Thursday, December 4, 2014
Police, Prosecutors, and Judges are Way Out of Control In America
I am sitting in peaceful Shenzhen China watching CNN with so much disgust.
The daughter of Eric Garner was just interviewed on CNN. She echoed my sentiments exactly. She said, this was more about the abuse of power by the police. The Ferguson case is not the example this country needs to see. The Eric Garner case is.
Michael Brown was filmed on CCTV minutes before the altercation acting in an unlawful, aberrant manner. While that doesn't mean he deserved to die, it raises questions about his behavior during his confrontation with a single policeman. Eric Garner was confronted by six policeman, all armed, all with batons, all trained in combat. They probably also had tasers, etc. The entire episode was filmed.
The police are way out of control in America. They abuse their power habitually, in ways small and large. We only hear about the extreme cases where someone dies, and perhaps there is an element of racism. As racism is diminishing, the abuse of power by the police is spreading to the abuse of everyone. I have seen this first hand, as both a citizen and a lawyer. I would have been subject to harassment and abuse were I not a lawyer who knew his rights and was capable of "out-bullying" the bullies. If I wrote the horror stories of my clients, no one could read that lengthy a book. And the victims included white University of Pennsylvania college students lawfully driving home for winter break.
But every time someone is searched without probable cause, they are degraded and US Constitution is shredded. Every time someone is hand cuffed without being incident to a lawful arrest, the person is degraded and the US Constitution is shredded. I have seen this over and over. Watch the TV show "Cops" and I can not count the constitutional violations, even when these police know they are being televised and on their best behavior.
I am so very tired of hearing "concern for police safety" being used as an excuse for unlawful and excessive police violence. We train them. We arm them We pay them. We give them radios to call for backup. We give them bullet proof vests.If they can't or are afraid to do their job correctly and professionally, they can resign with honor.
The essence of the problem is that we expect criminals to break the law. That is why we call them criminals, and pay for police and prisons. But when those who are sworn to uphold the law (including prosecutors and judges), and paid to uphold the law, break the law, then there is no law, just anarchy.