Monday, December 08, 2014

How Long Has This Been Going On?

From Reuters: "The Cleveland police officer who fatally shot a twelve-year-old boy playing with a pellet gun at a park last month left his previous job with a suburban police department after a string of problems, including immaturity and 'dismal' handgun performance, personnel records showed." Add this to the videotape of Eric Garner being choked to death by a New York city cop, and you might think that you could establish a trend. Out here in the land of Oscar Grant and Fruitvale Station, we don't need a lot of convincing. Then there's this: The U.S. Justice Department last Thursday an investigation found the Cleveland Police Department systematically engages in excessive use of force against civilians. Civilians. There wasn't a distinction made by the Justice Department about what shade of civilian. I am guessing there are those that would suggest a more thorough investigation. I am also guessing that the investigating parties would not have to dig very far to uncover a trend. Some civilians are having excessive force used on them with higher frequency.
Why would that be? Aren't we all innocent until proven guilty? Aren't we all protected against illegal search and seizure? Aren't we all excused from choke holds and "dismal" handgun performance? Aren't we living in a country adjacent to a statue that carries a plaque inviting our tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free to do just that? Serve and protect. How hard can that be? If we were to believe in percentages, that answer would be "not that hard at all" for the vast majority of law enforcement officers. More than thirty-four thousand uniformed officers in New York City. Cleveland? Twelve hundred in that thin blue line. Are they all racist, trigger happy idjits? Sadly, it doesn't matter at all. There is a higher standard for peace officers. In Ferguson, Missouri. In Cleveland, Ohio. In New York City. In Oakland, California. So while we're at it, why not set some higher standards for us all? Everywhere. I like that whole "content of their character" measuring stick. Which also makes me wonder about the whole "hate crime" thing. Do we have anything that would fit in the category of "like crimes?" They're all hate crimes. Or maybe we can just stop killing one another. For a while. Please?

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