Friday, July 31, 2015

overseer self-reporting of brutality an invitation to lying and sanitizing...,


HuffPo |  Few aspects of policing attract more scrutiny than an officer's use of force. And as people around the nation continue to voice concerns about the sometimes contentious relationship between citizens and law enforcement, it's become clear that police and the policed often have drastically different interpretations of the same incidents.

In some cases, this disagreement may stem from an honest difference of opinion. Police violence -- and violence in general -- typically looks repulsive, whether you're watching it unfold in person or on video. It regularly leads to questions about whether a situation truly called for the level of force used, and whether anyone's civil rights were violated in the process. But when the question of what's "excessive" is left to an internal review process that tends to give officers a great deal of leeway, what might appear improper to the average citizen is often found to be justified in the eyes of the law.

[This story includes videos that contain explicit language and graphic depictions of violence. They may be upsetting for some readers.]

A number of high-profile cases over the past few years suggest that something even more disturbing can happen when police are given the responsibility of self-reporting violence. The instances below offer clear evidence of cops -- and in some cases, their superiors -- attempting to sanitize, mischaracterize or simply lie about the use of force. They raise disquieting questions about what might have happened if videos of the incidents had never surfaced -- and how many similar incidents never become known to the public.