Police Deserve As Much Respect As They Give

I can’t say it any better than the comment that Bruce Gorton left on Ophelia Benson‘s blog:

On the same day on which this story broke, I read another in which a cop attacked someone who was asleep in a hospital.

The cop arrested his victim for assault, it was probably only that hospital waiting rooms have cameras that resulted in the cop being found out.

Last week meanwhile I subbed a story about a cop who was suspended, for not tear-gassing a suicidal university student he had just talked down when his fellow officers felt the need to forcibly restrain the said student for no apparent reason.

America’s police force blames the media, but who was it that killed a 12-year-old for carrying a toy gun? Who killed a man for picking up a toy gun in a toy store? Who choked a man to death on the streets? Who killed an unarmed teenager?

And what did each case demonstrate?

There is little recourse to the law when the criminal is a cop. The issue is not simply the police force, but the entire legal system.

So what happens when people don’t trust the law anymore? I can tell you what happens in South Africa.

You get people attacking the police because they’re just one more rival gang. They aren’t keepers of the peace, they’re thugs and crime lords abusing a position of authority to build their little empires.

You get mob justice, you get riots and you get deaths. The best cops become worthless – because they cannot do their jobs without the trust of the public, and without the ability to trust their coworkers.

My country has serious problems with distrust of the police force, and not reporting on it doesn’t solve the base problems that caused that distrust. You can shut the media up all you like – but people still know the cops will take bribes and lose dockets.

You can shut the media up all you like, but people still know the American police force kills children for being black. A silent media is deadlier than a noisy one, because in the absence of information action cannot be taken to correct major problems, while allowing far darker imaginings than the bald truth to become seen as fact.

You want to prevent this happening again? Then you need to stop whining at the protesters and start taking a serious look at your police culture, which has gone so far overboard on the macho bullshit that the decent, sane cops are more likely to be punished than the thugs with badges.

Otherwise all you’re doing is wanking self-righteously about how mean people are for pointing out how your police force’s shit stinks.

Oh shit. That burn. Seriously, as someone who was fluent in latin would say, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

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