Since my time with MoviePilot, I’ve been doing less and less of these opinion/analysis posts, in part because they don’t get a lot of views, but it feels impure to neglect them. Now, I’m used to watching the news and hearing about the atrocities mankind commits against one another on a daily basis. However, I’ve grown more and more upset with the way law enforcement in the USA is carried out. If you look back at my first month of posts, you’ll get a chance to read up on my own little incident in which the police mishandled a case I was involved in. I let it slide, but then, this last week, I got some good reminders on how much law enforcement needs improvement. Granted, mistakes will happen and many cops across the nation do what they can to protect and serve, but for some it seems to just be a job they don’t give a shit about.
Personal instances aside, so many injustices are happening all too often in the USA. Many news stories focus on the West Coast, but it seems the general consensus across the nation is a sense of panic washes over anyone who so much as crosses an officer’s path on the road, not comfort and reassurance. Albuquerque (and much of New Mexico) has been a mess this last year with illegal strip and cavity searches of people pulled over for driving violations. Then there was the case of them shooting at a family in a van when the mother might have been evading a traffic ticket…or fleeing because she was afraid of the aggressive officers. Since 2010, police in that city have done 37 shootings, 23 of them fatal. It is fucking awful when so many of a city’s gun deaths are police action. That includes the shooting of an unarmed homeless man who was camping. Just watch this.
Personally, just watching a few episodes of COPS is enough to appall me. How many times do police on that show tackle or get rough with someone who is only verbally resisting? That aside, they tend to yell at anyone who is confused or explaining themselves. In most cases, they just do seem prepared or in a state of mind to preserve the peace. It’s like they want to make an arrest before they even get out of the car. Also, the Attorney General neglects to collect or publish data on the number of deaths/injuries by police officers, despite orders by congress to do so to investigate excessive force. The FBI doesn’t collect the data either. Conservative estimates say 400 deaths per year, others say over 600.
Let’s look at a more recent case. Josh Winkler, a production assistant on Tosh.0, was trying to help his neighbors in a knife assault. He managed to get one victim out of the apartment, and was running out with the person he’d rescued to the police. Both were shot by three deputies and Winkler died. The actual assailant was arrested inside the apartment, where he was with another victim, who was being tortured. Please, read the reports, as I’m summarizing. The point is, no matter what their perspective, the police shot two unarmed people, killing one. The assailant, McDonald, got one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of torture against him. That’s right…the police fatality was counted against the assailant and the officers got off with one week of suspension.
Okay, so let’s back up. An assailant is inside with a knife. Three officers have guns. The odds were bullets were going to fly unless the assailant dropped the knife and surrendered right away, and in an apartment complex. Adding guns to a situation leads to escalation in some form, and the first priority should be to subdue an assailant. They entered a situation and had the most unfavorable of outcomes, yet nothing is happening to the officers who botched the situation. At most, give them a manslaughter charge. The least they deserve is a thorough, extended investigation. I won’t be offended if anyone disagrees.
Another case I know of involve someone getting hit by a drunk driver, the police report saying the vehicle one hit vehicle one…itself, and vehicle 2 (the one with the drunk driver) being totaled. As a result, the victim was ordered to pay for the drunk’s car. He called the police station, explained the situation and they neglected to fix it. The victim had to pay for the other’s car to avoid legal trouble for not following what he was required to do, despite the absurd premise.
In short, I believe law enforcement in the US is in shambles and I’d like to see better management, preparedness and removal of guns as our first line of defense. Tazers, rubber bullets and tranquilizers should be focused on as possibilities. The only issue I see with tranquilizers is the inability to reload quickly (and some dosage issues). If we can get our scientists on inventing a rapid-fire tranquilizer, hostage situations would be more likely to end with a couple people in the hospital rather than a few in a morgue.
Am I off?