He makes some good points.
But I can see both sides.
This is how bad things have become.
With the rise of the smartphone with its built-in video recording capacity, we are becoming witness to ugly police behavior. We know that on the one hand it's common, and (even police critics admit this), it's not the behavior of the typical cop. Most cops are good guys who are ready to give their lives, if necessary, to protect the public.
On the other hand, cops have become afraid to enforce the law. They avoid calls in heavily black areas. They hesitate to use lethal force when circumstances clearly call for it (some people need to be killed). Innocent cops are being assassinated by nut jobs who feel that the anti-cop climate justifies killing any cop, not just the bad apples.
For example, in NYC a year ago, a man with a Muslim-sounding name (Ismaaiyl Brinsley) walked up to a parked police car and shot the two officers inside dead. Ironically, neither officer was white. One was Hispanic and the other Asian.
Hostility to police has reached a point where where even a 100% righteous shooting can ruin a white cop's career if the decedent is black. It can also destroy his psychological well being.
One cop has the solution: he is suing the family of the man he killed.
Is there any way out of this mess?
One cop has the solution: he is suing the family of the man he killed.
This is the most interesting part, to me. Basically (I haven't read it so I'm assuming) sueing them for playing the race card when it wasn't a racial issue. Maybe this can help put a stop to the endless "race issues" that are never really about race.
Technically he's countersuing them...they are already suing him.
Suing the cop has become standard procedure. Suing the decedent's family (or countersuing, if that's what it turns out to be) is relatively new.
I agree, it's a "man bites dog" sort of thing, either way.
More concretely, I think the trend towards body and dash cams should be encouraged. It has been found to reduce complaints considerably. A cynic might say that's because the police are better behaved when they know they're being recorded, and a differently-oriented cynic might counter that no, it's because the "civilian" knows he can't just make up shit to cause trouble. I think there are plenty of times when each (or sometimes even both) cynics are right.
An additional measure I'd implement is to put the burden of proof on the agent of the State (the cop and the force in general) whenever there is some sort of issue raised and the video turns out to have been accidentally erased. (Yes I am aware of "innocent until proven guilty." I'm also aware that that rule was instituted to compensate for the advantage the State has when pursuing a criminal case.) There is far too much of a tendency during allegations of police wrongdoing to default to believing the cops when there's no other evidence available, especially when evidence has disappeared.
Oh, and I touched on another peeve of mine. What's with the police calling everyone else "civilians?" "Civilian" means people not in the military. The police are not in the military, comma dammit, and are therefore "civilians" too (and a lot of military and vets really hate police abuse of the term). It seems to feed into an "us vs. them" mentality, where all non-police people, not just "the scum of society," are lumped together. A mentality which causes a lot of trouble.
Steve, unless you are contemplating cases in which cop is charged with a crime then placing burden on state for lost or erased vid is consistent with innocent until proven guilty. Further it would likely raise a presumption in favor of the defendant.
I am contemplating cases where the cop, acting as agent of the state, has been accused of wrongdoing.
Is it possible for the state to prosecute a cop—especially in an emotionally and politically charged atmosphere (politicians, unlike police, are elected, after all)—without there being a conflict of interest?
Perhaps police should be prosecuted outside the United States in some country that doesn't pay a lot of attention to US politics. Under US rules, of course.
Sometimes a more localized change of venue would be sufficient. People in Toledo, Ohio are unlikely to be conversant with the politics of Gary, Indiana.
Police are guilty of so many ills. Many come from lower middle class authoritarian catholic families and have been inculcated to hate blacks as much as they suck the prick of the holy jesus and pay homage to our lord the dicklicker. I aint entirely joking either. The history of disparate treatment of minorities is well known among minorities. Whites are not as hip to it.
We have exclusionary rules of evidence for evidence obtained in violation of the constitution. And this measure was essentially judicial activism, not that it was not the way to go. But it is not enough of a disincentive to cops. And we have a Miranda warning that is not enough either. Oh, and don't get me going on the history of forced confessions through torture and duress. Fuckers!
So what do we do?
We need to screen and eliminate racist/biggots. Get em the fuck out of the academy.
We need cams every goddamn place. Gotta record these cops and their interactions with perps. And when they do what they do throw the book at em. And how about rewarding good cops for long term exemplary service. Extra bonus or pension. And also cops should be required to attend racial sensitivity and diversity training.
Tangentially i want prosecutors who are not interested in the truth and in justice to be hung upside down from the public square. It is insane that it is an elected office.
I work with cops, and, my impression is that most of them don't actually start out as racists.
Sure, some do, but the process, particularly for ones in prisons/rough neighborhoods where its mostly minorities...and gangs...tends to simply be a case of dehumanization of the enemy.
So, a guy starts out joining the force to be a contributor to society, young and idealistic. (Or as a megalomaniac/someone in need of feeling more powerful)
He is dealing with violent minorities, and, can be in mortal danger every day. He starts to see the minorities as savage animals...and, his view changes over time.
They generalize how they see the violent gang members to how they see anyone who looks like them, analogous to how the kids fighting in Nam started to see ALL of the Cong as the enemy, as they all looked the same to them, and, any of them might try to kill them w/o warning.
There is a tendency under that sort of life and death pressure to bond with those on your own team...and they do become like brothers.
That leads to them feeling more strongly about protecting their own, than about right and wrong...and the "US VS THEM" mentality becomes more concrete.
For towns where its not a life or death struggle, but there are minorities, they STILL develop the us vs them mentality, because they have to arrest "them" over and over again, and the human need to rationalize actions kicks in.
Even black cops start to see black perps differently.
In studies where cops are for example, presented with video scenarios of either people with guns or cell phones, with instructions to decide as quickly as possible, and timers to act as a cut off...they have to decide to shoot or hold fire, instantly....and they ALL shoot black guys with cell phones more than they shoot white guys with cell phones.
Part of their brains are hard wired to see the black guy as a threat...even if they are black themselves.
IE: In these environments, "blackness" is part of the list of potential threat indicators...it just develops naturally...hence black cops developing it as well as white cops (No difference statistically).
Give men guns and enforcement authority, and, there is always, a historical tendency for them to develop this "us vs them" mentality.
Add the consensus development needs for a cohesive group...and they start to reinforce whatever behaviours they had rationalized.
So if it seems "normal" to beat black perps, they seem to feel that if they don't, they are expressing disapproval of the group...and that is progressively less likely as acceptance by that group is vital to both their safety and career.
Add it all together, and the end result tends to be more along the lines of cops not knowing what to do or not do...they are not rewarded for what they had been trained to be rewarded for, and can be penalized instead.
The kind of training given to the green beret for example, would be a better starting point. IE: Understanding the rules of engagement, understanding the mission, and understanding how the society they are inserted into, works.
Right now, they receive training on use of equipment, and general procedures, but, typically, anecdotally.
This is why the seat belt rules for example were too vague...officers were aware of them, saw how enforcement was observed because superiors and fellow officers deemed the rules to be impractical, and acted accordingly.
Training takes time and costs money though, and, most budgets don't have the room for it.
Taxes would have to go up because they need to cover the additional costs, and, extra manpower to cover shifts for those being trained, and, doing the training, oversight of the training, effectiveness of the training, changes to the training, etc.
Sitting through a class is not the answer....sitting through regular training sessions, hands on, etc, plus a clear communication of the desired culture and methods, is the answer, and, that can take years.
The cams, etc, are great I think, because people DO think about their behaviour more when they KNOW it can be reviewed. This is analogous to the media being the oversight to the political system.
Part of their brains are hard wired to see the black guy as a threat.
You described a learned behavior but than describe it as "hard-wired." It can't be both.
You also kind of admit that the police are under a greater risk dealing with black men (it's mostly men) and so perhaps it's fair or at least understandable that the notion of treating a black man as a greater threat could be necessary presupposition if a cop wants to maximize his chances of surviving through the day(?). We expect cops to risk their lives in defense of society, but only when it's absolutely necessary.