Case Analysis : The Police Misconduct Essays

Case Analysis : The Police Misconduct Essays

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Another issue with civil lawsuits is the jurors predisposition to believe police officers stories, especially when the victim has a criminal record, regardless of the extent of the police misconduct. Why do we see jurors take the side of the perpetrator of the violence instead of the victim? One explanation that is mentioned by Marshall Miller is the problem of suing the individual officer instead of the overreaching police organization or department. He notes that “juries are often reluctant “to impose heavy damage remedies on a hard-working police officer.” Further he notes that “[m]any juries interpret this good faith defense as license to reject liability if the officer ‘was doing’ what he thought was best.” This continues on to play out as the strongest cases by victims of serious abuse “are often settled by the city to avoid embarrassing attention; in such settlements, the department rarely acknowledges that the officer was in the wrong.” The public is never made aware of the cases that the department sees as ‘unwinnable’ due to the high level of misconduct perpetrated by the individual police officer and the bias police culture has on jury members. By settling on public cases in a private manner, the department skews the public’s view of the police and therefore contributes to our answering of the question of why jurors act the way they do in cases of police misconduct. And finally, on the topic of civil lawsuits, according to the Human Rights Watch interview team, most internal affairs staff made statements such as “civil cases are not our problem” or asserted that “the settled cases do not indicate the ‘guilt’ of an officer, disregarding the important information that citizen-initiated lawsuits could provide.” To conclud...


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...s that are likely to become self-sustaining instruments of accountability.” Is this not the point of all instances of reform? An organizational reform model as outlined here does not address the urgency of the issue of police violence and assumes that police departments would comply with ‘organizational’ changes if implemented. The problem is the system, the organization as it is. It does not comply to or respects the values outlined by the community and perpetuates a culture of historical trauma and discrimination. Organizational change could be effective is we pushed that concept to new limits, what organizational change could actually mean. Change the way we organize law enforcement, change what we value as law enforcement through the sole lense of the betterment of the community. As you can see the reforms in place are merely bandages placed on gushing wounds.

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