Thursday, March 26, 2009

Means "Who Polices the Police?"

From the Houston Chronicle:

FBI says Conroe sergeant stole $28,000 from bank

A Conroe Police Department veteran accused of robbing a Montgomery County bank where he also worked as a security guard was released on $100,000 bail Wednesday, but with conditions.


Arrested on Tuesday, Tindall is accused of stealing more than $28,000 from the First Bank of Conroe last August, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He is charged with one count of bank robbery. Tindall was off-duty when the bank was robbed, police said.

Investigators say co-workers from the bank and the Police Department recognized Tindall as the thief on surveillance videotapes that captured the robbery even though he wore gloves, a white helmet with a clear visor, aviator-style sunglasses, a dark-colored jacket or shirt, blue jeans and athletic shoes.

More here.

And Tindall didn't simply steal this money: he robbed it. The difference is important to note because robbery, compared to theft, involves violence or the threat of violence, making it a much worse crime. As if theft wasn't bad enough. At least he wasn't on duty when it happened; on the other hand, Tindall used his status as police officer to put himself in a position to get some inside info to help with his bank job plans.

This is so fucking trashy, like a scene from GoodFellas or something. Perfect for Conroe.

But then, this isn't really about trashiness or Conroe, either. We live in a country where cops rape women they've pulled over for speeding, snort coke they've ripped off from dealers on the dashboards of their squad cars, sell drugs, beat the fuck out of prisoners, arrest people for "driving while black," and on and on and on. Trashy cop-robbers in Conroe fit very nicely into this pattern.

Like I always say, this isn't another case of a bad apple gone wrong: we have a chronic, systemic problem with cops violating the law, constantly, all the time. There is something about being a cop, or at least something about being a cop in the way we understand the term in the US, that makes this kind of behavior so common. That is, American police culture is confrontational, hyper-masculine, authoritarian, self-aggrandizing, arrogant, and mired in us-versus-them attitudes that result in an above-the-law sensibility, and pressure good cops to keep their mouths shut when they see bad cops being bad.

This will not change until police culture changes. I don't expect this to happen anytime soon.