The Big Apple, the big police state

The absurdities the New York City government is capable of seem to have no bounds. In February of this year, the NYPD shot Ramarley Graham, a teenager, for attempting to flush some marijuana down his grandmother’s toilet. Earlier this year, NYC banned food donations to the homeless (I shit you not – read it for yourself). A New York health board recently banned large sodas. There has also been talk of a salt ban.

If we go back just a little longer, you will recall that New York is the heartless city that ticketed people for playing chess in a public park, and fined a broke man $2,000 for collecting cans and bottles for recycling. Yes – they really are that cruel – the man was broke and was collecting trash to recycle and earn some change, and they fined him $2,000 for it. A poor man was removing trash free of charge, to both the benefit of the public and himself, but fortunately, the magnanimous and omniscient government came in to save us all from the dangers of unlicensed trash pickup. Courtesy of Mayor Bloomberg.

Naive and delusional Americans everywhere may hail these measures – violent deterrence against drugs, bad foods, bad drinks, unlicensed trash collectors, and chess-playing – as desirable and appropriate in the furtherance of good health. However, the reality is that New York City is essentially a police state which uses force to demand obedience and inject its vile influence into every aspect of New Yorkers’ lives.

These edicts are not mere suggestions or awareness campaigns to encourage people to live a healthier, better, or moral lifestyle. If they were merely suggestions, they wouldn’t need to be laws, which, even if they begin with warnings or fines, ultimately are backed by violence or the threat thereof. If you don’t pay the fines, you will receive more fines. If you continue to fail to pay fines, you face arrest and imprisonment. If you resist arrest and/or imprisonment, you will be summarily executed. Unless you deny the reality of this legal system, it is indisputable that every single law is backed by violence or the threat thereof.

If laws were simply helpful guides, police would not write tickets or arrest people; they would tap people on the shoulder, look them sternly in the eye, and gently remind them that consuming too much sugar, smoking weed, and/or collecting trash is not appropriate/healthy/desirable, and then walk away. The city wouldn’t need very many policemen – just a few with maybe a bullhorn or two, to walk around reminding people that they should be healthy.

But because these are laws we are talking about, the situation is quite different. With this plethora of senseless laws, comes the need for a plethora of enforcement intrusions and violence. When a police force is given enough power to intrude on countless aspects of peoples’ lives, they will not stop at the law. They most certainly will abuse their powers as they please.

Let me give you the example of the deluded liberal – they are for marijuana legalization, but probably support the ban on sugary drinks and all kinds of other nanny-state laws. They would love to see police rip Big Gulps out of people’s hands at gun point, but think everyone should be smoking a doobie on a bench in Central Park. However, you can’t have it both ways. A police force powerful enough to stop you from drinking soda is powerful enough to intrude on other aspects of private life, whether legal or not. For instance, in the Big Apple, marijuana is technically decriminalized, but 140 people are still being arrested for it per day.

But let’s not let the equally asinine conservatives off easy either. They love to see police molesting people to look for turrrists and drug dealers. They literally think police should be busting into peoples’ apartments to stop them from having butt sex, and generally support a strong police state, so they are equally part of the problem.

40,000 laws are passed a year and there are so many laws that no one can even keep track of them all. Police are no different, so they end up doing as they please. When there are so many laws requiring police enforcement and execution, New York’s “stop and frisk policy” and the accompanying abuses by police should come as no surprise.

Alvin, a teenager, secretly recorded an instance in which he was violently detained by two police officers, for no reason. During the 2-minute recording, the officers provide no legal justification for their actions. One officer threatens to smack him. When Alvin asks why he is being threatened with arrest, the other officer responds, “For being a fucking mutt.” The other officer later says, “Dude, I’m gonna break your fuckin’ arm, then I’m gonna punch you in the fuckin’ face.”

This is regular practice. A NYPD veteran of over 10 years explained that police officers are encouraged to do this, stating, “The police department is like forcing us to do these unreasonable stops, or you will be penalized.” He further explained it was explicit policy to harass people. In fact, his captain once walked into the precinct and stated,”We’re going to go out there and we’re going to violate some rights.” (See full video here.)

Such actions are probably not legal, and not constitutional, but it doesn’t matter. When no one on the face of the planet can possibly begin to know, much less understand all the laws in existence, it’s not surprising that police don’t know, or don’t care about the law. When most lawyers who have been through 3 years of law school cannot competently explain Constitutional law, certainly police cannot be expected to have a good handle on the subject. When police have been granted a large, violent monopoly to enforce all kinds of stupid laws against people, they find it easy to exempt themselves from such trivialities and do as they please.




Georgia Sand

Georgia (George) Sand is an attorney located in sunny California. She enjoys beer, jogging, the beach, music, and chatting with her cats in her spare time.