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Author Topic: Should Americans Fear The Police???  (Read 2934 times)

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Offline Dimir

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2015, 12:07:57 PM »
Should the general public fear the police? Should we fear when authorities investigate homicides, sexual assaults, robberies, burglaries, assaults, etc. When responding to a crime, they conduct an investigation to determine who the guilty offender(s) are. If that leads to a conviction of the actual perpetrators, then the streets are safer for the general public. So if you're a crime victim, then you should be relivied that the police are investigating your case.

Where it seems like the issues revolve around are the confrontations authorities have with those they accuse of having committed an offense, or are in the process of investigating. Law Enforcement have the right to be concerned about who they're confronting, as criminals have been known to shoot officers who confront them. I don't deny that there are those in law enforcement who abuse their power for their benefit, and they should be held accountable for their misconduct. However that's up to the result of the judicial system to determine if they were in the wrong. What the national media should be doing is that along with stories on alleged acts of police brutality, do stories on officers doing good for the general public, otherwise that's completely biased against law enforcement.

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2015, 12:26:57 PM »
Doing their job is their job. They don't get a cookie for it.

Now what I'm worried about is the apparently increasing trend for police departments to get substantial parts of the budget from literal robbery.

Offline consortium11

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2015, 09:18:21 PM »

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2015, 08:02:12 PM »
Admittedly there are people in positions of authority who feel the rules don't apply to them and are a danger to the public and fellow law enforcement personnel.  While the number of law breakers far outweighs the number of problematic police officers I don't thing the general population needs to be afraid of the police.  Don't commit crimes and when stopped by police for any reason remain calm and cooperate with them.  Do as you are asked and if you have a complaint don't become confrontational.  Above all don't make any threatening moves toward the police.

Most people behave this way in any case and have no problems.  The police don't frighten me.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2015, 03:28:35 PM »
The next anti-police incident is already brewing - this time featuring a Hispanic, lesbian victim - already ripe for national media involvement.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/jessi-hernandez-case-residents-want-charges-for-denver-officers-who-killed-teen/

17-year-old Jessica Hernandez was behind the wheel of a stolen car.  The teenager struck an officer with the car, fracturing his leg and prompting the officers to open fire, ultimately killing Hernandez.  But new eyewitness accounts contend the officers fired first and that the car struck the officer after the wounded driver lost control of the vehicle.

All this controversy and death could have been avoided if Jessica Hernandez simply decided not to steal a car.  But that doesn't seem to be the message people are taking away from these incidents.  This incident has prompted the movement: "Girls Lives Matter" - with no efforts to deter crime. 

I would be more fearful of Jessica Hernandez behind the wheel of a stolen car, than the police officer who shot her. 

Offline Kythia

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2015, 11:07:28 PM »
So.....hopefully this is an interesting...thing.  I've read Valthazair's comment above but have quite deliberately not read the link he provided and so, not being in the US, the sole I know of this is what he posted above. 

I'm also a bit drunk.

Judging purely and 100% from his post above mine:

Obviously ids shouldn't steal cars, obviously police shouldn't kill people.  She shouldn't have stolen the cat, he shouldn't have shot her for it.  So far so uninsightful, but I think the lack of insight may be relevant.  At the moment, in essence, this seems like just a general "shit thing".  A kid died because they were involved in some sort of "stupid thing teenagers do" and I find it hard to draw any lessons about race/class/gender/etc. from it.  My gut feeling - and the reason I do this at all - is that the cop acted wrongly in opening fire but I stress I HAVE NOT READ THE FULL DETAILS YET.  I've just read Val's precis, and I note my response deliberately to record viewpoints on the cops as a gut instinct as opposed to as a more in depth read.  I'll then read up and return.

For those who care, I'm straight, cis gendered female white and abled bodied from a lower class family with substantial involvement with the police.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2015, 04:25:29 PM »
Valthazar, I'm not sure I agree with your lesson.  While I agree with the importance of not committing crimes in the first place, I'd place more of an emphasis on not attacking the police officers.

In the case you mentioned, she tagged a cop with a car.  In Michael Brown's case, forensic evidence points to his charging the cop like a football player.  With Eric Garner, though, he didn't actually attack the police officer.  That's the one, in my mind, that comes off as tragic and accidental, where the cop was just trying to get the guy down and things went wrong very quickly.

While not committing crimes is a valid and worthwhile undertaking, I feel much more confident in stressing, "Don't attack the cops or you'll get killed."

Part of the reason I'd encourage this is because of the inherent stressful situation of dealing with the police after you've been caught.  While deciding whether or not to commit a crime, people are in a much more rational state of mind than when they're actually dealing with the cops, and those heavily stressful split-second situations are where the ingrained lessons become necessary.

We already give police officers training for such things, and I wouldn't consider it necessary for citizens to get that kind of stuff, I feel better stressing that part of the rule.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2015, 01:31:26 PM »
Valthazar, I'm not sure I agree with your lesson.  While I agree with the importance of not committing crimes in the first place, I'd place more of an emphasis on not attacking the police officers.

It's more than simply not attacking police officers.  It also comes down to respecting authority, and not disagreeing with their commands in the heat of the moment. 

This is perhaps a classic example of an encounter that leads to unwarranted "fear" of the police and violence:

A man is drinking an Arizona Iced Tea (non-alcoholic) outside a liquor store.  Another man approaches him stating to be a police officer and asks to see the bottle.  The man refuses to show the bottle to the "so-called" police officer and asks for ID.  The police officer shows his badge at 2:13 in the video below.  The police officer then asks the man to put his hands up against the car.  The man refuses, and does not cooperate with the police officer's commands - and is arrested for his lack of cooperation.

Did the man deserve to be arrested?  Absolutely not.  He was not arrested for drinking an iced tea (as the media may like to portray this situation), but rather, he was arrested for failing to respect the authority of a police officer.

All he had to do was show the police officer the bottle of ice tea to verify that it was non-alcoholic, and he would be on his way as a free man.

Here's the full video:


Offline FaeBorne

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #33 on: February 03, 2015, 02:09:24 PM »
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/08/what-i-did-after-police-killed-my-son-110038.html#.VNEn2VEdFIc

My link is in relation to the racial issue. It is not a question anymore about race. It is in fact more in line with what is quoted below by Deamonbane.

It's a fact. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. People make the mistake for seeing police officers as anything other than human beings given the power of a uniform, badge and gun. It's a mistake to think that these human beings aren't going to be affected by it. Should you be afraid of the police? If you haven't done anything wrong, no. Should the police be given systems of checks and balances to make sure that the power that they wield isn't abused? Absolutely.

In that same tune, not all police are dirty, just as not all citizens are criminals.  Our society is complex and made up of so many different perspectives and situations that have been going since the dawn of civilization. There will always be evil in the world, there will always be good...we see and hear more about it based on our technological advances in information sharing. We are immersed in getting blow-by-blow coverage of incidents that would not have come to our attention otherwise. I am not saying we ignore it, I am merely stating that these incidents before sensationalism were happening since the dawn of mankind.

Do I trust all law enforcement agents... No.  Why is that?  Personal experience that not all cops are law abiding.  Will I call the cops when a crime happens? Absolutely.  Because even if there are some that are not upholding their duty fully, they are still in place within our society to make sure that not every crime goes unsolved or unpunished.

Our world is filled with things that are not always pleasing and good. But to live in fear, is to allow a part of yourself to be shadowed by a nagging sense of doubt, is unhealthy. 

In short, no, we should not fear the police....though we should not live blindly either.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 02:16:58 PM by FaeBorne »

Offline Zakharra

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2015, 06:18:59 PM »
It's more than simply not attacking police officers.  It also comes down to respecting authority, and not disagreeing with their commands in the heat of the moment. 

This is perhaps a classic example of an encounter that leads to unwarranted "fear" of the police and violence:

A man is drinking an Arizona Iced Tea (non-alcoholic) outside a liquor store.  Another man approaches him stating to be a police officer and asks to see the bottle.  The man refuses to show the bottle to the "so-called" police officer and asks for ID.  The police officer shows his badge at 2:13 in the video below.  The police officer then asks the man to put his hands up against the car.  The man refuses, and does not cooperate with the police officer's commands - and is arrested for his lack of cooperation.

Did the man deserve to be arrested?  Absolutely not.  He was not arrested for drinking an iced tea (as the media may like to portray this situation), but rather, he was arrested for failing to respect the authority of a police officer.

All he had to do was show the police officer the bottle of ice tea to verify that it was non-alcoholic, and he would be on his way as a free man.

Here's the full video:



 I watched it and I would submit that before the policeman showed his badge, he failed to identify himself and he was in civilian clothing. Yet he expected the man with the iced tea to do what he said. The other man was under no obligation to show the policeman the drink or his ID. There was no reason to do that just because a person you don't know walks up and asks to see your ID. Then when he demanded the men leave, he still hadn't identified himself. As far as any one could see, the man was just an ordinary white man demanding the black men leave for no reason. This would look strange to anyone, especially when the as of yet unidentified police officer wasn't a store employee. After the badge was flashed and identified, then yes, but before that the police officer had no authority to be demanding what he was.

 In this instance, the police officer is in the wrong. Especially for not showing the badge until just before arresting the man.

Offline DarknessBorne

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2015, 09:16:59 PM »
How about the police just leave us alone if we're not bothering anyone or otherwise creating a nuisance that requires intervention?

Offline AndyZ

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2015, 09:41:40 PM »
How about the police just leave us alone if we're not bothering anyone or otherwise creating a nuisance that requires intervention?

While I have little issue with this idea, it's far less common than people like.

For example, Eric Garner was selling untaxed cigarettes if memory serves.  If you want to use this idea to prevent this kind of issue, you'd have to stop prosecuting people for selling untaxed cigarettes.

Our system is inundated with rules and regulations that can only be enforced by police officers.

Offline kylie

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #37 on: February 04, 2015, 08:50:27 AM »
It's more than simply not attacking police officers.  It also comes down to respecting authority, and not disagreeing with their commands in the heat of the moment. 
     I thought I understood what this meant more or less...  Until I got to this part:

Quote
... The man refuses, and does not cooperate with the police officer's commands - and is arrested for his lack of cooperation [if that did say cooperation, before my cell browser  trashed it]...
Did the man deserve to be arrested?  Absolutely not.  He was not arrested for drinking an iced tea (as the media may like to portray this situation), but rather, he was arrested for failing to respect the authority of a police officer.

     The part I find striking is where you play with that putatively rhetorical question, did he "deserve" to get arrested. You say no he didn't but that creates a big unspoken passage in your argument. I say this because, according to your own position above, 'respecting the authority's of police is the thing of penultimate importance whenever you might wonder wtf does this officer want here, or if you prefer 'whenever things might get heated.' It appears very clear to me that if you follow that line, then you should logically say duh, he defied an officer about who cares what so of course he deserved to get arrested. Which is closer to what you say at the end but you don't spell it out: Basically that it isn't enough to be innocent in the first place cause one will get arrested merely if the cops feel they are not inspiring "due respect."

But in too many situations, as has been said many times, the cops' idea of due respect involves profiling and detainment or pretty basically, instilling fear. And when they themselves go too far or stand on the wrong line, it is the same principle often coming out to play in ahem much more heated situations.

I think maybe for all your fuss about the headline: Couldn't the media just be a little reasonably shocked that your "due respect" requires searching and cuffing over standing around drinking tea? But if that's the state you wanna live in, by all means carry your papers when you take out the trash...
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 08:52:35 AM by kylie »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #38 on: February 04, 2015, 04:57:21 PM »
The part I find striking is where you play with that putatively rhetorical question, did he "deserve" to get arrested. You say no he didn't but that creates a big unspoken passage in your argument.

I was rhetorically asking, "Did he deserve to be arrested for drinking iced tea?" (as the title of the video suggests).  The answer is no.  The arrest in the video was not due to him drinking iced tea, but rather due to not listening to the police officer's commands, even after showing his badge.

If the man feels he was wrongly interrogated and/or wrongly arrested, the solution isn't to start a shouting match on the scene.  Rather, he should listen to the police officer's commands, and file a complaint later on.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #39 on: February 04, 2015, 07:18:45 PM »
 Ah. Those rhetorical questions can get you if you don;t realize they are being asked. :)   As to the video, I don't think the man should have been arrested even for not obeying the police officer's orders. That police officer's biggest failure was not showing his badge right away. Until it was shown, the man had no obligation to obey the officer's orders at all if he didn't know the man was a police officer. From what I saw it was the officer that was being the belligerent (and stupid) one, the man with the iced tea was being relatively polite. I probably would have done the same thing if someone I didn't know walked up to me and asked, then demanded I show him my drink, then demanded I leave the parking lot for trespassing.

 That is where I think the police officer messed up. Until he showed the badge, the man didn't have to obey the officer because until that badge was shown, he had no authority to order anyone around there. I think he arrested the man for the wrong reasons and shouldn't have arrested the man at all.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #40 on: February 11, 2015, 09:03:20 AM »
My apprehension is not with individual police officers, I fear the organization at large. The Big Blue Wall is more interested in protect its rice bowl and its own rather than the mandated protect and serve. This creates an us-versus-them mentality, which is not good for a civilian police force.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #41 on: February 12, 2015, 06:42:43 PM »
I think we need make one clarification - it really depends on what portion of the population you focus on. I think viewing "the public" or "Americans" as a whole is a bit of a mistake. Some areas have more crime than others and the types of crime will generally vary greatly by location. ( ie. white collar/financial, traffic violations, fraud, domestic abuse, robbery, racism, gangs, rape, drugs).



Offline AndyZ

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #42 on: February 18, 2015, 09:07:46 AM »
http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/32781780-75/sheriff-man-who-falsely-claimed-detective-assaulted-him-caught-on-video-punching-himself.html.csp#

Sadly, it's people like this who mess things up for the people who actually do get messed up by the police.

Offline consortium11

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #43 on: February 18, 2015, 10:55:44 AM »
http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/32781780-75/sheriff-man-who-falsely-claimed-detective-assaulted-him-caught-on-video-punching-himself.html.csp#

Sadly, it's people like this who mess things up for the people who actually do get messed up by the police.

I think (like most things in life) it works both ways. Just as we shouldn't dismiss all accounts of police abuse and brutality on the basis of individuals like this we shouldn't also tarnish all police officers with the actions of a few or accept all claims uncritically. There are some horrific examples of police misconduct out there. There are also ridiculous examples of people trying to claim mistreatment by the police which were nothing of the sort. Far more awkwardly are the examples that fall somewhere in the middle.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #44 on: February 18, 2015, 10:12:00 PM »
Looking back through history can show us how developing the police into the form they are today has done a lot for society and created a safer environment within cities and urban cultures. There are systems in place, a variety of checks and balances to prevent the corruption that can naturally develop in any office that provides power. They do a lot of good, and I believe that many people are drawn into that form of service out of a desire to do good and make the world a safer place.

However I think it's naive at best to assume that the corruption which has been well documented in past decades is over and that our system is finally perfect. While it's great that the police make things better for most of the people most of the time, it's hard not to worry when you see that the exceptions to that are statistically biased by race. This doesn't mean that any individual officer or case, regardless of those involved, exhibits racism but as a broad trend we know with quite measurable accuracy that there is a problem there.

On a personal level, you should treat police the same way you should treat anything. Assess the personal risks to yourself, evaluate their likelihood and take whatever reasonable precautions will reduce your risks without causing more problems than they solve. In most areas, as best we can tell from the numbers available, running into major problems with the police isn't a common risk. Under most circumstances it shouldn't be your most pressing concern and you'd probably get a greater safety benefit from something like being careful with your automotive maintenance. So unless you expect to have a lot of risk factors in dealing with police it's best to just take small precautions, such as keeping good records of any dealings you have with the police or crime, being aware of your basic legal rights and having a rough understanding of the way police work both in theory and in practice. Doing some of the things people have suggested, such as addressing the police with respect regardless of situation are likely to reduce risk. Taking a moral stand that this is an inappropriate demand is potentially quite valid, just be aware that unfortunately you may experience a personal cost for taking this moral stance. This is unfair but something you should be aware of to make an informed choice.

On a societal level we need to continue addressing problems within the police force and identifying ways in which policing can be improved. We need to look at things like the hiring practices, what forms of oversight occur, the growing militarization of US police forces, disparities in treatment of minorities and the way the legal code and sentencing applies to society. There are no really simple solutions in a complex developed society but hopefully in time we can find ways of improving all these things.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #45 on: February 18, 2015, 11:17:03 PM »
What I meant to say was that the people who attempt to fake police brutality actively hurt the cause, the same way that falsely calling rape, making up a hate crime or any of the other cases of "crying wolf" do.  We should not dismiss all such cases based upon a few, but such incidents do a fantastic job of causing a backlash in public opinion.

Offline LostInTheMist

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #46 on: March 01, 2015, 12:52:08 PM »
For the record, I'm caucasian, and I look caucasian, and I'm not going to TOUCH the racial issue with a ten foot pole.

I think that in general, there's no need to fear the police, provided you are not doing anything illegal or questionably legal. But is there anyone out there though who doesn't drive more carefully and make sure to obey the speed limit more exactly when there's a police car right behind them? Is there anyone who doesn't make sure to cross the street only with the light when there's a police officer on the corner? Is that out of fear of the police officer, or fear of being arrested, or both?

There's something of a trade off here.... When you take a group of people and give them power, a certain number of them are bound to misuse or actively abuse that power. When this misuse of power is apparent in a group intended to enforce the law, it creates a rational fear, even to the law-abiding citizens. You can't take the power to arrest people and bring in offenders away from the police, but you can't give it to them without creating a certain amount of corruption.

I think a little bit of fear of the police is a healthy thing. I would just honestly prefer that the fear were completely unfounded.

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Offline kylie

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Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #48 on: March 08, 2015, 05:35:11 AM »
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site

And that happened.
     
     It really made me wonder where they came up with the idea for the "cage" holding area in the TV drama Chicago P.D.

 ::)

Offline Thumper

Re: Should Americans Fear The Police???
« Reply #49 on: August 01, 2015, 08:49:43 AM »
I see it as a pretty simple situation. Government needs to be challenged on a regular basis. Just as cops say "if you're doing nothing illegal you have nothing to worry about" If a cop is doing nothing wrong he has nothing to worry about.

People say that even if a cop is wrong you need to comply and be polite. I'm sorry but no. If a cop is overstepping his bounds then he needs to be challenged. This does not mean that you scream and yell and act the fool. It does mean that you need to be firm but respectful. Doing as the cop apologists suggest is one of the things that has gotten us where we are today. As has the mentality of "I've got to go home to my family at the end of the day". That mentality has established that a cops life is worth more than the citizen he is sworn to protect. Couple this with a sore lack in training, and mix it in with a primary duty of generating revenue for the state and you create a tinderbox. Then mix in the fact that there is little to no civilian oversight into claims of abuse and corruption and you've tossed a match at the problem.

So, are all cops bad? That depends on how you define a bad cop.  Me? A bad cop is one that will stand by and watch other cops violate the rights of others. See. The thin blue line is supposed to be the cops standing between criminals and the general public. But it has turned into a wide blue line between cops that need to be punished and the general public.

I have kind of a unique perspective on the situation. During my time in the Corps I was not only an operator, but have been an instructor at the special operations training group for both less lethal and lethal combat. There we educate operators in what is justified and what is not over a wide variety of situations. We teach what strikes are considered lethal and what are not. The vast majority of departments in the us have no such training. We go mover escalation of force and the proper way to conduct yourself. By and large cops go instantly from an interaction to the highest level of force. And then it is ruled justified by three little words. "I felt threatened"

For a civilian to use lethal force not only do they need to feel that they are in immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury. But a reasonable person looking back at the case must feel that way. There are many instances where investigators have said in sworn statements that had they been in the same situation they would not have been in fear for their lives. But the use of force was ruled justified because then responding officer was scared.

So we have allowed departments to come up with a lower standard for the use of force than both those expected from our military in combat situations as well as our citizens on the street. How can we have a trusted police force when they are held to a lower standard than civilians with little to no training? Law enforcement officers are supposed to be professionals. A professional not only holds himself to a higher standard. But he holds other professionals to that standard. And if someone is not meeting that standard he takes it upon himself to either fix that professional. Or see that they are removed from the department.

Unfortunately the few officers that attempt to do so are shunned, ridiculed and often times dismissed.

Yes there are good cops out there. Unfortunately they don't last on the force for long.