Last month AOL News ran an anecdotal Data-less Trend Story about city governments in small towns firing the city government police force in order to cope with budget crunches. I’d like to know what the actual data here is; typically, cash-strapped city governments react by cutting everything except police and jails. If governments’ financing crises are finally leading them to reduce the number of police patrolling city streets, that’s surprisingly good news. Most of the towns mentioned are very small towns — with populations ranging from about 700 to 4,500. The outlier, Maywood, California, has about 30,000 people living in the town (with a whopping 4 murders in 2008! twice the national average!). Apparently part of the reason they fired the police department was because a lot of the city government’s $450,000 budget deficit, and its trouble securing insurance, came from
lawsuits, many involving the police.Government employees and hangers-on are going nuts about all of this. After the vote in Maywood, ex-City Treasurer Lizeth Sandoval told the city council
You single-handedly destroyed the city,by which she means that they outsourced the city government. (You won’t find any burned-out buildings, torn-up streets, or dead bodies; the places and people in the city of Maywood, California are still right where they were, going on as happily as they were before; the only things
destroyedwere the government jobs of tax-eaters like City Treasurer Lizeth Sandoval.) Jim Pasco, national executive director of the Fraternal Order of Pigs, said that decisions to fire local police were
penny wise and pound foolish,because sheriff’s departments and state police will be spread thin patrolling larger areas, and no amount is too much to spend on city cops, because
The absolute threshold responsibility of a government at any level is to ensure the safety of its citizens.
For example, consider local hero Officer Bryan Yant, liar and killer for the Las Vegas Metro police department, who by making up lies to obtain fraudulent search warrants and by violently breaking into citizens’ homes late at night, where he ensures the safety of Las Vegas’s citizens by kicking down doors and shooting unarmed black men with his AR-15 assault rifle, based on
a glimmer or something shinythat nobody but Officer Bryan Yant ever saw, and which is plainly contradicted by forensic evidence related to the angle of the shot. Local government in Las Vegas has fulfilled is threshold responsibility by once again ensuring the safety of Officer Bryan Yant from any legal consequences for shooting innocent, unarmed men in the head during a hyperviolent raid to investigate a completely nonviolent, victimless
crime,all of it based on demonstrable falsehoods and mistaken identity — oops! my bad! All of which should free Officer Bryan Yant up for a fourth Internal Investigation, in which his government colleagues will once again either exonerate him or let him off without any criminal penalties, for lying and fabricating fictitious search and arrest warrants in at least one other drug investigation involving another hyperviolent late night home raid. The polite term in local media for Officer Bryan Yant’s work ensuring the safety of Las Vegas citizens is
sloppy.A better term would be
fraudulent and lethally violent.How much safer does it make you feel that this lying, killing 4-time winner is still a fully-paid member of the Las Vegas Metro police force?
Meanwhile, in El Reno, Oklahoma, government police officers are ensuring the safety of El Reno citizens by forcing their way into an 86-year-old bed-ridden grandmother’s home on a
wellness check,and then, if she should object to 10 armed strangers busting into her house, by stepping on her oxygen hose and torturing her with electrical shocks in her own bed, until she passes out from the pain. El Reno Police Chief Ken Brown justified this use of extreme violence against an elderly woman who could not possibly have physically harmed anybody more than a couple feet away from her on the grounds that she was holding a kitchen knife, and she told officers
She was in control of her life.Thus,
Police were forced [sic!] to use a Taser on the womanuntil she could be forced into a hospital psychoprison — not because she was actually charged with any crime, of course, but so that she could be cured of her deranged and dangerous belief that she was in control of her own life.
Meanwhile, in New York, New York, Officer Patrick Pogan, a government police officer working for the New York city government, ensured the safety of New York citizens by body-slamming an unarmed bicyclist to the ground for trying to avoid hitting him, and then lying about it in his police reports, where he claimed that his victim was trying to ram into him, rather than swerving around him. His government colleague Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley, in turn, fulfilled his threshold obligation by ensuring that this lying violent thug would face absolutely no criminal consequences whatsoever for the crimes that he had been convicted of.
Also, in New York, New York, government cop Detective Louis J. Eppolito ensured the safety of New York citizens by taking a second job as an informant and hit-man for the Luchese crime family. He took a special interest in ensuring the safety of Brian Gibbs by framing him for murder — among other things, making up fictional witness statements, threatening witnesses in order to get testimony against Gibbs, withholding evidence that would have proven Gibbs’s evidence, and torturing Gibbs himself until he extracted a false confession. Brian Gibbs lost 19 years of his life locked in prison. The New York Police Department spent years fulfilling its threshold obligation to keep Detective Louis J. Eppolito safe from any consequences for his violent crimes, even though — years before he tortured and framed Brian Gibbs — they had direct evidence that he was working for the Mafia (including having his fingerprints on police reports he had handed off to a fellow gangster). The Incident was, of course, Internally Investigated, and Detective Eppolito was let off without even facing any administrative disciplinary actions. Which freed him up to go on murdering and imprisoning innocent people for the mob. The city government in New York still officially maintains that Brian Gibbs is guilty of murder. However, they’ve decided to sign a $9,900,000 settlement; dedicated public servants that they are, they will send the bill to innocent New York City taxpayers who had nothing to do with the crimes committed against Brian Gibbs.
Meanwhile, in Sebastian County, Arkansas, government
drug investigatorsare ensuring the safety of citizens by staging heavily armed, late-night raids on citizens’ houses, where they threaten the lives of everyone in the house, including sleeping babies — without bothering to check the address on the mailbox to see whether they are actually even forcing their way into the right house. (Oops! My bad!) Then, after releasing their innocent victims from the shackles they had forced them into, the cops they went down the street to the
righthouse, where they broke into somebody else’s home, threatened three other innocent people’s lives, and forced them into cages at gunpoint, for the completely nonviolent
offenseof having marijuana.
Meanwhile, in Universal City, Texas, government police are ensuring the safety of citizens by surrounding innocent women and children in their cars, pointing guns at them and screaming at them to put their hands up, and then forcing their way into the car before they realize — oops! our bad! — that they had the wrong car and the wrong people, and were threatening the lives of a black woman with three children who had nothing to do with the white man they were trying to ambush. Since government police never face any consequences whatsoever for their fuck-ups, no matter how high-stakes, violent, reckless, traumatic or dangerous to the safety of innocent citizens, the police department is waving it off as
an unfortunate coincidence.They refer to the use of such high-stakes, violent tactics in uncertain situations, with incomplete information, to terrify and overwhelm innocent women and children, as
doing our jobs,and publicly state that
We would not change what we did.Of course they wouldn’t; who’s going to make them?
Meanwhile, in Tavares, Florida, government police are ensuring the safety of citizens by interrogating and then arresting Latina women who are not suspected of any crime, for not
giving her name fast enoughor producing identification papers on demand. The government police officer told his victim that she had to provide ID because he needed to put her name
in a database.When she said she needed to go to the car to get it, the cop arrested her for resisting arrest and had her locked in a jail cell for 5 hours.
Meanwhile, in Hamilton, Ontario, government police are ensuring the safety of citizens by staging hyperviolent drug raids, forcing their way into apartments at gunpoint, forcing the citizens in them to the floor, then slamming their faces into the floor and kicking them when they try to explain that the cops have the wrong address. Po Lo Hay’s safety was ensured so good and hard that he ended up with stitches above his eye, a bloody nose, welts, and a broken rib.
Meanwhile, in Bridgewater, England, government police are ensuring the safety of citizens by threatening them with electrical torture devices and then accidentally hitting them with a 50,000 volt electric shock to their genitals, in the course of an unnecessary traffic stop intended to investigate whether or not they were committing the completely nonviolent
offenseof driving without government-mandated corporate car insurance. For accidentally inflicting the worst pain that this innocent man has ever been subjected to in his life, government cops are offering an
Oops! Our bad!
I sure am glad that government cops are out there to ensure our safety, and local governments are there to extract tax dollars to force us all, on threat of prison, to pay for this
threshold obligation. If government cops weren’t there to harass, threaten, torture, frame, jail or kill innocent citizens, all with complete legal impunity so long as they can shout an
Oops! My bad! that some fellow cop or other government employee will believe, who would keep us all safe?
-  When city governments fire police forces, county sheriffs or state police forces generally take over the busting of heads and jailing of suspects. But the shift does mean that patrol cops are fewer and farther between, and local taxpayers are much less likely to get soaked with local tax increases to pay for salaries or benefits packages. ↩
-  Yant has gunned down three people during his police career — killing two of them, including Trevon Cole — and has been exonerated by the police department and the Clark County government’s coroner’s inquest. ↩