Civil Rights and the Law often come up against each other, resulting in the most extreme reactions from both sides… none of which turn out well for the citizen.
I have a theory: The difference between a good cop and a bad cop is knowing you have the power to kill someone, but knowing when not to use that power.
Recently, I see a lot of scared cops being portrayed in the media these days.. and it seems that the more firepower, flack-jackets and armor they have the more scared they look. How is it that a man wielding a knife can’t get shot in the leg as opposed to the ‘kill-shot’? C’mon… don’t these guys practice how to use their weapons for non-lethal force? Or maybe that’s the point, maybe they are conditioned during training that the public is to be feared and so they opt for the quickest and most severe method of taking someone out… permanently.
In a recent two-day training program called PART (Professional Assault Response Training) we learned methods to get ourselves out of a physical assault if it escalated to that point. The program, when first created, used to teach physical combat kinds of manoevers, but had so many complaints about the use of excessive force and the dehumanization of the aggressor, that they changed their approach. Part of the changes made were to recognize the signs that an assault was impending, how to try to diffuse the situation before it gets physical, and to avoid physical contact with the assailant. Physical violence is viewed as a last resort, not the first.
This kind of approach made the participants in the training program feel empowered and less threatened which resulted in fewer un-necessary injuries to both parties involved in an incident.
I can’t help but wonder what policing would be like, and what use there would be for organizations like ‘CopWatch‘ which tend to inflame tensions between civilians and police with their antics.
Below is an interesting article from the Daily Mail.uk looking at the number of incidents with police and citizens since 9/11.
Police stopped 700,000 on streets of New York last year compared to 90,000 in aftermath of 9/11
- Majority of people stopped are black or Hispanic
- Figures released in wake of fatal stand-off between NYPD officers and machete-wielding man
- Critics claim policy uses racial profiling and number of people have been unfairly stopped
- New York Civil Liberties Union has rolled out a Stop and Frisk Watch app to alert people to where police stops are taking place
- Mayor Michael Bloomberg claims policy is ‘essential’ to NYPD’s work
- Most voters approve of city’s police force but are divided over stop-and-frisk programme