When Is It Okay For A Policeman To Lie?

According to the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, it’s okay when the police officer lies to Federal investigators in an immigration matter:

The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission voted Wednesday to overturn the firing of Police Officer Alexander Ayala, even though he lied to a federal agent as his brother was being investigated for adopting a false identity.

Ayala’s firing came after an internal investigation alleged that he had lied to immigration officials when asked May 30 about his brother’s citizenship status. He told a federal agent that his brother, Oscar Ayala-Cornejo, was a Mexican citizen living in Mexico, and that he had not spoken to him for a long time, according to testimony provided by witnesses before the commission Wednesday.

“At that moment in time, I was being a son and brother,” Ayala told commissioners Wednesday night as he pleaded for his job. “I was an immigrant, and it’s hard being an immigrant here.”

The rule of law takes another hit, or at least the perception does. When you have an accumulation of stories wherein suspects surreptitiously recording their own interrogations catch police detectives perjuring themselves, wherein police patrolmen are caught threatening to make up things to take citizens to jail by dashboard cameras in the citizens’ cars, and wherein police officers are allowed to keep their jobs after lying in an investigation and in supporting lawbreaking by family members, you’re facing an increasing suspicion on the part of the citizens that maybe the law enforcement officials aren’t exactly looking out for the citizens and that, instead of being held to higher standards, are held to lower standards.

Maybe law enforcement professionalism isn’t taking a hit. Perhaps the legislators’ eagerness to add ever-increasing numbers of police to the streets hasn’t actually lowered the standards for recruits or the training thereof. But the perception of rule of law, or lack thereof, will have a certain impact on citizenship, and not a good one.