Super Glue for Broken Justice

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I haven’t a clue what percentage of our police officers nationwide are solid citizens whose intent matches what is written on the sides of their cruisers: “To Serve and Protect.” My guess is that the number is very high. For simplicity, let’s call them good cops.

There are other cops who are racist, hateful bullies. I don’t know how many of those we have, but they have a big footprint in poor and minority neighborhoods and they do a lot of harm relative to their numbers. Let’s call them bad cops.

Cops are free to think and feel whatever they want, just like the rest of us, and if some have a bad attitude toward those they are supposed to protect, they get to have that and, really, we can’t legislate away racism or hatred anyway. On the other hand, we can legislate behavior. The trick is to do it so that we actually affect behavior so that cops are fair to all. Sadly, that just isn’t happening now.

Cops – even the bad ones – are necessary partners with prosecutors because they depend upon one another for prosecutions of accused perps. One implication of that dependance is that the prosecutors don’t want to get on the wrong side of the cops, not even the bad ones, because they need the cops’ cooperation in future cases. That just might lead to lax prosecution of cops accused of wrongdoing. Indeed, do you suppose that had something to do with the wimpy prosecutions presented to the grand juries in the Michael Brown and the Eric Garner cases?

If we’re to stop bad cops from harming our people, if we are to limit their behavior to what is acceptable, we must ensure that they are held accountable for their wrongdoing just as you and I would be. For that to happen, prosecutors need to be free to fire their big guns at bad cops. And for that to happen, we must remove cases against cops from the local prosecutors who depend upon those cops. How we go about that is a worthy dialogue. At the end of that discussion, though, we have to arrive at a system where prosecutions aren’t tainted by conflict of interest and cops receive the same justice all the rest of us should receive.

Once the bad cop perps are locked up they can hate as much as they like. They can hold their racist attitudes and want to bully others, although once in prison outcomes of bullying may vary from confrontations with unarmed kids. The good news is that then the rest of us will be free from their hate and their bullying.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue. Please help by offering your comments, as well as by passing this along and encouraging others to subscribe and do the same.  Thanks.  JA

Copyright 2017 by Jack Altschuler
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2 Responses to Super Glue for Broken Justice
  1. dominick Reply

    “At the end of that discussion, though, we have to arrive at a system where prosecutions aren’t tainted by conflict of interest and cops receive the same justice all the rest of us should receive.”

    To address this issue, all we have to do is make the taking of life a federally investigated incident when done by a government official, as all government officials must be accountable to our US Constitution and the fundamental rights it provides to citizens. Local investigations not only involve a conflict of interest between police forces and prosecutors, but also provide a platform for the political aspirations of prosecutors. Attorneys general appointed or elected by our corporate controlled political parties are motivated to demonstrate their biases in local communities. As long as we allow our political parties to control the hiring of people like prosecutors, let alone treasurers and other positions that should only depend upon competency, we will have this problem.

  2. Jim Altschuler Reply

    The solution seems to be relatively simple:
    Police officers that are suspected of crimes – whether violent like a shooting of an unarmed teenager or stealing money or property whether from police property rooms or from homes or businesses or any other crime under existing city, state or Federal statutes – need to be tried in another county or another state than the one in which they work or in which the crime took place.

    Of necessity the prosecution in such circumstances would be performed by attorneys from the jurisdiction in which the trial is held, and the “conflict” of a prosecutor working on a case against a local law enforcement agency/officer would be eliminated.

    I would recommend that there be both state and Federal regulations covering such circumstances to ensure that the authority exists regardless of the nature and/or location of the crime.

    Now all that has to be done is to convince 50 states and the Federal legislature to pass such laws.