California PD officers allegedly caught ‘badge-bending’ every time they get a civilian kill

Just one more reason we need to police the police.

In the Bay Area of California, former police captain John Whitney has finally reached a settlement with his former employer, Vallejo Police Department; in 2019, Whitney was terminated, shortly after blowing the whistle on questionable alleged behaviors in the workplace culture.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times via Yahoo! News:

Whitney alleges in a lawsuit filed against the city and his former employers in 2020 that he was fired after he told Vallejo City Manager Greg Nyhoff, Mayor Bob Sampayan and then-City Atty. Claudia Quintana that members of the Police Department were bending the corners of their badges to commemorate every time an officer killed a civilian.

According to the report, Whitney joined the department in 2000, eventually earning the rank of captain in 2015, which was around the time “badge-bending” first came to his attention; when a colleague was placed on administrative leave in 2019, he learned it was because of the practice. Whitney then reportedly asked commanding chief Andrew Bidou to look into the matter, who allegedly refused. Also from the article:

Whitney then ordered all supervisors to collect any bent badges, and about 10 were found. Bidou allegedly ordered the badges returned to the officers and told them to fix them.

Whitney said he was concerned about what he considered to be the “destruction of evidence” and contacted Vallejo city officials, who were apparently as uninterested in the issue as Bidou, and in August 2019, Whitney was let go from the department.

The lawsuit came to an end last week when Whitney and the city settled out of court; in Whitney’s words:

‘I feel vindicated by the settlement agreement because of the amount,’ Whitney told The Times in an interview Monday. ‘You don’t settle for nearly $1 million if you did everything correct.’

I don’t actually think the “badge-bending” practice in and of itself is unethical; clearly there are law enforcement officers who risk their lives every day to confront the most vile and subhuman scum on the face of the earth—for all intents and purposes, they enter war zones. Am I upset when Tier One forces conduct missions against legitimate terrorists? Absolutely not, they’ve done humanity a tremendous service, and I couldn’t care less if they want to commemorate a notch on the belt. Now, that’s not an argument for foreign intervention and wars of profit in the Middle East, but pink-misting men who engage in bacha bāzī is a silver lining.

If these cops were taking out MS13 gang members and child abusers, and bending their badges, more power to them, but in the context of growing tyranny, things like this ought to be highly scrutinized, and especially in this case, where Whitney alleged additional and legitimate acts of wrongdoing.

Now I don’t subscribe to the libertarian-anarchist worldview (although there is a little of it in me) that any and all law enforcement is unnecessary, because my reformed Chrisian faith teaches that humans are inherently bad (not good), and any simple or shallow observation of the world around us supports this belief—so we absolutely do need law enforcement.

And, this is not to take a swipe at all law enforcement officers, because I know there are a number of them that take their oath to support and defend the people and the Constitution very seriously—just look at any sheriff that dares armed agents from the USDA, the IRS, the FBI, or any other number of federal bureaucracies to step foot in his county.

But the bottom line is, police forces beholden to politicians (like the Vallejo Police Department) instead of the people need to be abolished, and the good, constitutionally-minded officers absorbed by legitimate law enforcement forces, like the institution of the sheriff. Officers should answer directly to the people they are entrusted to protect and serve; law enforcement was intended to be a local, votable issue, and we ought to restore it as such.

Image: Free image, Pixabay license, no attribution required.

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