Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Police Drop Charges, Citizen Oversight Keeps Track

It Is What We Need To Do

Police utilize bogus charges as a weapon to justify their further law-breaking actions against a citizen, and intimidate a defendant leading up to court. Their favorite is disorderly conduct, but they have some others that vary from day to day, in whatever language strikes them as authoritative at the time, but all of which mean the same thing: “You are guilty of impeding the progress of the Almighty Me doing whatever the hell I want, be it right or not understandable by you.” Bogus charges such as these are just another lie from cop to citizen, the procedural equivalent of beating a citizen on the head with a flashlight, then charging him with breaking it.

It is also used to bargain a charge to conviction by offering to drop the garbage assertions in return for a guilty plea to something, but never to expedite justice. Instead, it allows the cop who filed the charge to walk out of court a “winner”. We know the Academy pounds into na├»ve recruit’s heads, with juvenile audacity, the ridiculous oxymoron, “always win”, but at what point does a mentally healthy human understand that nobody always wins? Age 5? 6? Earlier?

Another Problem A Citizen Review Board Can Fix

A civilian oversight mechanism is desperately needed in these cases, not to instruct cops on maturity, ( you can’t take the “id” out of idiot), but to slowly collect the right cops for the force who get the picture. In the event of bogus charges, let whatever happens in court happen, but the review board must keep the records and

apply a judgment to cop’s behavior: how many charges are filed, and how many of them are dismissed in court? Easy to understand, with no knowledge of “intricate police work” needed, just a simple scorecard. If the cop makes the charge, he will be, (Caution----dirty word coming!), RESPONSIBLE for his actions.

No proof? Worse yet, the charge is based on personal opinion? Cop pays a fine. He will say what he means and mean what he says or get legally smacked for it. Isn’t that the rules for the citizen? Remember, it is all about equality. It is a simple enough lesson for the average cop possessing the average cop IQ of 104 to understand, without a law degree. On the citizen’s side, it does require a populace who doesn’t want to be manipulated, or unduly burdened with the strain of getting a lawyer to explain away the spurious elements of charges that have no merit.

False Arrest.

We all know the term. Unfortunately it is difficult to use it as a defense against being overcharged. The misbehavior of the cop would have to be so brainlessly egregious, that a judge would risk his own reputation by ruling against the citizen, in the event of an arrest without cause. But-----if a cop can do or say anything to provoke a response that he can call unresponsive, uncooperative, disrespectful or just plain personally off-pissing, he immediately lumps it into interfering with the duty of a officer, and makes an arrest.

These things are ALL false arrests, both in effectiveness and intent as their dismissal rate shows, yet every court lets the charges pass through the system disallowed, and cost taxpayers more and more money for facilities and personnel devoted to it. Meanwhile, the cops that flippantly apply these costly charges just walk away, feeling no loss to themselves and oftentimes, justified.

Where Is The Resolve?

So, where does the citizen review fit in here? First, the CRB needs complete and full access to all police records to determine which cop charges which arrestees with what, followed with the success rates of those charges in court. A cop who is too anxious to make a charge without proof can be instructed to review and familiarize himself with the appropriate charge for the facts he can prove, but no more. Cops don’t think in those terms because they’ve been told they are always right from the Academy.

Cops use intentional overcharging as an intimidation device to get into court and then a bargaining tool to get back out, a lesson taught to green cops by gray cops. None of this engenders trust and appreciation for the police departments of any city, and is counterproductive if either side wants success.

Let’s call a dismissed charge what it is----a lie. And let’s decide if lying is a crime or not. If so, every lie a cop tells needs to result in a heavy fine, but if not, lying to a cop should never get to court. Cops are famous for playing both sides of the fence, but it is time for that to come to a stop, in the name of equality. Vote accordingly.

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