Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Means "Who Polices the Police?"

From the BBC courtesy of AlterNet:

LA police reassigned over clashes

News footage showed a police officer pushing a TV camerawoman to the ground and shoving people who were walking away from the officers.

Officials have denied the police deliberately targeted immigrants or civil rights activists.

But police chief William Bratton has acknowledged that an order for protesters to disperse may not have been understood because it was issued in English when most of those attending the rally spoke only Spanish.

Nonetheless, the highest-ranking officer at the scene of the rally has been demoted and placed on house leave pending the outcome of an internal inquiry.

His second-in-charge, a veteran of almost 40 years on the force, has been demoted and about 60 highly-trained riot control officers who were involved in the clashes have been reassigned.

Click here for more.

When I talk about police culture being out of control, this is exactly what I mean. It's not a question of whether demonstrators could speak English or not. It's that the concept didn't even occur to the cops on the scene. They were much more concerned with asserting their authority, so much so that they had to go after people who were obviously on their way out. And that's the problem: cops operate in an insular, hypermasculine, violent, and authoritarian culture. That means taking control, regardless of whether that's the right or strategic thing to do.

Clearly, this needs to change. We live in an ever more complicated world. Hitting people over the head isn't always a smart move.