Explaining Police Violence with Cultural Evolution
Joe Brewer
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Dear Joe,

You are right. I totally agree with you on the transmission and learning of social biases and stereotypes. They leech off a future police officer’s brain long before he or she enters the police academy. But as my father used to say:” Bien, c’est explicable, mais toujours pas excusable! (Explanation is no excuse).” Mayors, City Councils Members, Officers, as well as street cops are all jointly responsible for the tragic blunders (sorry I can’t find a stronger word). Even more now that they seem to occur so frequently. Nobody will step forward and shout: “The buck stops here!” There is a total absence of leadership and sense of duty!

In the mid-1990s, I was working for the Montreal Urban Community Police Dept. As a Communication Adviser for the Director, I was participating in the meetings following blunders. There were 3 or 4 over a period of 4 years. The famous “Barbabé Excessive Use of Force Case” and a few more. For one , the President of the MUC never cared to attend. In addition, each time, what made my female colleague and I mad, was that police officers, from the top to the newest rookie, never took into consideration the fact that a cop had killed or seriously injured a fellow citizen, in the first place. Instead, they rushed to find excuses or mitigating factors, for themselves, their colleagues, and subordinates.

Tolerating, a single officer with such a neurotic sense of responsibility is inexcusable. Promoting one is even worse. Having entire PDs like this is total non-sense. It is a direct threat to democracy and our rights to security. We should never have to worry about our safety when in presence of an officer on duty, we should rest assured of a fair treatment. That is waht we pay them for. We even teach it to our kids.

Our North American societies think they got rid of police corruption in the 50’s by providing better training, wages and working conditions. Unfortunately, they are still blind to another big issue: The corruption of the mind of police officers by biases, and I, for one, happen to consider it a psychological condition.

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