The Illusion of Meritocracy in Policing, Part 1 | A Long Repentance Post #10 | The Anástasis Center for Christian Education & Ministry: Sangwon Yang & Mako Nagasawa

The Purpose of A Long Repentance Blog Series

People talk about issues of race and justice in the United States as issues of ‘justice and injustice.’  Sometimes we launch into debates about ‘the proper role of government.’  But is that the original framework from which these issues were asked and debated?

The purpose of the blog post series called A Long Repentance: Exploring Christian Mistakes About Race, Politics, and Justice in the United States is to remind our readers that these issues began as Christian heresies.  They were at variance from Christian beliefs prior to colonialism.  Since Christians enacted and institutionalized what we believe to be heretical ideas, they were very destructive and harmful, then as now.  And we bear a unique responsibility for them.  As a result, we believe we must engage in a long repentance.  We must continue to resist the very heresies that we put into motion.  Thus the title of this blog series, A Long Repentance.  The journey is long and challenging.  It may be impossible to see the end.  But along the way, it is also inspiring and sometimes breathtaking.

We also encourage you to explore this booklet, A Long Repentance: A Study Guide, for further reflections and discussion questions.

In Post #2 and Post #5, we explored how white American Protestants promoted the heretical view of Genesis 1 taught by John Locke, that the productive can take land/property from the unproductive.   Setting themselves up for deep anxiety, they also maintained that the social system they set up was fair and ‘meritocratic’ – as opposed to blatantly racist.  They tended to believe that their ‘individual success’ was the result of their ‘personal hard work.’  White Americans even hid from themselves the fact that they used massive government intervention to set up a deeply unequal and racialized social system that continues to this day.  In Post #6 and Post #7, we explored the racialized housing system.  In Post #8 and Post #9, we explored the school system.


Racial Segregation in Housing Correlates to Different Experiences with Police

“Okay,” said Michaela.  “You’ve laid out a good case that the housing and school systems are unfair.  The history of white flight is disturbing.  I can’t say that we live in a pure meritocracy, after all.  But that last quote is too much, don’t you think?” 

“Segregation accomplishes so many other inequalities because you effectively contain a population to a geographic area and suddenly all the other civil rights law don’t matter.”[1]

“I agree with it,” Brian replied.  “For example, racial segregation in housing leads to different experiences with the police.”

“You believe, for example,” Michaela began, “that we should protest the police?  And at football games?  I’m willing to grant that there are a few bad apples in the police force, but the police deserve our support.”

“I have friends who are in the force,” said Brian.  “And I respect people who are willing to take on a job full of risk and stress.  But our policemen and women will be safer if their relationship with the public improves.  And that will happen if we look at what’s going wrong in that relationship.  So, are there just a few bad apples?  The FBI declassified a report in 2006 saying that white supremacists had infiltrated law enforcement.”[2]

“I know that report,” Michaela said.  “Large portions of that report are blanked out, still classified.  We don’t know the extent of that infiltration.”

“True,” said Brian, “and I’m not saying that we should be suspicious of every police officer.  But when there is further evidence for it, we need to take that seriously.  Have you heard of Matthew Fogg?”

“No,” Michaela replied.  “Who is he?”

“He’s a retired Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal” said Brian, “He also worked for the Drug Enforcement Agency. During his time of service in the Maryland and DC area, Matthew Fogg says that the U.S. Marshals targeted certain neighborhoods based on race, at least in part:

“We were jumping on guys in the middle of the night, all of that. Swooping down on folks all across the country, using these sorts of attack tactics that we went out on, that you would use in Vietnam, or some kind of war-torn zone. All of the stuff that we were doing, just calling it the war on drugs. And there wasn’t very many black guys in my position. So when I would go into the war room, where we were setting up all of our drug and gun and addiction task force determining what cities we were going to hit, I would notice that most of the time it always appeared to be urban areas. That’s when I asked the question, well, don’t they sell drugs out in Potomac and Springfield,and places like that? Maybe you all think they don’t, but statistics show they use more drugs out in those areas than anywhere. The special agent in charge, he says ‘You know, if we go out there and start messing with those folks, they know judges, they know lawyers, they know politicians. You start locking their kids up; somebody’s going to jerk our chain.’ He said, ‘they’re going to callus on it, and before you know it, they’re going to shut us down, and there goes your overtime.’ What I began to see is that the drug war is totally about race. If we were locking up everybody, white and black, for doing the same drugs,they would have done the same thing they did with prohibition.”[3]

“Is Matthew Fogg a credible source?” asked Michaela.

Brian replied, “He won a $4 million lawsuit against the federal Department of Justice, which is very impressive.  It was the largest ever settlement.”[4]

“For what?”

“For racial discrimination within the department,” Brian answered.  “Like white officers not backing up black officers at crucial moments.[5]  He’s well known as a whistleblower.”

“Do you think Matthew Fogg is speaking about law enforcement everywhere?” said Michaela.

“No, I don’t think he was claiming to do that,” Brian responded.  “And we need to look at specific police departments.  Here’s one helpful tool online (

“That’s disturbing,” agreed Michaela.  “But I’m glad we’re starting by looking at particular departments.  For generations now, men in my family have been police officers in different cities.  And they’ve had fairly different experiences.  So I think this is a decent way to start.”


“And some cities reflect racial problems more than others,” said Brian.  “Look at Chicago.  Chicago “invented modern segregation”[6] through discrimination in restrictive racial covenants, discriminatory bank loans, placement of public housing, and so on.  It’s been so entrenched, that in 1984, a thousand white Chicagoans presented an “explicit white agenda” to the black mayor.  They were members of 

“white groups that had deserted the Democratic Party last year rather than vote for a black mayoral candidate, Harold Washington.”[7]

“What did they want?” asked Michaela.

“To protect their home equity values,”[8] said Brian.  “Not coincidentally, Chicago is the first city to pay reparations for police abuse.  The Chicago Police Department used police torture on more than 100 mostly black men from 1972 to 1991 under Commander John Burge and “the midnight crew.”  Their bill alone comes out to $5.5 million.[9]  In total, Chicago has paid out $662 million in reparations so far – including $5 million to the family of 16 year old Laquan McDonald – and still owes more.[10]  The reasons range “for everything from petty harassment to police torture.”[11]  Between 2003 – 08, Sergeant Ronald Watts framed lots of people in Chicago’s South Side, the black neighborhood in Cook County.  A total of 42 convictions linked to Sergeant Watts have been overturned.[12]  Obama’s DOJ investigated the CPD from 2015 – 17 and reported that they “regularly engaged in a pattern of abuse, excessive force, and racial discrimination.”[13] 

“But,” continued Brian, “reparations doesn’t recapture civil forfeiture for citizens.  “Every year, police take millions of dollars from ordinary Chicagoans and spend it behind closed doors,” which disproportionately hits minority communities.[14]  Policing for profit is big business.  Nor have reparations covered incidents when the police just looked the other way:

“In a two-year period, [Arnold R. Hirsch] documents attacks on 46 black homes, including 29 arson-bombings, resulting in three deaths. A three-day riot in 1947, incited by the placement of black veterans in a CHA project, drew a mob of 1,500-5,000, one of several such incidents of mob violence in the late 1940s and early 1950s that involved staggering numbers of participants yet drawing very little media coverage.”[15]

New York

 “I know Chicago is the second largest police department in the country,” said Michaela.  “The NYPD is the largest.  Maybe the problem is size.”

“Size and not underlying residential segregation?” said Brian.  “Starting from the late 1850’s when NYC leveled a black area called Seneca Village to make room for Central Park?[16]  So you know that in January 2017, New York City agreed to pay out $75 million for NYPD corruption?  The city agreed to dismiss over 900,000 arrests and summonses that it didn’t have the evidence to back.”[17]

“I did hear about that,” said Michaela.  “And I know that the NYPD abused the stop and frisk policy on the city’s black and brown citizens.[18]  I’d count that as police harassment.  But what did that reveal about how racialized housing system affects policing?  Do you think there were as many wrongful convictions, injuries and deaths, seizure of property, and so on, in New York as in Chicago?”

“Does New York need to be as bad as Chicago to be protest worthy?” asked Brian.  “The NYPD used an illegal quota system for arrests in the Bronx, a black and brown area.  In 2015, Edwin Raymond, a 30 year old black officer, led 11 other minority officers in a lawsuit about that quota system, against the city, the mayor, the police commissioner, and the commanding officer.[19]  The “NYPD 12” won their case.  Shaun King links to court documents for other cases against the NYPD by police officers:  Officer Craig Matthews (of the 42nd Precinct in the Bronx) v. New York City & the NYPD in February, 2015; Officer Vanessa Hicks (of the 42nd Precinct) v. New York City & the NYPD in March, 2011; Officer Adhyl Polanco v. New York City & The NYPD in September, 2015; Officer Adrian Schoolcraft v. The NYPD and The City of New York in August, 2010.[20]  That’s probably the tip of an iceberg of problems we’re still discovering.”

Los Angeles

Brian continued, “The Los Angeles Police Department, since the 1984 Olympic Games in LA, overpoliced black and brown people in South Central and East Los Angeles.  Folks increased their citizen complaints by 33% against the Department, but nothing got done.[21]  That led to the Rodney King police brutality case of 1992, the Rampart Scandal of the late 1990’s when 70 officers were accused of charges, including planting false evidence.[22]  But the LAPD is notorious for their secrecy and resistance to transparency.[23]  Years ago, they “took more than four tons of personnel records dating to the 1940s and shredded them.  That decision resulted in the dismissal of more than 100 criminal cases involving officers accused of wrongdoing.”[24]  

Little Rock, Ferguson, Baltimore, Detroit

“What happens in smaller cities?” asked Michaela.

“We can look at Little Rock, Arkansas.  The city government increased residential segregation in recent decades:

“Whites and blacks once lived in proximity to one another, he said, until the Federal Housing Act of 1949 was passed. That law allowed the city to replace dilapidated housing, and permitted planners to tear down a black neighborhood close to the town’s relatively white center. The city then constructed public housing for black families in the city’s far east side, he said, while the state built highways to speed white residents’ exodus to the western suburbs. Highway I-630, like many throughout the country, was built on top of where a vibrant black community had thrived, and in constructing it, the state decimated that neighborhood while putting up a boundary that segregated the city.”[25]

Not surprisingly, the police in Little Rock are being investigated for lying to conduct drug raids.[26]  Officers used no-knock warrants on 133 people, of whom 110 were black.  Even more outrageous, they often used explosives to blow doors open, and left residents to pay for the damages.[27]  Then, there was the 2012 case of white officer Josh Hastings shooting and killing fifteen-year-old Bobby Moore, a black young man suspected of burglary.  The subtitle of one article exploring this reads, “The Little Rock police shooting of 15-year-old Bobby Moore revealed a horror show of misconduct, cover-up and cascading institutional failure at the department.”  It goes on to say: 

“Despite serving on the force for only five years, Hastings’s tenure would prove to be enormously consequential. He had been hired over the objection from a high-ranking black police officer, and that objection was well-founded: Before his hiring, Hastings had once attended a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan, then lied about it on his application. He went on to accumulate an astonishing disciplinary record, usually resulting in lax punishment for misconduct.

“Hastings once boasted about body-slamming a homeless black woman to the ground. Video footage showed he had lied about a burglary investigation. He slept on the job, drove recklessly and had problems activating his dashboard-mounted camera. He admitted to using racist language. He sometimes needed help writing reports, and colleagues described him as lazy, incompetent and unfit to be a police officer.”[28]

“We can also look at Ferguson, Missouri,” replied Brian.  “After the 2014 Ferguson police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, the Department of Justice investigated the Ferguson police and found: 

“In 88 percent of the cases in which the department used force, it was against African Americans. In all of the 14 canine-bite incidents for which racial information was available, the person bitten was African American.”[29]

“The Baltimore Police Department was investigated by the Justice Department in 2015 – 16.  Baltimore police violated the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments:

“Racially disparate impact is present at every stage of BPD’s enforcement actions, from the initial decision to stop individuals on Baltimore streets to searches, arrests, and uses of force.”[30]

“Detroit today is the most segregated city in the nation.[31]  From 2015 – 18, Detroit paid out $19.1 million for Detroit Police Department misconduct.[32]  From 2003 – 14, DPD was placed under federal court oversight, because a report from 2003 – 04 found that the DPD had the highest rate of police-involved shootings of any city.[33] 

“What can we do about this?” Michaela asked, stunned. 

“There are some important steps,” Brian replied.  “Police chiefs could be appointed by the mayor instead of promoted up from within.[34]  That makes citizen control of the police, just like we have citizen control over the military.  There are other steps we can and should take.  But my point here in our conversation is to show you that the meritocracy that most white American believe in doesn’t exist.  You seem to think that black people are just exaggerating when we talk about the police having big problems.  But the myth of fair policing is part of the lie that white Americans tell themselves to justify how non-white people get treated by the police.  It’s a way of blaming the victim.  Just like this: if meritocracy is true, then black and brown people get the housing they deserve, and the grades in school they deserve.  If the system is a meritocracy, then non-white people must be more criminal.  But if meritocracy is a myth, then non-white people have not gotten the housing, grades in school, or the policing they “deserve.”  It seems that quite a few police departments do not treat non-white people the same as white people.  They are violating our Fourteenth Amendment right to be treated equally by the law.  So your perception that black and brown people are exaggerating is wrong.  We’re not exaggerating.  America is not a meritocracy.


For further reflections and discussion questions, see the Study Guide.


[1] Sean Illing, “Schools Are Segregated Because White People Want Them That Way,” Vox, October 26, 2017;

[2] Federal Bureau of Investigation, “White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement,” FBI, October 17, 2006;

[3] John Vibes, “DEA Agent Speaks Out: We Were Told Not to Enforce Drug Laws In Rich Communities,” Free Thought Project, March 10, 2015, This quote comes from an interview with Brave New Films, March 6, 2015, 

[4] William Sherman and Daniel Goldfarb, “Marshal Racists Spark Suits,” New York Post, March 16, 1997,

[5] Ibid

[6] Whet Moser, “Chicago Isn’t Just Segregated, It Basically Invented Modern Segregation,” Chicago Magazine, March 31, 2017; highlights the history of Chicago’s racial segregation from the late 1800’s.  Moser cites Carl H. Nightingale, Segregation: A Global History of Divided Cities (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), who said in an interview: 

“The city’s population exploded in a still-developing city as the flourishing of racial and eugenic “science” overlapped into the nascent fields of sociology and real-estate economics. There is a regional Midwestern thing where all the cities with the highest segregation indexes until this day are all in the Midwest,” says Nightingale. “I’m not sure exactly why that is true. But it is true that Chicago had this enormous and booming land industry that the Chicago real estate board—which is founded in the 1890s—could claim, plausibly, that it was the most powerful real estate organization in any city, and in the world, and was then strong enough to then create a national organization located on Michigan Avenue. And in so doing really fell into the position, after the demise of Buchanan vs. Worley, as the center of power that people who wanted to divide cities had to rely upon.” 

Moser also cites a book by, and interview with, Elaine Lewinnek, The Working Man’s Reward: Chicago’s Early Suburbs and the Roots of American Sprawl (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) who says that changes in finance laws in the 1930’s shut down credit union-type options blacks once had.  Blacks who came to Chicago during the Great Migration had few options.  See also Arnold R. Hirsch, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960 (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1983 and 1998) and Beryl Satter, Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2009).

[7] E.R. Shipp, “Chicago Group Demands Black Mayor Heed Whites’ Concern,” New York Times, May 2, 1984; cited by Moser, above.

[8] Moser, above cites David H. Roeder: 

“The home equity battle was so prolonged because it was a perfect red-flag issue in Chicago’s ongoing racial tensions. The proposal called for setting up an insurance pool, funded by slight additions in homeowners’ property taxes, that would reimburse those who had to sell their houses for less than an appraised value. Participating homeowners had to sign up for the program and were ineligible for claims for the first five years. It would apply only in specifically defined white communities. The plan is at work today and has about 2,000 participants on the southwest side and another 1,000 on the northwest side. Supporters say it has stabilized the communities by curbing fears about rapid racial changes and real-estate panic peddling. Critics say it keeps minorities out of those neighborhoods by discouraging current residents from putting their homes on the market.”

[9] Kristin Gwynne, “Chicago to Pay $5.5 Million in Reparations for Police Torture Victims,” Rolling Stone, May 6, 2015, writes:

“The free counseling, education and job training services will also apply to the families of victims, including grandchildren, helping to undo the systemic burdens state violence has inflicted on communities. It’s landmark legislation that may provide a template for organizers advocating for justice for police violence in cities across the country.” 

See also Yana Kunichoff and Sarah Macaraeg, “How Chicago Became the First City to Make Reparations to Victims of Police Violence,” Yes!, March 21, 2017, examines the story of Lindsay Smith,

“among the first of at least 120 young, primarily Black men whom Chicago police officers would torture into false confessions… following the passage of historic reparations legislation, he became one of the first Black people in America to be granted reparations for racial violence.”

[10] Crain’s Chicago Business School, “How Chicago Racked Up a $662 Million Police Misconduct Bill,” Crain’s Chicago Business School, March 20, 2016,; Hal Dardick, “Chicago Still Faces Dozens of Wrongful Conviction Cases,” Chicago Tribune, January 24, 2017,; and Steve Daniels, “How Chicago’s Financing of Police-Misconduct Payouts Adds Hundreds of Millions to the Tab,” Crain’s Chicago Business School, July 6, 2018,, to grasp the cost to the public

[11] Crain’s Chicago Business School, March 20, 2016

[12] Cate Cauguiran, 18 Exonerated After Charges Tied to Corrupt Chicago Police Sergeant Dismissed,” ABC News, September 24, 2018;  See also Jason Meisner, “State’s Attorney to Dismiss 18 Convictions Tied to Former Chicago Police Sergeant,” Chicago Tribune, November 16, 2017;

[13] Alice Speri, “Down to the Wire: Obama’s DOJ Issues Scathing Report on Systemic Abuse Within Chicago Police,” The Intercept, January 13, 2017, writes:

“With forceful language and harrowing details, the 164-page document confirms reports of systemic abuse in Chicago’s most heavily policed communities, including disturbing anecdotes about officers shooting people who posed no threat and tasering people who didn’t follow verbal commands.” 

See also Jamie Kalven, “Chicago Faces a Defining Moment in Police Reform and Civil Order,” The Intercept, August 15, 2018, for an excellent series of articles.  Jamie Kalven, “Operation Smoke and Mirrors: In the Chicago Police Department, If the Bosses Say It Didn’t Happen, It Didn’t Happen,” The Intercept, October 6, 2016, notes that a drug gang operated within the Department.  Elyssa Cherney, “Ex-Chicago Cop Sentenced to 25 Years in Sex Trafficking of Young Girls,” Chicago Tribune, September 13, 2018,, highlights one officer who was sentenced to prison for 25 years for paying four young girls for sex between 2012 – 16. 

“Whitley was arrested on the charges in November 2016 when he was an active officer… Whitley openly displayed his status as a police officer when he picked up one of the girls in his police car, made multiple references to his “partner” and kept a gun under his pillow while he paid the girls for sex.”

[14] So reads the subtitle of Joel Handley, Jennifer Helsby, and Freddy Martinez, “Inside the Chicago Police Department’s Secret Budget,” Chicago Reader, September 29, 2016,, who find:

“There are thousands of civil forfeiture cases… in Chicago and Illinois—and likely tens of thousands more across the country each year. (Exact figures aren’t available, as many states aren’t required to track or publicly disclose this information.) As previously documented by publications such as the Washington Post and the New Yorker, the widespread use of civil forfeiture reaps billions of dollars of revenue annually for law enforcement agencies across the country. […]

Since 2009, the year CPD began keeping electronic records of its forfeiture accounts, the department has brought in nearly $72 million in cash and assets through civil forfeiture, keeping nearly $47 million for itself and sending on almost $18 million to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and almost $7.2 million to the Illinois State Police, according to our analysis of CPD records.

The Chicago Police Department doesn’t disclose its forfeiture income or expenditures to the public, and doesn’t account for it in its official budget. Instead, CPD’s Bureau of Organized Crime, the division tasked with drug- and gang-related investigations, oversees the forfeiture fund in what amounts to a secret budget—an off-the-books stream of income used to supplement the bureau’s public budget. […]

In recent years, 11 states have passed legislation that limits the practice of civil forfeiture, with the most sweeping reform having passed in April in New Mexico. McGrath calls that bill “the platinum standard of forfeiture reform.”

New Mexico’s law eliminates incentives for police and prosecutors by directing all forfeiture proceeds to the state’s general operating fund, and closes loopholes that have marred similar laws in other states. Most strikingly, New Mexico’s law bans civil forfeiture entirely, allowing only those assets that can be proven to be tied to a crime—in criminal court, beyond a reasonable doubt—to be permanently lost to the state. Only Nebraska has passed a law as far-reaching, while nine other states require that a criminal case from which a civil forfeiture case arises must end in a conviction before the civil case proceeds.”

[15] Whet Moser, “How Housing Discrimination Created the Idea of Whiteness,” Chicago Magazine, May 28, 2014; citing Arnold R. Hirsch, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960 (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1983 and 1998) 

[16] Daisy Alioto, “The Lost Village in New York City,” The Protojournalist: National Public Radio, May 6, 2014;  More recent New York City residential segregation is examined by

[17] Shaun King, “Soul Snatchers: How the NYPD’s 42nd Precinct, the Bronx DA’s Office, and the City of New York Conspired to Destroy Black and Brown Lives (Part 1),” Medium, August 21, 2017;

[18] Bill Quigley, “Fourteen Examples of Racism in the Criminal Justice System,” Huffington Post, May 25, 2011; finds: 

“In New York City, where people of color make up about half of the population, 80% of the NYPD stops were of blacks and Latinos.  When whites were stopped, only 8% were frisked.  When blacks and Latinos are stopped 85% were frisked according to information provided by the NYPD.  The same is true most other places as well.  In a California study, the ACLU found blacks are three times more likely to be stopped than whites.”

[19] Saki Knafo, “A Black Police Officer’s Fight Against the N.Y.P.D.” The New York Times, February 18, 2016;

[20] Shaun King, above, links to court documents and summarizes these cases.  See also Victoria Bekiempis, “NYPD Whistleblower Getting $280K Settlement After He Was Harassed for Exposing Quotas,” New York Daily News, December 7, 2015, comments on Officer Craig Matthews in the Bronx’s 42nd Precinct, and the reaction of the Department to his complaint: 

“After telling his superiors about the quota system, Matthews was harassed and threatened, he alleges. Matthews also received punitive assignments, and was denied overtime and leave, for complaining about the quotas, which were displayed in color-coded computer reports, he has said.”

[21] Dave Zirin, “Want to Understand the 1992 LA Riots? Start with the 1984 LA Olympics,” The Nation, April 30, 2012,, discuss the LAPD’s “Operation Hammer” in 1987:

“Before the Olympics, [LAPD Chief Daryl] Gates was on thin ice as police chief. In 1982, he infamously said that African-Americans died under a chokehold used by police officers because “the veins or arteries do not open up as fast as they do on normal people.” But Gates emerged from the Olympics as an untouchable hero. Every incentive for him and his department was to stay in “Olympic mode.” Treating the city as occupied territory became institutionalized.

From 1984–89, there was a 33 percent spike in citizen complaints against police brutality. The complaints went nowhere. According to a Los Angeles Times investigative report, the district attorney’s office chose not to prosecute the “vast majority” of complaints. Between 1986 and 1990, 1,400 officers were investigated on suspicion of using excessive force, less than 1 percent were prosecuted. Frustration, as Langston Hughes predicted decades earlier, “festered like a sore.””

[22] PBS Frontline, “Rampart Scandal,” PBS/WGBH, August 31, 2012,; PBS Frontline, “Perez’s Confessions: Audio Excerpts,” PBS/WGBH, August, 31, 2012,; PBS Frontline, “Rampart Scandal Timeline,” PBS/WGBH, August 31, 2012,

[23] Liam Dillon, “Here’s How California Became the Most Secretive on Police Misconduct,” Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2018, says that state senator Gloria Romero, who has repeatedly tried to pass legislation to loosen restrictions on police disciplinary records, was fiercely opposed by police unions.  She said, “It’s a pack.  Like wolves coming at you.”  The article also provides examples and links to cases, including recent misconduct by Deputy Jose Ovalle, in Corina Knoll, Ben Poston, Maya Lau, “An L.A. County Deputy Faked Evidence. Here’s How His Misconduct Was Kept Secret for Years,” Los Angeles Times, August 9, 2018,

[24] Scott Glover and Matt Lait, “LAPD Misconduct Cases Rarely Resulted in Charges,” Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2000,,

“reviewed nearly 200 cases that the LAPD has presented to the district attorney since 1995 and found that prosecutors often had reason to decline a criminal filing. Many cases were problematic from the start, pitting the uncorroborated allegations of criminals against officers who denied any wrongdoing. But there also were dozens of cases in which there was compelling evidence that the accused officer did commit a crime. Among those cases:

* An officer who was caught on videotape approaching a man from behind and striking him over the head with his metal flashlight, apparently without provocation. It was an assault “so blatant,” according to an official with the city attorney’s office, that the city paid the victim, an alleged gang member, $160,000 to settle his civil rights lawsuit. The officer remains on the job.

* A detective who filed a false police report claiming his car was stolen, when in fact he had sold it. As a result, an innocent man was arrested and taken to jail. The detective remains on the job.

* A veteran officer who detained his paperboy and the young man’s father at gunpoint after the morning newspaper errantly struck the officer’s car, which was parked in his driveway. The officer resigned with disciplinary action pending.

* A motorcycle officer who admitted stealing $800 worth of parts from his department-issued motorcycle and secretly replacing them with parts taken off his personal motorcycle, which he used for off-duty jobs with the film industry. The officer retired before any administrative action was taken.

* Two officers who were in an unmarked police car when witnesses said they ran down a homeless man pushing a shopping cart through an intersection. The officers then sped off without rendering aid, according to the witnesses. Both officers remain on the job.

* An officer who was overheard on an FBI wiretap acknowledging that he “shouldn’t use” the cell phone on which he was talking because it had been illegally cloned. The officer remains on the job.”

[25] Alana Semuels, “How Segregation Has Persisted in Little Rock,” The Atlantic, April 27, 2016,

[26] Hannah Grabenstein, “Lawsuit: Little Rock Police Lied to Conduct Drug Raids,” Associated Press, October 15, 2018,

[27] The Young Turks, “Cops Blow the Doors Off Black People’s Houses in Arkansas,” The Young Turks, October 24, 2018, shows the video

[28] Radley Balko, “If You Don’t Get At That Rot, You Just Get More Officers Like Josh Hastings,” Washington Post, November 2, 2018, cites multiple supervisors neglecting their duties, with checkered histories of their own, lack of organizational discipline, “malfunctioning” dash cameras, lack of training, etc.

[29] Civil Rights Division, “Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department,” U.S. Department of Justice, March 4, 2015, cited by Massimo Calabresi, “U.S. Faults Ferguson Police for Racial Bias,” Time, March 3, 2015,

[30] German Lopez, “The Justice Department’s Incredibly Damning Report on Baltimore Police, Explained,” Vox, August 10, 2016,, quoting from Civil Rights Division, “Investigation of the Baltimore City Police Department,” U.S. Department of Justice, August 10, 2016,

[31] Samuel Stebbins and Evan Comen, “16 Most Segregated Cities in America,” MSN, July 20, 2018,

[32] Ross Jones, “Police Misconduct Claims Cost Detroit Taxpayers $19.1 Million Since 2015,” ABC News / WXYZ Detroit, June 14, 2018;

[33] Office of the Independent Monitor of the Detroit Police Department, “Report of the Independent Monitor for the Detroit Police Department: Report for the Quarter Ending November 30, 2003,” issued January 20, 2004;

[34] Joel Miller, Cybele Merrick, “Civilian Oversight of Police: Lessons from the Literature,” Vera Institute of Justice: Global Meeting on Civilian Oversight of Police, May 5 – 8, 2002,


2 Comments Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s