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March 3, 2015 : Bad Cop, No Donut


New Trust Fund Holds Officers Accountable for Excessive Force

By Bill Dunn

The Ferguson tragedy, the deaths of Mike Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner, the indictment of 18 Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies by the FBI for excessive force, the resignation of L.A. Sheriff LeRoy Baca in the wake of countless police brutality charges, the imprisonment of L.A. Sheriff’s deputies for interfering with police brutality case witnesses… Incidents of excessive force and cover-up lead today's news stories nationwide. Too often, the offenders go untried and unpunished due to a lack of financial resources for victims to pursue just retribution in court. But this may be changing, thanks to a new crowdfunding campaign.

The Global Trust Education Network (GTEN), an organization that teaches natural rights, freedom and trusts, has begun to help victims of police brutality fight their cases in court and help establish economic and racial justice. The Trustees of GTEN have created a private trust fund to assist victims in bringing their excessive force cases to trial, and they are crowdfunding the trust fund through Indiegogo with a campaign called Bad Cop No Donut (http://igg.me/at/badcop).

According to the GTEN Trustees, "The specific problem we seek to overcome with the Bad Cop No Donut campaign is the financial barrier to entry for victims bringing suit against police brutality offenders. Even if a lawyer takes a case on contingency basis and the victim/plaintiff is eligible for a low income waiver of court costs, there are still hard costs of suit that often cannot be paid. Expert witnesses and depositions primarily. Expert Witnesses cost $5-10,000, and court reporters for depositions are about $2,000 a day. So even if a victim of police brutality is willing to stand up, which is rare enough, the case dies if he or she doesn't have the $10-20,000 to cover the hard costs inherent in the discovery phase of any successful lawsuit."

Police brutality is a wide-reaching issue in the United States and throughout the world with deep roots in economic and racial inequity, militarization of federal and local law enforcement agencies, the increasing use of law enforcement to collect revenue for bankrupt states and a bankrupt nation, and a house-of-cards economy that is showing signs of collapse--with the poorest the first to fall. 

Police brutality is on the increase for a number of reasons: 1) growing disregard for the unalienable rights of the people, especially minorities and people without money, 2) dehumanization that takes place based on economic status and/or race, 3) belief by many law enforcement officers that they can get away with excessive force, and 4) too many instances where the offenders do get away with brutal acts because it's too difficult and costly for the average man or woman to successfully punish them through the court system.

Bad Cop No Donut creates a trust fund that will pay the hard costs of suit to successfully punish police brutality offenders. In order to bring successful law suits to hold the offenders accountable, many victims need the type of financial resources created by this private trust fund so they can successfully prosecute. By removing the financial hurdle that quashes most police brutality cases in favor of the offending officers, this effort removes the ability of the offenders to get away with their offenses. With each successful prosecution, the perception that cops can get away with the use of excessive force diminishes. As this perception changes in the wake of increased threat of just retribution, the rights of the people will once again become primarily important to law enforcement officers. If nothing else, officers will at least know they risk losing their career and livelihood if they use excessive force.

For more information or to make a contribution to the trust fund, please visit the Bad Cop No Donut campaign: http://igg.me/at/badcop