Police accused of serious crimes enjoy low conviction rates
In the wake of the acquittal of Edward Nero in the Freddie Gray case, it’s notable that there is a relatively low conviction rate for police officers accused of serious crimes.
Since 2005, 70 officers in this country have faced charges related to an on-duty shooting. Only 23 were found guilty. That is a conviction rate of less than 33 percent.
Police departments are facing more scrutiny than ever before. The Department of Justice has been launching investigations into police tactics across the country, and local prosecutors are pursuing cases that historically have been tough to win, reports CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues…
“Just an honest assessment of these types of cases are — they are difficult to prove in front of juries,” said Johnny Baer, who prosecuted Pennsylvania police officer Lisa Mearkle.
Mearkle was found not guilty in November in the shooting death of David Kassick.
“People want and are willing to give police officers the benefit of the doubt, when they’re in uniform, and they’re making split-second decisions, in very difficult environments,” Baer said.
Researchers at Bowling Green University said about 1,100 people are killed in police shootings every year. But in 2015, just 18 officers were charged and only three were convicted.