Check out this expose’ by Eli Hager, who explains why police officers have much greater legal rights than the suspects they apprehend. Here is an excerpt from Mr Hager’s excellent essay:
A set of due-process rights for police officers under internal investigation for alleged misconduct, Maryland’s LEOBoR [Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights] includes a provision that the officers cannot be forced to make any statements for 10 days after [an] incident, during which time they are presumed to be searching for a lawyer.
In addition to this remarkable 10-day “cooling-off period”–plenty of time, by the way, for the Baltimore police to tidy up its story in the Freddie Gray case–Mr Hager’s damning essay details the following plethora of legal rights afforded to police officers accused of misconduct (emphasis added by us):
- The officer must be informed of the complainants, and their testimony against him, before he is questioned.
- During questioning, investigators may not harass, threaten, or promise rewards to the officer, as interrogators … do to civilian suspects.
- Bathroom breaks are assured during questioning …
- Even if the officer is suspended, the department must continue to pay salary and benefits, as well as the cost of the officer’s attorney.
Add to these special protections the judicially-created doctrine of qualified immunity and you have a group of law enforcement agents who are literally “above the law.” Who polices the police?