(The following article is a line-by-line rebuttal of this piece, published by a member of the Wisconsin Police Department last week. I recommend reading the original piece first for clarity.)
Today, I started caring about my fellow man. I started caring about my community, my neighbors, and those I work with. I started caring today because a once noble profession has become despicable, hateful, untrustworthy, and mostly unnecessary.
I started caring today because parents must teach their kids to be careful and obedient to a fault around power-hungry law enforcement. I started caring today because kids see police take their parents away for having a joint, embedding a fear from year one. Moms hate them in their schools because we remember a day when children could learn without a gun and a badge waiting for a reason to interject in school matters.
They would rather stay unseen by civilian cameras, but still confronting civilians, readily available to “beat sense into” some kid. I started caring today because we work to keep our streets safe and organize peacefully, protesting within our Constitutional rights, only to be tear gassed for it, and sometimes even thrown in a cell because an officer didn’t like the way we looked at him.
At the very least, they are just another tool used by government to generate “revenue.” I started caring today because police use their power to intimidate adults and children alike with their guns, and use oppressive drug laws to justify SWAT raids and beatdowns. They often kill innocent people with unjust violence. They will deploy a Taser at the slightest provocation, and are not afraid to put a bullet in whoever crosses them.
And when they do shoot, we ask “why is this escalation of force always so necessary when German police shot 85 bullets in all of 2011?” And when one of them is killed by the attacks that do happen (and it is routinely reported in the mainstream media) the officers say, “this is why our use of force shouldn’t be questioned.” I started caring today because the police are a tool used to serve and protect the country’s elites. They work to take away speech, freedoms, and liberty at every turn.
They represent a Police State where jackbooted badge-wearing thugs have attacked innocent people without cause or concern for Constitutional rights. They are the killers of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley and thousands more all rolled into one long propaganda video showing them buying gifts for kids or changing an old lady’s tire. I started caring today as no one wants to live in fear, and we demand answers, ethics, restraint, and accountability when an officer encounters a citizen of any color.
If an officer is caught driving drunk, speeding, abusing his or her spouse, or beating civilians, it is swept under the rug or called an “isolated event.” If they do their jobs properly, safely take a criminal into custody, hold a corrupt officer accountable, or otherwise show the restraint required of a civil safety service, they expect to be loudly rewarded for doing their job properly.
I started caring today because multiple videos from across the country, from the NYPD to small suburban police departments, show officers screwing up and forgetting their oath of honor, thus sparking a worldwide demand for accountability even though 99% of police officers just want the media to stop talking about it and focus on all those thugs smoking weed. They are militarized because they wear body armor and kevlar helmets when water bottles and their own tear gas canisters are thrown at them and carry semi-automatic rifles even though everyone in the crowd is armed with little more than a megaphone and a passion for a fair and equitable society.
I started caring today because the culture of today’s instantly connected society allows us to see the realities of abusive police in real time, when they refuse to accept responsibility for their actions, and blame everyone else instead of themselves. They look for reasons to declare a protest unlawful instead of asking the citizens “what can I do for you?”
To idolize gangsters, thugs, abusive behavior, and violence over peaceful protest, dedication, and achievement. To argue that firing a weapon at a petty thief should be a right, yet wearing body cameras or de-escalating a confrontation is a hassle. To intimidate versus serve. To hate versus help. Yes, I started caring today. And tomorrow, I will put my mask back on and I will march again.