from the when-in-doubt,-target-the-weakest-person-first dept
The most cynical take on this period of historic lows in US crime rates isn’t that we’ve locked up so many people that most crime now takes place in prisons where no one cares (or tabulates) how many criminal acts are still being committed.
No, the most cynical take is this: people just got sick of reporting crimes just to have disinterested cops show up and shrug their way through the victim’s statements, making it clear they didn’t care much about solving the crime and/or providing any assistance to the victims.
Even the crimes cops care about — the ones that make headlines — are crimes cops aren’t all that great at solving. In some cities, the odds are better than a coin flip that the perp will get away with literal murder.
Most law enforcement activities now go where the money’s at: drug interdictment. And they don’t really care about the drug trafficking. They only care how much cash they can take from motorists or how good they look after stumbling into a massive drug haul while trolling the highways for loose cash.
And that’s on top of the massive backlogs of untested rape kits and law enforcement’s general unwillingness to take domestic violence seriously because that would mean placing a whole lot of sworn police officers behind bars.
Calling the cops to report a crime doesn’t tend to result in a flurry of helpful activity from the Thin Blue Line. Even at the best of times, it was ridiculous to assume cops could handle all the crime reports they received. In times like these — when cops are walking off the job rather than subject themselves to the barest minimum of accountability — the likelihood of any reported crime being dealt with, much less solved, continues to drop.
And here we have another data point — one captured on a private citizen’s camera — that shows cops don’t care much about crime that might involve them having to investigate something or, at the very least, help out a troubled parent. This is the sort of thing we’re becoming numb to, as cops tend to view people reporting crimes as nuisances, rather than valued members of the public they’re supposed to be proud to serve. (h/t Robby Soave/Reason)
A concerned parent called the Columbus, Ohio police department at 6 pm after discovering his 11-year-old daughter had been sending explicit pictures to an adult she had met online. The police response was captured by his doorbell camera, making it impossible for the involved officers to claim they weren’t involved or, at best, had been misquoted.
The father expressed his concern to the officers and suggested they might want to speak to his daughter to impress on her the potential danger of her contact with this person. This is what he got from the cops:
“She’s in bed now,” the man said. The audio is briefly inaudible as he opens the door.
“It still happened, though, right?” the female officer said.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, the whole point, I just wanted you guys to come over and talk to her,” the man said. “I just want her to realize what this was. I mean, reality is not much I probably can do about it, is there?”
“I mean, she can probably get charged with child porn,” the female officer replied.
“Who, she can?” the man said. “She’s 11 years old.”
“She’s creating it, right?” the female officer said.
The man repeats himself: “She’s 11 years old.”
“Doesn’t matter. She’s still making porn.“
“No, she’s not,” the man said. “She’s being manipulated by a grown (explitive) adult on the internet.”
“Is she taking pictures, though?”
The man dismisses the officers: “You guys have a nice evening,” and starts to head inside the house. “Thank you for coming.”
He turns to say something else. “Are you serious? Have a nice evening.”
Sweet holy fuck. If this were the medical field, it would be malpractice. Neither cop offered to use their vast stores of “training and experience” to speak to the child to explain how dangerous interactions like these might me. Neither officer even bothered to ask if there was any information the parent might have gathered or might be present on his daughter’s devices that might help identify the person soliciting explicit pictures from a minor.
Nope. The cops seemed to feel the best way to handle this was tell a distraught father they could, if they so desired, arrest his daughter for the crime of [checks recording] being sexually exploited by an adult. That’s the best these two could come up with after waiting six hours to respond to an actual, live CSAM report.
Presumably, none of this made its way into the officers’ report on this incident. If it had, one would assume an investigation would have been opened before the parent’s video went viral on social media. Then again, maybe it did make its way into the report and the officers involved (along with the officers they shared it with) all had a good laugh.
Either way, these officers are under investigation now. The PD’s Inspector General is digging into this after receiving several complaints from “citizens” no doubt located all over the internet as a result of this viral video.
Better yet, the PD has put Sexual Assault Unit detectives on the case to identify and locate the person soliciting photos from the 11-year-old — something the responding officers should have done, rather than tell a parent the best way through this might be to arrest his daughter for creating child porn.
Cops aren’t regular people, folks. They will say the stupidest thing imaginable because their brains don’t work like ours do. Even if we thought something like this, we would never say anything like this to a parent concerned about his child being sexually exploited. But for cops, it’s whatever crime is easiest to solve. And, in this case, it the was the “production” of CSAM by an 11-year-old, never mind that it would never have happened if it weren’t for the efforts of the adult on the other end of the internet connection.