Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Post of the Moment: In Praise of "Rogue" Cops

“His death was gang-involved, the way I see it,” lamented former Orange County Sheriff’s Detective Ron Thomas after viewing the mangled body of his 37-year-old son, Kelly. “A gang of rogue officers … brutally beat my son to death.”

The description of the crime is appropriate: Kelly Thomas was murdered by a thugscrum of at least six police officers on a sidewalk in Fullerton. Kelly, who had a criminal record, was a homeless adult who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. On the evening of July 5, police were called to a street near the Fullerton bus depot by a report that someone was burglarizing parked cars.

Kelly was identified as a suspect, and was uncooperative with the police. He was tasered at least five times and beaten until brain-dead while pleading with the officers and crying out for his father. Multiple eyewitness accounts have disclosed that the beating continued – punctuated by the familiar demand that the victim “stop resisting!” -- long after Kelly was on his back, motionless and defenseless.

That this was a gang-involved murder is indisputable. With all proper respect to Ron Thomas, however, the grieving father is desperately wrong about one detail: The murderers were not “rogue officers.” Once the gang assault on Kelly began, practically the only thing that could have saved his life would have been the timely intervention of a rogue officer.

As an institution, the police do not exist to defend life, liberty, and property. That would be the role played by peace officers -- a population that is, for all intents and purposes, extinct. Police are given the task of “enforcement” – the imposition of rules devised by, and on behalf of, the wealth-devouring class. That role includes dispensing summary punishment against people who display anything other than instant, unqualified submission to them and to the political order they embody. Any material good that is done by a police officer is a renegade act, given the nature and purposes of the institution that employs him.

In Praise of "Rogue" Cops

1 comment:

  1. Okay, I get it.

    When I say, "We need police officers," I want you to hear, "We need peace officers." I don't mean, "We need SWAT teams busting in doors of suspected drug users or hassling people not doing anything wrong."

    And I have news for any officer: people are going to resist. It's part of the job to detain people without injury while putting yourself at risk.


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