idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
To speak to their lawyer before they even record the events of the investigation? No, that's absurd.
Is it? Again, I thought that was standard procedure in a shooting case. They schedule an IA appointment, where they present their account of the event and they most certainly are allowed to speak to counsel first and have an attorney present when giving the interview.
Their job REQUIRES them to tell the absolute truth about what happened.
But they're also allowed to protect themselves from potential self incrimination.
There's absolutely no reason for a lawyer to be involved until there is legal action taken.
If SOP for a shooting is to have an IA investigation (again, isn't that the norm?), then by definition that *is* legal action. It is a legal deposition and carries the same weight and the officer is allowed the same protections of his rights. Again, I'll state that I'm not aware of the specifics in this case, and the linked article was incredibly sparse, so I can't say that there weren't other aspects of this that were problematic, but the basic idea that an officer involved in a shooting can seek legal counsel prior to writing down his account of what happened seems reasonable to me, doubly so if there's an expectation (such as in this case) that what is written absolutely can/will be used against the officer with very real legal ramifications.
And they do have a 5th amendment equivalent, dumbass.
Ok. But you can't have it both ways. Either the officers report can be used as a sworn statement in court later, or it can't (and I think we both know that they can and are all the time). If it can, then the officer absolutely has a right to speak to an attorney before he can be required to write such a statement.
My "baby with the bathwater" statement earlier was because it seems like some people think the attorney present thing is the problem, where I would assume it's the possible collusion. But weakening the right of any officer to seek legal counsel in a case like this in order to go after a single instance of collusion is the wrong thing to do. For every case like this where that rule may allow collusion by the officers, there are a hundred cases of an officer who's not particularly court savvy writing something in a report which results in criminal or civil charges being filed simply because someone wrote something the wrong way.