Do You Want A Police State? Because This Is How You Get A Police State

(TECH DIRT)

FROM THE MARTIAL-LAW-[WIP] DEPT

AND NOW, A WORD FROM OUR NEW PRESIDENT:

One of the fundamental rights of every American is to live in a safe community.1 A Trump Administration will empower our law enforcement officers to do their jobs and keep our streets free of crime and violence. The Trump Administration will be a law and order administration. President Trump will honor our men and women in uniform and will support their mission of protecting the public. The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.

1 There is no such right. But that doesn’t stop police defenders from invoking it, like this police union rep defending the burning of a toddler with a flashbang grenade:

You have to draw the line between your right as a citizen to privacy and a community’s right to live in a crime-free environment. You can’t have them both.

But is the “anti-police atmosphere” really “wrong?” Let’s ask the federal government.

DOJ Civil Rights Investigation of the Albuquerque PD, 2014

[O]fficers used deadly force against people who posed a minimal threat, including individuals who posed a threat only to themselves or who were unarmed. Officers also used deadly force in situations where the conduct of the officers heightened the danger and contributed to the need to use force…

Officers also often used Tasers in dangerous situations. For example, officers fired Tasers numerous times at a man who had poured gasoline on himself. The Taser discharges set the man on fire, requiring another officer to extinguish the flames. This endangered all present.

DOJ Investigation of the Cleveland PD, 2014

Officers also use less lethal force that is significantly out of proportion to the resistance encountered and officers too often escalate incidents with citizens instead of using effective and accepted tactics to de-escalate tension…

At times, this force appears to have been applied as punishment for the person’s earlier verbal or physical resistance to an officer’s command, and is not based on a current threat posed by the person. This retaliatory use of force is not legally justified. Our review also revealed that officers use excessive force against individuals who are in mental health crisis or who may be unable to understand or comply with officers’ commands, including when the individual is not suspected of having committed any crime at all.

DOJ Civil Rights Investigation of the Ferguson PD, 2015

[O]fficers frequently make enforcement decisions based on what subjects say, or how they say it. Just as officers reflexively resort to arrest immediately upon noncompliance with their orders, whether lawful or not, they are quick to overreact to challenges and verbal slights. These incidents—sometimes called “contempt of cop” cases—are propelled by officers’ belief that arrest is an appropriate response to disrespect…

FPD officers believe criticism and insolence are grounds for arrest, and… supervisors have condoned such unconstitutional policing…

Many officers are quick to escalate encounters with subjects they perceive to be disobeying their orders or resisting arrest. They have come to rely on ECWs, specifically Tasers®, where less force—or no force at all—would do. They also release canines on unarmed subjects unreasonably and before attempting to use force less likely to cause injury. Some incidents of excessive force result from stops or arrests that have no basis in law. Others are punitive and retaliatory.

DOJ Civil Rights Investigation of the Baltimore PD, 2016

Officers frequently resort to physical force when a subject does not immediately respond to verbal commands, even where the subject poses no imminent threat to the officer or others…

BPD uses unreasonable force against people who present little or no threat to officers or others. Specifically, BPD uses excessive force against (1) individuals who are already restrained and under officers’ control and (2) individuals who are fleeing from officers and are not suspected of serious criminal offenses…

DOJ Civil Rights Investigation of the Chicago PD, 2017

We found that officers engage in tactically unsound and unnecessary foot pursuits, and that these foot pursuits too often end with officers unreasonably shooting someone—including unarmed individuals. We found that officers shoot at vehicles without justification and in contradiction to CPD policy. We found further that officers exhibit poor discipline when discharging their weapons and engage in tactics that endanger themselves and public safety, including failing to await backup when they safely could and should; using unsound tactics in approaching vehicles; and using their own vehicles in a manner that is dangerous…

We reviewed instances of CPD using less-lethal force, often Tasers, including in drive-stun mode, against people who posed no threat, and using unreasonable retaliatory force and unreasonable force against children.

And here’s more, in officers’ own words. Here’s an officer’s greeting to a veteran who found his house surrounded after a mistaken suicide hotline call:

I don’t have time to play this constitutional bullshit. We’re going to break down your door. You’re going to have to pay for a new door.

Here’s a police impound lot staffer, responding to the questions of a man whose car was unconstitutionally seized:

When Mr. Zullo asked the defendant’s employee why he had to pay for the tow, thedefendant’s employee told him that the tow cost was Mr. Zullo’s fault for exercising his rights.

And here’s an unnamed officer accosting someone for filming prisoner transfers from a public sidewalk:

You must be doing something wrong if you invoke your rights.

In exchange for a fake right, the Trump Administration is apparently willing to sacrifice citizens’ actual rights. And hand out even more rights to an already-well-protected group. The only parts of the DOJ that don’t actively make American law enforcement worse will be the first against the wall.

At the Department of Justice, the blueprint calls for eliminating the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Violence Against Women Grants and the Legal Services Corporation and for reducing funding for its Civil Rights and its Environment and Natural Resources divisions.

And if martial law’s your kink, the Donald has you covered:

Until Americans are more willing to lift police morale, Trump’s administration will ensure those in charge of morale-lifting beatings are fully-backed by the US government.

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