Across the nation, media and information outlets have seen an increasingly negative outpouring of stories of a souring police infrastructure. These men and women protect, serve and risk their lives for our safety, and this does not go unnoticed. They have been a bedrock in the maintenance of our judicial system and safety for decades, and a majority of them retain such standards. We cannot ignore, however, that there appears to be a serious lack of accountability, transparency and ethical choices both within and outside of the police system.
Rewind to October 2014, and take the case of Laquan McDonald, 17, gunned down by 16 shots from a police officer in Chicago. The investigation is ongoing, but here are some main points from the case:
- McDonald was unarmed, despite department claims that he was carrying a knife-as shown in a video released to the public by court order.
- There was much public speculation regarding the legitimacy of this video of the shooting-many believed it had been tampered with by the police department, in order to cover any witnesses that might have seen McDonald unarmed. However, the video, after FBI investigation, was found to be unaltered.
- The Chicago mayor fired the police chief Garry McCarthy in the wake of the aforementioned video release, with the intention to put new leadership and fresh eyes in place. There had been calls from the public and many other Chicago organizations calling for his resignation.
The Chicago Police Department is one of many police departments facing public and federal scrutiny. More and more frequently, cover-ups and internal conspiracies are coming to light. In Los Angeles County, home to one of the largest jail systems in the country, there is a decades-long history of conspiracy that are culminating into a greater public distrust of police personnel. Recently, two former Los Angeles sheriff's deputies were sentenced to jail for the beating of a jail visitor. Other police officials involved testified against the two deputies as they reached a plea agreement. The points for this case:
- In 2011, Gabriel Carrillo was visiting his brother at the Men's Central Jail downtown when he was taken into a back room and beaten by multiple officers while handcuffed and bleeding on the ground.
- The convictions in Carrillo's beating came as part of a federal investigation into civil rights abuses and corruption in the nation's largest county jail system.
- The deputies were directed by the sheriff to attempt to cover it up and falsify records.
- The jury was instructed to regard this case as separate from the trend of other police brutality cases throughout the country.
The Carrillo beating is another result of the L.A. county police department's "culture of police violence" and violation of rights, according to jury foreman Tony Tran.
It is disappointing to see this trend perpetuating throughout the country, but we can hope that just decisions in cases like McDonald's and Carrillo's will bring this issue to the forefront and institute changes.
If you have been in a case involving police brutality or injustice, take action and call the Law Offices of Glew & Kim at 714-648-0004 for a free case review.
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