Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It appears Austin PD needs some of the same 'fire some

and re-train the rest' work that Dallas County SO does.
What Officer Oborski didn’t realize, however, is that other cameras were rolling during the altercation with Buehler. And video shot by a witness standing across the street show a different scene than what was painted in the police reports. In the report, Oborski claimed Buehler shoved the officer, and then proceeded to spit on the officer. While the low quality of the cell phone video makes it difficult to detect any loogies hawked, what we can see is Oborski pinning Buehler against his car, followed by wrestling him down as he straps handcuffs on his wrists. Furthermore, Austin Police Department’s spokesperson Anthony Hipolito admitted that dash videos show no evidence of Buehler’s alleged expectorations, meaning Buehler was unlawfully arrested. So should Buehler be a free man?
The obvious answer is 'Yes. And the officers are facing serious discipline for lying in a sworn statement and false arrest.' However,
Not according to the cops. Though the spokesman Hipolito said he saw no spit, the police department refuse to release any of the arrest videos to Buehler, or even let him watch them. According to Buehler, this policy comes from a police union contract, where the investigations into his arrests will only be made public if allegations against the officer were verified.
Really? You don't get to see evidence because of a union contract? Considering the laws say something about exculpatory evidence being REQUIRED to be handed over to the defense, I'd say there's a problem with that. And this case is further reason why police officers and prosecutors should NOT have immunity for crap like this; make them PERSONALLY liable for damages: "Officer Jones, you lied under oath and submitted a false statement to support a false arrest; if Plaintiff Smith wins this suit, YOU will be liable for money awards, not the city." Bet that'd make an awful lot of crap stop happening.

Added: as Tam put it a while back, every cop out there better get the idea between his ears that no matter where he is or what he's doing, when he's on the job there's going to be a camera- or more than one- recording what he's doing. So if he's doing something he doesn't want to become the next viral video, he'd better stop it.

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