Saturday, March 26, 2005

Passing along police lies

Crime and Federalism has an interesting list of online sources about police lies.

I'd add to their list, off the top of my head, a few Texas items:
  • Alan Bean's account of the Tom Coleman perjury trial, - he was the lying undercover cop on whose uncorroborated word 15% of the black population was arrested in the infamous drug stings in Tulia, Texas. See also Nate Blakeslee's coverage from the Texas Observer that first broke the story.
  • In 2001, Texas considered legislation that would have required corroboration for cops and confidential informants' testimony in undercover drug stings. In the end, Texas didn't go that far, passing instead a first-of-its-kind requirement that prosecutors corroborate informants' testimony to convict in drug cases. Officers' uncorroborated word alone is still enough to obtain a conviction.
  • The requirement for corroboration of snitches led to the discovery of the Dallas sheetrock scandal, when prosecutors began to seek corroboration for snitches they'd used for years with abandon. Over the course of the "sheetrock" cases, eight different officers performed field tests supposedly finding "positive" for drugs that turned out later to be fake, but only two were indicted.
  • Crime and Federalism references a case from the San Antonio newspaper and link to a summary of mine from an old Copwatch Blotter. I keep all those old clips, and the narcotics officer who misrepresented search warrant affidavits so that federal prosecutors had to drop cases was named Carlos Ancira.
  • The same Copwatch blotter referenced by Crime and Federalism summarized a 2/17/01 story by Amy Dorsett in the San Antonio Express News, "Truth policy tars 24 officers," that said 24 SAPD cops were found by official departmental proceedings to have lied over the previous five years. In light of Ancira's case, the chief implemented a new policy, protested vigorously by the police union, that anyone found lying would be terminated.
  • Albert Villareal, an undercover drug task force cop in Floresville, TX, was convicted in 2002 of several counts involving setting up innocents, including evidence tampering.
  • Here's a story from 2002 about lies of omission: the Austin police department's Internal Affairs Division routinely failed to forward evidence of criminal activity by police officers to the District Attorney, an 18-year IAD investigator testified.
Good idea for a post Mike, and I'd appreciate anybody else, too, who can help the list along.

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