What Happens to Good Cops (Will Grigg)
Wednesday March 27th, 2013
Justin Hopson always wanted to be a New Jersey State Trooper. After graduating near the top of his academy class, Hopson was assigned to a training officer. Within a few days of beginning his patrol duties, Hopson was involved in a traffic stop in which his training officer carried out an unlawful arrest and ordered him to submit a false police report.
Hopson did as he was told – but his conscience quickly asserted itself. He confronted his trainer and informed him that he would not testify on his behalf when the case went to trial. His refusal to perjure himself in court, combined with a dashcam video that contradicted the falsified arrest report, led the prosecutor to dismiss the charges. It also led to severe retaliation against Hopson by a cult-like gang within the New Jersey State Patrol that called itself the “Lords of Discipline.”
Hopson was targeted for physical abuse, vandalism, petty theft, and harassment –and eventually driven from the force. He was relatively fortunate: Another outstanding trooper named John Oliva who reported abuses was eventually driven to suicide. In his book, Breaking the Blue Wall, Hopson documents that this kind of institutional corruption is quite commonplace in police departments nation-wide.