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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

Necessary civilian accountability

Late last week, an Albuquerque woman falsely accused a police officer of sexual harassment.

The accusations were dismissed because the officer in question was equipped with a video camera that evening, and the footage in this instance spoke for ?itself.

There’s nothing terribly shocking about this incident ­— a regular citizen was pulled over for drunk driving, was detained and then lied, I suppose, in order to help her case.

But the real crime was the nature of that lie.

During the initial traffic stop, the officer overlooked the moment when the woman slipped her cell phone into her bra.

Once detained, the woman asked to use the restroom where she used her phone and was allegedly heard inquiring how best to land the officer in hot water.

No brainer, just say he sexually assaulted you.

The entire operation is pretty despicable, but realistically, and in the heat of the moment, this woman behaved like most people.

Think of how many people blatantly lie about being on their phones when they get pulled over.

Unfortunately, the woman made a poor choice in feigning sexual abuse and not because the officer was wearing a video camera.

Lying about being sexually assaulted may be one of the most vile and dangerous things to do.

Faking an instance of being sexually violated cheapens the cries for help from the people who have actually experienced it. It also warps the perception an audience might have as to the rate, circumstance and nature in which sexual assaults occur, which is nothing to joke about.

I’m not crazy about cops, but here we have an honest officer attempting to keep the streets safe. Without his camera, he might have seen criminal charges.

The assumption that some cops don’t abuse their position would reach beyond naivety and into ?absurdity.

But, as with most blanket statements, generalizing law enforcement is less about poor taste and more about accuracy.

Take for example the Nevada court marshal who issued a random and unexplained drug search on a woman who was in court for a routine divorce case.

The drug search was not in view of cameras or a witness. And while that court marshal has been fired, the investigation is on going.

Efforts to keep law ?enforcement in check are expanding, with more and more police officers wearing cameras on the job, instead of just on their ?dashboards.

We need more people to be honest: cops, civilians and otherwise. Instead of dissing cops or the public at large, we should encourage a greater sense of accountability among each other and ourselves so that we may mature as a society.

If you have a personal problem with police officers, fine. But don’t go exaggerating their behavior for your own sake. That route helps no one in the long run.

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