Tag: USA Police State

The Problems With Police & Their Unions

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Let it be clearly stated that this is not an anti-police essay. This is, however, a criticism of police and the problems arising from an overreaching government. Furthermore, the mere fact that I need to preface this work with these sentiments and the possible retaliation that may arise from writing this piece is a clear sign that our government is out of bounds.

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which is a labor union, began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1915. In 1918, it became the national union for law enforcement officers. FOP produced the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBR or LEOBoR) which provides extra protection for officers who are being investigated or may have committed crimes while on duty. This was accepted federally, and various states have added their own versions of this bill to add further protections and processes. Each state and local department may have various organizations and unions they are a part of, and most of them are under the umbrella of The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), which is a coalition of the associations and unions across the US.

These unions, associations, state and local governments, as well as the federal government, are all protecting the police in order to carry out their laws. One significant issue with this is when there are unjust laws and unconstitutional laws being protected and enforced. Additionally, when officers commit crimes against people, these respective groups are protecting the officers no matter how heinous the crime. As dark and humorous as it is to point out, the fact is that police can often get away with an uncountable number crimes and the departments and unions will say something to the effect of, “We investigated ourselves, and found that we did nothing wrong.”

In many states, officers are forced to be dues-paying members to these unions. No matter the case, the unions have a stronghold over the police departments and have power in determining how the department functions through legal and social pressures. This is evident in the extreme benefits of being in a police union with additional legal resources and pay during time on suspension, etc. Social pressures of departments and unions are even more evident in cases of fellow officers whistleblowing.

The authority held by the police is granted by the people through the US Constitution via the 10th Amendment which gives each state the power to enforce their respective laws. It is on the Constitution that officers promise to protect and abide, yet continuously they infringe on it through civil asset forfeiture versus the 5th Amendment, the war on drugs versus the 9th Amendment and various others, search and seizures without warrant versus the 4th Amendment, infringing on various 1st Amendment rights, and various other 9th Amendment rights found in Natural Law which is what the Constitution was founded upon. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court continues to vote in favor of the police in their criminal acts against people, exasperating the problem of a growing cancer of a despot government.

Contentions with police officers are growing for good reason in the United States, but unlike what their unions say, there is not a war on police officers. As of 2016, according to the FBI, 63 officers were feloniously killed on duty in a nation with around 745,000 officers equaling around 0.0085% of the police population. Yet, the Blue Lives Matter organization has mobilized to get police officers into a protected class and to lobby for laws that will deem “crimes” against officers as hate crimes. Such laws as the Protect and Serve Act of 2018 has already passed the House and is currently going to Senate. The major issue here is that this is creating a stronger government against the people it is there to serve, as it is an overreach of government powers, and this is by definition becoming a despot government or “big government.” For Justice to stand, everyone must be equal under the law. No president, soldier, officer, or king should get any extra privileges under the law.

Obviously, as laws are continually added and changed, these so-called crimes become rather subjective, as in Positive Law Theory. This is the same when police harass and arrest people, then attempt to discredit their behavior by stating, “I’m just doing my job.” Not only does this go against the fundamental Natural Law Theory of the Constitution, but this also leads to serious consequences for the lives of those harmed by behaviors from such thinking as this puts everyone at risk due to arbitrary laws and people upholding such laws. Proponents for violence used by police will attempt to justify such actions as saying people should not resist arrest or that the law needs to be upheld no matter what. This is what is called the Nuremberg defense, or superior orders defense.

This ‘defense’ is named after the very same argument that was used by Nazi Germany when they changed their laws in order to follow them and make their actions “legal.” It is the same sort of bootlicking response used by those that supported the redcoats during the US Revolutionary War. It is the same argument used by Thomas Hobbes to support the removal of Liberty of individuals and grant Liberty only to a sovereign power. It is the same argument used by those that think ‘rights’ come from government and not God or Nature. It is the same argument used by Robert Filmer in which John Locke fundamentally, vehemently, and successfully argued against as seen in Locke’s Two Treatises of Government; it was Locke’s work that helped inspire the US Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. These arguments used by such groups as ‘Blue Lives Matter,’ ‘Protect the Thin Blue Line,’ etc. are fundamentally anti-American. They are against everything in which this country was founded on by their core philosophy.

For those on the political Right- when a government makes a law saying your guns, for example, will be removed, it is these same types of police that will use force to pry your guns away. As you say, they are “just doing their job.” For the political Left- if you want to give up your guns to people willing to commit atrocities and the government is willing to blindly protect them in cases of even gross misconduct, that should put some question of reasonable concern in your mind.

In 2014, Eric Garner was assaulted by police for selling single cigarettes and consequently died due to a stranglehold. These chokes were already considered “illegal” by New York law for officers, yet the case was dismissed and the officer was pardoned. Adding to the frustration of this case, the officer lied about strangling Mr. Garner, and only because of a cell phone recording and an autopsy was it shown that the officer lied. A whistleblowing officer who also leaked the information contrary to the lie was forced to leave his job. Nevertheless, police unions and government came to the aid and defense of the officers responsible for Mr. Garner’s death. Their justification is that it is still “illegal” to sell individual cigarettes without a license and other taxes in NY. So much for tea and whiskey taxes.

Extra protection has been growing especially since 1967’s case ‘Pierson v. Ray,’ granting “qualified immunity” in cases brought against them. This is outside of the Constitution as it is providing extralegal protections for government employees and executive branch members. The court’s reasoning is that police need to do their jobs effectively in order to serve and protect the community as being on the frontlines of stopping and arresting criminals who break the law. Understandably, there needs to be a balance between the laws and the means of executing the laws. So, it is imperative to end unjust laws and to correct police officers’ responses to those who are breaking the Just laws. Equally, there needs to be a stronger ability to reprimand officers who are acting outside of the law, unreasonably, and unconstitutionally. When the government is providing itself extra protections, they are acting to protect their own interests and not the people or the Constitution in which they swore to protect and uphold.

Some extra protections for society have been made against police, such as body cameras on cops. However, the issue has been not only malfunctions and poor quality recordings but also in many areas police are allowed to turn them on and off at their discretion. There have been numerous cases where police officers have been seen planting drugs on a scene in order to get a charge against a civilian, but thankfully in a few cases, the camera recorded the officers planting the drugs. Nevertheless, there were no punishments against the officers other than paid suspensions. The government has no problem fighting an unjust war, i.e. the “war on drugs,” planting drugs on people and being recorded doing so, in order to extort money and property from people, completely destroying these citizens’ lives. They do all of this through the already atrocious protections granted to the police by states and the federal government, with added protections by their departments and unions. If a citizen were to do the same against an officer, the citizen would face serious consequences and lengthy prison time with added penalties because it was against an officer. Even if a citizen did such to another citizen, there would be consequences. Yet, when it comes to police against the citizen, little-to-nothing is done. The police culture perpetuates the problem by helping cover up crimes for one another such as waiving traffic tickets or even more serious crimes.

Police labor unions are only there to protect their jobs and not the community or taxpayers. In the place of government labor unions, who are being brought together in ‘union?’ Government employees should have no ‘right’ to a union, as they are there to serve the community in which they are employed, not to be ‘guaranteed’ a job and protected for committing egregious acts against that community. Not only do labor unions for government employees protect bad employees by not firing them when they are bad employees, but they also falsely inflate costs on the public who is funding them. This creates higher taxes and higher expenses for a community, state, or federal level government. This adds to inflation and to a larger government. These unions also use some of their funding to support political parties and candidates, where some in the union might not want their money going. Furthermore, if and when cases are brought against the police departments or states, it is taxpayers who are ultimately paying for the crimes and mistakes of officers, not the offers or the department itself. This is all the more reason to consider other options such as more private police, or insurance purchased by the individual public officers.

As for some possibly good news in the right direction towards dismantling government labor unions, ‘Janus v American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees’ is to be looked at by the Supreme Court. This case is to make it optional to join government unions if approved, whereas currently states require people to join unions if their state has declared it mandatory. Any business relationship should be voluntary, in as much that one should not be forced to join a union in which they do not believe in, and they should not be forced to pay dues.

Overall, police are getting far too powerful and committing crimes against people by not only upholding unjust laws, but also by intentionally committing acts of violence, extortion, scandal, and lies against people. They are doing so with impunity and the backing of all levels of government and labor unions. The militarization of police is a serious issue noted by many scholars and critics. The police, as they are a government entity, do not need extra protections from citizens. There is no war against police, but the police are in fact acting in aggression towards the citizenry. The best steps to take now (in no particular order as this article would be even longer) are ending the war on drugs, erasing convictions related to nonviolent drug-related crimes, purging our legal system of unjust laws, holding police and other government officials accountable for serious crimes against others, ending government unions especially those of police unions, and retraining how to handle situations with civilians as to prevent harming the innocent. We need to be in pursuit of peace, not in pursuit of who to demonize and convict.

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Asheville Police Officers Beat and Tase a Man for Jaywalking

By James Sweet III | Asheville

In the City of Asheville, North Carolina, a dramatic video has emerged of two cops pursuing and blatantly assaulting Johnnie Jermaine Rush, a man that committed “four crimes” of jaywalking, according to one of the cops involved.

The encounter between Rush and the two police officers, specifically Chris Hickman and another unnamed officer, took place in the August of 2017. In the video taken from a body camera, the officers are following Rush after they previously asked him to stop jaywalking. They pulled their car over and confronted Rush. Rush was visibly extremely distressed.

All I’m trying to do is go home, man.

The officer that confronted Rush was initially calm, stating he committed jaywalking four times and that the accused criminal could either be arrested or given a ticket. Rush tells the officer to do what he has to do, accusing the officer of harassment. Rush gets frustrated, cursing at the officer while stating that he is being harassed merely for walking. This makes Hickman approach the man, telling him to put his hands behind his back. This is when Rush begins to back away, and runs to a nearby parking lot. Hickman pulls out his taser, talking on the radio and to Rush.

You’re going to get f**ked up hardcore.

While Rush was being restrained, he exclaims that he cannot breathe. In response, Hickman hits him in the head, while the other officer helps subdue and arrest him.

Hickman, who was awarded the departments medal of honor in 2014, resigned in January. Chief Tammy Hooper has confirmed this and has offered up her own resignation as well. The department launched an investigation into the matter in January, and the FBI is also conducting their own investigation.

Concerns are being raised about how the video got leaked, however, to the Citizen Times, the newspaper that initially reported on the incident. District Attorney Todd Williams believes that someone should look into how the video was leaked. He also went as far as suggesting that it could warrant a criminal investigation.

Racism may have been involved, as Rush was a black male, while the cops were both white, although this is not certain. It is certain, however, that there was an unjust law that was enforced in a violent manner upon a hard working, tax paying American citizen.

Baltimore Cops Busted for Planting Fake Guns

By Will Arthur | United Staes

Within the past two weeks, the Baltimore judicial system has been quite busy, to say the least. Trial day 1 as reported by the Baltimore Sun brought enough evidence and reputable testimonial quotes to justifiably send a large sum of the police force to prison. One of the scariest tactics used by Baltimore cops, told by detective Maurice Ward (an officer in the Gun Trace Task Force), being to carry BB/fake/toy guns in their cars so that, in the scenario that an unarmed or innocent person was killed by the cops, one of these fake guns could be planted on the murder victim. Whether this technique was ever used was not has not been found yet.

Later throughout that day and the next days, it was found that the Baltimore police had numerous techniques to wrongfully chase, search, arrest, detain, and attack individuals. A few examples being speeding the cars into groups of people and stopping quickly to see who runs (to have a “reason” to arrest someone), targeting drivers of Honda cars, selling confiscated drugs, and stealing money from peoples safes. A full report of even more tactics used can be viewed in this court document from 2016.

These acts display the massive amounts of systematic corruption in the current police force. It is not just that the cops were killing, stealing, and ruining people’s lives. It is that they do it and they know exactly what they are doing. They understand that they are killing innocent individuals. Instead of owning up to their crimes (like a rational adult would), they think it is okay to blame the dead victim (that can not speak up for themselves) by planting a fake gun on them. These Baltimore police officers were able to do this because they were given the power to and until now it was ignored.

The fact that these Baltimore police officers knew that if they planted fake guns on their victims then they would be able to walk away freely also says quite a bit about the system. In the country of America (the most gun friendly country in the world) it is found okay for cops to walk around trigger happy ready to pull out a gun on any individual holding/being near a toy gun (note to self never call 911 when in the boys toy section at any store).  Which does not really sound like a gun friendly country at all.

Image from vox.

Is There Such a Thing as a Good Cop?

By Will Arthur | USA

In today’s times, it feels like at least a few times a year a cop kills a citizen or video footage comes out that a cop killed a citizen in the past. Every time news comes out of a murder like this there are protests and much outspoken opposition: whether marches, celebrities speaking out, or social media banter. Typically, these protests revolve around the idea that the whole police force needs serious fixing and reconstruction because people being wrongly killed by police is a serious problem. In response, Conservatives and Republicans say back to these protests that “one cop does not represent the rest”, “one bad decision does not define the group, or “not all cops are bad”. These responses from the right wing need serious considering. Specifically, the phrase “not all cops are bad”. Is there really a good cop?

Another common argument the right side uses is that cops are only doing their job; they have the best intentions in mind. Cops cannot be blamed for the actions of themselves because they are only taking orders from higher-ups. Cops have the best intentions but can only do what they are told. This idea that cops can get away with terrible actions because they are just taking orders is ridiculous and goes with the saying “if someone told you to jump off a bridge would you?” No, cops should be able to logically think about what they are told to do and determine if the orders are good or bad. They should be held to the standard that every other employee is held to.

There was another side to the argument besides that cops should not be blamed for the orders they follow: cops have the best intentions. This part of the argument may very well be true for many cops. Some may just want to protect and serve the taxpayers the best way they can. While the opposite may also be true for a few police officers.

These arguments may bring another option to the table, however. It may be that yes, most of the people in police officer roles are overall good people and want to do the best for society, but the job/position of being a police officer today is not good for society.

To validate this claim that the job of a police officer may not be good for society we would have to look at where police officer’s orders are coming from. Well, police officers do not technically pledge an oath to a person, but to a thing: the law. Police officers swear to execute and enforce every law passed by the United States government. For a cop’s job to be positive to society, one would have to agree with every single law passed in America. Whether the law is putting people in jail for using cannabis, fining someone for pumping their own gas in New Jersey, unconstitutionally seizing citizens by means of the PATRIOT act, and nearly an endless amount of other unjust laws.

It is not that every single person in the position of police officer is a bad person (even though some definitely are) or that the idea of wanting to protect and serve society is a bad idea. Wanting to protect and serve people is an admirable thing to do. The problem with today’s police force, however, is that they hold the job of enforcing all of the government’s laws and regulations, and many (arguably most) laws and regulations are flawed and unjust. Until the laws are cleaned up and give the citizens their natural rights back the police force will be doing a disservice to society and be inherently bad.

Police Brutality and Minority Struggle: Ending the Blame Game

By Greg Stephan | USA

Minorities are, in modern times, facing a lot of problems right here in the good ol’ United States of America.  From drugs to being shot by police to financial instability, these issues are racking many, however not all, minority communities in America.  Children are coming home to see their father on TV, shot dead by police.  People are dying left and right from drug overdoses and gun violence.  These issues are pretty much undisputed in existence, however, the real controversy lies in what the objective root problem is of this issue.  Many people may believe this would be systemic racism within America, others may believe it’s the race of the minorities; however, under further scrutiny, neither example is the case at all.

One issue used to back up the belief that racism of both blatant and subtle forms within our government is the core problem would be minority-dominated school districts getting less funding, thus setting up students in America’s predominantly minority districts to be more likely to fail in life and underachieve.  Racism within government and donating businesses is typically where the blame is placed, however, many fail to regard that most school districts get funding in accordance to the district’s own tax income, determined by the tax collected by the population within the district.  In other words, it’s the fact that most predominantly minority communities are poorer and more crime-ridden than predominantly white communities that causes the low school funding.  Now that we can knock racism out of the way for this issue, we can now dismantle the other extreme, for the true blame is no more on systemic racism than it is on minority races themselves.

The reason for the cause of the school district issue is not racism, nor it is the colors of the dominant races in a community.  What it is, however, is the culture and popular (yet masochistic in the long-term) choices individuals are pressured to make.  Poorer, crime-riddled, minority-dominated communities are more often than not filled to the brim with “ghetto culture”.  This subculture heavily promotes the use of drugs, gangs, street violence, black-on-black crime, and disregard of individual responsibility through various forms of media and action.  Because these drugs and gangs and other forms of street culture, individuals are showing to choose lives of crime, drugs, fraternization, and irresponsibility.  Choosing getting high off of lean and having unprotected sex with your friend’s significant other over finishing college and having a career outside of crime is considered cool and has been normalized by these cultures.  Making these decisions are what make people poor and put families in jeopardy.  Now, whites typically don’t engage as much in these cultures and are, more often than not, not stuck in ghettos and in failing school systems, however some do in fact choose to go down the route of ghetto culture and become irresponsible and, in turn, poor; in conclusion it is not racism nor race that is the cause of this issue, moreover the culture of the individuals claiming to be oppressed.

This trend of the more commonly brought up issues to back a more progressive standpoint on the topic of minority struggle always connecting back to ghetto culture’s influence on minority individuals is seemingly getting more apparent as time passes.  To name just a couple, the high rate of minority crime compared to white crime?  Ghetto culture (which is more popular amongst minority communities) glorifies, normalizes, and popularizes crime not just in the form of art, but also in reality.  High drug consumption/production/selling?  Ghetto culture realizes glorified, normalized drug use, not to mention glorification of gang violence and gangs selling and producing drugs for profit.  Poorer communities constantly on welfare?  Ghetto culture promotes throwing individual responsibility out the window in favor of constantly living life as a hardass teenager who goes to parties instead of class (which coincidentally is also promoted through ghetto culture).

The most socially significant issue minorities are facing, one that simply cannot be left unaddressed is the problem of police brutality against minorities.  Is the reason for cops shooting blacks and other minorities to their deaths always, without a doubt, racism?  Well, no (and I will get to that part in a bit), however, there’s no arguing that a few of these incidents were, in fact, hate crimes.  Dealing in absolutes, however, and saying that every officer-on-minority attack is unjustified or simply racism, would be factually inaccurate as not every police officer that has had to use his or her gun on a minority is inherently racist.  The reason why we see so much “racist” police brutality on the media is because the media can easily make money off of tragedy and hot talking points; police brutality is one issue that is both.  Blowing these issues out of the water and putting a political media spin on the entire deal is exactly what has gotten the majority of progressives to believe that racist police brutality is something that is seen 24/7 pretty much everywhere when in reality it really isn’t.

Why, one may ask, then would the rates of police brutality acted upon minorities significant in comparison to the total American racial minority population?  Well, a good answer for that would be that minorities simply have more run-ins with the police, thus upping the chances of violence and/or brutality.  If for instance black Americans, only make up 13% of the population yet commit 50% of America’s violent crime, then this is a far higher crime rate than white America, thus resulting in more run-ins with police by black folk and in turn, resulting in a higher likelihood of police brutality.  This, in statistics, is called “The Law of Large Numbers”; a vague description of LLN would be that the more times an experiment or event occurs (in this case, minorities running in with police and committing crimes) the higher the probability of a certain outcome becomes (in this case police brutality against minorities).

The reason for such high crime rates resulting in higher likelihood of police brutality?

Ghetto culture.

Ghetto culture promotes committing violent, self-destructive crime against not only other minority individuals but police officers as well, as previously stated several times.  In conclusion, ghetto culture can be linked back to almost every issue currently facing minority communes.  It’s a lot easier to blame others for your own failures to be up-to-par with individual responsibility, especially when your culture romanticizes and falsely justifies it.  Minority communities in America need to focus on independently fixing themselves and reforming the mass amounts of toxic street culture that has become self-evident, not blaming whites for all of their issues.  In the end, the real problem is not racism, nor is it inferiority in race, as we are all individuals with our own unique abilities and disabilities, most of whom being completely capable of fulfilling personal responsibilities.  For an able individual can only be helpless in success and rehabilitation when a society around it blindly claims it’s “cool” and “normal” the way it is.