I’m not biased; I just question authority when they have lied to me repeatedly.

Over and over, responses to my articles involve some kind of criticism about my biased indictment of police, and overzealous willingness to imply corruption, dishonesty and conspiracy. In particular, I am reminded again and again that police work hard, were “hand picked” for being upstanding people, and I should really walk a day in their shoes before I open my big mouth.

Here’s why they are wrong.

First, I don’t need to walk a day in anyone’s shoes,  feel empathy, or see things from someone else’s perspective to determine whether something is right or wrong.  I don’t need to do a day on the job with a badge to know that torture, violence and murder are wrong.  The easiest example of all – clearly, one needn’t be a Nazi or work as a Gestapo for a day to know that racism, violence and genocide are wrong.  And more moderate examples – one needn’t ingest cyanide to know it will kill you,  one needn’t be punched to know that it’s painful (for all of you irksome folk who like to inappropriately call Godwin’s law because you know your logic failed, and you don’t have a legitimate response).

Second, police engage in corruption, lies, coverups and dishonesty all the time.  Recently, Lieutenant Jon Burge was found to have been involved in torture and forced confessions of suspects for decades, with the help (or at least, very convenient apathy and selective attention) of prosecutors and fellow police officers.

In May of 2009, Derrick Donchak, 19, and Brandon Piekarsky, 17, were among a group of men who brutally beat and killed an immigrant, Luis Ramirez. The fight ended with Ramirez convulsing in the street and foaming from the mouth.  Three police officers, one of whom was dating Piekarsky’s mother, helped cover up evidence.  The other two officers who helped orchestrate a coverup were higher ranking officers.

Another officer, Marcus Jackson, apparently had been molesting or sexually assaulting women on numerous occasions, while facing no recourse.  In fact, on one occasion, someone who tried to intervene and defend the victim was charged with crimes.  Most recently, a victim’s boyfriend called 911 while Jackson was assaulting the victim, and 911 ignored the call. The victim and the boyfriend were both arrested, and the boyfriend is now facing deportation.

In another instance of repulsive police loyalty, a detective was shunned and forced to quit his job early for exposing police abuses.  Detective Max Seifert  exposed the truth about a man who was beaten by a DEA agent and charged with a crime after he wouldn’t let the DEA agent, who was driving an unmarked car, pass him on the right side of the road.  Barron Bowling was beaten unconscious by DEA agent, Timothy McCue.  Bowling was then arrested.

Officers at the scene of the incident did not document or photograph Mr. Bowling’s injuries or witness statements.  In fact, one officer Robert Lane told Mr. Bowling he was going to jail because DEA agents “do pretty much whatever they want.”

These are just the latest instances of police lies, conspiracy and clandestine crimes that I could name immediately off the top of my head.  I literally jotted this list down within 7 seconds, and stopped at example 4 because I didn’t feel it necessary to beat a dead horse.

Repeatedly, officers punish those who report them or cause them trouble, and back up their comrades who commit terrible acts. The “few bad applies” logic doesn’t hold if the allegedly good apples stand by and let horrible things happen, or help the bad apples cover up evidence.

If police are just ordinary, hardworking people with the exception of a “few bad apples” (and as some would argue, even more hardworking and morally upright than the rest of us), why don’t I hear about violent crimes, conspiracies, and coverups at Target, Macy’s, Ralph’s, Papa John’s, Olive Garden, or JC Penny several times a year?

The reason it doesn’t happen at any of those privately run locations, is because there is no monopoly, much less a monopoly on force in those businesses.   If such things happened with the cashiers at JC Penny, it would quickly lose customers and go out of business. We are forced to tolerate corruption and conspiracy when it comes to police because the particular police department in our city is our only option for protection. If the market were open to people who could voluntarily choose their “protectors,” we wouldn’t have businesses that cover things up repeatedly, without punishment – security agencies that engaged in such behavior would quickly fail.

Certainly, this doesn’t mean every single police officer is engaged in some kind of back room conspiracy. However, when it happens repeatedly and frequently, and the superiors seem not only to tolerate it, but be in on it, I don’t think it’s terribly unfair to point to suspicious circumstances and question whether there is an ongoing cover up, or at the least, question whether the police are handling the matter in an honest fashion.

I’m not biased; I’m in fact very objective.  When I realize I have been lied to repeatedly, and police departments all over the country have engaged in dishonest behavior, I question what police departments are representing, and what they are claiming to be the case. This is what it means to be objective – to examine available evidence, circumstances, and knowledge – not to just jump at every chance to think the best of and give the benefit of the doubt to someone with a badge and a gun.  “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” has never been so applicable as it is with police departments and their treachery.

One who follows the news and has heard of police conspiracy and destruction of evidence on multiple occasions and doesn’t question suspicious circumstances,  is biased.  There is no one more biased than one who reads the news, hears of police corruption and conspiracies, but when faced with suspicious circumstances surrounding police, rushes to think, “Police are protecting me!   There’s probably some explanation for all this,”  and throws all other considerations and prior knowledge out the window.  It would behoove such people not to flatter themselves; they are not objective.  They are just biased police cop-suckers who lack independent thought.

  • Mike

    I was biased towards the cops until I found Photography Isn’t a Crime. Then I sat there for five hours watching the videos and reading the posts. My mind changed and I am not as biased in favor of the cops. I am more concerned and suspicious..

    Everyone has a bias including you. I don’t read this site as much because the bias is too weighted and obvious. My Grandfather is a conspiracy guy and he sees it everywhere and in everything, There are some things I agree with him about but not many.

    If you are in the middle of something all of the time that is all you see. And there are plenty of bad things that happen in private companies. Immigrant employees used as slaves, X-Ray operators at the airport keeping photos of women, overcharging customers at the cash register, white collar crimes, etc.

    There is a state supreme court judge who does arbitration in real estate that never wants to buy or sell a house because that person arbitrates real estate cases day in and day out. Our experiences create bias.

    I do appreciate that light is being shown on corrupt cops but your own words show your bias and it ‘s fine.

  • http://socialmemorycomplex.net Jeremy

    I always say that if I condemn all cops based on the actions of some subset thereof, I’m applying the same stereotyping as the cops I deplore apply to all the supposedly stupid, unappreciative civilians they disdain. Where I indict just about all cops, though, is on the matter of the blue wall of silence. Every profession will have bad apples, but when good apples cover for the bad apples, then we have a situation where the profession itself and all its participants are complicit. That is the essential critique of law enforcement in this day and age: not that they are all bullies, not that they are all abusive, not that they are all criminal, but that time and time again the institution of law enforcement itself protects these bad elements from accountability. What interests me are the organizational, institutional, political, economic, etc reasons WHY this occurs, since it’s really in the end not in the interests of law enforcement professionals. And that, I believe, is where Balko’s work on police militarization comes into play (I’ve also tried to offer some suggestions myself: see this, this, and this).

  • Guy Fawkes

    While there are some great cops out there, cop culture sucks. It is very similar to the old school Mafia culture in that they both practice Omerta, sometimes referred to as the code of silence. Because of this, if a decent cop reports bad behavior of other cops he gets ostracized. I can’t speak for her, but I think Jenn is just sick of the same bad behavior going on and on, and never improving. Police brutality is nothing new, I would argue it’s no worse than it ever was, when you look at incidents like the civil rights marches where demonstrators were gassed and had dogs set on them, the 1968 “police riot” at the democratic national convention, in 1985 the cops dropping a firebomb on a tenement and burning a whole block down. “The police fired 10,000 rounds at the house in two hours. A police helicopter then dropped a four-pound bomb made of C-4 plastic explosive and Tovex, a dynamite substitute, onto the roof of the house without any prior warning. The resulting explosion caused the house to catch fire, igniting a massive blaze which eventually destroyed 65 houses. Eleven people, including John Africa, five other adults and five children, died in the resulting fire.” By any standards this action would be looked at as an unconscionable act of terrorism perpetrated by the government on it’s own people, yet so far no public official has been criminally prosecuted in the case.. Again, I can’t really speak for her, but I think Jenn (and I KNOW myself) would like to see far better accountability for police misuse of force, which has been going on for decades.

  • Dylboz

    The old canard that “a few bad apples are spoiling the bunch” is always thrown back at me when I criticize police as a fundamentally corrupt and irredeemable institution. I am constantly told that the decent cops despise these “bad apples” even more than I do, etc., etc. blah, blabbity blah, ad infinitum. Well, that is a lie. The subject of my first article for this website is a recent episode here in Arizona. A Phoenix police officer was arrested just minutes after brutally executing a man for wanting nothing more than to leave the presence of the violent thug who had just murdered his dog in cold blood, sprayed him with pepper spray and Tasered him repeatedly. The cop was busted on account of his partner’s testimony. And while I’m duly impressed that the guy’s partner had a crisis of conscience exquisite enough that he breached that “Blue Wall of Silence” to turn the marauder in, one has to wonder, why did he not intervene AT THE SCENE? Why did he let his partner place a gun to this man’s head and, according to his sworn statement, say “I don’t need a warrant.” Why did he stand by as an innocent man was assaulted with a deadly weapon in the kitchen of his own home, in the course of what he already KNEW was an illegal entry? Why did it take witnessing a willful act of murder to bring out this officer’s sense of duty to protect the community from acts of violent criminality?

    Furthermore, why is it that the Police Union has chosen to support not the cop who is testifying to this litany of horrific offenses perpetrated against a man who was unarmed and never posed a threat to either one of them, but instead, his partner, the man who is accused of these gross violations of not merely civil rights, or professional standards of behavior, but the most basic moral tenets of any human society? Why have they pledged to support his family financially, why have they posted his bond, why have they promised to retain the best legal counsel for this man, an officer whose personnel file is littered with complaints and investigations of excessive force, despite his relatively short tenure with the Phoenix Police Department? Do they not trust the honesty and truthfulness of the man’s partner, a more senior officer with a far less troubled record?

    I can tell you what is likely to happen to him for speaking up. The same thing that happened to Max Seifert, and countless others who dared cross that “Thin Blue Line” in order to keep their “Brother Officers” honest, and to police their own. He’ll be frozen out, his performance reviews will suddenly become universally negative, he’ll get the worst shifts, in the worst neighborhoods, and he’ll get partnered with all the misfit rookies. They’ll harass him, threaten him and otherwise treat him like a pariah until he quits, or retires, or transfers elsewhere. In the worst case, he’ll be set up for a crime or even murdered (it has happened before).

    That’s why there’s no truth to that “one bad apple” crap. It’s a barrel full of rotten apples. And when the rare good one actually stands up against corruption, the rest do their damnedest to toss him over the side and into the mud. Just as bad money chases out good money from the market, so too do bad cops push good ones off the force. People want so badly to believe it’s all Mayberry out there, but Sherriff Taylor wouldn’t last a week in the precinct full of Barney Fifes on steroids that is the average American police department.

    My biases will change when I see the police routinely elevate these whistle-blower cops as heros, and promote them to the office of the chief, instead of making their lives hell and ruining their careers, while promoting every other officer involved in the conspiracy to cover up their crimes. I’ll tell you what, I’m not holding my breath.

  • http://www.dailyteaparty.com Daily Tea Party

    Hi Cop Block! We have posted your article at the Freedom Movement’s DailyTeaParty.com

    “Copblock continues its crusade to unmask police abuses. Abuses that seem more prominent everyday. We are not sure if they are more prominent because they happen more often, of because activists like Cop Block who are highlighting it and bringing it to our attention.We at the Daily Tea Party appreciate all activism that reports the truth undistorted, whether it be crooked cops, politicians or anyone in a position of power and trust.This is what the Tea Party is all about; truth, honesty, accountability and living up to the responsibilities that come with swearing an oath to the Constitution.I’m sure that we will get some critical email. My answer to you is…“If you have nothing to hide, what do you have to worry about?””


  • Jeremy

    Just read the story about NYPD officer Adrian Schoolcraft. It’s quite disturbing, and shows how many rotten apples are in the bucket.

  • http://www.rashynullplanet.com/blog/ Matt

    “I always say that if I condemn all cops based on the actions of some subset thereof…”

    Taking a cop job by means you accept as pay money you know is stolen. What more do you need to find cops reprehensible?

  • Hazy

    You should never think that a cop is your friend, that’s for sure. Even friendly banter between you and a cop can quickly turn into a nightmare if you say the wrong thing. And in this country, if you’re not cop you’re little people.

  • Jenn

    I think it is important to define bias. If bias means you frequently, repeatedly, or have a tendency to come to the same answer in many circumstances, it’s not necessarily bad. Every time I see police beating, torturing, or killing people in an unjustified manner, I have a strong tendency conclude that the police in those circumstances were wrong, evil and corrupt. I don’t think there is something wrong with this. I feel that this is what I do, and for this, I often get accused of bias because I always take the side opposing police.

    On the other hand, bias may mean that in the face of various information, knowledge, or evidence, you will make judgments or decisions contrary to reason or evidence because you are irrationally prejudiced. For example, seeing a person shoot a police officer who was just standing there doing nothing, and taking the side of the shooter because you just hate police. I do not believe I am biased in this manner. I believe many of the people who accuse me of bias are in fact themselves biased in this sense. They see horrible shit happening to innocent people at the hands of police, but default to “oh but they are police, they are government, they are doing their job, nothin to see here folks, it was an accident/justified/perfectly fine.”

  • Jenn

    Thanks everyone, for reading. Great comments! Daily Tea Party – thank you for reposting. I appreciate it.

  • Jenn

    Mike, I do agree that being in the middle of something will definitely cause some selective attention. However, I do not think private companies habitually commit and cover up violence to the same extent police do. Further, I believe that when private companies do do so, they frequently are able to because of government interference, action, or even support. For instance, it would be difficult to enslave immigrants without immigration laws. Airport security is arguably not private. It would seem to me that overcharging customers and white collar crimes are much harder to cover up within a company, and have the market to check such behavior, since such businesses could potentially fail, whereas police departments coerce funds and never go out of business.

  • anonymous

    OH MY GOD! I love this. This is by far one of the best rants i have read from you guys yet. I constantly scan your sites checking out what you have posted and usually wind up so f-n pissed off i can’t stand it. what you guys do is by far greater than any politician could do. YOU try to open peoples eyes while they try to blind them. For the love of god keep doing what you’re doing. Oh if anyone isn’t too busy, check into the corruption in Stone County, Mo. This shit down here sucks. There is one prosecutor here that is hell bent on sending innocent people to jail. Any info helps.

  • http://www.dailyteaparty.com Daily Tea Party

    Breaking news for Cop Block: Setting a chilling precedent and in a manner befitting the most tyrannical of regimes, the government seized a newborn baby girl today because the father has associated with the lawful, pro-peace, pro-constitution, anti-violence Oath Keepers. What makes this particularly scary is exactly that, that …


  • Pat

    Bias is a nice little red herring thrown by those who wish to hide behind the status quo. Bias has nothing to do with principles. If so many policemen are found to be involved in criminality and violent assault, then that institution needs re-rendering at the very least.

    I certainly don’t engage with this tit for tat argument about bias myself. Just explain the facts for what they are. If people suggest they’re are good cops, then prove it, provide me with the evidence. It’s erroneous to just say there are good cops out there without it. It’s intellectual sloth frankly.

    Personally myself, the institution of the police force, is what is, as defined by the second word in it’s name ‘force’. They represent the thugs of a state that is only interested in taking taxes off us. This is really their only mandate. the rest is just decoration for propaganda about stopping crime.

  • Adam Mueller

    BOOM!!!! Great write up Jenn, as always. Love the cop-suckers line, priceless.

    Thanks Tea Party for posting and appreciating our work. Keep spreading the truth.

  • Jenn

    Heh, cop suckers was your term Adam. Thanks for giving me good ideas and alternatives on this one.

  • Lawrence

    MIKE: In the private sector you go out of business if you fail too often, and some money is lost. In the public sector of Gov-Co and the police, you DIE, and people seem to accept that. Of course, Gov-Co (whether Dubya or Obama) does prop up failing private-sector organizations with subsidies and bailouts — which seems to be a habit: always keep a bad thing going. Do you see a pattern?

    JENN and ADAM: Thanks for that “cop-sucker” visual. I’m going to use it right along with my “Lincoln-Licker” phrases, which I use on those who worship at the feet of Americas most bloody, tyrannical, and racist president (so many choices, so little time): Abe Lincoln.

  • Jenn

    Lincoln Licker! I like that. Was Lincoln really the most racist? I would think Andrew Jackson might give him a run for the money, with his horrendous treatment of Native Americans. And any of the slave owning presidents I would think are more racist than Lincoln.

  • Lawrence

    Jenn: I think you’ve got me! And now you’ve got me thinking of Wilson. He was a real nutter when it came to racial theories too. What a target-rich environment the presidency presents! It’s like asking about how to find the bottom of a black hole.

  • Jenn

    I don’t know anything about Wilson. Oh well, it makes no difference to pick one anyway – like asking who was worse? Mao? Hitler? Stalin? Hideki Tojo? No one gets a gold star for killing the most or being the most racist, lol.

  • Bridget

    I have a question for Jenn. If a policeman lied to me and told me I had a misdemeanor, and I in turn, believed him and wrote it down on several job applications including some for the State of Michigan, and I later found out that I was not charged with any misdemeanor, do I have some sort of case against him if I can prove that it is the reason I was not hired? Is it worth investigating at all? What is your take on a hypothetical? I realize I probably have to pay for legal advice.

  • Rob

    Bridget…… This is not legal advise, but can you prove that he told you that you had a misdemeanor or is this more he said she said? If there is dash cam video you can subpoena? Also job applications only require you to answer you if your were “Convicted “of a Felony, unless you were applying for state or federal jobs where they would want to know any arrests and the outcomes of each one. I would love to help to send you in the right direction, but your post doesn’t give me enough..

  • Jenn

    Hi Bridget – I emailed you about this instead of posting on here. Hope you don’t mind.

  • http://www.gfdfghjk.com Andrew A. Sailer

    Wow! Thank you! I permanently wanted to write on my site something like that. Can I take a fragment of your post to my site?

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