Disgraced former Oakland police officer Karla Rush wants her job back. Her reasoning? Although Rush admits she filed false affidavits to obtain search warrants, an offense for which Rush and three male officers were fired, the city failed to meet its quota: It didn't fire enough men.
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.
According to Rush's attorney, John Houston Scott, 17 other officers, all male, were guilty of the same offense yet kept their jobs. And that's not fair. Scott has a point. If indeed there are 17 officers on the Oakland force who've filed false affidavits in Alameda County courts, that's scandalous.
But should Rush get her job back? How many people were searched, had their homes invaded by police, lost their property, and were arrested based on false affidavits provided by Rush? Signed affidavits that stated something very like:
Officer Karla Rush swears under oath that the facts expressed in the attached and incorporated Statement of Probable Cause are true and that based thereon she has probable cause to believe and does believe that property described below is lawfully seizable pursuant to Penal Code Section 1524.
When in fact Officer Karla Rush was swearing no such thing under oath (but she signed it anyway). Or when in fact Officer Karla Rush wasn't reading her affidavit (but she signed it anyway). Or when in fact Officer Karla Rush just didn't give a damn whether her affidavit was true or false (but she signed it anyway).
Do the people of Oakland want a Karla Rush back on the force? Does the Oakland police department, which rumor says has a bit of a cowboy problem, have so few cowgirls that a filer of false affidavits should be given her job back?
Those are far from the only questions raised by Rush's suit. Here are a couple for Rush's attorney John Houston Scott:
- Did your client verify the truthfulness of the allegations within her complaint?
- Did you go over with her, very carefully, what verification means?
- I mean, very, very, very carefully?
- Did you tell her that filing a false statement in a civil court is a crime, just as it is in criminal court?
- Have you informed ex-Officer Rush that the very first thing she's going to be asked to do on cross-examination is to admit that she's here because she swore to give truthful information to the court, and she didn't do that?
And finally Mr. Scott, have you discussed with ex-Officer Rush whether she has a snowball's chance in Hell of getting reinstated to her job? Or would she be satisfied if the department simply fired a few more men for the same offense?
Just to even things out, of course.