Almost two weeks ago, I noted that former-accused-statutory-rapist-turned-police-chief Jerry Dyer had seen the light: after some of the officers on his crack team of — wait, that won’t work… — after one-third of his specialized drug enforcement team came under suspicion and two officers were arrested for running a car theft ring, Dyer reminded everyone:
It’s important for me and for all of us to not rush to judgment on this case. There is no indication that any other detective in that unit was involved.
And he’s right. His other officers were busy elsewhere.
Today, a Fresno Bee headline reads: “Video shows officer hitting man.” The video shows two police officers holding down a homeless man and beating him in the face.
As a criminal defense attorney, I find it irritating that I’m frequently treated as if only the first word in that tripartite title counted. With recent changes in Fresno, I’m now unconstitutionally searched several times a day; the sheriff’s deputies x-ray or lamely rummage through my bag looking for weapons every time I enter a courthouse. Given that most days I’m doing that a half-dozen times, you’d think someone would figure out that the most dangerous weapon I carry (which they routinely ignore) is my heavy, sharp-pointed, three-foot long umbrella on rainy days.
The irony is not simply the weapons that are overlooked by searches that range anywhere from perfunctory privacy invasions whose real goal is to show who’s the boss, but that, compared to law enforcement officers, criminal defense attorneys are, on the whole, saints.
So I’m even more irritated when I go into court and the words of police officers are given such great weight that anything I, my client, or witnesses for the defense might say is automatically suspect. But look at the evidence: police officers on the whole are, in fact, worse than defense attorneys.