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.