Police Corruption

Police Corruption

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Police corruption is a nationwide problem that has been going on for many years. Not only is corruption a problem on our own U.S. soil, but police practices of corruption go as far east as Europe and Asia. Many studies, polls and examinations were taken to find out how exactly what the general publics’ opinions of the police are. Officers receive a lot of scrutiny over this issue, but for good reason.

     In the 1980’s legal tension involving police searches was a direct result of the war on drugs campaign. Officers were encouraged to stop and seize or search suspicious vehicles to put a halt on drug trafficking (Harns, 1998). But placing this aggressive approach into effect had many negative outcomes. One problem was that it put police on a thin line with the constitutional laws. To no surprise, pretty much no data estimating how often police searches fall outside constitutional laws exist. Only cases that catch the courts attention are logged into the record books. A case study held in “Middleberg” on suspect searches reports that 70 of the 86 searches didn’t result in arrest; citations weren’t presented nor were any charges filed. Just about all of the unconstitutional searches, 31 out of 34, weren’t reported to the courts, nor were they intended to be reported.

     Race has played a big role is these searches as well. Out of the 114 police stops, an astounding 96 were African-American citizens, and 30% of those 96 stops were more than likely to be unconstitutional, compared to 22% of whites that were stopped. Brutality has also been an issue linked with these unconstitutional traffic stops. It’s so common between cops that there’s a tendency for repeated abuse of power and it’s basically turned into the “norm”. This isn’t good because with cops thinking like that it gives them somewhat of a necessity to break the law. They basically feel that in order for them to enforce the law they have to break some. Cops practice this unwritten rule everywhere, especially Los Angeles’ CRASH unit. Corruption was so common in the CRASH unit that they had standard procedures to cover it up if something went wrong. Overall, the LAPD didn’t have the strong support it needed from the community. Officers were distrustful of management, had low morale, engaged in racial profiling, and did
Not see their communities as partners in crime solving, but as enemies.

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     Perjury is also a huge problem associated with corruption. Officers in question follow the unwritten tradition of gathering evidence illegally and then lying about it on the
stand. They basically decide to “forget” evidence altogether. Framing
suspects, or even the framing of innocent people, became almost common. According to a study done by Rafael Perez, an officer involved with the Rampart Scandal, “officers appear to have had complete disregard for rules about use of force, and concentrated their efforts on busily covering their tracks when the force resulted in injury or even death”. These elements were used in the event of what has become known as the Rampart scandal. It was a discovery in March of 1998 of six to eight pounds of cocaine missing from the evidence room of the Rampart Division of the Los Angeles Police Department. It turns out that officer Perez stole it, resold it and replaced the bags with pancake batter. He was later arrested for his actions. These cases are not uncommon place at all, not only was this a problem in Los Angeles, in 1979, for instance, the federal prosecutor indicted an entire police department in the city of Philadelphia.

     In conclusion, police practice many forms of corruption whether it be perjury, brutality, or drug trafficking. This problem is well known but precincts don’t want any dirt on their departments so they find ways to clean their dirty laundry. They even practice ways to escape prosecution if ever suspected of breaking a law. Overall there are some good cops out there but unfortunately the corruption in inner cities give all cops a bad name.
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