Law enforcement officials lack accountability

When one reads cases like the shooting in Miami Beach and the soldiers in Afghanistan who killed civilians, it can often be more interesting to observe the reactions of those who should have taken responsibility rather than what happens to those who committed the crimes, especially in law enforcement.

The TSA recently forced the daughter of a 95-year-old leukemia patient to remove her adult diaper for a pat-down search. The daughter, Jean Weber, burst into tears while her mother remained stoic.

When the complaint was filed by Weber, the TSA originally denied the event had happened. However, another quote from a TSA statement that came up later was even more enlightening.

“We have reviewed the circumstances involved in this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally and according to

Eli Johnson

procedure.”

The new pat-downs and full-body scans of the TSA have been a point of controversy in this country. Everybody has a different opinion. But when the TSA goes this far, somebody needs to make an apology. But they don’t. What’s more interesting, they make a statement that pretty much says, “Whatever, public, we can do what we want.”

Then there was a case in Houston, Texas where a young man named Chad Holley was running from the cops. He was cornered by police and lied on the ground with his hands behind his head. That’s the part where cops put the cuffs on him and put him into the vehicle, right? Not this time. Four cops start beating this kid mercilessly. For roughly 30 seconds, they beat and kick him while he is on the ground in surrender.

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This is clearly an abuse of power. Therefore, it is naturally expected that those involved would get charged with assault. The four cops were given misdemeanor charges of official oppression.

In Rochester, New York, there was another tragic example of the police overstepping their authority. A woman named Emily Good was standing on her front lawn watching and taping the police, is arrested under the charge of obstructing a governmental administration.

Good had a legal right to tape the cops, and she was arrested. The charges were dropped. After such a pointless and degrading spectacle, the proper response is to apologize. But that isn’t what happened.

“Mrs. Good’s message, that has gone out to the public, is that you have a right to interfere and question the actions of a police officer, is irresponsible a danger to the officers, the individuals the officers are dealing with, any bystanders,” said Mike Mazzeo, President of the Police Locus Club, in Rochester.

So his message is that people shouldn’t be allowed to question authority? That people shouldn’t be allowed or able to challenge the law if they want to? Good’s response to this was even better.

“If we don’t have a right to question police officers, then we are living in a police state,” she said during an interview on CNN.

She is absolutely right. The fact that the modern position of authority is pretty much “don’t tread on me” says something. It says that the law is becoming above the law. It says that those in positions of authority are starting to believe that they are immune from consequences.

Lately, a pretty decent number of cops are starting to sound a lot like Jack Nicholson’s character, Col. Nathan Jessup, from A Few Good Men.

“I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who sleeps under the blanket of the freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you said thank you, and went on your way,” he said during one of the most famous monologues in American film.

Good is absolutely right. The people have a right and should exercise the right as often as possible to question authority and to doubt the official story. People should be very critical of what they are hearing on from police chiefs and union spokespersons.

During the case of the American soldiers who were killing civilians in Afghanistan, the military tried to handle the whole thing internally. When a German magazine got a hold of the photos depicting the soldiers involved posing with the mutilated corpses, the military had a predictable reaction.

They used the same tired line that the cops used in Rochester, that it would put their people in danger. But sometimes that has to happen. Sometimes the law needs to be held accountable. If the legal system won’t hold them accountable, what will?

The question if the public is in danger from the law is very accurate, but perhaps a better question is – can we trust the law at all? When it is so easy for those who keep it to break and the repercussions from them breaking it are so mild, is it trustworthy?