One of the primary arguments in favor of police having cameras on their person and patrol cars was that it would not only prove misconduct when it occurred, but would prove innocence when it didn’t. And to some extent, it’s worked out that way, as Ashe Schow notes.
Marley Barberian, 23, was accused of stealing from a Target store in Palm Beach County when she was arrested earlier this year. While in jail, she claimed a Sheriff’s Office deputy had groped her at the store where she was arrested and raped her on the side of the road while on the way to the jail.
“She said he pulled her pants down and raped her on the side of the road after he pulled over to complete some paperwork he got from the police department, the arrest report notes,” CBS 12 reported. “She then told authorities the deputy who raped her drove her and dropped her off at the jail. She also accused the deputy of groping her earlier in a patdown during her arrest at the Target.”
Barberian claimed the deputy who did these things to her was “a big white male, bald or with little hair, and green eyes,” according to CBS 12. She said he put his gun in her mouth “because that probably turned him on.”
Many people would be naturally inclined to believe Barberian’s claims, whether because they subscribe to “believe the victim” or they hate cops and believe any allegation against them. Indeed, it’s an understandable assumption, given how video has proved many of the complaints about police to be true, but previously unprovable. But as much as Barberian’s accusation was possible, that doesn’t mean it was factual.
Except, a female officer conducted the pat down of Barberian at Target, according to another male deputy. This male deputy also said the accused officer only drove her to Greenacres police station and not to the Palm Beach County Jail, which is when the attack was alleged to have occurred. It was a female deputy who took her from the police station to the county jail.
“Investigators also looked at the in-car video and learned that there were no stops from the time the accused deputy drove Barberian from the Target to the Greenacres Police Department,” CBS 12 reported. “Other surveillance video showed a female deputy escorting her into the jail and booking her there, the arrest report says.”
Sometimes, the cop didn’t do it. Sometimes, the cop didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes, the accuser is lying. This time is that sometime.
Does writing this post, noting an instance where a cop didn’t rape, a defendant lied, make me a traitor to the cause? After all, as a criminal defense lawyer, should I not put every effort into pushing my agenda, serving my team, since there are certainly more than enough stories to write about where the cop did wrong, where the cop was the liar, where the defendant was the victim.
Why side with enemy? Why give the cops comfort when they have lied so often to cover up their harm and offenses?
Facts don’t have friends or enemies.* They just are, and sometimes they will serve to support a view and sometimes they won’t. To the extent there is integrity in the complaints about police misconduct, they rely on the willingness to be brutally honest about both the good and bad, right and wrong. The cop-hater is no better, no more right, than the badge-licker; both are simplistic, biased and wrong. If you don’t want to be as wrong as your enemy, be more honest, more factual, and acknowledge that cops aren’t all evil creatures bent on doing harm.
When a cop does wrong, he deserves to be held accountable, and it’s factually correct to argue that it fails to happen too frequently. But that doesn’t mean all accusations against cops are true, or that cops should be presumed guilty because they get away with it all too often. If your excuse for only attacking police is that they engage in misconduct far more often than they are the victims of false accusations, then you’re no better than they are by refusing to acknowledge facts. If you want to be better than the worst cop, then don’t hide behind misconduct as an excuse to ignore when the cop turns out to be the victim of a false accusation.
The problem with believing your side to be righteous is that you have to actually be righteous, not merely not as bad as the people you’re against. Not every accusation of rape is true. Not every accusation against a cop is true. If you can’t admit that, or you refuse to acknowledge it, then you’re unworthy of pointing the finger. You may not be as dishonest as others, but you’re still dishonest. Be better than that. And appreciate video, for without it, a false accusation might have prevailed.
*Yes, I know that Ben Shapiro’s line is “facts don’t care about feelings.” He’s entitled to his mantra. It has nothing to do with me.