Wednesday, April 22, 2015

No Camera? No Gun! No Baton! No Taser! No Pepper Spray! No Qualified Immunity!

 No camera,or no loaded gun,& no qualified immunity.Every mistake is an opportunity for training and improvement. If you are intending on violating the policies of your command, take off the badge, turn in the uniform, unload your sidearm, sign your resignation, and GO HOME. No video or eyewitness, replaces the officer to articulate the decision process while relating the incident to case law and use of force. We have always expected those things in the past. A video helps to illustrate your procedure in a specific case.

A REPORT ON BODY WORN CAMERAS

Harold Rankin, “End of Program Evaluation and Recommendations: On-Officer Body Camera System” (Mesa, AZ: Mesa. Police Department, 2013)
http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/472014912134715246869.pdf


Body Cams on San Diego Police Produce Encouraging Results



You can lead jurors to the truth but you can't make them believe it. 
Physical evidence cannot be intimidated. It does not forget. 
It doesn't get excited at the moment something is happening--like people do. 
It sits there and waits to be detected, preserved, evaluated, and explained. 
That is what physical evidence is all about.
In the course of a trial, defense and prosecuting attorneys may lie, witnesses my lie, 
the defendant certainly may lie. Even the judge may lie. Only the evidence never lies.
Herbert Leon MacDonnell, The Evidence Never Lies, 1984

Police are about .3%, or less than one million in our population, yet you will find not city of one million with this much crime committed by their citizens. There are about eight stories a day, according to the tracking of the Cato Institute's National Police Misconduct. That is not a statistic. That is something you can follow yourself on Twitter. 

https://twitter.com/NPMRP



There are at least three homicides by police in an average day and up to nine homicides in a single day by law enforcement. That is not a statistic. That is a list of names being tracked you can follow here: http://killedbypolice.net/ 

Last year over 1100 homicides were committed by police and most ruled justified. That list is here:  http://www.killedbypolice.net/kbp2014.html  

Compare that with the deaths of officers on duty, most of which were caused by officer behaviors, including obesity and bad driving habits: 

Line of Duty Deaths: 127

9/11 related illness: 1
Assault: 2
Automobile accident: 26
Drowned: 2
Duty related illness: 3
Fire: 1
Gunfire: 47
Gunfire (Accidental): 2
Heart attack: 19
Motorcycle accident: 4
Struck by vehicle: 5
Vehicle pursuit: 5
Vehicular assault: 10

Read more: http://www.odmp.org/search/year?year=2014#ixzz3Y3S239Xk




Qualified immunity balances two important interests—the need to hold public officials accountable when they exercise power irresponsibly and the need to shield officials from harassment, distraction, and liability when they perform their duties reasonably. Can we really assume police act reasonably in a way that other citizens do not? The US Supreme Court held as much in Pearson v. Callahan.  That may be acceptable in most states, but can that be assumed in all? In Oregon, we have a commitment to expect more. Article I, Section 20 of our Oregon Constitution's BILL OF RIGHTS says: No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.


 Are police not a class of citizens?

 Are they immune from the laws they are paid  to enforce and to be allowed to threaten the public safety they are sworn to protect? 




Deadly force is justified only when undertaken to prevent imminent and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm to the innocent. 

This requires an officer  to prove they did the assessment of the ability, opportunity, and intention of an aggressor necessary to cause serious or lethal harm we expect of a professional. 


It is time to mandate the creation of a video/audio record to be maintained in exactly the same way any other public record is maintained and afforded access to. It is time to hold police accountable for coercion of citizens and tampering with evidence. 





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