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September 19, 2022

Here's why former KCKPD detective Roger Golubski is facing federal civil rights charges
By Dan Margolies

Charges under 18 U.S.C. Section 242 tend to be used most often in cases involving excessive use of force by police. For example, after police officers involved in the arrest of Rodney King in 1991 were acquitted by a Los Angeles County jury, federal prosecutors charged them under the statute. More recently, the Department of Justice announced that a federal jury convicted a St. Paul police officer named Brett Palkowitch under Section 242 for “using excessive force against an unarmed civilian.” Such cases are rare, though. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, at Syracuse University, reports that in 2019, the last year for which figures are available, federal prosecutors brought Section 242 charges in just 49 cases in the United States. “This compares with 184,274 total federal prosecutions last year,” TRAC said. “Thus, these cases represent just a minute fraction of offenses that are prosecuted — only 27 out of every 100,000 prosecutions or 0.027 percent.” Which means that the charges against Golubski, while not unprecedented, represent a very rare instance in the United States of a police officer being charged under 18 U.S.C. Section 242.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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