April 4, 2018

Police find it easy to get away with lying

Alternet -Police officers lie under oath in court so often that they’ve even given the practice a nickname. “Behind closed doors, we call it testilying,” New York City police officer Pedro Serrano told the New York Times. “You take the truth and stretch it out a little bit.”

The term, the Times notes, came into common usage among cops about 25 years ago, but the issue of police perjury is far older, a problem African Americans have complained of for many decades. In rare instances, those with intimate knowledge have publicly acknowledged not only how rampant testilying is, but also how rarely cops caught in the act face consequences.

“Every lawyer who practices in the criminal courts knows that police perjury is commonplace,” former New York State criminal court judge, U.S. attorney and NYU law professor Irving Younger wrote in the Nation in 1967. “Policemen see themselves as fighting a two-front war—against criminals in the street and against ‘liberal’ rules of law in court. All's fair in this war, including the use of perjury to subvert ‘liberal’ rules of law that might free those who ‘ought’ to be jailed. And even if his lies are exposed in the courtroom, the policeman is as likely to be indicted for perjury by his co-worker, the prosecutor, as he is to be struck down by thunderbolts from an avenging heaven.”

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