Thursday, 20 November 2014
Above the Law
In 2011 a mentally ill homeless man was causing a disturbance. Unable to calm him down, police officers fatally shot him, also killing an innocent bystander who was on his way to work. No charges were laid.
And last February, an officer in an unmarked car was speeding at 122 km/hr in a 50 km/hr zone and broadsided a car at an intersection, killing a 5 year old boy. No charges have been laid.
When police officers are involved in a fatality, another police force is called in to investigate. But how impartial is this method? Given past events it appears that few police officers are held accountable for incidents that, had they been perpetrated by regular citizens, would have resulted in serious jail time.
How can the public truly trust and respect a police force that itself seems to be above the law? Whenever something wrong occurs they hide behind their badges and unions until the problem goes away. This is not how the police should behave, which makes them unworthy for the job for which they supposedly swore an oath "to protect and serve".
Some jurisdictions have ordered their policemen to wear cameras that record their actions. As a result, use of excessive force has lessened considerably. Anyone will behave better if they know they're being watched; ask any child. Unfortunately that doesn't stop some officers from harassing bystanders who record incidents on their cellphones.
If police officers faced the same consequences that citizens did, you can bet the system would change in a hurry.