We need police, but not these cops

America has a policing crisis, and bad cops are only part of it, there’s also a cop shortage. But this article is about bad cops.

Even though overall crime statistics are down, the inability of understaffed police departments to respond promptly (or at all) to 911 calls is leaving residents of Seattle, Portland, and other cities feeling frustrated and vulnerable. In Seattle and elsewhere, departures outnumber new hires (see story here). But the soluti0n isn’t poor hiring practices or retaining those who abuse citizens and cost taxpayers expensive legal judgements.

Which brings me to Thomas Perez Jr. and Fontana, California, police.  The case began with a missing persons report Perez initiated; his father “left the house with their dog to get the mail” and only the dog returned. Perez called 911.

The officer who responded thought his demeanor was “suspicious.” He was brought in for questioning and cops searching his house claimed they found bloodstains and a police dog smelled a corpse.

Detectives questioned Perez for hours. They drove him around demanding to know “where Daddy is.” They berated him, denied him access to his medications, refused to take him to a hospital. After they told him his father’s body had been found and threatened to kill his dog, he admitted murdering his father.

Then his father turned up alive. He’d been visiting friends the whole time.

This was crappy police work. Instead of looking for the missing person, or collecting real evidence, the cops browbeat an innocent suspect into a false confession. This happens all the time (see article here), because extracting a confession is a lazy way to solve a crime. Perez’s case illustrates why innocent people shouldn’t talk to police. (Note, if guilty people want to give away the store, that’s fine with me.)

The City of Fontana, or their insurers, paid Thomas Perez Jr. $898,000 for what his lawyer called “psychological torture” (see story here). His story isn’t unusual; sloppy, dishonest police work is common (read more horror stories here).

We’re better off without cops like these. Let them quit, and good riddance. We need more police, but also better police, and if you ask me, fewer police is better than bad police.

Photo below: Thomas Perez Jr. with his dog in the interrogation room; note the detectives’ intimidating body langage

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