Make Police Bias Transparent to Ensure Just Legal Defense

Target: Darcel D. Clark, Bronx County District Attorney

Goal: Allow defense attorneys to see whether testifying officers have a history of untrustworthiness.

An officer’s testimony is supposed to help prosecutors put alleged criminals behind bars, yet when dubious claims are made this goal backfires. During the current climate surrounding policing and the reckoning that has emerged from it, it is important that officers are honest and aboveboard, and that the police departments that hire them are transparent in their hiring and discipline processes. This is especially true for officers who have already proven themselves to be uncredible, as in the case of the Bronx District Attorney’s “No Fly” list, a secret roster of 664 police who were caught “fixing” traffic issues for their friends and family like speeding tickets and parking violations. A portion of the list obtained by ProPublica shows that hundreds have testified in prosecutions, at least 77 of whom that have been sued in civil court for wrongful arrest and other misconduct. 

These blown prosecutions show the inherent conflict in the prosecutor’s role as a deterrent towards police misconduct when they are often working on the same team, with vested interest in sweeping that misconduct under the rug to build cases together. It is vitally important, now more than ever, that the legal process is transparent, and that defense attorneys have access to any information needed to defend their client from inappropriate or unlawful methods of prosecution.

Sign the petition below to demand transparency from the NYPD now.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Madame District Attorney,

In the 16 months following the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent national reckoning on policing in the United States, transparency in the legal process is more vital than ever. While the U.S. deals with the injustices inherent to its legal and criminal systems, it is the job of members of that system to demand change along with all affected by it.

It is time to release the names of those on the “No Fly” list to defense attorneys, so that through the entirety of the legal process defendants can account for the trustworthiness of the prosecuting team and its witnesses; particularly those officers who may or may not have shown themselves to be uncredible. While minor transgressions like fixing traffic violations do not necessarily confirm legal bias when it comes to criminal offences, it is an indication that should be made readily available. If an officer will exploit their badge to get around the law, the question arises: what other lines will they be willing to cross?

Release the “No Fly” List and allow defendants access to officers’ history.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo By: Glenn Fawcett


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