Today, as I was doing my morning pass through the 80 some publications I check each day, I came across five stories of police thuggery that just stopped me in my tracks. Then, when I went through my morning emails I discovered readers had sent me four more stories, none were duplicates, nine in all. I have been thinking about those nine stories all day, and have decided to dedicate today’s issue to this trend.
What I have been thinking about is this: What is it about American society that police thuggery has become such a major deal? There is nowhere else in the developed nations of the world where you see this kind of behavior. Are American police stupider, more callous, less competent than police in the law enforcement agencies of other nation? This sort of behavior has to start at the top, and be condoned, or it would not be happening. I was once told by the Deputy Chief of Police of the LAPD, that 15% of police are thugs and bullies. Another 15% are heroes, everything a community could ask their police to be. The other 70% go with the flow, if they are with bullies they bully, if they are with a hero, they become heroic. That may be true but we are seeing a level of thuggery in America that should not exist, that we as citizens should not tolerate. That the police themselves should not tolerate.
I want to be clear: Communities need police, policing is demanding work, and officers frequently meet with people behaving very badly. Everyone should recognize that. The point I am making is that other developed democracies have police but they do not have the problems that plague the U.S. What is the difference, and why can’t America seem to do as well as other countries?