And this is why the only thing the cops did correctly in the Walter Scott shooting was handcuff the dying guy. Because that's what they are trained to do. Cops have to be prepared for every possible scenario that could end with a police casualty -- including "the other guy turns into a Walking Dead extra," apparently.
Police Have Almost No Accountability
The most infuriating thing about these cases is that we don't even pretend to hold these cops responsible for shooting unarmed black men. A grand jury didn't even think Darren Wilson should have a for-realsies trial to answer for shooting Michael Brown. It would be one thing if he had gone to trial and been found innocent -- the justice system didn't even give us the courtesy of a show trial.
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The closest thing he'll get will probably be when he's on season 352 of The Apprentice.
A statistical study of grand juries found that they vote to go to trial 99.99 percent of the time, so why didn't Wilson get the same treatment, if not because of racism and legal chicanery? Well, that study applies to the average citizen, but if you look at just police-related cases, it's pretty much the exact opposite -- juries virtually never send cops to trial. Part of it is that cops are given a wide legal latitude when it comes to self-defense, but it's also because people (and juries in particular) are conditioned to believe cops. Our whole justice system is based on trusting authority figures, so when a cop is put on the stand, it's like dogs and cats living together. Utter madness.
But at least Wilson's case passed fleetingly in front of a jury. Most reports of police misconduct don't make it that far. Only eight percent of all the incidents of brutality, bias, and civil rights violations reported by civilians in the US are sustained, and only one percent in New Jersey, where presumably even the mobsters have more accountability. Like, if Big Carlo keeps punching people for no reason, someone would at least tell him, "Hey come on, cut that out."
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"We're mobsters, not monsters."
And adding to that bias, we also have the bias of treating criminals like ... well, criminals. We might rationally understand that stealing some cigarettes means fuck-all in the broader scope of the case, but most people will automatically put the cop's version of events ahead of the victim. You could practically hear the support for Michael Brown evaporate when the convenience store footage was released, even though it had no relevance to the shooting whatsoever.
We've got some issues, y'all.
Chris writes for his own website and tweets.
While you're here, also check out 5 Things I Learned as a Cop (That Movies Won't Show You) and 7 Bizarre Ways You Didn't Know 9/11 Changed the World.