The great trust that people say they have for police has steadily declined year-after-year since 2017, from 57 to 48 percent, according to a Gallup poll and a recent article by the Los Angeles Times reveals that law enforcement cannot be trusted because they straight-up lie.
“A lot of times they either have a hunch or they have information that that person has a gun, but in reality, they’ve never seen the gun,” deputy Austreberto Gonzalez said in a deposition involving an excessive-force lawsuit filed by Sheldon Lockett, according to The Times. Lockett, a Los Angeles resident, was beaten by two officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 2016 and spent eight months in jail, even though he was found to have never had a weapon, The Appeal wrote in 2018. The Times reported that Lockett’s case was dropped due to insufficient evidence, meaning, no weapon.
The ubiquity of cameras is seemingly helpful when challenging police accounts, Lex Steppling, director of campaigns and policy at Dignity and Power Now, believes. “Over and over again they say, ‘He was reaching for a gun.’ ‘He had a gun.’ ‘A gun was later recovered at the scene.’ ‘He reached for the officer’s gun,’” Steppling told The Times. “These are things that they say that are not true.”
Even still, The Times learned that residents are afraid of law enforcers because they are threatening on top of having the law behind them to help with evading facts. “They terrorize the community, and then they cover their tracks,” Compton Mayor Aja Brown told ABC7 earlier this month. She had been stopped by the police with her infant daughter and husband in the car, and then asked to step out of the vehicle.
“They asked me to put my hands on top of the police vehicle so they could search me as if I were a criminal,” Brown told ABC7. “I did not look like someone that is trafficking drugs.” As a result, the city called for a federal and state civil rights investigation into the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department in Compton, following a tip by Gonzalez about a gang of tattooed officers called the Executioners who supposedly celebrate police shootings.
Nevertheless, The Times reported that while departments continue investigating multiple claims of false accounts and made-up charges by police, Jackie Lacey, the district attorney for Los Angeles County, reportedly said in a statement that, “We as prosecutors have a legal and ethical duty to file only those charges supported by the evidence. That requires us to dismiss charges when we lose faith that the totality of the evidence will not support a conviction.”