Cops lie constantly

Originally published at:



Here’s the link to the story:


With a lot of those small crimes, there’s fudging. Nobody’s paying attention.

This jumped out at me, because I think it’s worth framing what “small crimes” means in this context. We’re such a carceral society that anything that isn’t being thrown in jail for more than a decade is usually shrugged off as a slap on the wrist, but the “small crimes” these officers are lying about (with the wink and nod from prosecutors and judges and media) often carry what most folks would consider pretty life-altering consequences. Months in jail, or thousands of dollars of fines, or losing your license, or just the fact of having a criminal conviction is a hell of a big deal for a person’s life.


This is an old anecdote, but one of the things I really noticed when I lived in Italy 15 years ago was the paucity of police. You hardly ever saw them. As a non-native, it was jarring to occasionally see them doing stuff, with their machine guns hanging from their side, but the overwhelming thing was how rarely you did see them. There were traffic “cops” at extremely busy intersections directing things in Milan, there were always a couple wandering around the Duomo, but that was about it. Driving through the country, going through small towns, on the highways, you didn’t see police cars.

One time there was one pulled to the side of the road and they waved me over. I had no idea what they wanted, but they got one look at my passport and international drivers license (a piece of cardboard that I filled out from AAA) and waved me on.

Of course, when I got back here, I noticed that police cars were everywhere. You can’t go 5 minutes driving around virtually anywhere without seeing one.


Saga is an awesome comic.


Misdemeanants is a word that never occurred to me.


It is an interesting read, particularly because it shows an American mindset as much as a police mindset. I recall recently seeing a documentary on how German police evolved, and it took the Marshall Plan and denazification to change the German police into what they are today. The police before, of course were some of the most corrupt bullies around under the Kaiser and later the Nazis, and a major target of reforms.

In fact, I did notice that the fact that American cops are seen so dimly by their European colleagues is reflected in language: saying some situation has reached “American levels” is considered a huge black mark.


Every time I’ve been called for jury duty the prosecutor asks most prospective jurors:

“Would you have trouble believing the testimony of a police officer?”

If they answer yes, they’re off the jury.

(Somehow I’ve answered as honestly as I can and still sat on two juries. I can’t remember quite how that happened - either they forgot to ask me, they phrased it differently, or I must have couched my answer in conditionals. I’m pretty surprised I made the cut.)


Oh, my plan is just to lie.


What would happen if a city really tried to eliminate testilying? I posed this question to Bennett Capers, a former federal prosecutor and Fordham Law professor who studies police lies. “In all honesty, I think my initial reaction would be that the system cannot exist without it,” he told me. “It would grind to a halt.” Capers said that “run of the mill policing would have to change. We are doing about 13 million misdemeanor arrests a year. With a lot of those small crimes, there’s fudging. Nobody’s paying attention.”

Any system that can be destoryed by the truth MUST be destroyed.

This means that we don’t have a justice system, because most convictions are based on lies: we have an enslavement system.


This reminds me that when I think about seriously reforming the police, the fantasy involves bringing european trained cops here to get the ball rolling.




no no, if they catch you lying they think you’re a cop and then you’re on the jury for sure

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You might offer a corrolary: “In retrospect George Floyd marked the end of the US police control debate. Once America decided killing him was bearable, it was over.”

This echoes what I have been thinking/reading about. A family in a minivan gets pulled over and handcuffed by cops looking for a stolen motorcycle. How do you make that mistake unless you assume that the driver and family do not deserve any consideration or are even considered human? Is there any other explanation? Here in Seattle, it’s clear that the police are an occupying force, conditioned to act out aggressively against the local population. We’re not far from comparisons to the British Army in Belfast, ca 1975. But it’s easier to tell who gets the boot than it was there. And the soldiers and cops of that era lied, as we now know.

So many stories that have probably always been there but under/unreported. And as the ongoing protests drop off the front page or local news, people are going to go back to their old ways of thinking. The old adage about a mind being like a rubber band, never returning to its old shape once stretched, might work for facts but not so much for perceptions or self-awareness. 50% of white voters will vote for 45 to be returned, according to polls. Unless there is a reverse Bradley Effect and they are lying to save face, we may be stuck on a plague ship for years to come.



i got a ticket thrown out once, turning left on a red light, because i asked the officer if the light had a turn arrow, they said no, then i showed a picture to the judge of the turn arrow.

it’s not exactly lying per se, but if you don’t remember something, say that too.


Who is the first speaker in the first video?

Regent Law Professor James Duane



That second video is very unrealistic. I tried a similar approach once, not wanting them to search my van, which I was living out of. They detained us for the maximum time to call in dogs (even though the dogs arrived quite soon), then rubbed something on the tire and snapped it at the dog to get the dog to jump. When I tried to just watch from afar what they were doing on the other side of the van they screamed and threatened to arrest me for impeding police work. They then said they had probable cause based on whatever had happened on the other side of the van.
They spent a while going through all my stuff and laughing with their girlfriend and fiancée (there were 3 cops and 2 “guests”). It was demeaning. They found some tiny old pot seed and a leaf on the passenger side floor, impounded the van and sent my friend and I to jail for the night.
Even if that hadn’t been there, I suspect they would’ve found some reason to do the same. When you are alone with a bunch of cops on a rural road, it doesn’t really matter what’s legal.
So, it might work for a white guy wearing the right clothes, but I don’t think it works for anyone else.