Flutterby™! : corrupt cops

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corrupt cops

2000-11-02 19:19:41+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

Kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, assault under color of authority, filing false police reports. Just a few of the charges faced by Oakland police. Had an interesting discussion with a fairly straight-laced friend recently and was amazed that she beleived that you actually needed to violate laws to have police trouble. But I think that this is also a symptom of the problems that happen when we don't elevate members of the police and the armed forces to a different standard, when we treat them as doing a job rather than as civic heroes.

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:30+00 by: Mars Saxman

Maybe we will feel like treating them as civic heroes if they start acting like it. Beating people up, planting evidence, trashing homes while doing searches, killing innocent people because they busted into the wrong house at 3 AM, lying under oath, harassing suspects and using standard procedure as cover for a de facto punishment before conviction, coercing confessions, etc., to add to your list - these are not exactly behaviours that inspire confidence, respect, or trust, and they're not behaviours that are particularly rare, either. I'm more afraid of the police than of the proverbial mugger in the dark alley. The mugger will at least leave me alone once he's done taking everything I own and beating the crap out of me. No such luck with the cops. Once a burglar snitches my computer, stereo, and coffeemaker, he's gone; again, no such luck with the cops responding to a drug tip or a rumour that I might have a copy of DeCSS somewhere. And so on. We treat them like they're doing a job because they are. They aren't heroes, they're people looking to make a living. That living happens to involve a particular sort of danger, but so do a lot of jobs; you're far more likely to get hurt on a fishing boat in Alaska than walking a beat in the inner city. -Mars

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:30+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, I don't know how to break the cycle either. The problem is that when we're supplying big weapons with taxpayer dollars (and slowly disarming the populace) we've got to keep the social institutions that keep those with the big weapons from taking control. Power does come from actions, not from ideals, and it's only if we can better instill a sense of duty that we're going to keep the police and military in as sane a situation as they've been in this country. Even when you compare a group as institutionally corrupt as, say, the LAPD with the police of many other countries we've gotten off amazingly well.