First Cop Convicted for Not Intervening as Fellow Cop Bashed Man’s Face in With a Gun, Strangled Him
Martinez was convicted for failing to intervene when another officer violently assaulted an Army veteran.
In a groundbreaking case, former Colorado police officer Francine Martinez was convicted for failing to intervene when another officer violently assaulted an Army veteran during an arrest in 2021. Martinez is the first officer to face a jury and be found guilty under a new police accountability law that was passed following the tragic murder of George Floyd in 2020. This conviction is a much-needed step in the right direction for holding law enforcement officers accountable for their actions and encouraging a culture of transparency.
Martinez was fired after an internal investigation exposed her violation of several department policies during the violent arrest of Kyle Vinson. John Haubert, the officer who brutally attacked Vinson, resigned amid the investigation. This new law, which mandates that officers must intervene when witnessing unlawful physical force, has been hailed as a potential catalyst for change in law enforcement agencies across the country.
State Rep. Leslie Herod, who played a significant role in crafting the 2020 law, emphasized the importance of criminal consequences for officers who fail to intervene or report incidents of excessive force. She believes that these provisions will help to expose and eliminate harmful behavior within law enforcement.
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As the Free Thought Project has been pointing out for years, a good cop who doesn’t stop a bad cop… is a bad cop.
Vinson’s attorney, Siddhartha Rathod, reinforced the notion that this verdict should send a clear message to law enforcement that the “blue code of silence” is over. He also called upon prosecutors in Colorado to prioritize these types of cases as a means of driving systemic change.
Martinez’s conviction follows that of former Loveland, Colorado, police officer Daria Jalali, who pleaded guilty to failure to intervene and was sentenced to 45 days in jail after a fellow officer injured a 73-year-old woman with dementia during an arrest.
As the movement for police accountability gains traction, nearly two dozen of the country’s 100 largest police departments have implemented duty-to-intervene policies since the racial justice protests that followed Floyd’s murder. Howard Henderson, director of the Center for Justice Research at Texas Southern University, acknowledged the challenge of tracking whether officers are responding to these policies by intervening in incidents of excessive force.
Despite the existence of federal duty-to-intervene laws and policies, officers may still fail to intervene due to inadequate training and rigid workplace hierarchies. Both Christy E. Lopez, Georgetown Law professor and former deputy chief in the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, and Henderson have urged for more comprehensive training to change police culture, according to a report in USA Today.
Herrod concurred, stating, “There’s no silver bullet to changing a culture that has been traditionally protect the blue at all cost.”
As we reported at the time, body camera footage from Vinson’s arrest reveals the harrowing scene of Haubert attacking Vinson, pointing his gun at him, and threatening to shoot him. The city settled the matter for $850,000 without a lawsuit being filed. Haubert is now facing multiple charges, with his trial set to begin in November.
As law enforcement officers are increasingly held accountable for their actions, this conviction marks a crucial turning point in dismantling the blue wall of silence and fostering transparency within the system.
Article posted with permission from Matt Agorist