Paging Justice Scalia

This post by Radley Balko on the failures of the “internal procedures” of police departments is very aggravating

1. Remember the off-duty cop in Alexandria, VA who shot and killed a teenager over an unpaid $26 IHOP tab? There will be no criminal charges against the cop.

2. Remember the off-duty cop who broke into a civilian home, abused and threatened the occupants, put his gun into one of the occupants’ mouth, then when someone threatened to call the police, replied, “I am the fucking police?” All because he thought someone threw a rock at his car?

    Reader George Ertel writes:

    A few weeks ago you reported on Michael Adams, a cop on trial for breaking into a house in PA and assaulting the occupants who, he believed, had earlier damaged his car. You linked to the story in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. No follow-up story appeared, so I emailed the DA, John Peck, in Westmorland County. He was kind enough to give me a call.

    Not guilty. The jury deliberated for 8 hours over two days, so at least someone wanted him guilty. Peck had believed that there was a good chance for conviction, as the 20-year-olds attacked were middle class and the neighbors were solid middle class and good witnesses. It was clear Adams lied on the stand — he claimed to just come across the car that had stoned his, yet the house where it was parked was on a cul-de-sac in an area where he had no business being. It’s hard to convict a cop, Peck said.

    I told him I appreciated him taking the case to trial.

3. My Cato colleague Tim Lynch details the horrifying case of Frank Jude, beaten nearly to death by a mob of off-duty cops at a party. The pictures are awful. Here’s what the guy looks like. And here’s what he looked like after the beating. When bystanders called the cops to report the beating, the uniformed officers who arrived joined in the beating, then arrested Jude for resisting arrest. Eventually, witnesses went to the media, the truth came out, and all charges against Jude were dropped.

But last April, the cops were acquitted of all criminal wrongdoing, in part, the jury said, because a “poor investigation” didn’t make it clear which cops were at fault. That’s convenient. Guess who conducted the investigation? Criminal charges against the cops who did it stalled for months, apparently because no cops at the party would come forward to name who was involved in the beating.

Justice Scalia, please pick up the white courtesy phone.

Aww why bother….

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Policing, US Politics,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. kent says:

    I suspect part of the problem is that police officers are keenly aware of all the legal protections given a criminal defendant. It should be no surprise that they and their lawyers can play the system to the hilt.

    It would be interesting to know whether these cops will be fired. Dismissal from the force presumably requires a lesser burdern of proof than a criminal conviction.

  2. Ron Johnson says:

    Somewhat contrary to this report. There are several cases where off-duty police here in Portland have been tried and convicted of violence against citizens. Unfortunately you have to be gay in order to qualify as a victim in this case. A strait guy getting beat up by cops apparently was asking for it. A gay getting beat by cops is a hate crime.

  3. Anderson says:

    I suspect part of the problem is that police officers are keenly aware of all the legal protections given a criminal defendant.

    Interesting take on a post that certainly seems to suggest the great bulk of “the problem” is cops who lie and cover up.

    But I suppose we could work it back to Miranda with enough effort.

  4. floyd says:

    steve; forget scalia; where do you stand on the second amendment?

  5. floyd says:

    steve; forget scalia, where do you stand on the second amendment?

  6. anjin-san says:

    And the Bushites are just dying to give the government more power still…

  7. anjin-san says:

    And the Bushites want to give the government more power still…

  8. legion says:

    I’m also curious about how many of these cities will lose multi-million dollar civil suits as a result of the actions of their officers. Unfortunately, even that threat doesn’t seem to be enough to convince people that cops need to be held to the same legal standards as regular citizens…

  9. DaveD says:

    When I’ve watched the show “Cops” on TV I am often surprised at how these cops seem to hassle some folks for absolutely no substantive reason. So this does not surprise me in the least.