Before I make my comments, please read this article by A. J. Delgado, It’s Time for Conservatives to Stop Defending Police.
Now that you have read it I will make my comments.
First I will acknowledge that there are bad police officers. I will also say there are bad teachers, and bad judges. Now when a teacher does something bad do we jump and down and scream for changes in the teaching system? No, we deal with the problem teacher and then only if needed make changes to the system by implementing new policies or laws. From my viewpoint it seems things for police are at the other end, blame the whole system and scream for wholesale changes without focusing on the officer’s actions itself.
Next I want to look at some of the statements made in Ms. Delgado’s article:
“But it’s time for conservatives’ unconditional love affair with the police to end.”
Well us conservatives might defend the police more than others I wouldn’t call it unconditional. I see conservatives, myself included point out issues with how some police activities are carried out such as “no-knock” warrants.
A next example from this article:
“On Thursday in Staten Island, an asthmatic 43-year-old father of six, Eric Garner, died after a group of policemen descended on him, placing him in a chokehold while attempting to arrest him for allegedly selling cigarettes. A bystander managed to capture video in which Garner clearly cries out, “I can’t breathe!” Even after releasing the chokehold (chokeholds, incidentally, are prohibited by NYPD protocol), the same officer then proceeds to shove and hold Garner’s face against the ground, applying his body weight and pressure on Garner, ignoring Garner’s pleas that he cannot breathe. Worse yet, new video shows at least eight officers standing around Garner’s lifeless, unconscious body.“
This is a tragic situation, and I will add that since chokeholds are against policy the officer should be punished in an appropriate manner for violating such policy. That said when looking at the video we the viewers have no idea what lead to the what we are viewing. To sum up, we don’t know what the officers knew at the scene to make a valid judgment. We do know that Garner was resisting arrest. Yes, he was being placed under arrest and he was not following officers instructions. Failing to follow an officers lawful orders means they will escalate up the force ladder to make you comply. What Delgado also fails to mention is that in addition to the 8 police officers standing by while he was on the ground there were EMT’s and paramedics also standing by. Why doesn’t she question why the EMT’s did nothing (two EMT’s and two paramedics have been suspended without pay). Mainly because it wouldn’t support her point of view is my guess.
“Who can defend this?”
This is in relation to the above incident and I will say I can. Unless you think a person who is being arrested (Garner had more than 30 arrests, he knows the routine) can avoid being arrested by saying “Don’t touch me” then you should expect the police to use some level of force. It will start with verbal and escalate from there. Why weren’t other force options used? That is a good question. I don’t know if it was lack of equipment or a training issue as I don’t work for the NYPD nor familiar with their budget, equipment purchases, and training of officers. I did see where training was being reviewed so I’m going to lean towards it is a training issue.
I won’t quote the entire passage I’ll talk about next, but Delgado goes into the incident about an officer shooting a dog that approached him in an aggressive manner. Delgado says the officers were violating the home-owners Fourth Amendment rights, which is debatable. The officers were investigating a missing child. In a missing child investigation time is of the essence. If a kidnapping evidence needs to be gather an a search started ASAP. So the officers were doing their duty would be my argument. Delgado did toss out this little gym:
“rather than retreat or fire at the dog’s leg”
First, an officer has no duty to retreat. Second, as a firearm owner and firearms instructor shooting at the legs of a dog running towards you would be the last thing I would ever think of saying. I’ll give Ms. Delgado a month of lessons in shooting and I would to see how successful she is in shooting the legs of a running dog.
Delgado then adds this as another example of what is wrong with the police:
“Last month in Georgia, a SWAT team’s flash grenade landed in a baby boy’s crib. Worth noting: It was even the wrong house.“
Yes, the wrong house, but the evidence the police had indicated that the person they were looking for was at that address. The person they were looking for has a record for drugs and during the last arrest was found to have an AK-47. The question then would be does a prior drug arrest with weapons enough evidence to allow a “no-knock” warrant. Regarding the flash grenade landing in the crib, that is a terrible accident, but what should be done different? Should the officer look before tossing the grenade? That defeats the purpose of using such a tactic. Was a flash grenade really needed? I can’t answer that, might be a place for policies on use of such a device.
Delgado’s next passage touches on things that happened in her neighborhood:
“In the past six months, in my own humble neighborhood, I have witnessed officers try to enter a home without a warrant, hoping the residents were none the wiser about their rights; forcibly evict an elderly man from his apartment without an eviction order; threaten to arrest a driver who turned onto a street where the officer had neglected to place the “Street Closed” sign; and throw two teenage kids facedown on the ground for riding their bikes on the street at night.”
The thing here is all of this is offered without context. Why were the officers trying to enter without a warrant how were they attempting to do so? Did the officers ask to come in and were refused? Were they trying to force their way in? Police are going around and evicting elderly people for no reason? I doubt that is happening, there is more to that story if the writer looked into the issue. I’ll say the same about the two teenagers being face down on the street, and I would think it is more than riding their bike son the street at night. As for the officer threatening to arrest someone where they didn’t place a street closed sign up, again, more information needed. Did the person turn on the street and was told this right away? Was the person arguing with the officer and then told this? This paragraph is one of my pet peeves with people complaining about the police, they take one small timeframe to make their point and tend to leave out everything else that lead up to that point.
Delgado then hits on the buzzword of the moment, the “hyper-militarization” of the police. To educate people all allow Massad Ayoob to offer his opinion:
“News flash: Police in America have had a paramilitary structure since before our oldest living citizen was born. Look at the rank structure: Captains, lieutenants, sergeants and in some departments, corporals on one end and majors and a colonel or two on the other. Substitute “private” for “patrolman,” understand “trooper” can describe state police and some soldiers alike, and realize in some state police agencies, local headquarters are still called “barracks.”
When AR-15’s are issued to local patrol officers, cries arise of “militarization.” Excuse me, but the lever action repeater was the “assault rifle” of the 19th Century, and history shows cops got repeating rifles before the US Army did — and armed citizens had them before that. The modern uniforms? Please … when I was a kid in mid-20th century, “policemen” and “firemen” and “postmen” all worked in distinctive uniforms. Today, letter carriers get to wear shorts in warm weather, firefighters have more job-related work clothes, and cops — who have to do rough and dirty work — no longer wear leather-soled dress shoes or dress like postmen, only with badges and gun belts. Is there, like, a problem there? Yes, the military had semi-auto pistols before they were issued to cops, but the same was true of armed citizens. The point?”
Read the whole article by Mr. Ayoob. I’ll also suggest another book to the readers, Rory Miller’s Force Decisions: A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding How Police Determine Appropriate Use of Force. If you want to know when and why police use various levels of force then read this book.
I could probably go on and on, but the point being is yes there are bad officers and there is almost always more to the story when you hear someone complain about the police. In the end just remember the police are just a tool used to enforce the laws. If we as citizens don’t like something then we should petition our elected officials to change things.