By Ken White
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It’s untrue that cops scorn constitutional rights. It’s unfair to say that they oppose fair procedures designed to promote truth. It’s inaccurate to say they oppose measures designed to protect suspects from coercion.
They understand and believe in all of those things.
The right to due process, enshrined in our Constitution, is one of the cornerstones of our republic. The existence of this right – that everyone is presumed innocent and that everyone is entitled to a fair hearing – is woven tightly into American society. Why should this not be true for police?
Well, it is true for police. Practically speaking police are far more likely to receive methodical deliberation and the benefit of the doubt than the rest of us.
But when Canterbury says “due process,” he means a little something extra for cops. They need it, you see:
This higher standard and increased visibility renders police vulnerable to unfounded scrutiny.
So. What kind of due process do cops want? They want bills of rights. Cops like Canterbury attempt to portray these as simply giving cops the same rights enjoyed by civilians:
Maryland was one of the first states to enact a “bill of rights” for its police, and other states followed. In other jurisdictions, those protections are a result of collective bargaining and embedded in negotiated contracts.
These laws and contracts do not protect the jobs of “bad cops” or officers unfit for duty. Nor do they afford police any greater rights than those possessed by other citizens; they simply reaffirm the existence of those rights in the unique context of the law enforcement community.
That’s simply not true, unless Canterbury is using “the unique context of the law enforcement community” to mean “for people whose rights we actually respect and care about.”
Let’s take a look at Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights that Canterbury mentions, and contrast the rights and procedures cops demand for themselves versus their habits in dealing with us.
Basis for starting an investigation.
Cops routinely start investigations based on hearsay tips from informants. Cops even take action based on wholly anonymous and uncorroborated informants. But when it comes to themselves, cops demand a sworn statement from a witness with direct knowledge: …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>