If you hear of someone being exonerated of a crime last year, the odds are high that it happened in Illinois.
A study from Cornell University in 2017 found what many people already knew -- that people who have disabilities are more likely to find themselves under arrest than those who don't have a physical or mental disability -- 44 percent more likely. According to a report published the previous year by the Ruderman Family Foundation, up to a half of all instances in which force is used by police involve disabled people, and "up to half of all people killed by the police in the United States are disabled."
A police officer holds a tremendous amount of power in the community. The officer can stop, detain, question and arrest just about anyone he or she wants. That said, just because an officer can do as he or she pleases, it doesn't mean that the officers actions will always be lawful. They could constitute an abuse of power.
According to the Innocence Project, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis has resulted as many as 350 convictions being overturned in recent years. In some of these cases, the defendant had confessed to committing the crime that they had been accused of. If you're wondering why a suspect would admit to a criminal act that they weren't actually responsible for, there are many reasons that they may have done this.
Police departments in Chicago and around the country can better identify officers who are more likely to commit serious acts of misconduct, e.g., wrongful shootings. They can avoid costly civil lawsuits by paying attention to citizen complaints. That's the conclusion of a study by researchers at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law.
An arrest can be a very scary experience. It can leave a person deeply worried about their well-being and future. Thankfully, this is not something that police can subject individuals to for just any reason. There are rules police are supposed to follow when it comes to the making of arrests.