Police Abuse

NO, Settlements Over Police Brutality DON'T Bring Accountability to Cops or Prevent Future Police Brutality


New Jersey State Troopers

A shocking story of police abuse from New Jersey, via NJ.com:

In the suit filed in Superior Court in Newton, Raul Sanchez had said he was on his property in Wantage in the early morning hours of Nov. 21, 2009 when he saw "four people with flashlights heading toward him."

The troopers threw him on the ground, handcuffed him and asked, "Where's the gun?" according to the suit. Sanchez said he told the troopers he had no gun.

Nonetheless, the troopers kicked him on his back and sides and beat him with their flashlights, he said. They continued to beat him after he was handcuffed on the ground and not resisting arrest, according to the suit.

Sanchez suffered three broken ribs and a bruised spleen as a result of the attack, according to his attorney, Jeffrey Patti.

"Luckily, there was no permanent damage to the spleen and the broken ribs have healed," Patti said, noting that Sanchez, now 61, was 56 at the time of the attack.

No criminal charges were ever filed against Sanchez as a result of the incident, Patti said.

He added that to the best of his knowledge, the troopers have all kept their jobs and none have been disciplined.

Even being accused of owning a gun in New Jersey can be dangerous to your health. Sanchez's lawyer claims police targeted Sanchez because he complained about patrons of the next door bar throwing garbage on his property.

The settlement, negotiated by a deputy attorney general on behalf of the four troopers, protects the state from having to admit any wrong-doing in the incident by offering money in exchange for Sanchez dropping the lawsuit. So taxpayers are paying not just for the settlement but for the thug cops' representation. The State Police won't comment, so it's impossible to find out if they even pretended to run an investigation into the serious allegations of corruption made in the lawsuit.

I'm not going to deny anyone their right to extract as much money from the government as they can when they've been brutalized by government employees but the process of obtaining a settlement over claims of police brutality does NOTHING to bring accountability to police. Yet that claim is often floated. Sanchez's attorney says he hoped that by "holding those four troopers accountable, future victims of police brutality can be spared."

Similarly, a police brutality case settled in Philadelphia had one columnist suggesting the settlement, which also led to no discipline of the officers involved in the brutality or the cover-up, meant "not every cop who behaves badly gets a pass." Much later in the piece the columnist admitted that "considering that taxpayers are the ones indirectly footing the bill and, as far as I know—police declined to comment—the officers aren't facing any disciplinary action, I'm not sure it's a lesson learned." She finished by calling on Philadelphia police chief Charles Ramsey to investigate the cops' behavior. And he should. But as Ramsey himself has stressed before, his options for disciplining and even terminating cops are severely limited by the police contract, something not mentioned by that columnist nor many of the others who touch on the issue of police brutality at all.

h/t Drake