I used to think that people who told stories of “police brutality” must have been anti-cop. I didn’t understand why they would criticize the very people who were there to protect us. Sure, they might have to use brute force sometimes, but that’s only when they’re dealing with an unruly criminal. How naïve I was.
These days, it’s too easy to find stories where police have completely over-stepped their bounds as public “protectors” and “servants.” I’m not “anti-cop.” Just like I’m not “anti-government.” I think a society cannot function justly without civil government. And I think police inside their bounds as protectors serve a very important purpose. But I and many others are opposed to what these institutions have become. Police are no longer public servants. They are self-servants. And if you don’t do exactly as they instruct you to do, they will electrocute you to force you to submit to their will. It’s true that tasers aren’t generally fatal. For that reason, cops use them way too much.
Consider a recent case where a Florida homeowner named Daniel Jensen woke up to find that his neighbor’s house was on fire. As any responsible human would do, he ran and grabbed a fire extinguisher and started spraying it on his neighbor’s house where the grease fire was. The houses in this suburb were close together, so Jensen feared that the fire might spread to his house, and one of his two kids had a bedroom near where the neighbor’s fire was.
After he emptied the fire extinguisher, he started spraying his own house with his water hose to prevent the fire from spreading. By this time, the fire department still had not shown up, but police had. They kept telling Jensen to stop trying to put out the fire and to “let it go” because “that’s what insurance is for.” They pulled him away as he was spraying his daughter’s exterior bedroom wall. But when he noticed that fire had spread to his back roof, he grabbed the hose again to spray it. That’s when he heard an officer make the call to “hit him” with a taser.
The next thing he knew he was lying in a puddle of water being electrocuted by a taser gun, all while his kids watched. The officers picked him up and carried him to his front yard where they dropped him and handcuffed him. Jensen recounted:
“I was laying in a puddle of water being electrocuted here by the people that are supposed to protect us. I’m trying to protect my family, my neighbor, and they bring harm to me. I don’t understand.”
I don’t understand either. The police chief said that the officers could have charged Jensen with obstruction since he didn’t obey their orders, but they decided not to charge him after all (well, I suppose they “charged” him with electricity). The chief said that they had to tase Jensen because the officers had exhausted all other options, and they were just trying to protect him from the fire.
You don’t have to be “anti-cop” to think such behavior is wrong. I get that there are a few good cops out there just like there are a few good lawmakers, judges and lawyers. But 99% of them give the rest a bad name.