Friday, May 19, 2006

To serve and protect? Yea, Right!

It amazes that anyone thinks American cops are noble protectors of human rights. It may be that some have that dream. I suspect they lose it very quickly when they deal with the authoritarians who infest police forces across the country. These are trigger happy men who engage in violence frequently, not because it is necessary, but because they enjoy it.

Radley Balko, of the Cato Institute, has been collecting reams of information on the constant abuse which police officers are willing to inflict on people. Balko printes a letter from a pharmacist who describes an off-duty cop coming into his store. He pulled Sudafed Liqui-Gel tablets off the shelves and threw them on the counter demanding that they be removed. He claimed he was a DEA ageent (apparently not true) and that the tablets were being displayed in violation of the law (apparently also not true).

The pharmacists reread the regulations and concluded this off-duty cop was wrong and put them back on the shelf only to have the cop reappear and throw a fit. The pharmacist showed him the regulations but the cop threatened to have people turned in for their "attitude". Finally the pharmacist told the officer to leave the private business --- he was not on duty and not acting in his role as a police officer as no crime was being committed.

The cop left and returned with a buddy who was duty. The pharmacist writes: "They handcuffed me, roughed me up, shove me through the store and me to jail." State law requried that the pharmacy be closed if the pharmacist was not on duty. The police refused to allow them to close the store. The victim of this harassment reports: "I was not read any Miranda rights, never saw a badge until the 2nd cop appeared, had numerous bruises on my left, both wrists and my shoulder was displaced." He says: "I am a practicing Southern Baptists and a die-hard Republican (until now)."

In two other cases trigger happy cops killed family pets -- something that seems to be a trend. In Winter Springs, Florida the police were sent to one address but went to the wrong address --- they seem to do this a lot. They went into the home without a warrant and without cause (as it was the wrong house) through an unlocked down. A family dog inside approached them and they killed it "due to its close proximity to them".

In Richmond, California police entered the yard of Cynthia Peters and Mark Parr. allegedly in pursuit of a suspect who had nothing to do with this couple. They encountered the couples pet dog in the enclosed yard (which is where dogs are supposed to be) and shot it 11 times. When Parr came out and demanded to know why they killed his dog the beat him up. (At least they didn't shoot him which is more than many cops would have done.) Parr says they "kicked and punched him and threw him to the ground". They arrested him for "obsctructing police officers" a favorite bogus charge they impose on anyone who questions their stormtropper methods. In the end no charges were filed --- they rarely are this is merely a method to harass people for questioning their authority to act any way they damn please.

And if you want to see how police incompetency and their cowboy mentality can put an innocent man on death row read this PDF report regarding the case of Cory Maye. Maye was sleeping in his home when police officers barged in at some ungodly hour of the morning thinking they were entering the back door of a neighbor. Maye heard men breaking in his door and pulled out a gun to protect himself and his small child. In the dark one cop, who had no business even being there and went along for the fun of it, was shot. When the police yelled they were cops Maye dropped his weapon immediately. The cop died. There was no search warrant for this house. Maye was not the suspect in this case. The cops screwed up. Maye defending himself. A cop died through his own incompetency. Maye was sentenced to death and is awaiting his execution.

I'm not convinced that disarming citiznes is a good idea but it may help things to take them away from cops.