5 Recent Trends That Make It Hard to Trust the Police
If there's one thing I think we can all agree on, it's that, much like clowns, everybody loves a cop. And for good reason! After all, in the unfortunate event that one of us should fall victim to a crime, who are we going to call first? No matter what my N.W.A-based childhood understanding of law enforcement taught me, the answer, of course, is the police.
There are some among us, though, who've developed a slightly less positive opinion of law enforcement. That likely explains why, out of all the fascinating stats in this article about things that are more deadly than terrorism, this was the one that blew up on Twitter:
Because there are way more cops, you see.
What is it that compels some people to take a less than favorable stance on the public service that police provide? If I had to guess, I'd say it probably has something to do with stories like those presented here, which seem to be popping up at an alarming rate these days.
Here are five recent trends that make it hard to trust the police ...
They're Becoming Way Too Fond of Anal Probes
Anal probes are the kind of thing we like to pretend only exist in ridiculous alien abduction stories. We're most inclined to associate them with the shadier doings of the TSA, but that's not something they actually do. To put it simply, getting probed anally is not a common thing. Unfortunately, in some locales, that's a comfort the police are taking away from us.
Maybe it's because alien sightings are so frequent in the area, but this is especially true in New Mexico, where anal probing during routine traffic stops is reaching terrifying new levels. I mean, any anal probing during a traffic stop is pretty terrifying, but New Mexico really goes all out. Or all in, I suppose. That probably fits a little better in this situation.
Like a glove!
Cracked already covered the first anal probe horror story to come out of Heisenberg country a few days ago. Everyone has covered it, because it's goddamn crazy. It involves a man named David Eckert who was subjected to a colonoscopy, two rectal exams, and three enemas for no other crime than rolling through a stop sign while leaving a Walmart.
Beware of falling prices and unwanted anal penetration.
You know, the police probably assumed that a person who just got done shopping at Walmart doesn't have much dignity left for them to take, so what could a surprise colonoscopy hurt? And besides, they'd already done the exact same thing to another man not long before this incident and nobody raised a stink about it that time. At least they didn't until the David Eckert story broke, at which point the first man filed suit against the police also. If you're keeping score at home, that's two unwanted anal probe lawsuits currently pending against police in New Mexico.
Two is also the operative number in a terrifying story out of Texas in which a female officer gave two women vaginal and rectal exams right at the side of the road. Relax, she wore gloves. Now unrelax, because she didn't change gloves between exams. Two girls, one pair of gloves, if you will. If that sounds unbelievable, I have great news -- it was caught on video:
So was the second nearly identical incident that also happened in Texas.
Once again, it should be noted that the officer doesn't change gloves between exams. That's fucking nasty.
As noted in the lawsuits filed on behalf of the victims, the fact that both incidents bear such a striking resemblance to each other even though they happened at opposite ends of the state means that, somewhere, young police academy recruits are likely being told that fingering lady parts is a constitutionally acceptable aspect of any thorough traffic stop, which, of course, is madness.
Oh, and speaking of unlawful entry ...
They're Constantly Raiding the Wrong House
Police kicking down an innocent person's door is only funny when it happens to someone you know and no one is seriously injured. Beyond that, police showing up at the wrong address often makes for a horrifying story, and it happens constantly.
Sometimes you can say that literally, as is the case with an elderly Brooklyn couple who, thanks to a computer glitch, have had police at their doorstep in error more than 50 times. After Walter and Rose Martin unknowingly had their address used to test an NYPD computer system in 2002, the visits started, sometimes up to three in one week. I don't know if I've even had 50 legitimate visits to my residence by anyone, police or otherwise, since 2002*.
*Medical deliveries excluded.
That said, at least they were relatively peaceful and non-destructive visits. Most people who find themselves on the business end of a bust gone wrong aren't so lucky, like the Massachusetts woman who had her door chainsawed in half by police targeting the wrong apartment.
That's going to be hard to fix.
They eventually tracked down the suspect they were actually looking for in the apartment next door. How a person on the run from the law doesn't take police power-tooling their neighbor's entryway as a sign that they should probably flee the scene is beyond me, but alas, that's how that story ends. Once again, the bright side here is that at least it all ended without anyone getting seriously injured. Sadly, that's not always the case.
When police in Arizona raided the home of 26-year-old former Marine Jose Guerana as part of a botched marijuana sting, he armed himself with an AR-15 rifle in an effort to protect his wife and child from intruders he had no reason to believe would be police. After his door was broken down, 70 rounds were unloaded in Jose Guerana's direction in just seven seconds. He died shortly thereafter. It was later revealed that he hadn't even disengaged the safety on his weapon at the time of the shooting.
Nothing funny about that!
NYC Harasses Minorities for Being Minorities
Remember when New York City had that insane "stop and frisk" policy that allowed them to literally stop anyone for no reason at all and pat them down? It was eventually challenged in court and ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, a true victory for fans of civil rights. That's where the story ended for most people when the Big Brother-esque program was making news, but an appeals court quietly overturned the ruling a few months later and removed Scheindlin from the case.
Is that constitutional?
In other words, "stop and frisk" is back in effect in NYC, which means it's a terrible time to be a minority in that city because, at one point, an astounding 87 percent of people targeted for searches were African-American or Latino. It's hard to argue that the program amounts to anything more than institutionalized racial profiling when the numbers skew that way.
Even more troubling is the fact that the "stop and frisk" program has now partnered up with NYC retailers to make sure shopping is just as tense and invasive for people of color as simply walking around minding your own business already is right now in the city. Specifically, high-end retailer Barney's apparently refuses to believe that being black and owning expensive shit don't have to be mutually exclusive.
In one incident, a college student named Trayon Christian was stopped after a cashier called police to inform them that the 19-year-old had purchased a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt using fraudulent means. When authorities questioned the young student, he was allegedly asked how someone "like him" could afford such a luxury, which is the police interrogation version of praising a black athlete for being "well spoken," I believe.
As it turns out, he purchased the belt using money he saved up at a part time job, so his only real crime was spending hard-earned money in absurd ways.
A bargain at one-tenth of the price!
He produced identification, the debit card he purchased the belt with, and a sales receipt, all of which were still not sufficient evidence of his innocence. It wasn't until after authorities made a call to Chase to verify his identity that Christian was allowed to leave.
He promptly returned the belt to Barney's.
And then Barney's promptly returned to the headlines! This time, the shopper was a woman and the purchase was even sillier (a $2,500 Celine handbag), but other than that, the details were the same -- a police shakedown prompted by nothing more than making a purchase without looking like the "traditional" Barney's shopper.
Check out their exclusive Jay-Z collection now!
I guess $850 leather baseball caps with the word "Brooklyn" on the front are strictly the domain of the white man.
They Lack Discretion When Shooting
Remember that story earlier about the cops who erroneously home invaded a former Marine and shot at him 70 times? Police love doing shit like that! In one of the most famous incidents from recent memory, two women were shot while delivering newspapers after they rolled up to the home of a law enforcement official who was under protective surveillance during the Christopher Dorner manhunt. They were driving the same kind of truck that police suspected Dorner was using at the time, you see. Sure, it was a completely different color and the license plate didn't match, but better safe than sorry, right?
They were looking for a Toyota truck like the one pictured above.
Meanwhile, in Florida, America's one-stop shop for insanity of all sorts, police were busy shooting a man 15 times (all in the legs!) when they mistook him for a car thief in his own driveway. When authorities were asked for comment, they gave the most dickish one imaginable:
"The tragedy of this is the noncompliance to the directions of law enforcement officers."
Nice! Anyway, chalk it up to luck that nobody was killed in either of these incidents, and that's even more true in the most recent display of police shooting without completely thinking things through. This time, the exchange was caught on video:
It's hard to tell immediately what's so horrible about what transpired there. After all, the woman in the driver's seat wasn't complying, and her teenage kid did jump out of the car and try to join the fight. Maybe shooting is overkill in that situation, but it's not completely impossible to understand. That is until you take into account that there were children ranging in age from 6 to 18 in the back of that minivan, of course. "The back" meaning "the exact same area where the cop circled below is blindly firing bullets":
It takes a village to kill a child.
Don't worry -- when the dust settled, it turned out the police had good reason to take such drastic action. There were indeed some laws being broken by that out-of-control driver -- a search of the minivan later turned up two marijuana pipes.
They Sometimes (Maybe) Murder People
Have you ever seen the flashing lights of a patrol car in your rearview mirror on a dark night and thought, "How in the hell do I know that's really a cop?" That's a perfectly valid question that I don't think anyone has a good answer for, but sometimes it doesn't even matter, because it's not the fake police you have to worry about, it's the real ones.
They look like this!
Take the case of Craig Peyer, for example. He was a California highway patrolman who, after a night spent pulling women over and attempting to use his authority as a police officer to woo them into dating him, finally snapped and killed 20-year-old Cara Knott when she spurned his advances and threatened to report him.
A few days after the incident, Peyer was filmed during a ride-along for a news segment about the importance of being careful who you stop for on the highway, as if the story wasn't unsettling enough already.
If you're looking for a truly creepy tale of possible police murder, though, look no further than the curious case of Florida Sheriff's Deputy Steve Calkins.
He was the last person seen with a man named Terrance Williams when, according to witnesses, he pulled the man over, put him in the back of his squad car, drove away from the scene, and then returned to move Williams' Cadillac to the street, where it could be towed.
Terrance Williams was never seen again. Despite several eyewitness accounts and recordings of Calkins calling to have the car towed, in a taped phone call a few days later he claimed he didn't remember any of it. When that was proven to be an obvious lie, he changed his story and said he drove Williams to a Circle K gas station and dropped him off.
In all fairness, a trip to Circle K is capable of killing a man too.
If that sounds plausible, it probably won't when you realize that, just a few weeks earlier, another man named Felipe Santos had gone missing, also after last being seen getting put into the back of Calkins' cruiser. When he was questioned in connection with the man's disappearance, Steve Calkins claimed that last time he saw Felipe Santos was when he dropped him off at Circle K, the exact same story he would eventually tell about Terrance Williams.
And that's where things get really weird. In the Santos case, the incident Calkins responded to was a minor traffic accident. At the scene, it was revealed that Santos was driving without a license. The other driver in the accident remembers Calkins expressing serious anger over people who decide to drive even though the law says they can't.
Care to guess what Williams was guilty of at the time he was pulled over? That's right, driving without a license.
Everything pictured here could potentially save your life in Florida.
Did Sheriff's Deputy Steve Calkins go on a killing spree over people driving without a license? It sure as shit seems that way, so much so that he eventually lost his job over the matter. Notice how I didn't say he's in prison, though? Not only has Calkins never been charged with a crime in either case, but he's actually filed suit to try to get his job back. So, he's either innocent and unspeakably unlucky, or a total sociopath. My guess is the latter, but with 10 years having now passed in the case, it's looking like we'll probably never know for sure.