Tuesday, November 02, 2010

On Police Brutality

A silhouette showing a police officer striking...Image via Wikipedia

Without looking for it, I have recently stumbled upon a number of articles and cases of police brutality, alleged and proven.

The theme began with an article by Matthew Smith listing a number of deaths of people detained in police custody in London in recent years and outlining the apparent lack of action that has resulted from them. I commented on the piece.

Next came a series of incidents from the United States. First, an in-depth piece by New York's Village Voice on the beating up of Levelle DeSean Ming, a 41-year old taxi driver who beeped his horn as a group of drunken newly qualified off-duty police officers stumbled out of a bar and in front of his yellow cab in 2008. Another off-duty officer, not part of the group who carried out the assault, intervened, was himself assaulted by the drunken officers and has subsequently been assigned to desk duty for the last two years.

Earlier in the year, 22-year old Amit Bornstein, of Marlboro, New Jersey, was arrested at his home by Monmouth County Sheriff’s Officers for failing to appear in Court for minor misdemeanor and traffic infractions. Seven hours later Amit’s body appeared at the local hospital. Surveillance tapes of the time Amit was in police custody have been seized by the County Prosecutor’s Office and have not been released. His family are demanding justice.

With remarkable timing, i then read this by anarchist lawyer David D'Amato who argues that police abuse is the rule, not the exception.

"We can brush aside police abuse as an aberration in an otherwise sensible system, or we can correctly understand it as an unavoidable feature of a warped incentive structure designed by and for the power elite."


Certainly, prison chaplain and state politician Stan Moody has plenty of shocking stories to tell about reality of institutionalized injustice inside the Maine State Prison system in the United States. I've listened to others also describe the way that the prison institution tends to facilitate the brutalization of prisoners by the guards, even if the latter are perfectly reasonable people on the outside.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS.

No comments: