Cops And Second Chances In America

Law, Politics & Current Events

Nearly four years ago Patrick wrote about Karla Rush, a police officer terminated by the Oakland Police Department. You may recall that Officer Rush felt she shouldn't have been fired for false statements in search warrant applications:

Rush said she had never lied. Instead, she said, she had been trained to rely on templates when filing the affidavits, and the templates were based on the assumption that substances submitted to the crime lab would test positive.

Officer Rush's arguments were ultimately rejected:

Karla Rush, an officer based in East Oakland, faced especially severe charges. Of the 40 search warrants she had filed between March of 2007 and August 2008, 39 were fraudulent. Rush claimed that her misconduct was the result of poor training, but an arbitrator rejected her assertion, saying, "telling the truth is not a matter of training," according to court documents.

But isn't this America? Isn't Karla Rush an American? Isn't America a place where people like Carlos Danger get second chances? Yes. Yes it is. So Karla Rush — fired for multiple fraudulent search warrant applications — is employed as a law enforcement officer again.

Maybe this isn't a shock to you. The criminal justice system decides to rely upon (and often conceal the misconduct of) dirty cops all the time. Just look at cops like Armando Saldate, Jr. in Arizona. Karla Rush probably got re-hired by some ultra-conservative small town department in some red state, right?

Although internal affairs recommended firing twelve officers, only four ended up losing their jobs: Rush, Francisco Martinez, John Kelly, and William Burke. Of those four, three have since been rehired by Alameda County police agencies: Burke was reinstated by OPD through arbitration in 2010, and both Rush and Kelly are now UC Berkeley police officers.

Yep. That's right. UC Berkeley — the hobgoblin of conservatives, the famously nutty liberal enclave — re-hired a police officer fired for filing fraudulent search warrants. After all, what's important in hiring a police officer?

UCPD Lieutenant Eric Tejada said the department had no reservations about hiring Rush and Kelly. "They have both been outstanding officers, and they bring a lot of knowledge and experience with them," Tejada said. He added that Rush and Kelly received glowing recommendations from several OPD commanders — although the department itself did not recommend them for the job. "So looking at their work history as a whole, and not just that one incident, we felt they deserved the opportunity to be a part of the team here," Tejada said.

Yeah! 39 fraudulent warrant applications is really "just one incident." Why should that outweigh Officer Rush's excellence in getting the bad guys?

Now, citizen, if you're concerned that misconduct is too easily forgiven and ignored in our society, take heart: the vast majority of people who get in serious trouble experience life-altering consequences that prevents them from ever getting similar jobs again, even after any draconian criminal sentences. Felony convictions, for instance, reliably keep people out of most positions of responsibility, not to mention housing, loans, youth activities, etc. So don't worry: the class of people who can commit grave misconduct with few long-term consequences is usually limited to law enforcement and, you know, banks and stuff.

We want to be safe, right? So why should it bother us that, even in hotbeds of "liberalism," law enforcement misconduct generates little more than a shrug? Why should we be concerned that the "left" — once reliably protective of the rights of the accused — is now often a mouthpiece for "law and order" and contemptuous of the rights of the accused?

After all, how much trouble could a campus police officer cause?

ThinBlueLine

(Hat Tip)

Last 5 posts by Ken White

80 Comments

79 Comments

  1. Anonymous Coward  •  Aug 28, 2013 @12:42 pm

    What's that old quote? "I like Jesus, I just wish his followers were more like him." People seem to have an idea about who the Police are and what they are for that isn't remotely close to the ideas held by the officers themselves.

    Not sure what Berkeley has to do with anything. I'd wager that the UCPD leadership see themselves as cops first, and members of the Berkeley organization second. Perhaps they even see the students, staff, and professors as adversaries.

  2. Mike  •  Aug 28, 2013 @12:52 pm

    They don't call it testilying for no reason.

  3. Damian  •  Aug 28, 2013 @1:09 pm

    @Anonymous Coward

    When I went to school at Cal, the UCB police were just as thuggish (perhaps even more so) as the good old Oakland PD.

  4. Jordan  •  Aug 28, 2013 @1:39 pm

    What is the story behind the cop at the bottom with the pepper spray? I imagine it must be fairly well known but I'm not familiar with it.

  5. Ryan Frank  •  Aug 28, 2013 @1:40 pm

    Related question – I started reading some of the older posts linked in this and ran into the case of William Osborne – in 2009 the Supreme Court ruled that it would not force the state of Alaska to preform a post-conviction DNA test at Osborne's expense (despite how the ruling is described in many articles the actual ruling was that Osborne still had appeals at the state level that he had failed to use thus far) – Was there ever any update on this case that anyone knows about… Can't seem to find anything on this case after the Supreme Ruling.

  6. Mike  •  Aug 28, 2013 @1:47 pm

    @Jordan:

    It happened during the Occupy protests @ UC Davis. That cop just unloaded the pepper spray on the protesters. Apparently he was let go and then filed a comp claim for psychiatric injuries as a result of the incident.

  7. Clark  •  Aug 28, 2013 @1:47 pm

    > what is the story behind the cop at the bottom with the pepper spray?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UC_Davis_pepper-spray_incident

  8. James Pollock  •  Aug 28, 2013 @2:04 pm

    To play devil's advocate:
    If you have someone who was good at their job except for one thing, and you address the one thing, don't you then have someone who's good at the job?

    Don't let her apply for any warrants (are there a lot of warrants in Berkeley campus police work? Or is it all patrol?)

    Or, you use another devil argument, isn't it better to have someone who's problems are known rather than one who may have problems that they are able to conceal effectively?

  9. Renee Marie Jones  •  Aug 28, 2013 @2:15 pm
  10. Gare Reeve  •  Aug 28, 2013 @2:21 pm

    @James Pollack

    I saw that your disclaimer that you're playing devil's advocate, so at least one of my comments here is blatantly unfair. But I'm an asshole, so I'm going to make it anyway.

    If you have someone who was good at their job except for one thing, and you address the one thing, don't you then have someone who's good at the job?

    Cardinal Bernard Law? Is that you? (Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Francis_Law#Sexual_abuse_scandal)

    And, to answer your question: No. She was entrusted to serve and protect the citizenry, and she deliberately lied in a way that ruined the lives of those citizens.

    We CAN'T be so short on qualified police candidates that we need to hope that a proven liar (who claims that she was simply really, really stupid) won't abuse her police powers a second time.

    Every time her caused somebody to serve jail time due to her lies, she should have been charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Every time somebody was fined due to her lies, she should been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.

    Every single person she filed a false statement about should be able to sue her for slander.

    Frankly, if I were the Second Emperor of The United States of America, her actions would be punishable by death.

  11. azazel1024  •  Aug 28, 2013 @2:42 pm

    I'd hope and assume anyone who actually went to jail over her falsified warrants had their cases reopened. I'd also assume they'd have good grounds to sue her and the police department.

  12. ChicagoTom  •  Aug 28, 2013 @2:59 pm

    What does the liberalism or conservatism of the area being policed have to do with the makeup of the police force?

    Although I agree with the point Clark is making, I dont understand why the fact that it's the berkley PD has anything to do with it.

    Is Clark under the mistaken impression that liberal places dont have authoritarian police forces? Seattle is pretty liberal, yet their PD is one of the worst in the country for violating the rights of citizens. San Fran has thuggish cops too.

    I know Clark isn't stupid, so he can't honestly believe that the liberalism/conservatism of the population at large has any bearing on how authoritarian/thuggish their PDs are. So I guess other than thumb his nose at liberals it really has no relevance.

  13. James Pollock  •  Aug 28, 2013 @3:00 pm

    "She was entrusted to serve and protect the citizenry, and she deliberately lied in a way that ruined the lives of those citizens."

    Well, 39 of them, anyway.

    I don't know her. I don't know if she lied everywhere at every opportunity, and only got caught 39 times; I don't know if she was a paragon of virtue, who made the same mistake 39 times. But if you put her through a background check, and interviewed her personally, and it looked more like it was that second one…

    (This leaves open the question of whether other people get that sort of willingness to forgive mistakes, or whether they should.)

    If someone is a good office manager, but they get caught with their hands in the petty cash, some might want to never put them in any kind of position of authority, some might want to let them manage an office, but never have authority over petty cash, and some might think it's ok to give them essentially the same job again. I don't think any of these are AUTOMATICALLY wrong, and I have a default choice for which is right that I would be willing to change depending on information specific to each case.)

    "Frankly, if I were the Second Emperor of The United States of America, her actions would be punishable by death."
    This is probably why you're not. I'd have voted for the other guy.

  14. Roger Strong  •  Aug 28, 2013 @3:01 pm

    "Berkeley — the hobgoblin of conservatives, the famously nutty liberal enclave"

    Former Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General John Yoo is best known for authoring the so-called Torture Memos, an invalidation of the Geneva Conventions that gave Bush II and Co. the green light to turn the US into a torture state. And for developing a legal justification for preemptive war. And for arguing that prisoner of war status under the Geneva Conventions does not apply to prisoners held at Guantánamo.

    The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility concluded Yoo had "committed intentional professional misconduct." Retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to General Colin Powell, has said of Yoo and the others shaking their pom-poms for torture that they "should never travel outside the US, except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel. They broke the law; they violated their professional ethical code. In the future, some government may build the case necessary to prosecute them in a foreign court, or in an international court"

    And he's teaching law at Berkeley.

    But it's nice to know that Berkeley has consistent hiring practices.

  15. Clark  •  Aug 28, 2013 @3:11 pm

    @ChicagoTom

    What does the liberalism or conservatism of the area being policed have to do with the makeup of the police force?

    Although I agree with the point Clark is making, I dont understand why the fact that it's the berkley PD has anything to do with it.

    This was a post by Ken, not Clark.

  16. Clark  •  Aug 28, 2013 @3:14 pm

    James Pollock

    if I were the Second Emperor of The United States of America, her actions would be punishable by death."

    This is probably why you're not. I'd have voted for the other guy.

    You're confused as to how emperors come by their positions. ;-)

  17. grayaj23  •  Aug 28, 2013 @3:19 pm

    My Criminal Trial Ethics prof (a Sac DA) told us that cops like these get on a list of "Cops we can't call as witnesses", and that he'll have to think twice about prosecuting any case they're involved with. So UCPD has to know they've got damaged goods regardless whether she's a "good cop" otherwise.

  18. Gare Reeve  •  Aug 28, 2013 @3:49 pm

    @James Pollack

    If someone is a good office manager, but they get caught with their hands in the petty cash, some might want to never put them in any kind of position of authority, some might want to let them manage an office, but never have authority over petty cash, and some might think it's ok to give them essentially the same job again. I don't think any of these are AUTOMATICALLY wrong, and I have a default choice for which is right that I would be willing to change depending on information specific to each case.)

    As the owner of a private business you should have the right to do this, if you so choose. It's not MY petty cash at risk. I just don't feel that taxpayer money, and taxpayer welfare, should be gambled on the hope that somebody with a history of habitually lying in order to victimize the people she swore an oath to serve and protect won't do it again.

    The fact that she refuses to accept responsibility for her actions only adds to by outrage that another PD hired her.

  19. En Passant  •  Aug 28, 2013 @4:07 pm

    "So looking at their work history as a whole, and not just that one incident, we felt they deserved the opportunity to be a part of the team here," Tejada said.

    I have heard on good authority that, aside from that unfortunate fractional second incident in the entire performance of Our American Cousin, Abraham and Mary Todd thoroughly enjoyed the play.

  20. En Passant  •  Aug 28, 2013 @4:17 pm

    grayaj23 wrote Aug 28, 2013 @3:19 pm:

    My Criminal Trial Ethics prof (a Sac DA) told us that cops like these get on a list of "Cops we can't call as witnesses", and that he'll have to think twice about prosecuting any case they're involved with.

    If the defense bar doesn't have a list of cops for cross examination, they really should. First question: "Have you ever made a false statement under oath?"

    I know of one such incident from a friend and colleague a couple decades ago. He got hauled into chambers and chewed out for daring to suggest that a noble, upstanding and brave public servant might lie, but his client walked. The federal indictment against the cop came down the next day.

  21. Josh C  •  Aug 28, 2013 @4:21 pm

    Clark,

    I think you are the confused one in this case. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Norton

    And Ken, since "liberal" in modern America primarily refers to progressivism, why would UC's so-called liberalism be any barrier whatsoever?

  22. Tom  •  Aug 28, 2013 @4:23 pm

    a) Great post Patrick;

    b) Who was the First Emperor of the US?

  23. InnocentBystander  •  Aug 28, 2013 @4:49 pm

    It is interesting to note, however that another officer had the same excuse as Ms. Rush and was reinstated.

    http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Oakland-cop-accused-of-lying-regains-job-3252761.php

  24. barry  •  Aug 28, 2013 @5:25 pm

    cops like these get on a list of "Cops we can't call as witnesses",

    As a helpful suggestion (I'm having a helpful week), a compromise between firing police like these, and keeping them where they can do more damage, is a compulsory badge, patch or armband on their uniform which would inform the public they aren't quite up to 'witness standard'.

    Already knowing that some fraction aren't witness-standard without knowing which ones makes police interaction a risk/reward calculation. Identifying them should appeal to peoples sense of fair.

  25. En Passant  •  Aug 28, 2013 @5:44 pm

    As a helpful suggestion … a compulsory badge, patch or armband on their uniform …

    I favor ear tags. You know, like Roy's.

  26. Matthew  •  Aug 28, 2013 @5:59 pm

    If cops who lied in police reports and affidavits couldn't be employed, there wouldn't be anyone to be police officers. You honestly expect me to believe every single person you pull over has glassy eyes, sways from side to side, has a distinct odor of alcohol on their breath, and all the other stock buzzwords they rip form their templates?

  27. lagaya  •  Aug 28, 2013 @6:19 pm

    Here's another cop wanting a second chance. 18 years on the police force, and he commits sexual assault on a 15 year old girl. He'd really like to keep this off his record! Sentence was probation!http://www.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/576013/Ex-sergeant-enters-plea-in-assault-case.html?nav=5161

  28. Stephen H  •  Aug 28, 2013 @6:53 pm

    In Australia, I need to have a police check (and presumably no criminal record) to be employed in any law enforcement agency and pretty much any government agency. I also need a security clearance, which looks pretty thoroughly at my history. Does this not apply in the US?

  29. Billy Y..  •  Aug 28, 2013 @6:59 pm

    The next time an opportunity to feature a photo of Lt. Pepper Spray pops up, nothing captures his nonchalance as well as this one:

    http://a.yfrog.com/img740/1040/azxzh.jpg

  30. Charlotte  •  Aug 28, 2013 @7:04 pm

    Berkeley resident here, although I went to UC Davis (home of Officer Pepperspray, above). The UCPD is pretty notorious around here (even among folks like me who pass for conservatives in this town) for being mindless thugs, barely above the rent-a-cop level. As a middle-class, well-behaved white woman I don't have a lot to fear from the police but the UCPD scares me. The City of Berkeley cops are another story – I've had some professional dealings with them and many of them are smart, compassionate people. BPD is definitely selective in who they hire; UCPD is not.

    Re John Yoo, what I heard is that he had tenure before he went off to the Bush administration to do what he did, so that's why he's still at Boalt. He's definitely being protested locally – the Usual Suspects turn up to disrupt the graduation ceremonies even when he's off being a visiting scholar somewhere else, and friends of mine who live on the same (long) street have gotten yelled at by drive-by protestors.

  31. James Pollock  •  Aug 28, 2013 @7:07 pm

    Clark: "You're confused as to how emperors come by their positions. ;-)"

    Why is this plural? There's only been one Emperor of the United States.

    En Passant: "I have heard on good authority that, aside from that unfortunate fractional second incident in the entire performance of Our American Cousin, Abraham and Mary Todd thoroughly enjoyed the play."

    The correct formulation of this joke is "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show?"

    grayaj23: "So UCPD has to know they've got damaged goods regardless whether she's a "good cop" otherwise."

    Yeah, she won't be filling out any warrant requests, ever again. How much of a problem that is depends on how many warrant requests the campus police do… if it's low to non-existent in the first place, no big deal, and if they only do a few, the job gets split across the rest of the department… maybe that's an issue, maybe it isn't.

    Gare Reeve: " I just don't feel that taxpayer money, and taxpayer welfare, should be gambled … "
    That's why there's background checks and interviews, to sort out the people who should get a second chance from the people who shouldn't. Apparently, either the hiring officer thought it wasn't a gamble, or thought the other candidates were more of a gamble. I wasn't there.

  32. Hal 10000  •  Aug 28, 2013 @7:25 pm

    Incidentally, what happened to the buttons that allow one to tweet, FB, etc. these posts?

  33. NI  •  Aug 28, 2013 @8:00 pm

    I don't understand why this woman was merely fired rather than prosecuted for perjury. 39 false affidavits sounds like 39 perjury counts to me. And of course the resulting criminal conviction would end any shot at her being reinstated as a police officer.

  34. Rick H.  •  Aug 28, 2013 @8:14 pm

    James Pollock: "Yeah, she won't be filling out any warrant requests, ever again. How much of a problem that is depends on how many warrant requests the campus police do… if it's low to non-existent in the first place, no big deal, and if they only do a few, the job gets split across the rest of the department… maybe that's an issue, maybe it isn't."

    She repeatedly, baldly, committed fraud upon the court. Serial liars don't make good cops, except to the 99% of police who think that's part of the job description.

    As NI said, it's perjury, and should disqualify her from any desk job they can invent.

  35. Gorshkov  •  Aug 28, 2013 @8:17 pm

    Just a quick note …….. the picture you published isn't some campus cop. It's a mountie (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

  36. wgering  •  Aug 28, 2013 @8:17 pm

    As a UCB student, I'd like to echo what @Charlotte said about UCPD vs. BPD.

    UCPD are overbearing, pompous thugs who view all students as petty crooks. I've had to quote UC campus knife-carry and smoking policies to UCPD multiple times, and a few have tried to (illegally) confiscate my Leatherman. They also seem to think recording police is illegal.

    The (admittedly few) dealings I've had with BPD have been much more pleasant. They at least recognize my right to carry a knife under CA state law.

  37. Rob  •  Aug 28, 2013 @8:56 pm

    In Australia, I need to have a police check (and presumably no criminal record) to be employed in any law enforcement agency and pretty much any government agency. I also need a security clearance, which looks pretty thoroughly at my history. Does this not apply in the US?

    Hiring practices vary between states and the various jurisdictions. MOST places won't accept applicants who have been convicted of a felony, but police unions tend to be very strong, and they can often get that rule bent for a convicted cop.

    Just a quick note …….. the picture you published isn't some campus cop. It's a mountie (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

    Since when did the University of California at Berkley hire Canadian police officers?

  38. Rob  •  Aug 28, 2013 @9:03 pm

    Sorry, that should have been University of California, Davis.

  39. Clark  •  Aug 28, 2013 @9:16 pm

    @James Pollock

    You're confused as to how emperors come by their positions.

    Why is this plural? There's only been one Emperor of the United States.

    Yes, but I was referring to emperors more generally.

  40. Nigel Declan  •  Aug 28, 2013 @9:38 pm

    So, remember kids: perjury is only a crime if you do it 40-or-more times (disclaimer: only applies to police officers, for whom it isn't even a terminable offence). As Don King would surely say: "Only in America"

  41. Michael Donnelly  •  Aug 28, 2013 @10:36 pm

    Well, then, I guess that means James Clapper has 38 more free lies to dispense to Congress. Well, 38 minus whichever ones we don't yet know about.

    Awesome.

  42. MikeP  •  Aug 28, 2013 @11:02 pm

    Wot?? Only two chances.

    Look (a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/aug/05/ian-tomlinson-apology-met-police">how many chances we give police officers here in the UK, only finally sacking them – oh, no, sorry, allowing them to resign – once they've murdered someone (not that he was found guilty of that)

  43. James Pollock  •  Aug 28, 2013 @11:06 pm

    "As NI said, it's perjury, and should disqualify her from any desk job they can invent."

    So, as I said, there's people who wouldn't hire her to clean up after their dog (i.e., you) and there's people who'd give her a second chance (whoever hired her). and all points of view in between (me). I imagine she's on a short leash, and doing ok on it, at least so far. Meh. There's more important stuff to worry about.

  44. quidfecisti  •  Aug 28, 2013 @11:43 pm

    What exactly did the affidavits say that was false? That information doesn't seem to be included in any of the links in this or the original post.

  45. quidfecisti  •  Aug 28, 2013 @11:55 pm

    According to Alaska court records, Osborne filed a post-conviction relief claim in 2009, which was dismissed last August. An appeal is pending with the Alaska Court of Appeals.

  46. CJK Fossman  •  Aug 29, 2013 @3:02 am

    @Chicago Tom
    Many self-described liberals need a good nose thumbing because of their growing deafness to government abuse of citizens' rights.

  47. R R Clark  •  Aug 29, 2013 @4:54 am

    @Stephen H

    Municipal police departments (such as Oakland PD) appear to have no hiring standards whatsoever. It's actually unclear whether formal training is required in some municipalities. Most states require background checks for state law enforcement officers and sheriffs and there is definitely a background check requirement for federal law enforcement agents.

    This one is just a head-scratcher, though. You've hired a convicted felon as a police officer. You're asking for every arrest, every incident, every moment she's on the job to be easily argued and won in court. UCPD is a state-funded entity. The UCPD commanders could be guilty of fraud against the taxpayers of California.

  48. Luke G  •  Aug 29, 2013 @5:48 am

    Ah yes, James Pollock bringing out a classic fallacy: Hiring a convicted felon who has proved her willingness to lie under oath to obtain convictions isn't the WORST thing, so why are we complaining about it?

  49. XS  •  Aug 29, 2013 @6:19 am

    I know, personally, of a Chief of Police that was let go, subsequently hired by the Sheriff's Department, let go, and now is Chief of Police in another state. This is tolerance.

  50. DLA  •  Aug 29, 2013 @7:00 am

    "I know, personally, of a Chief of Police that was let go, subsequently hired by the Sheriff's Department, let go, and now is Chief of Police in another state. This is tolerance.'

    Take a look at the case of Gerard John Schaefer some time : A serial killer who was employed as a cop or a deputy sheriff by multiple small towns before he finally was caught and put away. He was incapable of working for long without his underlying mental problems becoming all too obvious…But his superiors never made any effort to strip him of his badge , preferring to just let him move on and become someone else's problem.

  51. Ryan  •  Aug 29, 2013 @7:19 am

    This case, like so many others, doesn't point to a systemic problem with police officers. It points to a massive, systemic problem with police organizations, standards, hiring practices, and quasi-immunity in the United States.

    The hodge-podge of policing across the US is really not doing you Americans any favours. Not that other countries don't have their problems in policing, but the examples Popehat's authors dig up in the US are unbelievable.

  52. Pedant  •  Aug 29, 2013 @7:26 am

    @DLA: Sounds an awful lot like the RC Church, doesn't it?

  53. Sam  •  Aug 29, 2013 @7:29 am

    I favor ear tags. You know, like Roy's.

    I'm personally partial scarlet letters.

  54. Rich Fiscus  •  Aug 29, 2013 @7:45 am

    @quidfecisti

    What exactly did the affidavits say that was false? That information doesn't seem to be included in any of the links in this or the original post.

    From the original post (first link in this one):

    The officers told judges that substances seized from drug suspects had been identified by the police crime lab as narcotics when, in fact, they had not, authorities said. Those false statements were used to persuade judges to issue warrants that police relied on to gather more evidence.

    Rush said she had never lied. Instead, she said, she had been trained to rely on templates when filing the affidavits, and the templates were based on the assumption that substances submitted to the crime lab would test positive.

  55. TMLutas  •  Aug 29, 2013 @8:03 am

    Let's not forget the due process problems that plague universities' internal judicial processes where the process is much more vulnerable to abuse than it would normally be in America.

  56. rmd  •  Aug 29, 2013 @8:59 am

    My Criminal Trial Ethics prof (a Sac DA) told us that cops like these get on a list of "Cops we can't call as witnesses", and that he'll have to think twice about prosecuting any case they're involved with.

    I'm glad to hear this but the pessimist in me can't help but think that there are other DAs who put them on a list of "cops we can count on."

  57. Rich Fiscus  •  Aug 29, 2013 @9:41 am

    I'm glad to hear this but the pessimist in me can't help but think that there are other DAs who put them on a list of "cops we can count on."

    Otherwise known as "cops who won't let the truth, facts, evidence, or law interfere with a compelling narrative." What could possibly go wrong?

  58. JR  •  Aug 29, 2013 @9:55 am

    @Sam

    I've always thought Marvel's use of the letter "M" tattooed on mutants faces was an effective means of informing people of their status. Not a nice or humane one, but certainly effective.

    How about we tattoo the letter "L" on the face of every government employee found guilty of perjury or purposely spreading misinformation?

    The "L" would stand for Liar, not Loser; but either interpretation works for me.

  59. Joe Blow  •  Aug 29, 2013 @10:03 am

    It's a mistake to think liberals are against grinding people up using the power of the state. They aren't, so long as it's liberals in charge of the grinder.

    For that matter it's a mistake to think liberals are actually liberal. In the last 35 years or so, they've shown themselves to be some of the most illiberal people on the planet.

    The shorthand East coast crim lawyer term for what crooked cops do on the stand is "Testilying." Smart prosecutors and defense counsel alike try to avoid these guys because when one gets caught, he might (1) lie to put a defendant in jail, which stinks for the defense counsel's client; or (2) be caught in a lie, undermining dozens of past cases, jeopardizing a lot of convictions. Such a cop *may* help put a lot of criminals in jail, but it would generate a heck of a lot of work to have to go back and re-open dozens, or hundreds of cases. Nobody with any sense wants that. Doesn't mean that it doesn't happen just that there's strong incentives to avoid those guys like the plague.

  60. James Pollock  •  Aug 29, 2013 @10:13 am

    "Ah yes, James Pollock bringing out a classic fallacy: Hiring a convicted felon who has proved her willingness to lie under oath to obtain convictions isn't the WORST thing, so why are we complaining about it?"

    You know, there's a danger to just reading the last line of a paragraph (or a series of paragraphs) and assuming you've got the main point.

  61. Peter B  •  Aug 29, 2013 @10:34 am

    The problem is that if you require all your hires to have squeaky clean background checks, you may have a hard time hiring enough individuals from certain communities.

    UCB, in this as in so many other areas a pioneer, is taking this a step farther. They now will hire despite crimes committed while a police officer, and not just in the candidate's troubled youth.

  62. Andrew S  •  Aug 29, 2013 @10:56 am

    And Arizona is still going all-in in trying to get Saldate's testimony back in a new trial of Debra Milke. The ADA has even argued that the new trial court does not have to follow the 9th Circuit opinion "if it is wrong."

  63. ChicagoTom  •  Aug 29, 2013 @11:19 am

    This was a post by Ken, not Clark.

    Clark. My Whole-hearted apologies. I believe I got confused because you answered the question about the origin of the pic and I assumed it was your post. I should have done a better job of reading the by-line. Sorry !!!

  64. ChicagoTom  •  Aug 29, 2013 @11:21 am

    Many self-described liberals Americans need a good nose thumbing because of their growing deafness to government abuse of citizens' rights.

    That is a bit more apt, IMHO.

  65. GreenKnight  •  Aug 29, 2013 @11:54 am

    If you have a job where honesty and integrity get in the way of brotherhood and conspiracy, wouldn't you go looking for someone with a track record of dishonesty and perjury?

  66. GreenKnight  •  Aug 29, 2013 @11:55 am

    "The problem is that if you require all your hires to have squeaky clean background checks, you may have a hard time hiring enough individuals from certain communities."

    What, they couldn't find a woman who both wanted to be a cop and didn't have a serious track record of illegality on the job?

  67. GreenKnight  •  Aug 29, 2013 @12:10 pm

    Actually, let me reconsider my last comment.

    It is bad enough for criminal lawyers, having to spend their days defending habitual felons.

    But at least those felons are not co-workers, and at least lawyers have tools other than obstruction of justice, perjury and harassment to get their jobs done.

    Let us face it: The situation here in Canada is so bad that clean honest people do not want to work for police forces, not for $80,000 and up for a grade 12 education, not for any price.

    How do we turn this around?

    How do we restore policing to being the honourable profession it should be?

    How do we restore policing to a status where, when police departments post job ads, they get a cross section of applicants that includes qualified members of major local ethnic groups and both genders that include at least some non-felons?

  68. James Pollock  •  Aug 29, 2013 @12:16 pm

    "They now will hire despite crimes committed while a police officer, and not just in the candidate's troubled youth."
    That just comes back to the point of whether or not the candidate is convincing enough in trying to persuade the hiring committee that it won't happen again.

    I don't know how California does it, but in Oregon, law enforcement personnel have to be certified by the state department of public safety standards and training. If you do something bad enough, they yank your certification.

    Here's an example of the most recent bulletin I found:
    http://www.oregon.gov/dpsst/docs/Ethics.Bulletins/Ethics.Bulletin.Vol.117.2013.pdf

  69. GreenKnight  •  Aug 29, 2013 @12:20 pm

    "To play devil's advocate:
    If you have someone who was good at their job except for one thing, and you address the one thing, don't you then have someone who's good at the job?"

    If supervision on the job was good enough that you caught her after a couple of serious errors, it would be one thing.

    But policing is a job done alone dealing with vulnerable people.

    And it is a job that allows you go to up to a family home and order them to turn their 14 year-old daughter to you, and they have to do it.

    Policing is a job that grants such trust and power that the people in it need to be above suspicion.

    Now, say that a convicted police officer is clean for 10 years, and builds a track record of doing good honest work, then maybe they could be given a second chance at police work.

    Earlier second chances for someone who has gotten away with something serious 40 times should be in other more closely supervised occupations.

    That does leave room for second chances — most occupations in fact would provide more supervision and less unrestricted power.

  70. James Pollock  •  Aug 29, 2013 @1:38 pm

    "Policing is a job that grants such trust and power that the people in it need to be above suspicion."

    Um… when and where has the police force EVER been completely above suspicion? Urban police forces have "internal affairs" squads for a reason.

    Once again, it comes down to the hiring committee being either A) convinced that the problems of the past would not be repeated, or B) all of the other candidates available were worse.

  71. Tarrou  •  Aug 29, 2013 @4:46 pm

    Leftism hasn't been liberal for a hundred years. The word has been bastardized beyond recognition.

  72. MosesZD  •  Aug 30, 2013 @7:09 am

    Fallacy of composition. Berkeley is considered 'liberal' and therefore so is the police department there.

    Even though anyone, such as myself, who has come from a 'cop family' or has been in law enforcement can attest to the fact that most cops are quite 'conservative.' So, if we were going to project, we should be taking on 'conservatives.'

    I'd rather just point out the obvious — cop culture is corrupt. It's not all cops. Hell, it's not even really a majority. However, as long as dirty cops are coddled, we're going to have abuses such as this.

  73. grouch  •  Aug 30, 2013 @8:11 am


    Every time [she] caused somebody to serve jail time due to her lies, she should have been charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Every time somebody was fined due to her lies, she should been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.

    Every single person she filed a false statement about should be able to sue her for slander [libel].
    –Gare Reeve

    THIS! Yes.

    Those entrusted with enforcing laws should be held to a higher standard, not lesser.


    Frankly, if I were the Second Emperor of The United States of America, her actions would be punishable by death.

    Justice might be better served by having her serve as much time in prison as her false warrants caused her victims to serve.

  74. Jamie  •  Aug 30, 2013 @9:08 am

    San Francisco liberal chiming in. If you think the cops in the area are your friend, well, there's a couple of bridges that need selling. The assumption that the Bay is liberal, so the powers at be must be too is incorrect.

    The rule remains the same: Do Not Talk To Cops.

  75. Gare Reeve  •  Aug 30, 2013 @11:45 am

    @grouch

    "Justice might be better served by having her serve as much time in prison as her false warrants caused her victims to serve."

    I disagree. If her false statement caused somebody to serve 30 days in jail, it should be treated as if she kidnapped that person off the street and held them, against their will, for 30 days. I'm pretty sure that a civilian who was convicted of a crime like that would get more than 30 days in jail.

  76. Black Betty  •  Sep 2, 2013 @10:16 pm

    Why are universities even allowed to have their own police?

  77. Paul  •  Sep 3, 2013 @11:27 am

    I believe I heard that the Polygraph (Lie Detector) device was created to make sure Police told the truth. Funny how that has turned around.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygraph

  78. luagha  •  Sep 4, 2013 @10:36 am

    1. Being female, Karla Rush fulfills at least one diversity requirement.

    2. She has already been through the police academy, licensing, and other political/contacts-based weed-out structures designed to winnow out people trying to become police officers.

    3. Therefore, it is cheaper and easier and more value-ful to hire her. You satisfy a diversity requirement, you tick off a mark with all of her contacts/friends/unions, and you're done.

  79. babaganusz  •  Sep 4, 2013 @4:32 pm

    We CAN'T be so short on qualified police candidates that we…

    easily granted that it may have been stated in a half-serious/despairing tone, but if it's seriously put forth i must insist on data that backs up such a statement. (anyone? please feel free to apply the challenge to any other profession/zone of human endeavor, for amusement and/or to cross one off of the worry-list…)
    "all the holes that need fillin' naturally get filled by society" is, to my mind, a seductively innocuous, slippery-slopey sort of fallacy – of engagement in which i am accusing no-one in particular. more of that "all else being equal" and "_____ in a [proverbial] vacuum" type stuff.

    Frankly, if I were the Second Emperor of The United States of America, her actions would be punishable by death.

    i've only figured out a few of my fantasy decrees thus far, but the one most 'relevant' to this thread is: doctoring, destroying, or otherwise limiting legitimate access to any essential information is punishable by an extended stay at one of our elaborate pillory facilities, followed by removal of the offender's ability to communicate.

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