We see it again and again. A bad cop gets caught, usually on a smart phone camera, breaking the law. The video refutes what the bad cop says happened. And... one or two or more other cops are caught lying to cover for the bad cop.
There should be a strictly enforced law that when cops cover for bad cops they lose their job and go to jail for at least a year, without probation or parole.
Cop culture is poisoned with criminal loyalty and it has to be cleaned up. Police unions will scream bloody murder. Let them. They are abetting criminals.
It won't take many prosecutions to change things. And the prosecutions should not be in the hands of locals. The law should be a federal law and it should be a federal crime. There is too much cronyism to trust local legal systems to do the difficult job of going after bad cop culture.
While laws are being passed, how about one that makes it a crime for a police officer to take away or damage a mobile phone, so as to protect citizens and prevent destruction of evidence. It may even be possible to make it a precedent, if some bold prosecutor steps forward, that taking or destroying a phone is interference with an investigation, with prosecution or destruction of evidence.
There are plenty of good, honest police. But there is pressure, even on them, to break the rules to protect fellow cops. That has to stop. It won't stop by saying please. Tough laws are needed.
For example, Officer Michael Slager, of Charleston, South Carolina, was charged with murdering Walter Scott. But the second officer on the scene, who it appears helped cover for Slager, has not been charged. Wikipedia describes
"There have been calls for the prosecution of Clarence Habersham, the second officer seen in the video, for an attempted cover-up, with allegations that he made false statements and deliberately left facts out of his report in an attempt to protect Slager. Habersham has also been criticized for stating that he attempted to render aid to the victim by applying pressure to the gunshot wounds despite no such indication in the video.
Under the law I am proposing, Habersham could be prosecuted. The law should include specific categories of actions, behaviors, statements and omissions that would be prosecutable.
We need a national conversation on this. What do you think?
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