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Very few police officers who caused deaths have been prosecuted or convicted.



Since Breonna Taylor was awakened at night and shot dead by police in her home, Louisville has banned the warrant prohibiting detonation. The chief of police was fired, and a policeman at the scene was also fired. However, despite requests from all over the country, no one has been prosecuted for Ms. Taylor’s death.

On Wednesday, the Attorney General of Kentucky announced a misdemeanor of an officer in the attack for wantonly endangering others, and no charges were charged against the two officials who shot Ms. Taylor six times.

The lack of prosecution for murder or manslaughter makes many people angry, but this is not surprising.

Few police officers are charged with murder or manslaughter when they cause death while performing their duties. Only about one-third of these police officers are convicted.

Even if thousands of Americans protest the brutal behavior of the police and demand a thorough reform of law enforcement, there is still a huge gap between the public’s perception of police violence and how it is treated in court.

In the case of prosecution of police officer in Minneapolis for the killing of George Floyd, Prosecutor Keith Ellison warned that prosecuting George Floyd’s death in May shocked the entire country, and Almost widely condemned.

“Trying this situation is never easy. Winning a conviction will be very difficult,” Ellison said in June, even though he announced that the charge against one of the officers, Derek Chauvin, was raised to second-degree murder. crime. “History does show that there are obvious challenges here.”

Trade union protections protect police officers from timely investigations, the legal standards that benefit them, and the tendency to keep police officers from keeping their promises have increased convictions and imprisonment times for killing police officers. Most importantly, misconduct and poor judgment do not always constitute crimes.

Although the laws of each state are different, if officers are reasonably aware of the imminent danger, they can usually be allowed to use lethal force. This standard has been criticized as being too subjective and prone to racial bias.

Kate Levine, a professor at the Benjamin Cardoso Law School in New York, said: “The police know what to say, what to tell the jury, and what to tell the judge to make those people believe that they have some fear.” “Even if there are others. Witnesses, these witnesses cannot obtain the same degree of credibility confirmation from prosecutors, judges and juries.”

In the United States, law enforcement officers kill about 1,000 people every year. According to data compiled by Philip M. Stinson, a professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, 121 police officers have been arrested for murder or manslaughter since the beginning of 2005. He said that of the 95 police officers who have closed the case, 44 have been convicted, but the charges are usually fewer.

Convictions include the killing of Laquan McDonald in Chicago, where Jason Van Dyke was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison, and the killing of Justine Damond in Minneapolis, where Mohamed Noor was sentenced to 12.5 years.

Many officers who evaded criminal convictions have been fired, such as the three other officers in the McDonald’s case, and Daniel Pantaleo, who used chokes on Eric Garner on Staten Island. Pantaleo).

Recently, the swift indictment for murder involved the death of Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis and the officers of Atlanta’s Reshad Brooks. The case of Mr. Brooks seems to reflect changing standards. As he seized and fired a police officer’s Taser before his death, several experts said they suspected that a lawsuit would be filed if Mr. Freud died before the protest wave and police review.

However, two cases fail to prove that prosecutors have become more willing (or succumbed to increasing pressure) to demand criminal responsibility for officials. Professor Statham said that so far, any such increase is statistically insignificant. Several equally high-profile investigations into police killings did not lead to prosecutions.

The death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 illustrates the disconnect between public opinion and prosecutors’ reality: after a nationwide protest against the cause of his death and a federal review of the case , Did not prosecute officer Darren Wilson (Darren Wilson).

In July, the prosecutor elected after Mr. Brown’s death, Wesley Bell, rudely announced that after another review, he would not file charges, although he added that his decision did not “exempt” Mr. Wilson. . He said: “Whether we can prove the case in the trial is different from clearing all his wrongdoing.”

This week, the Attorney’s Office in Tucson, Arizona reached a similar conclusion when Carlos Ingram Lopez died on the grounds that despite the police chief’s claim that it violated the policy, the evidence was insufficient. . Mr. Lopez was detained by the police while he was naked, handcuffed and face down.

As the call for change has grown, some states have tried to make the accountability of military officers easier.

In Washington State last month, an army officer was charged with murder under the 2019 law, which removed the requirement for prosecutors to prove that an officer acted in “malicious”. After his grandmother died in Sacramento’s backyard, Stephon Clark did not initiate criminal proceedings against officials, and California raised the standard for the use of force from reasonable to necessary.

However, it is always difficult for the police to prosecute in the face of armed elements.

For example, in a case like Ms. Taylor, according to the criminal law, the fact that her boyfriend Kenneth Walker opened fire on the police is more important than any flawed decision or fake police work. It is much more important for the police to break her door. First place.

Taryn Merkl, a senior consultant at the Brennan Center, said: “I do understand why people are surprised because the circumstances that led to Ms. Taylor’s death are preventable in terms of how the police treated her and Mr. Walker that night. Unacceptable. Justice and former federal prosecutor.

In recent months, some advocates of criminal justice reform believe that prosecuting officials may even be counterproductive because it avoids solving systemic problems, in the words of Professor Levine, allowing “mainstream, white people and politicians who represent them to rest in peace. Relax. I believe that the police officers in question should have their duties.”

These advocates pointed out that there is an inherent contradiction between wanting to end excessive imprisonment and wanting to send police officers, including Mr. Knoll, to prison. Professor Levine wrote: “To a certain extent, the public regards these prosecutions as a careful calculation of people of color against white police officers. It is not that simple.”

Last month, “Essence” magazine published an article written by two black prison abolitionists with the headline: “We want to fight for more justice for Breonna Taylor, not kill her deliverable system. “ Authors Mariame Kaba and Andrea J. Ritchie did not say that these officials should not be prosecuted, but that “a collective response rooted in arrests and prosecutions may lead to dead ends and Seriously disappointed.”


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