One last post on the Seattle incident

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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12 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I think that punching chicks in the face is something that we ought to expect from law enforcement.

    The next time you see a cop, know that he is a chickpuncher.Report

  2. Avatar Mack says:

    I think that’s pretty offensive, Jaybird, and more to the point, obviously wrong. How many cops do you know?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mack says:

      @Mack, I only know ones that quit the force, Mack. I don’t know any active ones.

      But, when it comes to my comment, don’t take my word for it. Ask the folks who argue that the policeman was just doing his job and what any policeman would do. Ask the folks who argue that we shouldn’t hold cops to a higher standard than the one we hold citizens like ourselves to.

      Surely you don’t feel that punching the chick in the face is something that only bad cops would do… do you?

      (Huh. Ironically, it seems that domestic violence is 2 to 4 times higher in police families than in non-police families. Golly. Well, it’s unfair to hold them to standards higher than that of civilians, I mean, citizens.)Report

  3. Avatar Mack says:

    Jaybird,

    I apologize, but I don’t understand: who is arguing that “the policeman was just doing his job?” I certainly am not. He violated his duties when he punched a woman in the face (and possibly before that).

    I think the right thing to do is hold policemen to the standards their jobs require of them (which are the indirect product of the elected governments which maintain the police force). This guy was clearly in the wrong. And clearly, as someone who lives near Seattle and remembers (albeit vaguely, as I was young) the WTO protests, the police can and do cross the line. But the police, like most groups, are made up of mostly good people. Surely, to categorically state that “punching chicks in the face is something that we ought to expect from law enforcement” and “[t]he next time you see a cop, know that he is a chickpuncher” is not only wrong, but offensive.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mack says:

      @Mack, this is what law enforcement *IS*, Mack.

      It is giving people the right to carry a nightstick, carry a tazer, and carry a gun and telling them that they have the authority to use these things on people if they resist such things as Jaywalking tickets.

      The only notable thing about Officer Chickpuncher here is that we, the Average Joes that are you and I, actually saw it.

      And, seriously, there are, in fact, folks arguing that the cop did nothing wrong. Check out the other threads on this site.Report

    • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Mack says:

      @Mack, “the police, like most groups, are made up of mostly good people.”

      I would say the police, unlike most groups, are made up of mostly bad people. Or maybe not bad people, but certainly morally weak people. Police officers give their entire lives to enforcing an arbitrary code that represents our best attempts to objectify moral action. But moral action cannot be objectified, and so you get morons with guns punching teenage girls in the face for jaywalking. This shouldn’t surprise anyone.Report

  4. Avatar Spiffy McBang says:

    @Christopher Carr, To play off of Jaybird’s statistic above about cops being prone to significantly higher levels of domestic violence, the concepts of what makes a person good or bad, or morally weak or strong, step away from one basic truth- police officers, on the average, are much more strongly inclined towards having controlling personalities.

    I would actually argue that the great majority of cops are, in fact, in possession of strong morals- or, more precisely, morals to which they are strongly attached. However, as we often see with people protesting on religious grounds (most often abortion, but not always), there is a driving need within some people to make sure others are following those morals, whether it’s rational to inflict those morals on other people or not. And many of them join the force.

    Thus, it’s more a question of whether a particular officer possesses strong or weak self-control when faced with difficult situations. That’s a huge problem; I have cops in the family, and I know they’re trained in not doing more than necessary to get a situation in hand, but no such program can work on everyone. That’s why we get idiotic situations like this. But if we start questioning the basic moral character of cops as a whole, we get away from the personality aspects that lead to the actual issues.Report

  5. Avatar Jonathan says:

    Erik, I think you can agree with Mr. Balko’s analysis and not walk back from the use of the term ‘Police Brutality’. It appeared pretty darn unnecessary… and really, a little vengeful on his part. He was pissed off at them, and gave in to the urge to strike back.

    It’s human, but brutality is often human.

    Further, even though everyone was wrong, the improper use of violence by a trained police officer is a far more egregious wrong than the tantrums the girls were throwing.

    I’d say Scott’s take at True/Slant is pretty on the money.Report

  6. Avatar Paul says:

    “In the end, I think everyone was wrong.”
    Does that include everyone in the video? (I’m assuming in light of what you wrote above you don’t think it was wrong of the person shooting the video to do so.)
    “[T]he cop was obviously under a lot of stress, was trying to subdue the girl rather than use a Taser or more dangerous methods, and so we can cut him a break. ”
    Cut him a break? This cop’s range of choices was a hell of a lot broader than “punch” vs. “tase.” There are any number of other choices — keeping talking until target calms down, call for backup, or the obvious: just let the whole thing drop. Yes, corrupt, incompetent, or sadistic cops will often try to frame every situation as involving merely the choice of which flavor of violence ought to be deployed, but good police officers realize there is a wider range of choices, and the just solution often lies in options that don’t involve knocking heads. So no, I won’t “cut him a break” merely for choosing the less-deadly of two methods of hurting another human being. He could, and should, have chosen another option that didn’t involve punching a child in the face, and if the “stress” of this situation was enough to make him forget this, he shouldn’t be a cop.

    It would be interesting to know how many other jaywalking citations this guy has written (and also, how many citations he’s written for the similar number of cars that blow through crosswalks every day). How did those citations go?Report

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