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Saturday, February 1, 2020

A Legislative Attempt to Discourage Police Abuse Complaints

      In 2014, Kansas lawmakers considered a bill that would make it much harder for citizens to report instances of police abuse, while simultaneously putting internal affairs investigations at even greater risk of succumbing to police corruption. House Bill No. 2698 required citizens to swear an affidavit before submitting a complaint against an officer. If any part of the complaint was later shown to be erroneous, the complainant could be prosecuted for false reporting, a felony. 

     It got worse. The bill also established that police officers accused of abuse would not be questioned until after they had reviewed the complaint. Ironically, that was the opposite of how police officers interrogate criminal suspects. Criminal suspects are never given the opportunity to review the entire case against them before being questioned.

     The bill also mandated that all police abuse investigations were final. If one police agency found a cop to be innocent, no other agency was allowed to review the case--even if the latter agency was a higher authority, such as the state police.

     Under the U.S. Constitution, the citizen is supposed to be protected from the government. This proposed law and others like it, protected the state against the citizen.

     The bill did not become law.

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