Cowards and Apologists: The Police Brutality Rant
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Leonard Cohen, "Everybody Knows"
Cowards. That's the one word that continuously comes to mind when I hear about these out-of-control cops and their tasers.
There have been numerous cases of these weapons being unleashed on harmless victims in recent years, but I think two cases in particular highlight just how cowardly some police have become.
First, we have the ongoing inquiry into Robert Dziekanski's death on the news almost daily, reminding us of how four big, burly, fully-trained cops felt so threatened by a 40-year-old man holding a stapler that they saw no alternative but to zap him five times with thousands of volts of electricity immediately upon encountering him at Vancouver International Airport back in October 2007.
And now we have this new case. A case from last summer in Ontario, which has just come to light in recent days. A case that involves two cops tasering a 14-year-old girl inside a jail cell for - wait for it - refusing to stop scratching at the chipped paint on the jail cell wall.
Is there any other word that comes to mind other than "cowards"? Because "cowards" really does seem like too weak of a word in this case. Well, sure, an assault like this one on a 14-year-old girl certainly does conjure up words like "psychotic", "mentally unstable" and even "evil", but I do think "cowardice" is also appropriate.
In the Vancouver airport case, as we've all seem numerous times on that now-infamous video recording, the four cops didn't even bother trying to restrain Dziekanski, they simply whipped out their tasers and let him have it... over and over again. "Cowards" really seems like the perfect word in this case. Were they scared he might hurt them? If so, then it'd appear that they're not just cowards but also incompetent and improperly trained.
However, as we all know, they are, in fact, well trained in martial arts and their job description clearly involves being able to handcuff someone when necessary without resorting to the use of weapons.
So, considering the fact that they didn't even try to restrain him and instead went straight for their weapons - for the easiest option - I'd say they're not just incompetent, untrained cowards, but lazy as well.
Spare The Taser, Spoil The Paint Job
Now I think we'd all have to agree that a child being tasered for peeling some paint off of a jail cell wall is not only cowardly, but also a clear case of criminal assault. Not that the cops will ever be punished, of course. They never are. When you can get away with killing unarmed 40-year old men then surely you can torture a little teenage girl if the rage-infused notion so strikes you.
But, sadly, this and the Dziekanski case are only two of the worst - and most publicized - cases. There are so many other horrible stories out there: Cops tasering people sitting in their cars, tasering people inside jail cells, tasering people already handcuffed in the back seat of patrol cars, tasering people for not immediately responding to a command in a non-violent situation, repeatedly tasering people when they're already down on the ground.
I'll say it again: This is clearly the work of unprofessional, incompetent cowards.
Knee-jerk Apologists For Brutality
Of course this article you're reading right now, like all others that are provoked by feelings of revulsion and outrage after hearing of yet another case of police brutality, will undoubtedly elicit the typical knee-jerk defensive response from all those either so naive or so completely reactionary that they feel the uncontrollable need to try and excuse even the most horrific cases of police misconduct.
"You don't know what they have to go through each day", the knee-jerkers exclaim. "They risk their lives to keep you safe", they cry out.
All 100% irrelevant nonsense, of course. These people - the police - are paid to PROTECT society, and risking their lives in the line of work is absolutely no excuse for any form of brutality or abuse of power.
But "You don't know what you would do in such a case. Put yourself in their shoes", the apologists bellow, showing an amazing lack of concern for the victims.
Well, I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty and that's that I would never be able to live with myself if I ever acted in such a brutal, cowardly manner.
These tasering-at-the-slightest-provocation cops can't make anyone proud. Not their families, not society at large, not even their knee-jerk defenders... and certainly not all the decent cops out there.
And, believe me, there are indeed lots of good cops out there who are sickened by all of this; cops who know how to do their job without brutalizing anyone; cops who take pride in their work; cops willing and able to restrain a 40-year-old man without pulling out their weapons, especially when accompanied by three big strong colleagues.
We all know that these good cops are out there on the job in every community, so why would anyone feel so compelled to come to the defense of those who are so obviously not good and decent? Well, it would seem that the kneeejerkers would want us to believe that all police are good, decent, honest human beings, and that the real problem is not police brutality but rather the media. "How can the media publicize these awful, outlandish, slanderous stories of abuse and misconduct?", they ask. "No police officer would ever behave in such an unprofessional manner".
Now that's obviously just ridiculous, isn't it?
Everybody knows that there are sinister, horrific cops out there, particularly in places such as North Korea, Zimbabwe, Iran, Russia, China, Los Angeles, New York, etc. Everybody knows about the case from a few years back of the New York cops convicted of torturing a suspect by ramming a toilet plunger up his ass, rupturing his intestines. Everyone knows about the Rodney King case. Everyone knows about the dreadful history of the horrifically racist cops in the American Deep South who tormented, framed and even murdered African Americans right up until a few decades ago. And this list could go on forever. Bad cops do indeed exist (just like corrupt politicians and businessmen).
So why is it so hard, I wonder, for some people here in Canada to accept that they also exist in our country?
Perhaps these apologists are unaware of those corrupt narc squad cops in Toronto who were selling drugs and beating the shit out of people earlier this decade. Perhaps they're unaware of the numerous reported cases involving cops in the Prairies dropping off Natives on the outskirts of town in the middle of minus-40-degree winter nights. And perhaps they haven't heard of the recent case of the two off-duty cops charged with assaulting and robbing that poor guy in downtown Vancouver last month. And perhaps they haven't read about the hundreds of other police brutality cases here in Canada over the years.
Perhaps they can't read? I don't know. But you'd at least think they'd know how to watch the news.
Seriously, these apologists are a bit ludicrous. They're kind of like the few remaining people who claim that there's no problem with sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. Not only in their denial of the obvious, but also in their feigning of outrage that anyone would even suggest such a thing.
The way I see it, anyone who truly respects the police would want these cowards within their ranks immediately removed from the force so that all those cops brave and competent enough to do their jobs properly could go about their work in a professional manner... and in so doing earn the respect and trust of the whole community.
Seriously, who wants the cowards kept on the job smearing the reputation of the whole force?
Sadly, the answer seems to be not just the apologists out in the public, but also the police forces themselves, particularly the RCMP. There clearly seems to be some sort of internal police code that involves doing everything possible to help any and all fellow officers escape punishment, no matter how terrible their behavior. In other words they're smearing their own names.
As one person asked in a comment left in response to my earlier piece on the Robert Dziekanski case, And Injustice For All: Cops Face No Charges In Death of Robert Dziekanski, "Where are the Mounties I grew up to respect?"
Another very interesting comment - one that I think everyone should read - was posted in response to that same article by a former police officer, a cop who's just as appalled by police brutality as almost everyone else out there... and actually did something to try and stop it.
Too Much To Ask?
So, think about it police forces of Canada (and any and all apologists for police brutality out there), wouldn't it in fact be far more logical and productive for you to perhaps consider working for the removal of all the incompetent brutal cowards within your ranks, rather than defending them at all costs?
I mean, seriously, why not champion a courageous, competent, professional police force? Something that could indeed be a reality here in Canada someday... if only the prosecutors, apologists and the police themselves refrained from blocking any and all attempts to bring the cowards to justice and get them removed from the force.
Accountability, professionalism, competence, bravery and an end to violent attacks on newly-arrived immigrants and 14-year-old girls, among others - is it really too much to ask from those paid to protect us?
Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Tuesday, February 10th, 2009
For more on the Robert Dziekanski case read this: And Injustice For All: Cops Face No Charges In Death of Robert Dziekanski
Or this: Kill, Duck and Cover: The RCMP Rant
And for something completely different try this: The Godless Super Bowl Rant
And for a recent piece on American politics check this out: Bye Bye Buffoon: The Final Bush Rant (Featuring Supertramp)
And for lots more on politics of all types visit the Politics Homepage