So, today, we go to another episode of “WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH THE POLICE!?! (http://progressive-liberal.com/the-matter-with-police) There are a few things I want to address today, all of them inter-related to one degree or another; beginning with an article from Professor and Chairwoman of the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College in New York City (as well as being an Ex-Police Officer herself), Maria (Maki) Haberfeld.
In “Recruits Are Too Young, Not Sufficiently Educated” (http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Police-recruits-are-too-young-not-well-enough-8674608.php) Haberfeld argues that “For over two decades, research has shown a direct correlation between the emotional maturity of officers and their problem-solving capacity. Yet, as if deliberately ignoring the scientific research finding, most police departments in the United States continue to recruit and select their officers at the very young ages of 19 or 20.”
Here her point connects and almost correlates perfectly with my previous point (see link “WHAT’S THE MATTER…” above) regarding recruiting almost exclusively those who’ve served in the military. A 19 or 20 year-old combat-vet with a gun and an attitude in an intense job like policing is a pretty frightening proposition in general, in my opinion.
Add to this a basic lack of formal training, as Haberfeld goes on to say, “(W)e should be hiring older officers and putting them through a standardized, mandatory curriculum of training for all our law enforcement agencies. This training must cover a minimum number of hours that will approximate, at the very least, a two-year college degree. Don’t we owe it to our communities to give the officers we charge with guarding our lives at least as many hours of training as beauticians and hairdressers?” I couldn’t agree more.
(NOTE: Everyone reading this really owe it to themselves to read the full, very well-written article by Professor Haberfeld (see above link: “http//www.sfgate.com/…”)
Next I want to get briefly into a little thing called “Testilying” – that’s right, not testifying, testilying, and, yeah, it’s a real thing. Testilying is defined as: “Police perjury (or testilying in United States police slang) is the act of a police officer giving false testimony.” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_perjury) This happens all too often and even when proven rarely results in any disciplinary consequences for the lying police officer.
One of my all time favorite examples of the practice took place at O.J. Simpson’s murder trial (1994): In an effort to establish a “rush to judgment defense,” a common defense-team tactic, Defense Attorney Robert Shapiro asked Police Detective Vannatter if Simpson was the first suspect in the investigation to which Vannatter replied defensively, “Mr. Shapiro, you were as much a suspect as Mr. Simpson at that point.”
Just what in the f—k was Vannatter talking about!?! A very wealthy and respected attorney who the victims did not know personally was as much a suspect as the ex-husband of one of the victims? It was absurd on it’s face and nobody likes their intelligence being insulted as Vannatter and many other LAPD did to the jury repeatedly in this case (I’m talking to you Mark Furman!).
I think it was things like this (there were many) that got O.J. off. If you can’t believe what the police are saying how can you believe any of the evidence they’re presenting?
A much better (as in more honest) answer would have been that most people who are murdered are killed by someone who knows them and has a specific beef (like maybe an ex-husband?), so you start your investigation checking out people who might fit that profile and as you eliminate (or not) one after another the circle of suspects grows bigger and bigger, which is why most murders that are solved are solved in the first 24-hours; after that the circle of “possibles” gets too big (i.e.: too many people) to effectively prosecute anybody (i.e.: somebody is guilty, of course, but no one is obviously guilty). Not a “rush to judgment,” a criminal murder investigation is a reasoned and reasonable process of elimination.
Would Vannatter saying this instead of the unbelievably stupid thing he did say have changed the outcome? Maybe. I do know that the jurors who spoke-out after the trail said that they just didn’t believe the cops were telling the truth; and, clearly, at least at times they weren’t.
The point is, the police think they can say absolutely any f—king thing they want to no matter how fantastic or unbelievable and the judge and jury is going to believe them over the suspect/defendant; and for the most part they are right about that. The thing is, “the winds of change are blowing.” More and more people are becoming aware of common police-practices like “testilying.” And, more and more juries (and maybe even a few judges) are going to stop believing them with such heretofore impunity.
And speaking of people becoming more aware of police-practices: in Baltimore, MD, a police-corruption trail involving several officers going on right now (https://youtu.be/HDgko7zIiYk) is showing some frightening “common practices,” like officers carrying toy and BB-guns around to plant on police shooting victims to justify cause, that make us question situations like the one were 12-year old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by police for carrying a pellet-gun (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/26/tamir-rice-video-shows-co_n_6227552.html). It appears justified, there’s even video, but one can’t help but wonder in light of the testimony in Baltimore.
Lastly I’d like to address cops saying things like “Blacks shouldn’t worry about the police killing them; they should worry about other blacks killing them!” (i.e.: black-on-black crime being far more prevalent than police officer-killings.) While this is true in raw-numbers, it is also true that whites kill whites (i.e.: white-on-white crime) 83% of the time. In other words, saying blacks kill blacks more frequently than are killed by whites or cops is a nonsensical statement that means nothing. It’s like saying that statistically almost all serial-killers drank milk as children, therefore… therefore what!?! It’s true and IT MEANS NOTHING other than kids tend to drink milk!
The simple fact of the matter is that, for better or worse, we live in a fairly segregated society and that most people who are murdered are killed by someone who knows them and has a specific beef (wait a minute I read that somewhere before) so if your neighbors are mostly black the chances of you getting killed by someone who is also black is higher than getting killed by someone who is white who doesn’t know you or live in your neighborhood. You could switch the races around (black for white and white for black) at every point and the statement would be equally true.
This is a case of intentionally confusing causal with casual statistical relationships. Basically, it is the police saying, “Don’t look at me! Look over there at him!” (which is why I call the confusion “intentional”) even though these are two completely different things. A criminal not killing you is obviously desirable but one rightfully has a very different, much higher expectation of not getting shot by someone sworn “To Protect & Serve” the public (which is you and me, brothers & sisters, that is: US!).