In the linked article, Mr Vargas states, in part, the following:
“There is a ceaseless campaign to vilify law enforcement these days.
The amplification of these voices through social media has resonated throughout mainstream media and generated a false narrative about the professionalism of police officers.”
The author tells us to judge police not as a group but as individuals.
First of all, I would hope that people treat individual Police Officers as human beings and respect them as such WHILE keeping a steady and watchful eye on these human beings in their official capacity as Police Officers and servants of the public.
Second, it is impossible to judge the police as an entity except by what we see as the result of their work. The body of work of the American police does not induce a feeling a pride nor do I see professionalism in the American Police Forces.
I have read numerous articles, research papers and books on our American Police Forces. What I have come to see is a pattern of failure. Thousands of SWAT raids per year produce results a mere 30% of the time. SWAT teams raid the wrong locations constantly. They get the wrong address from their CRIMINAL informants or, even worse, they raid, in error, a different house than that which is listed on their arrest/search warrants.
Yes, that is correct. The address on their search warrant might say 201 Westboro Ave and the Police mistakenly raid 207 Westboro Ave.
When they make these mistakes, they destroy property. They injure people in these mistaken raids. They’ve even been known to kill people in these raids. And it’s almost a given that if there is a pet such as a poodle or cockerspaniel in these homes, that pet is as good as murdered.
Mr. Vargas goes ends his opinion piece with this study in hagiography:
Police officers are not collectively a bunch of racist, boot-jacketed thugs and mindless drones. They are a group of extraordinary individuals who have willingly taken on the challenge of policing a society that has serious issues.
Officers didn’t create the socioeconomic environment that gives rise to violence and crime. Rather they are willingly choose to go out everyday and deal with a public that seems to believe they are the bad guys.
While I have no doubt that there exist extraordinary individuals in the police forces across this Nation, I also know that the history of American police forces is rife with corruption, brutality and inhumanity. The examples are legion. From the New York City scandals of the NYPD in the ’70s to the LAPD Rampart scandals of the ’90s. Those are simply two of the most heinous examples. Actually, it seems that the NYPD has, at least, one major scandal per decade. Police were hired by the largest corporations in America in the early 20th Century not to protect and serve the community but to oppress and suppress the American worker. These police forces were union busters. They weren’t serving and protecting the community. They were actively oppressing the community. The Police were active partners of Gangsters such as Al Capone in the Prohibition Era. In the South, the Police were on the front lines of the Jim Crow era oppression of minorities. In our day, we have police raiding barber shops with Machine Guns and Military Gear simply to check licenses. We have constant and consistent examples of police brutality and disregard for basic human rights. Not only that but the Police constantly violate rights guaranteed to Citizens by the United States Constitution.
Speaking to professionalism. The police are trained to actively violate the rights of US Citizens. They are trained to trick us into surrendering our rights voluntarily without our being aware of such. This is police professionalism.
Certainly, policing is a dangerous profession. However, my answer to that is that if one is not willing to take on these risks, one should not become a police officer. Find a profession that doesn’t produce fear so great in you that you feel the need to shoot to kill your fellow citizens. The age of summary justice is ended. The priority of the police should be the safety of the public. How can the police serve the public in this manner if they are a) considered a menace to society by a large and growing portion of the citizenry and b) if they are in actuality a growing menace to society.
The Police do seem willing to go out and “deal with the public” on a daily basis. This is, after all, their job. However, they also seem all too willing to shoot that public in any circumstance whether there exists a genuine threat to their safety or not. And if that threat is shown later to have not existed in reality but only in the mind of the Police Officer, they Police are also extraordinarily willing to engage in public propaganda and character assassination in order to actively obstruct justice for their victims.
This must change. If a Police Officer is found to be guilty of negligence, error, malfeasance or criminality, that officer must immediately be taken off the streets and that officer must be vigorously prosecuted.
Police must stop assuming guilt all around them. This assumption of guilt has proven to cause over-zealousness in the prosecution of victims of the criminal justice system. All too often, we are finding that citizens who have been imprisoned for crimes are innocent of the crimes for which they were prosecuted. In many cases, the police and/or prosecution knew of the existence of evidence that exonerated these innocent citizens. Yet, the police held back the evidence in order to gain a conviction. Any police officer who is guilty of these heinous crimes should be tried and imprisoned. The prosecution should serve sentence right alongside the guilty police officer.
Too often, the Police are guilty of greater criminality than the public at large. Yet, this goes largely unpunished.
It is time for this to change.
Along with the War on Drugs, the Justice System in America serves oftentimes not to ensure the rights of America’s citizens but to deny rights to American citizens. The Police are integral to each of these injustices.
Is it any wonder in this age of instant information that the police are being thrust into the spotlight. Heretofore, they could not be held accountable for their actions. With the ubiquitous cell phone camera and video recorder, the police can no longer hide their actions. This, in my opinion, is a good thing.
I hear apologists for the police state that is becoming America say that if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to worry about.
This goes for the America Police as well. If you are innocent, the recording of your actions is nothing to worry about.