Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fuck the police?

Most recent victim of police brutality (story and full video below)
That rap song pissed a lot of people off. Everyone wanted to talk about it/censor it/condemn the performers. And I've never enjoyed listening to it-- But as I start seeing more and more stories of police brutality and misconduct, I feel I can empathize with the anger it must have taken to write a song like "fuck the police."

It's no secret that police brutality has long been a weapon used against minorities. After the Rodney King incident and subsequent trial, it was on everybody's radar. But we've come a long way since Rodney King and the days where cops looked the other way or God forbid, even helped lynch mobs do their dirty work.

Cops have always walk a fine line in our culture's history-- sometimes they're respected and beloved, other times they're "pigs."

I've had some great experiences with police officers. I've worked in emergency rooms as a rape victim advocate and met with some kind, caring and well educated cops. I've done trainings side by side with officers. But I'm no fool. There's bad eggs out there, just like any job. The only difference being --- that a bad egg police officer still has a gun, maybe even a taser, and the ability to order me around.

In the aftermath of September 11th, we were quick to put all servicemen and women on a pedestal. Police officers were heroes and anyone who said differently was unpatriotic. I get that. I was in NYC in 2005 at the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Even years after 9/11, I got teary seeing the officers march to bagpipes. Still, it's dangerous to hero-worship to the point of ignorance.

The same shit happens with the troops. I will forever have pride in my heart for our men and women in uniform. Many of my family members have been overseas or are there now. However, soldier worship can become dangerous. When we refuse to see flaws in our military and SOME of its troops, we are tentative to report on their misconduct. Like this, and this, and some other horrible stories that our media doesn't want to talk about because it gets in the way of our proud flag waving.

And it does suck. Every time one police officer or soldier fucks up it reflects on the whole group, it diminishes the good work they do and draws attention to the negative. It makes the lines between good guy/bad guy blurry and it makes us all uncomfortable.

But I'm getting way off topic... my original point is we need to start taking more notice of police brutality. I mean, I know "don't tase me bro" was an internet sensation, but I don't find that shit funny. There have been some pretty clear cut cases of police officers using tasers negligently or too frequently-- there's actually a whole website dedicated to this taser-frenzied police force we've created.

Then there was the story of the female VICTIM who called police for help. When an officer arrived, he asked for her ID and she mistakenly gave him her sister's drivers license (a keepsake, her sister was deceased). He refused to give it back to her, at one point saying "Shut up about your dead sister." When she persisted, he arrested her and later under questioning, the woman was attacked and violently strip searched (be careful, link takes you to some triggering video). She was strip searched and left naked for 6 hours. Several male officers held her down during the process.

Today on You tube I see this video:

Side note: I'd like to know... if this woman "fell" while trying to exit the door again, how did she end up in the middle of the room in a pool of blood?

Raw video here.

Seriously. I'm starting to feel like these aren't isolated incidents. I'm starting to feel like I'm not going to be safe if I ever need police help.

So how do we strike that balance? Where we acknowledge and thank the honest, brave men and women who defend us at home and overseas while not giving an inch when it comes to assholes in uniform who need to be called out?

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