In every civilization there is a set of laws that govern behavior and a set of rules that make sure we live in an ordered society. So what happens when someone whose responsibility is to govern that law makes an error and falls through the cracks of a legal system designed to punish all with equal and fair justice?
What happens when we don’t see justice or justice is delayed? Even when there’s an overwhelming amount of evidence and testimony? Justice is not perfect nor can we even begin to see how to fix it. There are just too many variables and society accelerates at a speed where we struggle to keep up.
In August of 2014, Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed “alleged criminal” Michael Brown. Now what actually happened is incredibly subjective to the readers’ point of view. A grand jury found Darren Wilson not culpable, so he does not have to face a trial of his peers. Again, whether or not he should have been indicted is the readers’ opinion.
In this writer’s opinion, every aspect of what happened should be reexamined. We should also examine police misconduct and how often police officers do not face discipline. Much of the Ferguson unrest lies in the fact that a white cop shot a black kid, but a point often overlooked is that police brutality and misconduct knows no race or gender.
In this article I’ll look 4 different cases of death and severe misconduct by police officers
An example in need of reexamination is the case of Kelly Thomas, beaten to death by Fullerton police officers. Video footage showed police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli beating Kelly as he begged for mercy. Defense attorneys contest that the victim was a violent and dangerous person. They stated that the victim had defied a lawful order and fled police officers who were making an arrest. When all the facts of the case had been presented, the ruling came in favor of Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli.
Does this give “Carte Blanche for police officers to do whatever they want” as suggested by Thomas’s father?  What does this mean for those in law enforcement who may have committed a crime? Should it be used as further proof that the criminal justice system needs to be changed? Should we hold people whose sworn duty is to uphold the law to higher standards?
Another example of police brutality which resulted in a death occurred at the University of South Alabama. In October 2012 ,Campus Police Officer Trevis Austin shot and killed a young man by the name of Gilbert Collar. Officer Trevis had all the standard police equipment — which included stun gun, mace, and baton — instead chose to shoot at Collar who was high on LSD . Despite all the evidence, including surveillance cameras, he was not indicted and was found to have used proper force. 
This is what happens even with direct video evidence, and public pressure. What happens when a police officer is failed to have met the required standards for a criminal arrest?
Another example is Seattle Detective Shandy Cobane. In April of 2010 he stomped on a suspects leg and declared he “was going to beat the fucking Mexican piss out of him.” 
While videotaped evidence was found showing Cobane guilty of at least aggravated assault and/or hate crimes he was not charged,  instead he was suspended thirty days without pay, demoted and reassigned a desk job. They took action only after a public outcry occurred with release of the video .
So what does this mean as a police officer? Does this mean that, if and only if somebody gives a damn, you’ll get a slap on the wrist? Does it mean if you get caught you’ll only be shifted and moved around to make sure you don’t embarrass anyone else?
In another shocking example of police misconduct, in September 2012 Philadelphia Police Officer Jonathon Josey was filmed punching Aida Guzman after Guzman allegedly threw a beer bottle at police. Guzman’s charges were later dropped.
Officer Josey was charged with misdemeanor assault and was faced with losing his job . However, Officer Josey did not get prosecuted on charges thanks to a judge who — much to the chagrin of those seeking justice — was later found to be married to a police officer . Further, Officer Josey was rehired by the very same police force that fired him and even given full benefits and back pay .
How can we find justice in a justice system that’s entwined with the police department? Will the system always look the other way for police officers?
And in the recent case of Mike Brown and Darren Wilson, it is clear that there are several anomalies not only in what happened in that night in question, but in the way the whole investigation was handled and how the prosecution ran its case.
So what do we do with a Justice system that seems to favor police officers? How can we protect ourselves from the very people we have trusted to uphold the laws that we ourselves make to protect us?
Lately the most popular method of police accountability is the advance of the cell phone camera or personal recording device. Perhaps the question isn’t why haven’t we heard of the incidents before now, but why so there are so very many. Law enforcement seem to have forgotten that we as a people deserve to know the motivations and reasoning behind law enforcement’s actions.
We should ask ourselves, “Who Watches The Watchers?”
Content posted to MyMPN open blogs is the opinion of the author alone, and should not be attributed to MintPress News.Print This Post