• May 26, 2020

In 2017, LEVENTHAL pllc (and Burns Law Firm PLLC) represented Mr. Lamar Ferguson, the victim of police officers’ excessive force (in our view), one of whom was Officer Tou Thao (the Complaint is linked here). Officer Thao was terminated today for his role in the death of George Floyd, who was effectively strangled by the police.

We never found out whether the officers in Mr. Ferguson’s case, Officers Thao and Thunder, were disciplined for their roles in Mr. Ferguson’s beating. Was there any internal investigation? Did they suffer any consequences?

What we did see in the depositions of the two police officers in Mr. Ferguson’s case was dissembling, evasion, and obstruction. For example, when questioning one officer about the conduct of the other, it was clear that each had learned to say, “I don’t know. Ask him.” Neither would offer any testimony that could conceivably be used against the other. Were there any consequences for this misconduct? (Isn’t police officers’ willful non-cooperation in depositions misconduct?)

It seems to us that maybe U.S. cities and towns should turn “broken windows theory” of policing upside down. The “broken windows theory” is that law enforcement should come down hard on minor legal violations (like littering or disorderly conduct) that “create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes…” This policy has been heavily criticized for being applied in a racist manner (and for being ineffective).

Perhaps, though, U.S. cities and towns should come down hard on every single act of police misconduct (and not just the ones that make the headlines) because overlooking the so-called minor cases “creates a law enforcement environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes” by police officers themselves.