Good cop, bad cop: Does the Golden State Killer speak to a bigger issue?

Photo credit: The Baltimore Police Department

America has one of the highest crime rates in the world. There have been several high-profile cases, Jon Benet Ramsey and the Black Dahlia, to name two, that drew worldwide attention. Even those who have sworn to protect and serve have been at the center of investigations which brings us to the capture of one of the most elusive criminals in modern times; the Golden State Killer.

Most recently, thanks to DNA obtained through genealogy sites, the notorious “Golden State Killer,” also called the “East Area Rapist,” was finally apprehended.

The 72-year-old suspect, Joseph James DeAngelo, who is also a former police officer, was arrested on Tuesday, April 24 at his home in Sacramento, California. He is being accused of committing more than 50 rapes and 12 murders over four decades. His neighbors in the quiet and sleepy suburb of Citrus Heights were shocked to find that their mild-mannered neighbor was actually harboring a dark and mysterious past as one of the nation’s most notorious serial killers. Coincidentally, one neighbor was actually searching for information about the infamous serial killer and yet had no idea that the suspect was one of his neighbors. In a statement to the New York Times, Paul Sanchietti stated, “Here I was looking up the guy on Wikipedia and he was five doors down.”

How did he get away with it for so long and did he use his power and position as a police officer to go virtually undetected? DeAngelo wouldn’t be the first police officer to wield his power to evade apprehension as there have been several cases in recent history involving cops doing that very thing. Most recently, many of these instances have been attached to racially motivated causes, such as the South Carolina police officer, Michael Slager, accused of shooting and killing unarmed Walter Scott.

According to an article by the BBC, the FBI does record “justifiable homicides” by police officers. Interestingly enough, there were 461 such homicides in 2013, but by definition, this doesn’t include the number of police charged with a crime for on-duty actions.

As time goes on, one can only hope that the tensions between American citizens, of any color or race, can come to an amicable compromise to end the seemingly outward warfare that is happening between good cops, bad cops, and everyone else.



Ashia Miller
Ashia Miller

I'm a 27 year old alumna of the Florida State University College of Music. I am a self proclaimed southern belle and former beauty queen with a dash of bougie, charm, and big city personality.