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Bad cop / bad cop

Rodney King police brutality A story came across my Facebook feed. It was about a black man who wasn't killed instantly by police and therefore there is no police racism problem. In accordance with my diet, I'm posting my response here.

Original story.

There are a few odd assumptions here.

  • The first is that because this one black man survived this one traffic stop, that means there is no problem. ("I played Russian roulette last night and didn't die, so there's no danger!")
  • The second is that everyone else who has been beat, detained illegally, or killed must have been disrespectful.
  • The third is that if you don't treat an officer with "respect", it's your fault if they beat or kill you.
  • The fifth is that people are always supposed to obey a cop, no matter how ridiculous, unlawful, or unconstitutional the demand.
  • The sixth is that he confirms the existence of "bad apples", but doesn't see a problem? Maybe the "bad apples" are the ones people are complaining about? The ones who the departments defend and lie about until video shows up disputing every element of the officer's story? Maybe that is a big part of the problem with trust?

This is too ridiculous. Surely there are good cops, few would dispute that, but just as surely there are bad cops and we should not defend them when they drastically exceed their authority, or needlessly escalate a situation instead of resolving it with minimum force, or plant evidence, or make up offenses, or any number of other things with easily google-able videos.

Remember that cattle ranch guy who the feds went after for breaking the law? Conservatives and Libertarians defended him and hundreds even came armed to face down the authorities.

Some black guy somewhere with a broken tail light "disrespects" a rude traffic cop and suddenly uncomplainingly obeying the officer's every possibly unconstitutional command is the most important thing?