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Jury finds that cops intentionally framed innocent man for murder

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Reprinted from by Josie Duffy

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In 1981, DC police framed Donald Gates for rape and murder. He spent 27 years in prison. On Wednesday, a federal jury ruled that the city will have to pay up. From the Washington Post:
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Jurors found that two D.C. homicide detectives fabricated all or part of a confession purportedly made by the wrongly accused Donald E. Gates to a police informant. The detectives also withheld other evidence from Gates before he was convicted in the fatal attack on a 21-year-old Georgetown University student in Rock Creek Park, jurors found. [...]

Jurors deliberated less than seven hours before finding that Taylor, the lead detective, had violated Gates's right to a fair trial by feeding Gates's name and other details to the informant, and that both detectives had conspired and withheld information.

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Gates is now 64. He was exonerated in 2009 after DNA evidence proved his innocence. Federal prosecutors refused to comment on whether the detectives will be held criminally liable.

This is a disturbing example of how sovereign immunity can go horribly wrong. The two cops who framed a guy for murder are retired, faithfully spending their monthly pension. They still work in security, one for the Fed and one in entertainment. They purposefully put an innocent man in jail. As of now, they face no charges and are subject to no punishment.

Jurors will now decide how much Gates should receive in damages. No matter the sum, it can't make up for the fact that he lost 27 years of his life. Still, he certainly deserves a significant amount of monetary compensation. But the two cops won't have to pay a dime. Instead, the well-deserved money will come out of taxpayer's pockets.

Taxpayers paid the cops salaries. All the planning, lying, and coercion necessary to frame Gates? All on the taxpayers tab. They paid for twenty-seven years of an innocent man's incarceration. They will pay compensation for law enforcement's criminal acts. And they will continue to pay the two cops' pension every month.

Exoneration was critical, but not enough. Compensation was necessary, but not enough. There can only be true justice when the cops are held criminally and civilly liable for their crimes.

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