There is much angst and consternation over prosecutors and grand juries who refuse to bring charges against police officers, even when incontrovertible evidence is presented. Even with incontrovertible audio and video evidence, prosecutors are loath to prosecute rogue law enforcement personnel.
Let’s examine the reasons why it is so difficult to prosecute thug cops: most prosecutors are former police officers or have extensive dealings with police departments and have ongoing relationships with police departments in their respective jurisdictions. They are friendly with the judges in their jurisdictions, as well. This, along with “absolute immunity”, Prosecutors cannot be sued for malfeasance…it takes a judge or “master”, who the legislature appoints (who prosecutors are friendly with) to bring charges on a rogue prosecutor (which almost never happens).
In addition, prosecutors guide the actions of grand and petit juries. Prosecutors are not required to introduce any evidence to grand juries, and can and do easily “whitewash” the actions of rogue cops. On the other hand, prosecutors can (and often do) go after honest citizens who seek justice outside official channels…prosecutors have ultimate power and are not afraid to use it – their immunity sees to that.
Another aspect to a grand jury’s inability to prosecute bad cops is the fear of retribution…cops drive around all day, have nothing but time, have access to various databases, and can easily get the names and addresses of grand jurors…this, in itself can be a powerful deterrent against grand jurors who “want to do the right thing” and prosecute bad cops. There are many cases of cops parking in front of grand jurors’ residences, following them around, and threatening to issue citations to them, in order to “convince” them to “make the right decision”…the “thin blue line” at its worst…
The whole system has to change.
Eliminate absolute and qualified immunity for all public officials. The fear of personal lawsuits would be a powerful deterrent against abuses of the public. Any funds disbursed to civilians as a result of official misconduct must be taken from the police pension funds–NOT from the taxpayers. Grand juries must be superior to the prosecutor; ALL evidence must be presented to grand jurors. Failure to do so must be considered a felony and subject prosecutors to prosecution themselves. No police agency can be allowed to investigate itself. Internal affairs departments must be restricted to minor in-house investigations of behavior between cops. All investigations must be handled by outside agencies, preferably at the state level. Civilian police review boards must be free of police influence. Members of civilian review boards must have NO ties to police departments. Relatives of police would be prohibited from serving…Recently, the “supreme court” threw police another “bone”. The court ruled that police are not responsible for their actions if they are “ignorant of the law”…now, let’s get this straight–honest citizens cannot use “ignorance of the law” as an excuse, but cops can??
Revolution is sorely needed…..
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.