In the 1960s, there was an effort in New York City to establish a civilian police review board. Complaints about police violence and harassment of black New Yorkers had grown to the point that the reality of the problem was obvious. New York Mayor John Lindsay was amenable, but conservatives led by William F. Buckley and the police rose up in arms. The conservative media called the police review board “the property of bleeding hearts and cop-haters.” Fear-mongering was used to rally white voters, who were told that the review board would coddle criminals, demoralize the police, and lead to an upsurge in crime.
Mayor Lindsay established a review board by executive order, but rising opposition forced the supporters of the review board to put it to a vote. Fear had done its job, and the review board was abolished by a vote of 63 percent against and 36 percent in favor. This from “liberal New York.”
In the half-century that has passed, gratuitous police violence has spread to the public in general. Today it is not only blacks and Hispanics who experience police brutality. Everyone suffers from it. Being white is no longer a protection. In a recent column, “Call the Cops at Your Peril,” I reported a few of the recent atrocities police have committed against the public. Ninety-three-year-old Pearlie Golden was shot down in her front yard in Hearne, Texas. In Miami, 23 police officers fired 377 bullets, literally blowing away two men trapped inside a wrecked car. The police were under no threat whatsoever from the 93-year-old woman or from the two men trapped inside a wrecked car. In Cornelia, Georgia, a SWAT team made a no-knock entry at 3 a.m. and threw a concussion grenade into a baby’s crib. The grenade blew up in the baby’s face, leaving him disfigured, unable to breathe without a ventilator, and with a 50 percent chance of survival. According to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal, the raid produced no drugs, no weapons, no bundles of cash, and no suspected drug dealer. It was just another of the thousands of mistakes routinely made by SWAT goons who put American citizens at risk every time they break unannounced into a home.
New tactic: Kill the dog
A police favorite is to murder the family’s pets. When the Middletons, ranchers in Rains County, Texas, called the sheriff’s department to report a burglary of their home and the theft of firearms, the first thing the deputy did when he arrived was to shoot the Middleton’s three-year-old, 40-pound Australian cattle dog, Candy, in the head. In Prince George’s County, Maryland, cops on a mistaken drug raid broke into the mayor’s home and murdered his two non-aggressive black Labradors while holding the mayor and his mother-in-law at gun point.
Another police favorite is to humiliate their arrested victim, especially women, by stripping them naked. The abuse of women has become routine. In a recent case, a 31-year-old white mother of four in New Albany, Indiana, was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after a fight with her estranged husband. In police parlance, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest mean that the woman protested the false arrest and raised her voice. As most Americans have no idea about the police, they are shocked and disbelieving when they experience a police encounter. Until they have an encounter with the police, they are big supporters of the police. Unable to believe what was happening to her, she was stripped of her clothing by two male and two female cops, paraded around the jail naked in front of the police, and thrown naked into a cell. She became hysterical as a result of this treatment. Enjoying their torment of their victim, the cops pepper sprayed her. The county sheriff said that he does not believe jail policies or procedures were violated. In other words, the sheriff admitted that abuse, humiliation and excessive use of force are routine. http://www.infowars.com/cops-strip-parade-pepper-spray-woman-and-lock-her-in-cell-for-7-hours/ Also: http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/tabitha-gentry/
As I write, I googled “videos of police brutality” and 7,660,000 results appeared in 0.31 seconds. There are more cases of gratuitous police violence, almost always against the innocent, than a person can absorb in a lifetime. Police body slam elderly infirm people, taser cripples in wheel chairs, pepper spray, taser, and mace kids, young women, and mothers with babes in their arms. Just the other day police shot and killed a 13-year-old kid who was walking down the street with a toy rifle doing no harm to anyone. Only the goon cops regarded the 13-year-old as a threat. The goon cops simply couldn’t let the opportunity pass to experience the thrill of killing a person.
We see the same thing in the US military video released by Bradley Manning of the US helicopter gunship murdering journalists and citizens walking peacefully along a street and then murdering a father with two babies who stopped to help the wounded. Nothing happened to the murderers, but Bradley Manning was imprisoned for telling on them.
We are at the point that the police try to murder teenagers making out in a parked car. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/06/no_author/cop-shoots-teenage-couple/
We have become a killer society, and the US government is the world’s leading killer.
Who’s the real danger
The cases of gratuitous police violence against the public are so numerous that it is impossible to report on them. All that can be done is to categorize them into types. The conclusion is that the police are a far greater danger to the public than are criminals.
Moreover, the police are unaccountable. They can murder with impunity, but if you even accidentally or reflexively touch one of them, it is off to prison with you if you survive the beating. Cecily McMillan, about whom I recently wrote, was an Occupy protester. Her breasts were seized from behind by a cop. Reflexively, her elbow came up as she swung around and her elbow hit the cop. Recently a cowardly or corrupt jury, egged on by a corrupt judge and prosecutor, found her guilty of assaulting an officer and she was sentenced to prison. Nothing happened to the cop who sexually assaulted and falsely arrested her.
Prosecutors are interested in convictions, not justice. Prosecutors routinely indict the innocent on the basis of the false charges brought by police, and judges often are complicit in the false convictions. No honest prosecutor would have brought the case against Cecily McMillan. Her trial was a political trial, and her conviction was a foregone conclusion. The purpose was to send the message that regardless of constitutional rights, protests against the Establishment are not permitted. The judge guaranteed her conviction by ruling that no evidence of the injury to her breast could be presented in her defense and that the jurors could not be informed of the arresting officer’s record of excessive use of force and abuse of citizens. The jury was unwilling to stand up for an innocent person. Instead of serving justice, the jury served the corrupt purpose of the police state. See http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Betrayal-of-Cecily-McM-by-Marc-Ash-Cecily-Mcmillan_Jury_Justice_Political-140603-414.html and http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/05/21/justice-dead-amerika/
Whatever the police do, seldom do they suffer any consequences. As a result they have become more bold and more violent. Any encounter with the police is a dangerous one.
The “war on terror” has removed any remaining constraints on police. The federal government has militarized state and local police and equipped them as if they were a military force. The police are trained to regard the public as a danger and to take no risk with their lives when confronting citizens. The police are taught that politely asking questions in order to arrive at an assessment of a situation could expose them to danger and that they should avoid all risk to themselves by dominating the situation with force just as an army or marine unit would do when confronting an enemy.
I have witnessed training exercises at which 30 police officers line up and empty high capacity magazines at the same target. We are talking about 450 shots in a few seconds at one head-sized target. It was this type of training that resulted in 23 cops pouring 377 bullets into two men in Miami.
Armed for daily battle
SWAT teams have become ubiquitous and they are armed with tanks, with MRAPs (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Armored Fighting Vehicles), and BearCat Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Trucks. These military vehicles are in routine use, and the SWAT team breaking down your door has replaced the policeman knocking to present a summons. http://rt.com/usa/164816-american-police-militarization-war/
It once was the case that joining the police force implied low-level risk. An officer could, and occasionally did, die in performing his duty. Today no level of risk is acceptable for police. Therefore, all risk has been shifted to the public anytime members of the public have encounters, mistaken or not, with the police. Consequently, police kill far more innocent members of the public than criminals kill police. The police have become like Wall Street and the federal government. The police serve no public interest.
When I was growing up in the forties and fifties, we understood that the police force attracted bullies because of the power of the badge, but unlike today the police did not have carte blanche. In the forties and fifties the American people had not been reduced to powerlessness or to the sheeple that they are today. Newspapers were still independently owned and served as a constraint on police power. Blacks did not always get this protection, but in large southern cities, such as Atlanta, where Ralph McGill was editor and publisher of the Atlanta Constitution, blacks, too, had the protection of the press. I remember the first civil rights march in Atlanta. There were no police and no dogs set on the marchers. I know because I was there.
Bullies were one thing, but there was not the hostility toward the public that is ingrained in police training today. Standing up for one’s constitutional rights in a police encounter today is a perfect way to enrage a bully whose authority is questioned. The likely result is a beating and arrest. Subservience is the easiest way to survive a police encounter. You might be a brain surgeon or a former high government official and the cop might be someone who barely made it out of high school. But if you want to get out of it without damage to your body and charges on your record, act like a peasant confronted by a baron, earl or duke centuries ago.
Anything else and you might be history.
So, are police review boards the answer? Apparently not. In 1993, 27 years after Mayor Lindsay’s failed attempt to impose some accountability on police, Mayor David Dinkins established the largely powerless Civilian Complaint Review Board. The police rose up in opposition and were egged on by Rudy Giuliani, who when he became mayor gave the police carte blanche. White New Yorkers applauded Giuliani. Finally, they were safe again — as long as they did not have a run-in with the police or the SWAT team didn’t go to the wrong address, perhaps a more likely occurrence than a criminal showing up at the door.
A number of cities today have review boards. Some have powers. Most don’t. Even those with powers have been made hesitant to use them. When terror is such a threat that the country remains on Orange Alert, one step below Red Alert, for years, only a terrorist-loving liberal-pinko-commie would want to restrain the police.
As long as the US remains in the hands of the Establishment, police review boards will be ineffective. Wikipedia reports that in 2006, eight years ago, the NY Civilian Complaint Review Board received 7,699 complaints, approximately 6% resulted in a “substantiated disposition.” In other words, 94% of the cases went nowhere.
The police have been set loose on us by “law and order” conservatives and by the “war on terror.” The police are doing us far more damage than are the criminals and the terrorists.
It remains to be seen whether Americans survive their police.
In the meantime the sheeple will continue to pay the salaries of those who pose the greatest threat to them.