Exploring the real issues surrounding law enforcement and the criminal justice system; plus important cases to check out in your free time
From COVID-19 to killer hornets to rioting and looting against "systemic racism", there has been no shortage of insanity in this utterly bizarre year we've been having.
Keeping up with the hysterics and the progressive mob's latest outrage is a full time job in itself; the latest controversy surrounds police brutality and the supposed Black Lives Matter "movement".
I won't go too far down the rabbit hole regarding the George Floyd case and the BLM protests and riots that followed, but will point out a few things.
First of all, George Floyd's death was a dispicable act and clear abuse of power by a police officer; the failure of the three other police officers present is equally disgusting. They deserve to rot in jail and no sensible person has defended their actions in this case.
The biggest problem with the outrage that has since come from people around the world is the race element, which in this case, simply doesn't fit.
There is absolutely no evidence that George Floyd was arrested (or subsequently killed) because of his race; in fact, two of the four officers involved in the incident are "people of colour" and the man who killed Floyd, Derek Chauvin, has a lengthy history of excessive force complaints against him from people of all races. More importantly Chauvin and Floyd worked together in the past, suggesting a personal grudge that we simply don't know enough about to determine if there was any racial element behind the incident.
The entire argument that race was involved stemmed simply by the fact that a black man was killed by a white officer, with many stating that black people are being systematically slaughtered by police en masse.
Well, let's just say the left's narrative doesn't hold up well to scrutiny.
Looking specifically at instances of cops killing unarmed individuals (which, by the way, does not necessarily mean that the killing was wrong and most often is legally justified), 19 white and 9 black people were killed by police officers stateside in 2019 (a number which has been dropping year-over-year for the last several years by the way).
Articles such as those found in The Washington Post have used such statistics to state that black people are being killed at a far higher rate than white people by comparing the total populations, of which black people account for (roughly) only 13% of the US population.
This is a disingenuous portrayal of the statistics however, considering that roughly 50% of violent crime in the US is committed by black suspects and thus increases their interactions with police.
For every 10,000 arrests of white suspects for violent offenses, four are killed by police (again, this does not mean they were unjustly murdered); for every 10,000 arrests of black suspects for violent offenses, three are killed.
When looking at overall crimes committed, the results show indications of racism, just not in the way progressives claim.
For total interracial violent crime incidents in 2018 in the US, by far the highest case counts are actually involving black suspects on white victims, outnumbering the inverse by a factor nearing ten. Black on hispanic incidents outnumber the inverse by nearly three times as much, while hispanic on white incidents outnumber the inverse by roughly 1.5 times.
Another study from 2013 also shows similar results when looking at homicides, with white people being killed by black people at a far higher rate than vice versa - while the rate of white people being killed by other white people is similar to that of the rate of white people being killed by black people, an incredibly high amount of black people are murdered by members of their own race.
The Black Lives Matter movement (which is a far-left extremist group with dubious funding to say the least and actively promotes racism and antisemitism) paints the picture that black people are being slaughtered by white people across the United States, when in reality, there's a better case for the opposite being true and in terms of race, the biggest threat to black people are...other black people.
None of this has stopped the left's useful idiots from defacing WWII memorials, tearing down and defacing statues including those of abolotionists and even Abraham Lincoln, demolishing local stores and businesses in cities across the United States (including tons of black and minority-owned businesses), and killing innocent black people like 77-year-old retired police chief David Dorn.
In fact, there have been more black people killed by looters and rioters over the course of the last few weeks of "protests" than there were unarmed black men killed by cops in all of 2019 (and that is including predominantly justified shootings). It's quite odd that the people proclaiming "Black Lives Matter" have been conspicuously silent about the killings of David Dorn, Italia Kelly, and Chris Beaty to name a few, not to mention the hundreds of black men killed every year in Chicago.
The police incidents involving black victims are made into major news stories, yet there are plenty of examples of white suspects being killed in similar fashion, also on video, that didn't garner anywhere near the coverage or backlash and not a single window was broken in protest.
Tony Timpa for instance was killed in almost identical fashion to George Floyd in 2016 with body cam footage making the rounds just over a year ago, yet people are only now learning of his death because it has been compared to Floyd's.
His final moments had him similarly pleading for his life as he was restrained face down by officers before he too was rendered unconscious - the cops then proceeded to crack jokes about the "sleeping" suspect while they attempted to wake him up, only later being informed by paramedics that Timpa was actually dead.
One can't help but think there would have been mass outrage and riots at the bodycam footage if Timpa was black.
There are plenty of incidents in the US and elsewhere involving excessive force on suspects of all races, yet society is currently being divided and torn to shreds by political activism and flawed logic. Ironically, most of the cities where recent incidents have occurred and cities in which high black homicide rates are found have been run by democrats for decades, yet protesters are actively telling everyone to vote for democrats - go figure?
That isn't to say that racism doesn't exist, but that isn't the major factor here and the current rhetoric being spouted by progressives is not only making matters worse, but is often extremely racist in its own right and leading to more race-related hate crimes (which are disproportionately found to be targeting white people in recent years, particularly the Jewish community in places like New York).
A new study has shown that the excess murders and felonies that occur in the aftermath of "viral" police killings in the US (even when ultimately proven to be justified, such as the infamous case of Michael Brown that set off the Ferguson riots) are incredibly devastating - simply looking at five recent instances (Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Ferguson, and Riverside) brings an estimated 900 excess homicides and some 34,000 excess felonies.
The Real Policing Issues
Just to be clear - the vast majority of police incidents in North America are handled lawfully. But just like in any system involving human beings, mistakes are made and there are always going to be "bad apples" in any group.
The key to minimizing the chances of bad actors ruining the reputation and efficacy of the police as a whole is to hold those who abuse their position accountable and to fully prosecute those who would break laws while on the job (or outside of it). That is where the current system has largely failed.
While certain cases where an officer clearly crosses a line or even kills a suspect without justification (usually those that have video footage) involve officers being prosecuted, there are many that do not and less severe cases rarely even result in punishment at all.
The biggest problems regarding police misconduct stem from police unions and the overall "us versus them" mentality that runs rampant in the criminal justice system.
One would think that police unions, in an effort to protect the majority of their members and improve their relations to communities, would want to weed out the "bad apples" from the bunch, but in reality, unions go to extraordinary lengths to protect members even when they've blatantly broken the law and betrayed their oath.
One of the biggest problems in the states is the fact that police officers can be fired for misconduct and in many cases, can then be hired as an officer in another jurisdiction or state - it's a systemic problem akin to the pedophile priests that have plagued the Catholic church and would simply be moved to another area when allegations of wrongdoing arose, allowing serial offenders to continue to harm innocent people.
The other biggest issue is the childish notion held by many police officers that all police are part of a "family" and that going against a fellow police officer, even if that officer committed a crime, is a betrayal.
Cops that have informed higher-ups of wrongdoing perpetrated by fellow officers are regularly shunned by their fellow officers and labelled as "rats", even when the officers they've informed on have been caught committing serious crimes - in some cases it has even led to the informing officers being fired without cause or led them to quit thanks to the harassment they endure as a result.
This pathetic mentality has led to many officers being afraid to speak up or intervene when they've seen their colleagues doing something wrong and is an issue that absolutely needs to be addressed if any real progress is to be made.
The "blue wall" has regularly made it extremely difficult to weed out corruption in police forces and that often extends to other parts of the justice system, like district attorneys, judges, and even forensic scientists.
As much as I like to rag on journalists, proper investigative reporting over the years has been particularly good at unearthing corruption and poor policing in many cases - though sometimes newspapers and media organizations have largely ignored cases when they aren't politically beneficial, there have nonetheless been many brave and capable journalists fighting for the truth even at the risk of their careers or even lives.
Gary Webb is one such journalist that springs to mind - for those that don't know, Webb exposed the CIA's cocaine smuggling operations in the 1990's and as a result was vehemently smeared by the government and had his life torn apart before he ultimately committed "suicide" in 2004, by way of not one but two gunshot wounds to the head.
Now the CIA's long history of corruption and abhorrent acts are certainly worthy of an entire piece on its own, but in keeping with policing and the criminal justice system specifically, I'd like to highlight some high-profile cases where the police and/or others in the criminal justice system have shown clear incompetence, brutality, and/or corruption that ultimately has gone unpunished, highlighting failures in the system and those that are entrusted to uphold the rule of law.
So without further ado, here are ten high-profile cases that bring attention to different systemic failures in policing and the justice system, and as an added bonus, each has had a relatively recent film/show/docuseries that's well worth a watch.
The Waco siege conducted by the FBI might be the most egregious instance of excessive force in US law enforcement history due to the fact that it resulted in the deaths of some 76 people, including 25 innocent children.
Shortly after another high-profile law enforcement failure at Ruby Ridge which resulted in the deaths of a US Marshal, a 14-year-old boy, an unarmed woman and a dog, the largely useless ATF wanted to make their organization appear useful by attempting to serve a search warrant on a religious sect's compound just outside of Waco, Texas.
The Branch Davidians were a cult led by their charismatic prophet David Koresh who had caught the attention of the ATF after they received tips that the group was stockpiling illegal firearms and could become a serious public safety concern. Later it would become known that Koresh was not only a polygamist but a pedophile that fathered children with girls as young as 12, though at the time law enforcement did not know this was the case.
Instead of apprehending the cult's leader peacefully (which they had many opportunities to do so when he was away from his group and unarmed), the ATF instead opted to raid the compound using force and continued with a "surprise" raid even after learning the Branch Davidians knew they were coming.
A trigger-happy ATF agent sparked all-out war which ended with six Branch Davidians and four ATF agents losing their lives and dozens being wounded. The skirmish would then turn into a drawn-out siege as the FBI took over the operation and after negotiations continued to fall through, resorted to torturing the Branch Davidians holed up in the compound using tactics such as sleep deprivation (despite the FBI knowing innocent women and children were inside).
The highly publicized standoff would conclude some 51 days after the initial raid, when the FBI decided to initiate a tear gas assault on the compound in the hopes the Branch Davidians would come out in order to save their children (who would be unprotected by gas masks) - instead, most of the members would entrench themselves in what would ultimately be their tomb as fires later broke out and trapped them inside.
The fire would consume the entire compound and kill 76 Branch Davidians including 25 innocent children and two pregnant women.
Despite a litany of mistakes and wrongdoing, no ATF or FBI agents or officials were ever publically reprimanded or charged for their involvement in the disaster.
The Paramount Network recently released an excellent limited series recreating the Waco fiasco drawing heavily from books written by a surviving Branch Davidian member and the lead FBI negotiator involved in the siege. The series does a great job of showing audiences what really happened (mostly) during the infamous siege and captures both sides of the story; simply titled Waco you can watch it anytime on Netflix.
The Confession Killer Henry Lee Lucas
In a complete change of tone as compared to most of the items on this list, this case is not about law enforcement going out and actively breaking the law or hurting civilians, but instead showcases the gross incompetence and laziness that has been a staple of governments throughout history.
To make a long story short, Henry Lee Lucas was more of a serial liar than he was a serial killer, though he was certainly a lowlife criminal that (likely) killed three people.
The story gets rather astounding however when authorities essentially aided and rewarded Henry Lee Lucas for confessing to other murders that he didn't commit, quickly turning him into the most prolific serial killer in American history - until journalists pointed out the extremely flawed "confession interviews" the Texas Rangers and other law enforcement personnel were holding were leading to a litany of false confessions in cases where Lucas couldn't have possibly been the perpetrator.
Lazy detectives and police officers from various states were tricked or otherwise stated they had solved cold cases and brought justice to an extraordinary amount of victims across the US, only for it later to come out that almost none of the confessions Lucas made were truthful.
Lucas instead told interviewers what they wanted to hear with his "first-hand" knowledge of the cases based on his memorization of files provided to him by the Texas Rangers before or during interviews, all so that the rather disturbed criminal could enjoy the attention and perks he was getting in exchange for closing cases.
The Netflix docuseries The Confession Killer does an excellent job of diving into the insane story that is Henry Lee Lucas' life and confession spree and by the end of it you'll have a hard time believing so many people allowed this to happen. Unfortunately, it did happen and many of the cases he confessed to remain unsolved to this day.
Speaking of incompetence and laziness, those that know the story of Richard Jewell know how easily someone's life can be ruined when someone is smeared by law enforcement and complicit media members.
A security guard working at a concert in the Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, Richard Jewell saw a suspicious backpack left unattended at the park that contained three pipe bombs. Alerting the police and helping disperse the crowd before the bomb went off (killing one person and injuring 111 others), Jewell was rightfully hailed as a hero.
Coming up with no other leads, the FBI then focused their investigation on Jewell as the bomber or an accomplice to the bomber; the focus of the investigation was leaked to the media and led to a media circus that took over the poor man's (and his family and friend's) life. All but convicted in the court of public opinion, Jewell was ruthlessly smeared by the media for months before being officially ruled out as a suspect.
Ultimately the real culprit was caught years later, but the leaking of the FBI's investigation and the media firestorm that surrounded Jewell showed how irresponsible and downright destructive the media and law enforcement can be even when it isn't intentional. It's certainly a case worth looking into considering the current "trial by media" climate we live in.
If you're interested in his story, Clint Eastwood directed a biopic in 2019 simply named Richard Jewell that is definitely worth a watch.
The Washington and Colorado Serial Rape Cases
Speaking of someone's life being ruined by law enforcement incompetence and/or irresponsibility, an 18-year-old woman in Lynnwood, Washington found herself being re-victimized by the police after being raped in her home.
After calling the cops for help and repeatedly giving her story, minor inconsistencies in her recollection led the detectives to ignore strong evidence that the girl was raped and instead they bullied her into later recanting her statement and agreeing that she made it up. To make matters worse, she was charged with making a false report of rape and promptly villified by the local media.
After a series of similar rapes occurred in suburbs around Seattle and Denver over the next three years, a team of detectives collaborating across several departments eventually found the culprit in 2011 and were able to link the original Lynnwood victim to the rapist as well, proving the original victim's account and exposing the pathetic police work done by the Lynnwood detectives.
A Netflix mini-series based on the story named Unbelievable does an amazing job at telling the story and delves into many issues surrounding policing, including the problems with interstate crimes and working across different agencies. It also sheds light onto the politics and difficulties that surround investigating police officers for crimes even when committed outside of the job.
Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey
One of the most famous docuseries ever made and one you've undoubtedly heard of if not binged in its entirety, Making A Murderer exposes deep-seated corruption and incompetence in the small county of Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Convicted of sexual assault and attempted murder in 1985 based largely on the bias of the local sheriffs and their refusal to properly investigate the matter, Steven Avery would spend 18 years in prison for a crime that DNA evidence would later prove he did not commit.
Exonerated and released from prison in 2003, Avery would file a $36 million lawsuit against the county, its former sheriff, and its former district attorney for his wrongful conviction. With his civil suit still pending, Avery would again be arrested, this time for the murder of a Wisconsin photographer - he would be forced to settle his original lawsuit for just $400,000 and was later convicted of this crime in 2007.
The case against him however was full of holes to say the least and showcased not only incompetence or laziness by the Manitowoc County sherriff's office, but clear corruption in the form of planted evidence, biased investigating and the clear coercion of a mentally challenged minor (Brendan Dassey, Avery's nephew) into confessing to a crime there is still no evidence he committed.
Although Dassey would briefly have his conviction overturned by a federal judge on the grounds of the coerced confession, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals would ultimately uphold his conviction and show the blatant incompetence and/or corruption throughout the midwest's criminal justice system, continuing to pervert justice and allow the real killer(s) to roam free and potentially hurt others just like they did back in the 80's.
If you want to see clearly corrupt cops and prosecutors that have ruined multiple lives and gotten away with it even after millions have seen the evidence of their wrongdoing, look no further than the Steven Avery story.
Unlike the other cases in this piece, the Jeffrey Epstein story (of which we're still learning and piecing together) doesn't involve any corrupt or incompetent cops - instead, it sheds light on corruption higher up in the justice system (in this case a Florida district attorney's office), as well as exposing a number of high-profile politicians, actors, and celebrities for their involvement.
A shadowy Democrat donor and billionaire "financier", Jeffrey Epstein is of course more commonly known now as one of the most prominent serial rapist and pedophiles (that we know of) in American history.
Police in this case did their jobs and found plenty of evidence as far back as 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida that Epstein was grooming and abusing teenage girls as young as 14 with the help of his companion Ghislaine Maxwell. The FBI would quickly get involved and investigators compiled overwhelming evidence against the rich pervert that led to his arrest and a litany of charges involving the sexual assault and prostitution of minors.
The drawn-out legal proceedings ended in confusion as, behind closed doors, the Florida District Attorney's office worked out a sweetheart plea deal that saw Epstein plead guilty to a single count of procuring an underage girl for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute, resulting in a paltry 13-month prison sentence.
The details of the deal and what Epstein offered in return were sealed, but incredibly, it offered immunity to Epstein for all potential crimes he had committed as well as immunity for any and all of his accomplices in one of the most incomprehensible plea deals in history. Not only that, but Epstein's stint in prison saw him regularly out on "work release" all day that he paid for alongside an assortment of other privileges, including hours of unsupervised visits with legal counsel that included young women said to be his "legal aides".
Epstein would continue to rape and abuse young girls around the world in his various homes in the years to come.
He would famously fly celebrities and politicians around on his private jet (known as the "Lolita Express") with young (often underage) girls on board. His private island in the caribbean, Little Saint James, was known by locals as "pedo island" and since many of Epstein's victims and those that worked for or around Epstein have come out publically, many powerful figures have been implicated in participating in the abuse of Epstein's victims on the island or in other locations around the world, including British royal Prince Andrew and former US president Bill Clinton.
The FBI would arrest him in New York in 2019 on federal charges for the sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York, raiding his $80 million apartment and finding a plethora of evidence against him including child pornography and what appeared to be his rumoured "blackmail tapes", with the NYPD logging a bounty of discs containing the names of prominent figures alongside the names of girls from a safe in Epstein's apartment.
As you undoubtedly know, Epstein would soon be found dead in his jail cell of an apparent "suicide" despite having suffered multiple fractures in his neck not consistent with the manner in which his death supposedly occurred and the CCTV footage from outside his cell being deleted.
Epstein's accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, nor anyone else involved in Epstein's decades of disgusting criminality, have never been charged with any crimes and the blackmail tapes logged by the NYPD have seemingly been forgotten about since his death.
The recent Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy, Rich documentary on Netflix does a good job of exposing Epstein and the tragic failures of the justice system in this case, though it really is just the tip of the iceburg; here's hoping one day (soon) we learn the full extent of others' involvement and finally see some semblance of justice for the hundreds of victims involved in Epstein's pedophile ring.
Sonja Farak and Annie Dookhan Drug Testing Scandal
Similar to the last case, the tale of Sonja Farak and Annie Dookhan actually shows no wrongdoing by police officers - instead, it focuses on failures with forensic testing labs that ultimately led to tens of thousands of cases being dismissed and included plenty of people charged and convicted of crimes that ultimately shouldn't have been.
Although both the drug lab chemists were working in labs located near each other and were caught within months of each other, their two stories are quite different - in Dookhan's case, she falsified data and reported test results for tests she never actually performed simply to advance her own career.
Farak on the other hand was actively using hard drugs she had tested as well as pure test samples while on the job that went unnoticed for years in a drug lab that had rather pathetic standards and protocols and little oversight.
Netflix's How to Fix a Drug Scandal delves into the two cases and shows incompetence and immoral acts in a field rarely scrutinized that has massive consequences for potentially innocent people. It also explores corruption and the issues of holding government employees or contractors responsible, particularly when it makes the state or certain politicians or officials look bad.
The Algiers Motel Incident
While many don't like to acknowledge it, it's important to note the improvements and the now extremely rare incidences of actual racism perpetrated by police officers. This wasn't always the case however and the Algiers Motel incident in Detroit back in 1967 is one of the worst cases of police brutality and racism in US law enforcement history.
During the devastating 12th Street Riot in 1967, a trigger-happy officer was returned to active duty despite his superiors debating whether to charge him with murder for killing a man with a shotgun against direct orders.
After a series of unfortunate circumstances, a black R&B group The Dramatics along with several other innocent people found themselves being terrorized by the officer in question along with other police officers for hours in their attempt to find a "sniper" in the building, having mistaken blanks fired from a starter pistol in the motel for sniper fire.
The fateful confrontation resulted in the murder of three young black men (including a 17-year-old) in cold blood and yet all of the officers involved were eventually acquitted of all charges despite clear evidence of assault and unjustified homicide.
The 2017 film Detroit offers a compelling retelling of the story and the disturbing crimes committed by officers on innocent civilians that day.
The Central Park Five
One of the most high-profile criminal cases in the beginning of the 1990's, the famous "Central Park Five" were five young black and hispanic minors who were falsely convicted and imprisoned for the brutal assault and rape of a 28-year-old white woman in New York's Central Park.
Rounded up as part of an estimated 30+ teenagers who had been out in the park where a series of assaults and attempted assaults took place on April 19, 1989, the five (along with a sixth teen that accepted a plea deal) were each interrogated without their guardians present for seven hours or longer before they each confessed to the crimes due to intimidation and disgusting police tactics.
The confessions would be the only evidence the prosecution had against the teens, who also admitted to participating or seeing the attack on a man in the park earlier that night; their confessions to that incident fit with the facts surrounding the assault, but their confessions involving the female rape victim c