Some people assume that police officers have an obligation to be honest. That doesn’t mean that they don’t make mistakes, but that they don’t intentionally lie to suspects. After all, the police may ask (or demand) that people tell the truth when conducting an interrogation. Suspects often believe it is a two-way street, where both sides are required to be honest.
But this is not true. In many cases, the police can definitely lie, and they often do so. They are not obligated to be honest or held to any type of higher standard. They may be deceitful, they may stretch the truth or they may entirely invent things that are not true on any level.
Why would they do so?
There are a lot of different reasons why the police will do this, but most of them revolve around manipulation. Lying is a way for them to get what they want. For example, say that the police arrest a juvenile suspect. They can tell that the person just wants to put the situation behind them and is very stressed. Officers may say that they will be allowed to go home if they just admit what they did. This is not necessarily true, as an admission of guilt could put them behind bars, but the officers may lie to the suspect anyway to secure a confession.
Another example is if police officers lie about the evidence that they have. Someone may claim that they didn’t commit a crime, but the officers may say they have that activity on video or that another suspect has already admitted to everything. Once again, they may just be trying to manipulate the person to get them to admit to the crime, even if the officers don’t have any video or any testimony from another suspect.
Why is this important?
Understanding that the police can lie is important because Americans have a right to remain silent. It is often best not to talk to the police at all, especially without your legal team at your side. Even if the police officers seem like they are being honest and trying to help, suspects can never know if that is actually the case. It’s much better to exercise one’s right to remain silent and begin looking into all potential criminal defense options by seeking legal guidance immediately.