This, I think, should be a crime, and perhaps it is, a civil rights law violation. The police officers who perpetrated this outrage on African-Americans—I really don’t care what the victims did, from petty theft to mass murder, it doesn’t matter–need to be jailed, and for a long, long time. I wish they could be deported. They aren’t Americans. They are viruses.
In Grosse Pointe Park, the ritzy section of Detroit—which sounds like an oxymoron, I know—police forced African-American citizens to sing, dance, and make noises “like a chimp.” Then, like idiots everywhere, these cops posted the videos of this racist cruelty online. They were proud of it, you see.
The racism alone is sufficient cause to fire these villains, but bigotry alone isn’t a crime. Using police power to humiliate another human being, strip him of dignity and attack the essence of his humanity is a crime, whether it happens to fit the specifics of any statute or not. What the Detroit police did was the domestic, racist equivilent to what was done to the Abu Ghraib Muslim prisoners, which Rush Limbaugh, to his permanent shame, called “just fooling around.” Treating another human being as a toy, a prop, and a puppet isn’t fooling around, it is dastardly. Showing such contempt and disrespect for American citizens based on color, creed, or on any basis smacks of a domestic Kristallnacht. When the military or the police do it in our name, it implicates all of us, undermines trust in government, impugns the honor of good and professional police officers and soldiers, and divides communities, races, and civilizations.
It has to be a crime. And every second those officers are allowed to keep their badges disgraces Detroit, Michigan, and the United States of America.
Facts: New York Daily News
18 thoughts on “Racism, Abuse of Power, And Grosse Pointe Abu Graib”
How dare you question the police, or suggest they be held accountable for their actions…
Don’t you know your place, Citizen?
But that is just “fooling around”. Look at what happens when the police aren’t ‘fooling around’. A man was pulled a man over because another officer told him the car ran a stop sign. Because the man looked nervous, they got a search warrant. They took him to a hospital, which refused to perform the requested procedures. They took him to a second hospital in a different county to have multiple X-rays, mulitple digital exams of his anus, three enemas (forcing him to defecate in front of the officers) and finally a colonoscopy. Oh, they sent him the bill for the procedures, too. The warrant wasn’t even valid in that county and had expired before the colonoscopy.
Look on YouTube for examples of officer excesses and flouting of the law. Law enforcement officers should strictly be held to the law. Instead, they are allowed to violate it with impunity (ever see the police speed in town without lights, sirens, and not going to a call?). What about the judges and the prosecutors? There seems to be very little to admire or respect in our law enforcement, prosecutorial, or judicial employees.
One of victims of these videos appears to be mentally ill.
That makes it even worse, in my eyes, at least.
Quite frankly, as a Michigander and occasional visitor to Detroit, I’m much more trusting of the police in Detroit proper than in some of the fancy suburbs (and yes, there are more fancy suburbs than you’d think). The real Detroit cops are busy enough with violence and serious crimes, they don’t have time to mess around with nonsense. A few New Year’s Eves ago, a neighborhood bar got away with a potluck open to the public and we were standing near an outdoor skating rink drinking champagne- There were murders to worry about that night, who cares about food safety fines for regulars at the bar, or well-behaved drunks?
Same with Chicagoland. Some of the most out-of-control cops are in the suburbs, where they a) don’t have a lot of “real” crime, b) if they’ve seen declining revenues in recent years, are pressured to write a lot of tickets to pump up the stats, c) a good number are rookies in their teens or 20s = high testosterone/low judgment or courage to buck lawless orders, and d) by all indications are often trained to fear everybody as a potential domestic terrorist.
Oh yeah, and when you’re the new guy you always have “something to prove.”
The Police are utterly and irreconcilably wrong. Should be run out of the country on a rail after a solid tarring and feathering. Equally sad is a populace so ill-educated in civics while simultaneously being so run down by generation after generation of being force fed submissive and disempowering attitudes that they don’t know they CAN and SHOULD stand up against the powers that be for their own dignity and liberty. Those police would never get away with that if the people KNEW their rights as citizens and KNEW that the very power wielded by the police are DERIVED directly from the CONSENT of the citizens. That creates a solemn relationship that if the people KNEW what was theirs and the police knew what held them in check degradations like this should have been unheard of after the civil rights era.
I should have included, the also equally sad is the complacent bystander portion of the community that is not directly affected by police abuse that watches in quiet complicity because “hey if it’s not my problem, why make it my problem by getting involved?” The cultural divisions running so deeply practically ensure that there is no direct benefit for one group to stand up for one segment of society if it has been isolated for abuse by the powers-that-be or other cultural forces.
“Evil prevails because good men do nothing”
“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
I think you’re confusing power and authority. Granted, lawyers do that deliberately, using “power” as a term of art the way that accountants and economists have their own (different) technical meanings for “profit”, but the power here is just precisely the sort Mao Tse Tung said came out of the muzzle of a gun (and no, he did not say what some revisionists make out, “political” power, or it would have no application to this real world situation here; although, of course, Mao Tse Tung was indulging in his own misdirection by drawing attention away from what the superior person asks, and with which I leave readers: where does the gun come from?).
You’ve engaged in a kind of hasty generalization. Power (in one form) IS as you described it, but it is not the only manifestation. In any political system that has been adopted by a group of people, power ultimately does boil down to who has force and what actions will the people who possess force consent to allow. In Republics, the authorities recognize that their power are derived from the consent of the governed (because the citizens have a share of force – such as is enshrined in the U.S. 2nd Amendment). In other, non-republican systems, such as that of Communist China, that you described, power was collected in a small cadre of communist thugs who could impose their own system because they had a monopoly on force, everyone else had to rely on their consent.
You’ll also note that the Founding Fathers used the exact same language throughout the Constitution, and used the word “Power” much like I did:
Article I, Section 1.
“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”
Article I, Section 2.
“The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”
Article I, Section 3.
“The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”
Article I, Section 8.
“The Congress shall have Power….” followed by a limited list of powers.
“To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
Article I, Section 10
“No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”
Article II, Section 1
“The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”
“In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office…” (amended)
Article II, Section 2
“…he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”
“He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties…”
“The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate…”
Article III, Section 1
“The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court…”
Article III, Section 2
“The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution…”
Article III, Section 3
“The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason…”
Article IV, Section 3
“The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States…”
Preamble to the Bill of Rights
“THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers…”
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The police in this scenario are abusing their power or assuming powers they would not have if the citizens they abused had any sense of civics and their own role in the balance of force in our republic as well as if the police had any respect for the solemn relationship between them and the citizenry. The Founders knew this is the inevitable result of UNCHECKED power… it WILL be abused and it WILL be misused. Power goes unchecked precisely because of what I described: the citizens neither know their rights nor believe themselves empowered to do a damn thing about it.
Most of that comment of yours is simply pointing out that the U.S. Constitution is in lawyerspeak, at any rate in those parts and as read by lawyers (another way of reading it is as directing what broader sense power should be created by those acting according to it, Mao style, with the document merely authorising that direction – which is why the laws should have been written only to set up war powers, i.e. capabilities, when triggered by an official declaration of war, rather than foolishly conferring actual war power without that). I was simply pointing out that what counts, at the point of connection with (say) the police, is their power in the broader sense. It’s not an over-broad or over-hasty generalisation to use the broader sense, since what they can and can’t do doesn’t depend – there and then – on the lawyerspeak version of power; that only comes in in setting them up in the first place, and what counts here is indeed the broader sort of power.
To avoid confusion, it makes sense not to use the lawyerspeak sense; otherwise it’s like the client who called his lawyer, who told him “but they can’t put you in jail for that!”, to which he replied, “but I’m calling from the jail”. Clearly, what counts isn’t what they are authorised to do but what they can do.
What power is – its essence, the thing that makes it what it is – is a sort of verbal noun that is the abstraction of “to be able to”. That clearly shows up in its etymology and in that of its synonyms. That’s only the same as the lawyerspeak version when within the confines of a formal legal structure.
You can keep hanging your hat on that one exclusive manifestation of power as the definition of all power, which as a republic we consider to be an abuse of power.
But repeating yourself doesn’t make it correct.
There is no amount of money that would make me visit Detroit.
Another festering Northern hellhole like Newark.
You’d be surprised. Find a friend who’s local enough to know the history and it’s an incredibly fascinating city, and not as terrible as most people would think. I’d never want to live there, I like being able to park my car with stuff in the backseat and no club on the steering wheel, and walk alone at night. But still, cool city.
Jack — to give some perspective, this neighborhood is the equivalent of McLean, VA. Shocking and awful.
It is WAY past time for cops and ALL civil “servants” and politicians to be held to a higher standard. We give these people a LOT of power and a higher standard comes with that.
Tex, I am familiar with the guy in New Mexico and everyone involved (except the victim) must be imprisoned. Not only did the cops abuse their authority, but the medical staff involved violated THEIR oaths as well. Damn every last one!
They are sworn to uphold the law, and if they won’t adhere to it they deserve no protection under it. Give them all life in prison. If the the system fails then the victim has the right to take matters into their own hands. This shit needs to be brought under control NOW before it gets out of hand. I can’t even imagine the outrage the victims feel over this. Again, this is a LOT worse than your average street crime: These are crimes committed by those sworn to uphold the law.
I think that I would be satisfied if they (the police) were only held to the same standard as any other citizen. After all, that is ALL that they are. Citizens.
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