Tag Archives: Police

You’re either with us or against us?

With the deaths of the two police officers in New York recently, it is becoming more apparent to me that police organisations see themselves fighting a war against the American people. This is not the way it should be.

I was disgusted by tweet from the Sergeants Benevolent Association of New York in the wake of the murders in Brooklyn.

It’s very sad that two police officers have gone to work and not come home at the end of the day. But the blood for this murder is on the perpetrator and no one else. Trying to win a public relations war by taking advantage of a tragedy is pretty low. Inexcusable, even.

Killing police officers (or anyone for that matter) is not ever acceptable behaviour. Criticising the behaviour of police is acceptable and should be encouraged in a vibrant democracy, where that criticism is valid.

The Sergeants Benevolent Association appears to be condemning any criticism of the police. This is especially inappropriate in a country like the United States where free speech is such an important part of life there.

The sad events in Ferguson, Missouri

I grew up in New Zealand and have spent a bit of time living in England. In both of those countries, the police on the streets are usually unarmed. From that perspective, what has happened in Ferguson, Missouri is difficult to comprehend.

In case you have missed the story, a local teenager of the small town was walking down the middle of a quiet street. A passing police officer stopped and spoke to the young man. At the end of this interaction, the young man had been shot and killed by the police officer.

As frequently happened with these sorts of events, the young man is black and the police officer is white. It is being portrayed as a racial issue. The recollection of events as told by the police officer differs markedly from the story told by a friend of the slain youth.

Whether the events that occurred were a result of racial bias is currently being debated and will likely end in a pointless inquiry or an equally pointless show-trial where the officer is acquitted.

As I see it, there are two different things happening here. Firstly, a young man was killed by a police officer. This happens tragically often in the United States.

Thanks to the second amendment, both police and criminals are heavily armed. As a result, deaths of police, criminals and innocent bystanders all happen way too often. Any interaction with police can end in tragic consequences.

Secondly, when it is a white officer and black victim, the first assumption is that the killing was racially motivated. It may be too soon to answer that but since the local community are rioting because of this, it looks like trust in the police was already low. In a community where 67% of the population is black and 94% of the police force is white there is likely to be tension.

It’s sad to see that the response by the local authorities is more heavy-handed policing.

What amazes me is that these events keep on happening. They had been happening long before the Rodney King beating in 1991, they are still happening now and they will probably keep happening for years to come.

Nothing appears to have changed.