Police Abuse

Reason-Rupe Poll: Half of Americans Think Cops Not Held Accountable

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The April 2014 Reason-Rupe poll found that half of Americans think law enforcement officers are not held accountable for misconduct. That number rises to 64 percent for Hispanics and 66 percent for African Americans.

Do you think police officers are generally held accountable for misconduct, or not?

• Yes: 46 percent

• No: 50 percent

• Don't know: 4 percent

Police misconduct is reviewed through internal affairs investigations, a process that has officers investigating other officers. In February 2013, Los Angeles Police Department officer Sunil Dutta wrote in the Washington Post about his time working as an internal affairs investigator. Dutta criticized the process, saying that it didn't help a community's perception of the police and didn't help officers either:

[When] I interviewed community members who had filed complaints against officers, I was disappointed to learn that, despite my reassurances and best efforts to conduct impartial inquiries, many complainants believed that a fair investigation was simply not possible. Nor do misconduct investigations satisfy a skeptical public. If an officer is exonerated, the community often believes that malfeasance is being covered up.

Police serve the community—any concerns about their integrity must be transparently, expeditiously and judiciously resolved. Relying on cops to police cops is neither efficient nor confidence-inspiring.

Dutta argued that video may be one way to change the perception of police departments.

There's just no excuse for not recording police contacts with the public. Technology has made cameras effective and affordable. Some officers already record their arrests to protect themselves against false allegations of misconduct. This should be standard operating procedure.

Reason TV recently spoke with former Seattle police officer Steve Ward about his company Vievu, which makes body cameras for the police:

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  1. And the other half is either a cop, prosecutor, prison guard, cop wannabe, or has one of the above in their immediate family

  2. Police serve the community

    Yep. The community being everyone except any individual with whom they have dealings with. As in everyone but you. Unless you’re politically connected.

  3. Rockstar Games nailed it when they painted the LSPD cruisers with the motto “Obey and survive” in GTA V. Although, to be truly accurate, it should be “Obey and you might survive.”

    1. I thought the Obey was for the proles and the Survive for the King’s Men? Officer safety and all

  4. This just in: 46 percent of Americans not paying attention.

    1. Show me someone who trusts the police, and I’ll show you someone who has never been a victim of a crime or been accused of a crime.

      1. Seriously. It was a lesson I learned when I was eight. Apparently getting your house broken into and your car stolen is hilarious.

        1. I don’t remember how old I was, I just remember the cop saying “So? What do you want me to do about it?” before leaving.

        2. It’s also your fault. And it’s an excuse to look around your house for things for which you can be charged, because the arrest that’s right in front of them is much easier than going out and finding someone to arrest.

          1. Way back when my apartment was broken into and I made the mistake of calling the cops, after running me for warrants they wanted to search the place for drugs. When I declined they left.

            1. I had a somewhat less shit experience wherein they sent one uniform, took a report on the burglary, despite us knowing who did it and pointing out the incriminating evidence, they promptly filed it away and took no further action.

              1. One of my coworkers told a story of how her neighbor’s car was broken into and a bunch of CDs were stolen. So she called the cops who took a report and did nothing else. Well, the neighbor went to a nearby store that sells disks, and sure enough her collection was right there. The law requires that when people sell disks to stores, the store must take some personal information. Armed with that she went to the police who, after mocking her for doing their job, reluctantly charged the thief.

                1. sells *used* disks

          2. the arrest that’s right in front of them is much easier than going out and finding someone to arrest.

            Not to mention the person who stole your shit is like, a real criminal or something. They might be dangerous and therefore the cop might not make it home to Mrs. Pig safe and sound.

      2. My car was broken into a few years back and had the stereo as well as anything that wasn’t nailed down stolen. The cops couldn’t even be bothered to send some fat pig out to look at it. They took the report over the phone and that was it. They’re fucking useless at best.

  5. Police serve the community

    They must be using the “street” definition of this phrase here.

    1. Sure they are, the “Law Enforcement Community”

    2. Or when they get finished beating up a prole, the others jeer with sayings such as, “On snap! You got SERVED!”

  6. Simple fix – full jury trials for every complaint. If the video ‘disappears’ or the camera ‘malfunctions’, the cop’s statement is inadmissable. No police are permitted in the courtroom ‘for solidarity’ during the proceedings. Only if they’ve been called to testilie.

    1. testilie

      Took me a second to get it, but I laughed.

  7. The simple fix is to end sovereign immunity and make cops carry liability insurance just like every other profession. If employers want to pay for that fine. But, bad cops would be weeded out as insurance companies just refused to cover known bad actors.

    1. That would probably work.

      1. Until the government passes a mandate to insure all officers regardless of past history…

        1. An an individual mandate to make sure the decent ones also continue to carry insurance. Naturally, there would have to be a penaltax.

      2. naw, because the union would ensure that the cost was part of the contract, and that it was a group policy divided by the number of officers, rather than individual officers being insured. I’m sure somebody knows what I am trying to say and can translate it into English. But the effect would be that, although bad actors caused insurance premiums to rise, they would rise collectively, not just for an individual officer.

  8. However, you might get the same percentages from the gen’l pop. (not a race difference, though) if you subbed any occup’n for “police”. People tend to think a lot of other people don’t do well & aren’t well sup’vd on their jobs.

  9. the arrest that’s right in front of them is much easier than going out and finding someone to arrest.

  10. DoD study on random polygraphs for personnel. http://t.co/Tr7uafTd

    “the polygraph is the single most effective tool for finding information people were trying to hide.” – DIA, NSA.

    Make policy that polygraphs for all new hires expire every 2-5yrs. http://shar.es/epfm2

    The honest, brave officers with integrity deserve better.

    And so does the public.

    Wherever you are in the World, in your own jurisdictions, in your own capacity, you can do something, anything, just one thing. And make a difference.

    Break the code. Break the culture.

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