In light of the increasing bad blood between police and the rest of us over recent events, I offer the following:
Here’s a well written and well thought out article by a former investigator of police misconduct. Oh, and she’s female (thanks to Marc MacYoung for finding this.)
Here’s a great book by Rory Miller for anyone who’s really interested in understanding both sides of the issue:
Do with this information as you will, but don’t just complain and add to the din and confusion without stopping to listen to whichever side of the argument you are least familiar with. I see merit and dysfunction on both sides, but many of us are unfamiliar with the day-to-day of law-enforcement. Rory’s book is particularly adept at helping us understand how best to communicate with law-enforcement in a way that will avoid unnecessary escalation.
Get your kids up to speed. Dare I say it? …Especially if they’re black. This is the world we live in, the America we live in. If we don’t learn the rules, we can’t fix the rules. Once you’re caught in the system it can be very difficult to get out. And while you’re inside, no one listens to you.
Learn the rules, play by the rules, fix the rules if you don’t like them.
Whatever you do, don’t get caught in the blender.
As parents, we have a responsibility to train our children (and ourselves) how to interact with law-enforcement. Tell your sons and daughters to do the following if they encounter police.
1. Regardless of whether you are right or wrong, show your hands and tell the police you are complying.
2. Ask the police if you are free to leave. If not, ask them what they are detaining you for, ask for a lawyer, or tell them you’re exercising your right to be silent. SAY NOTHING ELSE. No matter how badly you want to speak or how much you feel wronged. They may be after someone extremely dangerous who looks just like you, or they may be having a bad day. You don’t want to get caught in their bad day.
3. Be respectful no matter how disrespectful they are. Yes, much easier said than done.
4. Once all is said and done get a lawyer or file a written complaint with the ACLU.
Here is one link to some of your rights.
Here’s a second video of the five or so minutes after The Eric Garner arrest. The police say he’s breathing, then the EMTs come in and say he’s still breathing:
But he’s clearly unresponsive.
I know this is very un-PC of me, but Garner would have very likely been fine if he had shown his hands and offered no resistance.
The cop was an overzealous badly trained loser, especially looking at his background and past situations. But Garner had at least some culpability here. He was fed up, and had reached his proverbial final straw with the encounter.
The problem is if you hang out in the same spot doing the same thingover and over, and you have a record, you aren’t going to change anybody’s mind about you, and you aren’t going to get the benefit of the doubt. And if you fight the police you’re only going to make matters worse.
Garner is a big guy, and the first officer on site is much smaller. I think this causes at least a degree of overreaction out of fear on the part of the police. That said, if you comply, it can be sorted out later. Unfair? Yup. The price of civilized society, perhaps.
Garner had a record, just FYI. Here’s some background on Garner from Wikipedia (towards the bottom, under the “background” tab). It all just seems like a sad sad affair.