Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Reader Offers This

A blog reader sent me this email relating to the American police culture. I find it quite instructive:
I think you are quite correct in suggesting that there is a cultural problem with American police. I was raised in the UK and had numerous interactions with British and American police officers. Just so you know.. I am not a criminal and have never been charged let alone convicted of any crime.

American police are brutal and authoritarian. Almost every time I have interacted with them they have been overly hostile and aggressive for no reason. I was staying in PA once at my grandparent's home and went out with some friends because we were bored. There was a girl on a bike in the middle of the road and we almost hit her and I rolled down the window and told her she should not be cycling in the road. About an hour later four squad cars pulled up at the store we were at the police went nuts. I was hit in the head twice by cop who kept asking me what I did to the girl between shoving my face into a brick wall. I told them what happened and they said I was 'a racist fuck' who was going to get a beating. Then I told them to pull out my wallet and look at my credentials and when they realized that I was VP of Amnesty International I told them I would be happy to go to court and have my word against a little girl. They still fined me $200 and told me I better pay up. I left for the UK the next day and sent a letter disputing the charge of causing a disturbance. They then went and harassed my grandparents telling them that they may loose their home if they didn't pay my fine. My grandparents were scared and paid the fine.

Not two months ago I was in San Diego and had a argument with my girlfriend one evening. A few minutes after our spat I was stopped by the police and they just started bullying and threatening me with jail if I did not tell them my name, address, and vocation. I asked them why and guess what.... they handcuffed me and put me down on the street saying they saw me hit her which was absolute BS. Then they started bullying her trying to get her to say that I hit her and she told them that she did not feel threatened by me but did feel that they were being aggressive with me. They then told her that she should not let me stay in the same hotel.

I can go on but this is completely different from my experience in the UK were cops are professional, courteous, and helpful. I wish someone would really campaign to reform the US police. They are really terrible and the refrain that there are just a few bad cops is such nonsense. I think most of them are pretty bad. Where I live in, I have seen numerous police getting violent with the citizens. I am tempted to get a video recorder to capture some of the terrible things I have seen.
This is not the only story I've heard unfavorably comparing the U.S. police with British/European .....


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