To the surprise of exactly no one, it happened again. Just like it always does. Lather, rinse, repeat. Police kill a guy, people get inflamed and call for change, and it happens again. It’s happened enough over the last decade or so that I’ve written about it 43 times before, according to the “Police Stories” label on my Label Cloud on the right. This is the 44th time. What does one even say anymore?
So, five cops from a special “Scorpion” squad chased a guy down on a traffic stop for reckless operation, and just beat the guy to death. Five guys punched, kicked, and tased an unarmed man until he lay there unconscious and eventually died. According to the police chief, they’re not even sure there WAS any reckless op. Why five cops from a specialized unit were pursuing some rando in the first place is another question. I mean, don’t these “elite” teams have a higher list of priorities to pursue besides traffic violations?
I’m suspect of all of these “elite” teams that are separated from the rest of the rank and file. (The brilliant Lawyers Guns and Money blog is on the same wavelength.) I think it’s human nature for those placed in small groups with increased power to let it go to their heads. Hell, just look at HOAs. I guarantee there are people in your HOA who would just LOVE to curb stomp anyone who lets their grass grow too high or has non-standard pavers making up their walkway. But they don’t have the cover of law enforcement protecting their actions.
Baltimore is famous for its “Gun Trace Task Force,” which created the need for a Consent Decree and spawned the HBO mini-series/docu-drama “We Own This City.” This was a unit assembled to get guns off the streets but quickly devolved into a renegade band who robbed drug dealers (and anyone else they found with more than pocket change), kept the money, planted evidence and guns at crime scenes, and arrested anyone who had the nerve to complain. And all the while, they were padding their paychecks with unworked overtime to an obscene degree.
The Memphis police chief disbanded this Scorpion unit over the weekend and we’re already watching how these five officers are being singled out for 100% of the blame. The problem is that this “civilians as blood enemies” culture doesn’t grow out of thin air; that’s why these incidents keep happening. The recruitment, training, and supervision of the nation’s police units need a top to bottom overhaul. I guarantee it never happens, for the same reason that every other systematic injustice remains: because the people with money want it the way it is. Hardcore policing keeps the riffraff at bay. It’s not their problem if they get the crap kicked out of them. It’s their own fault for not being born into wealth.
Of course, Fox “News” is leading the way with headlines like this:
“Lowered standards,” right beside pictures of the five Black cops. Tell us what you really think the problem is, Fox! Maybe their point is that White cops would have known to turn their body cameras off before beating someone to death. Silly savages.
The racists love Black-on-Black violence because then they get to sit back and cluck over it all, knowing that whichever party is in the wrong, a Black person gets the blame.
It is with a lead-heavy heart that I read of the passing of Annie Wersching, who I adored. She played many notable roles but came to my attention when she co-starred in two seasons of “24,” as Special Agent Renee Walker, FBI badass, and eventual love interest of Jack Bauer. And here I thought it was bad when her character was killed off. She died of cancer at 45. Forty-freakin-FIVE!
This is what I wrote in this very blog, back in 2010, when her character was whacked:
“Sometimes it really sucks following shows like 24 and last night was one of those times. Just when you think things are going well… Jack finally gets a moment’s peace and gets to do some belly rubbin’ with yummy FBI Agent Renee Walker.
“All looks good, but deep down, you know that there are still six more episodes to come, so something else has to happen. Then… BAM. Sniper fire. Agent “Freckles” is down, wearing nothing but a bed sheet.
“You would think having sex with Jack Bauer would make a girl bulletproof.
“So I’m bummed. No more looking into the haunted eyes of our Agent Walker. She’s been my favorite part of the last 2 seasons. I know it’s stupid to get upset about a freakin’ TV show. I know that right afterward, someone yells, “Cut!” and everyone gets up and grabs some coffee and a donut. But why let reality encroach on the story? You can’t help but get drawn in when you follow a story over time. While the show is rolling, you start to see these characters as real people. What’s the point of watching a drama if you don’t suspend disbelief?
“The skeptic can come out after the credits roll.”
So there’s no real-life buffer with this loss. This one hurts.
On the flip side, I can offer a happy “RIP” to the Cincinnati Bengals Super Bowl hopes, after their loss yesterday to the Chiefs. Once again, they lost in part because they couldn’t keep themselves from committing stupid personal fouls. They’ve handed the Steelers at least two such wins in past years. Now they’re spreading the love.
And thank you to the Chiefs! Your win keeps me from having to root for a Philadelphia team, and that’s always a winner in my book.
I have no words. I just can't.
The whole Culture of Police Violence and protecting their own and only having municipalities respond quickly in order to protect themselves, and not the Public, is fairly predictable and unchangeable. I agree with your observations about this systemic problem, and don't Believe it will Change, becoz, yes, the privileged in Society are NOT on the Receiving End of this type of Policing. Depending upon which demographic you belong to, is almost surely going to dictate how much 'protection' you'll receive from any Response System in place. The biases run deep and certain segments of Society are not Valued enough for the System to give a shit about really, it's showing the dark underbelly now that it's getting recorded and being made to be viewed. Of coarse, depending upon whose viewing something this tragic, those who have their own deep biases will almost always not SEE it for what it really IS, they will make broad Assumptions based on their own Privilege and lens they've seen their World thru, not having any point of reference and always being given the benefit of any Doubt whenever they've had to interact with Law Enforcement.
If it were the sons and daughters of Congressmen or tycoons of industry getting beaten to death by cops, this shit would change in a heartbeat.
Peg, I know how you feel. What's to say when you've already said it all (and nothing changes?)
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