May 18, 2015

Videos Show: Cops Lie A LOT




A report shocking to absolutely no one with any familiarity with the criminal "justice" system has found that cops do not always tell the truth, a fact that has come to light thanks to the proliferation of video and audio recordings made by civilians. 
The Civilian Complaint Review Board released the report [pdf] on Wednesday, finding 26 instances in 2014 which cops may have filed false official statements. In 2013, that number was only 13; in 2010, it was only two. 
This is not to say that all, or even most cops lie, considering the NYPD has about 35,000 officers on the force. But still, 26 instances could make for 26 more innocent individuals accused of committing crimes or infractions they probably did not commit. More chillingly, the CCRB notes that the uptick in exposed false statements is likely due to the proliferation of cell phone videos and recordings taken by bystanders during police/civilian interactions, which suggests even more cop statements could be proven false by video documentation.
Videos revealed, for instance, an officer pulling a gun on a bystander armed only with a cell phone and yelling a racial slur at him—that officer stated officially that he had felt threatened by the bystander and had never used a racially offensive term.
In another instance, video footage revealed officers punching a civilian who was riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, kicking him to the ground, and hitting him in the head with handcuffs. In his official review, the officer said he did not use handcuffs to strike the victim. A third instance showed video of an officer shoving a handcuffed man into a bar door during an arrest, though the officer claimed the arrestee tripped on his own.
"It is more likely now than ever that the officers’ lack of truthfulness is going to be captured, documented, and that is a function of video,” Richard D. Emery, the chairman of the review board, told the Times. "What we’re trying to highlight is that when it happens, it should be taken seriously." 
The city's been discussing using body cameras to monitor cops' actions during arrests, and the Police Foundation recently launched a $60K pilot program to test them. But though early efforts seem to have been successful, there's a difference in accountability between a camera a cop knows is attached to him or her (and can turn off) and a film or recording taken by a bystander without the cop's knowledge.
And of course, even videos aren’t necessarily enough to secure a penalty against an officer.

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