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Kiss My Common Sense!
To Those Among Us Who Think They Know Everything and Want to Keep it That Way
"This is a unit, soldier! A team! Everybody is, does and acts the same! As one!"
"Yes, sir, but..."
"But, nothing! Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, Are you too good for us? Is getting a little dirty beneath you?"
"Not at all, sir. I just..."
"There's no 'I' in 'team', maggot! Make that latrine shine!!"
"Happy to, sir. But, I think there's been some..."
"Drop and gimme 20, Private Hawking!"
"What seems to be the problem, here?"
"You're not supposed to be on this property. See that sign?"
"What's your name, ma'am?"
"Okay, hands behind your back."
"I said hands behind your back! You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in...Get your hands off my face!!! I'll taze you! On the ground! On the ground, NOOOW!!!"
"You are charged with trespassing, failure to comply with a lawful order, resisting arrest and assulting a police officer. How do you plead, Ms. Keller?"
Ladies and gentlemen, the tone of this piece may be a blend of humorous and sarcastic, but the message and accusation is crystal clear. This IS the type of manner in which police interact with "a person of interest" or "suspicious behavior". There are documented examples - one such where a black man with a white boy "looked fishy" and so was considered probable cause to stop, harass, and eventually traumatize a ten year old boy the the point of terrified crying and swearing. He was riding on the handlebars of this man's bicycle - the "driver" of said bike being about maybe in his 20's to maybe early 30's, considering that this boy's mom and the man he was hanging with have an intimate relationship. It was midnightish. The cops saw that the two had a rapport and obviously knew each other to some affection and trust. THE KID WAS RIDING ON THIS OLDER BUDDY'S/OLDER BROTHER-TYPE handlebars, for Christ's sake!
The police officers decided to (to use the term that a reporter doing a "ride-along" overheard) "light 'em". Basically they put their flashers on and prepared for a stop and talk. Treating them, especially the older guy, immediately as a bad guy, pervert or criminal, they ORDERED him to shut his mouth. Hello - since when is continuing to talk a violation? Since when does a cop have the right to just stop you and tell you to sit down and shut up? Ahhhhh....and so when said cop does behave this way, it is automatically an arrestable or even criminal action because you're "failing to obey a (LAWFUL??)order"! Get the hell out of my face with that nonsense! A cop on a power trip does not have carte blanche authority to order people around!! Lawful order my ASS. One too many 'L's in there, my friends.
I REMIND YOU: THEIR "PROBABLE CAUSE" WAS A WHITE BOY AND A BLACK MAN RIDING A BIKE TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!
EVENTUALLY....the man said - look, I'm gonna reach into my pocket and pull out my cell phone. You can call the boy's mother and check this out.
Blah blah blah. They called the boy's mom - who, as previously stated is in a "social relationship" with this man being harassed. "Yes, Noah is my son, and where is he?? Isn't he with Cleave???!!! What's going on??!!!" Yes, she's married - technically, but that arrangement seems to be dissolving - the NPR piece didn't focus on it. But, anyway, that is none of the police's God-damned business. If one of them also happens to be some trusted religious authority figure from whom the mother and/or her son seek counsel, fine - he can take it up with her then as a spiritual matter. But religion is NOT a legal matter. I wish I could say the same for race. Oops - on "the street" religion, too, has become "a police matter"!
The boy was obviously in very good hands, and with somebody his mom KNEW was good to (and probably for) her son and what not. I mean...when a ten year old starts to cry and scream hysterically "Man, if you're gonna arrest 'Cleave again and get me in trouble just because I'm white and he's black, I'm gonna kill myself. My mom says not to make no trouble and that means she's been harrassed and says I gotta stop bringing attention to myself and ...blah blah blah......she's gonna send me to my dad's in (some other state, I don't remember).
THAT is NOT protecting and serving!!! This behavior has GOT to stop being touted with stupid ass fucked up bravado that's all "hey - they're riskin' their lives every day - you gotta be tough on the street"...and all that phony bologna BULLSHIT! It is absolute garbage. If you encounter a dangerous or violent situation, YEAH - then use that part of your training where you assert control and crowd manage and stabilize the situation and, if necessary, use hand-to-hand or, as a LAST resort, weapons training to take immediate control. If a crime is being committed, sure, use your authority - and people skills first!!!! - to stop the illegal behavior, and if such action on your part THEN causes some escalation in violence, make full use of all your physical and weapons training ONLY up to that point where it is necessary to (re)gain control and protect your own life, which a cop, as well as any citizen, is allowed to do by any means necessary.
I wish they had arrested him. I wish they had gone all Rodney King on him! I wish the boy has grabbed one of the cops pistols and shot both "public servants". Oh wait. No - no I do not wish that. These days - a ten year old could probably get the chair! And that whole thing I just said about violence and too much testosterone (or adrenaline - and plain old ignornance, inexperience, over-reaction, and environmental habituation in the case of a minor) - yeah, bad news.
So, after taking WAY too much control and using WAY too much force, and for a "probable cause" that is damned well a very serious violation and as such SHOULD immediately cause a variety of civil and criminal investigations and proceedings (and restoration/retribution/ correction - including retraining - like lose the badge and go back to the academy - or just lose the badge, period. And maybe even don a new orange jump suit as a uniform for several months (decades if physical violence had taken place!!). You could very well argue, too, that the cops KNEW they screwed up, and tried - and boy was this weak! - to caution them about safety and all.
The cops tried to give some LAME ASS lecture on helmets!!!! How transparent and pathetic! Anyway, so the man and boy - the boy still going through the post-crying sniffles and shivers and what not - rode off, just as they had been doing, heading to the mother's house as planned.
The kicker??? Upon getting back into the cruiser - again, this RIGHT IN FRONT OF a ride-along reporter! - one of them remarked - "yeah - still looks fishy to me".
How do you plead, Ms. Keller?
Ms. Keller? If you don't answer, you'll be in contempt.
I'm already in contempt. This system absolutely SUCKS - and not because "it's the best we have" or "it's the best we can do". Detaining and harrassing a man and a young boy, because the man was "cycling while black" is a thorough and absolute disgrace, embarrassment, moral destruction and a total affront and slap in the face to basic decency and respect. It absolutely is not the best we can do. If it is - then we need to CHUCK the whole profession and find a new way to govern ourselves.
And anybody who says otherwise is too lazy or stupid to do the real work - the CULTURAL, societal, it-takes-a-village work that is required to make police a valid, trustworthy and functional institution. With judgment and ego like that - NO cop has the right to "assess probable cause" - let alone carry a GUN!!!!!!!!!!!! Jesus! We're in more danger BECAUSE of their presence than without it. There have GOT to be standards! And the telephone number for every town's police department's Internal Affairs Division (as well as the telephone number and contact information to every state's Board of Bar Overseers) needs to be publically disseminated at least quarterly, and public service announcements with that information put out on and in every single form of mass media that exists today.
Until then, too many cops are just authorized criminals and gun-totin' bullies with badges, and we don't need 'em. Humanity can be and MUST be better than that!