Peace Officers, redux

(Link thanks to Lew Rockwell [2005-03-02].)

I’ve commented on the obliteration of any notion of proportionality in modern police forces before (in GT 2005-04-26: Peace Officers and GT 2004-11-14: Civil defense). The plain, ugly fact is that what we have today is not civil policing, but rather paramilitary cadres occupying most of our urban centers. Cadres of paras who feel no particular qualms about using physical violence to maintain order and control in any and every situation, without any particular concern for whether the force matches the threat. In Aurora, Colorado, this took a turn for the straightforwardly absurd:

Police talked to the Chuck E. Cheese manager, who told them that a customer had refused to show proof that he had paid for food. The manager said the man was seen loading his plate at the salad bar.

The officers confronted Danon Gale, 29, who was at the restaurant with his children, aged 3 and 7. Patrons said the popular kids pizza parlor was packed with children and families at the time.

According to police, Gale was asked to step outside to discuss the incident.

According to witnesses (Gale) refused to cooperate with police and a struggle ensued, said Larry Martinez, a police spokesman. He said that Gale became argumentative and shoved one of the officers, a fact disputed by another patron.

One of the officers kept poking the gentleman in the chest, Felicia Mayo told the Rocky Mountain News.

She was there with her 7-year-old son. She told the newspaper that Gale told the officer You don’t have to do that. She said Gale never put his hands on the officer who was confronting him

The argument escalated until Gale was shoved into the lap of Mayo’s sister, who was sitting two booths away, holding a 10-month-old baby. That’s when police pulled out a Taser stun gun to subdue him.

They beat this man in front of all these kids then Tased him in my sister’s lap, Mayo told the newspaper. They had no regard for the effect this would have on the kids. This is Chuck E. Cheese, you know.

Gale’s two children were screaming and hollering and crying as Gale was hit two times with the stun gun.

Police arrested Gale as his children and other customers watched. They took him outside, leaving his children inside the restaurant.

Gale was arrested for investigation of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and trespassing.

— NewsNet5.com 2005-03-02: Dad Accused of Chuck E. Cheese Salad Theft Zapped by Police

Cops bully people, hurt them for no good reason, use tasers to end arguments, and then make up lies to cover it up. If you or I did that, we would be in jail. Cops did it here, so we are treated to this:

AURORA, Colo. — Aurora police have reviewed a weekend incident in which a man accused of stealing salad from a Chuck E. Cheese salad bar was hit with a stun gun twice by officers and said that proper procedures were followed.

… which, apparently, is supposed to make everything alright. As long as the police department determines that cops are following the procedures that the police department determined to be proper, blasting 20,000 volts through a man who is at most guilty of grand salad bar larceny is a perfectly appropriate response to the situation. Move along, citizen, nothing to see here.

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14 replies to Peace Officers, redux Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Martin Striz

    There are 940,000 police officers in the United States. It is trivially easy to find a few dozen news stories each year (or even each month) of police abuse of power. That doesn’t obviate the overall good that they do (and I’m a civil libertarian). If you don’t think so, I invite you to go to a place like India (or Eastern Europe, or the continent of Africa), where corruption runs wild, humans rights abuses abound (of civilians against civilians), and nobody goes to jail because the cops are easily bought off.

    People complain that the United States incarcerates a larger percentage of its population than any other industrialized country. Maybe that’s because we actually enforce our laws. Lots of other countries just have total chaos, and that’s how the United States would be without a strong police force. Even though I don’t necessarily agree with all the laws, that’s a legislative issue. When it comes to finding missing persons, rapists, murderers, child molesters and so forth — all things considered, we are far better with cops than without them.

  2. anik

    “Maybe that�s because we actually enforce our laws. Lots of other countries just have total chaos, and that�s how the United States would be without a strong police force.”

    Chaos is not a good thing, but neither is authoritarian order and they go hand in hand. If you take both away all you have left is nihilism. I think what Martin is saying that, order (even if democratic), preserved through organized violence is better than ‘authoritarian chaos’, but it still sucks.

  3. anik

    “Lots of other countries just have total chaos, and that’s how the United States would be without a strong police force.”

    The logic is off here… chaos and authoritarian order pretty much go hand in hand since it emphasizes catching criminals instead of reducing crime.

  4. anik

    “Lots of other countries just have total chaos, and that�s how the United States would be without a strong police force.”

    The logic is off. Chaos and authoritarian order go hand in hand because the emphasis is on catching criminals instead of reducing crime.

  5. Labyrus

    Most crime is a result of poverty. Policing, Charging and Jailing poor people, beyond being authoritarian and wrong, is also more costly to society as a whole than simply creating an effective social safety net.

· June 2005 ·

  1. Discussed at www.radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    Bolts from the Blue

    (Links thanks to Marian Douglas [2005-06-07], Lew Rockwell [2005-06-06], and Edmund Burke [1757].) Cops in America are heavily armed and trained to be bullies, and…

— 2007 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2005-06-30 – Bolts from the Blue:

    […] that they stay in control of the situation. You already knew that they electrified children and suspected salad-bar thieves; you can also add to the list women who have committed the horrible crimes of driving on a […]

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2007-10-02 – Public schooling:

    […] GT 2005-05-05: Peace Officers, redux […]

  3. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2007-11-27 – Law and Orders #3: John Gardner of the Utah Highway Patrol tasers Jared Massey in front of his family for questioning why he was pulled over:

    […] In order to stay in control of the situation, they have no trouble electrifying small children, alleged salad-bar thieves, pregnant women possibly guilty of a minor traffic violation, or an already prone and helpless […]

  4. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2007-12-01 – What a shock.:

    […] In order to stay in control of the situation, they have no trouble electrifying small children, alleged salad-bar thieves, pregnant women possibly guilty of a minor traffic violation, or an already prone and helpless […]

  5. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2007-12-23 – Law and Orders #5: Daytona Beach cop takes control at Best Buy by shocking an unarmed, “retreating” woman:

    […] commands, they have no trouble electrifying small children, 82 year old women on a care check, alleged salad-bar thieves, pregnant women, or an already prone and helpless student who may have been guilty of using the […]

— 2008 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2008-02-03 – You got served and protected #2: Halifax cops tackle a 17 year old girl and taser her while she lies helpless in her own bed:

    […] power-trips. We already know that cops have no problem electrifying prepubescent children and alleged salad-bar thieves; no problem serving and protecting the hell out of 82-year-old women as part of a care check or […]

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2008-05-10 – Cops are here to protect you. (#3):

    […] children, pregnant women, 82 year old women who just want their social workers to leave them alone, alleged salad-bar thieves, 75 year old grandmothers guilty of blocking the line at a McDonald’s drive-through, or an […]

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