In Britain, events were also held to denounce police brutality.
6 June 2020 15h32
Police officers accused of violence: rarely their first complaint
Professor of psychology and criminology, University of Villanova
During the protests against police violence and racism continue to occur in many american cities, it is discovered that several of the officers involved in the murder of George Floyd, Minneapolis, and Breonna Taylor, in Louisville, had already been the subject of complaints for brutality or misconduct.
Decades of studies on the shootings and police brutality reveal that the agents who have already fired on civilians are much more likely to do so in the future as other police officers.
The same goes for the complaints to bad driving. The officers against whom civil have already filed a complaint — it focuses on the use of excessive force, verbal abuse, or illegal searches — have a higher risk of committing serious offences in the future.
The authors of a study published in theAmerican Economic Journal examined 50 000 allegations of misconduct against police officers of Chicago, and found that those who had already been the subject of many complaints were much more likely to be the subject of an action for violation of civil rights with claims and regulations are substantial.
Despite this study, many police departments do not investigate still not adequately address the allegations of misconduct and rarely give in response to complaints from citizens. Disciplinary sanctions are rare and relate only the more flagrant cases.
Complaints, lawsuits… which lead to nothing
Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who has been accused of murder in the third degree and manslaughter in the second degree for the death of Floyd, has been repeatedly implicated in cases where lethal force was deployed.
In 2006, Chauvin was one of the six police officers who fired 43 shots in four seconds on a truck driven by a man sought in a case of attack with a knife. Wayne Reyes, that would have to be pointed, according to the police, a gun sawn-off on them, died on the spot. The police department has never identified the agents who had fired, and a grand jury convened by prosecutors had dismissed all charges.
Chauvin has also been the subject of at least 18 complaints of misconduct and has been involved in two other cases of gunfire. According to theAssociated Press, 16 complaints have been ” dismissed “, and two have earned him letters of reprimand.
Tou Thao, one of the three police officers of Minneapolis present at the scene when Floyd begged that it releases, has been named in a lawsuit for violation of civil rights brought by 2017. Lamar Ferguson, the complainant, stated that he was returning home on foot with his pregnant girlfriend when Thao and another officer arrested him without cause, he was handcuffed and started to give him kicks, fists and knee with such force that they broke him in the teeth.
We settled the case for $ 25,000 US, but the officers and the city have recognized any liability, and it is unclear if Thao was the subject of disciplinary action.
In Louisville, in Kentucky, at least three of the police officers involved in the death by gunshot of Breonna Taylor while they performed a warrant “without knocking” at his home — allowing them to use a battering ram to break down the door — had already been sanctioned for violating the rules of the police department.
One of the officers, Brett Hankison, is currently the subject of a prosecution for harassment of suspects and concealment of drugs on them. He denied the charges.
In 2006, another police officer in Taylor, Myles Cosgrove, has been sued for use of force after shooting seven times at a man during a routine traffic stop. The judge has closed the case. Cosgrove has been suspended with pay while his department was investigating his role in the matter, and he returned to work once the investigation is complete.
Misconduct and violence
I am a specialist in the law and the criminal justice system. In the context of my work on wrongful convictions at Philadelphia, I encounter many cases of misconduct on the part of police, including intimidation of witnesses, falsification of evidence and coercion. The officers concerned are often the same, and they commit the same types of misconduct and violence in several cases.
The statistics Bureau of justice reports that in the United States, unless a complaint for police misconduct on 12 gives rise to a disciplinary action of any kind.
And then there’s the problem of “cops gypsies” (gypsy psc) — an insult used in the police community to identify agents which are returned from service for serious misconduct and are then rehired by another.
Timothy Loehmann, the police officer in Cleveland that killed Tamir Rice, 12 years old, had been declared unfit for service in his former position, but had resigned before one dismisses it. A grand jury has not indicted Loehmann for the murder of the boy, but the police service of Cleveland was returned for not having revealed the reason why he had left his previous employment.
According to the largest study ever conducted on the recruitment of police officers, the officers re-employed, which constitute approximately 3 % of the police force, represent a serious threat because of their propensity for recurrence if they had made mistakes before.
The authors of the study say that these officers ” are more likely […] to be fired from their new job or receive a complaint for “moral failing”. “
The model from Newark
The working Group on the police of the twenty-first century the Obama administration has recommended the creation of a national database to identify the agents to whom the work permit has been revoked for bad conduct. The database that currently exists, the National Decertification Index, is limited, given the differences between States in terms of reporting requirements and revocation process.
Analysts agree that it is a useful measure, but it does not address the sources of organisational and institutional violence, discrimination and misconduct.
Thus, in the aftermath of the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the department of Justice has found that the police department had a long history of excessive use of force, arrests and searches to be unconstitutional, discrimination and racial prejudice.
The report finds that the use of force is often punitive and repressive and that ” in the overwhelming majority of cases — almost 90 % — it is used against African-Americans “.
A promising solution could be the creation of review boards independent civilian, who would be authorities to carry out their own investigations and to impose disciplinary measures.
In Newark, New Jersey, the commission may issue subpoenas, hold hearings, and investigate on the errors made.
According to a study conducted at the national level, the courts of review boards, civil retain more and more complaints of excessive force than those that rely on internal mechanisms.
In the past, the work of the review boards, civil has been restricted by a lack of resources and limited powers. Promising designs, including the one in Newark, are often the subject of lawsuits and harassment from police unions, who say they undermine the internal disciplinary procedures of the police department.
The board of review civil of Newark emerged largely to the winning of a lawsuit by the police union. The decision of the tribunal has restored its ability to investigate misconduct by the police, but has given the recommendations of the disciplinary board are not binding.
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This text first appeared on the site of the franco-canadian of The Conversation. Reproduced with permission.