Via Reason, Marine Survives Two Tours in Iraq, SWAT Kills Him. Read the whole thing. It’s appalling.
Police have a monopoly on the legal use of force, and their word alone may often suffice to deprive members of the American community of their life (see above), liberty, and property. Therefore police should be held to a high standard of conduct. Unfortunately, police are not held to such a standard, and worse, routinely fail the pitifully low standard of conduct required of them. Radley Balko’s personal site the Agitator does a great job covering police misconduct and outrageous abuse of authority. Here’s an all too common story:
Anyway, I have been seeing story after story about this and the splash seems to be getting bigger by the day.
In San Diego, ten police officers are currently accused of serious misconduct in unrelated cases that include allegations of rape, stalking, drunk driving, domestic abuse, and sexual assault.
In response, the chief of police has made public apologies and set up a confidential hotline. Of course, everyone is acting all surprised that these activities were taking place within police ranks. How could this have gone on undetected? Well this little tidbit might provide a clue:
Shortly after Bill Lansdowne became police chief in 2003 he quietly disbanded an anticorruption unit assigned with proactively investigating the kind of criminal allegations that have recently stained the department’s public image.
And the chief has no plans to bring it back. However, among other remedies, he does plan to increase ethics training for offiers because, you know, how else are cops going to know that stalking, rape, and drunk driving are wrong?
Reminds me of a story a friend in Hawai’i told me about the police involved in Operation Green Harvest, which was the code name for Hawai’i’s federally funded war on marijuana. After confiscating tens of thousands of mature marijuana plants the police would bring the plants to the Kona hospital’s incinerator (where my friend worked for a time in the late 90s) to burn them. As part of his job duties my friend had to assist the cops burn the marijuana plants, and reported getting high as fuck in the process. After a number of days spent burning marijuana plants, and noticing that none of the plants ever had harvestable buds, my friend asked the police officers what happened to all of the plants’ buds. The officer’s response (delivered with a wry laugh)? “Brah, no one burns money.”
Mind you, they burned tens of thousands of plants a day. Operation Green Harvest’s plant confiscation statistics are off the charts – 772,401 plants in 1998 alone. Or they’re greatly embellished to continue the flow of the federal gravy train that the war on drugs is for local and state public officials, particularly police / swat, prison interests, and their enabling politicians. Some of the cops were taking the buds, or tipping off (at a price) the growers so they could harvest before the raid. That’s just how it works, and it probably can’t be fixed. If anything the problem seems worse every day. All we can do is make government and its police as small and decentralized as possible.
We should also strive to create new political entities at sea called Seasteads where individuals can innovate new political systems to serve humanity far better than current governments do today. Governments profoundly affect every aspect of our lives, and improving them would unlock enormous human potential.