How do we fix the police ‘testilying’ problem?

Check out this article in the Washington Post, which explains how common it is for police to lie on the stand. Police perjury undermines the integrity of the criminal justice system and has devastating effects on people’s liberty. Police lie in order to obtain convictions; their perjury results in wrongful incarcerations. Officers also lie in order to cover up other acts of police misconduct, such as illegal searches, discrimination, excessive force or brutality, false arrests, and other civil rights violations.

The author argues that the increasing prevalence of video evidence—from civilian’s cell phones as well as from cameras on police cars and police lapels—is forcing the courts to confront the fact that officers commit perjury. Video recordings can also make it easier for people to file successful complaints about police misconduct. Our firm handled the civil rights complaint of Simon Glik, who was charged with illegal wiretapping after using his cell phone to record police officers who appeared to be using excessive force. This case, Glik v. Cunniffe, went to the First Circuit Court of Appeals and resulted in a landmark decision affirming people’s right to openly record on-duty police officers in public spaces. The decision in our case noted that videotaping public officials is “a basic, vital, and well-established liberty safeguarded by the First Amendment.”

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