I believe one of the biggest problems with modern policing, besides the job description, is the almost complete lack of accountability. We see this whenever an officer is accused of using unnecessary force and receives a paid vacation. But some of the ways cops are unaccountable go unnoticed. For example, if police officers negligently shoot a bystander in response to a 911 call the perpetrator can be charged with the shootings:
An unarmed, emotionally disturbed man shot at by the police as he was lurching around traffic near Times Square in September has been charged with assault, on the theory that he was responsible for bullet wounds suffered by two bystanders, according to an indictment unsealed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday.
The theory goes that the perpetrator was responsible because he caused the situation. It’s a bullshit excuse. Consider a slightly different situation. Let’s say you’re at home one night and somebody breaks in your back door. The man is armed so you grab a rifle and fire at him. Now let’s assume the worst and say that one of your rounds exits your house and hits one of your neighbors. In all likelihood you’ll face a civil lawsuit for negligently hitting your neighbor. Even if you’re legally in the right you will still face the expenses involve of merely being accused of wrongdoing.
Cops, as the state’s enforcers, are imbued with special privileges. They can break the law in pursuit of enforcing the state’s decrees. These special privileges mean police officers are unaccountable. Even when they do something illegal they generally have department lawyers that are paid with tax money to deal with the legal aftermath. Without accountability it’s easy to see how modern policing has become little more than thuggery with a state issued costume.