It’s About Police Exceptionalism

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

I think it’s time, once again, to talk about police abuse, the violation of citizens’ rights by police officers, and their being held to a different, lower standard of conduct than other citizens.  I think that’s the core of the Henry Louis Gates arrest. And I think the commentaries that focus on the illegal arrest of Dr. Gates just as examples of racism and/or classism to the exclusion of the societal role of out-of-control police are missing the boat.  Of course, the poor, people of color, immigrants, the disenfranchised, the powerless are the usual objects of police abuse.  But the primary, ugly problem that needs to be confronted is that the police are unrestrained and repeatedly commit illegal acts with impunity.

This old post from April, 2006 makes my point far better than yet another re-hashing of the illegal arrest of Dr. Gates in his own home by Cambridge Police.  And it even goes a long way toward explaining why the offending officer has been invited to a beer at the White House rather than a deposition in a federal civil rights case in which he is the named defendant.

I am now going to take my anger out for a walk.


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  1. why we required cops to give Miranda warnings, and there’s a reason why we suppress evidence that’s been illegally seized.  Let me see.  Can we remember what those reasons were?

    Thanks for reading.

  2. is BLUE and jackbooted BLUE can do no wrong.

    It’s Utter Bullshit, man. Right on.

  3. …it is possible to end up with an ever more tightly regulated and moment by moment fair system which is still systemically abusive.  I think it is really problematic to get people to stop identifying so strongly with uniformed authority, the worship of which has become part of the national character.  The meme I think could win over time, if we were very lucky, is that people on the wrong side of the law retain their humanity and deserve opprotunity.  If that got momentum then everything else, from SWAT teams for minor arrests to endless jailbuilding to police abuses, would be pushed back.  And without it, it’s kind of…hopeless.

  4. this bullshit that people in uniform can do no wrong even more since 9/11. Not including fire fighters in this,they are exceptional, brave people, but do they get pay better now, I doubt it.

    Don’t get me started on the police, I have no love for most of them.

    When I first moved here, a black neighborhood, I got pulled over all the time on suspicion of buying drugs. One lectured me to better get used to it if I should choose to stay here.

    Most of the ones I encountered are ignorant bullies and they don’t take kindly to anyone who knows their rights. No, we’re suppose to be shaking in our boots.

    This cop should’ve been suspended instead of getting an invitation to the White House. He had no case the minute the Professor showed his ID and then he refused to give his badge number and name.

  5.  If you have thin-skin, perhaps law enforcment is not the profession for you.

      Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a member of the ACLU, regarding police brutality.

    What they told me was this-

      (I’m paraphrasing) ‘There is no job or profession in the US that automatically entitles you to “respect.”

      US citizens sign no oath-or take no oath-requiring them to respect members of law enforecement. It’s not a legal requirement for anyone in the US. Nothing “binds” us-legally.

      If a cop does feel that he or she is entitled to respect, based on the fact that they carry a badge, that may be a cop who MAY cross the line at some future point. MAY.’

      It was further stated that ‘as an ACLU attorney-the speaker did not feel that HE was (particularly) entitled to any level of respect-that is-it wasn’t HIS, by virtue of his chosen profession.’

      It’s not a “given” for anyone in the US, by virtue of what they do for a living.

      No job or profession in this country, automatically entitles anyone to respect.

      American citizens have no such legal requirment they must satisfy. No one takes any oaths along these lines.

    No one is “required” to respect the members of any profession-in other words-based on that particular profession.

      Also, the ACLU attorney stated further that ‘he was completely-STILL-capable of doing his job-whether the general public gave him “respect” or not.’

      Everyone should be-since US citizens “sign” or “swear to” no oaths stipulating to anything else.

      If it is not a legal requirement-no one is required to demonstrate it.

      Law enforcement should still be capable of doing their jobs-even if they are not given the respect which they may feel they’re entitled to; but for which there is no legal requirement-that is binding on US citizens.

    The cops were completely out of line with Gates-and the offending officer should be the defendant in a civil rights case. Sick of this shit.

    The US needs to get its act together. Shameful is what it is. And there is-no excuse-of-any-kind-for-it.

    It’s all about color-who the hell do they think they’re kiddin’ here?

  6. down the line that I believe Bush and his lawlessness gave a sense of enablement to any persons with any form of “control” — it all trickled down the line!!!!

    Thanks, Davidseth!

    Here’s a video on Gates’ ordeal from Chris, at VoteStrike:

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