Monday, 30 May 2011

Keep us safe!

Two former New York cops were acquitted of rape last week in yet another highlight of the culture of impunity that surrounds the men in blue. [photo: NY Daily News]

Ironically, the two would never have been indicted at all had it not been for the ubiquitous security cameras taping our every movement. The street cameras caught the men returning to the apartment of a woman whom they had been called upon to assist because she was dangerously drunk.

Prosecutors charged that they assisted themselves right into her bedroom and raped her. They were seen returning to her flat three times that night for no apparent reason and were later caught falsifying their records and arranging a phony 911 call to cover it up.

One cop even admitted he crawled into her bad to ‘console’ her. However, the jury hesitated at the lack of DNA evidence and the woman’s faulty recollections and declared them ‘not guilty’.

That is not the same as declaring them ‘innocent’. The whole thing smelled so completely fishy that anyone not a cop would be looking at 25 years. The two were found guilty only of ‘misconduct’ and fired--I guess the city was not eager for them to respond to future damsel-in-distress calls.

But we shouldn’t be surprised at the abuse of the powers that, as a society, we continue to pile onto the security forces that multiply around us. Who dares to suggest that the feds should not snoop into our mails and our library records, that the accused should be put on trial instead of held indefinitely on suspicion? The renewal of the ‘Patriot’ Act (at which Orwell would smile) sailed through Congress last week with hardly a peep of protest over the systematic dismantling of our civil protections. Give the police more power and shut up, seems to be our guiding philosophy.

Cops and their friends have long been permitted to operate outside certain laws as long as they didn’t overdo it. We’re just now getting a glimpse into the huge ticket-fixing industry in New York that defense lawyers already are defending as ‘normal professional courtesies’. That means, if you have the right friends, of course you should be excused from law-breaking. Fahgettaboutit. The scandal only broke open because cops went too far and caused some DUI citations to disappear, upon which the drunken cop-friendly drivers promptly went out and did it again.

Non-white people, however, usually do not have such friends and therefore are subject to the short end of the security stick. They are the ones who will not be surprised or particularly concerned if the U.S. becomes an overt police state because things won’t feel all that different to them.

On the other hand, for those used to more privilege, seeing that guys in uniform can do pretty much anything to you is going to be increasingly startling. The accuser in the rape case (not named in news accounts) was a fashion executive of some sort—if you can snuggle in bed uninvited with someone like that and get off, why worry?

[cartoon: Truthdig]


S2 said...

Did you see the videos of the police body-slamming dancers who were quietly doing their thing at the Jefferson Memorial to protest a new law outlawing dancing there? WTF??? Who cares? Certainly not TJ!

Gary said...

You try to make a point that the police officers in this case were declared "not guilty", and that this was a very different thing from them being declared "innocent". Are you unaware that no jury will ever declare someone innocent? "Innocent" is the default state, as in "innocent until proven guilty", remember?