It’s getting a little better because they’ve been so blatant about it that it’s drawn the world’s attention, but it’s still rare when cops get charged with the crimes they commit, up to and including murder or attempts to murder others. Even on those rare occasions when their crimes are outrageous and the evidence is so undeniable that they get charged, it’s still almost unheard of for them to get convicted, since the district attorney and judge are generally playing for the same team as them. What’s more, on those minuscule times when the prosecutor doesn’t throw the game and they actually get convicted, they usually end up with a slap on the wrist.
However, all that goes out the window when their victims are other cops. Such was the case with Former Officer Jessie Hernandez Jr., who was convicted three weeks ago of shooting Selma Police Officer Tiffany Kierum in the face (he’s also awaiting trial for shooting her partner, Cpl. Jesus Balderamas, during the same incident). With District Attorney Nicholas LaHood himself prosecuting the case there was little chance that Hernandez would get the typical home field advantage that police normally get when facing trial.
LaHood implored the jury to impose a life sentence, the maximum penalty possible for his charge of aggravated assault of a public servant, and they didn’t disappoint him. After just four hours, the jurors returned a life sentence against Hernandez, who could have gotten as little as five years or even probation in the case that originally stemmed from a domestic violence call in 2013.
Hernandez committed a despicable violent crime, which almost (and only due to luck didn’t) cost another person their life. He certainly deserves every minute he will be serving in prison. However, if that person he very nearly killed had been a mere mortal, there’s little chance the District Attorney would have personally prosecuted the case and a much better chance that the sentence handed down on August 14th would have been much closer to that low end of the scale.