I have screened dozens of jurors in civil rights cases who have indicated that they would have a difficult time believing a civilian’s testimony over a police officer’s testimony. And there are those jurors who won’t tell you that they are predisposed to accepting an officer’s testimony at face value, but when you probe a little deeper on voire dire, the predispositions become clear. “Demographics,” skin color, ethnicity, and experience make all the difference in the world.
Over the years, as both prosecutor and private counsel, the one thing I know to be true in this regard is that police officers are like everybody else, some will tell the truth and others will lie. “Testalying” is what cops jokingly call testifying.
If there are any potential jurors out there who are not willing to really weigh the evidence and question the word of the police officers during trial, please just take a look at this: https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/cannibal-jurors-shocking-photos-article-1.1258957
How did this man become a NYCPD police officer?
If the right to a fair trial means anything, state and federal judges need to permit extensive voire dire on this issue and permit challenges of those individuals who are predisposed to side with the government and law enforcement. Too many judges conduct the “rehabilitation” method of jury selection refusing to grant challenges for cause for clearly biased prospective jurors. Many federal judges in particular, who supervise and run the selection process, are not doing justice by refusing to grant cause challenges for individuals with clear biases who simply move their lips and say: “I can be fair.”