Over the years, the Free Thought Project has run many headlines with the phrase “taxpayers held liable” included in it after cops were caught maiming, raping, kidnapping and killing people. Many of these excessive force, murder, and wrongful arrest lawsuits were brought against police departments because the departments and prosecutors refused to hold the offending officers accountable and lawsuits were the only form of justice the victims could seek.
While no amount of money can ever undo the damage caused by some of these officers, it was at least some form of seeking justice. In Iowa, however, all that is changing after the Iowa Supreme Court just severely limited the amount of financial damages a victim of police crimes can be awarded.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat and the longest-serving attorney general in U.S. history, with four decades in the role, is a friend of bad cops. According to a recent investigation by the Associated Press, Millers office has failed — quite possibly deliberately — to convict and cop in the state since 2004. And, in the last 16 years, he’s brought charges against just two cops.
Clearly, Miller has a bias toward police and for decades, abusive cops have enjoyed a sort of immunity under his tenure. Citizens who were abused by police or family members of those killed by police have been forced to seek justice through civil lawsuits, seeking punitive damages. Now, however, thanks to an initiative brought forward by Miller, the Iowa Supreme Court just severely limited the financial damages that can be awarded for injuries and deaths caused by state police officers who are found to have used excessive force.
In a 6-1 decision, the court ruled that punitive damages, which are intended to punish and deter future criminal behavior by police, are not available in cases in which officers use excessive force in violation of constitutional rights.