Recently, a police officer has engaged me in a debate about whether police are justified in using Tasers on individuals who nonviolently refuse to cooperate. I think we all agree that anyone who attacks a police officer deserves the asskicking that follows (most of the time); however, the issue is murkier where the “perpetrator” gives no threat or indication of violence, but simply refuses to comply. The aforementioned police officer argued that police are totally justified in use of force were civilians are noncompliant; I disagree.
It seems a major assumption underlying this argument is whether or not John Q. Public should trust the police by default. A major tenant of the justice systems in western countries seems to be that the police are trustworthy. This is bullshit. Here are 5 good reasons civilians should not be expected to trust the police.
2. Legalized Entrapment. In New York, police leave purses with credit cards in them lying around and cart off to jail whoever picks them up whether or not he or she intended to return the purse intact.
3. “No-knock” warrants. Man hears someone break into his house. Man gets 18-month-old daughter down on the ground, hides behind bed. Man sees armed assailant break into bedroom, shoots and kills him in self defense. Assailant was actually officer who didn’t bother yelling “police!” upon busting in. Man is now on death row.
4. Extraordinary rendition. If the US government suspects that you might have information that could lead them to someone who might be a terrorist, they can kidnap you out of an airport, deport you to a secret location in another country and torture a false confession out of you. This is not a conspiracy theory: Washington has officially apologized to a Canadian citizen treated in this manner. Hello thought police.
5. Legal ignorance. Whether or not you support open carry laws, if the law says that you can walk around carrying a gun, the police should know that and not hassle you. In many places, you are not even required to give police identification but try telling an officer that.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any good cops. All I’m saying is, at the group level, assuming that everyone should trust the police and always cooperate doesn’t make sense in the face of historical and current events. Why should I trust a group of people known for violating individual rights, not knowing the laws they’re supposed to uphold and inciting unnecessary violence?
Related Articles: 5 MORE Reasons Not To Trust the Police