Saturday, July 31, 2010

Now, Cops May Have to Scoot After they Shoot!

Chicago, IL—I remember a strange case in 1976 where witnesses claim they saw a lone Chicago cop get out of his marked squad and engage an armed suspect in a gun fight. The offender died but the still unknown officer fled the scene. It was a justifiable shooting and the officer leaving and avoiding any and all investigation was no crime.

The department pulled out all the stops to find the officer who violated department policy by his flight. Perhaps the officer was off of his beat and maybe outside of his district. Some districts have little choice for meals and officers sometimes risk a suspension for a decent meal in a neighboring district. Maybe the officer was making a booty call during his lunch period? Where the cop came from is anyone’s guess.

One significant benefit of the officer’s flight was avoiding the old, Office of Professional Standards and a lots of paper related misery. The real benefit was the officer made no statement whatsoever which is his right as an American citizen. No zealous prosecutor would be presenting the officer’s own words to a jury had someone who did not observe the shooting decided the officer’s use of deadly force was not justified.

A real factor in determining whether to prosecute cops for murder and manslaughter surrounds eye witness statements. The problem is that often eye witnesses to police shooting are the offender or his friends, family or accomplices. Often jurors add up the witnesses for both sides and whoever has the highest number determines the verdict. Do you think that’s a little scary for white cops in an all Black neighborhood?

With the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals trashing the administrative rights concept protecting officers in the case of Officer William Cozzi, there is are no good reasons for cops to stick around after shooting dangerous suspects ever!

If officers can’t flee they need to refuse any statements without having a defense lawyer present. No lawyer in his right mind will let a cop say anything about a shooting. This may affect the prosecution of suspects but that’s just too bad. Cops can’t be expected to have fewer rights than criminals trying to kill them.

Most cops I know have zero ability to keep their mouths shut when under investigation. They are so pre-programmed to cooperate they never stop to read the Miranda warning they all carry. What’s worse they all keep on blabbing even after someone else reads it to them! That has to change.

I want all my cop friends to watch law professor James Duane’s lecture and learn how to redundantly repeat these four simple words to investigators investigating you, “I want a lawyer.”

When you finish Professor Duane’s video it’s time to watch a long time police investigator George Bruch of the Virginia Beach Police Department explain the reality of Professor Duane's message.


Anonymous said...

Great column Paul! This should be a "must read" in every police academy class! I'm so glad that you wrote about this. As for the copper who shot and fled, I had always thought it might have been you? Any truth to this?

Crimefile said...

I do practice what I preach. When I had to shoot a dangerous rat that attacked me with a Colt Gold cup 1911 nearly 24 years ago I left the scene for my own safety and never made a statement.

No that 1976 shooting was not me. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Crimefile said...

I was reminded by a CPD officer and Facebook friend that the 1976 incident involved two officers who after the shooting searched in the dark for the offender's weapon, could not find it and then fled.

The officers responding to 911 calls found the offender's gun but no sign of the the officers that left the scene. That happened in 006th Dist.

Anonymous said...

Paul, It is very simple they got another call and had to answer it. Sounds good anyway

Anonymous said...

Looks like Garrity is out the window.

"talk to my mouth piece"

Anonymous said...

Paul I know you are not a attorney but from one former copper to a present copper, what would you do if you were involved in a duty related shooting or a off-duty accident involving alcohol in light of the Cozzi ruling steming from the administrative statements?

Crimefile said...

That’s a good and simple question.

There was a time when the city government was on the side of their officers doing their jobs. Even I’m to young to remember that being the case. It’s been dog eat dog for a very long time but it’s now as bad as it can get.

If you are involved in an internal investigation that could possibly result in being charged with a felony including official misconduct you should refuse any statement without a defense attorney present. You have zero protection now because of Cozzi.

If this is an alcohol related matter that could only get you suspended or fired you have little to lose in making a statement.

If you could be charged with only a misdemeanor you’d probably be fired anyway so making a statement has no benefit for you.
I’d refuse.

Remember, if they accuse you of any misdemeanor the felony charge of official misconduct is automatic if it somehow job related.

The real question no is can they take your employment rights away because you have simply invoked your Fifth Amendment rights? My best guess is that game has changed now. I’d rather error in favor of your rights than risking making a criminal case against yourself by blabbing to investigators.

Shoot and scoot. Let no paper, be left behind! Be sure to watch out for those cameras.

Why make arrests? Consider your job only as an observer. You can make paper on other people’s conflicts instead of your own. All your General Offense Case Reports should cite the lack of evidence to make an arrest. No arrests, no conflicts, no complaints, no internal investigations, no litigation and so much lass stress.

Smile as you walk over the bodies and chat with the locals.

If someone attacks you or a brother in blue it’s best that the offender escape the scene. Better yet the offender is found dead in the river or in some dumpster a few days later.

Remember, confession is good for the soul but so hard on freedom and your ability to feed your family. These days police work sucks in a very big way.

You can always find an exciting job in the health care industry.

Police work in Chicago is a lost cause. The ghetto is a jungle and it’s time to let the laws of nature rather than man work in that jungle.

If you say you became a cop to help people that job has changed and you can no longer do that. If you really want to help people change occupations while you still can.

My last remark is simply that if all the prisoners could take back the crap they told police and others about their crimes the prisons would be nearly empty. Of all the people, cops should know this better than anyone.