When the police do something wrong, the public deserves to know and to hold the agencies responsible for those actions. Unfortunately, the reality is that police misconduct is often hidden, and records of incidents are hidden away.
Take, for example, this case that reached the national news. A woman saw that someone had been shot by the police, and she thought it may be her son. Though she went to the police to ask who had been taken to the hospital and asked the hospital itself, she couldn’t get any information because of it being an officer-involved shooting. The woman did not find out it was her son until approached by a coroner.
She later discovered that the officer that was left with the body went as far as to play with it, moving the young man’s head and taking other actions that the officer should not have done. She also discovered that some officers involved in this case had been involved in civilian shootings in the past.
These hidden records are common. Other states, including Oklahoma, New York and Michigan, wouldn’t release any officers’ identities despite those officers having misconduct on their records. The reason? They could still be working and could be undercover.
In other cases, obtaining the records was next to useless, as the majority of them were redacted, making them impossible to piece together. If this is a problem you’re coming across in your case, know that you are not alone. Police misconduct does happen, and you should be able to seek help fighting against it.