If you counsel criminal clients for even a week, you will hear two things repeatedly. One is that, "The cops stole my drug money." Two is that, "The cops beat me up. I never resisted arrest."
It's easy to brush off these claims at first. Clients say all sorts of implausible things. But when you've heard the same descriptions over and over, you start to believe that there might be some truth to what you're hearing.
Unfortunately, judges do not have this perspective. In a resisting arrest case, they will always side with the police. Always. Judges simply cannot comprehend that police would beat a person up for no reason, lie about it, and then charge the guy with resisting arrest. Yet videos are appearing all over YouTube showing police behaving badly. The most recent video (via) comes from Denver:
The Denver District Attorney's office has dropped its case against a man who was facing three years in prison for assault, after 9Wants to Know obtained and showed prosecutors a videotape of the man's arrest.
On the video, which was shot outside Coors Field on the home opener of the Colorado Rockies game on April 4, undercover Denver Police detectives hit, kick and choke John Heaney.
"They both unloaded on me and I started seeing stars and the whole thing was just bam, bam, bam after that," said Heaney. "Someone had a chokehold and they were all on top of me and I couldn't breathe and I thought I was going to die."
After three detectives had Heaney facedown on the ground with his hands behind his back, the video shows undercover Det. Michael Cordova pull Heaney's hair, lift up his head and slam it into the ground, breaking two of his teeth on the cement.
Heaney was charged with second-degree assault on a police officer and criminal mischief after one of the officer's sunglasses were broken during the arrest. The officers claim Heaney rode his bicycle through a red light at 20th and Blake Streets and then punched Cordova in the nose.
You can watch the video below:
Are judges watching these videos? How many more videos will they need to see?