from the timcushinglovescops.com dept
timcushinghatescops.com brings you the following special holiday message:
When I call out law enforcement officers for brutality, excessive force, moral turpitude and a general contempt for citizens' rights, it's not because I think all cops are bad. In fact, I know the job is often thankless and unpleasant. Many officers only deal with the kind of people we all hope we'll never run into, and they do it day after day. Even when a cop does his or her job well, there's a chance he or she will be criticized for any perceived missteps. (Quite possibly by me...)
When I cover stories of police misconduct, it's not because I believe that the mindset and actions on display are present in a majority of law enforcement officers. I don't think it is. The problem is that it's still far too prevalent and will only increase as long as cops are shielded by other officers, supervisors and friends in the judicial system. Law enforcement members wield a great deal of power with very little accountability.
But not all cops are bad cops, just like all cops aren't saints. But underneath it all, they're all human beings dealing with the day-to-day rigors of a job most people would never take.
Via Photography Is Not A Crime comes this video of a Canadian cop, Mark Morelli, who makes the best of what could easily have become a bad situation -- an arrest featuring several onlookers with cameras and one very uncooperative suspect. How does he keep this from becoming something more in line with the stories I usually cover? Watch. (The first 4:30 is the arrest. What follows after that is worth sticking around for.)
There's nothing more powerful than using your position and experience to inform, and to do so patiently in the face of vocal critics. The only one who comes off as a jerk is the cameraman, who is so "disturbed" by what he's seeing that he wants to go back inside where it's warmer.
The suspect knows there's an audience and that fact undoubtedly colors her performance. (And it is a performance -- at 3:07 she adjusts her hair with her handcuffed hands, almost unleashes a smile and then returns to making a whole lot of noise.)
Morelli should be held up as an example for other officers all over his nation and ours (meaning the US in this case, but feel free to apply it to your own). Rather than view onlookers "armed" with cameras as an enemy, he treats them as a simple fact of life. The job of policing is no longer private or purely subject to opinionated eyewitness accounts.
Cameras can be a cop's best friend, even when wielded by antagonistic onlookers. Morelli seizes the opportunity afforded by this recording to explain what he's done, why he did it and all without tossing out threats or condescension. He exits the situation gracefully, having gained the respect of most of the viewers. That's how you "win" at being a cop. Communication -- communication that asserts authority without using it as a weapon. "These are the facts." "This is what I do." It's professionalism at its best.