If it weren’t becoming a daily event, stories like this one would be difficult to believe.
What I can’t understand is why the general public still wants to take the word of police witnesses over that of other witnesses whenever an accused person goes to trial.
I’m not saying necessarily we have to have less faith in police witnesses than other witnesses. But, clearly, we should assess what they have to say the same way we’d assess other witnesses. Police officers are not living up to the standard we should expect of them.
Before I became an attorney, I believed that 95% of officers were good, decent, hard-working and honest. I believed most were heroes fighting hard to protect us and make us safe. Five percent, I believed were bad.
After a few years of working criminal cases, I now believe that all police officers will lie on the stand if they feel it is important to help the case. Most police officers will tell the truth, unless they think by telling the truth the case will be hurt, or unless they think by telling a lie it will help the prosecution. Even the most trustworthy police officers I’ve seen on the stand seem unable to resist “spinning” their testimony.
I only wish I could quit hearing prospective jurors tell me that they put more faith in the testimony of a police officer than a non-police officer. Police officers are paid to help obtain convictions. It’s part of their jobs to testify.
And they aren’t testifying to help the accused person be found not guilty.