None of you seem to know any police officers personally.
About every third or fourth post on this thread someone comes close to the issue with excessive police violence but instead of tackling all those who come close I will quote this one and deal with the issue.
stevey_frac wrote:Getting back to the topic.
I think we need to start convincing better people to be cops somehow. Too many cops are assholes. I'm not entirely sure how we do that. Perhaps others will have thoughts there.
Here's how to do that, triple the salary of every police officer and double the size of the support staff to include a large section of mandatory counselor for the PTSD that every officer suffers from.
Our quality of law enforcement is budget driven on the local and national level and the quality of officers is dependent on the specific jobs they are detailed to do. On the local level, a police officer deals daily with drug dealers, drunken assholes, scofflaws (speeders/petty thieves), child molesters, drug addicts, the mentally disturbed(from crazed & confused to violent psychopaths), the indigent, the domestic violence asshole (also drunken much of the time), angry neighbors, car accidents, fires, and all that can be in the first half of a working shift. The very first thing they have to think about in all these situations is safety. For themselves and for the people they are interacting with. This forces them to aggressively take control of any situation they are called on to deal with because it's very easy to say in hindsight that an officer shouldn't have acted this way or that because who they were dealing with was harmless but when an officer shows up to a scene he/she know nothing but expects the worst because that's their job, to show up to the worst places/situations and deal with it. Certain behaviors send warning signs to officers that they are dealing with dangerous individuals and officers have to deal with them in similar manner whether the persons intent is to cause them harm or not. Do you think cops wear helmets, kevlar, and carry guns, batons and pepper spray because they're fun? No, they carry them because unexpectedly on occasion they need them to protect themselves and others.
You don't want to be hassled by a cop? here's what you do: speak slowly and calmly when the officer asks you questions, keep your hands out of your pockets in plane sight, move slowly, follow the officers instructions, be patient and wait your turn to air your grievance of the moment. if you fail to do one of these things you send danger signals to the officer and they will escalate their aggressiveness until that are satisfied that they are safe. Most people don't have to deal with those who might randomly pull out a knife, gun, screwdriver, needle and stick/shoot them. Police do.
Having people who do not understand this criticize them after the fact because of a video that points only in one direction does them a disservice since they are dealing with a 3D environment that also takes in what people may be doing behind them, traffic, and other "out of camera" factors. People who stand still and talk calmly and do what an officer asks of them almost never get into physical altercations with police. The police don't randomly beat innocent cooperative bystanders. But you say, here's my anecdotal evidence (place link here) about how abusive police are. Take the amount of work all the police officers are doing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including all holidays etc and you will find this unnecessary violence by certain individual police officers falls to much much less than 1% of officer activity.
The other thing we need to do is universally increase transparency. Release video from cruisers into the public domain after a year, if it isn't relevant to a case. Create an anonymous system where the public can report aggressive and/or bad behaviour to a civilian oversight board. We need to start managing the cops as an organization that works for us, against criminals, instead of the current brigade of government hired thugs.
Are there some police that abuse their power, sure, there are "criminal" individuals involved in every human endeavor, and the police have methods and procedures in place to police the police. Sometimes random bystander video is part of the evidence, but mostly by the time court comes about, law enforcement experts eliminate behavior that most think is "thuggish" as an officer just doing their job.
My sister was a police officer, she quit the job after less than a year. She is a nice person and joined the force to help people. She got tired of trying to help people who hated her on sight for no other reason than she was there and she was wearing a badge. Those who can't deal with 99 percent of the people they're dealing with all day long hating them sometimes move on to less intensive positions in the police department, but if you want to move up the ranks to the investigative branches etc, the police departments require you to spend usually a minimum of two years dealing with the front line issues that the uniformed ranks deal with and for good reason, because in emergency situations even the 'suits' have to help the uniforms out and they need to know
how to deal with the "general public".
So now you take one of these urban combat veterans who have honed their instincts and reflexes to deal with their daily environment of robbers, crazed drug addicts and wife beaters and you ask them to police a public protest march of some sort. Their job is now to try to make sure that the protest doesn't get "out of hand" and burn down the city, but at the same time they are supposed to ignore people who are shouting and rude and being aggressive when every fiber of their training says these people are a cause of danger to themselves and their fellow officers. They are expected to let the general public verbally abuse them and call them names like "pig" and ignore shouting and stick waving etc when under normal circumstances they would tell the person to shut up, stop shouting and put the weapon down. This is obviously a recipe for disaster and it's amazing that more acts of police "thuggery" aren't prevalent in "protest" situations.
Does the police force attract assholes who like to boss people around? Sure it does, that's the goddamn job. Boss assholes around and occasionally arrest them and give help and succor the victims of those same assholes.
Oh, and one other thing, when you're not dealing with the dregs and rejects of the general public, you're doing nothing, completely bored out of your skull almost wishing that something would happen to relieve the boredom.