You can’t judge cops unless you’ve eaten pancakes with them first

Published On November 23, 2011 | By Georgia Sand | Articles

Copblock posted a quote by Becky Akers on the Facebook page recently –

‎”We all need to recognize cops are the enemy. They’re not just the enemy of the black guy. They’re not just the enemy of Miguel who came across the border without a bureaucrats permission first. They are our enemy too, they will pick on us as well. When we allow government to prey on societies least liked memebers, it’s only a matter of time before they prey on us too” – Becky Akers

In response, one reader replied, “They are your neighbors and the person your standing in line with at the grocery store. Educate yourself and get to know them and we can all be on the same page. Have you ever taken a ride along with your local PD? Have you ever went to a pancake breakfast and learned what they talk about? Do you even know one personally? Didn’t think so. You are depending on a story or some third party blurb to make drastic decisions about your viewpoints are without taking the time to form your own opinions with real data imo. I have some of those things planned in the near future to learn about them. I don’t know enough yet to form a valid firm opinion but plan on learning and talking with them.”

Ah, the good ‘ole “walk a mile in their shoes, before you judge” argument. First of all, in fact, yes, I have been on a ride along. Even as clueless as I was about criminal law and constitutional rights back then, I am pretty sure I witnessed multiple constitutional violations. And I truly believe I was actually riding with one of the “good apples.” He wasn’t  particularly aggressive or cruel, and he did exhibit genuine concern for some homeless people, as well as a lost child – even so, this officer of the “law” was either completely ignorant of the law when he arrested a parolee for no reason, or simply didn’t care. But this is all irrelevant.

Regardless of whether you accept that all cops are enemies, the idea that eating pancakes and making small talk with someone somehow has bearing on the American “justice” system, the problems of police brutality, and lack of government accountability is absurd.  I cannot emphasize enough how FUCKING STUPID this line of logic is. I don’t have to be punched to know being punched hurts. I don’t have to talk to a murderer to understand murder is evil. I don’t have to be a Nazi, or have a conversation with one to understand Nazis were psychopaths. Standing in line at the grocery store with a rapist will not – and more importantly, should not – help me empathize with rapists. Police must be judged for their individual actions, and whether they are polite at the grocery store, or like to eat pancakes does not negate any horrendous actions they may take during the course of their employment.

Hey, here’s a good one, if this line of logic is to hold. I had extensive interaction and conversations with a child rapist  on several occasions. He was one of my teachers in middle school. I got to know him quite well, and even went on a special, after-school field trip with him and 2 other girls. In retrospect, I’m sure my parents think it is horrific that I was handpicked to go on a special field trip with a child rapist. But according to our friend above, this would be the first step to opening one’s mind and seeing things from someone else’s perspective.

Under the logic proposed above, maybe I should revise my views, understand that Mr. Utin is human; he’s a neighbor, he eats pancakes and makes small talk, he was nice to me, and he stands in line behind me at the grocery store – thus I should really withhold judgment about his actions, and understand that child rape isn’t such a bad thing after all. If I could just reach out and open my mind to him, we could really find ourselves on the same page.

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About The Author

Georgia (George) Sand received her B.A. from UCLA and her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. She enjoys beer, jogging, the beach and music in her spare time.
  • Dylboz

    This is one of those intellectual cul-de-sacs meant to stop people who lack critical thinking skills in their already tentative mental tracks. It takes a relatively small leap, but a leap none-the-less to grasp what you said above, but many, if not most people are unwilling, or simply unable, to do so. They prefer to think Joe the cop is just like them, a regular guy who drinks beer and watches football, and probably doesn;t mind taking care of your latest parking ticket, ’cause he’s your “bro.” Realizing the truth is too horrible. I mean, to take a recent event as a point of reference, why else would Penn State riot on behalf of Paterno and not Sandusky’s victims? Because facing the truth about the old guy’s complicity is too horrible, and would cause too many unpleasant feelings with respect to their own adoration of the Nittany Lions and JoePa’s “legacy.” Instead, they redirect their emotions, expressing them as rage and anger, and destroy some shit. It’s cathartic, sure, but serves to sublimate the real issues which they can’t face, just like saying “America, love it or leave it!” It’s a way of blaming the messenger so as not to address their objections. The same thing happens with respect to cops and soldiers. I can’t tell you how much I want to puke when I hear that shit about sacrifice and risk and “putting their lives on the line.” You know what? I love the show ‘Deadliest Catch,’ because not only do those guys do amazing work, genuinely risking life and limb, but they provide me something I actually want in addition to compelling entertainment: Tasty crabs. OTOH, I have never been given anything I really wanted by a cop, not even directions.

  • WVUGuy2004

    I think walking a mile in their shoes is helpful, but only to a degree.

    In our effort to change the system, walking in a cops shoes to see the challenges they come across can hep us reform the system while keeping in mind what the implementation looks like.

    Also, walking a mile in their shoes can also gain us a first person perspective on where the abuses can occur, and help us to eliminate these flaws in the system.

  • Nicholas Recker

    I’m not sure if the person who suggested that you have pancakes with the police meant what you supposed they meant, or what I am about to suggest, but it’s really not important who meant what.
    The idea that anyone is your ENEMY is a quite powerful one. Now, in the case of a murderer or rapist, it is likely that no amount of talking will change their opinions or actions. This may not be true for the police though.
    Maybe the idea of getting to know your police officers is not for their benefit that you may become empathetic to their views. Maybe it’s because if we don’t engage them, they will never become empathetic to ours. If you don’t engage and remove their ideas about people who disagree with them being “liberal squish-heads”, they will continue whatever mindset has brainwashed the empathy of a normal person right out of them.
    Looking at them as the enemy will leave us all guilty of stripping the other of their humanity.

  • http://www.mohawkpolitical.com Luke

    “intellectual cul-de-sacs” <—-stealing this.

  • Jeff

    I know I will get flamed for this, but in reality I don’t believe all cops are bad, just 90% of them and the only Cops I really like and trust are Sheriffs that lean libertarian and know what their oath of office means, and that means to protect private property and prevent federal and local law enforcement from over stepping a persons rights. Here is a good example I’m talking about
    Constitutional Sheriff’s and Peace Officers Organization

    One more thing I’d like to mention and as distasteful as this may be is for activists whom have a strong support organization to back them up, to join police Departments across the country and start forcing change. Now you may wonder why I say an activists need the support of a Constitutional activist organization for back up is because if you become a Cop, you will be bombarded with police corruption, illegal acts and become big headed and you will ned this support to keep a good perspective of things and keep you well grounded.

  • Mr. Bawkbagawk

    i used to hate racoons, then i went along on garbage night and rolled a few cans, we are sharing a condo in aruba this spring.

  • George Sand

    I disagree talking with police helps to understand their mindset. Most of them won’t be honest with you. Go to Policeone.com, where they talk amongst themselves, and you will see what they really think – that the people they “serve” are vermin and animals who deserve to be beaten and killed, or that should be sterilized or removed from the face of the earth. At the end of the day, they don’t give a shit whom they kill or extort, they just want to get back to their families safe. If that means killing or beating someone, so be it. Officer safety first.

    I also disagree that talking to police personally enlightens an individual about why these abuses occur or where they stem from. The abuses quite clearly stem from police behaving in an out-of-control manner, because they can. They do not get punished when they do, therefore, they are more reckless about their actions. No matter what they do (pretty much, absent serial killing off-duty), their department supports them, the public supports them, and the law supports them. When there is no fear of consequences, and they are in fact rewarded and applauded for enforcing the law violently, police are more likely to behave badly. This is not rocket science. There is almost nothing an officer can say with regard to his personal experience that will negate this.

  • Tanzi

    I played in my church band with a couple cops for many years. I spent plenty of time with these off-duty cops and guess what? theyre still lying, backstabbing, heartless, brutal pigs in the end. I dont care if theyre sheriffs, MPs, or city police; they are all stupid ignorant tools for evil. They are no different than the Nazi youth. Sure, the majority of them are probably decent folks–fathers, brothers, sons, etc. But they were selected and groomed based on their inability to think for themselves. And for those so-called good cops… well they are no better if not worse for standing by and watching the injustices that occur, not doing anything about it.

  • George Sand

    What you will find with police is they may be decent folks to the people they care about – as Tanzi noted, they may be good fathers, brothers, sons, or husbands. But they are NOT decent folks to the people they “serve.” They routinely say shit like “no stop is routine” and “officer safety first.” This is very simple. This means they view every single person as a potentially dangerous criminal, and will kill you if they are scared. There is no dispute about this.

  • http://anarchyinabottle.blogspot.com/ Danny (A)

    Hey George. Haven’t commented in a while, but I’ve been reading what you have. You’re doing great work as always and this post is particularly good. Sure cops might have good intentions or be good people but absolute power corrupts absolutely. That’s really the final line of things. It’s the fundamentally corrupt nature of the job itself. I don’t care if they’re nice. I talked to two cops who seemed nice enough today (after our RA found her car window was smashed), but I’m smart enough to know that they’re dangerous. It’s the job itself that makes them so. And yes intellectual cul-de-sac is a great line lol.

  • Mel

    Cops ARE the enemy (one of many, I guess). I do not have to understand them to come to this conclusion. I can objectively judge their actions without having to know or understand what their motives are, because I have decided that regardless of what a person’s or “person”‘s motives, some actions are just unacceptable/evil/wrong.

    I’m sure that Adolph had issues that he had to deal with. I’m sure serial killers are scared some time. And I’m sure that rapists have something going on in their head that either justifies what they do or makes it “less evil” somehow.

    But, the thing is- I don’t care. I don’t care what someone’s mental state is, or how they self-justify. I don’t care what they have to deal with on a daily basis or what their childhood was like. Some actions are just evil. I KNOW that there is something they believe and stuff they have to deal with, I’m just saying that none of that makes it ok. And lest we forget, being a cop is a voluntary thing, and if you can’t handle it you can quit at any time.

    So, regardless of what you convince yourself is necessary, or how scared you are, or what greater “values” you are fighting for it is wrong to be a Nazi or a cop, kill several women using the same methodology or shoot several people on the street cause they “look suspicious,” be a rapist or do extensive administrative “searches.” Because all of these things are evil and I really don’t care why you are doing them.

    I don’t have to get to know a cop any more than I have to get to know a rapist. Although, I have had prolonged ongoing contact with some of them.

    And it is at EVERY level. From the patrol cop who steals cash up to the sheriff who I have to wonder what he says when he’s NOT talking to a news camera.

  • George Sand

    Welcome back, Danny, and thanks for reading, as always. Your has had a makeover! It looks great.

  • http://anarchyinabottle.blogspot.com/ Danny (A)

    Anytime. And thanks. Google kind of sprung it on me, but it’s easier than having to adapt a lot of templates.

  • T.

    Mel has kind of got the right idea.
    But look at it this way. Why should they care but your childhood when they are dealing with you? By Mel’s logic, there should be absolute accountability. For nad by all. Hmmm. Better build lots more prisons (cages on this site). Example: You like and want to smoke marijuana. Now like it or not, its still illegal to do so (at least where I live). So you openly decide to violate that law (I know, it’s “victimless”). THe police catch you. Should you be held accountable? Mel?? Absolutely you should. If you exercise your constitutional right to paecefully assemble / protest and that protest leads to property damage, injuries, violence. are you gonna show up at the police station and turn yourself in because your accountable?? Doubt it.

  • Mel

    T.,

    Your logic only follows mine if you assume that evil=illegal. In theory, lets say that a cop was arresting a serial killer- no, it shouldn’t care what the serial killer had to deal with, is going through, why he did it, his favorite color, etc.

    And peacefully protesting is neither illegal or evil, so I’m not sure how you would be responsible for anything there. Some person (or cop) committed property damage or violence. That person should be responsible for it. Property damage and injury do not just happen on their own; something causes them.

    AND, I wasn’t even advocating any form of punishment, just that if you do an evil thing, you did an evil thing. In a perfect world this would be obvious. So, yes, if you smoke marijuana then you are a marijuana smoker, no more or less so than anyone else who smokes marijuana. If you protest, then you are a protester, no more or less so than anyone else who protests. If you post on a blog, then you are a blogger, no more or less so than anyone else that posts on a blog. It doesn’t matter why you did it, or if you have a “blog badge.” That’s not to say that that behavior makes you deserving of punishment, or that it justifies someone else locking you in a cage and sadistically torturing you.

    I think that the statement that you did what you did is a far cry from advocating strict liability for all actions, or in the case of victimless crimes (since you put that in quotation marks, could I ask who is a victim if some guy down the street smokes a joint?) liability for something, though I’m not sure what because you didn’t cause any damage.

    So, yes, if you do something that I see as evil, I am going to say that you did an evil thing. And I am not going to care why you did it. If you do something, I am going to say that you did that thing. And I am not going to care why you did it. I do not see how locking someone in a cage who does something that you don’t like follows from this.

  • MParker

    I had a boyfriend who worked at a Huddle House in Putnam County Florida. I used to hang out there a lot at night when he would work grave yard shift. The local sheriffs were there regularly. One night they were all discussing a case about a young white girl who had been brutally raped. They laughed and made jokes about what happened to her, and they also gave out ideas of what they would have done if it had been them. The reason they said she deserved this treatment was because her husband was a black man……

  • PSOSGT

    Wow.. lot’s of comments on this one. What I think you all fail to see is that you are just like us in many ways. Yep, cops go to policeone.com and others and talk about the shit heads that live in there town.. Just as those go to copblock and other sites to talk about the shit head cops in there towns. And I’m sure those who work in department stores talk about the shit heads that shop there.. and so on. Pretty sure if you look into most professions it’s the same way. Heck I’ve got family that work for the hospital. I hear them bitch about patients all the time, yet I know if I showed up at the ER, they would treat me right.

    Question. When was the last time ya’ll took your family out to a resturant and then watched a person who you recently arrested for beating his wife and told you over and over on the way to jail that he was going to “take you out” when he saw you on the street? Guessing not many. Cops aren’t “better” than people. We are just different on some levels. We think about some of the weirdest stuff, and do some of the stupidest stuff(from a normal person’s view). For instance.. I saw the man I arrested long b4 he saw me. Cause I always ask for a table away, but in view of the door, and always sit with my back against the wall.

    And to the final thought I had.. the “the B’s”.
    Be professional
    Be courteous
    Be reasy to kill anyone at any moment.

    Sound’s a bit harsh. But it IS the reality of law enforcement. Yeah there is the saying every stop is different. But there are plenty of video’s out there that show that “simple stop” turn into a deadly confrontation in the blink of an eye. Being prepared for it, is apart of winning. Just as the military prepares, of the local football team.

  • IDIOTTSUNAMI

    If a person is truly a psychopath, eating pancakes,standing in line, or whatever, means nothing. child rapists, get jobs where children are present,thieves get jobs where they can steal, people with huge egos,or got picked on by others, get jobs as cops. The rapist you talked with,may have been a nice person, polite, and caring, just like cops, and thats because their not on the hunt.But put one in their element, and they can change before your eyes.Put a bunch of ego minded cops together,and they look at themselves as the “good guys” and everybody else is the “bad guy.”They are not shy about telling you about bad arrests,just to say, “think of all the crimes he got away with”. I

  • IDIOTTSUNAMI

    (HAD A PROBLEM, SORRY) cops really think they do good, by putting certain people in jail,so they dont commit a crime,and they say it out loud to get the “easily swayed” to keep repeating the same shit.I hear it in this chat,from the same people constantly. Remember Jeffery Dahmer, people said he was quiet, but the one guy that got away said, “he was fine,till he shut the door and locked it” Just like the pancake eating cop when he puts his crime fighting suit on, and the child rapist school bus driver when he sees an easy target child.

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  • Dan

    Good points. I actually have met some ‘good cops’ in my life. I’ll leave out the story for now about splitting a gram of coke with a cop when I was underage, but I think he was cool, and he did tell a friend of mine that he would only bust people when he pulled them over if he felt that they were a threat to others, for example if they were driving in a horribly drunken state. I think that’s a good thing. I think ‘policing’ should include controlling people who may be a harm to others. So, I split this gram of coke with this cop who, I think, had a good concept of his job. But then, that was in the 70’s. Well, I guess I didn’t leave out that story after all.

    In the 80’s, I was in in Idaho… or maybe it was Montana, and I’d been out drinking and after leaving the bar was looking for a place to pull over and sleep (long story), and of course I get pulled over. I look at the cop and say, “Is there a problem, officer?” and he responds, “Well, for starters, you were driving the wrong way down a one-way street with your lights off.” At which point I just look at my steering wheel and think I’m fucked. Just the, as luck would have it, a fight breaks out just outside the bar I had just left. It’s pretty violent and the cop has to weigh his priorities. He has to go deal with this situation. He actually says, “Sorry about this…” to which I respond, “You’re just doing your job.” And he says, “Pull over there and go to sleep.” Which I did. I woke up the next morning, barfed, and went on my way. He was a cool cop.

    So, I’m not against cops or policing. But then, I haven’t lived in the US for a long time. Apparently, things have changed.

  • Jim

    Do you even know one personally? Didn’t think so. Yes, I’ve known several and they’re all barely educated rednecks that think they’re above the law. Some “funny” quotes from them; ” I stopped that fucker for failure to be white” “I got him on a DWB. What’s a DWB? Driving while black” “we should pepper and taze all those fucking occupy assholes”. Quaint. So eating ANYTHING with these filthy fucking animals isn’t going to change my perception or experience.