Saturday, October 1, 2011

Perp Walk

We have all seen it on the news. A high profile suspect is walked in handcuffs down the police station stairs to the waiting police vehicle for transportation to court or to jail. The cameras roll and the flash bulbs flash. Dozens, even hundreds of reporters and citizens crowd the door to get a glimpse of the perpetrator of the crime of the century. Officers line the stairs and push back the press of humanity. In recent years the suspect is often seen wearing body armor.

The Perp Walk should be a thing of the past. There are many good reasons to avoid this procedure. In the American justice system, suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty. If the perp has not yet been convicted of the crime, then they should not be shown to the public as a criminal by having them paraded in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit in front of the whole world.

The second reason is more practical. You are responsible for the safety of the prisoner. If the crime is very bad, people from the crowd may attempt to murder the suspect. A hand holding a gun reaches out from the crowd and fires three rounds as close range and kills the suspect while in police custody. It happens once in a while and it makes police look really incompetent, that’s what the SGT Says.

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