“It has become such a ping-pong of litigation, I’ve seen lieutenants suing lieutenants, captains suing captains. Chiefs being sued by everyone."
June 19, 2014
An interesting study recently revealed that police in New Jersey are more likely to file lawsuits against a police department than your average citizen is.
According to the study, there were 117 lawsuit settlements paid out by police departments in cases involving civilians. Most of these cases alleged evidence tempering, police brutality and other instances of police misconduct. These lawsuits cost the state more than the $20 million.
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However, cases involving police officers as the plaintiff were actually more numerous and expensive. The study found that New Jersey police officers were actually involved in 148 settlements which ended up costing taxpayers $29 million.
“It has become such a ping-pong of litigation,I’ve seen lieutenants suing lieutenants, captains suing captains. Chiefs being sued by everyone," Antonio Hernandez, the president of the National Coalition of Latino Officers told NBC News.
Whenever a police officer is accused of wrongdoing, their case is investigated by their very same department. This is especially true in situations where an individual low ranking officer has some sort of dispute with his or her superiors.
“The executive level of the organization wields the power over who gets investigated and who doesn't and how the investigation is going to play itself out, and many times, when an investigation doesn't find what someone wanted it to find, then the investigator is punished for not finding in favor of the organization.” Jon Shane, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former captain in the Newark Police Department told WNYC News.
The motives behind these lawsuits are entirely understandable, but it is ironic that an organization which is apparently so dedicated to "brotherhood" is actually plagued with infighting. While this study was localized to the state of New Jersey it is likely that this same trend can be seen throughout the country.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.