Cops And Second Chances In America
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?
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