Sunday, July 12, 2009

Means "Who Polices the Police?"

From Talking Points Memo:

Dem Congressional Candidate's Event Raided By San Diego Sheriffs

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that a fundraiser for Francine Busby, who previously ran for the deeply-Republican Fiftieth District and came close to winning in the 2006 special election and subsequent regular election, was raided by sheriffs after an unnamed neighbor made a noise complaint. Busby now calls it a "phony" noise complaint, and the article says that multiple neighbors said there was no great noise at all.

Here's the twist: The fundraiser was hosted by a lesbian couple, and shortly before the sheriffs came a particular neighbor had shouted anti-gay slurs at the assembled crowd. "It was a quiet home reception, disrupted by a vulgar person shouting obscenities from behind the bushes," Busby says.

As one neighbor told the paper: "We didn't hear anything until the sheriff came, with eight patrol cars and a helicopter."

More here.

Eight patrol cars and a helicopter to break up a backyard barbeque. Attended by middle aged women. And, as the article observes, the cops decided that they needed to use pepper spray on the diners. I think these women have some prima facie for a good lawsuit.

I usually use these Quis Custodiet posts to talk about how cop culture tends to make police brutality and corruption near inevitable, which is true, but this story illustrates a related, but entirely different point. Even though police ostensibly exist in order "to protect and serve" the public, their true mission is to protect and serve the political and economic establishment. I mean okay, oftentimes these two missions overlap, which is to say that public order and safety are good for politics and business, but if these two missions ever contradict each other, the latter trumps. The rich and powerful always get better police protection, even when what they need protection from isn't against the law.

Case in point, Republican dominated San Diego County. Apparently, the Sheriff there believed these lesbian political fundraisers to be a threat to the local Republican establishment, and sent in the goons just like it was Chicago in 1968. As if corruption and brutality wasn't enough, this kind of thing is fairly typical: for many years local power establishment figures throughout the nation have successfully used law enforcement to serve as their own personal squad of Brownshirts to intimidate political opposition. Indeed, the last three presidential elections have produced countless tales of local law enforcement busting up opposition demonstrators, usually arbitrarily, usually producing no convictions.

This is rampant and out of control. And, needless to say, anti-American and profoundly disturbing in terms of prospects for our aging republic. Sadly, this trend, using cops to disrupt and harass lawful political behavior, is going up, not down.

Where is all this leading?