WHEN DOES THE POLICE MOTTO “WE SERVE AND PROTECT”, CHANGE TO FEAR AND ABUSE??
Hello, bloggers/readers, I need to respond to a situation that has caused me some concern and a lot of anger. As you probably already know from reading my blogs and hopefully one of my books, most of my adult life has been spent working in Federal Law Enforcement. Although I think the majority of police officers have good intentions and are really there to serve and protect, there are some police actions that bring this institution down to the depths of over reacting and abuse. I won’t get into the 99% movement at this time, but I agree with the premise that until the people stand up & protest for what is right, they will always be relegated to a position at the bottom of the ladder.
What I want to discuss is the horrendous actions of the police at UC Davis. If you watch the film, (you can find it on You Tube), one of the police officers walks around the seated demonstrators (who are not causing any violence), holds up a can of pepper spray and proceeds to spray the demonstrators. He sprays them in their faces, eyes and bodies. He does does this in such a casual manner as if they are not human beings. This so called “officer of the law” initially holds the spray can high above his head, exhibiting his authoritative dominance and obvious disgust toward the seated protestors!!! Remember the N.Y City Police Commander?? He also sprayed some demonstrators who were following police orders, staying behind barricades and not causing any violence!! Power does corrupt absolutely.
I don’t care if you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, this country doesn’t deserve law enforcement officers of this type. I know some police actions are difficult to enforce, but some common sense needs to prevail. In my career I was trained in methods to deal with situations of riot control and enforcement. I was taught to keep my composure… not lose it when confronted with adversity, and respond accordingly. Police are not, I repeat, not taught to pepper spray non violent demonstrators who are just sitting on the ground. Yes, at some point, the demonstrators may have to be physically removed and placed into custody. If they are non violent it is very easy. In the UC Davis incident, you can see the demonstrators are just sitting, not causing any obvious threats. Yes, as expected, the UC Davis police initially issued a statement regarding the incident, stating their police were acting within the scope of their duties to protect their safety. What safety if the demonstrators are not causing any safety problems, just sitting; why pepper spray them?? They have been placed on leave.
During my career, I have worked with some good cops and some not so good cops, but I think it is important to give you some personal observations from someone who has been there and done that!! I worked in some of the most turbulent periods in American history, as I described in my auto-bio “The Two Edged Sword”. I remember the civil rights days when police in Alabama used snarling dogs and clubs to try and control peaceful demonstrators. I remember looking at the vicious dogs biting the protestors while they were being clubbed by the police. I was there in 1968 in Chicago during the Democratic convention and observed the Chicago police in full riot mode, beating the anti-Vietnam protestors. The beatings in both of these situations were, in my opinion over the top. The police in Alabama, had the expressions of the snarling dogs with the same viciousness. I observed one Chicago police officer with his billy club raised high over his head, hitting a black woman who was on her knees, with such force and hatred, you would think he was trying to kill the most repulsive creature on earth. I was across the street and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Are we seeing a return of this hatred by those who are supposed to serve and protect, even though they have a difficult job to enforce.
The police have a very tough job and should be congratulated for putting their lives on the line. But, the officers that go over the line should be dealt with swiftly and firmly. That is the only way for the police to regain the respect that is so sorely needed in these troubled times. Bloggers/readers what do you think?? Keep blogging, keep communicating.