Police Corruption

Posted: January 29, 2013 by JatinderThandi in Uncategorized

“Police Corruption can be referred to as an officer knowingly doing or not doing something that is against his or her duty for some form of financial or material or promise of such gain.”(Punch 2009) One of the key elements of police corruption is the abuse of power and trust by officers which eventually leads them to look for some kind of gain.  The example of police corruption I found can be described as occupational deviance.  Occupational deviance involves deviance and rule bending for gains. ( Notes)

A case that occurred in Baltimore led to the criminal conviction of 16 city officials and the suspension of 14 others due to a kickback scheme that involved more than 60 officers over two years.  Officers unlawfully averted broken-down and cars that had been damaged in traffic accidents to the “Majestic Body Shop” in exchange for cash.    The scheme started when Officer Jhonn S. Corona made an agreement to bring business to the owners of the body shop.  The “Majestic Body Shop” owned by two brothers, Hernan Moreno Mejia and Edwin Mejia alongside Officer Corona have all pleaded guilty.  It was easy money for the officers because the plan was quite simple.  Officers who call a tow truck to the scenes of accidents are obligated to use medallion tow trucks approved by the city; instead the officers would call the Mejia brothers, who would send a non-medallion tow truck.  Officers would receive numerous hundred dollars every time a car reached the body shop.  In some cases, officers would damage the cars even more to increase the insurance payout and would even falsify the police reports.  When an employee of a medallion towing company filed a complaint in August 2009, the police passed the report to the F.B.I which would turn out to be the turning point in this case. “The F.B.I began keeping an eye on the body shop and began recording calls between the brothers and officers.  “Bank records revealed that the brothers paid between $200,000 and $1 million to the officers.”

According to the 1st typology, the officers involved in this scheme are described as “meat eaters.”  These officers cannot be described as “grass eaters” because they had a choice to call the medallion tow trucks approved by the city, instead they wanted something in return so they used their power to bend the rules.  These officers did not draw a line, in some cases they falsified police reports and even added more damage to the cars in order for them to receive more money.  According to the 2nd typology, the scheme involved in this case is normally referred to as kickbacks.  Kickbacks can be described as a “gain for referring business to particular firms.” (Punch 2009)  The officers brought all the damaged vehicles to the body shop and in return received money.  Finally, according to the 3rd typology, this case can be considered conventional and process corruption because the practises involved bribery and kickbacks which can be “understood to form the bulk of conventional corruption.” (Punch 2009)  The officers also altered evidence by adding more damages to the cars and falsified police reports which is what process corruption involves.  This is one of the many cases involving police corruption around the world, police corruption is becoming more evident to the public because of technology and cameras and that is why we are hearing more about it on the news as well.  This is not only going on in other countries but in Canada as well, I have recently heard about couple cases that happened not too far from here.  I am shocked seeing all the cases that are coming up and I know police corruption is not a very easy process to end but I do hope that police corruption can one day be put to an end.

References:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/us/baltimore-police-corruption-case-tests-commissioner.html?_r=0

Punch, M. (2009). Police corruption: Deviance, accountability and reform in policing. Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing.

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Comments
  1. Mike Larsen says:

    Interesting case study. This does have all of the characteristics of a classic corruption case – local business, corrupt officials, kickbacks, and cover-up. I am curious – you end your post by stating that you hope that police corruption can one day be put to an end. Is this a realistic objective? Do you think that it is possible to completely eliminate corruption within a given police organization? Why or why not?

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