosecution of bad cops! READ Practical Tip – Get Empowered! How YOU Can Create a Powerful, Effective Force for Reform of our Criminal Justice System – http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/practical-tip-how-you-can-create-a-powerful-effective-force-for-reform-of-our-criminal-justice-system/
Excerpts from the Article:
“Police brutality in the United States is not worse. Phones and social media just make it feel that way.” I see and hear some version of that thought pretty much every single day.
It’s a lie. It sounds good. I wish that was what we were dealing with right now. But it’s not.
See, some things are hard to measure.
Racism itself is difficult to measure. We can measure hate crimes — which are absolutely an indicator. We can measure reports of discrimination. We can measure the number of times hateful words are being used across the internet. Those things all help us measure racism, but it can sometimes be nebulous. Some of the most destructive forms of racism — like being denied a home loan or being passed on for a job where you are the most qualified candidate — are hard to measure in real time.
Police brutality is not that.
We can measure it. We can track it. In fact, every single day of the week, I study every single case of every single person who was killed by police. Each case is unique. I know they seem to all blend and blur together sometimes, but each victim, each story, each city, each cop, each police department, each circumstance is unique.
But the one thing I can measure with absolute certainty is whether or not the number of people killed by police in this country is rising or falling. That’s not esoteric. It’s not theoretical.
Truthfully, until 2014, when police killed Eric Garner and Mike Brown and John Crawford and Tamir Rice, most stories of police brutality lived in the shadows. Most of us would struggle to name a single person killed by police in 2011 or 2012 or 2013. So yes, it’s true, cell phone cameras and social media make police brutality more known, but I am here to report to you the painful fact that the problem is actually getting worse.
By April 15 of 2014, at least 293 people had been killed by American police. By the end of the year, the number totaled 1,114.
By April 15 of 2015, the number had increased to 350 people killed by police. By the end of the year, the number rose by a staggering 108 fatalities over the year before to 1,222 people killed by American police. By April 15 of 2016, the number declined slightly to 348 people. By the end of the year 1,171 people had been killed by police — a drop of 51 people.
By April 15 of 2017, the first year of the Trump administration, with 346 people killed by police, it looked like the numbers were going to stay steady. But by the end of the year, with 1,194 people killed, there was an increase of 23 people over 2016. And this year is worse. We’re up to 378 people killed by April 15, the highest yet. If this trend continues, this could be the first year tracked by the site where we have 1,300 people killed by police in the United States.
It was my long-held belief that police brutality would increase under the Trump administration. While nearly all policing decisions are made at the state or county level, Trump has already signaled to police that he is in their corner and has made remarks suggesting that he didn’t really mind a little police brutality here and there. The Department of Justice meanwhile made clear last year that it wouldn’t be spending its resources to hold corrupt police departments accountable when it ended a DOJ program that scrutinized them. Now a recent decision from the conservative-majority Supreme Court has doubled down on protections for police who use force even in situations where it was not called for.
These actions each have a trickle-down effect and it appears we are now living in that effect. In spite of previous police rhetoric claiming they no longer felt comfortable using force, they clearly do. The “Ferguson effect” was a lie. Police are using lethal force even more than in 2014. It hasn’t slowed down — it has sped up.
“They are fighting a war on drugs and engage citizens in paramilitary conflict on a daily basis. And the number of citizen casualties in this war is much higher than in the war on terror. That says a lot about our national priorities.” I would substitute the word “STUPIDITY” for “priorities. READ How the War on Drugs Has Destroyed Justice! = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/how-the-war-on-drugs-has-destroyed-justice/
We all remember this one! Black man ran because he had a warrant for child support; cop shot him in the back several times!
Excerpts from the Article:
More than 1,000 Americans were killed in 2017 by a particularly violent class of fellow citizens. Some of those killed by these highly trained gunmen were children, and many of them were unarmed. Are these shooters terrorists? Heavily armed gang members? No. They’re the police.
According to The Free Thought Project (“TFTP”), police killed at least 1,184 Americans in 2017. Terrorists, on the other hand, killed 12. Those sworn to uphold the law have killed nearly 100 times as many as those attempting to make a political statement through an act of violence on American soil.
The number killed in mass shootings, such as those in Nevada and Texas, are not included in this government tally of terrorist killings. But according to TFTP, even if the deaths from these mass shootings are included, police have still killed far more people than all the mass shooters in 2017 combined.
The tendency of police to kill so many Americans has vexed criminologists and sociologists. Some suggest that America is riddled with crime, but the numbers don’t support that thesis. In the United Kingdom, there are 109.96 crimes per 1,000 citizens. That is nearly three times the rate in America, which stands at 41.29 crimes per 1,000 citizens. But police in the U.K. killed only four people in 2017.
In fact, America stands out across the globe for its high rate of police killings. According to TFTP, American police killed more people in four days than were killed in all of 2017 by police in Germany, England, Spain, Switzerland, and Iceland—combined.
The Free Thought Project proposes two reasons why police in America are so deadly compared to the rest of the world. First off, American police are rarely punished for brutality and killing. Police killings are often investigated by other officers from the same agency as the shooter. Prosecutors, who work with local police on a daily basis, are loathe to charge cops with crimes.
But a far bigger problem in America is the militarization of the police force. Police are arguably no longer citizens on patrol, who protect and serve, but members of a standing army that occupies the nation. They are fighting a war on drugs and engage citizens in paramilitary conflict on a daily basis. And the number of citizen casualties in this war is much higher than in the war on terror. That says a lot about our national priorities.
Another incident of what clearly was an unnecessary killing of a black man by police. Here we learn that peoples’ biases affect what they remember of what they see, and they believe what they remember, even if it is not supported by the video.
Excerpts from the Article:
Stephon Clark, an African-American man, was killed by Sacramento police in his grandmother’s backyard last month, setting off protests and conflict over the police’s actions. Police initially said they thought Clark was armed. But after the shooting, the officers found no weapon on Clark, only an iPhone. The city’s police chief has been credited with responding quickly to the protests by making the officers’ bodycam footage available, in an attempt to help the public discern what really happened.
But bodycam footage is unlikely to solve every conflict. Why? We are psychology scholars whose research focuses on the legal implications of memory errors. Our research, and that of other psychologists and legal scholars, suggests that bodycams may not be the definitive solution to conflicts over police behavior.
The belief that bodycam footage will both unequivocally show what happened in critical incidents involving police and civilians and thus curb unjustified uses of force is shared by politicians, police departments, civil liberties groups and most of the public. The hope is that bodycam use will help untangle the increasingly conflicted accounts between police and citizens about what happened during a fatal or near-fatal encounter. That hope has prompted local and federal governments to spend millions of dollars ensuring bodycams’ widespread adoption.
Simply put, people trust what they see. So video feels like it should be the cure that will diminish the number of interactions between police and citizens that result in excessive force.
But psychological research suggests there are at least three reasons why bodycam footage will not provide the objectivity people expect.
First is a limitation of the technology: Bodycam footage typically provides a restricted view of an incident. What people can see is often ambiguous, because of the positioning of the camera at chest height on the officer’s uniform. Other limits are created by the camera lens and environmental obstructions. Importantly, people perceive ambiguous stimuli in ways that match their beliefs and preferences, a phenomenon coined “wishful seeing.” Applied to police footage, this means people’s attitudes toward police influence what they see. For example, when people watched video of an officer interacting with a citizen, those who were instructed to focus on the officer and who identified with police – that is, they reported thinking they had similar values to police officers or shared a similar background – viewed the officer’s actions as less incriminating. These people also tended to recommend more lenient punishment for the officer compared to people who focused on the officer but did not identify with police. So, if you trust police officers and believe you share their values, you see their behavior as more justified.
Second, the fact the officer is not depicted in the bodycam footage means people will focus only on the civilian’s behavior and actions. That can have significant consequences. For example, in police interrogations, when the camera is directed solely at the suspect, people tend to discount the detective’s role in the scene. Conversely, when they can see the detective, they think about how suggestive or coercive the interrogation tactics may be and tend to be more sympathetic to the suspect. This means the perspective of the camera literally skews the information people focus on. Likewise, because bodycams focus on the civilian, people may ignore important information concerning the officer’s role in the encounter. Indeed, some evidence suggests that a bystander’s recording of a police encounter can paint a widely different picture than the bodycam, leading to entirely different conclusions about what the footage shows.
Third, people’s general attitudes toward police don’t just influence how they interpret the police behavior in footage. Those attitudes also influence what they remember seeing in bodycam footage. We found that people who identified with police (again, people who thought the police were similar to them) were more likely to rely on an officer’s report to make sense of what they saw in bodycam footage. More specifically, they reported that the civilian in the video was wielding a knife – though no knife was in the video – because the officer said he saw a knife. Those who viewed the video were trying to make sense of the officer’s actions using information they had previously learned, even though it did not fit with the footage. In essence, the officer’s report served as a source of misleading information, and that is what people remembered seeing.
Unfortunately, research on misinformation effects such as this shows they are notoriously difficult to correct, even when people are warned the information is wrong or are given an explanation for why the error occurred.
All of these factors would pose less of a problem if people had the ability to acknowledge their biases and correct for them. But, they don’t.
Instead, people believe that what they see and remember is an accurate representation of the world, even if what they see and remember is incorrect.
Bodycam footage is enormously valuable because it will likely protect both officers and civilians from false accusations. However, it must be acknowledged that people’s visual and memory biases are more likely to emerge when evidence is ambiguous and people are overconfident in their objectivity.
So bodycam footage is unlikely to be the only solution to improve fraught police–community relations. The justice system is going to have to wrestle further with how to handle these problems.
NJ attorney general announces statewide initiative to strengthen police and community relations – a smart move! kra
Increasingly, politicians are seeing what many of us have seen for years: we must improve the broken down relationship between police and those they serve. Remember and read my article Most Cops are Good Cops.
Despite too many incidents of police abuse and excesses, this is the TRUTH.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal today announced a new initiative called the 21st Century Community Policing Project that was created in an attempt to promote stronger police-community relations. Town hall meetings, discussions and other events will take place in each county a minimum four times every year. The new website nj.gov/oag/2121 will be a clearinghouse for information about the initiative. More than 80 events are scheduled across the state in the next 12 months with a goal of strengthening the bonds between law enforcement and the broader community, Grewal said.
“Every day, law enforcement officers across New Jersey work closely with the members of the public to keep our streets safe,” Grewal said. “But that does not mean we cannot do better, and strengthening police-community relations in New Jersey is one of my top priorities. Despite the best efforts of many people, we know that divides exist in some instances between law enforcement and the communities they serve. In certain cases, these divides have been created by misunderstandings rooted in past events, and in other cases, they are based on misperceptions about law enforcement.”
Under the new initiative, each county prosecutor will be responsible for organizing and hosting a public meeting every quarter with community leaders.Before each meeting, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office will provide the prosecutors with content and other material relevant to that quarter’s topic.
The meetings will be open to the public, and the county prosecutors will be asked to extend invitations to a broad range of community leaders, including representatives from local law enforcement, religious groups, civil rights organizations, high schools, colleges, universities, and
municipal alliance committees.
In the spring, the topic will be investigations of shootings involving police officers. In the summer the topic will be opioids. In the fall law enforcement officials will discuss immigration enforcement. In the winter the topic will be bias crimes.
The attorney general will attend at least one meeting in each of the 21 counties. A county-by-county schedule of events planned for Spring 2018 is posted on the 21/21 Community Policing Project webpage at www.nj.gov/oag/2121.
This rather lengthy article is in the form of an interview of Alisa Roth, about her new book, “Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness”. It is excellent. As many of you know, the neglect of the mentally ill in America is an absolute disgrace and costs us about $444 BILLION dollars every year! See related articles on this website. During my five years in prison I SAW that mental health treatment is virtually non existent!
We need to treat the mentally ill, not just keep locking them up!
Excerpts from the Article:
In her career as a journalist, Alisa Roth has written about people in what she calls “forgotten communities,” such as immigrants and the poor. But when she began focusing on the mentally ill trapped in the U.S. justice system, after a friend’s brother was locked up, Roth discovered what she came to realize was the most forgotten community of all.
“I can’t think of a group that’s more reviled and more misunderstood,” she told TCR. In a discussion with staff writer Isidoro Rodriguez about her new book, “Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness,” Roth, a former Soros Justice Fellow, describes how jails and prisons have become the nation’s principal institutions for treating mentally troubled individuals, and suggests that strategies for developing more humane, treatment-oriented alternatives have to begin at the state and local levels.
We talk about the issue of race in the criminal justice system, we talk about the issue of poverty in the criminal justice system, but we don’t talk about mental illness. These three intersect and overlap, but we can’t think about global reform without addressing the mental health question.
As I mention in the book, I have a friend whose brother developed a severe mental illness and committed a horrible crime. As I was thinking about this whole system, it kept coming back to him. If we as a society can allow him to see an alternative outcome, and not spend the rest of his life in prison, we can allow that for other people who have done less morally or criminally complicated things.
The criminal justice system is extremely closed in terms of access, in terms of data, and in terms of information. Likewise, the mental health care system is bureaucratic and complicated. So just figuring out where treatment is being provided, and who should be providing that treatment is difficult.
Then there’s the whole health care aspect. People are not allowed to, or are unwilling to, share information about treatment. And there’s the stigma question in both systems. There is still shame attached to having a mental illness or having a family member with mental illness. We march for breast cancer or AIDS, but we don’t want to talk about mental illness and we don’t want to admit it. So, getting people to open up and say “yes, I do have this issue” or “yes, my child does have this issue and these are the struggles we are going through,” is very difficult. I am very grateful to all the people who were willing to share their stories with me.
Unfortunately, we have abandoned the notion of reform and rehabilitation in our criminal justice system. We’ve moved back to the punitive notion. In some measure we think that people who are locked up in jail or prison deserve what they get. There is a dehumanizing aspect to the whole criminal justice system, and solitary confinement is part of that. If we don’t think of somebody as a full human being, then it becomes easier to do something really awful to them. If you think of this person as your brother, or our uncle, or your husband, it’s much harder to lock them in a box 23/7.
There’s also the fact that so many of us don’t know what goes on in the criminal justice system. The system as a whole is so abstract for such a large portion of our population, that we just don’t think or know about it. People have no idea that there are tens of thousands of people locked in solitary confinement on any given day. In a lot of places and for a very long time it’s just been how it’s done. It’s a very easy solution to put someone who is being unruly or difficult out of sight and out of mind. I think it speaks to a larger issue: We take people with mental illness, we lock them away, someplace we don’t need to see them. If we put them in jail or prison we don’t need to see them or step over them on our way to Starbucks in the morning. Solitary confinement is a reflection of that. But it makes everything so much worse.
As awareness of the problem of large numbers of the mentally ill in the criminal justice system grows, judges and attorneys are more attuned to it. It’s not that people don’t know it’s there, but it’s as much as about changing attitudes as anything else. I talk to a lot of judges and I’ve said “Hey, in a lot of cases you’re being asked to make what’s effectively a medical decision and you’re not a doctor; you’re a judge. ‘
In an ideal world, we would be able to keep everybody with a serious mental illness out of the criminal justice system. In an ideal world, we’d be able to keep a lot of people without a mental illness out of the criminal justice system. We lock up a lot of people very easily. I think that diversion is absolutely critical, but in order to make wide scale diversion possible, we can’t just look at this little tiny piece of the problem. We have to remember that we are operating in a very large ecosystem, not just of criminal justice but also of mental healthcare. We need to see wide-scale reform of both these systems so that people aren’t getting to the point where they’re so sick.
You see people in jail and prison who are sicker than a lot of people you see in psychiatric hospitals. We need to be catching the diseases earlier and treating them earlier. It’s great to train the cops to not arrest people, but if you don’t have some place for the cops to take them that’s not jail, they’re still going to wind up in jail. That’s what happened in San Antonio when they created their crisis center system. [They realized] you can train cops as much as you want, but they’re still going to take people to jail if there’s no other option. The other part of it is, as long as we are going to have people that end up in the criminal justice system, we have to make sure that when they’re there, they’re getting the treatment that they need and not just being warehoused in prisons.
We’ve started locking up way more people than we ever did…and when you cast such a big net, of course you’re going to pull in a lot of people with mental illness. When you break it down even further and look at co-occurring substance use disorders, a very large majority of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system have a co-occurring substance use disorder. So, if we’re arresting tons of people for drug possession, drug use, drug selling, drug dealing, it makes perfect sense that we’ll pick up people with mental illness.
The story of mental illness in the criminal justice system is as much a story of mass incarceration as it is of de-institutionalization. Using policing tactics such as “broken windows” and “stop and frisk,” allowed us to lock up huge amounts of people [and] made it easier to arrest people with mental illness…. we do have a severe lack of mental health care in the community and we have made it extremely difficult to get treatment for mental illness. But it’s not that everybody was getting treatment in a hospital and now they can’t get it, we just don’t have that and we’ve never had it.
I think we’re starting to move in that direction, very slowly. We’re seeing more people acknowledging an issue with depression or anxiety. We’re still not seeing a lot of actors come up at the Oscars and mention that they have schizophrenia, but I think it’s becoming more socially acceptable to talk about these things. We know that people can change, and society can change. There was a time that people didn’t talk about HIV or cancer, and now we wave flags for it. We need to get over the fear and stigma [attached to] mental illness in our society. The narrative in the media and in politics that links mental illness and violence is very damaging. And it’s hard to get over that stigma when every time something bad happens somebody is out there pointing a finger at mental illness.
Getting police to respond in a more thoughtful, more community/medically oriented way, instead of the tough, warrior way, is terrific. The big caveat is that if you don’t have the whole system set up to accommodate this it can only get you so far. You might deescalate a particular situation, but if you don’t have any longer-term solutions, you’re going to be back picking up the same person with no place to go. Often communities think CIT will be a step to solving the problem, but you have to think about how you’re going to divert, what’s the mental health treatment going to be, and how do we make sure we’re not picking people up again next week or next month.
The thing about criminal justice is that so much of it happens on such a local level that, on the flip side, a lot of reform can also happen on a local level. If I’m in Manhattan, and get arrested, it could potentially be a different outcome then if I’m in the Bronx or New Jersey. Because it’s so local, I think the federal question is almost irrelevant. Even the laws of involuntary commitment are handled at a local level. I think with a lot of laws, particularly with HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and involuntary commitment, it really comes down to a very narrow line of navigating between civil liberties and safety for the person and the public.
Read the Whole Story:
Sheriff: It’s ‘financially better’ for cops to kill suspects than injure them – Of Course! Why didn’t I think of that?~ kra
What a doozie! This story was sent to me by my internet friend known as GellyBean. Thanks, Gelly!
Now this idiot candidate for Sheriff says he did not mean what he said. Uh huh.
Excerpts from the Article:
A California sheriff who’s trying to beat his chief deputy and win re-election is fighting back after the release of a 2006 video in which he says it’s “financially better” for cops to kill suspects than injure them. Sheriff Donny Youngblood, of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, told KBFX Eyewitness News Monday the 12-year-old statements were misquoted.
“I stand by the intent of what I was trying to get across — that just because someone doesn’t die doesn’t mean we escape with less money or unharmed,” Youngblood said. “Do I wish I would’ve said it differently? Absolutely. When you listen to the verbiage, it doesn’t sound good. But I think the people of this county know that’s not what I mean.” He went on to say the department’s officers are trained “to shoot to stop the threat — not to kill.”
The video shows Youngblood, who was a challenger for the office then, sitting at a table during an interview with the Kern County Detention Officers Association, arguing it was financially better for the department to kill a suspect rather than injure them.
“You know what happens when a guy makes a bad shooting on somebody and kills them? Three million bucks and the family goes away after a long back and forth,” Youngblood said.
“Which way do you think is better financially – to cripple them or kill them – for the county?” he asked. A person, who was not seen, replied “kill them.” “Absolutely,” Youngblood replied. “Because, if they’re crippled, we get to take care of them for life. And that cost goes way up.”
Chris Ashley, the director of Kern County Detention Officers Association which posted the video, told The Guardian the group was “disgusted” by Youngblood’s comments.
Thank God: Increasingly, states are realizing that these “tough on crime” forfeiture laws were one dumb ass idea! Read related articles on this website. In 2014 police seized more than was taken in all burglaries nationwide!
Excerpts from the Article:
A bill providing new protections for people to regain property and cash seized by Tennessee law enforcement officials is headed to Gov. Bill Haslam’s desk after receiving state Senate approval Thursday. The vote for the bill, sponsored by Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, was unanimous. “This is a rare bill because you had the ACLU on one side and the Beacon Center on the other, and they both agreed on it,” Gardenhire told senators.
The bill is intended to address long-standing complaints and controversies involving law enforcement seizures of property tied to actual crimes or suspected unlawful activity. Sheriffs, police chiefs and prosecutors have defended the practice, saying it deprives suspected criminals like drug traffickers of assets that law enforcement can use to fund future operations.
Under current state civil-asset forfeiture laws and procedures, agencies often keep the property or cash. Critics have long charged the legal deck is often stacked against innocent third-party owners.
“Tennesseans should not have their property seized without being charged with, or convicted of a crime,” Venable said. “This bill brings much-needed reforms which should drastically curtail the practice of civil asset forfeiture.”
Daniel had pushed the issue for several years but encountered stiff opposition from local and state law enforcement officials. Last year, Carter, chairman of the House Civil Justice Committee, engaged in the issue after his panel heard horror stories involving several Tennesseans’ efforts to regain their property.
A Knoxville attorney described at that hearing how a woman suspected of drunken driving was stopped and charged with possession of prescription drugs for sale. Police seized $11,000 in cash. The drugs turned out to be over-the-counter antacid medication, the cash from the just settled estate of the woman’s late mother, according to the attorney.
A criminal court judge threw out the case, but the attorney said the woman had to fight a lengthy and confusing battle in state administrative courts to regain her money and vehicle.
The legislation requires authorities to provide quick, formal notice within five days of a property seizure of a forfeiture-warrant hearing, regardless of whether the person was present or not at the time the property was taken. It also says a seizing agency found to be in the wrong must pay attorneys fees not to exceed the lesser of 25 percent of property or cash or $3,000.
In the case of those charged at the scene and their assets seized, they, too have a more defined legal process to seek return, provided the property was not involved in commission of a crime. Another significant aspect, is that cash itself is not in and of itself a crime.
For years, critics have charged that law enforcement in Tennessee and across the country have taken advantage of seizures to fund operations, calling the practice “policing for profit,” a description denounced by law enforcement.
Illegal tactics used to force confessions from California prisoners, ACLU alleges – Widespread Crimes – WHY are they not prosecuted? kra
What is a word stronger than “outrageous”? Horrific? Despicable? Those responsible for this entrenched system to violate rights should be imprisoned! AGAIN, where is the U S Attorney – the feds?
Not everyone has a famous star like Bob Dylan to tell their story, as Rubin Carter did!
Excerpts from the Article:
Prosecutors and sheriff’s deputies in California’s Orange County used jailhouse informants in an extraordinary and long-running scheme to illegally obtain confessions from criminal defendants, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is alleging in a new lawsuit. The suit, filed early Wednesday, alleges that the district attorney’s office and sheriff’s department in the suburban county south of Los Angeles routinely employed prisoners – including hardened gang members – as informants and used “threats of violence to coerce confessions” from defendants, violating their rights to an attorney. The ACLU cited a mountain of evidence, amassed in criminal cases over the past five years, that prosecutors obtained material illegally, suppressed parts favorable to the defence, and sought to cover up the existence of the scheme.
“For 30 years, the Orange County sheriff’s department and district attorney’s office have been operating an illegal informant program out of the jails,” the ACLU lawyer Brendan Hamme told the Guardian. “They’ve used it to coerce information from defendants, including with threats of death, and at the same time they’ve been systematically hiding evidence of that program. These sorts of tactics are offensive to basic constitutional principles and ethical duties.”
The ACLU’s 41-page complaint lays out the particulars of the scandal, much of it based on documents produced by the county and by the courtroom testimony of county officials, in unforgiving detail: evidence of informants telling their cell mates they were marked for death by a “shot caller”, or gang leader, and could only save themselves if they talked in detail about their crimes; evidence that one informant was encouraged by the police to help frame a 14-year-old boy for attempted murder even though several witnesses said the boy was nowhere near the scene of the crime; evidence that informants were paid tens of thousands of dollars for their services; evidence that prosecutors had repeatedly failed to hand over documentation to defence lawyers as required by law; evidence that sheriffs had repeatedly lied under oath when asked about the existence of the informant program.
The scandal in Orange County, a bastion of law-and-order conservatism, first erupted in 2013, when Scott Sanders, a public defender, noticed that the same jailhouse informant was cited in two high-profile murder cases he was working. That informant turned to be a member of the Mexican mafia, whose jailhouse file included the instruction “Do not use as a CI [confidential informant]”.
One of the compromised cases was the biggest mass killing in the county’s history. Prosecutors went all out for the death penalty for Scott Dekraai, who shot and killed eight people in a hair salon in 2011, but the scandal delayed sentencing for years and the judge forced the county to settle for a life sentence instead.
In Orange County, the scandal has been remarkable for the tenacity of the officials at the center of the storm. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has announced she will not be seeking re-election this year, but has persisted in saying that any abuses were the work of a few rogue deputies only. Tony Rackauckas, the district attorney, has been stridently unapologetic and is locked in a furious re-election battle with a county supervisor who is using the scandal as his primary political weapon.