Police Misconduct in Louisiana Demonstrates Need for Scrutiny
We expect those in positions of power and public trust to use their powers responsibly, and most of the time they do. Unfortunately, when one person abuses his or her powers, it casts a negative pallor over the entirety of the system.
Consider the case of a woman in New Orleans, who recently testified that a local police officer arrested her based upon prior traffic violations and then suggested that he would release her in exchange for sex. According to the woman’s testimony, the officer asked her if she wanted to go to jail, and if not, what she would do for him. Although he did not explicitly ask her to have sexual relations, she claimed his intentions were clear.
Initially when the matter was reported to the New Orleans Police Department, the complaint was deemed “unsustained.” However, more recent incidents with the same police officer have prompted further exploration on this matter. Earlier this month, the police officer was sentenced to 45 years in prison for kidnapping and attempted aggravated rape of another woman that he had taken into custody. In that case, he first asked the woman what she would do in exchange for her freedom, and then proceeded to rape her.
Such actions are unquestionably appalling. As the New Orleans Times Picayune noted, during the sentencing hearing Judge Benedict Willard pointed out that the police officer “violated the trust of the citizens of New Orleans demand of New Orleans police.”
Although this is clearly an extreme example of police misconduct, this is unfortunately just one such instance. According to a recent review by the U.S. Justice Department, the New Orleans Police Department has demonstrated a pattern of “unconstitutional conduct.” The report noted that police officers in the department have habitually engaged in racial and ethnic profiling and repeatedly failed to investigate reports of domestic violence and sexual assault, among other things.
The integrity of the police department and public officials is paramount. The criminal justice system can only be effective when those with power can be trusted. This demonstrated history of problems within the police department makes it particularly important that those accused of crimes in Louisiana take steps to protect their rights and interests.
No one who is facing criminal charges should attempt to defend against these allegations alone. The potential consequences are simply too steep, and the potential for problems too high. If you are facing criminal charges for any crime, speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to discuss your rights and options.