Above the law: Police brutality in America

A person’s perception of police officers and their rights and responsibilities is different depending on what part of the country or what part of the city they grew up in. It is important to keep in mind that race, immigration status and having had prior convictions is also a factor in people’s view and interactions with police officers. Growing up in inner city Los Angeles I was able to observe the many reactions that the presence of law enforcement officers had on people. For the most part they were feelings of fear and anger.  Very few people ever expressed feelings of relief or safety when they encountered police officers. How can people portray feelings of fear and anger against individuals whose work motto is “To Serve and Protect”?  It’s written on the very vehicles they drive. So, if police officers are hired “To Serve and Protect” communities from danger then why do people living in certain communities not feel relief when the police are around? Is it because they are all criminals? Are they guilty of something? Or is it because those who have taken the oath “To Serve and Protect” them are performing their employment undertakings in an unfit or discrepant manner?  Maybe they don’t quite fully understand the extent of their work and authority? Or they have an inaccurate perception or prejudices against the very people they are trying to serve and protect, and instead they believe that they are serving and protecting not the community they are working in, but the ones outside of their jurisdiction by containing the people living in the communities they police?  The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) alone has been previously accused of scandalous behavior ranging from shootings, beatings, framing innocent people, bank robbery, and drug dealing.  Way “To Serve and Protect” LAPD! Most of these cases did not occur in affluent communities of course, but in the inner city. Could it be that the intense pressure of working in such ‘dangerous’ communities, where mostly working class people of color reside, has a negative effect on a police officer’s psyche (because, you know those poor people and their skewed morals)? I DON’T FUCKING THINK SO! It’s more a common case of systemic corruption and officers’ perceptions that they are somehow above the law because they get to enforce it.

Just read about the Rampart Division Scandal of the late 1990s.  How was this scandal resolved? How are any scandals involving police officers resolved? Reform.  But let’s be honest here, reform, to an organization with corruption at every level is more of a “We pinky swear we won’t do it again” type of change.  The measures they took to “reform” the LAPD were the same measures taken by the Vatican to protect their raping pedophile priests.  I mean seriously.  This is a case where everyone in some position of power had to act in accordance with some code of the “iron clad brotherhood”, because in situations like these, individuals in positions of power have knowledge of the happenings in their department and act to protect the reputation of their department rather than take measures to ensure that things like this aren’t common occurrences.  They, the police themselves, are after all the ones in charge and given any accusations of police brutality, decide whether officer’s tactics were justified or not.  If you pay attention to how things like unnecessary use of force (by this I mean illegal shootings) were evaluated by the then Chief of Police, most of the time they were considered to have been carried out “in policy”. As in, they acted by the book.  After the Rampart case blew up the LAPD pinky swore they would “reform”. But like a dieter or relocated pedophile priest, bad habits are hard to break.  Just recently, 23 year old Kennedy Garcia was shot by police officers who “presumed” he was armed.  By presumed they mean looked like he could have had a gun. Having learned absolutely nothing from the Rampart case or how to handle such cases, and forgetting about their pinky promise to stop being corrupt, the department released a statement which “withheld important and potentially unfavorable information from the public in cases involving serious uses of force by officers” (Joel Rubin, Los Angeles Times). I mean where’s the accountability?

Let’s not forget about the two Hispanic women, Emma Hernandez, 71 and Margie Carranza, 41, who were recently shot by LAPD officers while sitting inside their truck. LAPD’s explanation of the incident of course was that they opened fire on the unsuspecting women because their truck ‘resembled’ that of former police officer Christopher Dorner, whom the LAPD was on a manhunt for, and police officers on the scene felt compelled to open fire without first identifying the driver (Mike Adams. Natural News).  Because you know, black, brown, male, female, vehicles, they all look the same: police officers don’t want to be taking any chances. It seems as if every time something like this happens it’s decided that the police officer “acted lawfully” in shooting a ‘presumed suspect’. I wonder how many people get slack for shooting someone who they ‘presumed’ was armed.  If police officers “act lawfully” when killing people (because most of the time that’s what happens when you shoot someone) for presumably having weapons or resembling someone they are looking for, it’s no wonder people are scared shitless when they encounter their local police officers.  It must be terrifying to know that your local police department can commit atrocities and their wrongdoings will go ignored and unpunished.

Joel Rubin. October 2012. http://articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/31/local/la-me-lapd-shooting-20121031

MikeAdams.February2012.  http://www.naturalnews.com/039061_Christopher_Dorner_LAPD_execution.html?fb_comment_id=fbc_207218069423848_811768_207391576073164#f31d1078cc.


One thought on “Above the law: Police brutality in America

  1. Marloes says:

    I think you discuss this issue very clear. I sometimes see a policecar drive way to hard without reason. It’s only a little crime comparing to what you’re talking about. but still, a uniform doesn’t give rights te act above the law. Very enlighting blogpost

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