Law Enforcement

“For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any
Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of
these States.”
—Declaration of Independence (1776)

     Did you hear the joke about the guy who tried to join the Islamic State, but they wouldn’t take him because he’s too crazy and too brutal for them? He returned to the U.S.A. and joined his local police department, where he fits right in.

     Truth is, law enforcement is a necessary evil, but lately they have been far more evil than necessary.

     Black lives definitely matter, but the protest movement lacks a clear message beyond demanding justice on a case-by-case basis; and many protesters base their opinions on somebody else’s opinions instead of looking at the strengths and weaknesses of each case.

     What is needed is the Copper Rule.

The Copper Rule

     Part One: Whatever is the maximum a person could get for doing that crime to a cop, is the minimum a cop must get for doing the same crime to a person. Crimes committed by cops are more serious, the same as armed robbery is more serious than shoplifting something of equal value. It is often illegal to fight off the cops even when they are in the wrong, and the cops vigorously enforce such laws.

     What is the maximum you could get in Georgia for throwing a flash grenade through the open window into a police cruiser and badly burning the cop? That is the minimum the cops must get for throwing that flash grenade into a toddler’s playpen in Cornelia, Georgia on 28 May 2014 and badly burning the kid. It makes no difference that the cops were “just doing their jobs” because employment contracts between a government and its cops cannot entitle the latter to violate the unalienable rights of non-signatory third parties.

     This nonsense about a cop having a right to kill somebody based on a “perceived threat” has to stop, too. The person has to be criminally threatening or criminally attacking somebody, and the cop better be ready to prove it. Not being able to see what is in somebody’s hands is not criminally threatening.

     On 3 October 2013, a Connecticut woman made a wrong turn at 15th and E Streets in Northwest Washington, D.C. She sped away when threatened at gunpoint by Secret Service agents. She was chased to the Capitol, where video footage does not show damage to the front bumper despite stories about how she supposedly tried to ram her way through a concrete barrier. Then she was trapped on Maryland Avenue in Northeast and brutally murdered in cold blood by U.S. Capitol Police and Secret Service. No criminal charges are pending.

     Even the Copper Rule is not good enough if prosecutors simply do a half-hearted job.

     Part Two: A person must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and a cop must be presumed guilty until proven innocent. When you are in handcuffs you cannot be expected to get the names and addresses of witnesses. Many persons are afraid to be “caught” videographing the cops’ criminal wrongdoings. Then the cops take you to a place that is off limits to spectators. Cops control the collection of evidence and they know how to prove cases, so it is up to them to do their jobs.