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Guest • 4 years ago
GeorgeSalt • 4 years ago

Just look at the way cops are portrayed on TV and in the movies. Lots of Americans love rogue cops who kick doors and beat confessions out of perps. I can't stand American police procedural TV shows because more often than not the lead character is a swaggering, bullying dick of a cop.

Americans love to see rough justice meted out, as long as the "right people" are on the receiving end.

kiljoy616 • 4 years ago

aka the Poor.

RobertRays • 4 years ago

Police and prison guards hate hearing these comparisons, according to an ex-policewoman I once worked with, but she made the comparison herself. She kept a certain hardness in her nature, but changed careers in part because she got sick of the liberties her colleagues took with people, thumping them as though to make up for some imaginary deficit of punishment elsewhere in the system, or because they could not abide insufficient respect of their authority.

(She also resisted escalating tension in a confrontation, which she saw too much of and which is now a recognized major policing problem. One night shift, she was called to arrest a drunken brawler known for injuring officers and always requiring several to bring in. She was alone -- but she brought him in without violence.)

Yahmo Bethere • 4 years ago

A former job entailed hiring ex-COs. The only reason they're on the other side of the bars is b/c they haven't been caught.

John Straka • 4 years ago

Like with their violence against the public, police officers get a free pass.

agorabum • 4 years ago

Not only that, when society (and especially their superiors and the local governments that supposedly supervise them) give them a free hand to commit violence against other citizens, they feel entitled to inflict violence. If they can beat and tase someone for 'resisting arrest' - when the only thing that happened was someone either disrespected a police officer or did not immediately comply with an unlawful police order, they have a mindset that violence is appropriate and sanctioned for any disrespect. So when they receive disrespect at home, they see the spouse as just another citizen - someone they can beat with impunity.

Guest • 4 years ago

x wife of a police officer in Tennessee said her cop hubby love to beat and torture people especially AA and other minorities.She went on to say he enjoyed the power he had over people and got off on seeing people beg him and his cop friends not to beat them.She said his sexual needs where sick disgusting things were he like to tie her up and pretend she was hooker and she needed to be punished for her sins.He told her their was no better feeling then seeing someone begging not to be beaten and tased .I guess you could say he was on a power trip or he is one sick cop.

Doom Incarnate • 4 years ago

Police can beat, taze and gun down anyone with impunity.

Is anyone at all surprised that little to no scrutiny is given to their domestic violence streak?


Let's not be naive shall we?

Silverbullet Live • 4 years ago

Police can beat, taze and gun down anyone with impunity

Years past I was working with some African-American workers who had to listen to some really stupid coworker say "the police are justified in their SWAT raids to control drug abuse". In that instance the Indianapolis, IN, SWAT team had killed an 80+ year old African-American woman. The SWAT said "She had a gun" and all that non-sense. It turns out the informant lied about the address, the police shot first, and then planted a gun on the dead woman. In any sane nation that's called Felony murder and conspiracy. America is no longer sane.

Most of the SWAT got away with it, the city had to do a pay out, and the dead is still dead. So it goes.

The worst thing is we give American police departments tanks and weapons formerly used in Iraq. I get near physically ill when some police chief says "if this gear can save one of my officer's life..."

You're not a citizen. You're a subject. Atlantic is just figuring this out.

William Bergmann • 4 years ago

My house was searched two weeks ago on an anonymous tip.


No one got shot, but it was a harrowing affair for someone as utterly boring as I am.

Slow Poke • 4 years ago

The "judge, jury, and executioner" and "I'm above the law" attitudes seen in many LEO's today were not always part of their makeup. There was a time when the neighborhood cop was seen as a friendly protector and was armed with a pistol and nightstick, not body armor and other military hardware. Of course, modern-day perps are also better armed, but police forces have tended toward quasi-military organizations, and, IMO, acting as if the US is now an undeclared war zone. Thus we get repeated Fergusons.

To those LEO's who complain that they don't get enough respect, I would say that they cannot demand respect, it must be earned.

RobertRays • 4 years ago

Although it is now obligatory, I'll say anyway that most police earn our respect. The whiners you mention may expect deference from the press, community leaders and activists, to say nothing of people they detain. The former cohort have jobs to do, and reporting on the accountability (or lack) of police accused of misconduct is part of it.

As for the latter, I'll never forget (but cannot cite a link to) a Los Angeles Times story of a rogue anti-gang team in Rampart Division finally brought to heel after years of killing, crippling and framing people. When one member's home was searched - probably with less damage than a civilian would be entitled to - his wife said it was a horrible experience; she felt "violated!"

Imagine that.

As a healthcare worker, I am accountable to numerous agencies and professional groups for how I treat the public. Although my industry experiences more physical assaults than most (I've been attacked numerous times by pissed-off, unstable people), I better have a damn good reason for saying or doing anything that makes someone mad. I won't get the deference from judges and juries that police are accustomed to. Institutional expectations are too low, as we see from this article. Maybe because too little goes the other way. Are not police, especially in big cities, denied sufficient counseling benefits for the psychological stresses of their jobs? Ex-cop author Joseph Wambaugh always said a cop's worst danger is exactly this, much more than the physical hazards.

jeremypw • 4 years ago

They not only commit domestic violence, they protect their own abusers. Try to get a cop to arrest a cop.

Zoltan • 4 years ago

I was once pulled over by a plainclothes state police lieutenant who was clearly intoxicated. I called 911 for help and when other troopers arrived, they were very hostile to me and refused to acknowledge the condition of the drunk trooper.

GeorgeSalt • 4 years ago

Try to find a prosecutor to bring charges. Cops and prosecutors work closely together to bring cases to trial and that close working relationship creates a conflict of interest.
In extraordinary cases, a presumably neutral prosecutor from another jurisdiction might be asked to investigate but most cases are not extraordinary and those cases get swept under the rug.

neroden • 4 years ago

This is why the top priority for progressive activists has to be getting control of the DA's offices. DAs need to be prosecuting criminal cops -- they are the worst, most dangerous criminals in pretty much every jurisdiction, and any DA who doesn't prosecute them is derelict in their duty (and in fact such DAs are racketeers). There's practically no point in prosecuting anyone else if you don't prosecute criminal cops.

IndieOne • 4 years ago

Americans tend to be a fearful bunch with an authoritarian streak when it comes to law and order, so they let the police get away with a lot. In the minds of many Americans, you are committing heresy simply by raising this issue. It's pretty twisted.

Tom Blue • 4 years ago

Not only domestic abuse, but illegal steroid abuse as well. It's rampant in public safety professions and most often the cause of that uber-aggression that people are finally, finally documenting on YouTube as a public service to us all.

I'd like to see the entire NYPD tested for steroids and I'd be willing to lay money on greater than 75% of them abusing the 'roids. Florida cops as well. Oakland cops. You can see it in their moon-shaped faces and over-developed bodies (and loss of hair or shaved head) and in that insanely aggressive behavior to the most innocuous situations.

Police departments really need to do random drug testing on their officers. But the problem is, their behavior is condoned by their superiors, by the county justice system, by indifferent citizens, until it is their turn that is. If they can do testing in sports, if they can do testing at Home Depot, they ought to test our public safety officials on the street as well.

Being crazed on steroid abuse and being heavily armed is no way to protect the public's safety.

johnny sunshine • 4 years ago

Well, maybe if we can finally get the NFL to do something about HGH first, we can get momentum going...

The_Lord_Your_God • 4 years ago

Police in general are often sociopaths, so it is not surprising that they abuse their wives and children when regular citizens are unavailable. The military also has similar problems with abuse.

Shadoeplay • 4 years ago

"The military also has similar problems with abuse." The Army takes domestic violence very seriously. As with any large organization, you will have leaders that don't do the right thing but as a whole we get after it. Any domestic violence incident that hits the blotter is reported to the installation commander. Soldiers are moved out of the home into the barracks and required to attend counseling, Depending on the nature of the incident, Soldiers are given nonjudicial punishment, court-martialed, or separated. I don't have enough experience with the other services but I imagine that they take a similar approach.

The_Lord_Your_God • 4 years ago

Navy brat speaking...

Same thing here, but especially among the enlisted ranks there has always been a culture that leaned towards abuse. No shortage of friends growing up who weren't beat by their dad for one thing or another. It showed on some of the women too - can't act out on the job so you take it home with you and act against those you can. Granted, the military does treat this seriously, but that doesn't stop in from happening.

BoomerGal • 4 years ago

Strange, I don't see 5 or 600 posts outraged about abusive cops or military! Wonder why? Black men are easier targets, perhaps. You're a bunch of bigoted hypocrites.

The_Lord_Your_God • 4 years ago

Why do you feel the need to interject race into the issue?

Maybe the reason we don't see large numbers of posts about other abusers is because they are little people and not multimillionaire celebrity athletes who court public attention with their every word and deed? If that fact bothers you I suggest you take it up with the brothers involved.

DC Reade • 4 years ago

Some of this has to do with the cultural definition of acceptable standards of masculinity in this culture. Aggression and the willingness to resort to physical violence are commonly seen as part of authentic "manhood" in many parts of American society.

Another part has to do with the occupation of police officer- of necessity, the police typically have to curtail their worst aggressive impulses on the job, where they're in public and accountable. But humans store rage and frustration like capacitors, and they have a way of discharging it on targets of opportunity when they can't find a more appropriate place to do it. To the people in a line of work like this: get a heavy bag to work out on. Seriously.

Another part has to do with the drugs particularly favored by some police officers- alcohol and steroids. Both are bad news in terms of enabling violence.

Doom Incarnate • 4 years ago

"the police typically have to curtail their worst aggressive impulses on the job, where they're in public and accountable."
Err... What!?!?
You haven't really been paying attention over the last few years have you. What I quoted above is largely wrong, or at least wronger than it has any decency being in a free society.
Your point is kinda lost due to the falsity of that one line there. It was a decent point, but it's rather overshadowed by that statement.

DC Reade • 4 years ago

I think you're negatively stereotyping police officers. I've actually gotten to know some of them.

In my experience and observation, most police have better character than most of the people that they have to arrest.

I worked for many years as a cab driver. I got a lot of drunks who were 86ed by bartenders who had found them too obnoxious to allow them to stick around, even in the company of other drunk people. They handed me their problems. I got to expect it. All in a day's work, part of the job. The fare was typically paid in advance, when the passenger was going to be particularly non compos mentis. Some of them were real a-holes. I usually managed to drop them off before they became intolerable.

But on rare occasions, maybe once a year, they were too much of a problem for me to deal with by using diplomacy. So I handed that problem off, the way the bartender had handed it off to me. To the police.

The police have to deal with people in that last category- too obnoxious to know how to act on a 15-minute ride home- just about every night. Sometimes, several times a night.

That's what I think about, when I think about police work.

It's wrong to stereotype. Anyone. It's the default way for human brains to work, but it needs to be counteracted. Not just in the case of black people, or LGBT people, or women. Stereotypes also need to be counteracted about Millenials, and Baby Boomers, and college professors, and Southerners, and Californians, and government workers, and farmers, and oil rig workers, and cabdrivers...

People who work at McDonald's are not all stupid. Public school teachers are not all lazy time-servers after a pension. Police are not all thugs.

LittleLion8U • 4 years ago

I went to college at a school that housed the area police academy. I had many classes with future cops & a lot of interaction with those attending the academy. I really can't recall any who were decent human beings, & know of many who became officers in the area & beat the crap out of their wives often. None were arrested. They joked that they were just 'letting off steam'. I got my criminal justice degree, because I was so far into it I didn't want to start over, but I never even tried to work in the field. My experience with that group of people has fueled my distrust of police in every community I've lived in. By & large, cops are thugs who want to be able to legally beat others up, & if they get lucky, maybe have the chance to shoot somebody. Our system is broken, from the bottom to the top. It will be a major factor in the cause of this country's next civil war.

Guest • 4 years ago

they wouldn't have hired you anyway

LittleLion8U • 4 years ago

You are correct. I did go through the interview process at 3 departments. The 1st 2, I scored too high on the IQ part. On the 3rd, I dumbed it down & was offered a position, which I turned down.

robpollard • 4 years ago

Thanks for highlighting this. I was aware of it, as we a few years ago had a policeman & wife murder/suicide in my local library parking lot, but I didn't know how systemic it was. Hopefully reporters/people will keep bringing it up and there will be a change in the matter.

It took a lot of time for abuse by clergy (of all types) to be taken seriously and now (though far from perfect), that's much less likely to be swept under the rug. More recently, woman teachers who prey on young teenage boys are less likely to be laughed off (e.g., "Wish she was my teacher when I was 14!") and are slowly, but hopefully surely, starting to get jail time.

It's the old water/stone thing. It will take a lot of time, but with consistent pressure, you can make a dent. This will be particularly hard b/c you can argue police officers in law & order America get more deference than even clergy, but we can hope.

Tim Robinson-Ayer • 4 years ago

One of the ideas driving incarcerating criminals was that in their isolation they would find time to reflect on their behavior, understand it and, hopefully, constructively lead a life going forward absent of the behavior that created the problem in the first place.

The modern penal system in the USA has little to do with such high-minded thinking and has, especially in the last few decades, become a force of punitiveness much more than anything resembling rehabilitation.

To say that "they've done their time (sic in prision)" is naive at best. It is merely that for many, time spent. Couple this with the way that we treat our celebrities here, especially athletes, a scenario is created where I really fail to see any impetus to change.

Piniada • 4 years ago

Additionally, while there are many fine officers, I would argue that a substantial portion of the people who are attracted to many law-enforcement related vocations (police officers, prison guards) are often people who are attracted to positions of power over others. This can sometimes lead to people who should not have any power over others gaining that power and using it in ways to make other peoples lives a living hell. That prison guard who probably doesn't have a whole lot going on in his life, for instance, takes it out on the prisoners to feel better about himself. The ultimate result is that the prison system continuously feeds in new people and dumps them out (in many cases) as broken human beings with zero options. Then the cycle begins again.

This isn't the entire solution, but eliminating the war on drugs and the conditions that bring in so many people into prisons would be a big step forward.

John Lindsay • 4 years ago

"Additionally, while there are many fine officers,"

JL: If true, why do they not turn in the bad ones....whether for domestic violence, racial profiling, police corruption, etc., etc., etc.?!
Hence, there are very few good ones.

What happened to Serpico?!

"Serpico still speaks out against police corruption brutality, the weakening of civil liberties, and corrupt practices in law enforcement, such as the alleged cover-ups following Abner Louima's torture in 1997 and the Amadou Diallo shooting in 1999.He provides support for "individuals who seek truth and justice even in the face of great personal risk".


MatterOverMind • 4 years ago

I think the disparity in public outrage in NFL and Police abuse cases could be the celebrity factor. We see the football players on television and they are lionized constantly until we find out that some abuse their wives/girlfriends/children, and then we collectively condemn and demand all sorts of repercussions against them.

On the other hand cops are not celebrities, and as you've pointed out, usually do not bring charges against abusive cops and so the problem persists. The horror however, is that cops claim to "serve and protect." This mantra should well be applied in their homes as well, and we should as a society hold abusive cops accountable to the law.

S. Swenson • 4 years ago

As a member of another occupation which deserves some public scrutiny(teaching) and as a mandatory reporter of child abuse I wonder why mandatory reporting of child or spousal abuse to some sort of regional or state agency and investigation by them rather than the same department they belong to isn't mandatory. The conflict of interest in leaving it with the same agency they belong to is quite palpable.

MatterOverMind • 4 years ago

Exactly. I think that an independent agency ought to carry out investigations of police spousal/child abuse cases beyond the internal affairs of the police department. But the police "code" may hamper such investigations because cops don't want to be seen as "ratting" each other out to an outside agency. However, in light of this disturbing reality of police domestic violence, more emphasis should be placed in training police cadets on issues of spousal and child abuse.

robpollard • 4 years ago

On other thing: lots of good links to stories in this article, but for those interested in a bigger overview, there is also a whole blog dedicated this subject, http://behindthebluewall.bl...

It's depressing to even scan through, but you can get a sense for how big the problem is. There are literally thousands of posts on police domestic violence.

SatanicPanic • 4 years ago

I don't know about everyone but I'll be honest, I just didn't know. Now that you've brought it to my attention it makes sense.

You are absolutely correct to focus on the problem of domestic abuse among law enforcement officers. So, please, take this as constructive criticism:

You clearly intend these pieces to be as much advocacy or conversation-starters as much as journalism. I encourage you to explore ways to use popular moments, such as the current focus on problems in the NFL, as pivots. There's a world of difference between coming off as criticizing people for paying attention to one thing more than another (which is what you do) and using the one as an attempt to broaden the reader's horizon to the other.

You're a good writer. You could be an excellent one.

BTZero • 4 years ago
While I have nothing against pressuring the NFL to go beyond what the typical employer does, I fear that vilifying the league has the effect of misleading the public into a belief that it is out of step with general norms on this issue.

There's so much packed into this bit that doesn't really get explored. I thought the transitioning was really tight on the whole, but he doesn't really take the time to address some important tangential arguments, like a case for why the NFL ought to be out of step with general norms, in the opposite direction.

Ton_Chrysoprase • 4 years ago

It generally struck me as odd that we are at the point where we outsource the punishment of felonies to private companies. I can understand the desire to protect a brand but if we take the same idiotic fetishism of punishment that brought us people like Joe Arpaio and apply it private companies, famous for their own excesses, we are heading straight for dystopia.

A More Ethical Banana • 4 years ago

I have long wondered if Conor Friedersdorf has ever actually been to the United States, the way he writes about us.

Cops can pretty much murder someone in broad daylight, on video, and still beat the rap.

No one even knows how many of us a year they kill.

And you somehow think we can stop them from beating their wives?

Have you ever actually been to the United States?
The real one?

The one where there are poor people?

neroden • 4 years ago

The wives of the police are the scions of well-to-do families. Focusing on the police assaults and murders of them is a better pressure point for eliminating the criminal cops than focusing on the assaults and murders of poor people.

Guest • 4 years ago

lol i ask myself that question regularly around here

John Lindsay • 4 years ago

Whenever violence is discussed publicly, the ONLY faces shown are Black.
However, according to Paul Kivel, 70% of the violence in the U.S. is committed by young White males age 15-30....but...you can't see that due to the biased way the mainstream White-owned media OVER-FOCUSES on African Americans.

However, domestic violence is a hidden crime, and involves all educational levels, all geographical areas (rural, suburban, and urban), all socioeconomic levels....and these are the primary reasons it is hidden.....NOT illuminated like street crimes and young Black men.
However, more women and girls are injured each year from domestic violence than the number of females injured from vehicular accidents, rapes, and muggings COMBINED.
Police officers and military personnel have the highest rates of any group.

I've been posting this for quite awhile:

Unique Vulnerability

Domestic violence is always a terrible crime, but victims of a police
officer are particularly vulnerable because the officer who is abusing
--has a gun,
--knows the location of battered women's shelters, and
--knows how to manipulate the system to avoid penalty and/or shift blame
to the victim.

"Two studies have found that at least 40% of police officer families
experience domestic violence, (1, 2) in contrast
to 10% of families in the general population.(3)
A third study of older and more experienced officers found a rate of 24%
(4), indicating that domestic violence is 2-4 times
more common among police families than American families in general. A
police department that has domestic violence offenders among its ranks
will not effectively serve and protect victims in the community.5,
6, 7, 8 Moreover, when officers know of domestic violence committed
by their colleagues and seek to protect them by covering it up, they expose
the department to civil liability.7"

SkinnyGrunt • 4 years ago

Yes, it has been understood that cops are involved in domestic violence. This is the part where enforcing gun laws where those convicted of domestic violence can't own guns get sticky.

Calamity_Jean • 4 years ago

Maybe require the cop to leave his gun at the police station when he goes off duty? That still wouldn't prevent him from going to where his wife was while he was on duty and killing her, but assuming that most cop domestic murders are done on impulse it would at least cut down the numbers.

W.Gao • 4 years ago

It's probably in the same box as the outrage of black violence in Chicago.

Face it, most crime is background noise unless it suits a media narrative. The problem isn't so much callousness, it's media cherry picking issues. None of it should be highlighted unless there's some particular reason. Ray Rice was nothing out of the ordinary.