Originally Posted by briandg
It took over a half hour for over a dozen cops, emts, etc, to clear the scene. When the accident report was finally available, I found several problems.
When I contacted the officer who handled the scene and signed the report, that officer told me that my only recourse if the other insurance company would not accept liability was to sue the other person, discredit the false witnesses, prove that the diagram was wrong, and prove that the other person was at fault. The report was an official representation and it could not be amended to reflect my doubts of it's accuracy.
There is wisdom in your post. While one might hope the police might take more care in a situation involving a shooting than in a motor vehicle accident, it would not be smart to count on that. Just yesterday I read an article in a newspaper in which a reporter discovered that police LIE to suspects during interrogation. The article was based on comments offered by a detective in sworn testimony during a trial for murder. Her position was that "We only do it in cases where we want to convince the suspect to confess."
The problem, of course, is that this demonstrates a prejudiced opinion that they know their chosen suspect is guilty, so "all" they have to do is lead him (or her) to Jesus. What happens if the police are wrong, and the person they're pushing to confess is innocent? There are numerous cases on record where the use of such tactics have led people to "confess" to crimes they didn't commit, solely because they were convinced by the police (lies) that there was overwhelming evidence against them so pleading to a crime they didn't commit was safer than risking a trial. There was a murder case in the city where I grew up. The police were dead certain they knew who did it. They arrested the guy. IIRC it might even have gone to one trial and ended in a hung jury. The lead detective said when he retired that his one regret was not being able to "nail" John Doe for the young woman's murder.
Eighteen years later
, someone checked some DNA evidence and (a) proved conclusively that the guy they had been persecuting for 18 years COULD NOT have been the killer; and (b) oh, by the way, there was a perfect match to a guy with other various felonies to his name. They found him and arrested him, and he confessed and was convicted.
Back to motor vehicle accidents: Several years ago I was working late one night and I went to a small restaurant in a nearby strip mall for dinner. As I was returning to my car, I heard a loud engine noise and I turned in that direction. The traffic aisles were convoluted. There was a young woman unparking her car near me. I WATCHED as she carefully looked in both directions before starting to back up. Then some doper in a souped-up heap came screeching around a corner and slammed into her. She never saw him coming, and he was moving so fast that I had no time to warn her.
So the police were called. I waited, and I approached the investigating officer to inform him that I was a witness and I would give him a statement as to what happened.
"We don't need your statement. It's obvious what happened. The chick backed into the other guy."
I tried to explain to him that this was NOT at all what happened, but hi8s mind was made up. He was late for his donut break and he didn't want to be bothered taking a statement that didn't support his theory of the incident.
I still regret that I didn't give the girl my card. In other accidents I've witnessed I have done so, and often the person blamed by the police had only my statement to their attorney to prevent their taking the blame for something that wasn't there fault at all.
So ... your premise is correct. Do not rely on the police to get it right. They make mistakes. And they sometimes have their own agenda, which may not coincide with ensuring that your side of the story is recorded accurately and/or completely.