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Seven Reasons Police Brutality Is Systemic, Not Anecdotal

Darrin Manning [1]’s unprovoked “stop and frisk” encounter with the Philadelphia police left him hospitalized with a ruptured testicle. Neykeyia Parker was violently dragged out of her car and aggressively arrested [2] in front of her young child for “trespassing” at her own apartment complex in Houston. A Georgia toddler was burned when police threw a flash grenade [3] into his playpen during a raid, and the manager of a Chicago tanning salon was confronted by a raiding police officer bellowing that he would kill her and her family, captured on the salon’s surveillance [4]. An elderly man in Ohio was left in need of facial reconstructive surgery after police entered his home without a warrant [5] to sort out a dispute about a trailer.

These stories are a small selection of recent police brutality reports, as police misconduct has become a fixture of the news cycle.

But the plural of anecdote is not data, and the media is inevitably drawn toward tales of conflict. Despite the increasing frequency with which we hear of misbehaving cops, many Americans maintain a default respect for the man in uniform. As an NYPD assistant chief put it [6], “We don’t want a few bad apples or a few rogue cops damaging” the police’s good name.

This is an attractive proposal, certainly, but unfortunately it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Here are seven reasons why police misconduct is a systemic problem, not “a few bad apples”:

1. Many departments don’t provide adequate training in nonviolent solutions.

This is particularly obvious when it comes to dealing with family pets. “Police kill family dog” is practically its own subgenre of police brutality reports, and most of these cases—like the story of the Minnesota children [7] who were made to sit, handcuffed, next to their dead and bleeding pet—are all too preventable. Some [8] police departments have begun [9] to train their officers to deal more appropriately with pets, but Thomas Aveni of the Police Policy Studies Council, a police consulting firm, says [10] it’s still extremely rare. In the absence of this training, police are less likely to view violence as a last resort.

2. Standards for what constitutes brutality vary widely.

“Excess is in the eyes of the beholder,” explains [11] William Terrill, a former police officer and professor of criminal justice at Michigan State. “To one officer ‘objectively reasonable’ means that if you don’t give me your license, I get to use soft hands, and in another town the same resistance means I can pull you through the car window, [or] I can tase you.” The special deference police are widely given in American culture feeds this inconsistency of standards, producing something of a legal Wild West. While national legislation would likely only complicate matters further, local or state-wide ballot propositions should allow the public—not the police—to define reasonable use of force.

3. Consequences for misconduct are minimal.

In central New Jersey, for instance, 99 percent of police brutality complaints are never investigated [12]. Nor can that be explained away as stereotypical New Jersey corruption. Only one out of every three [13] accused cops are convicted nationwide, while the conviction rate for civilians is literally double that [14]. In Chicago, the numbers are even more skewed: There were 10,000 abuse complaints filed against the Chicago PD between 2002 and 2004, and just 19 of them [15] ”resulted in meaningful disciplinary action.” On a national level, upwards of 95 percent [16] of police misconduct cases referred for federal prosecution are declined by prosecutors because, as reported in USA Today, juries “are conditioned to believe cops, and victims’ credibility is often challenged.” Failure to remedy this police/civilian double standard cultivates an abuse-friendly legal environment.

4. Settlements are shifted to taxpayers.

Those officers who are found guilty of brutality typically find the settlement to their victims paid from city coffers. Research from Human Rights Watch reveals that [17] in some places, taxpayers “are paying three times for officers who repeatedly commit abuses: once to cover their salaries while they commit abuses; next to pay settlements or civil jury awards against officers; and a third time through payments into police ‘defense’ funds provided by the cities.” In larger cities, these settlements easily cost the public tens of millions of dollars annually while removing a substantial incentive against police misconduct.

5. Minorities are unfairly targeted. 

“Simply put,” says [18] University of Florida law professor Katheryn K. Russell, “the public face of a police brutality victim is a young man who is Black or Latino.” In this case, research [19] suggests [20] perception [21] matches reality. To give a particularly striking example, one Florida city’s “stop and frisk” policy has been explicitly aimed [22] at all black men. Since 2008, this has led to 99,980 stops which did not produce an arrest in a city with a population of just 110,000. One man alone was stopped 258 times at his job in four years, and arrested for trespassing while working on 62 occasions. Failure to address this issue communicates to police that minorities are a safe target for abuse.

6. Police are increasingly militarized.

During President Obama’s gun control push, he argued [23] that “weapons of war have no place on our streets;” but as Radley Balko has amply documented in his 2013 book, Rise of the Warrior Cop [24], local police are often equipped with weapons powerful enough to conquer a small country. Police use of highly armed SWAT teams has risen by 1,500 percent [25] in the last two decades, and many police departments have cultivated an “us vs. them” mentality toward the public they ostensibly serve. Although possession of these weapons does not cause misconduct, as the old saying goes, when you have a hammer everything begins to look like a nail.

7. Police themselves say misconduct is remarkably widespread.

Here’s the real clincher. A Department of Justice study revealed [26] that a whopping 84 percent of police officers report that they’ve seen colleagues use excessive force on civilians, and 61 percent admit they don’t always report “even serious criminal violations that involve abuse of authority by fellow officers.”

This self-reporting moves us well beyond anecdote into the realm of data: Police brutality is a pervasive problem, exacerbated by systemic failures to curb it. That’s not to say that every officer is ill-intentioned or abusive, but it is to suggest that the common assumption that police are generally using their authority in a trustworthy manner merits serious reconsideration. As John Adams wrote to Jefferson, “Power always thinks it has a great soul,” and it cannot be trusted if left unchecked.

The good news is that the first step toward preventing police brutality is well-documented and fairly simple: Keep police constantly on camera. A 2012 study in Rialto, Calif. [27] found that when officers were required to wear cameras recording all their interactions with citizens, “public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months. Officers’ use of force fell by 60%.” The simple knowledge that they were being watched dramatically altered police behavior.

Coupled with additional reforms, like making officers pay their own settlements and providing better training for dealing with pets, camera use could produce a significant decrease in police misconduct. It is not unrealistic to think that police brutality reports could be made far more unusual—but only once we acknowledge that it’s not just a few bad apples.

Bonnie Kristian is a writer who lives in the Twin Cities. She is a communications consultant for Young Americans for Liberty and a graduate student at Bethel Seminary. Find her at bonniekristian.com [28] and @bonniekristian [29].

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Comments Disabled To "Seven Reasons Police Brutality Is Systemic, Not Anecdotal"

#1 Comment By John Lewis On July 2, 2014 @ 8:15 am

Why is there no mention of lack of training for the public on how the need to act when police are involved, or the proliferation of guns in our society or the violent nature of large segments of our society? These are all elements that impact how police need to do their jobs today, which increasingly means stabilizing situations before they have a chance to escalate.

#2 Comment By philadlephialawyer On July 2, 2014 @ 8:28 am

All true…but leaves out:

(8) Conservatives have engaged in an incessant “tough on crime” drumbeat since at least the early 1960’s. For fifty years, conservatives have labeled as “pro criminal” any concern with the constitutional (and even common law) rights of those dealt with by the police, have incessantly claimed that police accused of brutality are in fact “heroes,” have accused anyone who disagrees of being “soft on crime” and of wanting to “handcuff the police,” and so on. Conservatives have created a political and social and cultural environment in which rational, fact based discussion of police forces and how they do duty has been made impossible, and has been drowned out by a crypto fascist “law and order,” fear of the “Other” based, anti intellectual, anti legal campaign of fear and demonization.

#3 Comment By brendan On July 2, 2014 @ 10:12 am

The author leaves out the obvious: Police forces are monopolies. Monopolies always deteriorate, charging more and providing less quality service. Just like the state, the police claim a geographical monopoly on the legitimate use of force. We need to privatize the police!

#4 Comment By SteveM On July 2, 2014 @ 10:50 am

Re: “We don’t want a few bad apples or a few rogue cops damaging” the police’s good name.”

The few bad apples argument, although accepted by the naive public, is totally bogus. Goon cop behavior is implicitly condoned by the notionally non-Goon cops who witness but don’t report the brutality heaped on citizens by their pals . A classic example is this University of Maryland student benignly celebrating a team victory:

[30]

None of the cops that witnessed that beatdown of an innocent civilian wrote up a report of the crimes and violations of civil liberties against him. None of them. The Goons are bad apples and so are their enablers who stand watch. They are all rotten.

Re: “1. Many departments don’t provide adequate training in nonviolent solutions.”

The sad cases of pet slaughter by Cop are trivial compared to the horrific tragedies of mentally ill person slaughter by Cop. Calling 991 to aid a mentally ill friend or relative can be a death sentence.

Re: “6. Police are increasingly militarized.”

The problem transcends the military weapons cops now have access to. Law enforcement now attracts self-entitled sociopaths. Unfortunately, what happens between the ears of a Goon Cop with a weapon can’t be fixed regardless of the weapon’s heritage.

P.S. The cell phone camera is one defense against the para-militarized Domestic Security State.

P.P.S. For every fortuitous cell phone capture of police brutality there must be scores of others that are not documented.

#5 Comment By Cbalducc On July 2, 2014 @ 11:28 am

One problem may be that law-abiding citizens will give police the benefit of the doubt no matter what they do, as in the Kelly Thomas beating death trial in California.

#6 Comment By Matthew On July 2, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

Training the public beyond what is done already on how to act with police is tacitly admitting that the police are dangerous and unpredictable, rather than authority figures who must be obeyed.

Besides, the problem with police brutality is not just that deadly criminals are being mistreated, but that innocents and nonviolent offenders are also getting abused and/or killed. For all the reasons above, we as a society can no longer take for granted that the police are doing the right thing or are acting in good faith.

#7 Comment By Dyspeptic On July 2, 2014 @ 12:15 pm

“Why is there no mention of lack of training for the public on how the need to act when police are involved”

Seriously? I guess it must be our fault when we get brutalized by badge wearing thugs because we weren’t sufficiently servile (i.e. we asserted our inviolable civil rights) during an encounter with our increasingly fascistic enforcement class.

This pervasive attitude that the police are sacrosanct and the public are in need of an “attitude adjustment” is precisely the problem. Some people seem to have forgotten that the police are supposed to serve us, not the other way around.

“(8) Conservatives have engaged in an incessant “tough on crime” drumbeat since at least the early 1960′s.”

It’s unfair and inaccurate to blame only conservatives for this problem. Metropolitan police departments are notorious for engaging in the type of behavior described in this article. Places like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. etc. are run by allegedly progressive Democrat Party political machines.

The truth is that “progressive” Democrats love fascistic policing and the LEO unions that defend it which is why such tactics are pervasive where Democrats dominate politics. Its a huge problem that both major political parties encourage with the usual Pavlovian cop worship and appeals to authoritarian social order.

This article is fine as far as it goes but, incredibly, it fails to mention two facts at the heart of this problem, The War On Drugs and The War On Terror. The proliferation of SWAT teams, aggressive no-knock raids and invasive searches is directly attributable to the former and the increasing militarization of police is a direct outgrowth of the latter. Until we end these interminable and obnoxious wars against civil liberty and limited government the Polizei will continue to run amuck with impunity.

#8 Comment By Cory On July 2, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

The police often escalate the situation by roughly handling citizens. The little Asian woman was roughly grabbed for no reason. That’s an aggressive action. Have you ever been forcefully grabbed by someone? It prompts an angry reaction if you aren’t used to having someone in your “personal space”.

We should not need to be conditioned to be submissive sheep whenever a police officer enters the room in order to avoid provoking him. It should be a part of their training to handle uncooperative, nonviolent civilians. It is their responsibility to de-escalate any unstable situations. If it requires putting themselves in danger, that is okay. They signed up for the job and should know that it can be dangerous. I would rather have injured police officers that asked for the danger than injured innocent civilians that just want to go about their day.

They are people, too. They should not get any more respect than an engineer, a doctor, or a high school teacher.

#9 Comment By M_Young On July 2, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

“5. Minorities are unfairly targeted.

“Simply put,” says University of Florida law professor Katheryn K. Russell, “the public face of a police brutality victim is a young man who is Black or Latino.” In this case, research suggests perception matches reality. To give a particularly striking example, one Florida city’s “stop and frisk” policy has been explicitly aimed at all black men. Since 2008, this has led to 99,980 stops which did not produce an arrest in a city with a population of just 110,000. One man alone was stopped 258 times at his job in four years, and arrested for trespassing while working on 62 occasions. Failure to address this issue communicates to police that minorities are a safe target for abuse.”

Seriously? This is supposed to be the American Conservative, not the rehash the Atlantic talking points. At least a little of the copious helpings of skepticism that this publication shows towards Fox etc would be helpful here.

You see, the Atlantic article this piece points to is about Miami Gardens. And blacks and latinos are not a ‘minority’ in said city — they are the majority. Non-hispanic whites practically don’t exists there, and the power structure of the city reflects that. The city’s manager and police chief are both black, and they presided over the alleged police abuse. The street level ‘abusers’ among the police were Hispanic or black.

And of course, the [31], well, would seem to call for extreme measures.

There are lots of problems with cops today, for sure, but how about some nuance.

#10 Comment By Carlsbad Copwatch On July 2, 2014 @ 2:05 pm

Great article.

#11 Comment By Johann On July 2, 2014 @ 2:23 pm

Representative Alan Grayson introduced an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act that would prohibit transfer from the military to law enforcement of armored vehicles, grenade launchers, and other such items deemed inappropriate for law enforcement. The amendment was voted down 355 to 62.

#12 Comment By DrT On July 2, 2014 @ 2:30 pm

#3 COPS ARE CIVIILIANS !!!

When a cop drags his sorry ass through boot and serves THEN and only then are they military. When they work for the police department they are CIVIILIAN!

jesus that pisses me off when they pull that crap.

#13 Comment By The Wet One On July 2, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

BTW America,

Are you guys and gals really sure you live in a free country? I mean, really sure? Some days, I do wonder.

😉

#14 Comment By Marty TC On July 2, 2014 @ 5:38 pm

[32]

Sorry DrT. But the dictionary , 50 or more years of policing jargon and the Civilian Complaint Review Boards don’t agree.

I thank you though for your service and when many were critical of your fellow men and woman during our latest wars I always supported the bravery and dedication and tried to judge based on the situations you were put in.

I am sorry if you were treated ridley by a cop upon your return

#15 Comment By philadelphialawyer On July 2, 2014 @ 7:27 pm

Dyspeptic:

I agree with your comments about the notion of the police always being right and the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. But your rebuttal to may claim that:

“(8) Conservatives have engaged in an incessant “tough on crime” drumbeat since at least the early 1960′s.”

Namely:

“It’s unfair and inaccurate to blame only conservatives for this problem. Metropolitan police departments are notorious for engaging in the type of behavior described in this article. Places like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. etc. are run by allegedly progressive Democrat Party political machines.”

is mistaken, in my view. Conservatives are to blame for the bulk of the problem I mentioned (which, by the way, dovetails with your other points, especially your first one about attitudes), in all fairness and accuracy.

Conservatives, not progressives, were howling right from the very first Warren Court decisions, which attempted to make the Bill of Rights a living reality, not just a list of broken promises. For years and years, not only in the context of police brutality, but with police practices generally (searches, seizures, riot control, arrests, forced confessions, etc, etc) as well as other aspects of the criminal justice system (phony “crime wave” statistics, suppression hearings, sentencing generally, the death penalty, “three strikes and you’re out,” prison conditions allegedly being “too soft” and so on), it was conservatives who took the lead, and made political hay, sensationally and irresponsibly, on the “crime” issue. Liberals were said, over and over again, to favor “criminals” and “criminals’ rights” over innocent victims and their rights, and over the brave men in blue who “protected” us all.

And many Democratic politicians were bullied along. Don’t act tough on crime, and you will lose office. Moreover, not every Democratic mayor is a liberal progressive, go ask Ed Koch. Plus, here in NYC, for instance, we have had 20 straight years of GOP mayors, after a one term Democratic mayor (Dinkins, who followed Koch) who was successfully (and completely unfairly) tarred with the “soft on crime” brush in his re election bid. Big city politics is not so different from politics elsewhere, and it is simply not the case that progressive forces are to blame for big city police misconduct, which is often shielded by State law and by the media, the courts and so on.

“The truth is that ‘progressive’ Democrats love fascistic policing….”

Um, no we don’t. Which is one of the reasons we chose Di Blasio here in NYC. To get rid of GOP Bloomberg’s fascist “Stop and frisk” policy, which some candidates in the primaries and general defended.

“…and the LEO unions that defend it which is why such tactics are pervasive where Democrats dominate politics. Its a huge problem that both major political parties encourage with the usual Pavlovian cop worship and appeals to authoritarian social order.”

There is some truth to that. But, again, it was the conservatives who got the drumbeat going and it was conservatives who have carried the tune all these years. Democrats may not have been profiles in courage in fighting it, and some Democrats (not progressive ones), as I mentioned, have gone along with it.

But, as with many things, like the MIC in general and the Iraq War in particular, I find the easy equivalence you espouse to be unpersuasive. One party, one side (ie the conservative Republican side) makes an issue out of something. It appeals to people’s fears, their prejudices, and their worst sides. Over the years and decades, some Democrats go along with it, because, with the GOP drumbeat and money machine, and the “sound bite” nature of electoral politics, not to go along with it, at least in part, means political death.

And then when we reach the nadir that we are now in, folks like you, rather than face the fact that one side is much, much more culpable than the other, that is has in fact been driving the bus to perdition for all these years, claims, quite falsely, that the blame is equal all around.

Well, it isn’t.

We’ve had a similar article here on TAC about conservatives and sentencing and prison reform, which, as with this one, seemed to be completely unaware of the implacable conservative political stance on being “tough on crime,” even though conservative pols have highlighted it (“lock ’em up and throw away the key” and no ‘country club’ prisons!”) for a half century.

Yes, by all means, let’s join hands across the aisle and across party lines to put the police in their proper place and to fix the CJ system generally. But the way to start is not to try to rewrite history. The Right has the most, by far, to answer for here, and needs to change the most. A simple acknowledgement of that fact would be nice. And, conversely, an effort to deny it is not helpful at all.

#16 Comment By RadicalCenter On July 2, 2014 @ 8:26 pm

DrT, I’m no longer so impressed with “our” soldiers, either, and will not be teaching our children even to respect, let alone idolize the empire’s military.

Large numbers of soldiers come home and become thugs, I mean cops, anyway, so that tells me something about the kind of people who are in “our” armed forces right there.

#17 Comment By Escher On July 2, 2014 @ 10:25 pm

As alluded to by some of the posters, the US armymen fighting the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (hopefully not Syria and Libya) are providing the recruits for police forces nationwide. These (often damaged) men return with the mindset of an occupying force, which treats citizens as potential hostiles to be subjugated and beaten into submission.
The slow descent into tyranny continues….

#18 Comment By kristina On July 3, 2014 @ 1:18 am

They didn’t seem to mention the fact that ex military have taken the police departments by storm…

Training in military is programing to consider all persons potential enemies and deal with acceptable loss mentality…

In the military, they regularly are trained to bust down doors, threaten family members to locate combatants…

The police today do much less detective work, “undercover” to get eyes on a situation, because it puts them at risk, and opt for serving warrants with SWAT teams to keep all the police safe…

The public now suffers most of the risk of policing and these police don’t put themselves at risk anymore…

#19 Comment By Scott On July 3, 2014 @ 5:30 am

“The simple knowledge that they were being watched dramatically altered police behavior.”

The police in that example claim that the changes are a result of changes in _suspect_ behavior, not changes in cop behavior. There might even be some truth to it. But even if not, I’m perfectly happy for them to kid themselves about that and it’s a much better way of marketing the idea to cops than coming right out and saying they need this because they can’t be trusted without it.

#20 Comment By Ken T On July 3, 2014 @ 9:58 am

The single biggest problem is the “Blue Wall of Silence”. In my working life, I often had occasion to interact with police officers. Of the ones I met, I think one was an outright psychopath, quite a few were classic infantile schoolyard bullies who never grew up, and a slim majority actually wanted to do a good job. But all of them — Every. Single. One. — bought in completely and unreservedly to the idea that a cop NEVER, EVER reports on or testifies against a fellow cop, no matter what. So even if one of the “good” cops witnesses another cop brutalizing an innocent civilian, or planting fake evidence, or making evidence against a friend disappear, or any other illegal behavior, he will sit in a courtroom and testify under oath that it never happened. And he will do it with a clear conscience, because that’s just part of being a cop. Anyone who does not accept that will never make it through academy training to become a cop in the first place.

#21 Comment By cdugga On July 3, 2014 @ 11:48 am

I really believe the problem is mostly bad apples. What makes the problem systemic is the unwillingness and often the inability of good police officers to question the actions of their brothers in arms. Nobody wants to be Serpico.
The public has a counter available to them for police misconduct. That is police video. If we see video of police misconduct now, it rarely comes from the police themselves who are the ones most likely to have video of any altercation.
Personally, I remember the faces of the police not attacking me in an incident of over-zealous enforcement. They were disgusted with the officers taking me down. Video made public from the several police cars there would probably be a good training film or deterrent for abuse. Unfortunately those videos showing misconduct are never seen by the public, while those supporting the police story line are shown in court. Public access to police video would shine the light on bad apples, dissuade bad apples, and allow other officers to do their work without feeling the need to stand by those working against law enforcement reputations.

#22 Comment By Pilgrim On July 3, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

Robert Ethan Saylor, a man with a disability, died at the hands of police at a theater in Maryland, in January, 2013. Very sad.

#23 Comment By Philip B On July 3, 2014 @ 2:30 pm

IMHO, we should start shooting back…

#24 Comment By Brooklyn Blue Dog On July 3, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

So-called “conservatives” (who have forgotten the libertarian and anti-police-state origins of the constitution they so often claim exclusive knowledge of) have also enabled the police to accumulate untrammeled power with their blind spot that says that any person employing force in our society is employing justified force. Whether this is the military, the police, or someone “standing his ground,” the so-called “conservative” assumption is that this person is in the right. I find it comical, given the so-called “conservative’s” reflexive view that all government is bad, that the military and police are taken to be infallible in their minds. All military actions are good ones. All defendants are guilty, regardless of proof. Anyone who has attracted police attention must have been doing something wrong. The knee-jerk, reflexive defense of police action, no matter what, has given the police political cover and emboldened them to attack our bodies and our liberties without fear of being held accountable.

#25 Comment By Kevin O’Keeffe On July 3, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

“Yes, by all means, let’s join hands across the aisle and across party lines to put the police in their proper place and to fix the CJ system generally. But the way to start is not to try to rewrite history. The Right has the most, by far, to answer for here, and needs to change the most. A simple acknowledgement of that fact would be nice. And, conversely, an effort to deny it is not helpful at all.”

Frankly, you sound more interested in getting people on the right to admit they are poopy-heads, than in actual opposition to police brutality. I mean, I’m sure the latter appeals to you as well, but getting people on the right to denounce themselves (presumably so they will then contritely cease to BE on the right), seems the prevailing flaor of your remarks, if you will.

In reality, of course, both liberals & conservatives bear enormous responsibility for this problem, but thoughtful conservatives have been honest about their complicity, whereas liberals still seem to want to claim that they have nothing at all to do with the police departments in the cities they govern (all of ’em, very nearly). I suppose when Democrats-in-office tolerate police brutality, its only because they are acting in the manner of conservatives. Because we’re poopy-heads, of course.

#26 Comment By philrodo On July 4, 2014 @ 7:31 am

Kristina hit the nail on the head. I’ve been saying that the ex-military who have taken up jobs with PDs have served in an environment where the military are asked to police the indigenous populations (e.g., Iraq & Afghanistan) and return to the states with the mentality that all civilians are the enemy. In those combat zones, they didn’t have to worry about niceties like civil liberties and Constitutional rights, so they act oblivious to such restrains. I think that localities should prohibit the hiring of former military as police officers–but I doubt that will ever happen in our lifetimes…

I’d really like to see a thorough study done on this…

#27 Comment By Delirium On July 4, 2014 @ 2:08 pm

@philadelphialawyer

…and then, the demand for stopping crime suddenly becomes the ENABLING OF AUTHORITY ABUSE!!!1!

Your desperate need to project all your problems into the Demonic Other along party lines only shows your immersion in hate narratives.

The Establishment is proud of you.

#28 Comment By bill burke On July 4, 2014 @ 3:31 pm

Newsflash!

We live in a world of many serious imperfections, not the least of which is the imperfection of our own human natures.

Is it so surprising, then, that virtually all our institutions — being founded in and run by this imperfect human nature — institutions including the police, business, government, religion etc. and even (gasp )the press should reflect those imperfections?

Many moralists, politicians and other scolds have made great capital and even lifetime careers from implicitly or overtly assuming that we can be and should be unrealistically more perfect than we are by ignoring that it is what it is and always will be what it always will be– in short that we are always and already living in the best of all ***realistically*** possible worlds!

Come! On!

#29 Comment By [email protected] On July 4, 2014 @ 3:42 pm

I have to agree with SteveM above. I’ve been at some of these incidents, and have poured over hundreds of hours of video, and the real problem is that the “good cops” do absolutely nothing to restrain those of their numbers who go out of control.

A second item to note is that if you try to identify some misbehavior and attribute it to a specific cop, that cop knows that all he has to do to shut you up is make up a felony against you (note Cecily McMillan’s case). Every cop knows this trick, and I’ve yet to see a fellow cop bust the rogue operator.

Cops need to start seeing the other side of the bars in these cases.

#30 Comment By alberto On July 4, 2014 @ 8:09 pm

The main issue are police unions. They are not accountable to anyone but themselves. Brutality happens all the time, no reports comes ever from police, then the cover up for each other, false police reports are norm, etc. All we hear when someone tapes it.

#31 Comment By tzx4 On July 4, 2014 @ 9:54 pm

@brendan
Private police forces? Ouch. Mercenaries? For profit Police forces? Multiple little Blackwaters and Eric Princes everywhere across the USA?
No thank you.

@Dyspeptic
Wince, using the broad brush to paint all Conservatives is a bit black and white on a site that I revere for its own, and many of it commentators for indulging in complex nuance. That said I do perceive that the Right has been much more pro Police and anti-defendant in recent decades right up to decisions by the SCOTUS. There are those on the Right who decry “Big Government” even as their ideological allies in the “Big Government” grant ever more privilege to those in positions of arbitrary power at the top. I would include the usurpation of Congress’s power to declare war by the executives in both parties (Misters Obama and Bush I am looking at you).

@Escher.
”The slow descent into tyranny continues”
That is the price we pay for allowing operatives who desire Empire to gain influence at the top of our government. (William Krystol Dick Cheney et all of your neo con ilk, I am looking at you).

@Philip B.
Ouch. The idea you express is called civil war and anarchy, not civics and civilized society.

Finally a question. Exactly what does police violence have to do with the inherently civil act that is law enforcement?
I understand that police are entitled to defend themselves from citizens who would do violence to them, however a society’s and culture’s proclivity and tolerance of its own tyranny can be gauged by its tolerance for unprovoked, unjustified, repressive police brutality. I am saying our culture here in the USA is currently conducive to tyranny.

#32 Comment By Daniel S. On July 4, 2014 @ 10:49 pm

The judges and courts will always back up a cop. There is a significant percentage (still a very small fraction overall) of bad cops (and a lot making more than doctors). As part of my job I’ve read through internal affairs files of cops who went on to national security positions in retirement or resignation. Extremely depressing stuff. Racist, gay-bashing, permanent injury assaults, et al. I’ve seen some cops counseled (not disciplined) for having swastika tattoos– in two-percenter areas with significant Jewish populations.

The good cops say nothing about what they see and learn.

On the flip side, there are a lot of very violent and dangerous individuals in certain communities who can not be talked to or reasoned with and cops need to respond with overwhelming force.

#33 Comment By philadelphialawyer On July 4, 2014 @ 11:38 pm

Kevin O’Keefe:

I’m sorry, but this liberal joined the ACLU when he was thirteen years old, and all of his life from that point on he has heard an unremitting, politically opportunistic rant from the Right about crime, the police, the courts, prisons, and the entire criminal justice system. And, it turns out, after a little research, he found out that this trend actually began even before that. As I said, it is at least a half century old. The Left bears nowhere equal responsibility for the mess we are currently in regarding these issues, and it is a travesty of history to claim otherwise.

I wonder, does the Right ever own up to anything?

That anyone, apparently in all good faith and seriousness, can make the claim that the Left and Right equally have enabled the police, have equally used the fear of crime to make political hay (without regard to the cost of so doing), have equally stood in favor of violating constitutional rights in the criminal procedure realm, have equally scoffed at the need for fundamental prison reform, and so on, is, to me, almost inconceivable.

Just last year, we had an election here in NYC. Our new mayor, the liberal Democrat Di Blasio, specifically ran against Bloomberg’s racist, brutal “stop and frisk” policy. Who raised holy hell about that? Wasn’t it the conservative New York Post? Wasn’t it conservative politicians and pundits who talked about folks dying on the streets if Di Blasio succeeded in “handcuffing” the police? Weren’t the same old, same old, “soft on crime liberal” charges thrown around? Who is kidding who here? You can kid yourselves, if you like, but you’re not fooling anyone else. And certainly not me.

Delirium:

Appealing to the fear of crime, when taken to grotesque extremes, when it employs lying and exaggerating, when it revels in demonizing the Other, when it argues for running rampant over the rights of the accused (and, indeed, over anyone who comes in contact with the police or the CJ system generally), is a huge part of the problem.

And, no, it is not mere “partisanship” to point this out, and to point out where most of the volume, and virtually all of the impetus, behind it, comes from.

alberto:

It goes well, well beyond the police unions. Police in every State and jurisdiction, with or without strong unions, indulge in the same behavior. Unions are perhaps responsible for inflating police salaries and benefits, and for fighting against rules requiring the police to live in their jurisdictions and such like, but the brutality and “Blue Wall of Silence” that shields it has little to do with unions.

You have to also support the police get from the conservative and mainstream media, from the cultural industry, from conservative politicians, from the courts and so on, as well.

The issue is much deeper and broader than mere union power.

#34 Comment By Daniel S. On July 5, 2014 @ 12:16 am

[33]

#35 Comment By Randal, Ph.D. On July 5, 2014 @ 2:49 pm

The world is full of corruption as all well know. Cops aren’t perfect just like nobody is perfect.

Corruption runs rampant within police forces. They get these “toys” and feel empowered to act out so they do. I’d be willing to bet a ton of these rambo animals played one too many violent video games.

Too many of them also beat their wives and girlfriends.

I’d bet anything they STEAL, constantly, money taken in drugs busts but they never tell anyone.

If they are taking jobs as “rentacops” and after duty jobs then they are in need of money therefore finding $100,000 in a drug bust is just too tempting, so they keep it.

I firmly believe this will reach the ultimate boiling point as it simply can’t continue on the same/current path. This no-knock blast through the family’s home door is going to backfire bigtime. People will assemble some device which will sling the doors outward with such force it knocks the cops backwards of a 100 yards.

Enough, is enough. Scour the internet for police abuse till it literally makes you want to vomit. The cop who forced a female to strip naked. If that were my wife I’d not be able to contain myself.

Murdering pets clearly proves the cops are severely unstable.

DO NOT call police unless you wish to subject yourself to the monster’s corrupt violent hostile behavior.

Lastly, what in the heck are they doing arming themselves and equipping themselves with the same gear we used in Iraq/Afghanistan?

This will not end well. I have NO respect, any longer, for these monsters.

#36 Comment By philadelphialawyer On July 5, 2014 @ 10:11 pm

Kevin O’Keefe:

“…liberals still seem to want to claim that they have nothing at all to do with the police departments in the cities they govern (all of ‘em, very nearly). I suppose when Democrats-in-office tolerate police brutality, its only because they are acting in the manner of conservatives.”

Democrats do control some city governments. And some of those cities do have abusive police departments. But there are Democrats and there are Democrats. In one party cities, where Democrats control, “liberals” are actually only one faction. Other factions, including moderates and even conservatives, who would probably be Republicans if they lived in a community in which there was a viable Republican party, are nominally Democrats. And these factions, in conjunction with business interests (in our system where money equal “speech”), have as much say, if not more, than the liberal ones do, in actually running the cities.

Moreover, cities are not sovereign in our system of government. Even NYC, the largest in the nation, is not the master of its own house. We have to go hat in hand to Albany and bargain for the right to rule ourselves according to our own lights. And, in every State, the State government is less liberal than the most liberal cities. And State law governs police/community/local government relations, in most States. And State courts have the first, and often the last, word, on attempts to rein in the police. In addition, Federal law, including SCOTUS and Circuit Court opinions on not only constitutional issues, per se, but on statutory questions, including ones relating to suing the police for abuse and other matters, has been dominated by conservatives for the last forty years. And, little by little, barrier after technical barrier has been raised against police accountability. And then there is the role of conservative media, which does exist and penetrate even “liberal” cities, and it is constantly and incessantly against efforts to make the police follow the rules, and labels, once again, as “soft on crime” anyone who argues otherwise.

The notion that there are vast areas of the country under unquestioned “liberal” rule, and that those liberals simply let the police run roughshod over the rights of citizens because that is what liberals want is so far from the truth as to be almost laughable.

And, again, police abuse is only one aspect of an overall approach to CJ issues, in which conservatives, for years, have worn their lungs out with out “tough guying” liberals. And to claim that the fact that some cities are controlled by the Democratic party somehow negates that is absurd.

#37 Comment By zig zag On July 5, 2014 @ 11:28 pm

I may be mistaken, but it’s because of some of the truths contained in this article that the slogan “ACAB” has become popular around the world. Ultimately cops are tools of the rich and powerful used to control and repress the majority of the population, much like the knights of the feudal ages.

#38 Comment By Thomas On July 8, 2014 @ 12:11 am

In the past, college football was a game among students. Now it is blood sport conducted by mercenaries. The racial component makes that crystal clear.

My opinion is that police used to be normal people with a desire to help. Now they are overcompensating thugs, gang members of the local “police gang” who will do anything for the “brotherhood.”

And the brotherhood is in the union – all unions in concert, the “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Police are “entitled,” as members of the “brotherhood” of the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” to ridiculously high compensation, use of taxpayer vehicles, 3-day work weeks, medical, dental, sick leave. disability, vacation, holidays, retirement in 20 years at 100% pay with full benefits, etc., etc. Entitled members of the “brotherhood” of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” engage in bullying, brutal and criminal behavior with impunity.

America needs to massively reduce the size of government, privatize public school/college and eliminate governmental employee unions, the collectivist “dictatorship of the proletariat” and the entitled “brotherhood.” It needs to impose military style employment with all job categories paid the same (cook, teacher, cop, fire, clerk, mechanic, truck driver), compensation not to exceed that necessary to attract and retain a workforce. It needs to impose discipline from the level of top management down to the underworked front line police officer.

Police officers are public servants. They need to start serving instead of being served. They need to worry about keeping their jobs not about chemically expanding their muscles to better beat the citizenry with.

The government and its number of employees must be reduced. Compensation must be reduced to the level of servant not dictator. Discipline from top to bottom must be restored.

Decent people must be hired if we want a decent job done.

Thugs are forced upon us by the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

#39 Comment By philadelphialawyer On July 8, 2014 @ 10:13 am

tzx4:

“Finally a question. Exactly what does police violence have to do with the inherently civil act that is law enforcement?
I understand that police are entitled to defend themselves from citizens who would do violence to them, however a society’s and culture’s proclivity and tolerance of its own tyranny can be gauged by its tolerance for unprovoked, unjustified, repressive police brutality. I am saying our culture here in the USA is currently conducive to tyranny.”

I think you make two good points.

First of all, we need to re think the entire concept of the police. They are there to enforce the law. That being the case, they should not be some sort of autonomous or even semi autonomous power unto themselves. Nor, God forbid, should they be like the military (as per poster Thomas). Rather, they should be considered the agents of the higher law enforcement authorities, ie, at the local level, the district or county attorneys, at the State level, the State attorney general, and, at the Federal level, the US attorneys and, ultimately, the US AG. Some of that exists, on paper, today, no doubt. But it should be made more of a reality in practice. Police should, in the first instance, be accountable to these authorities, not autonomous or semi autonomous “forces.”

The police should also be considered, like attorneys, as officers of the court. And, like attorneys, they should be subject to a rigorous code of conduct that embraces constitutional and common law duties, and even exceeds them. The code should be very specific, and it should be made clear that no “policy” of the police themselves can override or contradict it. Nor can vague concerns for police “safety.” No one not prepared to risk his or her safety should be a policeman or woman, and citizens should not be put at risk merely because of police fears of what “might” happen. Moreover, the police should be subject to suspension and complete removal without the trappings of either a jury trial or full blown civil service protection. Of course, such a police ethics tribunal should not have the power to impose criminal punishments, but it should be easier to remove rogue cops than it is now. Moreover, in the code of ethics it should be made clear that refusing to testify against, and covering up for, the bad acts of fellow policemen are themselves grounds for dismissal. And the police themselves should not be allowed to dominate the board. At least at first, until the culture of the police can be changed, from top to bottom, and an entire “generation” of cops experience that new culture for their entire careers, the courts should rigorously control the review board.

We need an entirely new kind of police force. One that does not contribute to the culture of tyranny that the poster mentions. Not a military hierarchy, nor the current self “policing” rogue force let loose in society, causing more mayhem than it seems to be preventing. But a group of agents dedicated to enforcing the law, kept on a short lease because of the power they have, and because of the all too human tendencies to abuse power, and to close ranks with those considered to be “brothers” against all others.

#40 Comment By cka2nd On July 8, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

Thomas says: “My opinion is that police used to be normal people with a desire to help. Now they are overcompensating thugs, gang members of the local ‘police gang’ who will do anything for the ‘brotherhood.’

“And the brotherhood is in the union – all unions in concert, the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat.'”

Tell that to all of the union workers killed, beaten, shot or pepper-sprayed by the cops over the years. FYI, there are Trotskyist groups that have argued for years that the police unions should not be welcome in the labor movement because they are ultimately employed by the ruling class to protect their interests. Ditto for the corrections officer unions.

#41 Comment By cka2nd On July 8, 2014 @ 5:24 pm

philadelphialawyer,

I think you are fundamentally correct in arguing that conservatives bear more overall responsibility for the “tough on crime”/”law and order” state we live in today. However, the War on Drugs is one area where liberals, and liberal people of color in particular, have pushed just as hard for the “throw the book at them” approach, at least through the 1980’s or so, and until the scope of the problem of incarcerating millions for non-violent crimes involving low levels of drug possession or dealing, with the resultant diminution of rights after their release, became known.

#42 Comment By anarchyst On July 8, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

There are things that could be done to reign in questionable behavior by police and other public officials.
1. Eliminate both “absolute and qualified immunity” for ALL public officials. If public officials (yes, this includes police officers and their administrators, firefighters, prosecutors, court officials and all other “public servants”). If they knew that they could be sued personally (and possibly lose everything they own), they would tend to behave themselves. Require ALL public officials to obtain and maintain “personal liability (malpractice) insurance” at their own expense as a condition of employment. You can bet that insurance companies would react faster to instances of abuse by law enforcement personnel faster and more thorough than through existing channels.
2. Establish and enforce an “video audit trail” whenever there is interaction by any public official with the public. In the case of police and firefighters, no “video audit trail” would mean the inadmissability of “evidence” as well as censure and immediate dismissal with loss of pension if there is a failure to assure that this “video audit trail” is present. “Equipment malfunction” would not be a valid excuse. A “video audit trail” works “both ways” and would also do much to eliminate the possibility of frivolous lawsuits by the public against public officials as well as assure that public officials “behave themselves”. This is especially true in police interrogation rooms where police-coerced “false confessions” occur with alarming frequency.
3. Prosecutors should be subordinate to the grand jury. Grand juries should be able to indict without needing the prosecutor’s “permission”. Of course, there would be NO absolute or qualified immunity for prosecutors or grand jurors.
4. Civilian police review boards should be mandatory–they should exclude anyone who has a police background or relatives of police from serving. Civilian police review boards should be able to bring up charges against corrupt police officials and officers as well. No police agency should be permitted to investigate itself. All investigations must be done by an outside agency.
These changes would put the public on an equal footing with our “leaders” (who are actually supposed to be subordinate to us citizens).
There have been many cases where people who have been legally recording police (mis)behavior have been harassed by police, their equipment damaged or destroyed, and charges brought against them. Severe punishment should be meted out to those public officials who interfere with lawful recording by citizens.

#43 Comment By Mitrik Spanner On July 8, 2014 @ 11:36 pm

“Why is there no mention of lack of training for the public on how the[sic]need to act when police are involved,…”

What the heck! The average American is already cravenly submissive when it comes to authority figures.

In fact I would submit that we needn’t turn our society upside down looking for Middle Eastern terrorists when we have our own tax funded, homegrown, terrorists proliferating right under our noses and operating under color of law. I’m referring to the SWAT teams and Rambo cops who blow baby’s faces off with stun grenades, burn sleeping suspects to death, run their squad cars over fleeing preteens on bicycles, force colonoscopic drug searches on flimsy pretexts and engage in mass panic shooting were hundreds of rounds are expended without anyone really knowing why they’re shooting.

And let’s not forget the police all over America are shaking folks down for asset forfeiture purposes in ways that amount to nothing less than armed robbery.

Also, there are the high profile cases of major police forces literally kidnapping people off the street in an attempt to gin up their crime stats, while at the same time turning away citizens complaining of serious crimes, for the same reason.

Police forces attract sadists, authoritarians and control freaks. To keep these tendencies in check, and where necessary, to focus their thuggish behavior on the truly bad people, we need limited government, including an end to the War on Drugs. In other words, we need to reorder our public affairs in such a way that the paths of police and citizens rarely cross in any official way.

#44 Comment By philadelphialawyer On July 9, 2014 @ 2:40 pm

cka2nd:

While I appreciate your expression of partial agreement, I think you are wrong about the war on drugs. Yes, many liberals and folks of color supported it, at least in its early years. But the impetus for it, and the near impossibility of ever ending it, are, once again, the result of conservative politics. Who calls for the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana? Who protests when civil liberties and rights are sacrificed under an unofficial but very real “drug exception” to the Fourth Amendment? Who protests “zero tolerance” policies? Kicking folks out of public housing for smoking pot? Endless, and mandatory, sentences for drug offense? Who does NOT scream bloody murder if smoking pot is shown as either pleasurable or no big deal in a movie? Etc, etc. It is always liberals who have been the ones trying to undo, or, at least, put a break on, the drug war. Sure, libertarians are on board too, but very, very few conservatives are. And most conservatives have been quite the opposite, and quite vocal about maintaining the futile and costly and oppressive efforts.

#45 Comment By Barney Fife On July 9, 2014 @ 11:08 pm

I get a kick out of the ‘minorities unfairly targeted’ bullet point. Chicago hovers around 500 murders per year now. I’d say 90+% are committed by blacks. The next 8-9% by hispanics. There’s no tactful way to say it. Call me a racist if you must, but minorities commit ALL the crime. And don’t you dare say I am implying they deserve it or any nonsense like that. What I am saying it they have all the contact with the police, so, if brutality is going to occur, guess what, it’s going to happen to those who are in contact with police.

Next point: Dogs getting shot. Ya, that happens. next time you are charged with executing a search warrant, you go ahead and roll the dice and say to yourself, ‘nah, that dog won’t bite me, i won’t shoot.’ Hope it works out.

There are over 100,000 cops in the USA. Say 33,000 are working at any given time. Say each cop has 5 contacts with the public. That’s 165,000 interactions PER DAY. I’d say cops are mostly doing phenominally well.

If you want cops to not serve search warrants, fine. Change the law. Prohibit them. We can work with that.

Drugs are illegal because citizens want them illegal. That does not equate to a ‘drug war.’ The drug war is federal I would guess. Nobody is in state prison for possessing a joint. They do get arrested, I concede that, but they do not serve time unless they have a horrendous rap sheet.

Qualified immunity is a necessity, otherwise no fool would take the job. Each and every arrest could then theoretically turned into a 1983 lawsuit for false arrest. Cities pay the legal fees mostly because cities settle and do not go to court. That is changing and more often cops are left on the hook personally. This will result in cops deciding not to take a risk. Why risk your family home? Just sit in the car. Sorry, m’aam, I chased the bad guy but I couldn’t catch him. Just being honest. I know you don’t like it.

I don’t like the militarized thing either. I agree on that one. But the militarized cops better be in the background and available when the poo-poo hits the fan, like the L.A. bank robber thing for example.

Police say brutality is widespread. Ok, you got me on this one. I am actually surprised by this.

Standards for what constitutes brutality vary widely. I agree. 2 points: OC spray and the taser can be used on an active resister in my Dept. In other departments they can be used on a passive resister. A passive resister is just a guy who ignores verbal orders. An active resister pushes away and resists physically. This stuff is just the “use of force” paradigm. I agree, departments that allow tasers on passive resisters – I don’t like that either.

But to say the brutality is systemic? I am not sure I agree.

You talk about the citizen complaints against the Chgo. Police Dept. Police wanted the complainants to sign an affidavit attesting to the facts in their complaint. The politicians wouldn’t have it. You cannot falsely accuse another of a crime. There is a criminal charge for that. I have no way to prove it, but I suspect most citizen complaints are nonsense. Every one I have had (none for brutality thank you very much) have been 100% nonsense. 100%.

So you show an intimidating picture of the Philadelphia Police Dept. above. What call are they on, what is the context? When your child gets raped who do you want to show up? Tough guys or a 4’8″ limpwrist? You want the force taken out of the police force? Guess what, minorities in the roughest neighborhoods don’t want that. They want the biggest, meanest, most intimidating cop on the planet to clear their street of gangbangers.

The cops in the 60’s would probably make us all cringe if we knew what they were doing. Cops are lightyears more legitimate now. And no, that’s no excuse for brutality, so save it. The only thing thats systemic in America, in my humble opinion, is OUTSTANDING police work. And be careful, you just may get the police force you are asking for. The gangbangers would love that. But you, author, probably do not have too many gangbangers in your neighborhood. Some of us do.

5-10 incidents out of hundreds of thousands of police/citizen interactions per week, for years on end. Wow. You should be ashamed.

#46 Comment By philadelphialawyer On July 10, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

Barney Fife:

I will take on just one of your points to show what I think the problem is with your thinking:

“Next point: Dogs getting shot. Ya, that happens. next time you are charged with executing a search warrant, you go ahead and roll the dice and say to yourself, ‘nah, that dog won’t bite me, i won’t shoot.’ Hope it works out.”

Of course, I don’t execute search warrants, nevertheless, I do come into contact with dogs. On the street, when I enter people’s homes, in parks, on beaches, on hiking trails and so on. Of course, there is always a chance, every time this happens, that the dog might bite or try to bite me. I don’t, if I don’t know the dog ahead of time, actually say to myself, “nah, that dog won’t bite me,” but I don’t shoot it either. I find some middle ground. I look at the dog (not in the eye, as that can make them mad), I attempt to gauge its temperament, and so on. I don’t run away (as that can trigger a hunting instinct). I remain alert. But I don’t feel the need to shoot it.

And, guess what, that has “worked out,” quite well, in fact, as I have never been bitten by a dog.

You see, Barney (I feel like Chief Andy writing this!), the rest of us have managed to put our fears in their proper place. Every encounter, with a human, with a dog, with a machine, with the world in general, constitutes a “roll of the dice,” and poses some risk to us. Dogs might bite, folks might shoot or hit, machines might grab our shirt sleeves or run us over, the Earth might quake. But we don’t expect to live our lives free from all these dangers. And we don’t shoot first and assess the real risk later, when confronted with these potential dangers.

You all, you volunteered to be policemen or women. Nobody drafted you, nobody forced you. To me, that should mean that you are ready to take on extra, not less, risk than the rest of us. You are there to “protect and serve,” right? That’s why you get the nice bennies and can retire in twenty years.

You have to serve search warrants? OK, fine, so serve them. Gain entry into the house in the least obtrusive way possible and do your searching in such a way that does not cause trauma and intimidation, or does harm, unless there really is no choice. You don’t have to shoot every dog, just because some dog might bite.

And, when you put things the way you do here, you lose whatever sympathy folks might have for you. Basically, you are saying that your and fellow officers’ safety is far and away the most important thing in the world. More important than the safety of the rest of us, human or canine, and more important than our rights. Because you are in fear of everything and anything, you have the right to shoot your way through your twenty years of service, at whatever you, in your wisdom, think might, perhaps, pose a threat to you.

Well, that stinks. And it is you who should be ashamed.

#47 Comment By Society is Broken On July 10, 2014 @ 11:24 pm

It is amusing to read the pseudo-intellectual responses to this misinformed and poorly written article. The author panders to the anti-government sentiment of simple minded individuals who are anti-establishment hippie liberals of the 60’s and their progeny or the small government, “you work for me” mental midgets who simply parrot each other. It is amusing because all of the usual suspects have posted and used big words and disingenuous arguments to attack police. The job is made difficult because of a break down in societal values and mores… the lack of respect that most of the criminal class and frankly much of the remainder of society has for each other. Law enforcement deals with the break down of society on a daily basis. Brutality is not increasing… criminality and the deterioration of our society is increasing. The police response is as it always has been and will continue to be. There are bad apples… and like every other profession.. there always will be. To castigate all police officers because of their actions, and to write trash like this article to pander to those segments of society mentioned above is pathetic.

#48 Comment By Northernsoul On July 14, 2014 @ 5:35 pm

The nation that is the self-appointed exporter of freedom and democracy is becoming a police state in itself.

#49 Comment By EliteComminc. On July 14, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

“The author panders to the anti-government sentiment of simple minded individuals who are anti-establishment hippie liberals of the 60′s and their progeny or the small government, “you work for me” mental midgets who simply parrot each other. ”

I have no problem with the defensive response. However, it must address the data. Mer4ely calling those with a differing view simpleminded is hardly enough of a response given the multitude of reserach effort that has goe into this subject.

Allow to say a word or two about respect. It’s not a crime. And police provocation that illicits the same does n ot entitle any officer to be come physically violent.