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Prosecution of Law Enforcement Officers

Dec 5, 2022 | 0 comments

Dec 5, 2022 | Essays | 0 comments


In pursuit of excellence and increased security, America as a country has invested heavily in the employment and training of law enforcement. The majority of the states enjoy an average of 83,000 law enforcement officers employed in one capacity or another. State law gives officers authority to decide on how to employ and use lethal force (Zeidman 2004). As Maguire *et al. *(2017) shows, the main justification for such use of force is a desire to arrest the individual or prevent further harm to the officers or citizens within the vicinity.
However, Smith (2004) counters that in the past decade, officers have continuously been implicated in using lethal force in situations where such force has been unnecessary. This includes harming and even killing innocent civilians without exercising due diligence. Such officers are expected to face the law the same way as their civilian counterparts. Often it is felt that within the court systems, officers are given preferential treatment as opposed to their civilian counterparts.
Such treatment has often been the bone of contention, with communities feeling that the systems designed to police the police are not working and are, in fact, quite weak. This concern has raised the level of mistrust among the community members who feel that police officers are not only licensed to kill, the same law protects them they claim to safeguard. Even with such sentiments, not much data has been gathered to prove or disprove the hypothesis that police officers are treated differently within the court systems in comparison with the civilians charged for the same crime. This study, therefore, is designed to gather evidence to dispute the above statement. Purpose of research
Much data has been gathered about police and their behavioral tendencies. However, much of this data focuses on race and other subjective factors, especially that directed at understanding their criminality and criminal tendencies. In his study, O’Kane (2017) suggested that there was a need for a study focusing on the policing of the police. This study aims therefore to answer the question what happens to police who kill illegally, and is the same punishment and procedure available for their civilian counterparts who have committed the same crime. This is especially in consideration to the fact that officers are armed by the law and trained in identifying situations where lethal force maybe necessary.
Secondly, for conviction to occur, prosecutors are required to prove that the crime occurred and the crime was intentional beyond a reasonable doubt (Davey and Smith 2015). There are many cases where officers claim to have acted in self-defense as per the information they received and processed. Police often gather evidence and investigate cases where civilians are involved with much diligence. However, there is no clear data to be gathered and identified with regard to who investigates the officers charged in court and is the same amount of diligence in “proving beyond reasonable doubt” applied by the prosecution as well as the officers investigating the matter.
Finally, this study will inform current policies that are directed towards reducing violence and criminal behavior among officers. The recommendations are directed at informing the court system as well as state institutions that investigate and work towards prosecution of officers found on the wrong side of the law.


*Primary data *

What is unique about this study is that it will also focus on the perceptions of individuals in the police force as well as the community. Such perceptions will be gathered through information already present in academic journals and scientific papers. The researcher will review preexisting interviews based on the interview the researcher will divide the interviews into categories to include measurements built on a lickert scale measuring from 1-5 (1= does not agree at all, 2= does not agree, 3= moderately agree, 4= agree, 5= agree completely). This data will allow the researcher to identify areas that the community as well as officers are either in agreement or against with regard to the court system. Primary data, as shown by Neelankavil (2015) is ideal because it can also be generalized to other communities and areas, and thus recommendations of the study can be considered universal.

*Secondary data *

Because of the interest that police officers have drawn in the past decade, there has been much research that has been conducted on the same. The first step of the research will involve general literature review. According to Hart (2018) literature review allows the researcher to draw the scope of the research. Literature review gives the researcher a general idea of what gap the research will fill. In addition, it allows the researcher to draw from the sentiments of other academicians. This provides the researcher with proper data from which to build their research. Literature review is the cheapest and most ideal way to gain information and knowledge with regard to what has already been done in the specific area of research. Liñán and Fayolle (2015) concludes that it allows the researcher to draw on the knowledge of others as well as fill in gaps where the researcher had no idea how to proceed.

Research Design

The study employed a descriptive research design which determines the frequency with which something occurs or its association to something else (Kothari, 2004) the characteristics of a particular individual or group are the fundamental foundation of this research design. Data will be collected with regard to the prosecution of officers, the nature of court system and process and the contribution of the same to the management of criminal behavior among officers Secondly, this research design is commonly concerned with specific predictions, narration of facts and characteristics concerning individuals, groups or situations (Kothari *et al.*, 2017). Finally, statistical analysis must be carried out to determine the relationship between the variables. Chi-square, a statistical measure was applied to determine the usefulness of court systems in managing criminal police tendencies. Sampling
According to Gentles *et al. *(2015) research phenomenon often facts large populations which cannot all be included in the research. Etikan *et al. *(2016) concurs that both time and financial constraints that are involved in studying large populations would not allow the research to be concluded or completed. Sampling allows the researcher to find ideal respondents to represent the majority of the population and provide generalizable data. Based on this the researcher will employ cluster sampling. The clusters will include the citizens and communities as well as different clusters for officers operating in different areas. Data Analysis
Data will be analyzed through both descriptive methods such as thematic and content analysis for measurement of attitudes; and on the other hand, quantitative methods including application of the Statistical Package for Social scientists. This will help determine the existence of relationships if any between the nature of police work and court systems.

Introduction to literature review

Is There A Difference In The Way Prosecutors Prosecute Law Enforcement Officers’ Verses Civilians For The Killing Of Another?

This literature review explores the processes that police officers expect and go through during prosecution for murder or death of a civilian. The focus of the literature review is to identify and determine whether there are differences in treatment of the officers as per the structure and system presented in the national forum. The first theme analyzed is that of arrest of police officers involved in death of others. Police officers like the rest of civilians are inclined to face arrest where wrongdoing is proven. However, very few officers are actually arrested and arraigned in court. The first step in the process is marred with challenges, which include: who is responsible for the arrest of the officers? And how will the officers be treated during the arrest? (Hersh and Friedman 2004). For most districts, police officers are arrested by the same officers whom they have been working with, which in itself offers a challenge that is quite difficult to overcome. In comparison to the number of innocent who are killed and reported dead by media and other outlets, the number of officers that are actually arrested are quite low in percentage.
The second theme analyzed in the literature is collection of evidence. Brinks (2007) presents a unique case of analyzing evidence collected versus officers who are indicted. He concludes that even faced with overwhelming evidence, interpretation and presentation of the same often differs. While for civilians presentation and presence of evidence immediately means a guilty verdict, for police officers evidence does not necessarily equal guilt. This is further challenged by the fact that gathering if evidence is left to the same officers who are either friends or have relied on the accused at one time or another. Whereas, evidence tampering itself may not be present, there is likelihood that the amount of evidence and interpretation of the same evidence in line with the accused differs when civilians are involved.
This however does not mean that case involving offers are not presented in court. There are cases that see the court, however what is astonishing is the number of convictions that result from these cases. According to Klinger *et al.* (2016) while civilians are forced to face the court openly and in most cases in the eyes of the public, officers are often tried in secret grand juries with no outside involvement. Evidence is presented by closed circuit and verdicts are handed out in a manner that is often astonishing. Despite growing evidence of wrongdoing, it is quite rare for officers to be convicted of wrongdoing. Prosecutors who are charged with the responsibility of ensuring conviction are less motivated to get the conviction and in most cases have to be forced by the public to bring the officers to court.
Legislators are in the process of campaigning for the removal of officer prosecution from the office of the district attorney. Majority of the recommendations are calling for the set up of bodies made up of civilians who will present the cases and prosecute the officers who are suspected of wrongdoing (Dunham and Peterson, 2017). The current system faces accusations that indicate the possibility of officers meddling in the process: from arrest to conviction, the DA who heavily relies on the officers and has previous relationships with them is likely to interfere in the process of justice.
Review of the literature
Little less than 1% of the cases tried in court where police officers are involved in the murder of a civilian turn up any conviction of wrongdoing. This number only represents the cases that finally see the light of court (Koper 2016). Majority of the time, officers simply go through a form of administrative disciplinary action and are let back into work, there is a complex relationship that exists which hinders the success of the prosecution cases. Prosecutors work hand in hand with officers, solving cases and liberating cities of crime. In fact, news media outlets have reported that prosecutors generally heavily rely on the officers to complete their work. Cases against civilians would be hard to prove let alone convict if officers were not involved. Because of these symbiotic relationships, prosecutors are more or less inclined to feel that trying officers and even where evidence of wrongdoing exists is detrimental to their own careers (Marenin 2016). Prosecutors are therefore less than motivated to pursue the same line of prosecution with the same motivation that they would apply if civilians were involved. In fact, it is quite difficult to find prosecutors going for the very public indictments that they pursue when civilians are involved. Cases against officers are mostly presented secretly, with less enthusiasm and away from the public eye, in a manner that almost always assures of no indictment.
This literature review also pursues research and academic preview of evidence presented and researched against officers. Like in every case brought to court, the pursuit of evidence is not only relevant, it is required within the confines of the law. However, it is often expected that those who pursue the evidence are the same officers who currently work with the accused. Often, as shown by Worden (2015) evidence against one officer, is considered as prime evidence against the department and all officers therein. Few want to be the ones gathering the evidence, presenting the same and testifying in grand juries with regard to the reliance of the evidence to the case. Therefore, prosecutors are not only less motivated to present the case; they also encounter the burden of proving the case without the support of other officers. It is to be seen that where prosecutors pursue such a case with enthusiasm, they face a less than stellar performance in their other cases against civilians since they are less likely to get the support they so much require from the officers within the departments and the jurisdictions that they cover.
Following concerns that officers are constantly taking the law into their hands, debates have arisen on the best form of punishment. There are those who feel that officers should be stripped of their honors publicly and face the courts as civilians gaining the punishment of imprisonment or even death where murder is concerned. However, Lee (2018) suggests that this actions have a demoralizing effect not just on the prosecutors but also other officers. Police officers are less inclined to perform their duties fearing prosecution and severe punishment even where violence is justified and sometimes the only avenue. It is common therefore to find structures and administrative policies that are designed to discipline and regulate the issue of violence among officers Prenzler (2013). The question therefore remains what is the possibility of administrative structures diminishing the occurrence of death, murder and violence where officers of the law are concerned? Methodological literature review
Since the interest in police violence from the early 80s’, much is been done on the subject. The focus has however mostly been psychological. According to Jennings and Rubado (2017) researchers ae now focused on determining why police officers choose to engage in violence and kill or maim civilians. This psychological approach has dictated much of the methodology applied. Researchers have focused mostly on case studies. As per Terrill and Paoline (2017) case studies have the advantage of allowing in-depth study into the main mannerisms, behavior and characteristics that officers depict. They show what is common among officers involved in wrongful deaths and may even focus on the mental state of the same officers after the incidence. Studies have also been conducted with the focus of determining the signs and symptoms that senior officers and administrative officials can look out for to prevent the occurrence of violence within their jurisdiction. Psychological case studies require small samples, since they need an in-depth study. They also call for purposive selection of the respondents, where not all officers are given a chance to be involved in the study but rather the researcher focuses on the individuals who exemplify a specific behavior in this case: the officers who have killed. The case may in fact revolve around the particular cases and the various individuals who have been involved including the family of the victim. They provide insightful information with regard to the case, the behavior of those involved and thus base their conclusions on altering or intercepting specific characteristics and behaviors that could lead to the use of violence.
This study is unique in that it employs a survey technique. Rather than focusing on the individual officers, who have been involved in the death of civilians or other individuals. This study is designed to study the process and structures that are involved. According to Legewie and Fagan (2016) policy recommendations need to change from personalized recommendations based on the behavior of a few officers and the cases in which they were involved and move towards more structured wholesome recommendations on the process and structures.
Therefore, this study will make use of a more generalized sample of officers. These include the administrative officers who are given the responsibility of understanding and applying the processes of prosecution. Since officers are supposed to face the same prosecution process as the civilians, the focus of this study is to determine how exactly these processes are applied, if they are at all when officers are involved in killing and murder. Data will be gathered from the officers through questionnaires. Although previous researchers have focused on interviews which are guided through interview guides, questionnaires provide the advantage of anonymity. It is clear that this is a sensitive topic to both the officers and civilian who are guarded by the officers. Participation in the research is likely to be viewed negatively. Therefore officers and respondents will be giving the advantage of maintaining their anonymity through questionnaires. This will further save time, allowing the officers to go through their daily duties and complete the data when they are free. A survey research focuses on understanding the phenomenon affecting the individuals and respondents rather than the behavior of the respondents which is what has been the focus in the past.

Theoretical framework

*Conflict theory *

The conflict here is one that is highly regarded in terms of defining and explaining the nature of violence and occurrence of the same. The theory asserts that in case of conflict, there of often one group which benefits from the established social arrangements, so that their role in the conflict in justified. The group that most benefits from the disproportionate distribution of power will often employ the state’s mechanisms in order to maintain this power. The conflict theory as shown by Stults and Swagar (2018) first focused on the use of economic power to shift the balance of justice and equality. Those with much wealth make use of the state and its laws to ensure that the same economic power remains exclusive to them. This is why there are the main wealthy families, and even in a purely capitalistic society few other people can center the high echelons of economic power. In recent times, scholars have applied the conflict theory in matters that include income, race, social class and other aspects that measure inequality.
According to Holmes and Smith (2018), police officers wield a particular form of power. They are equipped with the same power and the right to make use of violence in order to ensure the security of society and themselves. Often when officers are seen carrying guns or approaching an individual menacingly, they are not judged because it is assumed that the individual is on the wrong. This is why; prosecution of officers remains difficult because it must be proven that they indeed approached the individual with the intention of using violence against them despite their guilt or lack thereof.
According to the conflict theory, there are two classes that define the use of violence by the police. The first is the consensus class. Ponton (2016) suggests that in this class, the officers are viewed as making use of violence and indeed engaging in fatal death of civilians simply because they are responding to the increasing nature of crime. The state mechanism of the police is designed and designated with the duty of combating crime and therefore, all forms of violence can be justified with regard to the nature and prevalence of crime. Hence the statements which are often common: “it seemed or I thought he had a gun”. The increase in crime, makes policing difficult as well as dangerous and therefore officer’s first instinct is to protect themselves by completely engaging the perceived threat. On the other hand, Maskaly and Donner (2015) indicates that pure conflict theorists are often in disagreement. They see society as a stratified state in which in each group attempts to maintain the status quo.
In this case therefore police are often seen as the mechanism of the rich and powerful to control the poor and disadvantaged. Nagin and Pogarsky (2001) concur indicating that this is perhaps why the highest forms of police violence and deaths incurred are in lower social class neighborhoods. In this case therefore, the mechanisms of the state such as the judiciary are not applied to enhance justice but rather the existing status quo, which means protecting their assets at all times. Therefore prosecution of officers takes a different avenue to that of civilians not because of the structures and process but rather because of the underlying powers controlling the process.

*Literature gaps *

Studies have remained conflicted on the application of procedures when it comes to the arrest of officers. According to Kochel (2017) there are two main conflicting classes. On the one hand, there are those who feel that arrest and public humiliation of officers involved in crime and especially killing of civilians is likely to demoralize the force. Since as a society we heavily rely on officers to provide for us protection and security which by ourselves we cannot and since we are in agreement that a country without active officers is one which in itself is ruled by anarchy, the motivation of officers remains a high priority. Civilians who know that officers can face the law are likely to take advantage of the same to justify engaging in crime and unlawful actions. Officers as well are likely to operate in fear, thereby leaving crime to rule for fear of persecution.
On the other hand, there are those that suggest that application of the arrest procedures holds the officers to a higher esteem, demanding from them a higher standard since the power that they wield is also high. This will curb greed and the tendency to personalize actions. What remains therefore is evidence showing the value that arrest procedures have added to the process of curbing crime among officers. Prenzler *et al. *(2013) makes an assumption that officers are aware and knowledgeable with regard to the procedures and processes of collecting evidence, and that what lacks is the desire and enthusiasm to make use of the knowledge that they posses. Evidence collected from the crimes in which officers are involved is often poorly handled and interpreted by the same officers.
There seems to be a disconnect from the collection of the evidence, presentation of the same evidence and application of the same evidence to make a case for conviction. Whereas civilians can be convicted even on the basis of circumstantial evidence, the same cannot be applied to the officers. Researchers look to answer the question whether the challenge is on the process of evidence collection and recording of the same or the application of the evidence to make conclusive remarks. Or is the challenge even further into the understanding of the procedures with regard to crimes that involve officers? This is because the evidence cannot be handled the same and the value placed on testimonies has got to be different from that applied by civilians.
Since the advent of the Christopher commission, the problem of police violence is one that has been overly addressed. Recommendations for both punitive and administrative measures have been made on the same (Sampson and Cohen 2008). States have invested in enhancing the structures for punishment and dealing with any form of violence where officers are involved. Yet, even with all this measures in place, there is an ever increasing focus on violence meted by police and especially with regard to deaths of civilians. The punishment and disciplinary actions often seem to be incomprehensible to the nature of the crime. Officers are placed on administrative leave, or demoted and in some cases given a few weeks suspension, few are jailed or adequately punished for their involvement. With more reliance on administrative measures, is it likely that the focus on preventing the occurrence of violence and death at the hands of police has surpassed the need to discourage recurrence of the same behavior?


To answer the questions presented by this study, the study will employ a unique research methodology. Lee and Vaughn (2010) indicates that in previous studies, the focus has generally been directed towards statistical data. This employed a research deign which focused mostly on numerical data. However, the current study focuses more on descries of the officers as well as the public. This necessitates a twofold research design. On the first stage, the study will analyze information and statistics from the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (NPMSRP). The project allows and records all forms of misconduct against the public where police officers have been involved. This data is generally quite accurate as citizens are often logging in any form of misconduct they come across. The data, as shown by Hirschfield and Simon (2010) also includes lodged complaints with regard to cases of fatal shootings and murder where officers were involved. The details also include the proceedings of how the officers were handled in the cases.
This data will provide a unique perspective into areas and perceptions that citizens have with regard to the handling of cases by officers. The data will then be analyzed through statistical methods including percentages and correlation techniques. These techniques have been selected on the basis that they provide an understanding of existing relationships, would only be present as well as the strength of such relationships in existence between the different variables. As Smith (2004) states whereas many studies have been conducted with the behavior and actions of police being put under scrutiny, methodology applied to these studies has rarely been descriptive perhaps focusing more on numerical data. Although this provides an outlook of the phenomenon under study it lacks the in-depth insight that is necessary to understanding the phenomenon under question.
The methodology of this research also puts emphasis on gathering primary data. Primary data as described by Kane (2007) is data that is gathered directly from the respondents and interpreted as it presents itself. Whereas secondary data is gathered from information already present in academic journals and scientific papers, primary data holds true as the actual presentation of the information being sought over time. Lum (2009) states that the importance of primary data cannot be ignored. While secondary data may provide a basis for the phenomenon, experiences and interactions of individuals often change over time. Therefore what may have held as valid and reliable information in the past, may not hold true currently.
Therefore, the study will focus and rely more on the primary data to be gathered from two groups. On the one hand, will be the officers defining the challenges that are encountered in handling cases of police killings, and the lessons that have been learned from the same. On the other hand, will be the community who are often the independent onlookers to the situations and cases. They will provide the perceptions that have risen with regard to how differently officers who have killed are handled as opposed to civilians in the same situation.
Finally, all data will be measured and supported against key informant interviews with policy makers and stakeholders in the process of prosecuting officers who have killed or murdered others. The idea is to generate as many perspectives of the experiences of stakeholders in various cases, thus providing a diverse yet enriched form of data for the greater understanding.
Research design
This study will make use of a descriptive research design. As defined by Maxwell (2012) this is a research design that is focused on answering questions on who, what and why affects the phenomenon under study. In this case, the researcher will be focusing on who is involved in the prosecution of officers, the exact process of prosecution and finally why there is a difference if any exists between the prosecution process of police officers and civilians accused of the same crime (murder). Descriptive research provides the distinct advantage of providing an in-depth understanding of the current state of the phenomenon while at the same time describing the relationship of the phenomenon to other variables and conditions that exist within the same situation.
As shown by Creswell and Creswell (2017) because of its nature descriptive research design can only occur in concurrence with other ties of research. In this case, the statistical data (quantitative research) will rely on the statistics already in existence by National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (NPMSRP). The descriptive part of the research will focus on describing the existence and experiences of those counted within the statistics. De Vaus (2001) concludes that descriptive research is the most recommended in areas were recommendations may lead to changes within policies and structures of institutions.
The research focuses on informing further research studies and in specific policies directed at addressing police misconduct with regard to the current challenges and the existence if any of determent procedures when it comes to fatal shootings and murder of others by police officers. The research design illuminates the facts, experiences and predictions of those who have come to close contact or are likely to come into contact with murder by officers. Population sample
When a police officer commits murder or kills anyone, there are various groups of people who are affected by the behavior. The groups include: immediate family members of the victim, fellow officers, the policy makers, the entire community as has been seen in cases where movements of justice have arisen and key stakeholders in the welfare of both the community and police officers, Shjarback and Smith (2016). Each of these groups has countering perceptions with regard to the process of seeking justice when officers kill.
Based on this, the researcher has selected a sampling technique that will cover all these groups. The sampling will focus on studying various cases which have involved murder by officers. The cases involved will be based on the notoriety and level of interest by the community in the case and prosecution of the officer. This is especially cases where the officers have been prosecuted and evidence of the murder has been presented. The sampling will therefore include two steps: the first will be a purposive random sampling of cases where officers have found themselves in trial following the fatal shooting and murder of others. Since these cases involve various players, the focus will be on the testimony of the victim’s family and the procedure that was applied in presenting the case.
On the second level, the researcher will also sample civilian murder cases that have been tried and prosecuted within the same duration as the police murder. This will provide an ideal platform for comparison of the procedures and emphasis placed on prosecution individuals whether police or not who are involved in murder. Through thematic and content analysis, the researcher is likely to draw ideal conclusions and recommendations from the cases studied.
This research is set on a backdrop of increasing police violence and fatal shootings. Braga *et al. *(2018) states that in the past decade, there has been focus on the increasing violence of police officers. In some areas, he suggests that death through the hands of a police officer is most likely against other death causes. Despite continued focus against officers who have killed and rising amount of evidence supporting the policing of police, the public and many human rights bodies feel that little is being done to combat the vice. With those dead unable to speak for themselves, the focus therefore moves to the courts and jurisdiction bodies which are charged with the responsibility of ensuring a sustainable welfare for all people in society. Jennings and Rubado (2017) indicates that many recommendations have been made from the Christopher commission and o thers which have been set up to investigate cases of murder and the uproar that arose thereafter, yet officers who have killed even with mounting evidence against them seem to remain unfazed in their career paths and social status.
On the other hand, civilians who are involved in murder or killing others, even the mere suspicion of the same is likely to alter one’s wellbeing negatively. They are thoroughly investigated and continuously pursued by prosecutors. For civilians, the justice systems begin even before they are convicted, and their lives are turned around completely. With officers holding more power and being expected to hold higher moral standards in comparison to the civilians, it follows therefore that there must be an understanding and scrutiny of the processes which are applied to officers who are involved in killing of others. Measures
Measures of central tendency: according to Heumann and Schomaker (2016) these include mean, standard deviation and average scores. The measures of central tendency are often applied on statistical data that is numerical data. They provide a general idea as to the behavior of the data. Furthermore, Bryman (2016) indicates that measures of central tendency form the foundation for the generation of other descriptions and maneuvering of the data. For each formula to be applied within the data for purposes of interpretation, the first and most important measure is that of central tendency. This shows the general behavior of the data, which is why they are considered the most basic form of location of the data which the researcher is dealing with. Some of the data to be applied in this measure will include: average number of arrests, cases tried within courts and finally cases which the officers have in turn been convicted for wrongful death and murder of others.
Correlation measures: it is important to note that the data being gathered is for purposes of determining the existence of a relationship or lack thereof between officers who kill and their possibility of prosecution in relation to the same among civilians. Babbie (2015) suggests that in this case the most vital measure of correlation is the correlation coefficient, this measure allows for the testing of the relationship as well as determining the strength of the relationship. Further use of the T-test will allow the researcher to compare the strength of the two relationships that is, police and civilian prosecution and thus determine if there is indeed a relationship and if such difference has or may have any consequences, thus allowing for more evidence-based conclusions. Data collection
The data will mainly be collected through questionnaires interviews, of two major types. The first and most crucial step in primary data collection will be the use of questionnaires. Unlike guides, who contain general questions about the phenomenon, so that follow up questions are based mainly on what the respondent will say; questionnaires are much closer to structured schedules. Taylor *et al. *(2015) define questionnaires as a collection of questions, which are structured and mostly include possible selection from which the respondents select the most appropriate answers. Questionnaires allow for statistical analysis, since the answers are already predicted which means that the researcher can also pre-select and organize the process of data analysis. However, Lin *et al. *(2017) caution that the use of questionnaires is often limited to individuals who can read and therefore be able to answer the questions. Furthermore, respondents are often limited in terms of understanding the questions as they have been presented in the questionnaire. Therefore, some of the answers maybe influenced by the different ways in which the individual respondents understood the essence of the question. However, it is important to note that the topic of police who have killed or been involved in the death of others is one which caries a lot of sensitive. Police officers maybe unwilling to sit for an interview since they may be falsely identified as secret givers. Due to this, the questionnaire is most ideal for two major reasons. On the one hand it allows the respondents to maintain their privacy and anonymity. The second reason is that it allows the respondents to save much time. They can complete the questions within a time of their choosing and within the shortest time. Data analysis
Data from this study will mainly be analyzed through the SPSS version 21 computer package. SPSS has been chosen because it not only allows the recording of the data as is presented in the questionnaire, it also weeds out unnecessary data and allows for statistical maneuvers to be completed much more easily (Bordens and Abbott, 2002). This means that the main task for the researcher therefore remains ensuring that the data is properly interpreted and the right statistics are applied to the data for best results. The respondent’s responses to the various questions will be considered the main variables. The researcher will undertake a coding task and then complete the same by entering the information to the package.
Two statically analysis will also be applied. Descriptive analysis such as frequencies, relative frequencies and measures of central tenancies are often the most ideal in describing the characteristics and mannerisms of the population under study(Meyers *et al. *2016). They allow the researcher to gain a better understanding of the population being studied, in these case police officers: years of experience, place of work and gender.
Correlation coefficients will in turn be used to determine the nature of relationships that exist between various variables. Correlation coefficients will also show the strength of relationships between the various variables.
Finally, chi square tests will be conducted to determine if any causal relationships exist between the variables, and whether such causal relationships have any significance or not on the prosecution of police officers for killing others. Cross tabulations will also be used to analyze any cross reference relationships between variables. Ethical considerations
*Sensitive information*: information on security and other internal security matters is often considered highly sensitive in nature. Guillemin and Gillam (2004) indicate that pursuing information that relates to federal institutions such as police officers, is often covered under the security codes of federal law. Federal law, is designed to protect and ensure that all forms of secretive and sensitive information is not given to any person. This is especially the case when it comes to procedures and processes which may be used to diminish the strength and authenticity of the police institution. Charged with high security matters and often engaging criminals, loopholes in the processes can be exploited by those who seek to misuse the institution of the police. Such sensitive information therefore requires a much longer process of clearance. To avoid delays and in many cases lack of authentication due to the sensitive nature of information being sought, the researcher will focus on ensuring that all questions are cleared through the administrative officers who will ensure all questions and expected answers are within the federal law statutes revealing nothing that is too sensitive.


majority of the police officers are often sensitive with regard to the topic of murder where fellow officers are involved. They may therefore be unwilling to engage in the research, take part in answering question for fear of repercussions. In addition Israel and Hay (2006) highlights that there is also the possibility that officers may alter answers so that they fill out what they think the researcher wants or what the administration would like to be the outcome of the research. Such interference is often sensitive in research and can alter conclusions making the data collected to be unreliable. This fear often arises from the possibility that the anonymity suggested by the researcher may not be as authentic as it needs to be. The researcher is therefore stuck with making conclusions that are not relevant and maneuvering data to suit the research. Oliver (2010) indicates that the modern day research which heavily relies on internet and computer use, the continued need for databases and registries, protection of individual’s privacy has become more challenging yet even more vital if respondents are to be assured and agree to participate in the research. To ensure confidentiality, the information given to the researcher must trust with the highest form of security to protect the trust relationship between the researcher and the respondent. The need for people to know weighs much lower in consideration of the individual’s need to be assured of anonymity and confidentiality.
Informed consent and Openness: sometimes in an effort to increase the possibility of respondents participating, researchers may keep some information with regard to the actual purpose of the research to themselves. While this may assure the researcher of objective answers and data, it also exposes the lack of integrity in the pursuit of the research. The focus should be directed more towards ensuring that the people understand the focus of the research, the objectives therein and the value that the same research will add to society and policy. Respondents must understand exactly what it means to participate in the research. The decision o participate should be made in the umbrella of complete openness and informed consent of the respondent.


This chapter presents the results of the data gathered with regard to the prosecution of police officers involved in murder. The data was mainly gathered through secondary collection methods. The researcher emphasized and sought out literature on cases where police officers have been involved in. specifically the focus was imply cases where officers have been involved in murder. From the data collected, the researcher identified: the characteristics of officers who have been involved with murder cases, gender, education, training as well as years at the workplace. For decades, there has remained speculation that each of these factors could lead to aggressive behavior that in turn may cause the officers to murder. The researcher also identified the characteristics of the case which includes the characteristics of the victims as well as the sensation that followed the case. This was in part to compare the same characteristics against similar cases where civilians were involved and identify any differences or similarities thereof. Finally, the results were collected with regard to the frequency and nature of prosecution which the officers are subjected to immediately a case of murder has been suspected. Data suggested included the length of evidence gathering, the nature of the evidence, the length of the case and the final decisions made with regard to guilt or innocence of the perpetrators involved in comparison with the civilian suspects. Descriptive statistics of frequencies and percentages as well as inferential statistics of correlation analysis were used to analyze the data. The findings are presented in the form of percentage scores and frequency distributions tables. The focus was in identifying the differences that may have arisen with regard to the process of prosecution.

Description of sample

Cases of officers who are involved in murder come in various forms and degrees, with various components and individuals become involved. The majority of the people affected include: the immediate family of both the family and the victim, policy makers, the community and fellow workers. In the same manner civilians who are involved in murder are as different and each case seems to have its own unique outlook. For this research, the focus was on correlating and identifying differences if any that occur when individuals who are officers are involved in murder as opposed to the civilians. To begin with, the researcher identified cases where officers have been suspected and become involved in murder for the past ten years. The cases were selected in this duration since several changes have been made to the process of prosecution. A second characteristics of the cases selected included cases where officers have been prosecuted whether successfully or not. The focus was identifying any difference in terms of evidence and the presentation of the case to the court. For each of the cases selected, the researcher further identified civilian cases of murder. The researcher identified the major characteristics which were similar to the cases where officers were involved. This provided an ideal platform for comparison of the procedures and emphasis placed on prosecution individuals whether police or not who are involved in murder. Through thematic and content analysis, the researcher is likely to draw ideal conclusions and recommendations from the cases studied. Descriptions of the cases allowed the researcher to also gain insightful understanding of the prosecution process for both civilians and officers. Data Analysis
This study employed both qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods to present the results of the data collection. The data collected on the various variables being tested was entered into the SPSS software package. Once entered, analysis that is comparisons, tabulations, computations and tests were carried out to determine the interpretation of the results. Various statistical tests were applied to interpret the collected information. The Household head responses to the open and closed-ended questions of the indicators to the main variables contained in the model were numerically coded for entry into the computer. The coded qualitative data was rated using scale top score the responses to numerically express the magnitude of the variables for summary and analysis.

Two types of statistical analysis, the descriptive and the inferential were performed on the variables contained in the model and on the demographic data of the respondents. The descriptive analysis included a description of the variables and relationships using Frequencies, Relative frequencies, Frequency distributions, Proportions, Percentages and the mode as a measure of the central tendency while Means and Standard deviations were used to analyze the quantitative data.
Descriptive analysis applied involved content analysis, where the researcher identified similarities between cases using specific content as reported in the reports.,. Further the data was subjected to thematic analysis, identifying similarities in themes which are common data sets that can be drawn from the various descriptions. Themes within the police cases were compared with themes in the civilian cases. This allowed the researcher to identify a relationship if any exists within the cases and the strength of such relationship if it exists or in the same manner any differences thereof.
Inferential statistics: despite the focus on description as the main form of determining and identifying data sets, Jacobi (2000) indicates that inferential statistics provide an ideal foundation and background from which to identify important groups of data. Inferential statistics such as means, averages and deviations always allow for the researcher to gain a better understanding of the data being presented. This includes identifying the possibilities of similarities and differences that could be identified from the data.
Thematic analysis: whenever the researcher encounters groups of data that may seem to lack any form of relationship or similarity, thematic analysis allows the researcher to identify possible relationships between the data (Carbado 2017). Thematic analysis gives the researcher a chance to describe the characteristics of the population being studied, the nature of the cases being presented to the court and the final outcomes which includes a preview of the earlier steps involved in drawing the final conclusions of the cases. Thematic analysis will give the researcher a chance to discover patterns and frame the situation surrounding prosecution of officers involved in murder.

Content analysis:

whenever study of materials, such as communication and documents is involved, researchers have to consider the possibility of content analysis. The goal of content analysis is to identify the boundaries of the data and describe the population involved. Content analysis goes beyond the themes. While the theme may focus more on problem description and identification, content analysis goes a step further to show the relevance of the data being identified and described in the research. Content analysis brings to rest any ambiguities that may not have been earlier resolved in the data thus forming evidence based conclusions. Results Characteristics of the population
Gender is a vital variable in determining who is most likely to engage in CAG activities. Respondents were asked to state their own category of gender. The data was summarised and is represented in Figure 4.1.

*Figure 4.1: Gender of respondents *

The majority (891 %) of the police members involved in murder cases are men, while the remaining (9%) were women. The number of women involved in murder cases has increased in the past decade. Age of Respondents

Above 60

The table above shows that majority of the officers involved in murder cases are from ages 30-39, totalling 32.4%. The least category represented in CAGs is above 60, who account for only 6.4%. 18-29 years had a representation of 15.2 %, 40-49 accounted for 27.9 % while 50-59 accounted for 18.1% of the total respondents.
Gathering of evidence
The data and cases showed that officers spend an average of less than one month in the process of gathering evidence in cases where officers are involved, even though majority of the time, there is little to investigate; officers spend less time gathering testimonies and are less inclined to follow through where more evidence is needed. This was found to be the same case for officers who are specifically employed to pursue and investigate cases where officers are involved. Despite their job description being focused on police officers, they spend at least 36% less hours to investigate the cases in comparison to detectives and officers who are investigating murder cases where civilians are involved.
Number of cases
*Description of cases *
*Frequency *
*Percent *
Murder (gunning down)
Communal murder

Of the 204 cases identified, 50% of the cases involved murder of a suspect or citizen by an officer. This was closely followed by cases where assault was the main complaint. This is a decrease from previous cases presented in court. On the other hand, the problem of murder has increased significantly. While collecting data, the researcher came across cases identified as communal murder, which is murder cases where the officers under suspicion are more than one and identification of the main suspect remains difficult or in some cases impossible. Prosecution of cases
Having identified the 102 cases where officers were involved in murder, the researcher found that majority of the cases indeed were presented in court. More than 83.5% of the cases were presented in court. Of the cases presented in court however, 56% were presented before grand jury. The prosecution of officers has increased significantly.
However less than 1% of the cases were finally concluded with any form of judgment. Many of the cases after months and years in court often end in mistrials and lack of sentencing even where evidence is presented supporting the case. From the analysis, the researcher identified 0.87% of the cases where officers faced the punishment presented in the actions and processes of prosecuting officers. Punch (2010) indicates that, majority of the states including Chicago and Florida are taking steps to improve and increase the number of officers who face prosecution successful for murder where such cases can be proven.
Conducting a comparison, the research found that where civilians are involved in murder cases, prosecution is more than 78% likely to occur. While on the one hand, it is often claimed that evidence to prosecute officers is lacking, it is clear from some of the cases highlighted that the evidence against civilians is most likely to be circumstantial, and yet prosecutors select to pursue the same case with more enthusiasm.
Description of offence
Police officers involved
Civilians involved
Firing a gun
Attacking with other weapons
Accidental shooting

*Data gathered from (Shermen 2016)*
The above data provides a summary of the cases randomly selected in the same year. It is clear that the majority of offences involved the firing of a gun. This is simply because it is the most convenient weapon for officers. Further, less than 50% of the cases have been prosecuted, and yet for civilians the chance of prosecution increased significantly with 48 out of the available 67 cases undergoing prosecution. Officers who were accused of attacking civilians with other weapons (which should be noted is against department policies) were not prosecuted. Outcome of the cases
In his study Collins (1998) shows that even where prosecution is pursued, there is less likelihood that the officers will receive any form of punishment. A summary of the cases presented in court can be found below. In the summary it is seen that cases are likely to end in mistrial as well as acquittal of the officers despite the nature of evidence presented. A good example is the case of Terence Cuter shot by Officer Betty Shelby of the Tulsa police department. Evidence presented show the man exiting his truck with his arms above his head thus posing little to no risks, yet the officer fires at him from a distance. Despite this evidence, the officer is acquitted of the charges, set free and allowed to return to work.
[image: Image result for prosecution of police officers who have killed statistics]
From the above graph it is clear that officers facing the same offences are less likely to be convicted of murder, whereas civilians face a higher chance despite the evidence presented. While for officers body cams, camera videos and witness accounts show clearer pictures, conviction still remains low. () provides a summary in the graph below showing the nature of conviction of officers who have been tried for murder between the year 2011 and 2013.
[image: Rape-cases-in-India-Statistics-conviction-rate-percentage-country-wide.png]
Despite increased cases of police violence and murder in the preceding years, it is clear that conviction of officers has substantially remained low. The average conviction rate stands at 26% nationally, with some states such as Chicago going even lower to 12%, California 8% and Texas slightly below 10%. For such states conviction of officers makes for a very unique case, whereas civilian convictions remain high in the same states. It is to be noted that in this case, conviction does not necessarily mean sentencing of the officers to prison, rather being found guilty in court of an offence. When it comes to sentencing, less than 4% of the officers are sent to prison to serve terms for the offence. Majority of the cases are however settled in civic court with the victims’ families being paid damages by the state. Validity
Validity is the main component forming and enhancing the integrity of any research project. It refers to the extent which readers and other academicians can trust the results as accurate and exact. Brown and Langan (2001) states that validity in itself is simply attest for adequacy. Without validity, it can be said that the results presented by the researcher are simply speculations of what they imagine or desire to have happened in the research. The recommendations and conclusions therefore are simply musings much similar to stories of fiction which cannot be considered accurate in any form. Validity in this research was confirmed through:
External validity: This in itself allows the results of the study to be generalized to other populations. External validity was assured by confirming the sampling technique. Despite focusing on cases that involve police officers as perpetrators of murder, the selected cases were random in terms of respondents. Cases studied were selected through a purposive random sample technique with the only requirement being that they had to involve murder and in the same length were required to have involved a police officer. With many cases occurring in the last decade, the researcher simply u picked very three cases in the register thus ensuring randomness.
Internal validity: with the help of academic advisors, the researcher went a step further in elaborating an ideal research design. The researcher conducted a content related validity, to enhance the inclusion of all matters ad issues that surround the problem defined in the research, which is: the prosecution of police officers who have committed murder.
The items used as indicators were converted into scores and tested for validity which resulted in a cronbach’s alpha of 0.854 which shows more than 85% validity in the results. Reliability
Results are deemed as reliable when the same tests are applied by other researchers under similar conditions and each produces the same results with minimal diversity. The focus is that the study of the results is likely to lead to the same conclusions that were first highlighted by the researcher. Innes (2002) indicates that when it comes to testing for reliability in secondary data collection, the focus is on ensuring that the information is gathered from the right literature. In this case, the literature must cover a period with similar political, environmental and internal characteristics. The researcher opted to select the last ten years as the base for cases which were to be studied. This ensures that the characteristics and processes which are applied in prosecution of the officers remain similar in many ways with little if any differences in terms of what they encounter. Further, it also ensures that majority of those involved are still alive and aware of the facts which may need clarification, elaboration or explanation.
A second characteristic is reporting of all facts that have been found within the literature. Secondary data analysis requires much more than just a glance. The researcher must also focus on the methodology used to gather the primary data and test the same for validity. The researcher noted that much of the information was gathered through interviews and reports from the original officers and witnesses to the cases which were being studied. Due to the nature of information, the data was found to be highly reliable. Summary of the results
In recent years, fatal shooting and killing of unarmed suspects has sparked increasing outrage among the civilian society. It seems that officers have gained publicity as a rogue army, who do what they want to do in discharging their duties. From being known as protectors of society to simply being recognized as armed criminals, the popularity of officers ahs decreased significantly in the past five years. From the study, more than 990 cases were identified, in which officers were suspected or involved in the shooting of individuals whether suspects or not. Of the cases, 107 were selected randomly for purposes of identifying the various characteristics. It was found that male officers are more likely to be involved in fatal shootings than female officers. However, years of experience plays no significant role in determining the final decision to take a shot at the victims. Further of the many officers who have been involved in murder, less than 50% have actually been prosecuted. This is despite the fact that all form of shooting whether justified or not must be investigated to ensure that no foul play is detected or involved in the process. When officers are involved in altercations, there must be some form of investigation by the independent body to clarify and ensure that the force and general actions of the police officer were up to standard. The results revealed that investigation of murder cases involving police officers often take less than 30 days to be completed. This is the process of gathering evidence, collecting witness statements, conducting the post mortem of the individual who has been murdered, testing the weapon, ensuring that procedure was indeed followed and finally making the decision to indict.
Of the officers who are indeed brought to court, majority are charged with the use of department issued guns and arms. Few officers are charged with the use of arms that are not department issued. More than 84% of the cases involve the use of a gun to kill or maim an individual whether in the line of duty or not. Further, such officers were found to have been mostly on duty. More than 97% of the cases filed in court involved fatal shooting of an individual by an officer while they were conducting patrol, investigating cases or looking for a suspect. In the three forms of duty presented, looking for a suspect showed higher chances of the officer engaging with and in turn shooting the victim. Between the year 2009 and 2018, more than 102 officers had been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter or murder. Each year the number officers under suspicion ahs increased. By the end of 2017, only 80 officers had been arrested on the same suspicions. However by the end of the year 2018, more than 102 officers had been arrested and even more remained under investigation over the same suspicions. Less than 26% however had finally been convicted on the crime, with more than 70% having been acquitted of the same crime. This is in comparison to the more than 75% conviction rate that faces civilians suspected of and having been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and murder. Of the 26% convicted of charges, less than 8% have actually spent any time in prison for the offence. CHAPTER FIVE DISCUSSION OF RESULTS Introduction Characteristics of officers involved in murder
In order to gain a general understanding of the nature of the crime, the researcher attempted to provide a summary of officers who have been involved in cases of murder for the past ten years. The researcher found that more than 91% of the officers were men as opposed to women. McElvain and Kposawa (2008) indicates that this could be caused by two specific reasons. On the one hand, the police force tends to employ more men than women, and it is only in recent cases that the departments have taken steps to ensure that women get the same chances as men in employment. This then means that more men are by nature put at risk in terms of using their weapons. Furthermore, where women have been employed, there is likelihood that they are often allocated cases and duties that put them at less risk. This is supported by Geberth (2016) who showed incidences where men officers made use of their weapons as 67% higher than incidences where female officers were forced to make use of their weapons.
The research also found that years of experience played no significant role in the use of weapons to commit murder. Whereas younger officers were more likely to be involved in murder, even older officers tended to misjudge situations, use cultural knowledge and basis to commit murder. It was therefore clear that despite the years of experience, what lacks is simple training in terms of identifying suspects, managing conflict and identifying dangerous situations for all officers in the force despite their many or few years of experience. Ideal decision making, use of weaponry and other training should be offered to officers continuously during their employment from early years to retirement. Review of the research problem
There has been an increase in the number of officers who are accused of murder. Death in the hands of police officers has become a common occurrence. More than 1000 deaths are reported daily at the hands of officers. The situation has become so severe that today, departments are spending resources and states are reviewing their policies with regard to officers who commit murder. It is important to note that majority of the cases often involve unarmed civilians a situation which calls for and often causes sensationalisation by the media (Correll *et al. *2007*)*. With more and more people being killed, it has become evident that action in needed. When police officers are involved in murder, there are set procedures that are designed to address the matter. This include weapon testing, witness statement collection, investigation and final presentation of the case to the courts. The process is meant to work in much the same way as that of civilians who have committed the same offence. However, over time it has become clear that officers often face a different form of system and judicial process in comparison to the civilians. Prosecution and conviction of officers is quite rare (Kubrin and Weitser 2003). This in itself has led to an increased use of violence by officers especially where arms and weapons are involved. Some of the officers involved in murder return to work after a short term suspension causing the families to feel like justice has been far from served. The question remains therefore whether an increase in prosecution and conviction of officers for misuse of arms and weapons in cases which lead to death could easily deter similar cases thus reducing both the fatality caused by such behavior and the liability of the state and departments in compensating victims of such crimes. Prosecution of officers
Despite more than 1000 cases of police murder being reported, less than 50% were presented in court over time. Majority of the cases were considered low impact. Officers charges with investigation took less than 30 days collecting evidence before the cases were closed. According to MacDonald *et al. *(2001) there are cases where the officers investigating the matter closed the case and reached final decision to prosecute or not in a matter of days. There is therefore a lack of due diligence when it comes to prosecution of officers. Investigators are less inclined and less motivated in terms of spending time, gathering data, and collecting witness reports with the aim of prosecuting the officer. White (2002) in his theory concurs indicating that for many of the officers charged with investigation the final product plays a crucial role in determining the effort, time and energy put into the case. Where civilians are involved, the focus is often on proving guilt and presenting a strong case for the prosecutor to convict the perpetrator. On the other hand, when it comes to officers, the focus is more towards proving innocence and protecting the perpetrator from prosecution. Despite independent bodies being charged with the responsibility of investigating officers, there are few chances that such bodies will take the matter as seriously as when civilians are involved. In addition, prosecutors are often unwilling and less motivated to present cases where their counterparts and colleagues are considered perpetrators. Officers are therefore more likely to face reprimands and internal punishments within the department such as suspension of licenses for a duration, forced leave without pay and in some cases severe reprimands with regard to their decision making and use of weapon at the time of the murder. Conviction and sentencing of officers
According to court documents in august 9th 20154, an officer in Fergusson Missouri came across Michael Brown walking in the streets. Although it was not dark, the officer became suspicious of the young man. The officer then proceeded to request for identification. What began as a simple investigation ended in the death of an unarmed young man. What is surprising and what prosecutors focused on was the fact that the young man was shot more than 12 times by the same officer. It therefore concludes that the focus was not on incapacitating the young man, even though he may have been perceived as a threat to the officer and the community. Rather, it seems the focus was on killing young brown. Despite this overwhelming evidence, the grand jury decided not to indict the officer in one of the most controversial cases. This decision led to increased protests and allowed the family to approach civic settlement to the amount of 6 million dollars. Less than a month later, officer Loehmann shot a 12 year old girl Tamar Rice for suspicion of carrying a dangerous weapon (in this case a toy gun). Again the jury decided not to indict both officers present at the time of shooting. Barber *et al. *(2016) states that this two examples show clearly what happens and what is likely to happen when officers are taken to court. Few officers are indicted of the offense and even fewer end up being convicted and handed down any form of sentence. This is despite the nature of the crime such as shooting a twelve year old girl and the interest in the cases by the public. Majority of the cases end up in civil court with the families being awarded substantial damages . Relations to findings of literature
The years 2014 to 2016 remain at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Walker (2001) states that this will go down as a significant period in the history of the United States, having recorded a significant number of deaths at the hand of police officers. Conversations on both race and ethnicity have become endangered further by the recent increase in police killings. As the data shows, there has been a significant increase in cases where officers have been accused of murder. () in his study shows that the focus has shifted from mere police killings and more towards racial profiling. This has given birth to various movements and campaigns including the Black lives and Blue lives matter movements. Each of these movement is structured to support groups that seem to be the focus during cases of police murder. Despite the increase in reports and focus on police killings and an even more focus on movements that have drawn much attention not just nationally but also globally, it has become clear that prosecution of officers remains wanting. () in his study indicated that prosecutors are often drawn to the defense rather than prosecution of officers. Kaminski and Marvel (2002) concurs indicating that professionally prosecutors work hand in hand with the officers, therefore lack motivation to prosecute and bring to trial individuals they term or think of as colleagues.
According to Hirschfield and Simon (2010) due to increased mistrust with regard to the nature of the trials and punishments which officers face, the national government and human rights organizations have come together to bring out the value of prosecution. This has been done by creating structures and systems through which officers are not only tried, but also through which the victims can seek and pursue justice for their loved ones. This includes setting up independent investigation bodies to pursue the cases where officers are involved. The focus is on ensuring that the investigation is given much the same attention as civilian cases. However, as Bridenball and Jesilow (2002) show the problem comes in the form of cooperation and evidence gathering. Despite their independence, these unique bodies often require the help and support of police officers to ensure their success. Although they may not need intensive police support, witnesses and early evidence can often be found in the hands of officers. Poor cooperation and lack of enthusiasm in assisting the investigation tend to lead to less time and energy being spent on the cases. Without much evidence to pursue, cases are often dropped before they reach the final stage of prosecution.
Even with overwhelming forms of evidence there are less than 3% of officers countrywide serving terms for manslaughter and murder. Of this officers, the sentencing is often considered much more lenient than civilian who have committed the same offense (Carter and Carter 2016). Sentencing officers to jail terms, however much deserving such punishment may seem tends to lower morale in the workforce and decrease applications and willingness to join the force. Officers often feel persecuted, and lose morale of projecting the citizens and those under them. There is a delicate balance between correcting bad behavior, enhancing good decision making and maintain high morale among officers. Low morale in a catalyst for future problems in crime growth and insecurity. Implications for practice
Independent investigation bodies: even with their mandate to investigate cases where police officers have been involved in shooting, their impact remains quite low. On the one hand, too many independent investigations often impede the work of officers which is crucial towards maintaining the safety and integrity of the community and society. However, on the other hand, among officers such independent bodies draw negative energy and are often segregated. The officers have not understood the importance of such bodies and the value that cooperation with the investigation would add to the system and profession. Negativity reduces the impact that such bodies have. Poor investigation often guarantees that officers who have committed murder or manslaughter walk away unscathed. While this may boost morale and maintain the “blue brotherhood”, it also allows the few bad police men to taint the name of the profession even for the many good ones whose focus is on discharging their duties. It is important for officers to be made aware that the independent bodies themselves are designed to support both the community, by ensuring the officers discharge their duties as they are required to. The same bodies also protect officers by ensuring that structures are put in place to ensure that they are not judged unfairly and also that officers who have engaged in manslaughter or murder do not taint the name of the force.
Prosecution of officers: whereas on the one hand, it is important to ensure that officers are not necessarily persecuted, it is also important to ensure that the law takes precedence at all times. Officers who are not prosecuted properly, tend to feel their actions are justified. Decker and Pyrooz (2010) suggests that prosecution of officers should be made a forefront issue. These includes training special prosecutors whose main work and duties will be directed towards enhancing and pursuing prosecution of officers suspected of murder. This may require enhanced campaigns and training, so that prosecution of officers becomes the norm. It may also require a blackout of media sensationilisation which tends to put limelight on issues and cases. This attention may increase the probability of prosecution, in a semblance to look as if the matter is taking as much attention as it requires. However, the same focus by the, media discourages prosecutors who do not want to seem too eager to persecute and prosecute those whom they are working with.
Structures and processes: the law allows for the use of deadly force when facing suspects and discharging their protection duties. However, what is limited is the structure that ensures that such processes are not misused in order to cover manslaughter and murder. Although department structures tend to control and limit the behavior much more than the law itself, there is little evidence to show that the rules are applied as stringently as they should be. Without stringent application of the rules and structures, they remain suggestions, words on paper which have little if any impact on the behavior of the officers. Recommendations Involve the community in policing policies
For decades now, it has been clear that the mistrust between communities being guarded and the police departments has been decreasing. The focus has shifted from increasing police officers recruitment to the control of police behavior. According to Klinger (2012), the challenge is that communities remain unaware that there are steps taken to monitor and regulate behavior of the police. For majority f the community members it seems that the police direct themselves and enjoy making their own rules. This situation is often worsened by the fact that prosecution of officers is rarely public and verdicts often favor the officers even when faced with what the community imagines it be overwhelming evidence. Each community needs to have a properly structured and well funded community oversight board. The board will have the responsibility of representing the interests of the community. Such interests need to be taken into account when forming policies that are directed at the police department. With civilian boards, community members often feel that there is an independent body regulating the police behavior and thus increase the level of trust. The committee needs to be elected rather than appointed. Democratic elections give the community a chance to feel in control of a situation. This is especially helpful in communities where police brutality, murder and manslaughter have become normalized behavior. It is important to note that often such committees fail due to poor structures as well as very low funding and a lack of resources. Community boards represent the community in the investigation, prosecution and follow up of cases to ensure that the victim’s families get the justice that they desire. Proper recording of cases
Because of poor records and maintenance of data where police are involved in discharging their weapons, it is often difficult to trace the statistics that are relevant in enhancing new policies. It is difficult to resolve a problem when one does not understand the intricacies of the problem. For many government agencies, the problem of police brutality, manslaughter and even murder remains a once in a lifetime event rather than a common occurrence. This is simply because the scope of the problem is far from understood rather than an emergency (Terill *et al. *2008). This study recommends that the departments maintain open, searchable data on police conduct. Currently even the little data that exists remains tightly locked up, with little access. This is despite the fact that majority of the time; officers involved in murder have shown signs of disturbance and lack of emotional wellbeing. Such records would go a long way towards assisting the investigation and maintaining the integrity of the prosecution case.
Data from body cameras is the most vital component of the investigation into murder cases. It is often difficult for prosecutors to prove that actions taken were not just knee jerk, but instead the officer acted maliciously. Data from body cameras is supposed to provide the most significant step towards closing investigations and giving families closure. However, as Loftin *et al. *(2003) indicates, departments have had little commitment in terms of maintaining and upgrading the data that is uploaded from body cameras. It is as important to introduce body cameras as it is to ensure that data collected is properly catalogued, maintained and regularly updated. Information of each interaction; race, gender and reason should be properly recorded. Criminal justice reform
The final and most important change should be made to the criminal justice system. Currently as shown by Pratt-Harris *et al. *(2016), the system seem to lie in favor of officers involved in murder. Not only are prosecutions few, sentencing often seems too lenient whenever such officer are convicted. Even jurors tend to focus on the fact that the individual is an officer and as such often end up in mistrial or acquittals despite the evidence. What is needed is a complete surgery of the system, a do over to ensure that changes are made within the criminal justice system. The system needs to be built so that it recognizes officers who kill in the same manner as civilians who kill. Where evidence has been prevented, and witness accounts have proven guilt then such officers should face the law in the same way as their counterparts the civilian. This is especially so since officers are required to uphold the law. Training of officers
Majority of officers often undergo minimal training during their recruitment. Human behavior and social standards continuously change as new trends are introduced. Training should therefore not be a one off matter but rather a continual process through the professional life of the officer. The process ensures that they remain enlightened and are able to make the right decisions while discharging their duties. Training on defense, weapon use and racial profiling are crucial reminders that should be embedded in each officer continuously. This will help avoid situations where officers find themselves in the wrong side of the law.


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