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Police misconduct is too common – Here are but two more extreme examples

Jul 21, 2014 Police misconduct is too common – Here are but two more extreme examples

Police misconduct is all too common, from conduct and language unbecoming a police officer, to dishonest behavior (which can even have its seed in courts allowing police to lie to suspects in seeking a confession), to perjury, and to physical abuse running from imposing discomfort to beating to shooting. Lies to cover up the misconduct are all too common.

Putting a gun, badge, handcuffs, taser, billyclub and the power of arrest in a police officer — with many police without sufficient life experience and many insufficiently grounded in life to be given such authority — can too often be a recipe for turning on its head the concept that police are here to serve the public and justice, and not the other way around. We will continue to see too much police abuse until we shrink the criminal justice system to select, train, supervise and sufficiently pay the best police officers. To shrink the criminal justice system, we should legalize marijuana, decriminalize all other drugs, legalize prostitution and gambling, eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing, eliminate the death penalty, and eliminate per se blood alcohol level violation rules in drunk driving cases.

Recently, thanks to cameras, we the public witnessed the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island (see the videos here and here), after the police decided under questionable circumstances to arrest him, and put him in a chokehold to the point that he kept protesting that he could not breathe. He died shortly thereafter. Whether Mr. Garner died from being choked, a heart attack, or some other reason, the police officer who put him in a choke hold and those police who were present and did not protest (none of them protested, it seems) presented a severe low in police behavior. This incident is just a few days old, and police internal affairs are investigating.

Also very upsetting and tremendously abusive and dangerous, a police officer in Indiana toppled a man to the ground in his wheelchair (see video), after the man rode over the officer’s foot. Whether this riding over the officer’s foot happened intentionally or not, the officer acted entirely disproportionately. The officer was demoted in rank and pay, and suspended for a month. Was that a sufficient sanction for this police misconduct?

I send prayers to Eric Garner and his family. Such police misconduct must end.

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