Will a jury signal to cops it’s wrong to harass citizens videotaping their actions?
In Orange County, one outcome is as sure as a 5 p.m. traffic jam on the 5, 91, 55, 22, 57 and 405, Republican control of the Newport Beach city council, and a grotesque sewer spill at Doheny State Beach: Some cops are going to falsify official reports to frame innocent citizens.
I long ago stopped counting the number of times officers have been caught lying by irrefutable evidence and then, as if the corruption is a badge of honor, climb in rank in their various police agencies. Sometimes such a case involves simply omitting exculpatory facts from reports. For example, in 2009 a South County housewife who had led a crime-free life found her world turned upside down when a deputy arrested her for shoplifting a $100 jar of face cream. The cop didn’t report that a store surveillance recording he had watched had disproved the crime.
A year later, two cops verified a burglary suspect’s alibi, but didn’t make any notes of that crucial information in their arrest reports. In hopes of sending the man away to prison, those officers later repeatedly assured a jury they knew of no alibi. After a bombshell, contradictory recording emerged of the officers discovering the alibi was truthful, both cops claimed temporary amnesia.
Some cop cheating involves the use of force. In 2008, a group of officers witnessed a white cop unnecessarily fire three, painful Taser blasts into a handcuffed, Latino suspect, who’d been restrained in the back of a patrol car. At the excessive force trial, all the cop witnesses disavowed their original, recorded observations made to a grand jury so that the jury would acquit the shooter.
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