Recently it was revealed in a study conducted by Bowling Green State University that across the U.S., 40% of crimes committed by police officers are committed while those officers are on duty. Michigan is not immune when it comes to these statistics; in 2011, a Wayne State University police officer allegedly pulled over a female driver before placing her in his police vehicle and driving to a building where he reportedly pressured her into having sex. This officer was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and is now serving a 16 to 30 year prison sentence.
According to news reports, there are at least three known instances over the past 18 months in which Michigan police officers have been charged with soliciting a prostitute, sexual assault, and larceny. County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III who was charged with 15 prostitution-related offenses himself earlier this year brought charges against two of these police officers.
The study which included criminal cases across the nation from 2005 to 2011 against police officers found that during this time period, more than 6,720 police officers faced criminal charges. The crimes these officers allegedly committed ran the gamut from sexual assault and DUI to child pornography and even murder. While the numbers are certainly disturbing, even more disturbing is the fact that 40% of these offenses were committed while the officers were on duty.
Of the cases, 127 involved Michigan police officers. Five of these cases were in Lansing, and one in Eaton County. Additionally, following the end of the reporting period (2011) there were additional arrests involving at least 46 police officers in Michigan according to the State Journal.
Co-author of the study John Liederbach said that while arrest rates for officers may be far lower than arrest rates for the civilian population, the point is that police officers should never be arrested.
In September of last year, a 34-year-old Michigan State Police trooper was found guilty of four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The case was handled by our firm, however we strongly believe that some cases are more “politically attractive.” Since Brian Alexander’s conviction, a judge has granted a new trial due to new evidence discovered at trial.
Two months following Alexander’s conviction, the requirement to register as a sex offender was canceled. Phone records were discovered that could have affected the credibility of the alleged victim in jurors’ eyes.
Ultimately, innocent people are convicted of sexual assault or other crimes they did not commit every year across the U.S. – including police officers. Sadly, many individuals who are falsely accused of both minor and serious crimes spend a portion (or even all) of their lives confined to a prison cell.