Cops Don’t Snitch, Why Should We?

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I’ve seen people get jumped and I kept my mouth shut. I’m not a bad person, but I don’t try to help because I feel like it’s not my business. I don’t want to deal with it. I don’t want to interfere. I don’t want to make more problems for myself. As long as I keep quiet, trouble can be avoided. It’s self-preservation.

According to a New York Times article called, “Why Police Lie Under Oath,” cops do the same thing. But I do it to watch my own back. They do it to keep a job.

In one part of the article, author Michelle Alexander talked about Adil Polanco, a police officer who told the local ABC News that, “At the end of the night you have to come back with something. You have to write up somebody, you have to arrest somebody, even if the crime is not committed, the number’s there. So our choice is to come up with the number.” And beyond that there’s a long history of cops not telling the truth to protect each other, not caring about the outcome.

Even though the cops and I keep quiet for different reasons, the codes are the same: never tell on your partner. Keep a tight circle of people. Don’t drag someone else down with you. And if you both are quiet, no one gets in trouble.

In the streets we keep the code of silence because we know if you say something your whole reputation could be through. Or, even worse, you could end up in jail or dead.

But in the courtroom, it’s a much different story when a cop lies, versus when I lie. If I go to court, I’m already seen as a liar as soon I hit the door.

Peter Kean, an ex-police commissioner from San Francisco, is quoted in the Times article saying, “Police officers know that in a swearing match between a drug defendant and a police officer, the judge always rules in favor of the officer.” The case is usually dismissed, the officer goes back to work, and because they don’t get in trouble it’s easier for them to continue to follow the code of silence.

Cops aren’t punished when they lie. So, how can they expect us to tell the truth?

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