The Police Beat
Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 14 years ago, in 2009, on the World Wide Web.
Police torture in the U.K. Metropolitan Police Department. London, England. Narcs working for the London city government’s Metropolitan Police force are under investigation for allegedly waterboarding prisoners in order to coerce
evidencein an interrogation for a marijuana case.
Botched SWAT raid. Officer Allen Hill. North Richland Hills, DFW, Texas. In 1999, a paramilitary SWAT squad stormed a house in North Richland Hills (a little city near Fort Worth) based on a search warrant based on a
confidential informant’suncorroborated claim that the house was full of marijuana. When a bunch of heavily armed strangers broke down his door and stormed into his house, Troy James Davis allegedly grabbed a gun and pointed it at the home invaders. (His mother believes that the gun was planted by police. I don’t care whether it was or not; a man’s got a right to defend his home when armed strangers bust their way through the door.) The cops gunned him down. Turns out there were no drugs anywhere in the house. Turns out that the
warrantwas based on a completely unvetted e-mailed tip from an anonymous snitch. Even the cop who gunned Troy Davis down now says it was a
wrongful deathand he never should have been there. Now, ten years later, after a long lawsuit, the city government has settled up with the victim’s parents for $100,000. They will, of course, send along the bill for this murder to a bunch of innocent North Richland Hills taxpayers, who had nothing to do with it.
Rapists on patrol, (cont’d.) Officer Thomas Tolstoy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Officer Thomas Tolstoy, a narc in Officer Jeffrey Cujdik's increasingly notorious shake-down squad, used the opportunity of his team’s repeated evidence-less hyperviolent paramilitary drug raids to repeatedly pull women in the houses being raided into side rooms in order to sexually assault them [possible trigger warning]. At least two women have come forward independently so far to testify against Tolstoy. Tolstoy has not yet been charged with any crime; the department’s response so far has been to reassign this accused serial rapist to an easy desk job for the past three weeks. (Via Radley Balko 2009-06-02; as Balko says,
If these were normal citizens, and not cops, they’d have been indicted by now.)
Officer Anthony Abbate. Chicago, Illinois. Officer Anthony Abbate has finally been convicted of
aggravated batteryby a Chicago judge. Abbate was caught on video throwing, punching, and kicking a 26-year-old woman named Karolina Obrycka. She was tending bar when Abbate, who was drunk and off duty, tried to shove his way behind the bar to steal a drink after she refused to serve him anymore. After she told him to move and he refused, Obrycka tried to shove him back out from behind the bar. So Abbate beat the living hell out of her, and then called it
self-defensewhen he came up for trial. Well, why not? After all, he hit his little head, and he only had, what, about 125 pounds on her? Abbate waived his right to a jury trial, knowing that out-of-control agents of the State have much better chances with a government judge; he was initially charged with 15 different counts, all of which but one were dropped in the course of the two-day trial. Had he been on the clock rather than drunk out of his mind when he did the battering, that one would almost surely have been dropped, too. We know this because of…
She fell.(Cont’d.) Officer Wayne Simoes. Yonkers, New York. See William Grigg, Pro Libertate (2009-05-30):
Just a Child With A Temper[Trigger warning. Includes graphic images of and video of Irma Marquez’s injuries, suffered at the hands of a male police officer.] In which the male State once again once again assumes the role of a stereotypical abusive husband. A 44 year old woman named Irma Marquez tries to get a look to see if her niece, who was injured in a fight that had just been broken up, is O.K. The medical worker on the scene shoved her away; she stumbled back into the cops. At which point Officer Wayne Simoes tries to wrench her arm behind her back in order to arrest her (for what?); she tries to shake his hand off of her arm, and he responds by picking her up and body-slamming this drunken middle-aged woman face-first into the floor, then jamming his knee onto her back and cuffing her in order to arrest her for
The story is in the news again because a jury just recently voted to acquit Officer Wayne Simoes on all charges.
Bashers on patrol. Brooklyn, New York. In Crown Heights last month, a gang of cops rolled out to investigate a call about
unruly and intoxicated peopleoutside a night-club. When J.G. (Jeanette Grey, a 31 year old black lesbian) and Tiffany Jimenez (a 19 year old Latina lesbian) heard the noise outside and ran out to see if their friends were O.K., the cops (who were busy ordering bystanders to
dispersewhen the two left the club) then grabbed them (for
interfering,or whatever), slammed them to the ground, beat the two women with nightsticks while they tried to surrender, shouting
You fuckin’ bitch-ass dykeand
We are having some dyke pussy in here tonightduring the beating, and then arrested them for resisting arrest. The NYPD assures us that the complaint is being
Now they want a task force. Officer Andrew Dunton. New York, New York. Meanwhile, also in New York, David Patterson, arbitrary Governor over the state of New York, wants a high-profile special political
task forceto investigate the fatal shooting of an innocent black man by a couple of NYPD cops while the man was trying to use his handgun to protect himself from a criminal trying to break into his car. The cops had a history (1, 2 of repeated
civilian complaints[sic] year after year. Wonder why Patterson would put his neck out to demand this high-profile independent
task forceinstead of the usual
internal investigation? Oh, yeah, because the victim was an off-duty cop.
Warminster Police Department. Warminster Heights, Pennsylvania. Rich Pietras, Bucks County Courier Times (2009-05-29): Moms complain of excessive force by police. Lydia Isaac’s car got clipped in a hit-and-run and she pulled into a laundromat parking lot to confront the man who did it. The argument got heated and the cops got called. While they were busy Investigating, Lydia’s son 13-year-old son Marc Isaac got on his cell phone to call his dad to let him know what happened. The cops ordered Marc to
wait where he was; when he continued walking, trying to explain that he was on the phone with his dad, five of the cops grabbed him, slammed him down onto the hood of his mom’s car, and then, while this 13-year-old boy was being physically restrained by five grown-ass men, beat him on the side of the head with a flashlight or baton, and then maced him.
Officer Kristen Johnson, Officer Nicholas Webster, Officer Robert Buquo, Officer Glenn Pearson, an Lieutenant Lynn Young. Mesa, Arizona.
Four Mesa police officers and a lieutenantare under separate
internal investigations.In the one case which has grabbed all the headlines, a woman miscarried a 12-to-14-week pregnancy in a motel room; when the manager called 911 and three cops showed up, they reckoned the most appropriate thing to do with a woman grieving the loss of her baby was to arrest the father on some drug charges and then wrap up the miscarried fetus and flush it down the motel room toilet. Meanwhile, Officer Nichoas Webster is being Internally Investigated after he was caught on tape slamming a hand-cuffed man’s head against the trunk of his police car and then slamming him into a chain-link fence. This Dangerous Individual was being transported to jail
on suspicion of urinating in public and jaywalkinng.
Sergeant Mark Crowe, et al. Bryan County, Georgia. Back in April, Tommy Lee Williams was working out in his grandmother’s yard when a white narc named Mark Crowe (then a deputy for the county government’s sheriff) rolled up and started hassling him, repeatedly calling him
Leroy.(Crowe claims that he thought Mr. Williams was someone else, an old classmate of his. Crowe was in the neighborhood on other business, and apparently not in uniform at the time, so as far as Mr. Williams knew Crowe was just some random stranger yelling
Hey Leroyat him while he was trying to get some yard work done.) Mr. Williams asked Crowe why he was messing with him, and then told him to go away. According to Mr. Williams and other witnesses, Crowe responded by going off on a tirade against Williams, calling him
niggeralong the way.
According to Crowe himself, Mr. Williams responded to the exchange of words by cussing Crowe out from the private property of his grandmother’s front yard, and then
approached his car,at which point Crowe decided to arrest Mr. Williams for the non-crime of cussing at a police officer who hassles you. Then Crowe tied to grab Williams, and when Williams struggled, eventually called in two of his gang buddies to pull Williams down into a ditch, hold him down, handcuffed him, pepper-sprayed him, beat him in the head with fists and batons, and tasered him. When Williams’ family and neighbors tried to get the cops to stop this gang beat-down, five of them, including his 81-year-old grandmother, were
arrested on charges from obstruction of police to terroristic threats.The cops also seized the cell phones they were using to take photos of what was happening. This rampaging police riot against an 81 year old woman and an unarmed man who was being held down by three heavily-armed cops is of course dignified as a
meleeby the local papers.
The six victims of this racist police rampage filed suit in the county Superior Court, then withdrew and re-filed the suit in federal court after the local court refused to order the police accused of participating in the beating from patrolling the neighborhood where their victims live. In any case, all this is in the news again because, in the meantime, the city government of Pembroke decided to appoint Sergeant Mark Crowe as chief of their police force.
Tallman Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts. Speaking of racial slurs and
melees, in New Bedford, Mass., a gang of over a dozen cops stormed a poor, mostly-Latino neighborhood on Tallman Street in pursuit of a single young man, Jonathan Natal,
for allegedly riding a minibike with no helmet and without a license.When he didn’t stop on command, they chased him; when he ran off on foot and hopped into nearby backyards, they called in 12 more cops and shoving people to the ground, knocking down doors, storming houses, calling the residents
spicsand yelling at them to
shut the fuck upalong the way. When they found Jonathan Natal in a stairwell, they arrested him and beat him black and blue while he tried to surrender. (The cops say he
raised his arms,which apparently they took as a sign that he wanted a fight. Of course, if you don’t raise your arms when the cops come at you, they’re liable to shoot you.) Evelyn Natal, Jonathan’s 38 year old mother, was arrested while she was standing on her porch trying to find out what was happening to her son. When people gathered on public streets to observe what the cops were doing, and had the temerity to verbally
beratepolice on public property, the cops ordered them to disperse. When people in the neighborhood started filming the police rampage on cell phone cameras, the cops slammed them to the ground and snatched the cell phones. When Jolanda Rivera, an 18 year old young woman, walked towards the cops, they slammed her to the ground and arrested her for disturbing the peace. When Louis Natal, a 22 year old young man, ran away from the cops, a gang of the cops chased him down, slammed him to the ground, and started punching him over and over again. (I guess he’s lucky they didn’t kill him for running away.) When his father, Luis Natal, 49, tried to find out what was happening to his son, they arrested him, beat him up, and pepper-sprayed him. When John Hernandez refused to let cops into his house without a warrant, they forced their way in, beat him up, and arrested him for
interfering with a police officer.In the end, the cops arrested 14 people in the course of this police rampage. Once again, this one-sided assault, in which a large group of people observed and verbally berated police officers who were storming through public and private property, and the police responded by yelling racial slurs, breaking down doors, breaking down doors, invading houses, handcuffing people, holding them down and beating the hell out of them, torturing them with pepper spray, forcibly arresting them whether they moved towards officers, away from officers, or just stayed put in their own homes, etc., etc., etc., is described as a
near-riot(referring to the
beratingof the bystanders, not the massive violence of the heavily-armed police) by the local papers. City Councilor Steven Martins, alleged
representativeof the people living on Tallman Street on the arbitrary Council over the city of New Bedford, explains it all by saying
They were back there, chasing that individual [sic], because he went to that neighborhood. And other people got involved when they shouldn’t.A
police sergeant assigned to the North End stationtold the papers that folks in the neighborhood get upset when the police
try to crack the whip a little or enforce the laws.
Here’s a little history quiz for the day. Historically, in the U.S., what kind of social relationship is associated with
cracking the whipin order to get people to fall in line with what you want them to be doing?
Tactical Unit.New Orleans, Louisiana. In New Orleans, cops working for a
tactical unitof the city government’s police force kicked in the door of a house after midnight in order to serve a warrant on Leonard Dillon, who the police suspect of conspiring to murder a witness in an upcoming trial. After breaking down the door and shouting commands to come out, they grabbed Dillon’s 15 year old nephew, forced him down, and handcuffed him. When they got their hands on Leonard Dillon, they handcuffed him, knocked him down, and then, while he was handcuffed, began kicking him in the crotch while he was restrained. When his nephew tried to look over at what was happening, the cops kicked him in the jaw so hard that he had to be sent to the children’s hospital later with
facial lacerations.After Dillon was arrested the cops he had to be hospitalized for broken bones in his face, a lacerated liver, and damage to his testicles so severe that he had to undergo surgery. The cops claim that they took him down while he was
resistingand trying to get a gun to use against them; Dillon denies it; but in either case, whatever he was trying to do, how is this kind of savage beat-down once he has already been restrained, justified by anything resembling self-defense? The NOPD say that an
internal investigationis underway; meanwhile, last week, the NOPD also took the time to hold a public press conference to praise the work of the warrant squad.
Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department, Salt Lake County, Utah. Two years ago, a Salt Lake County couple had some coworkers over to their house for a work party to get a video presentation done. It ran late; they got to drinking while they worked; they got a bit loud; they started singing karaoke. The couple’s 16 year old kid complained over the phone to a friend that he couldn’t sleep. The friend then decided that the best thing to do would be to call the police. The county sheriff then sent out six deputies, to do some servin’ and protectin’ by investigating a
noisethat only people inside the house were complaining about?). When Stephen M. Perry refused to let police inside his house without a warrant, the Gangsters in Blue forced their way in through the door, pepper-sprayed Perry and two of his guests, and repeatedly tortured the same two guests with a taser. Then these out-of-control hyperviolent thugs, who stormed a house without a warrant over a noise complaint, used repeated
pain complianceto torture innocent people for asserting their right to be secure in their home from busybody police, and then proceeded to arrest their three victims on charges of disorderly conduct (in their own home?), resisting arrest (arrest for what?), and
assault on police.
A jury threw out all of the charges against Perry and his guests. They then filed suit against the six deputies for excessive force and violation of their civil rights in the warrantless search. The story is in the news because the Salt Lake County government has decided to cover the cost of a $60,000 settlement for these deputies’ out-of-control violence. Public servants that they are, they will, of course, send the bill to county taxpayers who had nothing to do with this rampage. Meanwhile,
Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Lt. Don Hutson said an internal affairs investigation found no violation of policies by the officers.
What do you think that says about the policies?
Internal investigations. New Jersey. The ACLU has filed a report documenting that the numerical majority of New Jersey’s local police departments violate New Jersey’s legal requirements for handling so-called
civilian complaints.63% of local police agencies demand, in violation of state law, that complaints be submitted in person (so that victims of police violence have to go down to the police station in order to lodge a complaint); 49% do not allow anonymous complaints. 79% of agencies refuse to accept complaints filed by a minor without back-up from an adult; in 50 cases over the past 10 years, the
investigatorsnever even bothered to interview the person who made the complaint. Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi says that the guidelines exist because a complaint process can do either of two things:
Is it a shield for police misconduct? … Or is it … doing what it’s supposed to be doing?I dunno; I’m inclined to say that, in most cases, the answer is that it’s both; the only reason you’d think there’s a distinction here is if you had some odd ideas about what, in the eyes of the State, this kind of process is
supposed to be doing.
Yet Another Isolated Incident. Officer Joseph J. Rios III. Passaic, New Jersey. In Passaic, New Jersey, a 49 year old black man named Ronnie Holloway was walking down the street minding his own business. It was a warm night and he had his sweatshirt open, showing part of his chest and belly. A cop car rolled up to the street corner and the cops yelled at him from out the car, ordering him to zip it up his jacket.
When he didn’t promptly respond to this arbitrary bellowed command, Officer Joseph J. Rios III got out of the car, grabbed ahold of Holloway, repeatedly slammed him into the ground and against the hood of the car, and punched him in the head over and over again, and then got out his baton and started beating his victim in the ribs with it, all while Holloway made no move of any kind to fight back or resist in any way at any point. A nearby restaurant’s surveillance camera recorded the beating; it also recorded his gang-sister, Officer Erica Rivera, standing around, doing nothing, then turning her back on the beating and walking away to call in some backup (!), rather than lifting one finger to stop this sustained assault on a defenseless man who had committed no crime. [Possible trigger warning. Raw footage shows extreme violence against an unarmed, non-resisting man.]
Then, when the gang of other cops rolled up, they arrested the victim of this relentless beating for
wandering for the purpose of obtaining controlled dangerous substances.In an opinion piece on the beating by Jerry DeMarco wonders how they got
resisting arrestfrom a man who can be seen never to have lifted one finger to physically resist anything; a
fellow Passaic County officerwrites in to clarify that, quote-unquote:
For the record, ‘Resisting Arrest’ is not just when a subject is fighting an Officer. Refusing to obey verbal commands, stiffening your body, putting your hands in your pocket, lowering your center of gravity, assuming a fighting stance, possessing a menacing demeanor on your face, refusing to get/stay on the ground (Instead, he got back up), while saying [something threatening], in a totality of the circumstances, regardless if he was fighting the male Officer or not, more than constitutes
In other words, according to at least one active member of the Passaic County police force, you can be arrested for
resisting arrestsimply for refusing to obey an arbitrary order from any police officer, or indeed if the cop just doesn’t like your posture or your
Meanwhile, DeMarco himself, although disturbed by the beating, insists that
Passaic police beating is an isolated incident, period [sic]and that
A speeded-up video of a cop beating a seemingly defenseless man doesn’t prove law enforcement nationwide is unleashed and barbaric.
True enough, but all the other fucking cases nation-wide, do.
When every fucking week brings another story of a Few More Bad Apples causing Yet Another Isolated Incident, and the police themselves invariably do everything in their power to justify, ignore, cover up, excuse, or minimize the violence, even in defiance of the evidence of the senses and no matter how obviously harmless or helpless the victim may be — when cops routinely act on the understanding that they have an unchecked plenary right to issue arbitrary commands to
civilians and to arrest, beat, and torture people for disobedience or just for shouting some unkind words at a cop — when the only possible recourse is to lodge a complaint with the cops own colleagues, who, every week, shrug off these relentless assaults and rapes committed by their officers using their government-issued arsenal of small weapons and the color of their legal authority to an
internal investigation, — and when, even under the best possible circumstances, the main outcome of such an
investigation is that the cop responsible will be given a vacation or possibly lose their job, while the city government steps in to shield them from any personal civil liability for their crimes by offering some money taken right out of the pockets of working folks who had nothing to do with the crime — it beggars belief to keep on claiming that there’s no systemic problem here, that cops ought to be given every benefit of the doubt, or blanket condemnations of policing in major American cities are somehow a sign of hastiness or unfair prejudice against
good cops. The plain fact is that what we have here is one of two things: either a professionalized system of violent control which tacitly permits and encourages cops to exercise this kind of rampant, repeated, intense, unrepentant, and unaccountable abuse against powerless people—or else a system which has clearly demonstrated that it can do nothing effectual to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.
Maybe you should start calling this “Barney Fife Watch”. I’m disgusted, as usual.
Discussed at aaeblog.com /#
Austro-Athenian Empire · With Great Power Comes Great Irresponsibility:
John Markley /#
I’m always struck by the fact that, if you actually believe the excuses violent cops and their apologists usually give about “officer safety” or feeling “threatened,” the only reasonable conclusion is that the police departments are filled with utter cowards.
You’re so terrified of a barking ten-pound dog that you need to shoot it dead? You’re so menaced by a preteen mouthing off at you that need to beat him to the ground and/or electrocute him for your own “safety,” perhaps with the aid of several other grown men raining down additional blows in case your foe’s fearsome 11-year old strength proves too much for you to overcome? You can’t search a guy’s house for pot unless you’re accompanied by an entire paramilitary squad of men with rifles, body armor, and flash-bang grenades to help you break down the door unannounced at three in the morning, seize everyone in the house while they sleep and hold them at gunpoint on the ground, beat, pin, or electrocute anyone who twitches too much while they’re facedown on the floor, and riddle people with bullets if they don’t immediately deduce that the screaming, gun-toting hooligans in unmarked black ninja suits tearing the house apart and threatening their spouse or children are the police?
You’d think the sort of fearless, selfless badass warrior these folks are usually claiming to be would be made of sterner stuff.
Yeah it’s hard for me to understand the mentality of the people who do this kind of thing. Are they really cowards who feel the need to lash out with hate and dominate everything in sight, are they naturally bloodthirsty, or has their training simply turned them into thugs with no respect for human life or human dignity?
Radical Hippo /#
The pigs should be afraid. One of these days people will get wise to the bullshit the legal mafia forces them to endure day after day and they will fight back with the same impunity used that was used against them.
Thank you for the courage to post this, for showing what the American police have become, and how thoroughly.
It seems so hopeless.
Discussed at attackthesystem.com /#
Attack the System » Blog Archive » Updated News Digest June 14, 2009:
Discussed at www.blagnet.net /#
Blagnet.net » Weekend links:
MaineIac in AK /#
So, as I understand it. You take a collection of unrelated incidents, gathered from the press going back to 1999, from inside and outside of the United States. Bearing in mind that between the United States and any other country, we’re talking about over 300,000,000 people and hundreds of thousands of police officers.
And you’ve got some kind of conspiracy? You’ve got some kind of “Systemic Breakdown”, or “Systemic Corruption”? You’re suddenly justified in characterizing police officers as “pigs”, and advocating violence against them? Don’t think so, not even for a minute. If they’re engaged in violence, unjustified and unprovoked, then one has a reason. Nobody should ever stand for illegal and unjustified use of force, especially the victim of it.
Sounds to me like someone’s mind is working overtime trying to come up with some justification for hating the police, as they always have.
Cops screw up? Yep. When they do they should pay the price for that. As several of your own postings demonstrate they are in some cases and aren’t in others. Is that any different from anyone else in any other group? No, sometimes justice wins and sometimes justice loses, but it always wins in the end. The truth always comes out.
In the meantime, I’d continue to point out where the abuses are happening, and those responsible for it. Help the truth come out. But using the collection of incidents from a country of 300 MILLION people and at least one other country that I saw, to collectively indict all police officers is simply stupid, nonsensical, and wrong. It discredits your efforts in the eyes of any fair minded person, and that’s unfortunate as your efforts could accomplish something. If you directed your efforts to publicizing these incidents and not issuing statements regarding “pigs”, and “fight the pigs”. Just publicize the incidents, it’s enough.
A natural question, I suppose, would be. “Do you “really” think you have any prospects of abolishing the police? Really?” The reality is, it’s here and it’s not going away. There’s too many sissies and people who either won’t or can’t stand up for themselves, and there’s still too many dirtbags who would exploit them. Unfortunately, because I’d be more than prepared to take care of myself and those immediately to me.
Marja Erwin /#
Rad Geek has stated that this is a systemic problem, not that this is a conspiracy in the police departments. You are tarring one entire class of explanations by equating them with another very different class of explanations. Your argument is the equivalent of equating natural selection with young-earth creationism.
These incidents are examples of a recurring problem. I’ve survived police brutality, and Rad Geek has not cited that example. Several of my friends have survived police brutality. Other people have not survived.
Most of us don’t talk about it.
Consider rape. Upwards of 1 in 6 womyn in the United States have been raped, but the vast majority never report it and rarely, if ever talk about it. It is traumatic to relive the experience. It can be more traumatic because womyn are taught to blame ourselves for our victimization.
Now consider police brutality. It’s unclear how many people have been beaten or tortured by police officers, but the vast majority never report it and rarely, if ever talk about it. Some of the people who do report it get shot dead, as happened to Duanna Johnson. It is traumatic to relive the experience. It can be more traumatic because we are taught to respect the police, taught to blame ourselves for our victimization, and often blamed by those we talk to. We must have done something to deserve the torture; they’re cops after all, and wouldn’t attack innocents!
So we have to use isolated examples, in the absence of statistics.
I suspect that far fewer than 1 in 6 womyn you know has ever mentioned being raped.
The point of a systemic problem is that the same conditions create the same problems, again and again. So which conditions would you change to prevent this?
Roderick T. Long /#
Indeed. I know a number of people who’ve been beaten up or raped by police officers and didn’t report it; there’s no reason to think the actually-reported cases (which of course number far more than the few listed in one particular post on one particular blog — you could fill thick books with the reported cases) are more than the tip of the iceberg of the while.
In any case, the solution being advocated is not to abolish rights enforcement but to make it accountable — by depriving the enforcers of all special privileges.
Roderick T. Long /#
Correction: while = whole
I tend not to listen when someone follows up a bad argument in favour of current policy p with an arbitrary assertion that you can’t change p anyway (the latter laced with an appeal to self-doubt). It heavily suggests a lack of intellectual imagination and a lack of interest in genuine debate.
Yes, I support a society in which the physically weak are protected from the aggressive physically strong. But the insistence that some are weak- using giveaway sexist language- as an argument that the weak must accept unchosen protection by the physically strong and cease complaining about their abuses- that is close to the ideological heart of patriarchy. And whenever I hear a man use the word ‘sissy’ to describe men who don’t define themselves by their capacity for force, I can identify clearly who it is I need protection from.
The wolf called homo sapiens canis terrifies its charges with lurid stories of other wolves that he may convince them to accept slavery as the price of protection. And those who accept a deal which compromises their independence will find that absent equal bargaining power they have no means to enforce their side of the contract. Your obedience will not protect you. And in an age where the gross economic incompetence of established institutions makes the guardian’s promises of security a little less than convincing, the defenders of law and order might be wiser to focus on getting their act together and admitting and fixing their own embarrassing failures of performance. Dynasties which lose touch with reality, let their image go, and stop delivering the basic socioeconomic goods fall.
Common sense says that protection rackets ain’t a good deal for the protected. Since, unfortunately, genuine common sense in the form of independent awareness of reality is sadly uncommon, and common ‘sense’ in the form of following the herd and its tribal mythology is unfortunately all-too-common, no competent protection racket has ever failed to find human victims flocking to fall for it.
But the American state isn’t a competent protection racket these days. It’s legitimising promises are a sick joke which the state schools and the might-as-well-be-the-state-media hardly dare to mention. And the brutality is obvious to anyone who can, say, read the pages and pages of well-documented evidence Rad Geek presents above. It increasingly has to be, because an elite which can offer neither economic nor spiritual incentives to its subjects has no other means to maintain its position. Which is why the institutions you defend have tortured my friends.
The American police are a gang of brutal thugs who feed mostly innocent people through a court system which grants only a farce of due process in order to fill a vast and voracious prison system characterised by systematic rape, torture, dehumanisation, and slave labour. But it isn’t the brute force which makes it all possible- if it was, then dictatorships would not be forced to tone down and conceal the evidence of their torments.
It’s a larger culture which makes it possible- millions of people who share the same sense of life and the same premises- a society which, at heart, wants it to happen here. The state is largely merely the manifestation; the beginning is a populace whose Stockholm syndrome sense of themselves is bound up with the authoritarian religions, families, governments, and moralites, which hurt and oppress them and stifle their human potential. Such people enable dictatorship and make inevitable the horrors inflicted upon those others who do choose to resist and do choose to think and feel for themselves.
Every red-blooded American adores a fascist.
MaineIac writes with the unmistakable voice of the schoolyard bully. Knowing that I’m among extra-special good friends here, I feel safe to confess that this style of language triggers painful memories of childhood encounters with self-appointed enforcers of conformity. A paralysing sense of shame comes over me, the post-traumatic residue of unremitting psychic torture in my own sensitive sissy childhood and I understand why no one else dares speak up to them and why I, knowing what I know, absolutely must call them out.
There’s a big difference between the necessity of calling out abuses of police power, and expecting the police mentality to ever go away as a result. While I was employed as a school bus driver I had to deal with bullies every work day. I quickly recognised a career track: the bully was almost always running a police fantasy, that he was a good cop doing me a favour by maintaining order on board so I could focus on traffic (presented as a special need particular to me alone as a less expert driver who didn’t really deserve their respect), and I was being ungrateful by protesting the human rights violations and potentially disastrous distraction from traffic inherent in their nonstop loud tattling. And who was the god invoked by these bullies? –then-actor Arnold Schwartzenegger as the Terminator character and now playing the role of governor of California to terminate the state’s social safety net!
To play fair and establish that there is such a thing as a ‘good cop’, all day yesterday, the rich yuppies behind our house (who were the bullies in this situation) were having a big party with intensely loud techno music, of which we could only hear an endless loop of BOOM-BOOM-BOOM over here. I came home to find my housemate trying to focus on a writing project, seething with anger at the classist privilege of impunity behind this all-afternoon auditory torture of all their neighbours and wanting to call the police to get it stopped. I wouldn’t have called them, but she called, and a few minutes later I noticed the noise had essentially stopped and did not resume, without our ever seeing any cops over here. But then, the dispatcher only heard my roomie’s middle-class vocabulary, which is what made her feel safe to call in the first place; how would it have been different if they knew their caller was a trans woman of colour?
Discussed at radgeek.com /#
Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-06-22 – The Police Beat:
I’ve been a serviceman, am close friends with a number of police officers, and I have, nonetheless, personally seen a much larger than reasonable number of my perfectly reasonable, peaceful friends brutalized by hyper-macho police.
From the one end (that of having participated in it) I can confirm that it’s systemic (one might say endemic), and from the other, I can confirm that the ordinary people who encounter it are just as baffled as they ought to be by what is happening to them. (a fascinating example from near where I live is the incident in which a police officer drove into a power-pole, completely out of nowhere, and then proceeded to pepper-spray the people who came to help him. He called for ‘backup’ (?) and soon, the scene was of several policemen defending themselves from a now angry crowd of (what?) good samaritans.
Or the rock band I know, who were, to a man, beaten and arrested for smoking at the periphery of an already resolved bar-fight. None of them ever found out why they were detained (or, for that matter, brutally beaten!), and while the case went to national radio, nothing, of course, was ever done.
Or my friend who, out of nowhere, was pulled out of his car and roughed up by an officer attended by four other cruisers and an ambulance. (I was in the car for this one)He had done nothing, and when we tried to complain (later, at the station), we were told that our complaint would ‘amount to nothing’. Makes sense. . . it comes from nothing, goes back to nothing. . . what have you lost? Your dignity, privacy, respect for law-enforcement, and maybe a tooth or two. . .
Nonetheless, I understand that police are diligent, sincere, and motivated by the right ideas. It’s just that I know them too well to think that they’re not also often unthinking bullies My life, in this regard, has been one fo straddling a fence; I’ve been on both sides and argued for and against both sides. It’s endemic because of the nature of the work, and the current problem is precisely as Rad Geek describes it: The public seems to want it, and the system has granted the powers. The police simply cannot be trusted with powers beyond those they’re entitled to, because the will, and do abuse them. It’s the nature of the work. It’s the same with soldiers (I was an infantryman); we want to do our jobs, and brutality is a tool. Generally, a free hand is preferable to having to answer to the jackass who ‘doesn’t know what we face every day’ (boo fucking hoo). Oversight? Once again: they don’t know what we face.
Fact is, Maineiac is a bully, just like any cop who thinks he needs anything more than the simple consent of the public to do his job, the public whose SERVANT he is. Same with a soldier. Oversight and the consequences of abuse are not a burden, they’re the way the police’s masters protect themselves from the dreadfully high likelihood that the guys we give guns and clubs to will turn them against us, as they are all too often doing these days.
I have no sympathy for hyper-macho soldiers or the same pathology among police. In my experience, the brutal, hyper-macho soldiers are the actual cowards, and the same goes for cops. If you can’t do your job within the legal constraints, then you simply don’t deserve to be doing it at all, and your macho dream of being a wolf-enforcer is just a whited sepulchre; leave it to people who know how to do it properly, and do us all a favour and remove yourself from the field.
I find what you’ve written here very interesting, if a near-anarchist may say so. And, yes, I’ve known individual police officers who were clearly motivated by doing what they thought was right.
May I ask what kind of ideals you consider it right to be motivated by? Or, to put it another way- what kind of ethics, values, philosophies, or spiritualities you think animate the better police officers, and what kind of contrasting value systems animate the worse ones?
You speak of soldiers and law enforcement officers as public ‘SERVANTS’ (your emphasis). May I inquire a to what you think is the basic nature and virtue of this service?
You also suggest that the relationship between the police and the public has changed in the recent past. You suggest the change largely began at the request of the public. What has changed? Has police culture changed, too, independently or in response to a change in public sentiment?
I would be very curious to here more of your experience and perspective, as you come to this issue with more direct knowledge and from a different standpoint than most here. My birth father was a military police officer in the Vietnam war, and what you relate very closely agrees with his own description of a soldier’s experience. I am very concerned with the phenomenon of police brutality and what a change in kind in its prevalence implies about the present society and means for the future of American civilisation. I think many of us would benefit greatly from your insight as to the nature of the problem.