When a cop is facing drug charges or any other crime, they enter one of two justice systems in this country. There is the justice system for the elite, and then there is the justice system for everyone else. In this recent article from the Arizona Republic we see that here in Phoenix, this inequality is no different. Not only do cops get a free pass when they accuse other people of crimes (for example, when it is found out that cops lied or covered things up, they almost never get fired), they also get a free pass when they commit crimes. We all know this to be true, but this case really hits it home.
In this case a Phoenix police officer stole 2,000 narcotic prescription drugs and replaced them with over the counter meds. He received just over the minimum sentence in his generous plea agreement, 3 years nine months. Also the judge, in an unusual move, will make a recommendation to the Department of Corrections that he be sent out of state to serve his sentence (so he doesn’t have to face the prospect of being harmed here). Anyone else would simply be put in administrative segregation for their protection, but the judge in this case decided that special treatment in that other justice system was more appropriate.
Just to give you an idea of what the maximum penalties would have been at trial, because he was charged with over 20 felonies (all were dropped but one), he would have faced decades in prison. Penalties for drug charges are harsh. Even the prosecutor asked the judge for five years. But the special justice system prevailed.
What is so disturbing about all of this is that this cop’s main argument for getting a reduced sentence (which apparently the judge bought) was that his public service as a cop should be considered. Shouldn’t we, however, as a society hold public servants to a higher standard? Especially when someone uses their unique position of power to commit crimes, as was the case here?
I think sending to people to prison for their addiction to drugs is wrong. I think it is immoral. I think the system is broken and we need to fix it without making swaths of people criminals. But if we are going to continue with the insane war on drugs, trying to cure the disease of addiction with long prison sentences, then we should apply that insanity to everyone equally, cop or no cop.