I recently mentioned a story that POLICE: The Law Enforcement Magazine ran a couple weeks ago, in which Dean Scoville was outraged by the outrage over an El Monte police kicking a prone Suspect Individual in the head after he’d already surrendered to police. (Scoville also openly praises extrajudicial punitive police beat-downs as an institutional practice, longing for
a time when post pursuit ass-kickings were obligatory.)
Anyway, the week after they ran Scoville’s ill-tempered tirade in praise of police brutality, the POLICE magazine website decided to run this funny little web poll:
WEB POLL: Have you ever wanted to kick a suspect who was surrendering for endangering the public and being a total dirtbag?
c. To hell with kick, I wanted to shoot him
Here are the final results as of Monday:
You can see the results for yourself here. 45.4% of POLICE readers responding to the poll said that they have at some point wanted to kick
suspect people after they’ve already surrendered to police. The cop editors of POLICE: The Law Enforcement Magazine thought they’d add a funny little joke option for their cop readers,
To hell with kick, I wanted to shoot him. 31.9% of POLICE readers responding to the poll went with that one.
Ho, ho, ho.
Speaking of which, in Oakland, Officer Johannes Mehserle is now on trial for murder in the execution-style shooting of Oscar Grant. Here’s some recent testimony from the trial:
(05-27) 17:00 PDT OAKLAND — A colleague of the former BART police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man early New Year’s Day testified Wednesday that the victim would still be alive if he and his friends had cooperated with police.
If they would have followed orders, this wouldn’t have happened,said Officer Marysol Domenici at a preliminary hearing in Oakland for former Officer Johannes Mehserle, who is charged with murder.
According to Officer Marysol Domenici, ordinary civilians like you and me are always under the command of the police, so that when a cop gives an
order you’d damn well better
follow, and if you don’t, well then, you’re
resisting, and you have nobody to blame but yourself when they slam you into the wall, throw you to the ground and shoot you in the back while you’re prone and physically restrained.
Domenici said she did not see Mehserle shoot Grant because she had been facing the other direction. Immediately after the shot was fired, she said, some train riders were so angry that she started thinking about using her gun.
**I said to myself,Domenici said.Oh, Jesus Christ, if I have to, I’m going to have to kill somebody,
Note that when her buddy-cop shot a man who was prone on the ground and physically restrained by the police, her first thought was not that she might have to defend the public from this killer cop; it was that she might have to open fire on the crowd of bystanders.
In Metro Detroit, the Warren city government’s police chased down Robert Mitchell — an unarmed, 16 year old black boy, weighing in at about 110 pounds — and killed him with
non-lethal force in an abandoned house of Eight Mile. This extrajudicial electrocution of an unarmed young man was carried out in the attempt to arrest him; the reason the cops were chasing him down and trying to force him to surrender himself to them is that he jumped out of the passenger side of his cousin’s car during a traffic stop for an expired license plate. For, that is, trying to leave the scene in a situation where he himself was not suspected of any crime. Boss cop William Dwyer believes that his forces
had no alternative to blasting an unarmed 16 year old with a 50,000-volt electric shock in order to force him to surrender to arrest. Of course they did have an alternative; they could have let him leave, since they had no probable cause to suspect him of any particular crime. But government cops in America aren’t actually interested in dealing with crimes; they are interested in targeting suspects, and are willing to summarily declare you a
suspect sort of guy based solely on your failure to follow their arbitrary bellowed commands, or your decision to try to leave the scene when they are present. They are quite willing to say that running away from cops, just as such, without any evidence of any specific crime, is considered good enough grounds for chasing you down, beating, shooting, or electrocuting you first and asking questions later, and arresting you on suspicion of resisting arrest. Presumably because the sheep are supposed to stay where they’ve been herded.
The commissioner called Mitchell’s deatha tragedy,but said police who watch someone run from themcan only assume he committed a crime or is wanted for a crime.
Boss cop William Dwyer adds that, since the cops have been trained by a bunch of other cops to use 50,000-volt electric shocks to torture anyone
resisting arrest until they surrender, regardless of the risks involved and even if their chosen target is unarmed and poses no physical threat to anyone present, as a form of
pain compliance, well, that makes it O.K. for them to do so. Just following orders, you know:
The officers had been trained to use Tasers on people resisting arrest,so there was nothing wrong with using that Taser,Dwyer said.
Renea Mitchell, the mother of the victim, says
They are here to protect us. There’s no reason for what they’ve done…. There’s no reason, no excuse. She also calls what happened to her son a
murder at the hands of police. And that’s about the size of it. Her son was not suspected of any crime; he was not even on the scene for anything more serious than an expired license plate. He tried to leave because he doesn’t feel safe around cops — and, given that cops are the ones who eventually killed him, why should he have? — and the cops took this as good enough reason to treat him as presumptively criminal, and therefore to use any level of violence necessary to stop him from leaving — whether or not they have any knowledge of his having been involved in any specific crime, or even whether or not any specific crime has been committed, and regardless of the fact that he was completely unarmed and posed no threat to absolutely anyone’s person or property. They had no reason to use force at all, let alone the potentially lethal force of a taser.
Meanwhile, back over at POLICE magazine, editor David Griffith believes that
political correctness is killing a lot of Americans because cops in some major cities can’t
use suspicion of immigration violation as [Probable Cause] to roust any gang member. Apparently
suspicion of immigration violation means
looking Latino. Griffith asks and answers a few clarifying questions:
Would that be profiling? Absolutely. Would some American citizens get hassled? Surely. Would there be a lot less violent crime in our cities if we deported many gang members who are probably illegal aliens [sic]? You tell me.
In other words, in the name of controlling crime by controlling entire populations, Griffith wants for cops to have unilateral authority to
roust absolutely anyone based solely on their ethnic status, without any evidence of having committed any crime whatsoever, and so to bring them under the control of the police unless and until they can prove, to the police’s own satisfaction, that they have a permission slip from the government for existing in this country. Griffith asks, rhetorically,
What is our priority? Do we want to make Americans safer? But which
Americans does he have in mind, and what does he hope to make them safer from? Apparently not the
Americans he explicitly expects to be
hassled, that is, terrorized, manhandled or, if
necessary, killed in order to put them under, and to keep them under, the physical control of those cops who Griffith would like to grant unlimited discretionary authority to detain anybody that they want, for absolutely any reason or for no reason at all, based solely on their ethnic status, and without any connection to any known crime.
In the same article, Griffith mentions an Atlanta cop, Scott Kreher of the local Fraternal Order of Pigs, who is pissed off about inadequate bennies for Atlanta city cops; so he told the city council that the situation made him want to beat Mayor Shirley Franklin
in the head with a baseball bat. (Griffith doesn’t have anything worse to say about this than a weak joke about how he hopes that Kreher
does not command the APD’s crisis negotiation team.)
Does a police state, staffed by men who deal with stress like Sergeant Scott Kreher does, with the powers that David Griffith wants to give them, make you feel safer? Probably depends on what side of the taser, or the baseball bat, you expect to end up on.