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Police brutality a white man's perspective

The media seems to be on a rampage with stories about police brutality this holiday season and it's a topic of conversation at work and other places.

My point of view as an older white man is that police in big cities are not only out of touch with the community but generally have a we-they relationship with the public.

I work in one of these big cities and I see regularly the disdain the police have for the public in general. I can not comment what it would be like to be a black American having confrontations with police but I can tell you that as a white man my interactions with the police have been horrible. The police in my city frequently verbally abuse anyone they come in contact with, here is an example:

I was trying to make a turn in a construction area to enter a business and the police officer posted there was observing traffic and not directing traffic. When I tried to make a left turn he halted traffic and slowly walked over to me and asked if I was retarded. I said no I was just trying to make a turn. He replied that any idiot would go around the block and come back the other direction.

Well I really think that I deserve more civil treatment from the cops in my city where I pay over 12k per year in property tax.

For those who are curious I did file a formal complaint against the officer and received a written letter of apology but the original action shows that police need a major retraining in my opinion.

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Feisty56 wrote on December 5, 2014, 11:30 AM

The more we allow our public servants to be militarized in dress, weaponry and demeanor, the more we can expect to see this disconnect between the citizenry and the police. Sorry, but a letter of apology doesn't cut it in your case and certainly not in the far too many deaths of unarmed citizens.

FourWalls wrote on December 5, 2014, 11:37 AM

I would recommend that you (heck, everyone) read up on the Stanford Prison Experiment. This was conducted in a week in 1971 by psychologists to study the effects of imprisonment. Students volunteered for the project and were arbitrarily assigned to play the roles of either guards or prisoners. The students who were guards quickly became authoritarian, dictatorial, and even brutal, to the point where the experiment had to be terminated. Apparently the position goes to some people's heads, in a very bad way.

There are countless good cops in the system, but it's those "bad eggs" who are personifying the old saying, "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" and giving all of them a bad name. Sadly, this isn't new: read "Serpico."

Scorpie wrote on December 5, 2014, 11:38 AM

Very good points, they act as if public policing was a war zone.

sward wrote on December 5, 2014, 1:33 PM

After living 20+ years in one of the FBI's most dangerous cities I may have a little different perspective of police. The few interactions I've had haven't been bad at all. For the most part, they were surprisingly calm and simple. Unfortunately I their are bad cop just as there are bad plumbers. Unfortunately when the bad cops are recognized it's normally after something tragic has occurred. It does seem the We & They mentality is much more prevalent today.

LoudMan wrote on December 5, 2014, 3:27 PM

Sanitation workers have more dangerous job - and they don't shoot family pets out of being "in fear for their lives." I'm confused why we call them "heroes" but they whip their gun out in pure fear so readily.

Ellis wrote on December 5, 2014, 5:31 PM

I suggest you protect yourself with something that will stand up in court....dashcam or a number of other small cameras that are out there...

AliCanary wrote on December 5, 2014, 5:32 PM

That cop was WAY out of line, and I'm glad you complained.

AliCanary wrote on December 5, 2014, 5:35 PM

I read about that, and it's very relevant here, as you say. It's as bad as Milgram's experiment, in which people inflicted severe pain (or so they thought) on others when they believed they were authorized to do so.

BNelson wrote on December 5, 2014, 6:38 PM

Police in the USA are highly paranoid, they are hated so its a cycle.

bestwriter wrote on December 5, 2014, 6:40 PM

Police power over public puts people off. Glad you got the well deserved apology.

Scorpie wrote on December 5, 2014, 10:26 PM

It's easy to imagine them heroes for the difficult job they do until one poops on your head.

celticeagle wrote on December 5, 2014, 11:18 PM

That is one thing that I heard mentioned on the program I was watching on this subject. Training in a lot city needed to be done. I have heard some horrible stories over the last few days about police in our country. I have personally come into a few police officers here where I live that really seem to have an attitude. But, I have also come into contact with some very savvy and good policeman/policewomen as well. I hope we see this training actually happen because I think it is very obviously needed badly.

LoudMan wrote on December 6, 2014, 9:20 AM

They made a movie about it called "The Experiment." The original story was more horrifying, though.

LoudMan wrote on December 6, 2014, 9:24 AM

What's sad is, I've had several good encounters with the police. When one does something messed up though, the others are beyond merely silent about it. They circle the wagons for anyone who tries filing a complaint properly.

They're making peaceful disagreement impossible.

BarbRad wrote on December 8, 2014, 1:58 AM

I remember growing up in an era when we considered police officers our friends. But I also grew up when you didn't hear of rioting and looting and the rate of crime we have today.

AlexisYuliani wrote on December 25, 2014, 7:33 AM

i read many post on facebook about ferguson n police brutality in US

iRun wrote on January 2, 2015, 11:25 PM

I agree, and I think the problem starts with the type of people who apply for these jobs. Police are considered civil service, and they are supposed to hold their position as a way to protect and serve their community. To me this means they exist to prevent mistreatment of people by others, so if THEY are the ones with an attitude, creating or adding to a lousy situation, THEY are in the wrong. The more time goes on, the worse customer service seems to become overall, people are doing the bare minimum they can in jobs or they are not providing service at all by refusing to help people or fulfill basic job duties. I believe there should be a three strikes sort of rule where when someone is caught behaving this way, they are watched, and if they repeat it they are warned, and if they continue, they are fired.

iRun wrote on January 2, 2015, 11:28 PM

Power DOES corrupt, but people who are not inherently power abusers don't go that direction as readily as someone who is. I've looked at some situations from outside of them and looked at some of the choices people have made, and honestly the things some people choose to do that might be cruel, rude, or hurt lots of people are things that would never even occur to me. The fact that some people I actually KNOW would make those decisions kind of makes me wonder about their state of mind.

Brenda wrote on January 4, 2015, 3:27 PM

As you should object we as tax paying citizens are paying their wages. And we deserve respect too. As well as giving it. This officer gives the good ones a bad name that is for sure.

Secre wrote on January 12, 2015, 11:24 AM

I would agree but in the spirit of playing devil's advocate, they do have a very difficult job and probably see one heck of a lot of idiots or violence towards them. I guess it would get very wearing after a while...

JohnRoberts wrote on January 19, 2015, 3:11 PM

I view the police as a necessary evil. On one hand, they are needed to keep total chaos from happening and they do prevent crime and catch criminals who are a threat to society. But, I don't like nor trust them. They views us all as potential criminals and the government uses them to write tickets for revenue and they generally have an arrogant attitude strutting with authority in their uniforms and relishing the intimidation they can wield on us common folk.

JohnRoberts wrote on January 19, 2015, 3:13 PM

To be fair, they have to dress in a manner as to be recognizable. If they all dressed in plain clothes and drove regulars cars, how can we keep our guard up and be wary when spotting one.

JohnRoberts wrote on January 19, 2015, 3:14 PM

Very nicely put. If you read Joseph Wambaugh himself a former cop, he explains the uniform attracts a certain type desiring authority and power over others.

Feisty56 wrote on January 19, 2015, 6:40 PM

A traditional civic police uniform should be adequate to identify officers to the public. Jack boots and shields and more -- the type of thing military personnel wear -- is not necessary.

JohnRoberts wrote on January 20, 2015, 8:46 AM

There is a purpose to their shields. Badge numbers are good for us to see and remember to make a complaint.

Karonher wrote on January 24, 2015, 2:18 PM

I think it is the same in all cities. The police feel they can speak to people how they choose. We do have problems in the UK with police but the reports from the USA regarding the deaths of a number of black Americans - often youths - is worrying, especially when considering the are calls to arm all British police.

JohnRoberts wrote on January 30, 2015, 11:01 AM

I like your use of the word "disdain." How appropriate. That's says it all about the people we pay to protect us.