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Most officers are never disciplined or held accountable for these reports of misconduct.
The Use of Unjustified Deadly Force by the State
According to the picture of Michael Brown lying dead in the street with unarmed hands outstretched with numerous bullet holes in him, tells me all I need to know about the unjustified use of deadly force by state agents known as police officers. Of course Ferguson police cars do not have cameras in them, over the past 5 years police departments around St. Louis, and I imagine at almost every police station in the U.S., have made efforts to get rid of dashboard in-car cameras, or to never implement them in their vehicles, like in Ferguson. Video footage would have immediately provided us with non-biased information to help shape what actually happened. I'd love to know why Michael Brown was even stopped in the first place.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 2012, internal emails within the police department from Capt. Mary Edwards-Fears revealed, "... officers' concerns that the cameras -- installed in about half of the city's 300 patrol division cars -- make police vulnerable to second-guessing."
That is the mentality of any wielder of violent unjustified authority, we cannot be second guessed, our authority will be questioned, as it should be in a democracy, but of course we are not a democracy, as proven over and over again.
But, democracy is the exact remedy for this most vile disease of police misconduct, especially the type of misconduct which involves the use of deadly force. If you examine the limited reports of misconduct (which is a problem on its own) you will find a very disturbing trend from the data we do have. Most misconduct involves physical misconduct, and a lot of the misconduct is of the sexual variety, on a majority of minors.
Even though there our numerous "investigations" into the state's activity by the state, prosecuted by the state, and judged by the state, we can assume with a lot of certainty, that the state will not harm itself. Most officers are never disciplined or held accountable for these reports of misconduct.
Which leaves us citizens with four options, you can drink the Kool-aid and back the oppressors full Stockholm syndrome style. Or you can go out and riot, and be a danger to your community and actually strengthen the state with reasons to further oppress us violently, and to justify their financial support, not to mention directly financially supporting them when they arrest you for being a moron.
Or you can do nothing at all, just sit by idly as you have been doing up to this point, and hope this never happens to you or anyone you love.
Or you can actually act to better improve our society in a number of ways. You can peacefully and democratically come together with other liked minded citizens to reverse the trend of the militarization of our police forces, and demand an end to the use of deadly force on innocent and unarmed civilians. Start locally, find out if your police department has a problem with misconduct, ask how many incidents are reported each year, and then inform your community. If you notice your local police department does have a problem with misconduct, look into ways you can minimize their budgets or increase transparency, public pressure, even in dictatorships, can impact governance, don't be afraid to be vocal and organize with other peaceful citizens.
Demand in-car cameras, or better yet, demand a camera be attached to the officer's uniform, glasses, hat, or helmet. If your local police department is unwilling to accommodate that most vital step in reducing misconduct, be sure to vote down any local or state measures to increase funding for those policing institutions.
Camera phone police interactions from a safe distance when in public or anytime you think they are abusing their powers, they will view you as a threat, so it may be better to team up with others to publicly film police, as Antonio Buehler has done in Austin, Texas with his Peaceful Streets Project. Buehler just recently had his Constitutional right to film police in public upheld by U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Lane, which means we all have this right to film the police in public without being molested by those police.
If you do nothing, the state will continue to militarize their forces, while doing everything they can to reduce public transparency, which will lead to reducing their accountability, which has already led us to where we are now.
A country where the threat of police violence against innocent civilians has become rampant, especially over the past decade, I'd love nothing more than to give you statistics on the number of innocent civilians killed by the police, unfortunately the state regulating itself determined that police departments don't need to keep or release the information on the use of deadly force.
Which is odd, because at any moment I can look up the numbers of homicides committed by citizens, but when I try to look up the number of homicides committed by the state, either by use of deadly force from police officers, or the civilian toll from drone attacks on foreign civilians, I can't find those numbers anywhere. Which only proves my point, we can only have justice if we democratically come together to demand it via our actions, our voices, and our votes.
Claude Morton, Column Editor: Claude Morton is an independent contributor, who mostly writes articles on politics, Veganism, philosophy, or local events. Claude has contributed to a variety of print and online outlets including Yahoo!, MovieMaker Magazine, and the Ann Arbor News. From Claude; I’m in the 1%, no, not that 1%. I’m a vegan, indie filmmaker, libertarian socialist, and a pacifist. I champion freedom as much as equality, and love discussing solutions about our country’s biggest dilemmas. ... (more...)