Multiple Victims of Militarized Police

Yesterday the local police ran over and killed a 4 year old who was on the sidewalk of a local high school. It is a terrible thing for everyone involved.

The little girl’s parents are obviously devastated, losing a child will have life long impact. One can only imagine their grief, something no parent should go through.

The officer who inadvertently ran over the little girl is also a victim. She must now live the rest of her life with this on her conscience. Imagine that you had to live with the knowledge that you had snuffed the life out of an innocent child.

Here is news coverage of the accident incident.
Here is the Highway Patrol’s initial accident crash report.

The child, her parents, the officer–all victims.

So who is to blame?

I would argue that the blame should rests with the decline in police officer standards and the militarization of the police. Before we continue, watch the following short video.

This video features the officer involved. There are a few things that can be gleaned from the video.

First, she is very petite. When faced with an adversary, say a drunken college student, her only option is a weapon with the potential for serious injury or death. The officer then becomes judge, jury and executioner solely due to falling police standards. This isn’t to argue against female police, simply to state that there should be some minimal standards for police, male or female. At the 2 minute mark of the video notice her gait, not only is she small but she has a physical handicap.

Second, even though we live in a city, the police insist on driving SUVs, and very large ones at that. Every single police car on our streets is an interceptor with built in battering rams. It is not mountainous here, there are no forest service trails to patrol; hell, we don’t even have dirt roads. There isn’t a rational reason why the police all need to drive giant SUVs (except, of course, to project dominance over the populace.) At the 15 second mark of the above video it is clearly evident that the officer can’t see over the hood of the vehicle.

And that in short is why a little girl is dead today. The militarization of the police is to blame. They insist on driving tanks in the city, WTF? Add to that the fact that the police have become adversaries of the general public, basically enemies of the people. No one sane wants to be cop, police departments are left to hire anyone they can, whether qualified or not.

So it was this woman’s dream to be a cop. Ask her today, if given a choice, would she have rather been told that she did not qualify physically to join the police or have to live with this child’s death on her conscience for the rest of her life which she would choose. I can only imagine that she would rather have been politely declined for the position.

The time has come for the police to get back in the business of protecting and serving the community. Until that happens they will struggle for recruits and terrible things like this little girl’s death will continue. It would be great if Columbia could be the start of that change.

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Execution, Police Style

New Year’s Day morning the city of Oakland had its first gangland execution of the year.  It went down like so many others…a man face down on the ground, a man with a gun towers over him, the shot rings out, another life unnecassarily and needlessly ended…  The main difference this time around was that the shooter was a police officer employed by BART.  It happened in public in front of witesses, there are at least three different videos of the incident floating around the internet.  No one denies the facts, they are what they are: a BART cop shot an unarmed young man execution style.

CNN reports today that the cop has quit his job.  CNN also reports that the murderer is negotiating when he might testify to any investigation of this crime.  Say what?  The man has not spoken to investigators?  He murders someone, someone that I have not heard anyone alleged to have been committing a crime, in public, and he is not in jail a week later?  And he has refused to speak to investigators?

I wrote the draft of the above before the riots started last night.   Can anyone be surprised?  I am only thankful that they were not much worse.  I don’t know what the city or police have been doing, but there is a thickness in the air that comes off as inaction.  I don’t know why the city refused to act decisively in this matter, they could have headed this off.  I think of Oakland as being fairly progressive, but they sure silenced that view this time.

It might not be so bad if the kids thought this was an aberration, but they don’t.  I was out last night chatting with some young folks in my neighborhood, after/during the riots (but across town)–their sense is that this is the way things are in Oakland, the difference this time is that it was caught on film.  If their had been no cameras present then a gun would have been planted and this like so many other senseless deaths would have been a non-event.

New “Rate My Cop” Website

Every so often an idea so brilliant comes along, then you wonder, why didn’t I think of that.

A new website which gives ratings to cops from around the country.  Called Rate My Cop (currently down, but hopefully not out) has been getting quite a bit of news.

The police evidently hate it…here is some coverage from CBS5…they thrive on anonymity.  Do you think a cop would taser a kid if he knew the world would know?

The site is still new, so it still has a lot of filling out to do, but it is a brilliant concept.  This is the key to maintaining freedom as we enter the surveillance society –we have to hold the powers that be to the same transparency that we are forced into.  If our lives are to be captured on film and in databases, then we must also capture the watchers on film and in databases…much deserved kudos to the owners of the site.

Has My Government Declared War On Me?

CNN.com – Air Force chief: Test weapons on testy U.S. mobs – Sep 12, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

Quite the disturbing report over at CNN.  As the government gets more “non-lethal” force they become quicker to use it.  Look at Mace and Tasers as examples.  Both of these were sold to us as alternatives to shooting people.  But then the police become much much more likely to use it.  Where a drunk used to get wrestled down and hand cuffed they are now Maced and/or Tasered.  Once the government becomes able to subjegate the populace with non-lethal force, freedom becomes but a historical concept.

It is becoming increasingly clear that my government is at war with my freedoms, and thus at war with me.  It is not I that is forcing this onto them.  It seems but a short matter of time before there covert war breaks into the open.