Monday, May 14, 2012

Police Brutality is Becoming Common Place

 I try not to stereotype or generalize because I do not believe in monolithic groups based on gender, race, religion, profession, political affiliation, etc. But I find that the police in this country have slowly and incrementally morphed into a thug class. Let me explain.

You see back in the days of the Vietnam War, police were dressed like those in this picture. 

This particular picture was taken at the Chicago DNC protests-turned-riots of 1968. Notice their uniforms. They're pretty simple and the only additional armor it seems is their helmets. In the past 44 years, protest/riot control police uniforms have become this.
Storm Troopers, of the Star Wars or Nazi type, is a fitting analogy. The police of today are not sending the message of "serve and protect" but rather "beat and destroy." We don't see this so much in the suburbs, but who could be coming.

The catalyst for my comments is the recent story about the trial of several officers involved in the death-by-beating of a homeless man in California. His name was Kelly Thomas and you can see the entire beat down on YouTube (if you have the stomach to watch it).

What you'll see is the mob mentality of the police. Officer Manny Ramos, the first officer on the scene, can be heard in the video saying, "Now you see my fists? They are getting ready to fuck you up." Less than 30 seconds later, he begins to hit Thomas when he is not completely complying with his orders. As more and more police come to the scene, they join in tasering and beating this homeless man as they bark orders at him. He obviously can not follow the orders since they are sitting on top of him and tasers render you paralyzed for a short time. Eventually Thomas is yelling that he can not breathe, starts calling for his father, and becomes non-responsive. No questions asked, no assessing the situation...these cops just jumped right in on the beating.

A different type of mob mentality occurred in Dekalb County, Georgia where a pregnant woman was kicked by a police officer who has a history of excessive force. She yelled at him after her brother was tasered. While no other officer jumped in to help him, his superiors at headquarters backed up his actions!

We are not free without the freedom to question authority and criticize them when they do something wrong. The role of the police is to protect the public, not abuse us.

One more ICONIC picture to illustrate my point. This one was taken at the Occupy Seattle protests late in 2011.

End rant.
UPDATE: Here's another recent noteworthy story.

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