As I read the assignment guidelines, I figured it would be extremely difficult to find a recent case of police corruption. Contrary to my belief, the first search I entered into Google brought me to the case of an Edmonton police officer named Derek Whitson. Whitson, a seven-year veteran, is currently being charged with four charges including deceit and corruption for interfering with documents in his brother, Joell Whitson’s, drunk driving case.
Corruption can be described as the abuse of authority, oath of office, and suspects and citizens. Immediately, it is clear that the category of corruption Whitson has committed is “Flaking and Padding.” This involves manipulating files or evidence for personal gain and could also include adding to evidence to increase the penalty an individual receives. In this particular case, it is clear that Derek Whitson was attempting to minimize the level of impairment of his brother in the notes in the hopes that he received a lesser charge or even acquittal. Derek Whitson has also used his authority in a corruptive manner, another one of the typologies discussed in “Police Corruption” by Maurice Punch.
Typology 3 involves the level of police deviance and corruption committed by an individual. Because an internal complaint from within his unit was received, it is evident that this is not a system failure which involves an entire organization in crisis; however, the corruption does occur within the police domain. This involves police interfering with the administration of justice. When the original officer on scene was taking notes, he was administering justice. By tampering with notes about the severity of Joell’s intoxication level, Derek knew that his brother would either be acquitted of receive a lesser charge.
In typology 1, we are introduced to the various forms typologies for officers. Among these are two that fit particularly well with this case, the first being “meat-eaters.” A meat-eater is someone who participates in illegal activity and abuses their power for self-gain. Although manipulating notes is not directly benefitting Derek, I’m sure he would slightly benefit from the fact that his brother no longer needs to serve time or pay large fines. The second typology is an “innovator and number-cruncher.” These are individuals who look for loopholes and technicalities. Having a brother who is able to tamper with records is quite the loophole is you ask me.
The various typologies are quite confusing at first glance. When I first searched for classes to join, I had no clue this one was being offered. What was most shocking to me was that the problem of police deviance is becoming a colossal problem not only in third world countries but countries like Canada. Realizing a problem like police corruption is large enough to have a whole class dedicated to it highlights how drastically this, once small, problem is growing. As human beings, we are instinctively required to look out for others, especially loved ones. In this particular case, one man was willing to put his job on the line to protect his brother. But where do we draw the line? How far are we willing to go to help others?