The Radical Center
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The Radical Center

Are Police Just Dangerous?

The treatment of Black and Hispanic Americans by police officers is well documented. It is often frequent, openly brutal, and justified with lies and faked evidence. Is this just racism? It certainly is that to a large degree, but I also think more is going on. Are America’s cops bullies and psychologically prone to violence in general. Are the individuals attracted to policing often unfit to serve in law enforcement? Should we asking if those seeking to be police officers are likely to be the least qualified to serve psychologically?

One way of answering those questions is to look at how police officers act off duty, when they can’t pretend they dealing with violent criminals.

In Las Vegas two police officers, Destini Hover and John Woodruff, a married couple, were both arrested for three counts of child abuse, domestic battery by strangulation and conspiracy to commit child abuse. In addition to the typical physical abuse a five-year-old boy was forced to wear dresses as punishment and to humiliate himself by telling cashiers at fast food restaurants, “I’m a pretty girl.” Police found multiple bruises on the child days after the incidents in question were reported.

In this case the “perp” was a five-year-old child so what justification for excessive force could they concoct for this assault? It isn’t like they could scream, “I thought he was armed.” The boys natural father reported the incident when he the child was eventually returned to his custody. Hover and Woodruff kept the boy longer than agreed upon waiting for the bruises to heal and the evidence disappear.

In this incident Officer Woodruff decided to go for an older child to assault. Previously he was investigated by police for abuse of his 3-year-old non-verbal autistic son. He was investigated by his fellow officers who said the bruises were caused by eczema and the incidents reported “did not appear to rise to the level of child abuse.” Woodruff was also involved in one bogus arrest of Black man for talking back to him, as well.

In Boston the former president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, Patrick Rose, was held on $100,000 cash bond for five charges of indecent assault and battery on a child. “Rose abused the victim on multiple occasions between 2012 and 2018, when the child was between the ages of 7 and 12.” In Oklahoma Officer Douglas Spencer was arrested for sexual assaulting two young girl.

Pasadena, Texas police officer McKay Christensen quickly resigned his position when he and his wife, Stacy Rodd, were both arrested for the physical abuse of a child. The matter came to light when a relative noticed a child with a black eye.

In Wisconsin, Police Chief Aaron McWilliams, “faces nine counts of child abuse, three counts of causing mental harm to a child and six counts of physical abuse of a child with the intent to cause bodily harm” regarding four different children. One of the children said McWilliams “is the type of person who does what he wants to do.”

One new, dangerous fad, is stationing police officers in schools, supposedly to protect the children, but who protects the children from the police? In New Mexico an 11-year-old girl was alleged to have taken an one more milk than allowed so Officer Zach Christensen went into high gear following her through the school and cornering her outside to arrest her. He throws her to the ground and jumps on top of her—another “violent perp” being taken off the streets. His justification: “She took more milks than she was supposed to.”

School officials told the officer the girl was not a threat and to stop assaulting her, he told them she was and ignored them. An attorney for the victim said, “If a parent was doing that same thing, wouldn’t they be charged? Is there a different standard for which police are considered for committing crimes versus other people?” I fear we all know the answer to that question.

Thomas Valva (left) was just 8-years-old when his police officer father punished him for eating without permission—yes, the “you will obey me” mentality is found off duty as well. He routinely punished the child and sent him to a freezing garage to sleep on the floor where the child froze to death. Brother Andrew, 6, told police the children of officer Michael Valva were forced to sleep on the floor of an unheated garage. Andrew was recorded by his divorced mother telling her of the abuse.

He said his brothers were locked in “all day, every day” — and were not allowed out to use the toilet. When they soiled themselves, they were punished further, according to the boy.

“Because they kept on peeing on themselves,” he said. “Because during the night they had to go pee, and mom and dad wouldn’t allow them. and then they kept on peeing their pants.”

He said he could hear his brothers crying for help inside, but he dared not go in himself, because he would be punished too.

“Sometimes Angela and dad stayed out all day, and Anthony and Thomas stayed at home with the door locked,” he said, starting to get upset. “And they had to hold their pee in all day until they came back home.”

If they said anything about it at school, Andrew said they would be locked up for three days and “slapped on the butt.”

When his mom asked if he ever saw injuries or “boo-boos” on his brothers’ bodies, he replied “almost everywhere.”

“When dad beat them up they had this little thing on their heads right here bleeding, and put a band aid on it,” Andrew said, recalling two incidents where each brother was left with bleeding head wounds. They were never taken to the doctor, he said.

In New York City two young children, one 4, the other 7, came running out of their home screaming after they witnessed a man pull out a gun and shoot their mother dead in front of them. Neighbors sheltered the hysterical children and called police, but police were already there. The murderer was retired police officer Kevin Canty, the children’s father and husband to the deceased.

Georgia Police Officer Michael Perrault was accused of domestic violence against his wife and charged with “ simple battery, family violence and cruelty to children in the third degree.” He then went home and shot his wife in the head, killing her instantly.

Georgia Police Officer Michael Perrault was accused of domestic violence against his wife and charged with “ simple battery, family violence and cruelty to children in the third degree.” He then went home and shot his wife in the head, killing her instantly.

Megan Montgomery (below left) was 31. She married police officer Jason McIntosh and found he was just as controlling in his private life as when on duty. Worse, he was violent.

An incident in their home resulted in her calling 911 for help. A friend or hers said, “His [her husband’s] best friends [his fellow cops] were there for him and she didn’t feel like those people who are meant to protect her could be there for her without some sort of a bias happening.” She filed for divorce and got a restraining orders against McIntosh. But he was arrested for an incident which left the estranged wife covered with scrapes and red marks.

The Washington Post reported:

In Megan Montgomery’s last moments, she chatted with five people she had met earlier that day while cheering on the Alabama Crimson Tide against the rival Auburn Tigers. They were sitting together at a table at an oyster bar in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday when her estranged husband walked up behind Montgomery and placed one hand on the back of her neck and the other on her shoulder. Then, he announced: “That’s my wife, she’s going with me.”

Without making a fuss, Montgomery agreed to leave with Jason Bragg McIntosh, despite the restraining order she had against him.

“She was terrified, but my assumption was she has just been caught doing something behind her husbands back, not that she was scared for her life,” one of the men at the table, Brad Norred, said in a Facebook post Tuesday recounting the last time Montgomery was seen alive.

“I didn’t know she had a restraining order, or was going through a divorce, none of it,” he said. “I watched her walk away, terrified, and knew nothing. None of us did, but we were the last group of people to see her alive.”

Security footage showed Montgomery, 31, walk out of the restaurant with McIntosh, 45, who then allegedly drove her to a parking lot of an athletic complex in Mountain Brook, a suburb of Birmingham, reported. Police say McIntosh shot his wife several times, hitting her in the back and in the head. He surrendered to police this week, and was formally charged with capital murder Wednesday, Mountain Brook police said in a statement.

The old adage that anecdotes are not evidence is true but they are data points and with enough data points you have evidence. So what does the evidence show? Are these attacks by cops on their own loved-ones anomalies or a frightening trend? For more information see Part Two: Violent at Home, Violent on the Streets.

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A blog for the Moorfield Storey Institute: a liberaltarian think tank.

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James Peron

James Peron

James Peron is the president of the Moorfield Storey Institute, was the founding editor of Esteem a LGBT publication in South Africa under apartheid.

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