In the war on Jolly Ranchers, a New York Police Officer arrested a man for being in possession Jolly Ranchers candy, claiming that it was methamphetamine based on his “professional training in the identification of methamphetamine.” He also seemingly lied about doing a field test – he claimed that a chemical-based field test demonstrated that the candy was, in fact, methamphetamine. The NYPD is being sued.
Meanwhile, a Russell County Sheriff’s Deputy, Brandon Williams, has been arrested for trafficking synthetic marijuana. He was allegedly found with 1.5 pounds of the “spice” drug in his home.
A former police officer with the Bloomfield and Genoa City Police Department, Aaron E. Henson, was arrested for stealing cash from the bond box at the Geona City Police Department. And Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall, a candidate for Sheriff in Nye County, Nevada, has been arrested for stealing campaign signs. The campaign signs, opposing Marshall’s candidacy, bore the slogan, “Anybody But Rick Marshall.” Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall was charged with conspiracy, theft and resisting arrest. And despite the dishonesty and mud slinging in politics, it turns out that “Anybody But Rick Marshall” may go down in history as the most honest campaign slogan ever.
In a classic example of testilying, a criminal justice colloquialism for institutionalized police perjury, five Illinois police officers have been caught lying on the stand when a video was produced proving their testimony to be false. This is not rare nor an isolated incident. In the words of former New York judge Lorin Duckman; “cops lie all the time.” The case was dismissed. Officer Jim Horn, Officer Vince Morgan, Officer William Pruente, Sgt. James Padar, and Sgt. Theresa Urbanowski have all been named in a lawsuit by the falsely accused. They are all officers with the Chicago narcotics unit.
In Rankin County, Mississippi, Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Smith and his wife were found dead. It is being investigated as a potential murder-suicide. Ten days previous, police officers were called to Smith’s residence for a domestic dispute. Meanwhile, in Toronto, Officer James Forcillo, who was previously charged with second-degree murder, is back on the job.
Officer Nicholas Hogan, from Tukwila, Washington, quit his police job after being targeted in an internal investigation over the use of excessive force, only to be immediately hired by the Snoqualmie Police Department. Hogan, former Tukwila Police Chief David Haynes and a third unnamed officer are all still defendants in an excessive force civil suit. Lesson learned: the door is always open for a bad cop.
In Houston, Texas, officer Marcos Carrion was suspended and faces federal charges for his role in providing a police escort to Mexican drug cartels. He is free on bail. And former Detective Stevie Billups, from Columbus, Ohio, was charged with attempted distribution of heroin, carrying a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime and money laundering. He plead guilty to attempted distribution of heroin and the rest of the charges were dropped. He was formerly a police officer for 22 years.
A former Major of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Eric Spicer, of Beavercreek, Ohio, has been charged with forging documents to obtain an illegal machine gun. He allegedly claimed that the machine gun would be used for “official law enforcement purposes.” Spicer has a sordid history with the Green County Sheriff’s Office. He was terminated after an internal investigation of a dispute where then-Sheriff’s Major Spicer shot and killed a man.
In a case that shuttered the entire Berthoud Police Department, Officer Jeremy Yachik pleaded guilty to abuse of a 15-year-old girl. Court records state that the abuse — nothing short of torture — was severe and occurred for many years, including choking her to unconsciousness, sealing her in a dark room and force-feeding her the notoriously hot peppers known as “ghost peppers.” Despite the severity of the crime, the defence is seeking no jail time and the prosecution has refused to recommend a jail sentence. Meanwhile, in West Sacramento, California, former police officer Sergio Alvarez was found guilty of 18 counts of rape, kidnapping and forced oral sex. Many of these attacks occurred while he was on duty, in uniform and in the back of his own police cruiser.
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy John Kamphaus, of Kenton County, Kentucky, has been arrested in a Catch A Predator style sting where he believed he was meeting a 15-year-old girl for sex. He has been a part of the Sheriff’s Office for approximately 15 years. And in Atlanta, Georgia, DeKalb County Sheriff Deputy Keenan Notae was arrested for the rape and aggravated sodomy of a 19-year-old girl.
Three convicted felons with ties to organized crime — former Stone Park Police Chiefs Seymour Sapoznik and former Police Chief Harry Testa, as well as former Mayor Robert Natale — will retain their lucrative pensions despite their felony convictions. They will also retain their seats on the pension board, ensuring that corrupt police officers and politicians are protected regardless of any illegal, unjust or immoral behaviour they engage in. This is not uncommon in law enforcement. Even when police officers are convicted of crimes, many continue to receive pensions after they are terminated.
“Just A Few Bad Apples”
From time to time, I browse articles and save acts of law enforcement abuse. However, this is just a small sample. There are entire websites, such as CopBlock, or forums such as Reddit’s Bad_Cop_No_Donut that chronicle just as many abuses on a daily basis. Thus, it is important to realize that it is not “just a few bad apples.” We’ve seen here that police officers are capable of every type of crime imaginable. Many many be involved in impulsive, petty crime, such as the individual accused of stealing money from the bond box. Others may be deeply entrenched in violent drug cartels, such as the Houston officer accused of trafficking. Many are serious sex criminals. A few, murderers. And, perhaps worst of all, some retain powerful political positions despite previous criminal convictions and ties to the Mafia.
“A few bad apples” is a myth. The apples are not bad. The entire tree is bad. The leaves, the branches, the trunk, the roots — even the soil — is bad. This is not the result of individual officers acting out. It is the result of systemic and institutionalized corruption. The laws excuse and favour law enforcement officers, giving them preferential treatment when accused of a crime. If they are convicted the laws favour them with lenient sentencing.
The problem is not corrupt cops, but a rotten criminal justice system from the leaves to the stem: politicians who make the laws, courts that interpret the laws, prosecutors that bring charges and, finally, police officers who enforce the laws. This is what allows a culture of police corruption to thrive.
Many take a superficial view. They consider it a win if a single police officer is jailed, or if a new law is passed under the guise of “reform.” However, reform is not real. Reform is political jargon used to placate the masses. You cannot reform a system that has never worked. The system must be torn down and replaced by a new one. This is the only way we will ever see an end to the pervasive abuse at the hands of violent men in uniforms.