This is what happens when they are not held accountable. We have a very real and very serious police conduct problem throughout the entire United States. The laws protecting the police such as POBAR in California must be repealed. I have read that similar laws are on the books in at least 2/3 of all the states. Once again actions that would land any ordinary citizen in jail for a long time routinely gets covered-up by those that are supposed to serve and protect us.
One does not however, have to insult all police officers by calling them pigs or other names. That does nothing to solve this very serious problem. However, a lifetime of reflection of the deficits of our police departments have lead me to the following conclusions. The majority of police want to do a good job. However, approximately half of them do not have either the temperament or the judgement or the common sense or the intellect to carry out their jobs in a satisfactory manner. After all it takes skill, judgment and smarts to respond appropriately in very tense and sometimes physically charged situations. Out of that approximate 50% I have identified there are approximately 20% of them or 10% of the overall police force personnel that just like to hurt people. These few are sadistic in nature and like to inflict pain on others. It is what drew them to this profession. What compounds the problems is that the police unions and many elected representatives have forged an alliance to protect all police even the worst among them, i.e. the sadistic ones. This creates a them vs. us mentality that is largely the fault of our police unions and our elected officials.
A few things must happen before the public will see any significant improvement in law enforcement.
First, laws such as POBAR must be repealed across the country.
Second, the fact that police applicants are turned down for being too smart must end immediately. Smarter approaches by law enforcement when dealing with tense situations with the public needs to be encouraged and implemented throughout the United States.
Lastly, after repealing laws such as POBAR, each and every law enforcement agency must clearly announce to the public that law enforcement officers have no additional rights over those they come into contact with on a daily basis. Police in the United States are allowed to carry weapons including a firearm. However, how they use that weapon should be judged the same as any other citizen. The I thought he was reaching for a weapon excuse is just that an excuse that should not vindicate unwarranted and bad police responses. I would suggest that it is almost impossible for law enforcement to treat people objectively and fairly if they believe they are better than and have more rights than the very people they are charged with serving and protecting.
It really is that simple. When a majority of politicians decide to do their jobs objectively and look at all the people they represent over the undue influence of big campaign checks they routinely receive from the police unions, law enforcement throughout this country will start to improve.
PS: I was raised in a police family. My dad and his older brother were NYC Police Officers. My dad worked in just about all of the highest crime neighberhoods throughout NYC such as Harlem, Bedford Stuyvesant and the South Bronx. I know firsthand what it is like to wait for your dad to come home and worry when he is late that something bad happened to him at work. But my dad and his brother both had a great attitude about performing their jobs. They did not worry about themselves but always were focused on protecting and serving the public. They were true public servants and will always be my number one and number two heroes. For their terrific service they always provided the public throughout their careers and the life lessons they taught me on almost an everyday basis, I thank you, I salute you and I will always miss both of you. Yet with every unique experience I had the opportunity to share with my dad and his profession, the one that always stands out in my mind was one cold snowy day in mid-town Manhattan sharing a day off with just my dad and me. We were walking across town to get to Madison Square Garden to watch my beloved Knicks play. I remember it was cold and blustery. As we were walking it started to snow. My dad saw a man who we would call homeless today, waiting by a city bus stop. He stopped and asked the man where he was going. The man stated that he was trying to get to a shelter downtown before the weather got really bad. My dad waited for a few minutes until the right bus stopped, paid for the man’s bus ticket and asked the bus driver to make sure the man got to the shelter. We then continued our walk to the Garden. My dad never spoke to me about that incident that day or any day for the rest of his life. Yet this one sweet and kind gesture by my dad that day always will be one of the nicest moments we ever shared together. Not because there were not many such moments between my dad and me, but because it gave me a special window into the heart and sole of one of many thousands of police officers in NYC, who just happened to be my dad. I guess my hope in telling you this true story is that each and every one of you who reads these comments walks away from it with one thought. We as a society can do better policing our citizens.