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ragingloli's avatar

Would you agree that police reports should be inadmissable in court, unless they are corroborated by unedited body-cam footage, and non-police eyewitness reports?

Asked by ragingloli (49128points) August 2nd, 2020

Considering that they tend to lie on their reports so often.

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15 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Even Lawful Good Paladins will turn on each other when they run out of villains. So yes. Cops ideally should serve as the white blood cells in the body in the city by ridding the body of infections. Or at least serve and protect. When they turn on the body then it becomes hurtful to the body.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Oops. I mean that soldiers are for fighting infections; While police should be helping the citizens. Peacefully by leading by example. We are asking the police to be soldiers and leaders. Soldier’s should be going after the bad guys and police should be helping to raise its members into positive members of society. Their is a reason that police and military powers are separated.
Judge Dredd an example where powers (military, police and judicial) are combined in one person.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Judge Dredd (SP). Synopsis: In a dystopian future, Joseph Dredd, the most famous Judge (a police officer with instant field judiciary powers), is convicted for a crime he did not commit and must face his murderous counterpart.

elbanditoroso's avatar

No. Things are seldom as black/white as you portray them in your questions.

Video is useful but not always conclusive.

Eyewitness police testimony is often (not always) trustworthy. And prosecutors and defense lawyers can question the police if there are issues.

@ragingloli – what’s your solution to catching criminals if there isn’t a handy witness available? Should the police let all criminals go in that case? That doesn’t sound very smart either.

Response moderated
stanleybmanly's avatar

No. Police reports can often serve to exonerate the innocent.

Pandora's avatar

I think it depends on the crime and the angle. You can’t let criminals get away either because your camera angle was bad and there are no civilian witnesses either. I think the person priors should account for something as well. Body cams don’t always show everything that happened and not because it was edited but because the angle during a scuffle may have moved it or some barrier is blocking the view. Sometime very little is said. Now if the video is from another person filming and they can fill in the gaps then that should be taken over what the cops say if it obviously shows another story.

kritiper's avatar

Are you assuming that all police officers lie?? They take an oath to tell the truth when in court so are (and must be and must be assumed to be) telling the truth.

chyna's avatar

Yes, case in point Breonna Taylor.
She was at home, asleep, when cops busted her door down and shot her in a case of the cops being at the wrong house. Here is the mostly blank police report from the night of the incident. It says NO when the question is asked Is this a forced entry.

SergeantQueen's avatar

No because of what @elbanditoroso said.

Body cameras don’t always show the full story. There are issues with placement and potentially audio, its technology and it fails. I would say that it would be incredibly rare to find footage recorded by a random citizen that not only shows the altercation/crime/whatever, but also shows the before and after. Most videos I’ve seen start off with an altercation between civilian/officer and not the full lead up to it.

Eye witness is also not 100% reliable. They can lie too, or just be wrong because things happen so fast their brain makes stuff up to fill it in.

It was explained to me in my classes that an officer writes a report, a supervisor reads in, and depending on the situation it gets sent to the DA so they can decide to move forward (Obviously they also look at evidence). So officers telling huge lies are unlikely to get away with it unless the department is in on it.

Police report is a vague term. Do you mean reports in which an officer may have had to use for or something? or do you just literally mean every police report that gets written? Because both need to be considered in court. They give a detailed, chronological explanation of everything that happened, and they include details on how people were acting. That stuff is key in certain cases so it needs to be admissible (For example, the body language and such of the spouses in a DV case, both the person whose been abused and the abuser. Little details like that which are included in reports is important).

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@ragingloli You’re asking a very small group of white Americans a question about police. The answers will not be representative of the experience of the diverse groups of other Americans.

I wish the policeman who entrapped me in a video arcade had told the truth, but he didn’t. He lied. He was working undercover, so he was not wearing a body camera. I’m just a lousy faggot, so my word in court was worthless against his.

Zaku's avatar

Only in placed with depraved, corrupt and untrustworthy police.

If that’s the case, body cams might provide a way to try to counter that.

But it is disgusting to me that such a solution would be necessary.

The real solution is to correct the problems that cause the police force to be so corrupt that this would be needed.

The goal should be to have trustworthy police, and not to need cameras everywhere.

Because it’s a dystopian nightmare to have cameras everywhere.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
MrGrimm888's avatar

Eyewitness accounts, are typically very valuable, in a court of law. Whether it is a civilian eyewitness, or that of a LEO.

There are many cases, in which there may be only one eyewitness. To deny either civilian, or law enforcement eyewitness accounts, would rob a case of potential evidence.
If it is a jury trial, it is up to the jury, to determine the validity of the eyewitness testimony.

It would be foolish, to dismiss any eyewitness’s testimony, just because it could not be backed, by additional material.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’m agreeing with @Hawaii_Jake about this here, due to lack of diversity.

But no, generally I think we have to trust officers on the scene when no one else is, to gather information, witnesses, statements, etc…

I will also say that when camera’s go off, like in the Rayshard Brooks case, it’s highly suspicious to me.

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