Here’s a joke.
The President decides to stage a contest to determine which among the FBI, the CIA and the LAPD is the best law enforcement organization. He informs the three, that their challenge is to find a rabbit in the woods. A month goes by, and the President calls representatives from each of the law enforcement groups to the White House to present their findings.
The rep for the FBI produces a 356 page document proving that no rabbits exist, or have ever existed, in the woods. The gentleman from the CIA informs the President that the Company has spent 11 million dollars destabilizing the economy of the woods, and getting all the woodland creatures hooked on cocaine.
But the guy from the LAPD shows up with a badly beaten bear. The bear – with broken paws, black eyes and swathed in bandages – yells, “OK! I’m a rabbit!”
In Murder by Cop: a growing crisis in ‘Murica, my good friends at Prisonmovement’s Weblog document the story of a man who was tasered and shot to death by a California sheriff’s deputy, after the family had called 911. They were seeking help with the man’s depression. It looks like they got it.
Police brutality and overuse of lethal force is nothing new. In fact, nowadays people react via the press, lawsuits and other methods of combating police overreach, whereas in the past, it was simply accepted as a fact of life. In the 1930s, police forces all across this country were used against the labor movement, for strike breaking and scab recruiting. In the deep South – well into the late ’80s – it was not at all uncommon for the local sheriff to run his community like a fiefdom. Cases of wrongful arrest to generate revenue from fines, or to provide a labor pool, are well documented.
And of course, I shouldn’t have to remind you of the case of 16 year-old Lucia Roberts, gang raped and murdered by Boston police in 1982. Her parents led the charge that resulted in the 2nd largest case of police corruption and misconduct in American history. Yes, I too, remember the Silver Shield.
No, this is nothing new. What is new however, is the use of para-militarized police forces across the country. What started as an outgrowth of the failed War on Drugs, has become commonplace. Swat teams armed with military weaponry and body armor are carrying out even the simplest arrests, utilizing smoke grenades, battering rams, robots and even small tanks. These hyper-charged armies of law enforcement approach every scenario as a violent and potentially deadly conflict.
This becomes a recipe for disaster. People armed for war, and kept on a hair trigger, are bound to overreact and a mouthy kid, a deaf woman or a depressed old man can easily end up becoming just one more statistic.
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.
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