When you get arrested, what happens next depends on the law and the Constitution, but when a cop arrests their co-worker, what happens next is determined by a cushy contract between the police union and the city that gives suspected crooked law enforcement officers every benefit of the doubt, and lots of ways to walk away free, regardless of the facts.
Civil rights attorney David Owens, of the University of Chicago Law School's Exoneration Project, reflects on the Check the Police project, which has compiled a database of 50 police union contracts from major American cities, analyzed by Campaign Zero. They group police privileges into nine categories that range from the right to have any case that takes more than a year to investigate summarily dismissed to the right to know the names of the co-workers in charge of your case.
Owens: "Police officers don't have to care whether you're not off work or just got off work or just got there. They arrest suspects whenever it's convenient for them. I've seen interrogations start early in the morning or late at night and go all night when somebody should be asleep. So that is a protection not afforded [civilian] criminal suspects who are being interrogated by the police."
Provision 2: Interrogations may take place only in specific locations: the officer's usual workplace, the Independent Police Review Authority, the Internal Affairs Division, or another "appropriate" site.
Owens: "Regular suspects have no ability to determine where they will be interrogated. You often see suspects moved from room to room to room at a particular police station. Most of these rooms don't have clocks, so it's hard to determine how much time has transpired, which itself is disorienting. Obviously it would be different if the interrogation happened at a suspect's house or at their place of work or someplace that's comfortable. But usually a custodial interrogation occurs at the police station—so that's already sort of a coercive environment. By contrast, the police contract allows officers to be questioned in a place that they're most comfortable."
9 Ways Police Have More Protections Than You Do When They're Arrested
[Brandon Ellington Patterson/Mother Jones]
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)