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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-14-07 06:43 PM
Original message
Why People Hate Cops /
May 28th, 2007
Why People Hate Cops
Insurgent American is happy to publish Derrick Jensens latest reflection on the relationship between the people who work for the state: those of us who support it with obedience and taxes, and those who are employed by the state to exercise its legal monopoly on violence.

Why people hate cops

an essay by Derrick Jensen

Im scared to write this essay, scared to have it published, scared it will be read by police officers or customs agents, scared that the next time Im stopped for some traffic violation or the next time I try to cross a border, some police officer or customs agent will remember this article, and will make me pay for having written it.

I know what at least some police do to those they dont like. I know what at least some police do to those who question their authority. I know what at least some police do with the power they have over our lives. This is what makes me afraid.


Pretend you see a cop. Pretend youre doing nothing illegal. Pretend you dont need police protection. Youre minding your own business, and BAM, you see a cop. What do you feel? Right then. In your gut. On a scale from minus five (fear or loathing) to zero (nothing) to plus five (warmth, comfort, safety).

For more than a decade Ive asked hundreds or even thousands of people this question, and the long-term average is about minus three. The only profession I know that consistently rates worse is parking patrol, at a near unanimous minus five. Politicians and CEOs rate about the same as police. In the cases of politicians, CEOS, and parking patrol, the hostility is almost entirely loathing, and not much fear. In the case of police, its both loathing and fear, in roughly equal measures.

This average doesnt come about merely because my friends are anti-authoritarian. Ive asked people of all ages, all economic classes, all political and religious beliefs. Even many of the police Ive asked dont have good feelings when they see police they dont know. Nearly all of the police Ive talked to feel the same about FBI agents as normal people do about police officers.

In other words, this abysmal public perception of police officers doesnt come from a skewed sample. And if the people Ive asked in any way resemble a cross-section of people in the United States and Canada, this means a good portion of the people in these two countries viscerally hate and/or fear the police.

Why is that? What are the personal and social implications?

Cop shows, politicians, corporate media, and many cops tell us more or less incessantly that the police are heroes here to protect us. We hear also that hatred or fear of police is misplaced, and that police are an easy target onto whom otherwise powerless people too often blame their misery. I just got a very intelligent email from a cop commenting on a sentence from my book Endgame. The sentence was A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper. He wrote, I agree for the most part. Yes, police are protecting the status quo, but they also protect poor people from gangs, thugs, and sociopaths who prey on people in lower socio-economic situations.

I responded, I dont disagree with you. I think most of what individual policemen and policewomen do is exactly what youre saying. Thats a hugely important function. And if that was all that police did I dont think wed be having this conversation.

I continued, I used to teach creative writing at Pelican Bay, which is a supermax. Some of my students were, I really think, okay guys who never caught a break. Some of them were okay guys who would be great neighbors if you kept them off drugs. But some of them, honestly, were sociopaths who need to be removed from society to protect others (I believe, as I say in The Culture of Make Believe, that there are things people can do that cause them to be removed from societywhether that removal is through segregating or killing thembut its also clear to me that the current system of so-called justice is deeply racist and classist: a not-very funny joke I tell in that book consists of two riddles: Q: What do you get when you combine a long drug habit, a quick temper, and a gun? A: Two life terms for murder, earliest release date 2026. Now, Q: What do you get when you combine a large corporation, two nation states, 40 tons of poison, and at least 10,000 dead human beings? A: Retirement with full pay and benefits (Warren Anderson, CEO of Union Carbide, culpable for Bhopal)). In no way do I romanticize lawbreakers. Just as in other categories of people, some are good, some are mediocre, and some are scum. And to the degree that police or anyone else protect me or those I love from sociopaths, Im grateful.

But police also break strikes and protect politicians, CEOs, and WTO representatives who sell out the people (and who, even from a straight-up, patriotic, /
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BushOut06 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-14-07 06:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. Very well written, glad to K&R
I think most cops are normal people like you or I, who want to make society safe. Heck, I venture to guess there are members of DU that are police officers. But it's the rogue cop - the ones who are racist, homophobic, misogynist, etc - that give the entire profession such a bad image. It's the ones who abuse their authority, who think their badge gives them a license to harass and intimidate others that causes so much mistrust. You have no way of knowing whether the cop that's walking down the street or cruising through your neighborhood is one of the "good guys" or "bad guys".
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-14-07 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanx. I thought it was pretty funny!
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-22-07 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. What makes you think that those are the rogue cops?
I think the good cops are often the rogues. They're going against the ingrained culture of their profession, which has become much more paramilitary and hostile to civilians over the years.
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Clovis Sangrail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-14-07 08:02 PM
Response to Original message
3. interesting article
I tend to agree with the final conclusion that, overall, many people hate the police because "they hated us first".

While I know some cops are "good", the ones I tend to remember are the ones that have bullied and intimidated... which gives me that anger in my gut everytime I see one.
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GrumpyGreg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-14-07 08:47 PM
Response to Original message
4. I don't hate cops.
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emilyg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-14-07 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I don't either.
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-20-07 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. Do you fear cops? Because if you don't, you're naive.

I could tell you several stories of police officers mistreating people I know, intimidating them, including threats to beat people up for asking for police help and drawing a weapon on someone who had done nothing illegal.

I"ve had cops as friends and they had some stories to tell about bad cops, too.

Too many police officers are mad dogs and should be avoided if we wish to be safe.
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deadlikeme13 Donating Member (44 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-17-08 02:37 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. LIke getting your face ground into the dirt for doing 45 in a 35 MPH zone?
Thats what a CA sheriff's deputy did to a co-worker of mine,
and no, he was not DUI and this was at night with little
traffic going home from work.

Needless to say he gives the police a wide berth these days.

So do I !
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-19-07 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
6. "because they hate us first."
That is a brilliant essay, and it's very true.

I know very few people who haven't been harassed, insulted, belittled, or intimidated by cops simply because the cops could get away with it. I have known several police officers who were bullies, plain and simple.

Almost anyone who is a minority in any way probably has reason to fear and hate cops, because they hate us first.
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deadlikeme13 Donating Member (44 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-17-08 08:17 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. The "criminal justice system" is broken and police are part of the problem..
We have more laws passed each year here in California, that allow these police to use the new "law" as "probable cause" to make a vehicle stop.

For instance, on July 1 2008 it will be an infraction to use a cellphone in a moving vehicle making just one more reason for the police to violate your rights once more. 20 USD, then 50 USD after that.

I myself was ticketed by a cop for running a red light, when it was plainly obvious to me and the cop that the traffic light was malfunctioning and never gave me a yellow signal, going straight to red.

Did he tear up the ticket when I pointed that out to him? Nope, he still showed up at traffic court and I spent lots of money paying for the ticket and extra insurance for years after that false incident .

They are there to empty your pocketbooks and maybe your own liberty, plain and simple.

Follow the money, people. The police are not there to keep you safe and sound these days.
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Okiegal123 Donating Member (35 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-19-07 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
7. Why People Hate Cops
Edited on Tue Jun-19-07 02:09 PM by Okiegal123
As I read your statement.. I could do nothing more than agree with you... I come from a family who are police officers some are the best down to earth good all around cops others well you said what needed to be said....

Until recently, I never feared police officers until after an incident in Oklahoma wherein at this moment the effects are still present..... I share with you this article that was published in the local newspaper..........

Article published May 10, 2007
Poland woman will fight perjury charges in Okla.
By Jodi Belgard
(318) 487-6344
LaTisha White is familiar with sheriff's deputies.
The 32-year-old Poland resident and paralegal sees them every day.

But Wednesday, the Rapides Parish Sheriff's deputy that entered her office wasn't there for routine paperwork.

He was there for her.

Listed as felon
White is registered on the FBI's National Crime Information Center's database as a wanted felon on perjury charges for an incident that occurred in Carter County, Okla., in September 2006. This information is sent to all law enforcement agents. It also triggers a red flag when the listed person's driver's license or state identification card is run.
That means a routine traffic stop could land White in jail awaiting extradition to Oklahoma, where the maximum sentence for felony perjury is five years in a state penitentiary.

Rapides Parish District Attorney James "Jam" Downs said the deputy used "good sense" and did not arrest White.

Nature of charges
"You always have to look at the nature of the charges -- how high is your alert?," Down said.
The felony perjury charges were brought against White after she filed a complaint to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol regarding trooper Rocky Northcutt after a routine traffic stop.

Northcutt is a 1998 recipient of the State of Oklahoma Trooper of the Year award. He also earned a heroism award for a 1997 incident that left him wounded and one man dead.

White said Northcutt, after running her off the road in pursuit of her sister Stormy Knight's vehicle, used foul language, including "the F word," in front of her mother and two daughters who were 10 and 13 at the time.

"I called and spoke to his (Northcutt's) supervisor, and he told me to fill out a form, have it notarized, and sent it back. I did exactly what they told me to do," White said, adding that she didn't think the issue would be pressed any further.

But Carter County District Attorney Craig Ladd charged White after reviewing Northcutt's patrol tape.

Ladd admits White is "probably the only" individual to be prosecuted for felony perjury after making a civil complaint.

But, based on the tape, Ladd felt he had no other option.

'Crystal clear'
"It was crystal clear," Ladd said. "We realized what she claimed happened did not happen."
White's attorney, Miles Johnson, also reviewed the tape.

"They sent me two tapes, which were obviously redacted," Johnson said.

Ladd did not comment on the length of the tapes.

Ladd initially offered White a deferred prosecution agreement, which carried the penalty of a $520 fine, 100 hours of community service and a letter of apology to Northcutt -- an agreement Johnson said Ladd made sound like a "favor."

Johnson believes Ladd abused his discretion with his decision to prosecute White.

"The law's right, but the way he's applying it is wrong," Johnson said. "This is absolutely absurd and so far out of the ethical bounds it's ridiculous. (White) is a mother of two who works hard -- with no prior convictions."

And White continues to stand by her statement.

"I will forever believe that this man said this in front of myself, my children and my mother," White said. "The truth is the truth, and you're not supposed to be scared to tell the truth."


In all my life, I strived to be considered a good well respected citizen... I came from a not so healthy childhood but I bounced into society with a determination to succeed in the game we call life, now I fear that all my accomplishments are being torn from me and my pride stripped from me all because I felt the necessity to call an officer's superior officer and report his foul language that was used in front of my children, my mother and myself. I now face the fight of my life... I never thought I would be fighting for my freedom to stay out of prison in which I face 5 years for felony perjury.... all because the words were not caught on the officer's police unit tape.... it matters not that I have witnesses.... it only boils down to the fact the officer in question is considered a local hero and that is all that matters.

I have had some ask why didn't I take the deferred sentence and I reply why should I be punished for following my sister when her tail lights of her horse trailer where out when the officer pulled up next to my vehicle and took a nose dive in front of me causing me to go into the shoulder/ditch why should I be punished for doing nothing wrong?? Had the officer put his lights on behind me I would have pulled over he could have then passed me and proceeded to pull my sister over; however, he did not and I am the one being punished...??

So, now I understand why people hate cops and/or fear them. You know the ole saying/verse "I once was blind but now I see", well that is me.............
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-25-08 11:04 PM
Response to Original message
12. I will never look at a cop the same...
Edited on Fri Apr-25-08 11:06 PM by dajoki
after what happened to me. Last summer the cops went to my daughter's home looking for her boyfriend, who was on probation. She is an R.N. and just got home from work and was in her bedroom changing when a cop came in with his gun drawn and told her to get out. She came running over to my home crying so I went with her to see what was going on. This cop stepped in front of me to stop me and told me it was none of my business and to get back in my house. Needles to say, we had words, I mean nasty words and he told me that someday he would get me. Well two weeks ago he did, he planted drugs in my car and I was arrested by about seven cops. He drug me out of the car with a gun to my head and ground my face into the macadam and reminded me of the incident last summer and that they were his pills and he set me up. I am in my fifties, disabled and was never in any trouble whatsoever my entire life. Now my name is ruined and am facing charges that I don't even know where to begin to defend because it is seven cops against me. That is only part of the story!!
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SCBeeland Donating Member (93 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-26-08 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
13. I remember a cop following me home when I was about 10
My grandmother picked me up from school and I asked if we could stop so I could get something out of a vending machine. I did, and as I opened the bottle of coke and drank from it, out comes a cop from seemingly nowhere. "Hey you, you smoking?" he said, almost as if I was his kid. I said no (I remember thinking "I was just drinking a damn coke, are you blind?") and got back in the car as fast as I could because this guy was seriously creepy. The cop followed us nearly 20 miles until we pulled into our driveway, then parked at the end of it where he stayed for over 10 minutes before leaving.

I've never looked at any cop the same way since.
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rdenney Donating Member (432 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-27-08 09:38 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. That is scary, but its always been said that the line is thin between cop and crook.
Three things to remember when dealing with the police:

1. Shut your mouth.

2. Shut your pie hole.

3. Put a plug in it.

The police can and will misconstrue anything you say to make a "bust". Thats how they make a living: putting people in jail and letting them defend themselves in court.

Either way "they" win because if the state loses the case, the cops, the judge, the prosecution and the defense all still make money, while the arrestee is left with a huge debt and a nice stay in the jail cell to show for it.

No justice, no peace.
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-05-08 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Where I live...
Edited on Mon May-05-08 07:03 PM by dajoki
there is no longer ANY line. I found that out personally as I described above, I sort of new it but now I am sure of it. I live in a small town of about 6000 people and everybody knows everything and this is what pisses me off. These so called "cops" know I am not involved in any of this crap yet they got me because they wanted a family member of mine, but were just as delighted to get me. My lawyer told me that this kind of stuff happens a lot, using family members against each other. I am having a very difficult time digesting all of this because, like I said, I was never in any trouble in my life.

And another thing I found out through the lack of representation I am getting from my lawyer, is that you are so correct about the cops, judges, DA and lawyers all making money and all in on it together. When I get through this I will do everything and anything I can to expose the crookedness of our non existant "justice system".
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SCBeeland Donating Member (93 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-06-08 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. I don't know what to say
I can't know what you're going through, dajoki, but I know someone who also had evidence planted on them by a cop. They only got probation, but still, they did nothing wrong as the evidence was planted on them, and everyone knew this. Just within the last month even, a man in my town parked too close to a parked police car and ended up getting tasered. What the local newspaper reported was an absolute crock - that the man tried to hit the officer. All lies, according to witnesses, but their opinion was not reported. I stay away from cops now like they're contaminated with a virus, and probably will the rest of my life. I know not all of them are bad, but this kind of crap happens too often.
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dajoki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-07-08 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. Probation...
is what they are offering me. They stacked up a bunch of charges and then dropped all but one and offered probation. My problem is pleading to something I didn't do, but my asshole lawyer said a trial could drag on and be expensive and is risky. I just don't know what to do.

One thing I did was contact THESE PEOPLE / and am waiting to see what comes of it. Its a good link, I suggest you check it out. Thanks!! :pals:

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Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-01-08 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
15. Did you research this?
Edited on Thu May-01-08 12:30 PM by Boojatta
"Warren Anderson, CEO of Union Carbide, culpable for Bhopal"

Do you hold every CEO responsible for every emergency situation at every branch plant or have you done specific research on Warren Anderson's role in the Bhopal disaster? When you say "culpable", are you referring to an actual court judgment that could not be enforced because of lack of powers to extradite or are you simply expressing your own personal opinion?
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