Think the Police Don’t Lie, Think Again

The investigation of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department continues to unfold. Over the summer, the News Tribune reported that the Pierce County Prosecutor was refusing to work with accused Pierce County Sheriff’s drug unit members who were recently placed on a “potential impeachment” list. Several members of the unit are being investigated for possibly violating department protocols, including exceeding lawful peace officer powers, falsification of records, search-and-seizure policy, failure to obey lawful orders, failure to disclose material fact or making false or misleading statement, unsatisfactory job performance and constitutional requirements. Prosecuting Attorney Mary Robnett was quoted as saying, ““I am troubled by the way the arguments by these [officers] seem crafted to minimize and distract from the actual issues that are under investigation,” Robnett wrote.

Just a few days ago, it was reported that officers in the disbanded drug unit faked reports to protect an informant. The investigation found that Lt. Cynthia Fajardo, who is running for sheriff, might have violated numerous department policies, including lying about whether she informed supervisors about the fake police reports. It also found that three other officers might have violated policies such as creating a false police report, inappropriately managing informants, and not disclosing use of force in an arrest.

In any given day, officers have ample opportunities to bend the truth, exaggerate, or tell an outright lie, beginning with the reasons for initially contacting someone, and ending with what they testify to in court. Officers can be dishonest in affidavits, police reports, warrant applications, probable cause statements, and on the witness stand. Prosecutors rely on of all these things to secure a conviction. There are several reasons an officer may be dishonest. First, evidence obtained from an illegal search or seizure may not be used against a defendant at trial. An officer may provide false justifications for stopping or searching someone in order to make sure the evidence is admissible. Additionally, officers face consequences if they make a mistake or don’t follow protocol, which could be another reason for dishonest behavior.

At Horwath Law, we don’t just take the officer’s word for it. We thoroughly investigate each and every case to ensure that this type of behavior from law enforcement does not negatively impact your case. If an officer bends the rules, our attorneys will discover it.

If you are someone you know has been accused of a crime, contact the attorneys at Horwath Law for a free consultation.

Sources: Tacoma News Tribune; The Police Lie. All the Time. Can Anything Stop Them?

Written by Mark Joseph Stern