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Jun 02 2020

Thoughts on Policing

I worked for a time at the Research Company my Brother works for and a great deal of their work centers around Traffic Studies for State and National DOTs and the IIHS. How’s business? Not as bad as it might be. Many States have taken advantage of a moratorium from US DOT on submitting certain information, others are extremely interested in Pre and Post Corona comparisons. They’ve let almost all the part timers go, they were Gig Workers anyway.

The point is I’ve met a lot of Cops and spent a long time with them in situations where I’m a presumed “Good Guy” and I am very professional. I get along with the older guys who have been in for a while, but the younger ones are a challenge.

While there are a fair number of motivated people who take up Police Work to improve the system and make it more equitable and just, a depressingly large number, especially of the newer, younger ones are in it for one of two reasons.

There is the type I call Adrenaline Junkies, usually ex-military who left the service for whatever and found life as a civilian dull. Being a Cop is not exactly a Thunder Run through Fallujah but occasionally there’s some excitement. These people are mostly harmless but they are Combat Trained and the danger is not so much that they’ll go all Rambo in some PTSD Flashback but that they will come to see the population they are supposed to protect as enemies.

Then there is the other type I call Fascists. They are Bullies who use Law Enforcement as a weapon against anyone who does not “Respect their Autorita'”.

I do not find the present situation unexpected. My hope is that this is the crisis that will break the attitude of Police that they are an Occupying Army. If it doesn’t they might get treated like an Occupying Army.

Things could be worse and probably will be.

We saw it with our own eyes: Trump wants to go to war against America
By Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post
June 1, 2020

President Trump somehow imagined it was a good idea to unleash law enforcement on peaceful demonstrators before the 7 p.m. curfew Monday night as he stepped into the Rose Garden to give a knockoff version of Richard M. Nixon’s “law and order” message.

The president who called NFL protesters peacefully taking a knee “sons of bitches,” lied when he declared that he is a friend of peaceful demonstrators. The police firing rubber bullets and launching tear gas at protesters in Lafayette Square in front of the White House said otherwise. Then, as if the scene was not evidence enough of his desire to raise the level of violence, he pledged to deploy the U.S. military on U.S. soil, against U.S. civilians, if governors did not heed his incendiary advice to fill the streets with National Guard troops. It was later revealed that Trump instigated the assault on protesters specifically to make a gesture of walking to St. John’s church.

Nothing could be more representative of the dangerous narcissism of a president in over his head, resorting to threats of violence against a country he ostensibly is supposed to lead. The deliberate instigation of violence for his own photo op tells Americans how deeply twisted and deformed his character is.

His stunt was designed to play to the most rabid white evangelicals, who inexplicably have always seen themselves — not African Americans — as the true victims. The invocation of a religious institution to justify an assault on peaceful protesters was as great an abuse of religious symbols as anything Trump has done. Surely, he never heard of the “Blessed are the peacemakers” passage from the Christian bible. He worships not peacemakers but instruments of brute force.

Moreover, any attempt to use the military against civilians in this fashion would almost certainly be illegal and unconstitutional. Even under the Insurrection Act, federal troops would have to be invited into the states to suppress an actual rebellion. For Trump, the threat of force, however unrealistic, is his go-to move when his manliness is called into question — as it was when he fled to the bunker at the White House over the weekend.

If anyone in America had any doubt as to his intentions — to foment violence, to increase racial animosity, to glorify himself at the expense of the national good — Tuesday’s events should silence them. Democrats and any Republicans with a modicum of decency should denounce the stunt, call for a full review of the incident and conduct congressional oversight. We hope a strong bipartisan assembly of elected officials joins the protesters at the White House, and that one or more civil rights groups will file suit for use of excessive force and deprivation of the peaceful protesters’ rights of assembly and free speech. You are either for Trump or for democracy at this point.

It does not take much imagination to conclude Trump is attempting to escalate violence around the country so he can deploy the military. This is the conduct of a tin-pot dictator — someone resorting to violent suppression of our most closely cherished rights.

More than ever, we should all recognize that, as former vice president Joe Biden put it, this is an election about the soul of our country and the survival of peaceful self-governance.

There will come a time, and soon, when the men and women of our Police and Armed Forces are going to have to decide whether they’re going to follow their oath or obey unlawful orders from a Tinpot Dictator.

I hope they’re as honorable as they always claim to be.

But there is some good news.

Arlington police ‘reevaluating’ agreement with DC police after officers were used ‘for a purpose not worthy of our mutual aid obligations’
Written by Alex Henderson, Alternet
June 2, 2020

On Monday, June 1, police from Arlington, Virginia (a Washington, D.C. suburb) helped police in the nation’s capital control large protests demanding justice for George Floyd. But Arlington officers, according to Washington television station WUSA 9 (a CBS-affiliation station) are now “reevaluating” their “agreement with” Washington law enforcement because of their actions on behalf of President Donald Trump.

Washington police have been widely criticized for using violent force against peaceful protestors in order to clear the way for Trump to speak at St. John’s Episcopal Church and rally his base with a photo op. And Arlington police, according to WUSA, see that as a misuse of law enforcement.

In an official statement, Arlington officials explained, “At the direction of the County Board, County Manager and Police Chief, all ACPD officers left the District of Columbia at 8:30 tonight. The County is re-evaluating the agreements that allowed our officers to be put in a compromising position that endangered their health and safety, and that of the people around them, for a purpose not worthy of our mutual aid obligations.”

Libby Garvey, an Arlington County board member, tweeted, “We ordered @ArlingtonVaPD to immediately leave DC. Appalled mutual aid agreement abused to endanger their and others safety for a photo op.”