It has become all too common to read in our newspapers that some outrageous act committed by someone in law enforcement is defended by higher officials because, "They were following procedures." Why is it that none of the equally outraged responses ever ask, "Who the hell writes these rules and procedures, anyway?"
The threat of being a victim of police violence has become so real there is even a group called Oath Keepers who try to get police officers to swear they will not follow any order that violates the Constitution. Of course, the Oath Keepers, for all their good intentions, are having pipe-dreams if they think a police officer is given enough information to help him/her decide that an order is valid. All the cop hears is the briefing about the drug dealer being inside the house or the bank robber or whatever and they must bust down the door and "use appropriate procedures" to protect themselves and secure the premises. I'm not picking on the Oath Keepers, just pointing out the weak link in their purpose. But what about other agencies of the government who also "follow proper procedures" and in doing so, violate the rights of innocent citizens?
Here are a few examples from the news today and a few old ones to think about.
Six year old child patted down by TSA agents.
Selena Drexel is the mother of 6-year old Anna Drexel. Mrs. Drexel appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" and told them that her family was returning home from a vacation earlier this month when their 6-year daughter Anna was selected for a pat-down by Homeland Security TSA agents when they passed through the airport in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Quoting from an AP story, “In a statement, the Transportation Security Administration says the officer followed proper procedure but that the agency is reviewing its screening policies.”
Proper procedures, my ass! Watch the video and decide for yourself. After the pedophiles were outed by the Catholic Church how do we know they didn't get jobs working for the Transportation Security Administration?
There is another video on YouTube posted by an eyewitness to another pat-down of a child last November 19th at Salt Lake City that has an interesting written commentary by the person who posted it. Click the link to see the video and make sure you read the commentary. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSQTz1bccL4&feature=related
I cannot forget the first time I became enraged over police using excessive force. A trained officer carrying a firearm coming up against a person who has no gun or knife, has a distinct advantage. Multiply that by 15 police officers surrounding a man holding a brick and the situation is even more outrageous when the order the person to "drop the brick" and 60-seconds later, open fire and kill him. Here is how it was described in the Cincinnati Enquirer on June 1, 1997.
Cincinnati police shoot and kill a man holding a brick.
Some facts about this as written by Peter Bronson in the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Lorenzo Collins was a very large, violent psychotic, with a history of crime, assault and drug abuse. Lorenzo Collins walked off AWOL from the lockdown psychiatric unit at University Hospital three times. On February 23, 1997, Lorenzo Collins was surrounded by 15 police officers on a vacant lot. Collins was holding a brick. The cops ordered him to drop the brick and 60 seconds later they opened fire and killed him after he refused to comply with the order."
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters, who has ruled that the Collins shooting was not criminal, partially blamed the hospital for not keeping him locked up. Yeah, sure, blame someone else.
So in my opinion, 15 trained police officers in excellent condition decided they could not subdue one large mentally deranged man holding a brick? And the county prosecutor defended the cops because they followed proper procedures.
Another Cincinnati cop a few years ago responded to a call in a public place where an old man was acting strangely. The old man was suffering from dementia and was confused but the cop didn't know that so when he arrived he simply floored the old man and hurt him badly. Why cops don't ask questions first before resorting to violence is beyond me.
County SWAT team shoots mayor's dog in botched police raid.
Prince George's County SWAT team raids mayors house and shoots both of his dogs. This happened on July 29, 2008 in Maryland. A drug dealer devised a plan to ship a box of drugs across country to a randomly chosen name and address and have an accomplice retrieve the drugs after they were delivered. The Feds got wind of the plan and tracked the shipment right up to the delivery. The randomly chosen name, Trinity Tomsic was the wife of Cheye Calvo, the mayor of a small town of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, but the County SWAT team wasn't familiar with it and the local cops were not involved. CNN reported this on their web site on Aug. 8, 2008.
The brave SWAT officers, all wearing body armor, shot one of the dogs when it was running away. The Prince George's County Sheriff defended the action saying the officers were protecting themselves and they all followed procedure.Calvo said he had just returned home from walking his two Labrador retrievers, Chase and Payton, when his mother-in-law told him a package had arrived for his wife, Trinity Tomsic.
Moments later, Calvo was in his room changing for a meeting when he heard commotion downstairs.
"The door flew open," he said. "I heard gunfire shoot off. There was a brief pause and more gunfire."
Calvo said he was brought downstairs at gunpoint in his boxer shorts, handcuffed and forced onto the floor with his mother-in-law near the carcass of one of dead dogs.
One more example of outrageous procedures involved another Cincinnati cop some years ago. One cop puts a handcuffed defendant in the back seat of a police car and puts him in a strangle hold which resulted in his death. Another cop witnessed this and there is a big trial when the killer cop stands accused of manslaughter. The witness cop lies under oath and the killer cop is exonerated. Then the witness cop goes and confesses to his superior that he lied under oath but according to Rule 213 of the Police Department, if a cop does something wrong and reports it to a superior, he cannot be charged with a crime.
In all of these examples the common thread is the existence of some rules and procedures that some unknown group of people write that have tremendous impact on our lives. Who are these people and why doesn't any of our government officials admit these rules and procedures are wrong and have them corrected?
There is one reason that could explain why these procedures are allowed to exist, that is they are used as a test to identify which police officers will go to extreme ends to blindly follow orders without question. Shoot the dog, shoot the child, makes little difference if the cop is more violence prone than the suspect. It helps to lower the entry qualifications for cops, too. New York City did that many years ago and let ex-gang members become cops, then they saw a dramatic increase in the use of excessive police force. If you want to create a GESTAPO style police state you need people you can depend on. Those who want to protect the innocent have no useful place there.