Imagine being a member of a jury. You are sitting there listening to testimony from a Minneapolis police officer and he or she is telling you about how he or she saw the defendant drop powdered and crack cocaine on the ground, prompting the officer to arrest the defendant. For most people, just the fact that a police officer said it makes the statement credible. The fact that the officer said it on the stand just makes it more credible.
Unfortunately, when Minneapolis and St. Paul police abuse that credibility, they not only run the risk of getting someone wrongfully convicted for something they never did, but they also destroy the trust people have in the criminal justice system, making everyone within the system suspect. Luckily, some judges will do everything they can to make up for lying police.
When evidence was introduced at a man’s trial for cocaine possession that proved police were lying in their reports and on the stand just to get a conviction, the judge trying the case threw out all criminal charges. He or she set the defendant free, and very shortly thereafter, the police officers were charged with perjury and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Recently, it was the officers’ turn to appear in court on criminal charges. While their former supervisor described them as “the best of the best,” the judge in their case pointed out that their behavior was shameful and that it tarnished their police department. The officers were eventually convicted and sentenced to community service and probation.
Source: L.A. Times, “Former LAPD partners avoid jail time in perjury case,” Jack Leonard, June 25, 2013