15 August 2007

Bullies in Blue

I heard about it days after the fact. Comes from not watching the noxious effluvia known as "local news" or even reading the ad-heavy wastepaper that passes for daily journalism.

A man was directing traffic to help party-goers reach a young lady's 15th birthday celebration. A group of policemen intervene, forcing the man to stop his activity. He protests verbally and is physically forced to the ground. He is attacked, tries to defend himself and ends up seated, his back to a wall. He is restrained--his hands free of any threatening weapons. Suddenly, one of the policemen fires a shot into the man's head...then another and more. The man is killed instantly.

The sequence is captured on a phonecam; it's been up on the Internet for days. The policeman--if such a term can be used for animals--has a history of domestic violence and disciplinary problems. His body language after firing the final fatal shot was that of someone finished with a routine, if distasteful, task. That's the way I see it, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Based on just the incident itself, what We have is a man engaged in an activity he is not authorized to do, but is done by dozens of non-authorized people every day. Just today, in My only trip into town, a delivery truck driver was directing traffic to help other drivers go past the truck or enter the nearby bank's parking lot. Although it's against the law, doing this to help others isn't a crime, it's a courtesy.

Four policemen are visible in the video. Four. To handle what is at worst a minor disturbance in suburbia. True, the police risk their lives every day in the uncertainty of the apparently-routine, but does that justify such a "show of force"? Four policemen, wearing sidearms and bullet-proof vests, need to approach one man?

A main reason for this aggressive display is that the local men in blue are seen as bullies...and by and large, that's what they are. Yes, the now-dead man did protest airily, his body language defiant. But he was not engaging in a crime, had been subdued and in any case--in any case--did not deserve to be shot to death. What killed him was a bully, an all-too-common product of a police force built on giving thugs and would-be abusers a gun to shoot with, a club to strike with and a badge to make it almost legal.

For decades I've heard stories of police abuses, often small incidents where a gun was used to threaten, or a baton was unsheathed to dent a car. Many women I know are afraid to have their car stall and see a police car drive up. Domestic abuse and murder-suicide is higher in the local police force than in any other segment of the population. They have the gun. They have the badge. They lack the intelligence, integrity and dignity to use them wisely.

If I paint with a broad brush, I'm guilty of over-generalizing, but the problem cannot be swept away--again and again--as simply "a minority," so I use the broadest brush to make the statement A change is needed.

It isn't a minority, because the majority tolerate and may even encourage the actions and sins of this minority. It isn't a minority because the system facilitates and even institutionalizes the minority. Where else can you become--and remain--a gun-toting law enforcer with just a high-school diploma? What other system tolerates multiple disciplinary actions--some of them crimes--such as the case with this killer "cop"?

Low wages and low standards attract the marginal, the unbalanced, the ones who can't find anywhere else to fit in. The solution isn't raising wages: You'd only be rewarding the large minority of ne'er-do-wells already entrenched in the system. The solution is raising standards--and holding everybody accountable to them, veterans and rookies alike. Then, when higher standards are met, raise wages, enough so that the average policeman and policewoman don't need a second job to make ends meet.

Nothing can be done to save a man's life; what proceeds now is to punish the killer and send him to jail, where he'll learn the meaning of karma. Until then, the local Police had better take off their mirrored sunglasses and take a long hard look at who they are and what they have become. For if they don't, they will find themselves in a very lonely place, with nowhere to fit in.


The Jenius Has Spoken.

1 comment:

Nelson said...

"They lack the intelligence, integrity and dignity to use them wisely."

And may I add, the lack of respect.

I am always criticized because I come down hard on the ignorance of the Puerto Rican population. But that is because of the reason that an ignorant citizen is a danger to me, my family, and society at large.

I observe the young people that are growing up around me and I see it all. No respect for teachers, the law, or their own parents!

Now think, some of these will become police officers; with a badge and a gun. Just the thought of this makes me cringe!

This recent incident could be categorized as minor if we didn't already have the 1,000 filed complaints against the police dept. and the recent murder of a police-couple murdering the husband's sister in-law, mother, and father over a property boundary-line. A property inherited in the first place from the same parents he killed. Oh, and let's not forget they also left the husband's bother for dead, but he made a recovery.

Then we have the recent two shots going into the back, the back!, of a young, 25-year-old, man who was being arrested in his own house. The story that the police concocted of the incident is not backed by the forensic evidence. The police officer who shot him has many complaints filed against him in the dept.

Hang on to your hat, because we will be hearing of a lot more cases—sadly.