Friday, February 29, 2008

Bad Cops are Everywhere

All citizens should be able to tell the difference between the good guys and the bad.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have a really hard time distinguishing between the good guys and who and the bad guys are. Some police will openly admit to wrong doing in books that they have had published. Mark Fuhrman talked about racism being very real in his department, and even bragged about torturing, beating and framing suspects. Cops across the entire United States have murdered people, pull armed robberies, raped young girls, sold drugs, stolen drug money, accepted bribes and falsified evidence against criminal defendants, all while in a uniform. They say that there is only a handful of cops that go bad, but still people continue to be weary of all law enforcement.

The reported number of bad cops is on the rise. In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, State Trooper Richard S. Keener was charged with sexual assault and rape. Two NYPD sergeants and a detective were arrested Friday on drug-related corruption charges, federal and local authorities said. Two New York City police detectives, now retired, have been charged with participating in or attempting to commit eleven murders. At least five of those crimes, and a host of others, allegedly occurred during their tenure as police officers. A few years ago a police officer from NYC was arrested for sexually brutalizing a Haitian with a toilet plunger while the man was being held in custody. A two-time Mexico City policeman of the year, was arrested on suspicion of extorting money from illegal car-watchers. A veteran Los Angeles Police Department officer was arrested for assaulting a handcuffed 16-year-old in a police holding room. Three Boston police officers were arrested on federal charges of criminal activities such as dealing in stolen goods, stealing people’s identities, and stealing store gift cards. This list goes on and on.

Everyday across the county something can be found on TV or online, about an officer going bad. Yet we as citizens are told by law enforcement that there is only a few cops that have gone bad. But history states otherwise, there is continual corruption, racism, and abuse of power in every rank and has continued unabated since the 1840’s.

There are some states like Oklahoma, who are among the most arrest-happy departments in the country. Instead of sending a drunk home they insist on locking them down. They should really try to overlook certain minor violations and try to seek to keep the streets calm without resorting to locking everyone down. They need to be told and fully understand that the cops are not engaged in a war.

Real reform is possible only when that value system changes and cops come to realize that they must police themselves. A bad cop will only abstain from misconduct when he/she looks at the cop next to them and believes that their partner will not hesitate to turn he/she in for misconduct. They need to offer some type of incentive to get these officers to break the ‘wall of silence’ and report a bad cop. They must understand that this ‘wall of silence’ is what is allowing bad cops to flourish. Good cops should not be punished because they try to expose a bad cop. This will show to the public that they can trust the police to police themselves.