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A saying among attorneys that could apply to police officers

There’s an old saying among attorneys: the lawyer who represents himself (or herself) has a fool for a client. This is because rarely can the person who is the subject of a case or a defendant in a criminal proceeding be completely objective.

The same can be said of police officers accused of domestic violence. Because an officer knows how the booking process works, how such cases may be investigated and knows scores of fellow officers, he or she can just “talk things out” with investigators and avoid a criminal charge.

Are police officers viewed like NFL players?

It is only a matter of time before NFL training camps open later this summer and the story of Joe Mixon (and the controversy surrounding him) resurfaces. For those unfamiliar with the running back from the University of Oklahoma selected by the Cincinnati Bengals, he is essentially the new poster child for the angst against professional athletes who still play in the NFL despite having criminal convictions for domestic abuse.

What makes Mixon’s story so controversial is that he, like former NFL running back Ray Rice, is seen on video striking a woman. Rice’s video resulted in a year-long suspension and eventually a release from the Baltimore Ravens. Rice never played another down in the NFL.  This led many to speculate that Joe Mixon would not be drafted, and many believed that he should not be given the privilege to play in the league, despite all that he has done to make amends for his actions. 

Officers accused of stealing overtime hours

For as many people that police officers encounter that are stealing, whether it is property or money, some officers are not above the allegation of taking things that are not theirs. According to a recent news report, four police officers face felony charges after being accused of fraudulently documenting overtime hours.

The officers reportedly forged documents to collect thousands of hours in overtime that they did not actually perform. The accusations stem from an assignment with the FBI to perform a special drug investigation in 2015, where they reportedly performed additional surveillance duties. At the same time, the department’s internal affairs division launched a probe into improper overtime practices. 

How to defend against manslaughter charges

A criminal charge can be life changing for those tasked to enforce the law. Yet, without the correct use of force, a dangerous situation can turn deadly. Where is the balance within the law? When prosecutors believe an officer has overstepped his or her boundaries, they may bring up charges of murder or manslaughter.

On-duty officers have used deadly force against civilians approximately 1,000 times per year since 2005. These incidents have resulted in just 77 charges of murder or manslaughter and 26 convictions as of September 2016. This means a conviction happens in less than one-third of one percent of all confrontations resulting in deadly force.

Questions officers should ask when accused of domestic violence

Indeed, being accused of domestic violence can be a frustrating and helpless experience when you are a police officer. You pledge your life to uphold the law and hold those accountable who do not. But when someone accuses you of a crime simply to exert their power over you, the thought of your career (and your good name) being threatened can be overwhelming.

If this describes your situation, you probably have a number of questions. This post will highlight some of the common questions raised by police officers who need to defend against domestic violence accusations. 

What police officers should know about body cam footage

Calls for the review of police body cam footage have increased over the past few years. These requests commonly come as a result of complaints made against a police officer (or department) for civil rights violations. Indeed, body camera footage can be helpful in resolving baseless complaints, but it has the potential to be detrimental to an officer’s career.

For example, where there is a great deal of footage, violations (although benign) could be found no matter how procedurally correct an officer may be. The same could be said when body cameras are only on sporadically during an incident.

Should I take the plea deal?

If you are a police officer being charged with or under investigation for domestic abuse, chances are that you know that a discussion about a plea deal will be forthcoming. After all, a majority of criminal cases are resolved through plea deals, so they are fairly common.

However, the decision to accept a plea deal is critical because of the legal implications that can permanently affect your career. Officers convicted of domestic abuse (or who are subject to a restraining order) cannot possess a firearm. As such, it is important to take this decision seriously and ask several questions before making a decision. This post will cover a few. 

Officer suspected of improper weapons purchases

Indeed, curbing gun violence is a top priority for police departments today. To do this, local authorities conduct additional investigations with federal law enforcement bureaus to uncover illegal weapons sales. Sometimes these investigations may unwittingly ensnare local police officers.

Such may be the case with a high-ranking Pasadena police officer whose home was raided by federal agents. According to a latimes.com report, federal agents confiscated nearly 60 firearms, including 30 handguns, 20 rifles and three shotguns. The weapons were reportedly worth tens of thousands of dollars. 

Officer accused of stealing marijuana from arrestee

As a result of last November’s election, recreational use of marijuana is now legal in California. However, this does not mean that people can take other people’s stashes without their permission. This especially applies to law enforcement officers taking custody of legal amounts of marijuana without a legal basis.

An officer with the San Jose Police Department was arrested on suspicion of petty theft for reportedly taking a suspect’s marijuana in the midst of a domestic violence investigation. The officer, who has 21 years of law enforcement experience, responded to a domestic violence call and is accused of taking a small amount of marijuana from an arrested suspect. 

How often are police officers arrested?

We know that police officers are sometimes charged with crimes. But the frequency of such charges has always been a vexing question. Depending on what segment of the public is questioned, only a small number of officers face criminal charges. Others may believe that cops are merely crooks that have not been caught yet.

Regardless of some people’s perceptions, a study conducted by researchers at Bowling Green University found that officers are arrested about 1,100 times a year across the United States. The most common crimes included assault, sex crimes, aggravated assault and drunken driving. 

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