With all of the shit hitting the fan in Ferguson I think it’s a good idea to figure out what one needs to do in order to not get their ass kicked or shot by the police. Fortunately Sunil Dutta, a man who was an officer for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for 17 years, was kind enough to pen an article explaining exactly that:
Sometimes, though, no amount of persuasion or warnings work on a belligerent person; that’s when cops have to use force, and the results can be tragic. We are still learning what transpired between Officer Darren Wilson and Brown, but in most cases it’s less ambiguous — and officers are rarely at fault. When they use force, they are defending their, or the public’s, safety.
Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?
Emphasis mine. Did you get that? If an officer uses force, in a majority of cases, it’s the victim’s fault. You see the victim refused to roll over and be an obedient serf so the officer had no other choice but to beat his ass or shoot him! After all police officers truly love us and sometimes we make them do violent things by failing to properly respond to their love. Admittedly there are a few bad apples out there but for the most part cops only beat you because they love you.
Talk about unapologetic victim blaming. Mr. Dutta’s argument can basically be summed up as “Shut up, slave!” It doesn’t surprise me that a 17 year veteran of the LAPD holds this attitude. Although no statistics exist, as far as I know, documenting the reason for police interactions I believe, based on the way laws are enforced, that a vast majority of encounters involve the officer initiating force. A majority of police activity involves extorting money from the populace. We see this in the form of speeding tickets, parking citations, civil forfeitures, fines for drinking alcohol in public parks, littering, and other nonviolent acts. In each of those instances a police officer is approaching a nonviolent individual and threatening them with force (because all laws are ultimately enforced at the point of a gun). In those cases the person approached by police is the victim and the officer is the aggressor.
There is no reason, other than the threat of violence made by an officer, for anybody to be polite to a another person who approaches solely to make a threat. In fact anybody making threats should expect to get an impolite response. Police officers are fortunate that most Americans are polite to a fault. Even when an officer threatens a person that person will usually say a few harsh words, passively resist being kidnapped, or spit in an officer’s face. While police officers often talk about how dangerous their job is in reality they have it pretty easy in this country. Only once in a great while do they have to make good on their threats. Otherwise people blow off a little steam and pay the demanded extortion money.
But, as Mr. Dutta points out, even if your show the slightest amount of displeasure towards a badge-wearing aggressor you risk being pummeled or murdered. And this is somehow the victim’s fault.