Wednesday, December 8, 2010
What's going wrong with cops?
There are police officers in this country who have been presented with the evidence that multiple shots from a Taser gun can contribute to someone’s death, but they ignore that and happily continue to pull the trigger.
It seems in many ways as if the police are placing themselves above the very law which they are paid to enforce.
(Personal disclaimer here: I have several very good friends who are cops and I would trust my life with them and I know the reverse is true. It's just that I get the feeling they're slowly becoming a minority.)
We know that policing attracts certain personality types – many of them are control freaks in much the same way as professional fire fighters are often adrenalin junkies. They will be the first to jump into the water to save someone from drowning and will put their own lives at risk to rescue someone, but it’s not always altruism that drives them. It’s the rush and you don’t have to peel back very many layers to discover that.
Once upon a time, the caricature of a pot-bellied US southern sheriff being judge, jury and sometimes executioner was just that – a caricature. Unfortunately as we see more instances of police brutality and of people dying while in police custody, I have to wonder where we’re headed in terms of justice and law enforcement in this country.
Think of the Toronto cop who, during the G20 demonstrations, said he would charge a young woman with assault if she blew bubbles at him. Or think of the plastic cops working as security screeners in the airports and how many stories there are about them acting like jerks. Or think about that female special constable in Ottawa repeatedly kneeing a young woman in custody without any of her fellow “officers” stopping her.
It doesn’t make any difference if you’re a drunk, a druggie, a bank president, a surgeon or someone with mental illness, you have rights and the first one is that you deserve to be treated with respect.
I’m sure there were just as many jerks in cops of previous generations; it’s just that now we see it every day and quite frankly it’s becoming sickening. Some of the stuff we’re seeing now is the behaviour of thugs, not supposedly professional police officers.