Whenever I point out that laws are violence and that law enforcers will escalate even minor transgressions against the law to lethal force, some statist will rebut by asking, “When’s the last time somebody was killed over a traffic ticket?” The answer to that is, just a few months ago:
Locked away in the Mineral County Jail for failing to take care of her traffic tickets, 27-year-old Kelly Coltrain asked to go to the hospital. Instead, as her condition worsened, she was handed a mop and told to clean up her own vomit. She died in her jail cell less than an hour later.
Despite being in a video-monitored cell, Mineral County Sheriff’s deputies did not recognize that Coltrain had suffered an apparent seizure and had not moved for more than six hours. When a deputy finally entered her cell and couldn’t wake her, he did not call for medical assistance or attempt to resuscitate her. Coltrain lay dead in her cell until the next morning when state officials arrived to investigate.
Are the officers who, probably literally, watched her die in their cage facing punishment? You probably already know the answer to that question:
The investigators also asked the Mineral County District Attorney to consider criminal charges in the case, after finding evidence the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office may have violated state laws prohibiting inhumane treatment of prisoners and using one’s official authority for oppression.
To avoid a conflict of interest, the investigation was forwarded to Lyon County District Attorney Stephen Rye for review. Rye declined to press charges in the case.
“The review of the case, in our opinion, did not establish any willful or malicious acts by jail staff that would justify the filing of charges under the requirements of the statute,” Rye said.
I guess locking somebody in a cage, refusing them medical care when it was obvious there was something seriously wrong, handing them a mop after they suffered a seizure and telling them to clean up the mess, and failing to even attempt to resuscitate them when they ceased responding to stimuli isn’t “willful of malicious” behavior… at least when you wear a badge.
Although I heap a lot of deserved criticism on law enforcers, they aren’t the only bad actors in the State. Part of the reason there are so many bad law enforcers is because those tasked with overseeing them fail to hold the bad actors responsible. Prosecutors, for example, regularly refuse to bring charges against law enforcers even when handed a mountain of evidence indicating that they did something heinous. If by some miracle a bad law enforcer is taken to court and found guilty of a crime, judges will often hand out a lenient sentences in “recognition of their years of service to the community.” This creates an environment that is a magnet for bad actors. A person with violent urges looks at a situation like this and realizes that they can get away with acting on their urges if they become a cop.
So long as the entire system refuses to punish law enforcers who act in bad faith, the profession will continue to attract the lowest humanity has to offer.