Anyone who reads even a few of my articles — and perhaps is privy to things I’ve said about cops elsewhere — will almost certainly know that I’m not a cop-worshiper. Harder to discern is the fact that I’m not really a cop-hater, either.
There are a number of reasons why its harder to determine that I’m not a cop-hater, not the least of which is that if I’m talking about cops, it’s almost always because of something bad (Edit 3/ 21 /2017: YouTube video has vanished; link removed.) that they’ve (Edit 3/ 21 /2017: YouTube video has vanished; link removed.) done. And when I talk about cops acting badly, I’m pretty harsh in my assessment of how they should be handled.
I’ve said before — and meant it — that if a crowd of people is gathered around a cop (Update 5 / 25 / 2017: Link broken, removed.) beating the crap out (Edit 3/21/2017: YouTube video has vanished; link removed.) of a (Edit 3/21/2017: YouTube video has vanished; link removed.) citizen, there is something wrong (Edit 3/21/2017: YouTube video has vanished; link removed.) with that crowd if they don’t step in to stop it. If it means overpowering the cop, and if the cop gets hurt in the process, then that — in my opinion — is something the cop brought on himself by making himself the judge, jury, and potential executioner of the citizen he was beating.
Thus, at first glance, anyway, it might appear that I’m a cop-hater, and that I would not be in agreement with what Scott Greenfield recently wrote. One might reasonably wonder whether I agreed with another person I admire in a related post. Your first glance at my comments regarding cops acting badly would certainly make you think I could never agree with the ex-cop-turned-law-student who wrote this on Scott’s blog post.
Your first glance would not be quite right, however.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely believe that if cops are acting illegally, and in way that will bring physical harm to a non–officer, then whoever has the ability to stop that should do so. You may yourself be hurt. You may even get yourself killed. But my feeling is that it’s wrong to stand by and watch another human being possibly murdered right before your eyes. Even when it’s the police doing the murdering. In that sense, my thinking is not any different regarding rogue cops than my feeling about any other criminal attacking a citizen — and we’d never fault someone for intervening in that instance, would we?
I also believe that if police departments across the United States don’t start to dial (Update 5 / 25 / 2017: Link broken, removed) it back — if they continue down the path they’ve been on now for several years of becoming an occupying force — then eventually there is going to be blood in the streets, and some of it will be theirs. Right now, Americans may be sheeple, but beat on the sheep long enough, and they may fight back.
That’s not to say that I am wanting to see this happen, just that I think it’s going to. I watch what happens in other countries, throughout history, when people are oppressed. Sooner or later, they revolt.
As they should.
But — and here’s where the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department went wrong awhile back — I’m not about to run out and start shooting cops, nor do I think that anyone else should just arbitrarily start shooting cops. That’s why, in a comment appended to the same post in which I lambasted the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department for their treatment of me, I pointed out that I was not going to allow comments about the Dorner case on my blog. I didn’t expressly point it out at the time — I did imply it — but that comment was generated because someone tried to post a comment praising Dorner, assuming (I guess) that because of my post (posts?) I would respond favorably.
They were wrong.
The question of what to do when cops act badly is not an easy one to answer. Doing the right thing could get you killed, or send you to prison, because doing the right thing might require you to intervene, even to the point of killing, cops who were beating unarmed citizens to death.
By the way, judges, as this video shows, you aren’t immune.
UPDATE 2015: I had to remove a number of links from this article as I learned that the videos had apparently been removed. But it’s not hard to find examples of what I’m talking about. Cops behave so badly they can’t force the removal of all the videos. Not fast enough, anyway. There will always be replacements, until we make cops stop behaving badly.