Police Officer Blames Everyone Else But Police Officers For The Public's General Distrust Of Law Enforcement

from the also:-Ferguson,-because-#trending dept

Deputy Matt -- the pseudonym employed by the law enforcement officer behind this op-ed -- is here to blame everyone else but he and his fellow officers for today's law enforcement-hostile climate. It all leads back to Ferguson…

When we finally located the son, who is of mixed ethnicity (dad is white, mom is Hispanic), he instantly began cussing and yelling at us. He took a fighting stance and said he was not going to do anything we told him.

Luckily, we were able to calm him and get him into handcuffs without any blows being thrown.

We asked why he was so hostile towards us. His response? Ferguson. The cops could not be trusted because of what happened in Ferguson, Missouri. He told us that he wanted to kill all white cops because of what “they” had done to Michael Brown.
From the strength of a single anecdote, a nationwide attitude is extrapolated. It's not just criminals -- who Deputy Matt fully expects to be less-than-submissive -- it's everybody.
Sadly, this feeling has not only infected the normal criminal element that I expect that behavior from, but even seems to be effecting [sic] middle class families as well.
As goes the middle class, so goes the country. Deputy Matt could learn something from reactions to Ferguson. He could. But he finds it easier to blame everyone else for the unpleasantness of his job. Cops are still the wonderful, self-sacrificing people they've always been, he says. It's the American public that's gone downhill.
The same people who we used to count on for support, the good, law abiding general public, are now reluctant to trust us.

We, the local cops they have seen and contacted in the past, have not changed. We have done nothing different.
The public is wrong. And why is the public wrong? Because it's too stupid to avoid being led by the nose.
What has changed is the public’s perception of us, created by the reckless reporting by nearly every news outlet very early after the shooting of Michael Brown. The rush to be first with the story over the desire to be correct is having dire consequences nationwide, and quite honestly, has made my job more difficult and more dangerous.
While I have my own issues with mainstream media and its shallow coverage of certain issues, Deputy Matt's problem seems to be that this one time, the slant briefly went the other direction. For the most part, the mainstream doesn't cover incidents like these. And when it does, it follows safe narratives (rioters!) and grants way too much deference to statements made by law enforcement/government officials. Compared to the way those outside the mainstream cover incidents like officer-involved shootings, Deputy Matt would be better off not biting the hand that (more often than not) feeds him.

Going beyond the thinly-veiled insults (people are stupid and they get their information from sensationalistic sources) to the heart of Deputy Matt's argument ('It's everyone else!'), I'm inclined to agree with the general push of his article: cops haven't changed.

To Deputy Matt, this signifies the blame should lie with the public. To anyone who's been paying attention over the past several years, the problem is that cops haven't changed. Many still believe they can operate without scrutiny, oversight or accountability. The omnipresence of recording devices (operated by both the public and officers themselves) doesn't prevent misconduct, brutality or unjustified killings. It just makes it more difficult to cover up. It also (very occasionally) forces law enforcement officials to hold officers accountable, but these are sadly still the exception rather than the rule.

Putting more eyes on officer behavior and tactics -- whether it's by bloggers and journalists dedicated to this field or by the thousands of hours of amateur footage hosted at YouTube -- has resulted in a shift in the public's perception. But Deputy Matt is wrong to blame it on the public… or mass media… or Ferguson. The problem is Deputy Matt and the officers he's decided to speak for. They haven't changed.

The cop who always laid a few extra licks on an "uncooperative" arrestee still does so… only there's a good chance the punches/baton swings/taser bursts have been captured on "tape." The cop who always performed a little extracurricular searching during routine traffic stops continues to do so… only now he's being served with civil rights lawsuits and the dashcam recording of his illegal efforts is splashed all over the news thanks to the plaintiff's lawyer.

If the public no longer implicitly trusts the police to be the "good guys," the problem isn't the public. It's the cops who take money from citizens just because local laws say they can. It's the multiple agencies who feel the only way to handle the drug problem is as violently as possible. It's cops who shoot people's pets, rather than allow the animals' owners to restrain them. It's officers who constantly "fear for their lives" endangering the lives of citizens around them with careless use of deadly force. This is what's changed the public's perception of law enforcement. Sure, some of it may be based on bad info and careless hyperbole, but a majority of the damage done to the reputation of law enforcement has been inflicted by the officers themselves.

Ferguson may have (slightly) altered the mainstream media's approach to officer-involved shootings. The more apparent side effect has been a heightened awareness of the immense divide between the general public and those charged with policing them. In between, there's a certain amount of hashtag activism and coat tail riders -- some of which culminates in a teen arrestee miles from ground zero name-dropping Ferguson as an excuse for his anti-cop aggression.

But Deputy Matt's complaint ignores even the slightest, most minimal bit of culpability on behalf of his fellow officers. This massive blind spot prevents him from seeing the truth directly in front of him: if the public -- generally-speaking -- no longer trusts police officers, it's because -- generally-speaking -- police officers aren't worthy of the public's trust.

Filed Under: mistrust, police, police brutality, public


Reader Comments

The First Word

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 20 Oct 2014 @ 8:15am

    Missed a few

    He forgot to blame terrorists.
    Or pedophiles.
    Or pedophile terrorists.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AJ, 20 Oct 2014 @ 8:21am

    I find it ironic that they are complaining about the results of their mistreatment of the public. They caused this, now they have to deal with the outcome.

    Respect and trust are earned, If you want it back, start earning it back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 11:54am

      Re:

      Respect is a given , trust should be earned.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 12:16pm

        Re: Re:

        Every living being should be respected , even If they may not deserve it in your eyes

        Trust is earned, I couldn't agree more.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 3:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Indeed; I'd go further to say:
          Trust is earned, Respect is learned.

          You learn to respect the police the same way you learn to respect rattlesnakes, avalanches and 4-way stops.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 8:22am

    Come now Mike, would you expect anything less from a rubbish site such as the Daily Caller?

    Given its readerbase, I am surprised that Deputy Matt does not condemn his fellow officers for a lack of 'personal responsibility.'. Oh wait, to people like him it's everyone else that lacks responsibility.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 8:22am

    If he honestly believes cops shooting sleeping children in the face is business as usual then the current police organization needs to be completely done away with and replaced instead of just reformed.


    Though I get the feeling he is another guy that believes the laws do not apply to cops because they say they do not apply.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 8:28am

    Original article said there was knife involved.
    Did the officer talk him down because they didn't have tasers?
    Or did they talk him down despite having tasers?
    In a way, the officer's confusion actually speaks well of him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 8:31am

    We, the local cops they have seen and contacted in the past, have not changed. We have done nothing different.

    The big change in the cops is the use of cars for patrols, which isolate them from the people, and reliance on radio to summons other cops to their assistance, rather than a whistle to summon the local populace to their assistance. They have become a reactive force, rather than a proactive force, and have isolated themselves from the people that they are meant to serve.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2014 @ 12:49am

      Re:

      They are not JUST a reative force, they ARE a pro active force, and that is my issue.....it is guilty until proven inocent where we will |all be surveyed, in secret, without consent to make sure we do as the few ordain, and thats leaving out the fact how much damage the authority and the means they give themselves could cause, what kind of world that could easily lead to....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Independent thinker, 13 Feb 2015 @ 9:23am

      Re:

      Well said Anonymous. Another point that you didn't mention was that police no longer live in the communities that they serve. As a result, officers are even further disconnected from what's going on around them as they patrol their beats in squad cars.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matthew A. Sawtell, 20 Oct 2014 @ 8:34am

    Hm... Slight problem with Deputy Matt's rant - the Idea that Trust is a Given.

    While it was a bit interesting to read "Deputy Matt's" rant, there was a slight problem with it - the idea that anyone reading something that an anonymous person writes will implictly trust it to be true.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    art guerrilla (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 8:49am

    a sick joke...

    awwww, did diddums not get a donut this morning and get some good cooping in ? ? ? awwww...

    1. kops are being killed on the job at the lowest numbers since the 18-fucking-hundreds; retail clerks are killed on the job at a higher rate, firefighters are killed TWICE as much, cabbies are killed on the job 5-6 times as much, FUCK HIM...

    2. when you work as violent goons for the 1% and you 'protect and serve' their PROPERTY to the exclusion of 99% of human beans LIVES, WHY are you so fucking stupid you can't figure out that is one of a million reasons 'we all' hate you? FUCK HIM...

    3. when you MURDER dogs and people WITHOUT PROVOCATION, seize/destroy homes, steal money, rape women on traffic stops, tase, spray and KILL people over NOTHING but they 'disrespected your a-thor-i-tie!', AND YOU WALK AWAY WITH NO TRIAL BUT FULL PAY 99% OF THE TIME, FUCK HIM...

    4. when the biggest threat to a donut-eater is eating their OWN FUCKING GUN, WHY do you think that is ? ? ? i prefer to think those are the few who had *some* shame in the shit job they were doing to everyone else...

    5. when you gang of sociopaths COVER UP the crimes and illegal behavior of your own, YOU ARE ALL GUILTY... isn't THAT EXACTLY what you accuse citizens of doing ?
    sauce for the goose, sauce for the pig... (sic)

    the WHOLE SYSTEM is corrupt from beginning to end...

    Empire must fall,
    the sooner the fall,
    the gentler for all

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Matthew A. Sawtell, 20 Oct 2014 @ 9:07am

      Re: a sick joke... of our own making

      If there is a sick joke in all of this, it is of our own making, and no one else' hands. Whether we call ourselves a Democracy or a Republic - the responsibility for 'how it all works' falls upon the people that voted (or not voted) for it to begin with.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 10:51am

        Re: Re: a sick joke... of our own making

        So which cops did you vote for in the last election?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 1:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: a sick joke... of our own making

          That's supposed to be the reason why the Sheriff is an elected official, and doesn't even need to be a cop (but they usually are). But the reality is that the incumbent sheriff rarely loses an election, which like all elections in general, tend to be magnets for corruption and bribery (legal and otherwise).

          Arizona's notorious sheriff Joe Arpaio is still in office, but thankfully Los Angeles county sheriff Lee "I am not a crook" Baca resigned this year in mid-term. Lee Baca was one of the most thoroughly corrupt sheriffs in recent memory, yet still managed to get reelected repeatedly. Hopefully the federal investigations targeting Baca and his administration will continue, even with him now out of office.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 8:51am

    Cops inherently should not be trusted. They are an armed force allowed to do things normal people are not allowed to do. They should be scrutinized much more than normal citizens. Power corrupts, this is something we've known for thousands of years, we should expect it.

    That's not to say they shouldn't have respect, they should. Until it's proven that specific cop has abused his power, they should be treated like normal. Innocent until proven guilty applies to them as well. They should just be watched closer while on duty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 8:56am

    The mainstream media did botch the whole Ferguson incident and the public did overreact to it.

    I think much of the problem is that the public focuses on the wrong issues. The mainstream media is partly to blame for this. Most cops are good and the Ferguson incident isn't really an example of something worthy of the attention it received. It's example of the public directing their anger at cops for something that happened that doesn't deserve that much anger.

    OTOH, when it comes to other cases, there is the perception that cops often get away with more than what a normal citizen would be allowed to. When doing something wrong they have often escaped the same punishments that a citizen would receive had they done the same thing. The system is partly to blame for that perception (though in recent years the situation does appear to be improving slightly, often due to public pressure on police departments to ensure that police are reprimanded). Often times judges punish cops less, perhaps because it's a first offense. This is not always the case. There are incidents where cops with a history of misconduct are allowed to continue and they perform more acts of misconduct.

    I think the biggest issue is an issue of trust. Cops have a long reputation of sticking together when it comes to telling their story even if what they're saying is a lie (and yes, this does make every cop involved guilty though it could be the case that a cop that doesn't go along will be blackballed by the other cops and the police department may later somehow find bogus reasons to release the cop from the department). The public doesn't trust their trustworthiness and, often times, for good reason. When trust breaks down everything begins to go wrong (for everyone) and everything becomes a game of hearsay. I think one potential solution is to require cops to hold more of the burden of proving their case. They should carry cameras around and record incidents themselves and the uncut footage should (non-selectively) be released to the public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 9:33am

      Re:

      save the ferguson cops attacking journalists trying to film the protests, the 1 specific example of that cop who pointed his loaded gun at a reporter and protesters and threatened to shoot him just because he could.

      and of course the numerous intimidations and arrests made on reporters just for trying to do their jobs in ferguson.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Zonker, 20 Oct 2014 @ 3:18pm

      Re:

      *The Ferguson Police Dept did botch the whole Ferguson incident and the public did not react enough to it.

      FTFY

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 3:55pm

        Re: Re:

        Oh, that "investigation" isn't botched at all. It's been carefully orchestrated to ensure that evidence is lost or fabricated as need be, that eyewitnesses are discredited, that the victim is shamed and blamed, that past history is smoothed over or ignored, that enough fog and doubt is created to fool a grand jury, that enough dog-whistles are sounded to bring the racists running, that the traditional news media are fed sound bites and don't actually have to do any investigating (gosh, journalism is hard), and that, in the end, the whole thing is marked as just another "unfortunate incident" to be buried and forgotten.

        Because, of course, a young unarmed black man who lives in a community that's been victimized by its own police department for decades is going to pick a fight with an armed white cop. Yep. He's going to do that for exactly no reason whatsoever, and then -- after he's been shot and has run away -- he's going to turn and charge toward the guy who shot him.

        That is the narrative from the FPD and that is the story they will stick to, because any/all forensic evidence or testimony which contradicts it is being rendered moot. Why do you think that there's STILL no incident report?

        So no, this investigation hasn't been botched. It has been conducted with the utmost care and attention to detail. It just doesn't have the objective that you and I might wish it has. It has nothing to do with establishing the truth and everything to do with sustaining the narrative. And in that narrative, Brown was just another drug-using petty-thieving uneducated jobless thug and Wilson a brave selfless police officer defending himself from a horrific unprovoked attack. So must it be, because in the 4.5 hours while Brown's body lay baking in the August sun, so it was decided. Everything since has already been written, and when the grand jury does not indict, and St. Louis burns, that will be written too: "now you see that the lawless and violent mob must be put down with military force and chemical weapons, for they do not respect authority and the rule of law...annnnd also they are black and scary and probably terrorists and maybe carrying Ebola".

        Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
        Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
        Everybody knows that the war is over
        Everybody knows that the good guys lost
        Everybody knows that the fight was fixed
        The poor stay poor, the rich get rich -- that's how it goes
        Everybody knows


        --- "Everybody Knows", Leonard Cohen

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew, 20 Oct 2014 @ 9:11am

    I don't get it this has been the norm for years. Not just with cops but with anyone in authority. A lot of people always will have an aversion to people in Authority. This is due to how a lot of people in Authority behave where they feel they are better than everyone else and no one can tell them what to do.

    I'll put it simply in Mathematical terms. Take the Statement "All Cops can be trusted", there are multiple examples where this statement fails which in turns proves that the statement is not accurate by counter example.

    While I understand that he is frustrated that the public does not want to work with him this unfortunately is the nature of his Job and it will always happen.

    The only way to change public Opinion has been to show that you are willing to change and actually change. However as Tim explained there are too many cops out there who abuse the power they have and it reflects badly on those who don't abuse their power.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 9:16am

    We, the local cops they have seen and contacted in the past, have not changed. We have done nothing different.

    Exactly. Now people are finally fed up with getting mauled, beaten, shot and killed for no reason aside from "cop was scared for his ass".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Applesauce, 20 Oct 2014 @ 9:19am

    Power corrupts even hobbits

    The entire point of Tolkien's epic was to remind readers that power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, an old lesson often forgotten.

    Everyone with power thinks themselves immune to its corrupting influence and the more power they have, the less they think they have. They need more.

    In the end, even good Frodo was corrupted by the ring.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 9:24am

    "Deputy Matt" might do well to educate himself on the subject of history, particularly the revolutions and violent citizen uprisings all over the world that were instigated by heavy-handed policing. One such example was the Boston Massacre, which took place right in this deputy's own country, before it was a country, and helped make it a country.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      Speaking of educating oneself on the subject of history, you ought to read an actual account of the Boston Massacre.

      It went something like this: A few Colonial troublemakers incited a riot, and worked to bring more and more people to the scene so they could stir up more trouble. The British soldiers exercised extreme restraint for several hours, making a show of force to try to persuade the colonists to disperse, while they were being taunted and having things thrown at them and literally dared to fire on the crowd.

      After one of the Colonials physically attacked him with a club, one soldier lost his cool and fired his musket. In the confusion that followed, several other soldiers fired, and a grand total of five people ended up dead. Not much of a massacre, really, but then the media got ahold of it and blew the whole thing out of proportion, and before anyone knew it there was a war on.

      So yeah, it actually does sound a lot like Ferguson, except the whole part about the rabble-rousers actually being successful in inciting serious social upheaval. Thankfully, that hasn't happened yet, and I hope it never does.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 11:10am

        Re: Re:

        To give some perspective, in the fighting that followed, approximately 32,000 Americans died, around 1.5% of the population of the 13 colonies. 1.5% of the population of the USA today is nearly 4.75 million deaths. Anyone really want these guys to be successful?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 1:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The American Revolution can't possibly be repeated ever again. American civilians in 1776 actually had better weapons than the British army did (rifles vs. muskets) and brought to the battlefield considerable skill in using them. The Constitution's 2nd Amendment was inspired by this proof of the advantages of an armed citizenry.

          But today, there's a gargantuan difference between the weapons that the American civilians are allowed to have and the weapons the military and police possess. Any citizens' armed uprising, no matter how popular, would be destined to fail, and fail miserably.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 1:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Destined to fail? I think not. Sure, civilians could take a beating, but sooner or later, would win. Happened in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.

            All that would be required is the will to resist.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 2:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            there was an interesting article on reddit that disproves this showing the sheer numbers of armed soldiers and police officers needed to surpress an uprising even with their tech would be doomed to fail for a number of reasons, I hunted for the post for about an hour but couldn't find it, it was really well put together and made a whole lot of sense, 3 parts or so, very worth a read.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 12:29pm

        Not much of a massacre, really, but then the media got ahold of it and blew the whole thing out of proportion, and before anyone knew it there was a war on.


        If we're going to discuss history, then let's note that the "Boston Massacre" occurred five years before Lexington & Concord.

        There's a great deal more to the story than you're allowing, including why the Colonials were there in the first place "rabble-rousing", why the soldiers were there in the first place, and what happened between March of 1770 and April of 1775.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 2:22pm

          Re:

          If we're going to discuss history, then let's note that the "Boston Massacre" occurred five years before Lexington & Concord.

          Yeah, before the invention of the telegraph and the railroad, let alone radio and the Internet, it took a while for news to get around. ;)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 9:30am

    When we finally located the son, who is of mixed ethnicity (dad is white, mom is Hispanic), he instantly began cussing and yelling at us.

    Note he is Hispanic. He has even more reasons to distrust cops and Ferguson is just a higher profile case. NYPD has some bad reputation to add with their "randomly focused" stop-frisk program. There was a case a while back where cops beat a mentally handicapped man to death a while back and many, many others that can be pulled with ease.

    Some apologists still insist that these cases are the exception but it's simply bullshit. They are ignoring the fact that one of these exceptions is one too many, very few of them were properly investigated and punished and that these "exceptions are happening everywhere.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 9:32am

    What, me worry?

    > We, the local cops they have seen and contacted in the past, have not changed. We have done nothing different.

    That single story posted the other day describing the militarization of police forces ought to be all that's necessary to disprove that statement. Cops dressed in black battle dress, wielding military weaponry, arriving in vehicles gifted to them by the military, multiplied by the number of times they're called out as the first go to option?

    Yet, they're incensed by someone holding a cell phone, and pointing guns into a car with small children in the back seat.

    Officer Matt, you certainly have changed. The cops I've known would be appalled by behaviour such as this, yet you're defending them!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    me, 20 Oct 2014 @ 9:39am

    the truth hurts

    ae qaida is a potential to an limb, cops have made themselves the day to day equivalent. overfunded, underworked and undertrained, they find excuses to use their new toys, and people die.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    connermac725 (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 9:46am

    shootings

    maybe the shooting of unarmed people just may have something to do with that, where they unload the gun into their victims
    it is the reason my car now has a dash cam

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 11:06am

    I "fear for my life", too

    Every single time I encounter a police officer. Does this mean that I'm justified in shooting him/her repeatedly at point-blank range regardless of what he/she says or does?

    I don't think so. And I don't think any police officer who feels that way is WORTHY to be a police officer. The job comes with risk, and sometimes that risk is massive. Don't like it? Get a different job. But if you keep the job, then you accept the risk. Stop whining about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 11:19am

    The citizenry is becoming aware that they are safer with the criminals than they are the cops. The criminals just want your money, not your hide, your life, and all your property.

    It isn't just Ferguson. It's year after year of mission creep and the results of that. SWAT teams to serve a search warrant or to check business licenses? Whose kidding who here? Every year the toll of citizens shot in which the end results of investigation always releases the cop, having found him blameless, is not statistically viable. There are simply too many of them. It is also an amazing coincidence that when dash cams are present they are either off, the action happens outside it's range, or the resulting film disappears into limbo. None of this supports the citizenry continuing to trust the cops.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 11:32am

    If Matt wanted an easy job, he should've been a prostitute or a member of Congress (same thing, really).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AC, 20 Oct 2014 @ 11:36am

    I was with you until the end

    "it's because -- generally-speaking -- police officers aren't worthy of the public's trust."

    I'm not a cop, but I'm guessing a significant number of encounters with the public end up going off without a hitch. Perhaps it's traffic stops that end with a ticket, but no other incident. Maybe it's a domestic call that ends peacefully. I don't know the percentage, but I'd think it's in the 90's.

    Most people, even those who have 'earned' an encounter with LEOs, can probably be trusted to handle the situation without violence.

    Still, every officer is trained to handle every situation with great care, because those 5% (+ or -) who do react negatively can have a huge impact on the safety of the officer or the public.

    That's the same lesson we all have to learn. Most officers are out there doing a good job. Generally speaking, they deserve our trust. BUT, the bad apples are bad enough that we still have to be careful in every interaction.

    I understand how that can be frustrating for 'Deputy Matt.' Maybe he and his department are truly the noble good guys, and his good name is being dragged through the mud through no fault of his own. What else is he to do besides all the right things? We don't know enough about him to say that he has to rebuild the public's trust.

    Again: every LEO encounter should come with some level of caution and skepticism, from BOTH parties. That's hardly enough to say for certain that this particular Deputy is worthy of scorn, and that most officers are corrupt, as this post (and the comments) strongly suggests.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Oct 2014 @ 2:41am

      Stop guessing at the real data.

      I'm not a cop, but I'm guessing a significant number of encounters with the public end up going off without a hitch...I don't know the percentage, but I'd think it's in the 90's.

      Maybe you should stop guessing. You know what we don't have? Hard data. You know what the FBI and Department of Justice are witholding from the public? Hard data. They don't provide the numbers of how many incidents required extensive response. They don't even keep track of the number of people they shoot.

      Absent in our justice system: incidents of police abuse in which the sole incriminating evidence is held by the police force. No officer is convicted by his own dash-cam unless that footage is used in the incrimination of a non-cop as well. No officer is convicted by his or her fellow officers who witnessed his crime. If there was a fair review system of police-controled media, we'd actually see incidents of this. Maybe a few a year across the country, if the police were good guys doing good work. The few exceptions to all the good apples.

      But no, we get none, and that's pretty implicative of a system covering up for itself, and a system that covers for itself, in turn, implies they have something to cover.

      Before Abu Graib we would have guessed that the US didn't torture. Before Snowden we would have guessed that the US didn't monitor the private communications and data of common civilians. Before the drone strike revelations, we would have guessed that we attacked only military units with them. Our guesses have, for a long time, given agents of the United States the benefit of doubt.

      We need to stop doing that. We need to start assuming that anytime we don't have solid numbers, what's really going on is far worse than what we imagine is a worse-case scenario.

      Incidentally, the US pinpoint bombers in WWII could drop a bomb from 40,000 feet into a pickle barrel. In real war conditions, only 30% of our bombs actually hit the target zone (factory, airfield whatever) the rest going into the housing, hospitals, orphanages or whatever else surrounded the target.

      No, reality sucks, and when we make guesses, we have to take into consideration that reality sucks.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 11:44am

    "Cops are still the wonderful, self-sacrificing people they've always been, he says. It's the American public that's gone downhill."

    Most officers are wonderful, self-sacrificing people; or at least average people who want to do their jobs well.

    It's just that dealing with a random officer these days feels like playing Russian roulette. (That's a much better comparison than it might seem at first: Spin the cylinder, put the pistol to your head, and five-of-six times the chamber is empty, which is great. But if you should happen to draw the officer in that sixth chamber...)

    Deputy Matt needs to take a less biased look at what's going on. People magnify bad news. When was the last time you saw a story about a cop who rescued someone, or arrested the right person, or helped someone who needed help? Right. The news about the good cops doesn't travel at all.

    The most popular restaurant in town can be destroyed by one cockroach special. The customer yells, "There's a cockroach on my plate!!!", and all the customers leave. All the customers tell their friends about it. Their friends tell their friends...and before you know it, no one in town is going to the restaurant. The good news that the customer who yelled is going to prison for fraud, because he brought his own cockroach, isn't going to travel nearly fast enough to outrun the bad news.

    That's human nature: Nothing travels faster than bad news. The comparative few bad apples in the police forces really give all officers a bad name, disproportionately bad, because it is only the bad news that travels.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 12:56pm

      Re:

      That's human nature: Nothing travels faster than bad news. The comparative few bad apples in the police forces really give all officers a bad name, disproportionately bad, because it is only the bad news that travels.

      Accurate to a point, but the biggest problem, and what shrinks the number of 'good' cops into the minority, is how rarely they will go after their own. When the 'good' cops cover for the 'bad' cops, they cease to become 'good' cops.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 1:30pm

      The wonderful self sacrificing people in Law Enforcement

      Most officers are wonderful, self-sacrificing people; or at least average people who want to do their jobs well.

      Not buying that at all.

      Right now it's clear that the leniency-on-bad-cops sector is dominating the precincts since the bad cops are rarely getting fired or charged with assault when their actions. This is indicated further in regions such as NYC in which good cops are pressured to engage in negative behaviors (such as the stop-and-frisks) or face questionable reviews.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        AC, 20 Oct 2014 @ 1:48pm

        Re: The wonderful self sacrificing people in Law Enforcement

        "leniency-on-bad-cops sector is dominating the precincts since the bad cops are rarely getting fired or charged with assault when their actions."

        This, in my opinion, has far more to do with the legal atmosphere (juries unwilling to penalize cops 'doing their duty') and police unions unwilling to give an inch (which, to be fair, is just the union doing its job) than the attitudes and actions of any regular Joe Cop.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Oct 2014 @ 11:26am

          Why is irrelevant.

          There have been past articles on the degree of corruption that permeates the DoJ, but why is ultimately irrelevant.

          Cops who do bad things capitalize on a biased system, whether or not they gunned someone down in cold blood or feared for his life or made a mistake.

          The public is now seeing the injustice, and just as a couple of school shootings can make it seem like the US is plagued with a school-shooting epidemic, a couple of beat-down or gunning videos and the public will start regarding it as an epidemic. The difference is we have public statistics on the number of school shootings. We don't have public statistics on the number of cops murdering people for no good reason and that data is willfully withheld.

          And that implies it's as bad as we think it is, or like the rate Roman Catholic priests diddling children, much worse than we imagine.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 21 Oct 2014 @ 11:58am

          Re: Re: The wonderful self sacrificing people in Law Enforcement

          "than the attitudes and actions of any regular Joe Cop."

          The things you cite are additional aspects that ensure police corruption -- but I disagree that the regular cops are blameless. If regular cops actually made a big stink about the corrupt cops rather than banding together to defend them, then the police union would behave very differently, and the legal atmosphere would shift.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 12:05pm

    I think officer Matt is right when he says that cops have not changed, the people have.

    Do what a cop tells you and you will be fine. Question his authority and you may be in trouble. I grew up being told to say yes sir no sir if talking to a cop. Today, it is different. Some wench jumps in a cops face screaming, time to get pepper sprayed or worse. Funny, today, people think that they have rights, when they should just go along, do what the cops tell them.

    A cop tells kids to quite blocking traffic and get out of the street. If they do as asked, no one gets shot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 1:57pm

      Re:

      Funny, today, people think that they have rights, when they should just go along, do what the cops tell them.

      That statement is pathetic on so many levels, it's disgusting.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 2:25pm

      Re:

      "If they do as asked, no one gets shot."

      Just three weeks ago, this unfortunate young Negro was shot half a dozen times by a cop for doing exactly as asked.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXmVPxQGTsE

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Zonker, 20 Oct 2014 @ 4:04pm

      Re:

      Funny, today Anonymous Cowards think people shouldn't have rights when they should always stand up for their rights whenever the cops try to violate them.

      I believe that we'd rather be policed by our fellow law abiding citizens than these law violating officers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Just Another Anonymous Troll, 21 Oct 2014 @ 7:05am

      Re:

      We do have rights. The problem is that cops violate them, and beat on people who stand up for them.
      By your logic, it should be perfectly acceptable for me to rob you at gunpoint because I have more firepower therefore you should do what I tell you and your rights don't exist/matter.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2014 @ 7:25am

        Re: Re:

        If you are looking down the barrel of a gun (and you don't have one) I would recommend that you do exactly what the robber asks of you.

        That is my point, when confronting a cop, you are looking down the barrel of a gun and should do what the cop tells you, even if he is telling you to do something that he has absolutely no right to do. Document it, record it, yes. Report it later, yes. Arguing with cops can be bad for your health.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Oct 2014 @ 11:41am

          Now I think about it, jail qualifies.

          By your logic, it should be perfectly acceptable for me to rob you at gunpoint because I have more firepower therefore you should do what I tell you and your rights don't exist/matter.

          Most nations were ruled by that logic for most of human history. We've even seen it enshrined in feudal law via the Right of Might and the Divine Right of Kings (If you were born built like a mountain or in a king's bedchamber it meant that God favored you). All of our concepts towards leveling that playing field, from Parliament to the Social Contract to Napoleonic Law to the Bill of Rights are there because we got tired of that shit when the "divinely chosen" were also chosen to be jackasses.

          If you are looking down the barrel of a gun (and you don't have one) I would recommend that you do exactly what the robber asks of you.

          Yeah, The 9/11 attacks demonstrated to the United States and the world how that can be used against us. For a smaller scale example, look on rape-victim support sites about how bad an idea it is to let the power of force, even a pointed gun to coerce you to the secondary location.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Tony (profile), 22 Oct 2014 @ 7:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Document it, record it, yes. Report it later, yes."

          Assuming you aren't beaten or shot for documenting or recording it.

          And report it? Sure. And nothing happens. Great approach.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 21 Oct 2014 @ 12:01pm

      Re:

      "I think officer Matt is right when he says that cops have not changed, the people have."

      That cops have changed is indisputably, provably true. Cops have become highly militarized and have developed a much stronger attitude of "everyone is a criminal, most just haven't been caught".

      Just look at one single fact: the liberal and usually inappropriate use of SWAT teams and "no knock" warrants. These alone represent a huge change in how the cops behave.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 12:08pm

    How about psychological testing for all active LEO's, I this were mandatory ,I doubt this idiot of an officer would have thought more intelligently before blaming the victims.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 12:24pm

    Cop refuses to consider that cops should be held responsible for their actions.
    Cop can't understand why people distrust cops.

    Maybe these two things are related?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 2:13pm

    Fastest way to get tuned up is to question a cops authority. Right or wrong, your changes of getting tuned up jump if you question their authority.

    Kid walking in street told to get out? Shot. Guy told to get out of car refuses? Tased. Woman screaming at cop for his name? Pepper Sprayed.

    One can argue that these people were within their rights, but I look at it like walking the streets. Do I have the right of way when I am in the cross walk? Of course. Do I make sure the car is actually stopping? Yes, because even though I am within my rights to cross without looking, I still lose that collision.

    An ACLU lawyer recently was interviewed, he said never directly question a cop, if they are violating your rights, do what the cop says and sue later.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 11:37pm

      Re:

      An ACLU lawyer recently was interviewed, he said never directly question a cop, if they are violating your rights, do what the cop says and sue later.
      If you have the time, money, and other resources. And of course the evidence, which will be under the control of the very same person who was violating your rights in the first place.

      The people whose rights are most often violated are the people who lack these resources, making it almost better to provoke the cop: if the cop starts beating the crap out of you, it's more likely that a passer-by might start recording the incident, or that you'll wind up in a hospital where medical professionals will create hard-to-destroy documentation.

      Legal pragmatism only goes so far.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2014 @ 2:18pm

    unheard audio

    PICK UP THE CAN CITIZEN.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 20 Oct 2014 @ 2:22pm

    Specious

    Those are crocodile tears streaming down the face of Deputy Matt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ottermaton (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 3:02pm

    Another similar article

    When I first came across this post I thought for sure it was referring to another piece of whining drivel from a cop

    It's worth a look, but I wouldn't recommend reading it on a full stomach as it will probably make you sick.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Deputy laughing stock, 20 Oct 2014 @ 7:16pm

    He is so right he won't use his name. Well to make no point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DeComposer (profile), 20 Oct 2014 @ 8:00pm

    Probable Cause

    Dear Deputy Matt,

    While you're pointing fingers everywhere but at yourself, keep in mind that the one common element in all of your dysfunctional relationships is you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Often Wrong, 21 Oct 2014 @ 7:38am

    When it started

    The "Good Guy" cop ended when they went from "Peace Officers" to "Law Enforcement Officers." That put them on the side of the state rather than working for their community. As soon as they are forced to violently enforce bad laws (revenue generating laws) the door flew open to the current form of Violent Policing for the state “Law Enforcement.”

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jfk, 21 Oct 2014 @ 3:26pm

    right wing populist

    Well, fuck you and your opinion you stupid pig.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Charles Weishaar, 26 Jan 2015 @ 2:49am

    cops cannot be trused

    Cops cannot be trusted because they no longer use common sense or see gray areas between black and white. They are all about killing people and/or locking them up. This attitude is not singular. I have spoken to no person that trusts them anymore. We live in a police state and people do not report on crime or involve themselves in any way with the cops for fear of incarceration and/or death. As innocent and peace loving as I am, I avoid the cops and fear them like death.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kathi, 13 Apr 2015 @ 5:22am

    Op-Ed

    Seems to me this about much more than Ferguson. You have touched on such a wide range of concerns there is no way such a short op-ed could address them.
    First, Ferguson a finely crafted false narrative from the start by community activists for the public. NOT a case of police brutality or over reach.
    Second, DOJ ramped up the situation and made quite sure that police were mad the "enemy" after their "loving" donations of equipment to departments all over the country of gear and tech.
    Thirdly, every officer I have spoken to tells me that the normal dress uniform with belt weighs near 40lbs, in changing to tactical gear they lose all that bulk and now the governments save not just in having happier, healthier officers who function better but they aren't having the hip, back and knee issues either.
    Funny no one ever addresses this issue, where's the media?
    The one thing I will say is the longer it is hyped BOTH sides will be nervous and on a hair trigger. However, police officers receive training, the general public do not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 16 Apr 2015 @ 12:56pm

      [citation needed]

      Ferguson a finely crafted false narrative from the start by community activists for the public. NOT a case of police brutality or over reach.

      As I was watching it streaming from cameras on the ground it looked a whole lot like police brutality. Overreach would be a euphemism for the disproportional response and outright abuse that was going on.

      So...wait, I was wrong. Given what I saw with my own eyes as the situation unfolded, there is no possible justification of the behavior or the police forces in response to the Ferguson protests. That trainwreck will not go back on the tracks.

      And given that the agencies couldn't find a few patsies to burn for the disaster they created, the entire mess serves to smear the whole precincts involved, and the County of St. Louis. If not the entire institution of Law Enforcement in the United States.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.