Cops are never wrong
So, interesting reaction to my last post. It turns out – and I did not know this – it turns out that the police are never wrong. Ever. It also turns out that if the perps are wrong, that immediately means that the cops are right. Because two wrongs make a right (which I also did not know).
So we have this case of a girl busted for jaywalking. Now she’s obviously not a very charming young lady. According to reports:
As he approached the 18-year-old male, the officer witnessed four females do the same thing at the same spot on the road, about 15 feet from a pedestrian crosswalk.
"The officer instructed the females to step over to his vehicle," officials said. "They were verbally antagonistic."
When one of them, a 19-year-old, began to walk away, the officer approached her and escorted her back.
"The female subject began to tense up her arm and pull away from the officer while yelling at him," police said.
The two argued, and the officer attempted to cuff her. That is when, according to officials, another teen interceded.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Now just to clear up a few things: First of all, I don’t think the girls were in the right at all. They were obviously very badly behaved and could have avoided everything except maybe a jaywalking ticket by just being calm and not mouthing off on the police officer. Shame on them. Thank God they’re not on public payrolls and accountable to the taxpayers because they would lose their jobs in a heartbeat. Of course, we have means of punishing this sort of behavior – namely we can fine or arrest them.
So we’ve established that the girls were wrong. But what about the cop? Do the wrong-headed actions and belligerence of these girls justify the punch to the face delivered by the officer?
I have a harder time following this logic. It strikes me that he could have called for back up if he needed to. He could have continued to attempt to subdue and handcuff one or both the girls. I’ve seen police subdue large men before – surely this officer could have subdued these girls, despite their own physical attempts to prevent him.
The point is, we’re paying cops out of public coffers and we hold them to higher standards than we hold stupid teenage girls. Is this an instance of ‘police brutality’ as I indicated in my initial post? Perhaps not. Perhaps this is more a heat-of-the-moment thing. But we still should hold cops to higher standards than this. Commenters have suggested that punching is much better than having tazed or used mace or a gun. Well naturally, but that sort of dodges the whole point, doesn’t it? It was much better that the girl mouthed off than had she used a gun also, but that hardly justifies her actions.
If we don’t hold our police accountable to higher standards, then we’re not going to have very good police, and that leads to communities who don’t trust their police officers which inevitably leads to more crime, more conflict, more tension. Nobody wins. Simply defending the cops no matter what doesn’t help anyone – not even the police. Good cops don’t want bad cops to get off the hook – they want more good cops to get hired to replace the bad ones.
If we don’t hold our police to a high bar, well then the whole country will end up looking like Fairfax County. And that’s a frightening prospect if you ask me.
P.S. – My initial post was actually about how new technologies are changing the dynamic between state actors (in this case, police) and citizens. It wasn’t meant to hone in quite so close on who was right and wrong in this instance.
P.S.S. – Why is it that so many people who rail against Big Government in all its iterations, and who complain endlessly of their rights and freedoms being taken away by said Big Government, then issue a free pass to the police? Are they not part of the state apparatus? Indeed, are they not one of its most essential components, and indeed the part of that apparatus which enforces, through the use of force or the threat of force, all the other aspects of said government?
One more question – don’t you think that punching someone in the face in this manner might actually make things escalate? Isn’t it kind of stupid and dangerous to do that when you’re outnumbered? It just doesn’t seem like something that would improve the situation, even setting aside who is right/wrong/etc.