Today’s police abuse report

There’s so much police abuse of citizens in this country, it’s easier to stack the incidents in a pile on my desk than write separate stories about them.

In this video of a traffic stop, cops in the Florida Keys are recorded by a tourist tasering an elderly man with his hands up and not resisting. Little more is known about the case, and a police spokesperson said only that the incident is under investigation.

In this video, a Ft. Lauderdale cop violently attacks a homeless man. A Ft. Lauderdale police spokesperson said the officer has been suspended with pay pending internal investigation.

The reason, of course, why we have so much much gratuitous police violence against citizens is because these cops know they’re immune from any consequences. Cops, practically speaking, are exempt from criminal prosecution. Their “qualified legal immunity” eliminates most lawsuits, and if they’re successfully sued, someone else will pay the judgment and legal expenses. Police bullies rarely lose their jobs, thanks to unions and managements unwilling to impose discipline on their officers.

The result is we live in a country where bad cops abuse citizens with impunity. There’s an obvious solution: Revoke their immunity and hold them criminally and civilly answerable for misuses of the authority entrusted to them to protect us from crime. This may require legislative action. In the meantime, our best defense against abusive policing is for bystanders to shoot video and post it on the internet when they see cops bullying citizens.

Cops almost universally hate being recorded, and sometimes hassle people for recording or worse, but in most states it’s legal and it’s important for witnesses to assert their rights and stick to their guns because that’s virtually the only way abusive cops get caught. (Sometimes they’re tripped up by their own cameras, as in the case of a Seattle cop who assaulted an elderly black man who was doing nothing more than using a golf club as a walking stick, and probably would have gotten away with claiming he swung the golf club at her, if her own squad car dash cam hadn’t proved she was lying. That cop is now suspended and hopefully will be fired.)


Comments are closed.