The Chicago Tribune has documented more than a dozen cases of police officers shading the truth or outright lying in court to get convictions—sometimes against innocent suspects.
Officers have little fear of consequences because they know the deck is stacked in their favor. Even when a judge is convinced that an officer gave false testimony, it’s usually the cop’s word against a defendant.
“By their own admission, judges know that police officers sometimes lie on the witness stand. But many do little—or say nothing—about it,” the report states.
The rare exception, according to the newspaper, is when a video contradicts the officer’s testimony.
According to the Tribune, the Chicago Police Department and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office are part of the problem. They seldom hold officers accountable.
The newspaper pointed to a report from a task force appointed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The probe found that cops sometimes lie and those responsible for taking disciplinary action—judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officials—have failed.
Yet the police department and prosecutor’s office say they have no tolerance for cops who give false testimony.
The State’s Attorney’s Office told the Tribune that it’s reexamining cases. A spokeswoman also said the prosecutor underscored to local prosecutors their responsibility to flag questionable police testimony.
According to the Tribune, the U.S. Department of Justice wants the Cook County public defender’s office to notify federal prosecutors about cases in which officers are suspected of giving false testimony.
Federal officials launched a probe of the Chicago Police Department after the release of a video showing that a police officer lied about the shooting of Laquan McDonald.
Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murdering the teenager. A suspected cover-up also led to Emanuel’s decision to fire Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy, as the mayor fought off calls for his own resignation.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty
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