*Now that disgraced ex cop Derek Chauvin is on the way to prison for what we hope is at least the next 30 years, word on the street is unarmed Black people can breathe a sigh of relief because bad apple cops like Chauvin know they are under the spotlight. But the truth is cops on the street are just one piece of the puzzle of injustice. Lies told on police reports is another issue.
The headline of the initial news release from the Minneapolis police department about George Floyd’s death read “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction.” When Chauvin and other cops at the scene filed their police reports there was no mention of a cop’s knee on Floyd’s neck at all, let alone for more than nine minutes. No mention of him being handcuffed behind his back with his face on the pavement. In the entire 200 word news release no time or space was given for any of those realities. Had there been no video there would have been no crime to hear MPD tell it. We now know those police reports and news releases were all lies!
Just a few days ago in my home town of Knoxville, Tennessee the Black teenager shot and killed by a cop while at school was buried. The initial report released by Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI) claimed the cops shot student Anthony Thompson, Jr. because the student shot a cop first. When local residents demanded the release of cop cam video it shows something different. I agree the student should not have had a gun at school. But in a rush to judgement, in a rush to blame the dead Black boy for everything that happened that day the student became the official scapegoat.
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Cops should be held liable for lying on police reports or lying during an investigation. It’s an official police document. It’s used to determine if you or I should be charged with crimes. It’s used by insurance companies to determine who is at fault in a traffic accident. If we’re holding people accountable let’s start with these liar, bully, killer cops.
If you are ever stopped by cops or you think any incident you were involved in might have a report linked to it, start checking behind these cops to make sure what they say is actually what happened. It’s like checking your file at work to make sure you’re aware of any negative reports. Confirm that you have a clean police record. Don’t assume that it’s clean. Know that it’s clean. Don’t get caught up on the side of the road and find out you have an outstanding warrant and be at the mercy of these fools who don’t know the difference between a Glock or a taser.
And when it comes to criminal justice keep these issues at the top of your agenda: Abolish no-knock search warrants; abolish of qualified police immunity; Make it mandatory that cops use their cams to record engagement with the public, and those who lie on police reports get terminated. Click on the video above for more details.
Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Texas Metroplex. Email her at i[email protected] with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries. Follow her @tcbstef on Twitter and Instagram