Posted on October 26, 2017
It’s Not a War on Cops
The Supreme Court is set to hear a case that could lead to liability for officers making false arrests. Naturally, police unions and their apologists in the media and in conservative circles aren’t happy about this. The NY Post called the case a “war on cops,” but I would argue it’s everything but that. The case revolves around some arrests for “disorderly conduct” of some citizens at a party. “Disorderly conduct” statutes are incredibly vague in many states and I’ve seen quite often cops using these laws against people for simply standing up for their rights or yelling at an officer. In Texas, we had numerous arrests of people lawfully carrying firearms because people were calling the police claiming to be “alarmed,” which is a trigger word in Texas law. Every case was dismissed and the arrests should have never happened. In many cases, the arrested gun owners even had copies of the law that the police refused to even look at when making the decision to effect an arrest. We are suing them.
Hopefully, SCOTUS recognizes the problem we have with modern day policing. Almost unanimously, I hear cops saying “the place to argue is in the courts” or “we’ll let the courts decide” whether an arrest is legal. There is no personal responsibility nor consequences for a cop throwing someone in jail unjustly. They process the person into jail and simply move to the next person. When charges are thrown out, there’s no consequences for the arresting officer or the department. No training; nothing.
Meanwhile, a person falsely arrested must spend hours (or days) in jail being treated like dirt by jailers and waiting to get bailed out, which costs hundreds or thousands of dollars. They are required to wear demeaning clothing, eat terrible food, and obey nonsense orders from power mad handlers (shut up, face that way, sit down, stand up, don’t look at me, stop smiling, etc – I personally heard them all). Then, the person must find an attorney to find the bogus charges to get them dropped. Once charges are dropped because no crime was committed, that person doesn’t get that money back he had to spend. Not even a formal apology from the officer(s) or department.
This isn’t a problem of “gray areas.” I’ve literally seen with my own eyes a person READING the law to a cop that makes perfectly clear they are well within the law only to hear the cops say “that’s for the courts to decide” despite the wording of said law being totally unambiguous.
We don’t expect cops to be perfect and understand that they will make mistakes, but those mistakes affect the lives of other people. Some lose jobs and others lose income. The arrest is kept in the system so next time they are treated worse because now they’re a “problem child.” If someone is falsely arrested twice (this is common for activists) the court will raise the bond even higher for a minor charge. At some point, cops need to have consequences for those mistakes just as we do when we make them. “Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” remember?
The problem goes beyond this. Police are killing so many people for simply moving their hands that they are putting out videos telling people how to avoid being shot by a trigger happy officer who sees everyone as a threat. How demeaning to have to put our hands outside of the window as if we’re some kind of criminal thug trying to prove we aren’t guilty of a crime. I remember when everyone was supposed to be treated with respect and as innocent. My position is if the police can’t approach a vehicle without thinking everyone is out to kill them, they really need to get another job. Granted, they should always be cautious, but not at the expense of citizen comfort. When did our safety become subordinate to theirs? This video teaches gun owners that they basically have no rights if a cop pulls them over. The fact is that someone who hands over their license to carry isn’t a threat to them and, therefore, cops have no right to disarm them. If anyone should be afraid, it should be the people. The Crime Prevention Research Center found that cops are ten times more likely to commit a crime than licensed gun owners and yet we are the ones being disarmed.
The Supreme Court needs to start protecting the constitution and the government.