|Symbol of a Good Guy?|
I am in a unique position. I once served as a dedicated law enforcer. I was a cop because I loved my community and wanted to preserve freedom, protect others from harm.
I now serve as a dedicated advocate, exposing the vast harm law enforcers, like me, have inflicted on others. This transformation was not easy. I do this not because I now hate cops. I do this because I care for my fellow cops. I don’t want them to harm others or themselves unnecessarily. My dedication to my community, preservation of freedom is the same.
Recently a journalist asked me about the perception of police:
In light of the fact that my piece surrounds the public's perception of police, would you be willing to comment on whether or not you believe their perception is justified, as well as, whether or not you believe phrases like "f the police" have gone too far?It is a challenging question.
Vast majority of police officers are well-meaning. They choose policing as a profession not to abuse or oppress but because they feel they have a duty to serve and protect community. Cops take this seriously and have dedicated their lives doing so. There are real bad guys who need to be confronted and apprehended, victims to assist, traffic needs to be managed, aid to be given when collisions occur, a 24 hour on call third party to resolve disputes, simply a physical presence to prevent crime and disorder. All of this rightfully aligns with that duty to serve and protect. That is why I became a cop. That is why I put my uniform on every day. That is why I spent my days and nights in neighborhoods that most people made a concerted effort to avoid. I wasn’t special, most cops do this.
There were days when I swear dispatch would run me ragged calling my old badge number #210. I can hear it now: #210, 10-50/52 (traffic collision w/ injuries). #210 10-15 (disturbance, subjects fighting in the street). #210, 10-16 (domestic, male subject choking his girlfriend). #210, 10-32 (gun, unknown subject brandishing pistol behind Motel 6). I had lots of days like that when I worked my behind off. Each call I keyed up my mic and acknowledged. I stepped up. I chose not to hide or shirk my duty, but to drive towards potential danger, real danger. Unsure if it would be a non-issue or a complex, dynamic situation where minor errors in my actions, reactions could spell disaster for myself and others in almost incalculable ways.
Remember: This was members of the community calling us for help.
And then somebody is going to get in my face or any other cop and yell “F*ck the police?”
How dare you.
Not everything I did, or other cops do is so noble. For instance I conducted hundreds of ticky tack “pre-textual” stops. Expired tag, window tint, jaywalking, no light on your bicycle, dubious trespassing notices, even “consensual contacts” which are better described as intimidation ambushes. We would use these minor legalese “crimes” to justify forcing you out your car, patting you down.
No part of a citizen's body, even your manhood, is spared this viscerally violating subservience ritual. For our safety, of course.
Turning pockets inside out, rummaging through every crack and crevice of your car trying to conjure up a crime. A pill, a powder, a plant, cash, a knife, a gun you dare to possess without officious documentation. Not that you are harming anyone or ever even intend to do more than protect yourself. What do you think this is? A free country?
Offer an objection and you’ll end up with an angry armed blue gang of untouchable cops planting you face-first on the ground, arms wrenched behind your back, handcuffs ratcheting your hands into painful paralysis. While you are eating the pavement, you’ll hear one of the cops scream “F*ck you. Now your are going to jail for resisting!” Your car is impounded and you face a costly, hostile, bureaucratic crucible of bail, court, probation and a job killing rap sheet as never ending punishment for your lack of total immediate, unflinching, obedience to “THE LAW.”
Add thousands of home invading military capture/kill SWAT operations executed for the mere belief you possess a plant or other inane contraband. Sleeping grandmothers shot, babies faces blown off by enforcer’s flash bangs.
Individuals with mental health issues (the very vulnerable persons cops swear to help and protect) criminalized or even fearfully gunned down by cops’ hands at embarrassingly high rates.
All of which is held virtually unaccountable. Self justified by law enforcement themselves at a Stalin-esque 95% exoneration rate. Any civil punishment is not out of police paychecks, but the taxpaying public. A false justice. Simply re-victimizing the victims.
Every year millions of citizens are incarcerated at the highest rate in the world. Tens of millions arrested, probated, cycled through a deplorable court system. Hundreds of millions more detained, subjected to liberty revoking inquisitions, ticketed, taxed, otherwise extorted to forcibly fund their own abuser. Much of this is for mala prohibita crimes wholly concocted by the state under a glossy veneer of safety. Vice enforcement against consensual adult activity which the mere thought of offends puritanical zealots to the point where they are willing to have the State criminalize, cage entire swaths of humanity. Even real criminals who admit culpability grow jaded by their dehumanizing treatment at the hands of cops and the justice system they represent.
How about victims of real crime? Well, police “clear” (a loaded term) only 63% of all murders, robberies 26%, burglaries 13%. The Supreme Court even declared police actually have no specific duty to protect anyone. Worse than that, law enforcement steals more money under the guise of thoroughly unconstitutional civil asset forfeiture than is reported stolen in ALL burglaries in America. That’s right, law enforcers legally steal more than anyone.
This is just a sample of the legal abuse police inflict on the public. Throw in no small amount of corrupt cops, incompetent cops, bad cops, lying cops, TSA airport molesters, psychopathic prosecutors, all who still demand you worship them too by #BackingTheBlue no matter what.
Government issued laws and the police who enforce them have always intentionally been used as tools of oppression, subjugation and control. Sheriff of Nottingham extortions, Irish “pacification,” fugitive slave patrols, Native American extermination, Jim Crow.
Do you really think this is the one moment in history where police are not furthering some kind of massive systematic injustice? Before you answer, let me say this again: The United States of America currently has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
The drug war, broken windows, community and pro-active policing, downright dystopian homeland security. That is what today’s oppression is packaged in. Take drug prohibition enforcement. We know alcohol prohibition was a disaster and actually created the gangsters, violent shootouts, black markets, obscene profits, poisonous liquor, massive corruption, punishing enforcement specially targeting minority neighborhoods. Today's prohibition is no different. By “getting tough” on drugs, cops create the very crime and violence they are fighting against, destroy liberty, make any real drug harms even worse, and have put themselves and their community in a disastrous negative feedback loop.
In retrospect many of the fights, robberies, shootings, other real crimes I ran my self ragged responding to as a cop was a result of the very prohibition I was enforcing. The only way out is to stop enforcing prohibition. But cops are like a panicking drowning victim. To them, calming down, stop flailing about is inconceivable advice. Not to mention their pay is contingent on them not understanding this.
Good cops or bad cops. Just or unjust laws. Legitimate enforcement. Illegitimate enforcement. Simply using the term “Law Enforcer” rather than “Peace Officer” highlights the focus on obedience, criminalization rather than maintaining a peaceful community. Cops must recognize much of what they do, even their very existence as we understand it today is quite often too costly, ineffective, counter-productive and overall has a destabilizing effect on their community. Especially poor and minority communities who have been “helped” by the government and police for so long they couldn’t pull themselves up from their own bootstraps no matter what.
And as we have repeatedly seen, if free citizens decide to publicly petition the government for redress of grievances, expect those same cops to adorn themselves in storm-trooper armor, train sniper rifles on you, kettle you, gas you, beat you, sic dogs on you, infiltrate your group and instigate violence to discredit you.
For those advocating for change, justice, abolition, end of police abuse and oppression. Does yelling “F*ck the police” help your cause? Sure it’s deserved. People who share your plight will understand, but you are preaching to the choir with them. Cops and supporters do need to hear it, get their feelings hurt, know they do not have your support. But they are like my former cop self. They perceive themselves as the honorable defender.
Even the cops who know their history can't bring themselves to accept the fact they are not knights in shining armor, but rather benighted oppressors.
Cursing them will shut their brain down, prevent them from conducting any self-contemplation. As much as even I am on your side, it still disturbs me to hear it.
Other non-aligned parties who have some sympathy for you as a victim may be turned off by what they perceive as angry, disrespectful conduct. The powers-that-be thrive off conflict. Media, activists in your movement may act intentionally inflammatory, not to help your cause, find solutions, but to de-ligitimize you, perpetuate chaos for their benefit.
Don’t let your justified anger consume you. It can eat you up. In some ways your hatred can unnecessarily help manifest the very police abuse you warn against. Not to mention, cops are very powerful and can make your life miserable. They get paid to conflict with you, you don’t. Be tactical for your own sake.
For police and “law enforcement” supporters. The first thing out of your ego-wounded mouth will be: “If those people don’t like how police treat them, they should show some personal responsibility by not breaking breaking the law.” Right away, you earn the F*ck You invective by denying any culpability.
Do honor, integrity, professionalism mean anything to you? Why don’t you show some of that personal responsibility, self accountability you are so quick to point out. Take a moment, remove the plank from your own eye.
You are a government armed, government paid, government trained, government enforcer who takes orders from individuals even you readily admit are immoral scumbags… politicians. Imposition of tyranny by a government is always “legal.”
You often are NOT the “good guys.” Simply thugs with badges. Every single individual member must bear responsibly for this and personally choose to stop causing harm. No matter how legal or "justified" the government says you are. Stand down, refuse orders, speak out. That is honor.
“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world: My own Government, I can not be Silent.” -Martin Luther King Jr.Dr. King said this 50 years ago… and our government and its obedient law enforcers maliciously branded him a seditious, immoral, criminal, agitator. When that didn’t stop him, they murdered him.
Fuck the Police?
Yep. You’ve all earned it.