Our Blue Problem
Once again, the Left has taken bad policing as an excuse for riots. Tyre Nichols was clearly terrified that what happened to George Floyd was going to happen to him, and it did, leaving us in the perverse position of having to say, “Thank God they were all Black.”
The Usual Suspects have erupted regardless, triggering disturbances and riots across the country. The standard declamations involving racism and “White supremacy,” utterly senseless or not, have been trotted out as always. The American Left has sensed yet another opportunity to destabilize and destroy, and have leapt on it.
Of course, racism has nothing to do with it. Instead, the cops, like so many other institutions in recent years, have encountered a technological revolution that they don’t understand and for which they are ill-prepared.
That technology consists of cheap digital video cameras and a network – the Internet – to distribute the resulting footage nationwide and beyond.
Videos of rogue cops abusing their authority and committing crimes against the public have become staple viewing on YouTube, and to a lesser extent other services. Numerous YouTube channels now exist devoted to documenting police misconduct in video format. These range from left-leaning rabble-rouser channels such as TYT Sports to serious efforts by practicing legal professionals such as The Civil Rights Lawyer and Lehto’s Law.
What’s appalling is how many of these channels exist, and how there is no lack of video footage to keep them going. Except in the case of nationally breaking stories, there is little overlap, with many of the channels focusing on incidents limited to their particular regions. (The Civil Rights Lawyer largely deals with stories coming out of West Virginia, with enough arising to enable him to post several times a week.)
Viewing this footage makes several things clear:
- We have a rogue cop problem in this country, and a serious one.
- There is no racial bias evident. Rogue cops are an equal-opportunity menace.
- The elites, media, and the Uniparty would prefer to ignore this.
If there is any one group suffering more than all others, it is the weak and vulnerable, particularly the mentally and physically disabled. (One study has revealed that one in four victims of police shootings are mentally ill.) The number of cases of rogue cops targeting the disabled is no less than mindboggling. It appears that certain officers view the disabled as “easy kills,” what criminologists call the “less dead,” victims from outcast groups – prostitutes, junkies, the homeless -- open to abuse without fear of retribution. Recent cases of disabled targeted by bad cops include:
- Karen Garner, an elderly woman suffering a mild case of dementia, neglected to pay for her items while shopping at a Colorado Wal-Mart and was stopped at the exit. She offered to pay but the staff of the CCP’s favorite retail chain threw her out and called the cops. The police found her a short distance away, picking wildflowers in a field. She became confused as they stood shouting at her and turned to flee, at which point the officer in charge seized her, slammed her against the patrol wagon, and threw her to the ground, breaking her shoulder. They then took her to the station house and dumped her in a holding cell, where she was left without medical attention for six hours. To top things off, the cops then accessed the bodycam footage and called in everybody for a good laugh. (This case is actually nearly three years old, but the Loveland, Colorado police managed to keep it under wraps until last year.)
- Christian Glass drove to the Colorado high desert for an afternoon of amateur anthropology and suffered a schizophrenic episode, convinced that he was being stalked by “skinwalkers,” demons from Navaho folklore. He called 911 for help, explaining to the dispatcher that he had two knives that he intended to toss out of the car when police arrived. But when he moved to do so, they began shouting threats that they’d shoot him if he made a move. For an hour they shouted abuse at Glass as he sunk deeper into a psychotic haze. (At one point a female officer approached his car to attempt quiet persuasion, but she was thrust aside while other cops continued their torrent of abuse.) An officer approached the car and noted that Glass, though sitting quietly, was holding a knife. The cops then carefully spread out (“Watch out for crossfire.”) and opened fire, one heroically leaping Rambo-like atop the hood to pour rounds through the windshield. Glass died instantly.
- James Hodges was walking home from jury duty in Columbia County, Florida when a sheriff’s deputy stopped him and demanded to know why he was carrying a firearm in his back pocket. Hodges displayed the item, which was in fact a collapsible cane. It developed that Hodges is legally blind, and while he can get around in daylight, he requires the cane at night. The deputy chose to escalate, demanding ID, which was in no way required under the circumstances, and was met with a few salty replies from Hodges. At that point her supervisor drove up, took in the situation, and then ordered her to arrest Hodges “for resisting arrest.”
- Jeff Parker was in his Huntsville, Alabama home holding what was apparently a firearm to his head and threatening suicide. Two officers answered the call and began deescalating the situation while speaking quietly to Parker. At that point Officer William Ben Darby burst into the scene flourishing a shotgun and shrieking at Parker to put the gun down. He had scarcely completed the sentence before opening fire, killing Parker instantly. The “firearm” turned out to be a flare gun.
Note that none of these people were actual criminals and under ordinary circumstances would never have brushed up against the law. Also note that they were all White.
There’s no point in claiming that “these are exceptions.” They are no such thing. Astonishingly, there is yet another incident of a gently demented old woman being brutalized by an out-of-control cop almost identical to the Garner case. Add to this list the homeless Colorado vet beaten by the cops, the Dallas cop who assaulted a man just released from a hospital, the Atlanta cop who murdered a mentally ill man, the mentally ill Maryland man shot by numerous officers for lifting a cane (a piquant detail here lies in the fact that the one officer who actually identified it as a cane opened up on him anyway). The mentally ill Killeen, Texas man shot for waving his arms and shouting “Hallelujah!” The 81-year-old Brooklyn woman assaulted and beaten by cops for the crime of asking for a police report. The apparently never-ending parade of stroke stories: the Tampa man who suffered a stroke dumped in a jail cell and left there for hours (He later died); the Virginia stroke victim pepper sprayed, tased, and then jerked from his car and slammed to the pavement for “failure to comply” (he somehow survived). None can deny the bitter truth of the new adage: “There is no situation that a cop can’t make ten times worse.”
Another appalling element here is the savoir faire of the cops involved. They all know they’re being recorded and that somebody – perhaps many somebodies – will see the footage. But they don’t care. They’ll occasionally shut off bodycams in the midst of an assault, but not as often as you’d think. The impression created here is that they got away with it so often before the video revolution that such behavior has become canalized.
What’s the official response to these incidents? Generally, a statement that the department can’t comment while an investigation is in progress, followed months – even years – later by a brief statement that “The officers acted within policy guidelines.” Police unions are even more egregious, defending police conduct no matter what the circumstances. Even when officers are punished, they are generally allowed to keep their pensions and to resign without being fired, which leaves their records pristine.
In addition to official footage or footage from CCTV cameras, we have the new phenomenon of “auditors,” individuals who apply subtle pressure to police under everyday circumstances and then film the responses. This pressure typically takes the form of the auditor standing across the street from a police station with a camera. An officer (or officers) inevitably emerges, often proceeding to violate the auditor’s rights under the First, Fourth, and Fifth amendments. A demand to know, “What do you think you’re doing?” is answered with “I am a citizen journalist exercising my constitutional rights.” All too often, this deteriorates into threats, assaults, and even arrests. While it’s heartening to see many officers inquiring as to the auditor’s purpose, assuring him that he has a perfect right to do what he’s doing, and then withdrawing, it doesn’t happen often enough.
Yes, some auditors are punks looking for a confrontation. But the majority are serious individuals using new technology to fulfill a need that for decades has gone neglected by legacy media. In fact, a YouTube channel, Audit the Audit, is dedicated to analyzing and rating the behavior of the auditors themselves in order to keep them honest and on point. Police auditing is not, as many cops claim, a form of harassment, but an effort to meet the problem of police misconduct head on, carried out by citizens themselves. As is often the case, novel technology has served to reveal social pathologies that need to be addressed.
How can this one be addressed? Some remedies can be implemented immediately:
- Every police department should be required to be equip officers with bodycams that film constantly and which cannot be turned off.
- Any department refusing bodycams should be ipso facto suspected of corruption.
- Footage of questionable incidents should be released to the public immediately. There is no need to withhold for a period of two years or more video evidence of a helpless old woman being battered by cops.
- Footage of incidents must be carefully analyzed by third parties such as police oversight boards in order to identify, weed out, and terminate problem officers. It is likely that most incidents are caused by a very small cohort of bad cops. Eliminating these from the force should be a priority.
- Police unions should have no say in these matters, and should be required to limit themselves to standard union concerns such as pay, benefits, and so on. As it is, there seems to be no situation, up to and including murder, in which police unions will not immediately come to the defense of criminal cops.
- The practice of allowing criminal officers to resign rather than be fired, and then take a job with a force one town or county over, is endemic across the country and needs to be eliminated. These Typhoid Marys simply infect and degrade whatever police force they join. (This, needless to say, goes for problem cops identified by the analysis mentioned above.)
- Serious effort needs to be taken by police academies to educate officer candidates on how to deal with the mentally ill and emotionally unbalanced. Such courses should be taught by mental health professionals.
- De-escalation techniques must become a cornerstone of police protocol.
- Auditing should be encouraged and paid close attention to. Police who cannot grasp the concept of constitutional rights are a bad sign, suggesting a need for closer examination.
Beyond that, there is the question of police culture in general. A myth has grown of the “Thin Blue Line,” of policemen as sacrificial lambs misunderstood by the public and savaged by media and government. This is nonsense. Of course, leftist abuse of authority as found in the asinine “defund” movement is a given and must be taken into account. But the notion that cops comprise a bulwark between the public and open anarchy was undercut fatally by Portland, Minneapolis, Kenosha, Parkland, and Uvalde. In all those cases, cops stood by while criminals ran wild.
Listening to the “thin blue line” rhetoric, you could be forgiven thinking that cops are somehow being shipped off to deal with criminals on some distant, isolated front, perhaps on the surface of Mars, to which common citizens have no exposure and cannot possibly grasp. This, too, is gibberish. It is the public at large who are exposed to the full brunt of criminal behavior before it ever reaches any official institution, police included. Before any cop encounters a criminal, average Americans have been victimized, often many times and sometimes fatally.
The factors giving rise in this malignant police culture are well understood. Municipal governments using police as a major revenue source through issuing parking tickets and the like places them in direct conflict with the law-abiding public. Such efforts should be handled by meter maids. Patrol cars, particularly the paramilitary behemoths that have become popular in the last few years, isolate cops from the life of the neighborhood, as does allowing them to reside in distant suburbs. There is an increasing tendency by Democrats to use the police as a tool of political control, as we saw during the Antifa/BLM riots and the January 6 police riot.
This state of affairs cannot continue, and will be solved one way or another. We will we take hold of the problem, or will we wait until events dictate a solution?
NOTE: This piece was just going up when we learned that a demented double amputee with a knife was shot to death by LA police. Footage shows the man trying to flee by running on his stumps while the cops aim their guns. The long witch’s sabbath goes on.