February 4, 2013

WHY POLICE OFFICERS LIE UNDER OATH. “In this era of mass incarceration, the police shouldn’t be trusted any more than any other witness, perhaps less so. That may sound harsh, but numerous law enforcement officials have put the matter more bluntly. . . . Police departments have been rewarded in recent years for the sheer numbers of stops, searches and arrests. In the war on drugs, federal grant programs like the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program have encouraged state and local law enforcement agencies to boost drug arrests in order to compete for millions of dollars in funding. Agencies receive cash rewards for arresting high numbers of people for drug offenses, no matter how minor the offenses or how weak the evidence. Law enforcement has increasingly become a numbers game. And as it has, police officers’ tendency to regard procedural rules as optional and to lie and distort the facts has grown as well. Numerous scandals involving police officers lying or planting drugs — in Tulia, Tex. and Oakland, Calif., for example — have been linked to federally funded drug task forces eager to keep the cash rolling in. . . . In 2010, a New York City police officer named Adil Polanco told a local ABC News reporter that ‘our primary job is not to help anybody, our primary job is not to assist anybody, our primary job is to get those numbers and come back with them.’ He continued: ‘At the end of the night you have to come back with something. You have to write somebody, you have to arrest somebody, even if the crime is not committed, the number’s there. So our choice is to come up with the number.’”

Just another reason for a due process right to record the police. And to cut off that money.