by William Anderson
For most of my life, I was a fairly typical law-and-order conservative, although there were times I questioned some police tactics. For example, nearly 40 years ago one of my college friends was severely beaten by the Knoxville, Tennessee, police in a situation considered serious enough for the FBI to investigate. After seeing Jake’s face two days after the beatdown and knowing the circumstances behind it, my long-held faith in the police certainly was shaken. Still, I wanted to believe that the police were “on our side.”
Today, I no longer hold to that illusion. Yesterday, I met with a woman about my age whose son, a Marine veteran, was found dead in his Dade County, Georgia, jail cell earlier this year, allegedly due to suicide. Not long before that arrest, he had been picked up for DUI by those same police and was severely beaten and tased by six officers, much of the beating coming after he was prone on the pavement with his hands cuffed behind his back. He had broken ribs, a ruptured eardrum, numerous burns from the taser repeatedly used on him, and bruises all over his body. Naturally, he was the one charged with felonies.
If police officers ever believed in their “protect and serve” mottos, that time is long past. As this post from Will Grigg demonstrates, the police today are obsessed with “officer safety” and their pay. He writes:
Police departments exist to enforce the will of the municipal corporations that employ them. Any actual service they render with respect to the protection of person and property is incidental to that mission.
As a recovering law-and-order conservative, I never believed I would be writing anything like this, and I would love to be proven wrong. I no longer buy the “few bad apples” argument; as I see it, the few “good apples” left in police departments either are driven out by fellow officers or they are cowed into silence.