Friday, July 24, 2009

America's Finest

There's soldiering: Engaging and defeating an enemy through use of military force, and then occupying his territory.

And then there's Policing. Somebody needs to inform police in this country that there's a difference.

"The patrolling officer on his beat is the one true dictatorship in America, we can lock a guy up on the humble, lock him up for real, or say fuck it and drink ourselves to death under the expressway and our side partners will cover us, No one - I mean no one - tells us how to waste our shift!"


03/05/09: Police assault a 22-year old man in an elevator, charge him with assaulting a police officer, and he's only cleared when the elevator's surveillance video comes forward.

03/22/09: Police perform a traffic stop, and without cause, sieze $26,000 in cash.

03/25/09: Detective perjuring herself in front of a grand jury gets nailed when surveillance video proves she lied her ass off.

04/01/09: Phoenix blogger who's highly critical of the Phoenix PD and has sources inside the dept helping him to expose high-level corruption, has his house raided by PPD SWAT, wherein they sieze his personal documents, computers, and business plans. The warrant being served listed "Petty Theft" and "Computer tampering with the intent to harrass" as the Probable Cause.

04/09/09: Police gets misdemeanor charge in the shooting of a college student during a 5-officer police raid over Pot Possession. Not distribution, possession.

04/09/09: City of Chicago pays out over $280,000, over a 2004 special ops police raid on a bar executed under false pretenses and arrests made subsequently with false statements.

04/20/09: 11 Oakland officers the OPD had been planning to terminate for falsifying affidavits to secure search warrants on small-time drug suspects, and now returned to duty:
Allegations that officers falsified search-warrant affidavits arose in September. After the department's acknowledgment that some officers made misstatements to judges, dozens of criminal cases have been placed in question, and criminal charges against 12 defendants have been dropped.

04/29/09: An anonymous blogger writing critically about the ethical practices of a local megachurch has sued his sheriff and D.A.'s offices for revealing his identity to the church even though he had done nothing illegal.

05/06/09: A Grandmother files suit against two Pennsylvania police departments, after a Walmart Photo employee develops pictures of her 3 year old granddaughter getting out of the tub, the police charged her with producing child pornography.

05/21/09: Police Officer driving 109mph without his lights flashing or sirens on, plows into a pickup making a legal left turn in the middle of an intersection. Cop dies, accident victim charged with DUI even though his Blood/Alcohol level is half the legal limit.

06/06/09: New Jersey Police assault a 29-year old schizophrenic man for the crime of standing on a corner.

07/20/09: Cop's son rear-ends a young woman. He drives off. She pulls into a gas station. The son goes to the precinct, gets his dad, they both go back to the scene of the accident, and then the gas station. The officer draws his weapon, grabs the girl from behind and points the gun at her head. She's startled and swings her arm back. He arrests her friends and charges her with assault on a police officer. He then returns three times to the gas station to try and intimidate the clerk and the owner to destroy the surveillance tape of the incident. The owner relents, the tape was shown in court, and the charges against the young woman were dropped. The officer was returned to full duty 8 days after the IID hearing, and the D.A. and the police both declined to pursue any criminal or disciplinary charges.

And then there's Shem Walker.

These are just a very select few in the last couple months of a prolonged systemic failure of law enforcement to see itself as a policing agency, and not as a militaristic institution. Not all cops are bad, many or most of them are quite admirable and do a tough job for below average pay, for which they deserve our thanks.
However, my disdain at an institutional brotherhood expands to include all its members when a reasonable moderate contingent cannot or will not disown it's unstable, poisonous elements.

For more, read Radley Balko's excellent coverage at his site, "The Agitator" under the tags Police Militarization and Police Professionalism.

UPDATE: Boston Cop suspended for racist email over Gatesgate:

"Your defense of Gates while he is on the phone while being confronted [INDEED] with a police officer is assuming he has rights when considered a suspect. He is a suspect and always will be a suspect. His first priority of concern should be to get off the phone and comply with police, for if I was the officer he verbally assaulted like a banana-eating jungle monkey, I would have sprayed him in the face with OC deserving of his belligerent non-compliance." [my emphasis]

This smug, ID-driven prick and every Cop that shares his attitude should be purged from the force. Unamerican authorities like this should not have the power of life and death over anyone.

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