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Thread: Police Accountability

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    Police Accountability

    I for one am not a person who is suckered into believe that police represent intimidation and brutality. But at the same time, I don't believe that it is an organization which is all altruistic and for public good. When any organization is presented with authority, abuse is bound to happen every now and then. Take almost any large corporation, and you can point out instances where they have taken up unethical means for ensuring personal benefit. It is simply inevitable.

    So my question is do LEO's recognize that maybe their departments yield their authority needlessly at times? And if they do, what can be done to curb it? Especially as a law enforcement agency, do the police need higher standards of accountability as compared to the common citizen?

    I believe that accountability can never be perfectly attained, but it can be aimed for. And one very effective way to attain greater accountability is transparency. But why do many police agencies oppose means of transparency such as video recording? Especially given the fact that the police are civil servants, is it not the right of the citizen to exercise a means of transparency? Policemen use technology to their advantage. So why are they so vehement about opposing technology used to promote their transparency?



    I bring up this point as there is a video floating around on the internet that is slowly starting to get viral on the internet. It portrays police in a very negative light, and I am kind of bothered by it. People are fickle minded, choosing to forget the countless deeds of service that LEO's have performed. But again, police agencies are also reacting to such things by closing their windows down, which in my opinion is not the right thing to do.

    What is the answer to the current situation? I would love to hear from any LEO.

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    Based on the first part of your question "I for one am not a person who is suckered into believe that police represent intimidation and brutality. But at the same time, I don't believe that it is an organization which is all altruistic and for public good. When any organization is presented with authority, abuse is bound to happen every now and then. Take almost any large corporation, and you can point out instances where they have taken up unethical means for ensuring personal benefit. It is simply inevitable.

    So my question is do LEO's recognize that maybe their departments yield their authority needlessly at times? And if they do, what can be done to curb it? Especially as a law enforcement agency, do the police need higher standards of accountability as compared to the common citizen?

    I believe that accountability can never be perfectly attained, but it can be aimed for. And one very effective way to attain greater accountability is transparency. But why do many police agencies oppose means of transparency such as video recording? Especially given the fact that the police are civil servants, is it not the right of the citizen to exercise a means of transparency? Policemen use technology to their advantage. So why are they so vehement about opposing technology used to promote their transparency? "

    I would say your mind is already made up. I will make it simple. The vast majority of police are good an honest, far more than any other profession. Its easy for joe blow public to arm chair QB when they weren't there. No matter what...people will despise police no matter how good they are simply cause they represent authority. We will never please everyone, nor will we try. I'm not admin, but I would close this post...cause I think your fishing for something you can repeat on a blog somewhere. If not, fine I apologize in advance, but I think I'm right on this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjohnson63 View Post

    I would say your mind is already made up. I will make it simple. The vast majority of police are good an honest, far more than any other profession. Its easy for joe blow public to arm chair QB when they weren't there. No matter what...people will despise police no matter how good they are simply cause they represent authority. We will never please everyone, nor will we try. I'm not admin, but I would close this post...
    I am not sure if you read my last paragraph, but I think I made it rather clear and my view is in unison with yours in that I believe that the vast majority of police are good people. But in a general view, I also believe that with power comes abuse. But abuse of power by police has a larger social context as compared to lets say a corporation abusing it's power. Hence I wanted to hear what a LEO had to say.

    And I disagree with the assertion that people resent police as they are representative of authority. As a law abiding student, I know that I and everyone I know benefit from the enforcement of certain rules. What people don't like is excessive control over civil liberties.

    This post can sure be closed. But as a forum, I feel this is the perfect place for mutual dialogue between LEO and the public. There is much bias in the news and social media. It is rare to here a comment from an everyday police officer.

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    The common citizen isn't trained to deal with high stress incidents either, and most of the time make a judgment without knowing all the details about the incident they may see on video.9 times out of 10, the video only shows half of the incident. It's easy for Joe Blow citizen to sit there and criticize everything a Police Officer does, yet has never experienced an incident similar to what he/she is judging personally. Take Occupy Oakland for instance, It's ok for citizens to throw rocks and other objects at the police, as well as break property that doesn't belong to them, but when police start arresting people, the Police are using excessive force and should just let them continue doing what they're doing. You get a suspect that commits a crime , then starts to resist arrest, all the cameras come on just in time to see the Police Officer gain control by using force and suddenly its Police brutality. Everything we do is wrong to someone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abom334 View Post
    The common citizen isn't trained to deal with high stress incidents either, and most of the time make a judgment without knowing all the details about the incident they may see on video.9 times out of 10, the video only shows half of the incident. It's easy for Joe Blow citizen to sit there and criticize everything a Police Officer does, yet has never experienced an incident similar to what he/she is judging personally. Take Occupy Oakland for instance, It's ok for citizens to throw rocks and other objects at the police, as well as break property that doesn't belong to them, but when police start arresting people, the Police are using excessive force and should just let them continue doing what they're doing. You get a suspect that commits a crime , then starts to resist arrest, all the cameras come on just in time to see the Police Officer gain control by using force and suddenly its Police brutality. Everything we do is wrong to someone.
    On a level, I agree with you. People are quick to judge. But I was looking for opinions about individual issues.

    1) Do LEO's recognize that maybe their departments yield their authority needlessly at times? And if they do, what can be done to curb it?

    2) Do the police need higher standards of accountability as compared to the common citizen?

    3) Why do many police agencies oppose means of transparency such as video recording?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TH14 View Post
    1) Do LEO's recognize that maybe their departments yield their authority needlessly at times? And if they do, what can be done to curb it?
    How about some examples of needless authority. Most of the situations I deal with I am one person's hero and to another person an asshole.

    Quote Originally Posted by TH14 View Post
    2) Do the police need higher standards of accountability as compared to the common citizen?
    We already have that, at least where I work. I have both higher accountability and less protections than the average citizen.

    Quote Originally Posted by TH14 View Post
    3) Why do many police agencies oppose means of transparency such as video recording?

    This does not bother me and is in my agency's S.O.P. to allow the public to document our actions as long as it does not cause a safety issue or interfere with our effectiveness of doing our duty. With LE video there is unedited footage and a clearly documented chain of custody too.


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    Quote Originally Posted by TH14 View Post
    So my question is do LEO's recognize that maybe their departments yield their authority needlessly at times?
    I'm not sure what you mean by this question. Can you elaborate, or ask it a different way?

    Quote Originally Posted by TH14 View Post
    Especially as a law enforcement agency, do the police need higher standards of accountability as compared to the common citizen?
    We have higher standards of accountability. But like the common citizen, we also have rights and protections under the US Constitution. Such as due process and presumption of innocence.

    Quote Originally Posted by TH14 View Post
    But why do many police agencies oppose means of transparency such as video recording?
    I can't speak for all agencies. We don't work under the umbrella of one, singular entity. Each police agency works for it's respective city, county, state, or country.

    As for my agency, we are very transparent. It's part of the reason I still work here. We have cameras in most of our vehicles and our chief is willing to meet with citizens off the street to explain why we do what we do as long as it doesn't hinder an active investigation. Many departments have citizen programs that allow people an "inside look" at the police and why we do what we do. And while we have classes in our "Citizen's Police Academy" twice a year- each class painfully small.

    Because it seems to me it's easier for people to re-post youtube videos set to haunting music than actually take time out of their day to join a Citizen's Police Academy or Neighborhood Watch group.

    Quote Originally Posted by TH14 View Post
    Especially given the fact that the police are civil servants, is it not the right of the citizen to exercise a means of transparency? Policemen use technology to their advantage. So why are they so vehement about opposing technology used to promote their transparency?
    I think a lot of the source of what is perceived as police abuse or misconduct, as well as fear of getting video-recorded stems from a lack of proper training. Whether it's legal in a state or not, I condemn any police department that sues or criminally charges an indivdual for recording a police encounter in a safe manner that does not hinder police duties. While it does happen, it's not as often as you think.

    Remember the people that post these Youtube videos have an agenda as well. There's no telling to what extent these videos are edited, and the dramatic music only serves to nourish whatever negative emotions you already have.

    That being said, as people more familiar with technology take up positions of authority within police departments and police training agencies, I think the fear of the video camera will diminish. But right now, in these hard economic times, the people you elect for local government positions think it's okay that the first budget to get cut is usually the police training budget. Then citizens like you accept the budget cuts and talk about how they are a waste of money. Then you find yourself seeing videos like the ones you posted and wonder what went wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino View Post
    But like the common citizen, we also have rights and protections under the US Constitution. Such as due process and presumption of innocence.
    We do?
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    i don't ever have a problem videotaping me. Odds are I'm also videotaping them, too. I assume there's always someone watching me, so I act accordingly. Everyone gets treated the same, even the prick who's running his mouth all the way to the jail. I'm not about to let some piece of garbage talk me into beating him into a pulp, which would pave the way for him to squeeze out a six-figure settlement from the city, subsidizing him to continue to be a piece of garbage
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    Quote Originally Posted by TH14 View Post
    On a level, I agree with you. People are quick to judge. But I was looking for opinions about individual issues.

    1) Do LEO's recognize that maybe their departments yield their authority needlessly at times? And if they do, what can be done to curb it?

    2) Do the police need higher standards of accountability as compared to the common citizen?

    3) Why do many police agencies oppose means of transparency such as video recording?
    Please explain what you mean by "yield authority." I'm not following it because yield means to give up or give way or give into (or, alternatively, to produce... but that makes even less sense).
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    Unhappy

    I'm guessing he is meaning to use the word "wield".

    You know, I had a long post all typed up but I decided against putting it up just yet.

    Before I go into my answers, I think it is only fair that you provide us some particulars about yourself, so we can gain a perspective of context of where these questions come from. You already know from which perspective we're speaking from. You mentioned you're a student. What's your major? Are you willing to tell us what school? What year of your degree are you in?

    Most of us aren't going to feel too comfortable giving any sort of specifics without at least some info on your part.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 121Traffic View Post
    I'm guessing he is meaning to use the word "wield".

    You know, I had a long post all typed up but I decided against putting it up just yet.

    Before I go into my answers, I think it is only fair that you provide us some particulars about yourself, so we can gain a perspective of context of where these questions come from. You already know from which perspective we're speaking from. You mentioned you're a student. What's your major? Are you willing to tell us what school? What year of your degree are you in?

    Most of us aren't going to feel too comfortable giving any sort of specifics without at least some info on your part.
    I could have chosen a better word, but yield can also mean to supply. Anyway, setting the rhetoric aside, I will put my position in context first as asked. I am a student of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois. As an international student in the United States, I have no benefits of a citizen. But in terms of the jurisdictions of the state of Illinois and the country, I am held to the same standard against law. As an foreigner who has been in the United States for around 3 1/2 years, and also given my practical approach to things, I am hoping that my views are largely bereft of bias. The issues important to me are civil liberties such as equality, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and right to due process. I hope to give a fresh perspective on certain things and also hope to gain from the viewpoints of the other side.

    I am fairly responsible to say the least, and my only altercation with the law so far in the 21 years of my life has been being the passenger of a car which was filled beyond capacity (which is a common hood in almost any campus). I greatly respect the police forces in America, as in comparison, the police forces in India are lax, corrupt and ineffective to say the least. America is a land of many freedoms, but much of it is an illusion. The sheer amounts of laws prevent people from exercising true freedom, and almost everything is laced with a hint of political correctness.

    I am surprised to know that many of you here seem not to care about the issue video recording. I have read many a time about how police agencies are increasingly misconstruing wiretap laws and using it to their advantage.

    I can point out from that instance when my friend's car was pulled over. The car was definitely filled beyond capacity, as my friend was dropping off my music band after a recital. But the tone with which the traffic policeman spoke to us, was condescending and harsh to say the very least. And he fined us for not wearing seat belts in the backseat. I checked up local laws and back then, there was law in Illinois requiring backseat passengers to wear the seat belt. The conduct of this particular traffic policeman was very questionable. It seemed as though he was searching for ways to punish us, like he was on a power trip. My friend didn't bother trying to fight the fine as he would have to go to local court to put in an appeal and didn't want to go through the whole process.

    This incident might seem a one off. But, I am also a student usher at our football stadium. And the crowds get a little unruly at almost any game. I see countless campus and city policemen in the stadium needlessly harassing people all the time. And I wonder, is it the kind of work that policemen are part of that might turn many into inconsiderate people? It is not illogical to assume that if one had a lot of power, that some might chose to satisfy their sadistic tendencies by using excessive authority.

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    Also this other time, I was shopping outside of a Walmart. As I was walking outside, I noticed some commotion in the parking lot. There was a man who could barely stand, intoxicated out of his mind. He was creating a ruckus and I suspect someone called the police. I found the way in which the police handled the situation to be appalling. They repeatedly kept asking the man to fall to the ground with his hands to the back, as though he would do that. As I mentioned he was drunk out of his mind. Almost any sane person could say that there was no way in hell the man could react to the commands in an orderly fashion. A few moments later, there was another warning and finally he was tazed and he dropped to the floor screaming in agony. Not only that, he later was piled on by a bunch of cops with his face scrapping against the hard concrete.

    What was the objective of the whole scenario? Was so much violence and pain necessary to bring the situation to control? Yes, police have to face high tension scenarios all the time, but they cannot use that as an excuse to needlessly inflict suffering on the common man.

    Again, this is only a personal experience of mine. The equivocal opinion I get from almost all my friends is that people of the police force are inconsiderate. I can say with confidence that most, if not all my friends, are rational people. Why is there this disdain towards the police forces. People on your side are saying that it is simply because people don't like enforcers of authority. Yet when I dig deeper, a seemingly genuine reason always seems to surface.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jks9199 View Post
    TASER: almost as good as alcohol for teaching white boys to dance
    I seriously hope that was meant to be a joke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TH14 View Post
    Also this other time, I was shopping outside of a Walmart. As I was walking outside, I noticed some commotion in the parking lot. There was a man who could barely stand, intoxicated out of his mind. He was creating a ruckus and I suspect someone called the police. I found the way in which the police handled the situation to be appalling. They repeatedly kept asking the man to fall to the ground with his hands to the back, as though he would do that. As I mentioned he was drunk out of his mind. Almost any sane person could say that there was no way in hell the man could react to the commands in an orderly fashion. A few moments later, there was another warning and finally he was tazed and he dropped to the floor screaming in agony. Not only that, he later was piled on by a bunch of cops with his face scrapping against the hard concrete.

    Fair question, so what would you have done?

    What you described sounds to me like what most agencies would do, including mine. Except I don't have a taser so we go straight to the hands on.

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    Getting a badge does not endow anyone with super-human morality and ethics. We do the best we can using background investigations to weed out candidates who are more likely to struggle and fall. That doesn't guarantee future behavior though.

    The idea of a "Blue Wall of Silence" or whatever it's called is complete bullshit. We all suffer from human nature. You've never seen a bigger bunch of tattle tails when there's a promotion board open.

    The media loves airing negative behavior of cops for several reason. One, they are selling advertising (all the news is doing is selling you soap and cars) and stories of police corruption is salacious and attracts eyeballs. And advertising.

    The other side of that coin is a fundamental lack of understanding in most of the population of the law and case law governing our behavior and training. People don't understand how, when, and why we can use force. Therefore when they see it they are often shocked by it and call it brutality.

    Most of what we do carries a great deal of civil liability for ourselves and our agencies. Uses of force are always closely reviewed and 99.9999% of the time they are completely justified, despite how horrific it may look on YouTube. If they weren't it would cost lots and lots of money.

    Agencies that have begun a "Citizen Police Academy" program often find huge success and support in the community because a broader cross section of our customers understand the how, when and why of force and investigations.

    Sure there are bad apples. Just like there are bad apples at every business in the world. When we find them though, we are usually quick to get rid of them. I have worked at agencies with cops who were robbing banks, dealing drugs, doing home invasions, stealing money, raping, and more. When the agency found out they were fired and prosecuted. That's the case with the vast majority of agencies in this country. Agencies that don't are in a great deal of civil peril and they know it.
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    TH14, you need to make an introduction post in the appropriate forum.

    Then by all means proceed with your indictment of law enforcement.
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    berserk is offline The reason they do psych evals
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    Quote Originally Posted by TH14 View Post
    On a level, I agree with you. People are quick to judge. But I was looking for opinions about individual issues.

    1) Do LEO's recognize that maybe their departments yield their authority needlessly at times? And if they do, what can be done to curb it?

    2) Do the police need higher standards of accountability as compared to the common citizen?

    3) Why do many police agencies oppose means of transparency such as video recording?
    1) Yes, I recognize that sometimes cops overstep their authority. I think that the best solution is prevention through training.

    2) We already have higher standards of accountability, as well we should.

    3) I don't mind being recorded, and I don't mind transparency. The trouble is that most people don't really have the experience to put police actions in their proper context. Most people haven't been in nearly as many fights as I have, so they don't have the same frame of reference I do when judging the reasonableness of my actions. Most people don't worry about the nuances of the law the way I do, so they aren't likely to understand where the limits of my authority actually are. What I'm opposed to is being held accountable to the ill informed judgment of well meaning people who have no clue what they are looking at.

    Quote Originally Posted by TH14 View Post
    Also this other time, I was shopping outside of a Walmart. As I was walking outside, I noticed some commotion in the parking lot. There was a man who could barely stand, intoxicated out of his mind. He was creating a ruckus and I suspect someone called the police. I found the way in which the police handled the situation to be appalling. They repeatedly kept asking the man to fall to the ground with his hands to the back, as though he would do that. As I mentioned he was drunk out of his mind. Almost any sane person could say that there was no way in hell the man could react to the commands in an orderly fashion. A few moments later, there was another warning and finally he was tazed and he dropped to the floor screaming in agony. Not only that, he later was piled on by a bunch of cops with his face scrapping against the hard concrete.

    What was the objective of the whole scenario? Was so much violence and pain necessary to bring the situation to control? Yes, police have to face high tension scenarios all the time, but they cannot use that as an excuse to needlessly inflict suffering on the common man.
    How was the man creating a ruckus? What specifically about his behavior would made you expect that someone would have called the police? What sort of commands to you believe that this man would have been able to follow, and to what degree? How many cops "piled on" to him, and would you be able to describe what they were doing in more specific terms? Was there something that they should have done to prevent his face from scraping against the concrete while they were doing whatever they were doing? And what was he doing at the time?

    I'm not being a smartass, those are all legitimate questions that I hope you will answer.

    As far as your questions go, it sounds to me like the objective of the whole scenario was to gain control of a suspect who was causing a disturbance and then uncooperative during the investigation. When we approach a suspect, we usually have no way of knowing what their physical capabilities are and whether or not they are armed. When a suspect is drunk, this does not usually make them less dangerous.

    Without more specific information as to what happened, I can't really say whether "so much" violence was necessary. I can say that the police response you described doesn't sound particularly violent to me. I'm sure that it was painful, but you didn't describe anything likely to cause any lasting injury, and you didn't describe anything that sounded gratuitous or excessive. It sounded like the police actions you described were all directed towards gaining control. Almost all of us don't want to "needlessly inflict suffering on the common man," but when the use of force is called for we also know better than to fuck around with ineffective measures that only prolong the encounter and increase the risk of injury.

    All of that goes back to what I was saying in response to your question #3 above. It looks to me like when you witnessed a use of force, you didn't really understand what you were seeing. You described it to us here, but you didn't give us the information we would need in order to fully gauge the reasonableness of what you saw. I can't blame you for that, if we were talking about aerospace engineering then I'd probably be hopelessly lost for most of the conversation. But I can and do expect you to understand that police encounters aren't usually what they seem to be to the untrained eye.

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    As pointed out numerous times, rarely does the public know the whole story, nor are they presented with the whole scerario. Instead, they witness bits and pieces and draw conclusions based on their limited observations. I have no problem being videotaped, as long as the whole of the situation is presented. As an example, an incident that comes to mind is my dealing with a drunk. It ended with me chasing him through a crowd, and tackling him, resulting in him getting road rash from the asphalt from his forehead to his chin. Then, he really didn't want to listen to my commands to put his hands behind his back. This, in turn, led to my rather forcefully using a compliance hold to get him restrained. I'm sure that the people who saw me tackle him and restrain him, may have had the opinion that I was simply dealing with a harmless drunk. What they didn't see was that previous to this, the "harmless drunk" had exposed himself and when I went to ask for his ID, he tried to bean me with a beer bottle, and when that didn't work, he threw it at me. He turned and smacked a bystander in the mouth and took off running, thereby leading to his being tackled, rode to the ground and restrained. I'm equally as sure that if someone had made a video of me, at 6'4" and 275 pounds walking the bleeding 5'10" man to my squad car, it would have looked like I beat him. If that had happened today, I'd be a YouTube sensation and there would be, no doubt, those who would take a small portion of the entire event and use it to crucify me.

    Tell me, as an outside observer, TH14, did I use excessive force? Should I have just said, "Big deal. He's just a harmless drunk wagging his junk at people walking by him. Let Mom and Dad walking by with their kids wonder why I wasn't doing anything?" Is that what I'm paid for?

    I really don't care if anyone gets me doing my job on video.I am weilding my authority in the manner in which society expects me to in order to protect them and myself.
    For the morning will come. Brightly will it shine on the brave and true, kindly upon all who suffer for the cause, glorious upon the tombs of heroes. Thus will shine the dawn.

    Winston Churchill

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    I won't even attempt to address the examples you provided here, since I wasn't there nor did I witness the incident. But what you described doesn't seem egregious or unjustified to me, despite your emotive language like "needlessly inflicting suffering on the common man."

    Out of the 7 words in that phrase, I take issue with at least 4 words. "Needlessly" is an adverb that you're applying to the situation. The issue of "necessary" is not a judgment for you to render. If it were, you would be in a black robe sitting in a court. "Inflicting" is another term that is meant to portray the police in this situation as callous and malicious. Was the force used intentional? Yes. Who's actions brought it about? Those officers didn't go there looking for anyone to "inflict" anything upon. They were called there because that gentleman made a series of poor choices to align his destiny with that of the responding officers. Let's not shirk responsibility.

    I'm not even going to address "suffering." If you're going to paint getting tased and taken to the ground as "suffering", I can't help you. You and I have a different idea of "suffering" at the hands of police. I think thousands of citizens or subjects of third-world police- or military-states, as victims of true suffering at the hands of corrupt police or being incarcerated without the benefit of habeas corpus, would agree with me. (Writs of habeas corpus, by the way, are included in the rights of EVERYONE here in the US, not just citizens. You would be well to remember that when you make claims that as a non-citizen, you're somehow bereft of basic human rights here in this country...) Again, that gentleman, living in this country, would have a reasonable idea of what his non-compliance would result in when faced with orders from police. You contend he had too much to drink to know what was going on and follow those orders. I will submit to you that time and time again the courts of our great nation have ruled that intoxication in and of itself is NOT a legal defense to the commission of most crimes. If that was the case, the defense to DUI would be, "I was drunk and didn't know what I was doing." The defense to sex assault would be, "I was high as f*ck and didn't realize what I was doing." "Common" is an adjective that means something along the lines of being part a homogenous whole, ordinary, or prevalent. As for you describing this as a "common" man, I would submit to you that he became rather uncommon by walking around in public in a drunken stupor, causing a disturbance, and fighting with the police. Plenty of drunks are confronted by the police and don't fight with them, so you're argument isn't just unscientific, it's just plain incorrect. And again, if he blacks out like that when he's drunk that he can't do what the police order him to do, it's his responsibility not to drink that much, not my responsibility to treat him with caring kid-gloves when he's out in public causing a disturbance and being belligerent with everyone.

    One more issue I have with something you said. You railed against police resistance to "transparency" and were quick to point out that we are "public servants." This is true. We serve the public...that is, the public at large. We do NOT serve individuals within the public realm, and are therefore not subject to individualistic agendas or ulterior motive. If what you said about us being public sevants was broadly applied, we wouldn't need policy and procedure...we would just handle the calls for service we're dispatched to in the manner that the citizen dictates. That's definitely not how it works. I serve the public good, not the individual interest someone might present me with.

    As for your quetions....
    Quote Originally Posted by TH14

    1) Do LEO's recognize that maybe their departments yield their authority needlessly at times? And if they do, what can be done to curb it?
    Sure. Because every organization is subject to the faults of the humans running it. That, incidentally, doesn't just encompass the police admin but extends to the policitcal puppeteers as well. All police agencies, on some level, are political entities. You have meddling city or town council-members that demand city codes be more strictly enforced on their streets in particular, and you have the admins that are willing to bow to those demands. It exists everywhere to some degree. As a line officer, all I can do is make sure that the enforcement action I'm taking is legally justified, and that I'm not infringing upon someone's rights when I'm following orders issued through my chain of command. That's an overly-simplistic answer, of course, but it befits an overly-simplistic question. No offense intended. Honestly.

    2) Do the police need higher standards of accountability as compared to the common citizen?
    Of course, and we already do. With power and authority comes a more significant risk of losing everything I hold dear to that authority. What other profession has to make split-second decisions involving the taking of a human life, or the deprivation of an individual's civil liberties? Because of the vast trust and responsibility conferred upon me by the public I'm sworn to protect, I'm also subject to dire consequences should I exhibit misconduct. My assets are subject to seizure through Fourth Amendment 1983 suits, etc. Agencies are subject to dire sanctions through the Department of Justice should they fail to corral misconduct among their officers. Anyone that says that police aren't held to higher standards of accountability are more than welcome to drive over the border to visit our neighbors to the south to see first-hand what absence of accountability looks like.

    Quote Originally Posted by TH14
    3) Why do many police agencies oppose means of transparency such as video recording?
    I'm admittedly somewhat ambivalent about video footage, and whether that footage should be available to John Q. Public. There are some benefits to it, and some horrendous cons. There are events happening right now around the country wherein I think good, decent, honest officers are being hung out to dry based on video footage, and that footage "looking bad" to the public. The operative word here is "look", as in "seems" bad. I say "looks" bad because in reality, and viewed through a lens of training and experience, the actions of those officers are lawful and justified. But to an observer educated at the University of ACLU propoganda, CSI, and Law and Order, the police tactics "look" bad.

    In the end, I'm not sold on the pros out weighing the cons. The fact is, unless you are a trained participant in a profession, you have absolutely no business critiquing those that are doing the job. I wouldn't dream of offering advice to a surgeon performing a procedure. I wouldn't dream of telling a fry cook what temperature of oil to drop the taters in. I also (initially) had my major in aerospace engineering, but I would never dream of coming to your future workplace and believing that my limited knowledge of the field would entitle me to flap my gums at you over your shoulder while you're working. I may know how to drive a car, and have some advice to offer a bus driver on a public bus, but my ass stays behind the yellow line like everyone else.

    All jokes aside, what I'm saying is that video, without an expert opinion, can often be inflammatory and brutal to see. Juries are never shown video and then told to say who's wrong or right. You're going to have people, ideally police experts, there to put the footage into context. The expert to going to point out things that an untrained eye will miss. The expert is going to put you in that officer's shoes. Why is that important? The US Supreme Court has ruled that hindsight is NOT to be used in determining whether an officer's use of force is justified. Graham v. Connor is THE binding case law on police use of force, and it established that in judging an officer's force, an individual should use the yardstick of whether the force was OBJECTIVELY REASONABLE by an officer (NOT a private citizen) AT THAT TIME, IN THAT SITUATION. The trouble with video is that very few people view the video through that lens.
    "If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970

    The opinions given in my posts DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "121Traffic" on O/R.

 

 
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