via Psychology Today Blogs Spycatcher
Detecting Lies v. detecting truth - serious implications an excerpt:
"Singularly appalling fact:
And while these facts are startling, nothing was as shocking to me as this single fact which I discovered while researching these 261 cases: In 100% percent of these cases, the prosecutor and the judge, but more importantly, the investigating officers who initiated these cases through the legal system, believed that these individuals were lying when they denied their complicity. One hundred percent is a number that you almost never hear in anything, even germ killers are only 99% effective), and yet here, 100% of the officers involved were convinced through statements and through reading the defendant’s body language that they were the true culprit. 100% of the officers involved swore and averred that these individuals were culpable, beyond all doubt, lying in their protestations and declarations of innocence. This is the part that should make every law enforcement officer who is ethical and every citizen to take pause. 100% of the officers in these cases failed to detect the truth." read it here.
Joe Navarro's article really struck me, because although it is about wrongful convictions, and the failure of police officers to recognize their personal limitations in discerning whether a suspect is being truthful or not, I think that it has valuable lessons about the importance of seeking the truth, regardless of where it may lead. It is important to be aware of our personal biases and innate limitations, so that we do not become willfully blind to the truth found. Seeking the truth in a given situation, can not be done by osmosis, or solely based on personal impressions. Simply knowing without being able to demonstrate why, is not sufficient. In Law Enforcement, it is impossible to do the job with honor or integrity if the pursuit of the truth is limited; collecting evidence in a criminal investigation requires following the Rules of Evidence. Diligently pursuing the truth in an investigation, requires being open-minded enough to realize that one's impressions and gut feelings, simply are evidence of being human. Investigating a crime ethically, requires collecting and documenting evidence while complying with the Rules of Evidence. I am certain there are Police Officers with excellent insight, whose instincts in a given situation are correct, however, there is no way to document impressions and gut feelings; in order to use them as evidence. This article illustrates how important it is to rely on more than impressions when investigating and prosecuting crimes. No one has perfect insight into themselves or anyone else; and even people with good instincts and excellent self-awareness can be wrong.
Whether a police officer lies in a criminal investigation in an attempt to avoid the consequences of his/her own criminal conduct, or lies for another officer who is seeking to avoid being prosecuted for a crime, that officer has committed a crime.
I've written about two homicides in which several officers were involved. In both cases, the homicides of Kelly Thomas in Fullerton, California and Otto Zehm in Spokane, Washington all of the police officers lied about the events which they had witnessed and/or participated in. There is no such thing as an innocent bystander in a Police uniform who witnesses a crime. Homicide committed by anyone is a crime; there is no doubt (in my mind) that both of these homicides may have been prevented had the Police Officers who 'witnessed' the assaults performed their respective Duty to Protect and Serve with due diligence. Loyalty, truthfulness and a zealous pursuit of justice are necessary characteristics for a Police Officer. These are not ideals; they are required.
Being a Police Officer is an honorable vocation. The reality is, the profession can only be as honorable as the individuals who comprise a Police force. Respect for individual officers, and for the Police in general, is unfortunately no longer a given; if it ever was. When police officers do not follow police procedure, it is up to other police officers to honor the profession, and hold one another accountable. The 'blue wall' is inspired by loyalty and brotherhood. It is not appropriate to be loyal to an individual when doing so dishonors the law itself, or the people whom the Police Protect and Serve. It is this type of misplaced loyalty to a fellow officer which neglects a Police Officer's primary duty, that is most responsible for a loss of positive regard for the Police. This misplaced loyalty has caused some to disrespect the Police. Loyalty and brotherhood are important; truth and justice are too. To perform the duties of being a cop with integrity, requires all of them.
via The Daily Mail Online:
"Speaking about his son's death, Thomas's dad, Ron Thomas, a former sheriff's deputy, said: 'His death was gang-involved, the way I see it. A gang of rogue officers who brutally beat my son to death.'
He said he now feels ashamed for having ever been a law enforcement officer.
He has been in the area his son was attacked handing out flyers and asking people for help.
He said: 'The only thing we have left of our son is the blood in the gutter, that's all we have left.'
Read more: here.
Initially, there was no investigation launched by law enforcement into the homicide of Kelly Thomas; and I have no doubt there would not have been, if not for the fact that Kelly was blessed with a family who loved him; including a father who had worked as a Deputy Sheriff. The crime was ignored by the mainstream press, and the story was broke by The Friends for Fullerton's Future Blog. via FFFF:
"Those fine folks at Reason made a nice little documentary on FFFF and our role in exposing corruption and brutality within the Fullerton Police Department while the conventional media went along with the cover-up."
Kelly Thomas Tragedy in Fullerton, California Statement by National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
"No one really knows at this time—other than the police officers themselves—what went on during the horrible beating and use of tasers on Kelly Thomas. They may not have fully realized that he was living with a serious mental illness. Too often, however, language and stereotypes in our culture serve to dehumanize people."
This statement is so totally misguided; it is sad. Whether the officers involved knew Kelly Thomas had a psychiatric diagnosis or not, it was patently obvious when this letter was posted on August 5, a month after the violent assault which killed Kelly, that Kelly Thomas was dead due to the brutal beating administered by members of the Fullerton Police Department. It is Police brutality that killed Kelly Thomas; not the fact that he had a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Kelly Thomas is not dead because he had a diagnosis of schizophrenia and was not on psychiatric drugs. Kelly Thomas is dead due the actions of Police Officers who had a duty to protect and to serve; Police officers who chose to give him a brutal beating instead. What I noticed about this statement is nowhere does it advocate that the perpetrators of Kelly Thomas' murder should be prosecuted. It suggests that Kelly Thomas' homicide is another opportunity to further an agenda for increasing forced treatment.
I agree that the tragic murder of Kelly Thomas is an opportunity; it is an opportunity first and foremost, to seek justice for Kelly Thomas. Secondarily, it is an opportunity to lobby for a Federal Law which will hold make officers who fail act in a victim's defense, equally responsible for the crime. Those who enforce the law need to comply with the spirit, the intent, and the letter of the law; particularly when their failure to do so may cost a person's life. In both of these cases, neither of the victims had committed the crime they were being questioned about; all of the officers present failed to perform the Duty to Protect and Serve, and all of the Police Officers initially lied about what had occurred.
We must put a stop to the abuse and brutality which is becoming more and more common in our society. It is time we stop allowing the people with a psychiatric diagnosis to be victimized, without holding the perpetrators who victimize them responsible. We must put a stop to rogue Police Officers who are a disgrace to the badge, by holding them accountable. The men and women in blue deserve our respect; but to have it, they must act with honor and integrity; Police Officers are not above the law.
Karl Thompson was found guilty of the crimes he was charged with--the charges did not include homicide; although Otto Zehm's death was ruled a homicide. The entire event was caught on video---All due respect to Thompson's 40-year career as a Police Officer, he chased a frightened innocent man down and proceeded to beat him with his baton repeatedly in the head; then he hog-tied and sat on him, causing cardiac arrest. All of this being undisputed, makes what took place Friday, November 4, 2011, in Court at a post-conviction hearing, truly despicable.
via the Spokesman Review:
"Some four dozen Spokane police officers and other supporters stood while someone yelled, “Present arms.” The crowd then saluted Thompson; he smiled at the gesture and walked out, flanked by U.S. marshals, who had not placed him in handcuffs."
“They were showing their honor and support of Karl. The disconnect is that the community is thinking that this officer has been convicted by his peers. Why aren’t (Thompson’s fellow officers) accepting it? I do think that this community needs a reset button here,” Kirkpatrick said. “We as a Police Department need to be unified and show that we share the values of this community. And the community needs to believe the Police Department is reflecting their values.”
"Vincent Reagor, 82, a retired federal and state prosecutor from California, was prompted by coverage of the case to call The Spokesman-Review. He said the attitude of Spokane police officers keeps him from venturing into the city from his home in Nine Mile Falls."
“They’ve pumped their arms when other cases went their way,” Reagor said. “I think they are a joke, but not a funny joke. I think they are a dangerous joke. Their attitude seems to be that they believe they are above the law.”
Kirkpatrick said she understood reactions like Reagor’s from the community. “Was it insensitive to the Zehm family? Sure,” Kirkpatrick said of the salute. “Was it actionable? No.” read here.
The Chief of Police is correct. The officers were exercising their first amendment rights and were "insensitive to the Zehm family" in showing their "honor and support of Karl." However, showing their "honor and support of Karl" in the manner, at the time and place these officers chose, showed a disrespect for the Law itself; disrespect for the homicide victim that some of them had failed to Protect and to Serve; and disrespect for his family who were present in Court. Those Police Officers did this to "honor and support" a cop who had in fact gotten away with murder; is sickening, and truly despicable...
Chief Kirkpatrick: It is not the community that needs a reset button, it is the Spokane Police Department. The community needs to know, not only, "believe the Police Department is reflecting their values." It is obvious with conduct like this in which so many of them participated, you have some serious housekeeping to do.
the author has the following Conflict of Interest to disclose:
I am totally biased about this issue. I have a son who has a psychiatric diagnosis. I know for a fact that no crime he has been the victim of, has ever been investigated and prosecuted by Law Enforcement. In my son's case, it is not the failure of Police Officers; but the failure of mental health and social services professionals that Washington State Law decrees are the only ones who can cause the State Police to launch investigations into crimes against vulnerable adults, like my son. I have filed complaints on my son's behalf with every County and State and Federal authority which has a legal duty to act on such complaints. Every one of them has failed to act. I have filed complaints with my State and Federal legislators who, unlike their predecessors, have not even bothered call me. I have filed a detailed report with the local Police Department; spoken to the Sheriff's Office, the State Patrol and the FBI. The FBI agent advised me to file my complaint with the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights Criminal Division, and I have. It is my hopeful prayer, that the complaint will be investigated.
My son is 23 years is 6'3" tall and weighs 280 pounds and has been repeatedly victimized and traumatized. This includes being illegally "treated" with drugs not approved for use in children, in Federally-funded drugs trials without my consent. He is not able to defend himself, or file complaints on his own behalf, due to the profound brain damage caused by the drugs.
Like I said, I have no desire to be a Police Officer. I stated in an interview this past August, I don't have a badge, but I do conduct investigations, gather evidence and file reports. I have to. I will report crimes in which my son is victimized. To do otherwise, would be morally reprehensible. I would be failing my duty as his mother.
I can not make anybody do a damn thing; but I will not fail to do everything that is within my power for my son. I will speak up, especially when it is for people who are not protected or defended due to a psychiatric diagnosis. I will share what I know about 'how things are done;' unfortunately, it is more often a case of sharing how things are not done.
Sometimes I think that at any moment, I will wake up and I will be actually living in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave where the United States Constitution is the Law of the Land, where the protections of amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, protect me and mine. I will wake up to find that the promise inherent in the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is a promise that has been kept.
I have to admit, there are times I wonder if this is all a freaking nightmare. The reality is, I've been wide awake, and much of the last eighteen years have been a nightmare.
I seek Justice.
I miss who I once was. I wonder if Justice exists; if it ever did...