01-04-12 - Police Brutality

Much has been made of the outrageous treatment of Occupy protestors by police. But I believe it's been small potatos compared to the rampant, systemic brutality which pervades our nation's police departments. It's fallen out of the news because we're bored of it (we've seen black guys getting beaten by cops a million times) and because it doesn't affect the wealthy, but it has really not gotten better (or not enough, anyway).

Police in American are de-facto above the law. They violate human rights at will, with rarely a punishment greater than suspension or transfer.

Here in Seattle things have gotten shockingly bad, so bad in fact that even the DOJ has made an official report about how bad our police department is. (original here) . What is Seattle's official response? Not to do anything about it, it's to question the methodology of the report. Shameful.

To Protect & Skull-Fuck - Page 1 - News - Seattle - Seattle Weekly
SPDecay - Page 1 - News - Seattle - Seattle Weekly
Seattle sues attorney over public records request Local & Regional Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News KOMO News
Seattle Police Department Sued by KOMO News for Not Releasing Dash-Cam Videos - Seattle News - The Daily Weekly
Seattle Police A Department in Denial - Page 1 - News - Seattle - Seattle Weekly

One of the few ways that people are getting any justice these days is by getting the dash cam footage to prove that the cops' lies are in fact lies. (see for example Ian Birk lying about John T. Williams "lunging" at him (eerily similar to the very tragic case of Otto Zehm in Spokane in which officers also lied and claimed he "lunged" (with a soda pop bottle, which led them to kill him))). The result of course is that SPD is doing what it can to stop the dash cam system. They are now suing to stop releases of footage under public records disclosures, and have "accidentally" deleted many thousands of hours of footage.

Police Chief Diaz needs to be fired.

But in the larger picture, the big problem is the stone wall and loyalty attitude of police departments; that when there is a case where a police office may have killed a civilian without cause, their attitude is not to investigate and apologize, it's to cover it, draw ranks, support the officer, etc. This attitude makes not just the few bad cops responsible, but every cop who treats his compatriots as beyond reproach or above the law. Loyalty to evil is not admirable. (ask Joe Paterno).

Following a rash of unjustified killings in the 80's, many laws were passed that make it somewhat more difficult for police officers to use their guns. But the gap has been filled by stompings, clubbings, and taserings.

spokane police abuses summary

previous post at cbloomrants

Of course part of the problem is that there is a decent portion of the population that thinks "tough policing" is a good thing.

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