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Police can no longer investigate their own


Photo by John Pendygraft/MCT

Wisconsin’s Department of Defense showed police departments reported 41 deaths of individuals in officer custody between June 2008 and April 2013. None of these deaths led to a conviction, according to Associated Press writer Todd Richmond.

Jonathan Lesniak , Opinion Writer
May 6, 2014
Filed under Opinion, Top Stories

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill requiring investigations of officer-involved deaths be turned over to outside parties, rather than within law enforcements’ internal affairs, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Gina Burton.

This legislature is taking innovative steps to solve the problem of internal investigations serving injustice to their own.

The State Department of Justice presented that between June 2008 and April 2013, Wisconsin police departments reported 41 deaths due to officers’ enforcement, according to Todd Richmond of the Associated Press.

These include several high profile deaths such as a victim in Milwaukee who died while gasping for breath and begging for help in a squad car in 2011, Richmond said.

This incident, along with several others, has unfortunately resulted in no criminal charges and raised questions of the integrity of the investigations done.

With cases such as this, it seems apparent Wisconsin needs this bill to better ensure safety and justice for both citizens and victims of the misuse and abuse of law enforcement authority.

A majority of Wisconsin’s law enforcement agencies are already utilizing outside investigators, but major departments such as Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay were originally in charge of their own investigations, Richmond said.

Although internal investigations being corrupt should be out of the question, examples such as these prove that the individuals within power seem to be flawed, and for lack of better terms, protecting their own.

With the passing of this presented bill, we as citizens can better trust our judicial system and hopefully prevent individuals from abusing their credentials and wronging society.

Hopefully this bill will prevent enforcement officers from engaging in controversial acts of excessive force, which have been reflected in our community as of late.