Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2017


Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review





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One of the most profound tests of trust in a society is when the state must be relied upon to hold itself accountable for violating the rights of the governed. Nowhere is this more true than in the context of the prosecution of law enforcement officers for unjustified violence against civilians. The reasons for this are twofold. First, it should go without saying that police perform a vital - and extremely difficult and dangerous - function, and bravely serve as the prophylactic between civil society and complete chaos. As President Obama recently wrote, "[p]olice officers are the heroic backbone of our communities." Law enforcement officers, most of whom serve honorably, responsibly, and often heroically, deserve not only our gratitude and respect, but - when accused of misconduct - also the due process we aspire to afford all defendants.



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