Is there an impartial government agency that protects citizens from police abuse?
#112304. Asked by 29CoveRoad. (Jan 22 10 12:19 AM)
Drug busts are notoriously and unnecessarily violent in the US. The police do need the element of surprise, but typically they wantonly destroy belongings and damage walls and doors. They are heedless of any minors who may be present and sometimes steal money and other things.
Some people reason, "Well, they're criminals. They deserve it," but that's not what our Constitution says. The tragedy is when they get the wrong house--a surprisingly common occurrence. Here's the current "poster child" story:
"The Berwyn Heights mayor's residence drug raid was a controversial action taken by the Prince George's County, Maryland Sheriff's Office and Police Department at the home of Berwyn Heights mayor Cheye Calvo on July 29, 2008...
"The event gained national and international media attention. While the Calvos were cleared of wrongdoing, the police were accused by the Calvos and civil rights groups of lacking a proper search warrant, excessive force, and failure to conduct a proper background investigation of the home being raided. Despite the criticisms, no action has been taken against the officers or their respective police departments."
That article has 23 further links in the footnotes.
The victim says, "First, the Prince George's Police Department's internal affairs function is broken. When the Justice Department released the county police from federal supervision in February, internal affairs was the one area that was not cleared. Internal affairs division (IAD) investigations were required to take no longer than 90 days. More than a year after our ordeal, my family awaits the IAD report on what happened at our home. The statute of limitations for officer misconduct is 12 months, which means that any wrongdoers are off the hook."
So, in Prince George County, MD, there is an internal affairs division, and presumably all police departments have some such division. But there is no one central agency that handles these complaints, to my knowledge.
In the case of Prof. Louis Gates, the investigation was conducted by the district attorney.
"Cambridge police would not comment on the arrest, citing an investigation into the incident by Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr."
Maybe it helps to be an African-American Harvard professor and be a friend of the POTUS.
As a follow-up, and prompted by a private message, I want to make clear I responded to the question about "an impartial government agency that protects the people from these abuses." |
Although there are many documented cases of abuse by policemen, by no means am I concurring that the typical US policeman is an abuser. Here's an example in my neck of the woods of honoring a trooper murdered by a criminal.
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