Not necessarily. I took a position opposite of your original comment. You’re assuming that the totality of my attitude is reflected in my logical position. Law types tend to be more complex than that.
Oh, we could talk about such things as 4.4 million “Stop and Frisk” program harassments in NY city alone, not even vaguely justified under the actual Terry Stop doctrine, and plenty of other now-institutionalized abuses (expansions past limits) of power; the general destruction of 4th amendment protections in the name of “officer safety” and “the War on Drugs”; the lamentable inability of the courts to curb police excesses in the name of “officer safety”; the rise of the “warrior cop” image and reality; the ever-increasing arming of cops with ex-military weapons and equipment; abuses of civil asset forfeiture to the point that they act as “road pirates”; predatory policing in poor communities where traffic and “safety” infractions are used as sources of income; the constant demanding of ID’s (under a plethora of BS non-legal excuses) as an excuse to run wants-and-warrants just because they’ve made contact with anyone; casually killing more people in the US in 20 days than the UK police have done in 20 years; and many more.
What you’re not thinking of here is that when you see the concept of “police out of control, abusing their powers, and bullying innocent citizens,” you’re thinking, “individual officers, acting intentionally evilly” — which of course IS extremely silly. I’m not. I’m recognising the gestalt of hundreds of thousands of officers over many decades, all sharing among themselves (to some extent with the “best” of intentions), little insignificant ways to slip the surly bonds of legal and constitutional restraint and touch the face of power, success, and safety.
You have to look at these from a meta point of view to understand that even though these things are all to some extent transparent — they’re hard to see, like the air we walk around in , especially individually— they ALL contribute to the public understanding the police as “the most dangerous gang”. Does it matter that all of these have become legally-possible, and thus in the minds of good cops legally justified? Of course it does: The fact that they feel righteous about daily shredding rights that used to exist and now exist in tatters (if anything more than conceptually) doesn’t make the public feel any “safer” about dimly recognizing that all these things added up are dangerous to them.
Police have no legal duty or obligation to tell the public the truth. They face no punishment or sanction whatsoever for failing to doing so. Police, in their routine interactions with the public lie continuously. They misrepresent their legal authority. They speak in deceptive patterns intentionally designed to deceive people into believing that they’re being given constitutionally and legally-supported orders to do things that are no more binding legally than requests, and they have spent the last 50 years continually refining the obscuring of the differences between voluntary encounters, Terry detentions, and arrests.
All of those things — in spite of being institutional rather than individually malevolent — are aggressive and to some extent corrupt. But it bears remembering that we wouldn’t have the phrase, “The Thin Blue Line,” if it hadn’t been coined to describe the NYPD’s corrupt patterns of lying for each other and covering up their “brother officer’s” wrongdoings. It’s not the least bit scary that this is collectively their favorite symbol. Few people remember that prior to 9/11 when lots of police died, the NYPD was viewed as one of the most corrupt organizations on the planet.
How many arrest and shooting videos that blatantly show the public totally different things than police reports of the incidents reported, did you expect people to watch before they started concluding that police lie?
Well first, they’d have to see themselves as “public servants,” in order for others to — and they haven’t for decades. They see themselves as public masters, who very decidedly intend to be obeyed absolutely.
Second, objectively their jobs are not actually very dangerous. Sure, I recognise that they self-reinforce the “extreme danger” mythos, but it’s bullshit. The danger factor is less than half of what it was, circa 1967. Less than 60 officers die each year in felonious assaults (in 2014 it was 35) in a country of 350 million people. They drive a lot, and driving constitutes the major portion of their job mortality risk (same as cab drivers and truckers).
But projecting constantly that the next person they talk to may attack them, and thus treating each person as such, contributes to them being perceived as they don’t wish to be.
Historically, this is backwards. Police adopted more and more military-like attitudes and tactics, and equipment, and clothing, public reaction followed. Society’s attitude didn’t invent SWAT teams, dynamic entry, war metaphors, no-knock warrants, balaclava masked police ninjas, police in battle armor and camo BDU’s, nor using SWAT for routine warrants. Society also didn’t invent the habit of unholstering guns and pointing them directly at people with fingers on triggers. Society REACTED to the police deciding that all these were a really neat idea, PUTTING themselves in the position of an occupying army.
> “I propose that the public treat their local police like human beings, not like enemies. I think there are a small number of police whose actions warrant investigation and potential prosecution, but I think most police do the job as well as they can.
Nothing wrong with that. Of course, they’re the public’s servants, not the other ’way ’round, so if they’d like to start by being unfailingly polite and respectful, that’d be a good start. Police are treated well out of fear, not respect like Firemen or paramedics. If “disrespect of cop” wasn’t a well-documented (if elusive) “crime”, I suspect that more people would treat them as humans. I certainly don’t have a problem with treating them as not-enemies — they’re not *my* enemies, though I recognize that they can be dangerous — but certain segments of the population have a lot more legitimate difficulty with that.
Again, this is because I’m looking at systemic issues. If we wanted our police to treat people like the UK’s or the nordic countries do (and it’s not like their police are incapable of policing, they simply have vastly different training and attitudes) we’d probably have to fire them all and hire new. But I didn’t propose that. I said I was *fine* with doing it, if the ones we have now were unwilling to be stuffed back into a more constitutional and civil box.
You’re confusing several different things. First, you’re wrong. LOL. Second I don’t have an anti-police bias and I’m not prejudiced against them — at least not in the way you mean. I can think coral snakes are extremely pretty, and admire them in a variety of ways, while realizing that they have a disproportionate amount of power and danger for their size, and that if their contact with the public isn’t carefully controlled, bad things will happen. Freedom and rights are important — more important to America and the population than endless calls to police safety.
You don’t see lawyers as “Law Enforcement” because you’re not looking at maintaining the Rule of Law (and containing the government within it) as more important than enforcing the individual rules the government itself writes.
We have an odd system, and one of the reasons that it is broken is that it is genuinely difficult to understand that it can be more important to not let the police escape their boundaries by using technical errors (endlessly probed) than it can be to convict the guilty who were subject to them. Unfortunately, our system as it congealed literally has no other way of the courts noticing that the police have slipped their bounds and are running free, than when they bite a guilty person.
To go back to the coral snake metaphor, police aren’t always satisfied to wait until their prey wanders into their constitutional cage. So they probe it constantly. They escape, they bite evil people, and courts have a bad choice, set up long ago: Honor the constitution, freedoms, and the area of the cage we put police inside and told them firmly to stay — and in the process set a yucky person free, or enlarge the coral snake’s cage and remove that much freedom and increase that much danger to everyone else. It’s a magnificently bad choice, and it almost always results in the courts letting out the leash a little bit more, and a little bit more, and a little bit more, and a little bit more, and a little bit more.
The problem is, the cage protects the innocent public from the government, which is needful, but the coral snake has no incentive to like the cage, because his intended prey is the guilty. If you think rights and containing the government is important (as I might guess you do since more police supported tend republican), then you need to understand that in setting up the “fruit of the poisonous tree” exclusionary principle, the Supreme Court INTENDED it to be more important to maintain the fabric of rights and protection from government, and therefore restraining the police, than it was to convict the guilty.
Bringing the topic back again to the OP, that’s what he was talking about when he referred to “police who know no limits”. That’s why the Supreme Court set up the system of “if you’re outside of your cage and you bite someone, you get put back in your cage and the guilty person goes free” — thinking, insanely, that having the guilty be set free would be so terrible to the police, that the police would stay inside their bounds to make sure it happened.
It’s a bad bad system that places all of the freedom and rights protection of all the innocent people in the country as dependent on letting the recognizably guilty people go free when the police misbehave. But it’s the one we’ve got. And THAT’S why I don’t have any sympathy at all for the police when they misbehave and stretch their boundaries.
Fun conversation! Hope you learned a tidbit here or there you didn’t already know. I wish you well in your endeavor of encouraging the police.
All the best! :)