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When tax dollars pay for wrongful police spying, intimidation, and unlawful arrests

Apr 04, 2007 When tax dollars pay for wrongful police spying, intimidation, and unlawful arrests

The Bill of Rights. (From the public domain.)

When I was in high school, I saw a button saying "Fairfield Cops are Tops." However, police power is profound and is constantly at risk of abuse. Being human, police are fallible.

Police misconduct — which remains rampant — will not stop or abate enough until everybody insists on and achieves a radical and positive overhaul of policing and police hiring, training, supervision, and discipline; and a radical and positive overhaul of the criminal justice system, including heavily decriminalizing drugs (and legalizing marijuana), eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, and eliminating criminal penalties for activities as minor as prostitution.

Here is some recent information about police abuse of power:

– The April 3, 2007, Washington Post reports: "A secret FBI intelligence unit helped detain a group of war protesters in a downtown Washington parking garage in April 2002 and interrogated some of them on videotape about their political and religious beliefs, newly uncovered documents and interviews show." This is my own backyard being discussed in this article, which makes this hit all the more home.

– On March 24, 2007, the Associated Press reported: "Undercover New York police officers traveled around the United States and to Europe to observe activists who planned to protest at the 2004 Republican National Convention – including hundreds who showed no sign of illegal intent, a newspaper reported." Read more about police abuse during and leading up to presidential party conventions herehere, and here.

The list goes on endlessly about police abuse of power, often with the blessings and direction from government executives, from huge demonstration-free zones outside presidential conventions (and during presidential inaugurations) to unconstitutional racial and religious profiling at airports and on airplanes to driving and walking while black arrests.

Police and the government are supposed to serve the governed, and not the other way around. This abusive state of affairs will not change unless the people insist on change loudly, in large numbers, persuasively, and persistently. Jon Katz.

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