Monday, March 26, 2018


‘Entrenched Perjury . . . Shows Little Sign of Fading’

By Richard Prince

The Root
March 23, 2018

“An investigation by The New York Times has found that on more than 25 occasions since January 2015, judges or prosecutors determined that a key aspect of a New York City police officer’s testimony was probably untrue,” Joseph Goldstein reported Sunday for the news organization. “The Times identified these cases — many of which are sealed —through interviews with lawyers, police officers and current and former judges.

“In these cases, officers have lied about the whereabouts of guns, putting them in suspects’ hands or waistbands when they were actually hidden out of sight. They have barged into apartments and conducted searches, only to testify otherwise later. Under oath, they have given firsthand accounts of crimes or arrests that they did not in fact witness. They have falsely claimed to have watched drug deals happen, only to later recant or be shown to have lied.

Detective Kevin Desormeau has made hundreds of arrests in his decade on the New York police force. But prosecutors now say he struggled with one aspect of police work: telling the truth, Nilo Tabrizy and Joseph Goldstein reported for the New York Times last Oct. 10. (New York Times video)

“No detail, seemingly, is too minor to embellish. ‘Clenched fists’ is how one Brooklyn officer described the hands of a man he claimed had angrily approached him and started screaming and yelling — an encounter that prosecutors later determined never occurred. Another officer, during a Bronx trial, accused a driver of recklessly crossing the double-yellow line — on a stretch of road that had no double-yellow line.

“In many instances, the motive for lying was readily apparent: to skirt constitutional restrictions against unreasonable searches and stops. In other cases, the falsehoods appear aimed at convicting people — who may or may not have committed a crime — with trumped-up evidence. . . .”

Goldstein also reported, “Police lying raises the likelihood that the innocent end up in jail — and that as juries and judges come to regard the police as less credible, or as cases are dismissed when the lies are discovered, the guilty will go free. Police falsehoods also impede judges’ efforts to enforce constitutional limits on police searches and seizures.

“ ‘We have 36,000 officers with law enforcement power, and there are a small handful of these cases every year,’ said J. Peter Donald, a spokesman for the Police Department, the nation’s largest municipal force. ‘That doesn’t make any of these cases any less troubling. Our goal is always, always zero. One is too many, but we have taken significant steps to combat this issue.’

“The 25 cases identified by The Times are almost certainly only a fraction of those in which officers have come under suspicion for lying in the past three years. That’s because a vast majority of cases end in plea deals before an officer is ever required to take the witness stand in open court, meaning the possibility that an officer lied is seldom aired in public. And in the rare cases when an officer does testify in court — and a judge finds the testimony suspicious, leading to the dismissal of the case — the proceedings are often sealed afterward.

“Still, the cases identified by The Times reveal an entrenched perjury problem several decades in the making that shows little sign of fading. . . .”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Police officers do lie on the witness stand. A very few do it maliciously. In almost all instances where an officer lies, he does it to bolster his case and not out of malice.

One of the most famous lies by a cop was that of former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman when he testified during the O.J. Simpson murder trial that he had never used the word ’nigger’. Fuhrman was not being malicious. He wanted to avoid being pictured as a racist. That’s exactly what he ended up being pictured as in addition to being branded a liar.

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