I’m going to take a moment to talk about the recent murder of George Floyd, and how it’s part of a continued trend, and try to take a swipe at one of the pillars of the problem.
Pretty much everyone can agree that Floyd’s murder was beyond the pale. That it was deliberate and totally unjustified and the officer responsible should be punished. That’s not a radical opinion. Officer Chauvin has been fired and charged with murder, and those who stood by and did nothing while George Floyd died begging for his life on the sidewalk have also been fired, and will probably be charged. So that’s something.
But I doubt that would have happened without the video. The same with Ahmed Aubrey, where his murderers weren’t even charged until video surfaced. It seems that only when the public sees the murder first hand is there any chance that there will be consequences, and even then maybe not, as Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and Walter Scott’s cases demonstrate.
I could go on.
Sadly, I could go on.
But while nobody is denying there’s a problem, the excuse that I hear is that this is “not all police” and the work of “a few bad apples.”
I’m a paramedic. I’ve been in public safety for over two decades. I’ve worked in some rough cities, and worked closely with the police. I’ve definitely been protected by the police, and felt safer for their presence in certain circumstances. So I’m not anti-police. I just want accountability for the police
I know it’s not all cops. Anybody who is engaged in reasonable discourse knows it’s not all cops. It may very well be a minority of cops. A few bad apples.
But the rest of the saying about bad apples is that a few can spoil the bunch.
The problem won’t go away while the police shield the bad apples, make excuses for the bad apples, defend and cheer when bad apples are acquitted or fail to be indicted. As long as the establishment closes ranks and circles the wagons around the shitbags, they will continue to give the whole institution a bad name.
This is a tendency of organizations, to cover for their mistakes. But it makes them complicit. Just like the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts should have to answer for covering up the crimes of their people, so must the police.
If you truly want to claim that these “bad apples” don’t represent all cops, the whole organization needs to demonstrate that. We give tremendous power and authority to the police. We arm them and give them broad powers to detain and arrest people. But that power should come with responsibility. And part of that responsibility has to be the removal of those who would abuse that power.
If the police want to claim any integrity, they need to cut the cancer from their ranks.
Or those few bad apples will spoil the bunch.