I have known a lot of policemen growing up in Cape May; some were friends of my dad that came to know him when he was an A.D.A. or were neighbors or customers at places I worked, others I knew from hanging out at the beaches. I personally have never had any conflicts with police officers. However, there is a body of evidence out there that is rather damning in regards to the culture of the New York City police department and others in the nation. Unfortunately, in criminal investigations policemen often believe they need to bend the truth by 'testilying' to make sure that a person they just KNOW to be guilty gets put behind bars. There have been widespread reports of evidence planting and worse. See link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/02/ny...vidence&st=cse
According to my dad and other experienced attorneys I've spoken with, when police officers are accused of wrongdoing or even when they get into a fender bender with their patrol cars, their fellow officers will go out of their way to support them and even will perjure themselves to keep their fellow cops out of even the most minor trouble. A few days ago a massive demonstration was held by police officers at the Bronx Courthouse in NYC because fellow officers were being arraigned on corruption and misconduct charges. The officers at the courthouse behaved like thugs, trying to intimidate the press when they attempted to take photographs or otherwise cover the story. See article at this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/29/ny...the-bronx.html
Then today, I read an article about a college student, who spent about 36 hours under arrest basically because she didn't have a drivers license or other identification with her when she and a friend were walking around a NYC park after it was "closed". This is something that could easily happen to me, as I often go about without "my papers". See article at link:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/02/ny...of-crimes.html
Being involved with helping to defend Occupy Wall Street protesters in NYC has brought me face to face with some ugly police tactics there. Over the last few years there have been many instances reported in the media where it seems to me that police officers have acted beyond their authority, trampling the rights of ordinary citizens. Members of minority groups fare even worse.
What is it going to take to 1) get people to demand a change in the culture of police departments that excuses abusive and illegal behavior by fellow officers, and 2) get police departments to require that their officers treat the members of the public with whom they come in contact with dignity and respect for their rights as citizens?