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Cops and civilians - Drinking from the Fire Hose
and trying not to drown

Mrs_Sweetpeach
Date: 2016-07-22 15:42
Subject: Cops and civilians
Security: Public
Location:Work
Mood:depresseddepressed
Tags:news, police, rl, thoughts
Y'all know I'm pretty much addicted to crime tv of the nonfictional variety and my favorite section of any newspaper is where it reports crime news. Why? I have no idea, but it has been true for long as I've been reading newspapers.

Anyway, I've been thinking about the two most recent cops-behaving-badly news stories, the one where an officer shot an autistic man’s black carer, and now the one about the teacher being body slammed by the police. There was no justification for shooting that guy in the leg. Leaving him bleeding for twenty minutes afterwards was so wrong I don't have words. I don't know if the conversation where the officer said he didn't know why he'd shot the guy was recorded, but I hope it was. I'm far less troubled by the guy getting shot (and deeply thankful it wasn't a fatal shooting) than I am by him having to wait for twenty minutes for medical help. The shooting could be an accident ("I was nervous and pulled the trigger without actually meaning to") but I can't say the same about it taking twenty minutes to get medical attention.

The situation with the school teacher gave me even more to think about. First -- let me be perfectly clear -- I don't think what happened to her was at all right. At the same time I compare what happened to her to what I've seen hundreds of times on Cops/Caught on Camera/etc. and it doesn't seem much different. On those shows I've heard people asking "Are you serious," the police wanting instantaneous obedience to their directives and reacting with force when the person doesn't respond the way or as quickly as the officer wants, and the police ignoring the detainee's questions. I've also seen people repeatedly lying to the police, not to mention actually shouting "I'm not resisting!" while quite obviously doing just that. I don't have a clue how anyone can tell the difference between a scared and confused person being slow to respond due to their fright & confusion and a person with evil intent being slow to respond because they are frantically thinking of a way to turn the situation to their own advantage.

I remember a situation that happened here in Detroit many years ago when the police busted an illegal rave. One of the participants was crippled and in a wheelchair. The office ordered him to put his hands on top of his head; the guy responded that his arms didn't work that way. The officer then took hold of his hands, said something along the lines of "Well they do now," and forced them into the position he wanted, tearing up the poor guys muscles and ligaments in the process. I don't know if there's a way to tell (from sensation) the difference between someone who is actively resisting (pulling back) and a medical condition. (I have no idea what the outcome of the Detroit situation; I just remember the guy was hurt and his friends were outraged on his behalf.)

I have no solutions to any of this. Only questions and sorrow.

This entry was originally posted at http://mrs-sweetpeach.dreamwidth.org/887091.html.
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Polly
User: polly_b
Date: 2016-07-22 20:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Generalizing here (and I do know that every single officer is not identical, but) - police in this country have become paramilitary organizations stuck in a war mentality, an 'us vs. them' frame of mind where the public is always the enemy and the police shoot first and ask questions later. Remedying this would require changing that attitude back into a mindset where they view themselves as part of the communities they are supposed to protect and serve.

I don't know if it's from fifty years of TV and movie cops acting like TV and movie cops, or if it's a side effect of the war on drugs, the purchase of large quantities of military grade hardware after the Kuwait and Iraq wars, or what. I don't know if it even matters what caused it. I just know it would take a massive paradigm shift. I also know that it's not likely to happen.

I worry every day that one of my loved ones is going to come across one of those bad cops and end up dead. It's horrifying and frightening. We should not have to be afraid of the police, but any sensible person would be.
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Mrs_Sweetpeach: 8-pointed Star
User: mrs_sweetpeach
Date: 2016-07-23 00:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:8-pointed Star
I know I am afraid of policemen. I have never encountered a policewoman so I am unsure of how I'd feel about her. No, wait, I take that back. One of my college classmates was a former Detroit police officer and I remember liking her a heap. Although she wasn't in uniform and wasn't armed then and that might make a difference.

Also doesn't help that my last encounter with a deputy resulted in a $130.00 traffic ticket plus the need to take a $100 class to avoid points on my license. I am still pissed that it was spotting him off in a parking lot hunting drivers that mad me not see my car enter the school zone.
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Mrs_Sweetpeach: 8-pointed Star
User: mrs_sweetpeach
Date: 2016-07-23 00:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:8-pointed Star
Back to add that I have long thought declaring war on drugs is a bad idea and the militarization of the police even worse.
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Polly
User: polly_b
Date: 2016-07-23 23:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My niece (on my ex's side - I was married to her uncle when she was born so she'll always be my niece) was a deputy in a sheriff's department until fairly recently. I'm not sure if she quit or was laid off or what, but I know it was really difficult for her as a black woman to maintain her loyalty to the department given how often black folks are targeted and killed by the police. Which is a shame, because the fewer minorities there are as police officers, the worse the problems get, IMO.
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asparagusmama
User: asparagusmama
Date: 2016-07-22 20:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My heart just goes out to the American people right now, particularly black people. As an outsider, I see to intractable problems - the legacy of slavery which has never left the US, particularly the south, and guns.

A friend from church, a policeman, once asked me how did I think he made most arrests - he went on to tell me it was by phoning people up and asking them to come down to the police station. He told me there are two forms of policing in the world - policing by consent and policing by force. Obviously, policing by force and carrying guns poses so many more risks. I'm not saying there isn't institutional racism still in the UK police - there is, young black men are still more likely to be stopped and searched in parts of London and Manchester. But not shot.

I really don't know what the answer is, but we in the rest of the world watch on in horror too.

xxx
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Mrs_Sweetpeach: 8-pointed Star
User: mrs_sweetpeach
Date: 2016-07-23 00:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:8-pointed Star
That is a fascinating perspective, policing be force versus consent. I don't know if this country will ever advance to that but I sure wish it would.
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WPAdmirer
User: wpadmirer
Date: 2016-07-22 21:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I join you in your sorrow. I know cops, and so many are really good people. But there are those who clearly get off on the power of it all. Then there are those just ill-prepared to deal with the stress, and they do panic. But instead of admitting that, they try to cover it.

It's a fucking mess.
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Mrs_Sweetpeach: 8-pointed Star
User: mrs_sweetpeach
Date: 2016-07-23 03:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:8-pointed Star
Yes, it sure is a mess. I remember reading Serpico when I was in high school and thinking people like him were who I wanted as my police. I don't know if today's police even know who he is or if they would agree with his views on policing.

So many of the officers on my law shows are really good people and who I think I would like to hang out with. Although I am such a boring person I have no idea why any of them would want to hang out with me. I am happy to listen but I don't really go anywhere other than work and my own living room and watching me knit would get old quick.
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WPAdmirer
User: wpadmirer
Date: 2016-07-23 12:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You are not boring at all! Stop that silly thinking. I think you'd be a fine person to hang out with, and I'm sure they'd appreciate a listening ear.
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