I’ve said elsewhere that I’ll be more inclined to believe policing in the United States merely has a “bad apple problem” when I see more good cops turning in bad cops for wrongdoing. And I stand behind that sentiment. Let’s remember this data from the Department of Justice:
84 percent of police officers report that they’ve seen colleagues use excessive force on civilians, and 61 percent admit they don’t always report “even serious criminal violations that involve abuse of authority by fellow officers.”
Thus, the “blue code of silence.”
Well, some promising examples of good cops defying the “blue shield”:
From Waldo, Florida:
Five Florida police officers told the Waldo City Council that they’ve been under a quota to write traffic tickets, which is a violation of Florida law.
The Gainesville Sun reports Officer Brandon Roberts told council members on Tuesday night they were required by Chief Mike Szabo to write 12 speeding tickets per 12-hour shift, or face punishment. He offered an electronic presentation and printed emails as evidence.
Sgt. Brandon Ruff, an eight-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police force, filed a police brutality lawsuit against his own Department on Monday. Ruff says that he was assaulted by seven officers when he attempted to anonymously turn three handguns in to the 35th district department. Ruff works in the 16th district, so many of the officers in the building did not recognize him at the time.
In his lawsuit, Ruff said that the acts of violence “were committed willfully, wantonly, maliciously, intentionally, outrageously, deliberately and/or by conduct so egregious as to shock the conscience.”
These are good developments. This is perhaps an even better development. Houston, New York City, and Columbia, South Carolina plan to implement body cameras on their police force. Additionally:
The three cities join a handful of early adopters: Roughly 30 Los Angeles officers are testing various camera models and plan to purchase 500 cameras for their force.
Washington state’s Spokane police department decided to purchase 220 body cameras last fall, prompted by community outrage over an officer who beat a mentally-ill man to death in 2006.
My own city, Cincinnati, is even experimenting with body cameras. This is an absolute positive step forward. It’s already been proven that body cameras on officers keep them more well-behaved and us, too. Complaints go down.
The blue code of silence is bullshit. Police are there to serve and protect us from criminals, whether those criminals wear a badge or not.