Rare occurrence: 4 Illinois police officers charged with perjury

Cook County prosecutors made the uncommon decision to bring felony perjury charges against four police officers (three Chicago officers and one from suburban Glenview) after video footage proved that the officers lied when testifying in a drug case.

Although police officers often lie in their testimony in drug cases to evade constitutional protections and to get convictions—a practice known as “testilying”—police officers are not held to the same standard as civilian witnesses. (Read these four articles for more information about testilying.)

Prosecutors should more frequently hold officers accountable by bringing perjury charges when officers falsify testimony to obtain a conviction. In the case in Cook County, prosecutors relied on footage from a camera in a police car to show that the officers’ testimony was false. As video surveillance—from police dash cams, security cameras and as civilians’ cell phone cameras—becomes more common,  it will become harder and harder for officers to evade perjury charges. We need to end the “war on drugs,” which fails to solve the drug problem, fills our prisons with non-violent prisoners and pressures police officers into committing perjury.

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