A Knee to the Neck or a Bullet to the Head
Which way would one choose to die; getting choked to death or with a shot to the brain? What it comes down to is how police disable an uncooperative subject in the process of being arrested.
That’s one issue. Another is a bit more personal: smart cop, bad cop. The current news cycle on every outlet, print or electronic, stages police against protesters only about an estimated 5% of which are destructive instigators. The rest are intellectually mixed by those who seek justice and others who think the only way to get justice is to tear up the civilized economic base and demand the elimination of police. Both are not only inefficient but tactically ineffective other than to create even more unresolved conflict.
What we’ve been witnessing is the abdication of universally counterproductive police training especially in the process of arrest. Thus a question: are there good cops and bad cops, or just cops? Are there good parents and bad parents or just parents? Are there sin-free athletic coaches, religious leaders and educated administrators or just priests, ministers, and teachers?
In all such cases, the answer is “both.” Every segment of society has its spiritually cloaked and its good intentioned leaders. Is there a difference in any of them? Yes. The answer for adulthood is the same as for childhood: learning. Not just the knowing but the “how to do it” the right way. Anything less is the wrong way and all too frequently leads to civil disruption and that’s what we’ve seen since Travon Martin gave up his Skittles for an order to “STOP! or be shot.” Unfortunately, both parties made the wrong choices.
The arrest procedure of George Floyd launched a world-wide reaction that nearly visualized an earthly insurrection and the thugs of society – every country has some – delight in taking advantage of the opportunity to participate in unmanaged lawlessness.
Similarly, all police go through training before being given the powers of arrest. The failure to intensify that training in order to invoke its use on non-life or death situations is at the core of modern police work. There are two means to resolve this disparity; one is to dissolve city or county law enforcement (it should not be necessary to outline the “why”) and thus open up communities to ‘anything goes’ existences and unequivocally targeted training, or create strategic courses on how to handle the officers’ powers of arrest.
A good cop is generally easy to recognize by their demeanor. One who likes to appear superior to the taxpayer who helps fund the cop’s paycheck is rife with questions. Such cops are easy to misinterpret; we don’t want cops who seem to be ‘mothering’ their prospective arrestees. And we also don’t want cops who are under the impression that no one or anything, including a camera, can witness their actions. What the public wants are responsibly well-mannered, yet driven, cops able to correctly make a decision based on how he was trained to handle a particular arrest situation and to do it as quickly as possible. What the Minneapolis cop did to contain the arrest of George Lloyd was proof of the lack of training in how to make an arrest on even an uncooperative subject. Some subjects, it is easy to acknowledge, need more police aggression than others. In the Lloyd incident it is clear that the cop, now facing second-degree murder charges, gave up his right to enforcing the law by the lack of training for the appropriate situation.
Before any of this reaches a point of satisfactory resolution, however, one area of critical discussion must focus on so-called police unions. Union reps are there at the behest of police protective organizations. Habitually, the theocracy of such groups is too often seen as tantamount to Freedom of the Press, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. As such, police union reps are there to present a defense in the same way as public defender lawyers oversee a suspect’s defense. Both reek of flimsy efforts to keep bad cops on the job and guilty of walking the line (unless proven otherwise) allowing law breakers tacit permission to continue carrying on with whatever social policy got them in a bad place at the beginning of their social misbehavior.
Beyond that, specialized training in how to react with agitated members of the public not under suspicion of a violent crime but for whatever cause has put the suspect in an aggressive or non-cooperative mood. That’s when things start to “go south.” The public is badly in need of education to protect themselves from unwanted treatment and of interrogation by police. Unless the suspect has something to hide, the best way to leave the site of the stop is one word: cooperate. And do it nicely, not with a wild hair up your attitude. In other words, in such cases, do not resist. If you choose that conduct instead of asking “Why did you stop me? wait until the office tells you, “Do you know why I stopped you?” Such questions generally end up with “Have a good day and drive careful.”
While most cops feel like they’ve been trained well, the fact is that they probably haven’t. Until that changes and both cops and stopped citizens begin talking like neighbors – certain disqualifications understood – expect more knees to be used in stupid excess by cops who’s trainers ignored post training follow-through.