I am an anarchist. I don’t believe the state can use force legitimately. It only creates a monopoly on sanctioned violence and it gives those with violent tendencies a job where they are allowed to be violent. In the US, police are 58 times more likely to kill citizens than terrorists. (Article on this figure is below.) Community policing works. Prison and state violence do not. If there was wellbeing and freedom for all, there would be no reason to commit crimes, and this would be a far more reasonable and sustainable approach to crime than throwing trillions of dollars down the tiolet for endless domestic and foreign wars. While having no police would be ideal, there are a number of reforms that could be made to reduce the violence and other abuses committed by police. I wrote fourteen here that I consider most important in this article. But before listing them, for those who believe I am just exaggerating the harms of the police state or being cynical about police and government, please take a look at what others are saying who have been harmed or had friends or loved ones killed by police. I stopped circulating articles about police brutality because I was sick of looking at them. In a two month period, these are just some of the articles I shared. Millions of people do the same. Millions take to the streets, but what changes? I would never advocate giving up, but what is it going to take?
Police murders and abuse of children:
2-year-old critically injured by a police flash-bang:
Cop uses hairdryer to burn 3 year old:
7-year-old, Aiyana Stanley Jones, killed in a raid while sleeping on her sofa:
8-year-old tasered by police:
Lilian Alonzo, 49-year-old grandmother shot as she reached for her baby
Cop rapes 14-year-old runaway:
Police get physical with 8-year-old and 14 year-old:
10-year-old killed by speeding police officer with his lights off:
Psychotic cop, Stephen Rozniakowski, kills woman who filed a restraining order against him and shoots her daughter:
Cop Attemps to Murder his wife, but she is saved by Good Samaritan :
Police Murder Epileptic teen:
400 Children tasered in 2013:
Cop hogtied and choked 12 year old
Cops beat 7 month pregnant woman and cause stillbirth:
Cop sprays pepper spray on students and breaks bones:
Cop who investigates sex crimes rape high school girl in his car:
Cops pistol whip and punch teenager:
5-year-old killed by speeding cop and does not get charged
Cop kills 19-year-old
Cops kill mentally troubled son after his mom calls
Cop rapes pregnant woman:
Tamir Rice’s 14-year-old sister handcuffed after cops kill her brother
NYPD cop knocks teen unconscious after mistaking a cigarette for weed:
Cop on Cop or related violence:
Black cop killed by police “mistaken” for suspect
Cop handcuffs and beats Black military police officer:
Woman with a father in the police department tasered for filming the police:
Black officers expose racism within the NYPD:
Cop fired for attempting to stop police brutality
Police violence Against the Elderly and Veterans:
Elderly man with his hands up tasered by police:
Veterans Stanley Gibson, Denis Reynoso and Parminder Singh Shergill all killed by police
Cops break 80-year-old veteran’s ribs for not getting off his tractor:
Cop beats handcuffed veteran:
Drug Dealing cops:
Cop caught with 5 pounds of weed:
NYPD “Cop of the Year” Arrested for trafficking 10 kilos of cocaine
Married Cops plead guilty to drug charges:
US citizens 58 times more likely to be killed by police than terrorists:
Officer Burge tortures over 100 black men and gets to keeps pension:
Massachusetts Police website admit SWAT teams created to combat Civil Rights protesters and Vietnam War protesters:
Killer cop bragging about his murder:
NYPD admits to planting evidence to reach quotas:
No charges for cop who murdered Dontre Hamilton:
Cop Allows K-9 to Maul Handcuffed Suspect
NYPD expansion into Israel:
1. Punish all cops guilty of crimes.
This is a no-brainer. If cops guilty of murder, abuse, or both are punished for their crimes far less will feel they can get away with murder and abuse.
2. Require All Police Carry Personal Liability Insurance.
Since the judicial system is broken and has never really worked for large groups, and corporations control the government anyway, it might be possible to use insurance companies to help ensure a measure of police accountability. When victims of police brutality successfully sue today, taxpayers are burdened with the cost of the damages awarded to the victims. The cops who committed the crimes are usually not fined, but are more often put on paid leave or given a “cooling off” period. Therefore, there is really no personal incentive for cops devoid of morals to follow the law. But if all cops were required to have personal liability insurance, one successful lawsuit against a cop would mean a huge increase in the cost of his or her insurance, which would mean the cop would likely not have the money to continue on the force. No insurance company would want to ensure a cop if he or she is costing their company too much money. Liability insurance is a requirement to be a personal trainer and do many other jobs. Malpractice insurance is required to be a doctor. Of all of these jobs, police have the potential to do the most harm, yet no insurance is required to be one. This must change.
3. Abolish The Blue Code
One of the biggest problem’s that perpetuates police brutality is the blue code, which is the secret code among police officers not to report abuse or to testify against each other. I have relatives who stubbornly will defend police perhaps until they die because they have family and friends who are cops who give them their own version of what happens in their jobs. This familial bias is all that matters to some.
My cousin (whose dad is a state cop) commented on a post I made about protecting yourself from police brutality in a defensive way, asking “So do you think all cops are killers?” I never said this, and I couldn’t believe she would say this just because I am trying to protect people from cops who do kill and abuse their authority. Why would she take this personally, unless she is trying to defend cops guilty of the worst crimes? This attitude is arrogant and destructive. The only appropriate reaction to have to the killer cops and unbelievable brutality is dismay and disgust. But the so-called “good cops” remain on the force not because they all believe the brutality is right, but because they are told they are right by their friend circles and family members (made up largely of police and police allies blind to the abuse). When a family depends on a “bread-winning” cop in the family, then they may childishly feel any criticism of police is like an attack on their families. This attitude reaffirms people’s conceptions that all police are the same. There are moral and immoral ways to support a family and being a state thug (cop) is not a moral way to do so.
4. Abolish The Thin Blue Line
Crossing the “thin blue line,” meaning to violate the blue code or to use force to physically prevent police brutality can also result in being attacked, which is why many cops are hesitant to do so when they see other cops abusing their authority. But if a cop is using excessive force, it should not be illegal for other cops to use force to stop him or her. Many cops have this attitude that whatever they do is “official business.” They believe they can do no wrong, so when someone “dares” question them, they revert to their reptilian, violent instincts. If violence is used in self-defense or in defense of another person being attacked for no reason, it should come with no penalty. Most people are afraid to intervene when cops use excessive force, because they don’t want to be killed or incarcerated too. Either this will change legally or “street justice” will start coming to these cops who think they are above the law. We have seen some of that with shooters like Ismaaiyl Brinsley and Micah Xavier Johnson, but I think that is the tip of the iceberg and if cops try prevent this by becoming more violent, they will only inflame the response.
Cops like their power, guns, and other toys, and they will always call killer cops “outliers” who don’t represent them because they want to hold onto their power and toys. If bad cops are outliers then why can we find a new story or many every day about new police abuse and killings? The fact is there are systemic problems with all police forces and they are not going to change by pretending they don’t exist or that they aren’t widespread.
5. Limit Police Authority to Pursuit of Violent Criminals Only
Anyone with a badge and a gun can tell you he or she “puts their life on the line.” Being a cop is as serious as individuals make it. They decide what and who to pursue and what to ignore and to put themselves in danger. They are far more dangerous than any gang or terrorist group. To really root out police brutality, we must make laws that prevent cops from going after non-violent crimes that don’t hurt others (or better yet legalize these nonviolent actions). Cops get to claim their jobs are “necessary” because of the many millions of people who use drugs. So long as nonviolent actions that hurt no one else are seen as crimes, cops can always bust a homeless person for sleeping on a park bench or someone selling nickels and dimes and call it “a success.” Cops make their living on misery and making situations worse. They don’t do anything to prevent nonviolent or violent crimes, and they often encourage them with their antagonistic, brutish presence. A nonviolent crime can easily turn into a violent one with violent police intervention. If a kid smoking a joint on the street is seen as a criminal and cops are allowed to use force to apprehend him or her, they have introduced violence into an otherwise non-violent situation. What kind of reaction should be expected? All doctors have to take the Hippocratic Oath, which includes the promise to first, do no harm. This maxim comes from the Latin phrase Primum non nocere. It would be a no-brainer to require cops to take a similar pledge.
6. Uphold the Constitution and Criminalize Police Entrapment and Civil Forfeiture
Although entrapment is illegal, it is one of the most common police and fed tactics. It is visible everywhere. There is a reason cops sit at the bottom of hills and set up speed traps. They know the momentum from hills will make cars on them go faster. Most are not concerned with public safety. They just want promotions, which they can get from issuing the most expensive tickets. The more money and assets they steal from the public, the more taxpayer funding they get since they are seen as the most “successful” departments. Civil forfeiture is another technique they use to steal. Property can be seized solely under the suspicion of a drug crime, but if those accused don’t have the money to pay the legal fees to fight the charges in court, regardless of their basis in reality, they will lose their property.
7. Abolish Plainclothes Police “Work” and Make it Easier for Pleas of Self-defense Against Cops to Succeed
One important reform that hasn’t been discussed much is criminalizing wearing plainclothes while on duty. It must be made illegal for cops to be in plainclothes on duty. It is misleading and often used to entrap people, making it unconstitutional due to the Fifth Amendment. Eric Gardner was killed by Daniel Pantaleo, a cop in plainclothes who never served jail time and the racist scum is still on the force. If someone believes a person is not a cop, they will treat him or her as such. It is not illegal to lie to a regular citizen, but is illegal to lie to a cop, so it is not possible for people to follow the law, unless we treat everyone as a potential cop. This is madness.
It should also be illegal for cops to carry guns off duty, because they can use the “but I’m a cop excuse” for violence, even though it is not clear they are cops, and they can use the same excuse to punish people who try to defend themselves against them. It is simply far easier to convince a jury and judge that self-defense was used in a case if the plaintiff is not a cop. Trying to convince a jury and judge that any kind of violence against a cop was legitimate and done in self-defense is nearly impossible, regardless of how obvious it may be that the violence was legitimate self-defense. Prosecutors almost always side with cops as well.
Undercover police “work” should be outlawed. It is illegal for people to dress as police officers, so it ought to be illegal for cops to dress as normal citizens when on duty. These cops who think they are “always on duty” need to learn that their job is done when they take off their little uniform. It is fundamentally dishonest and unnecessary to be undercover.
8. Legalize Resisting Arrest
Eric Garner had reported being abused and harassed by police numerous times previously. He had his hands up when the Daniel wrestled him the ground. He repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” It is not an exaggeration to call this a public lynching. It was on videotape, so this cannot be denied. I believe it is irrational not to resist a choke hold. They cut off blood to the head, and if some overzealous, bloodthirsty cop has his arm around your neck, will you trust him to let go off that hold before your brain dies from a lack of oxygen? If I was being choked by a cop I would do whatever I had to do to get out of it because they can’t charge you for resisting arrest if you are dead.
Resisting arrest cannot be a crime. Many cops get off when people resist. They get another legal excuse to use force, which many love. Don’t believe any cop who says he or she uses force as a last resort. Most are itching to hurt people just as soon as they put on their uniform or their plainclothes and badge. Cops have license to harm and kill just for a person having the audacity to question them.
9. Require All Current Police and Potential Recruits be Psychologically Evaluated, Screened, and Treated Accordingly
Psychological evaluations and screenings are incredibly important for potential recruits, but the problem is that anyone can lie about not being violent or racist. It is easy, and most departments just don’t care about it. Cops must be screened in subtle ways. Blood-tests should be required to test for drugs in their systems. (Many cops use and abuse drugs, both illicit and licit.) Lie detector tests could be employed. Skilled psychologists and behavioral tests could be used to identify violent tendencies. Cops should also not be trained to kill or made to believe their lives are in danger when they are not. When a cop murders someone, he or she should have to prove there was an imminent danger who was about to kill and get no special treatment by prosecutors or judges. Anyone can make a disingenuous speech about their hard efforts to “protect” people on the force. But most cops don’t protect anyone, except themselves, and they are only in danger when they terrorize people and there is a violent backlash. But very few people want to risk the consequences of getting violent with police because they have a monopoly on force. It is like suicide, not because they are tough but because they can always call for backup with bigger guns and bigger militarized gear, and they know the crooked courts will back them up.
10. Disarm Cops
The best way to stop police shooting would be to take away their guns. British police don’t have guns and they have a fraction of the gun deaths that America does, per capita and, of course, in total. Nonlethal forms of deterrence like conversation should be the first and most preferable options.
11. Criminalize “Point to Intimidate”
If cops are not disarmed, at the very least pointing a gun at anyone who is not a clear threat must also be made illegal for cops and Feds. Pointing a gun at certain people is not a deterrent. It can make nonviolent people violent (or be traumatic at least) and violent people even more violent. The army has a rule about only aiming to shoot and this should apply to cops as well. Cops should also never shoot to kill. The state cannot execute anyone without a trial. At least that is what the law dictates. What “shoot to stop” means should also be redefined. Right now it means two bullets in the sternum, which can easily kill others (and has killed many), especially frail or small people. The “domino effect” also almost always occurs when a cop fires a shot. The whole squad will often open fire and unload their clips, excited by the opportunity to kill when just one shot is fired.
When cops take hate for them personally, it is childish and it perpetuates the violence and hate. People hate cops because they abuse, hurt, and kill us. If they get mad when this is called out, then they are just defending the absolute worst people of their “profession.” If cops want respect and to not be treated as enemies, they must start recognizing that abuse and murder by police does happen. The current state of the system is reprehensible. If they don’t recognize that and respect us and follow the same rules they “enforce,” we will see them as enemies forever. And eventually being a “cop” will be no longer be a job. They could start a bloody civil war, and the people would win. Cops need to realize they don’t engender fear because they are respected. They are feared because they have back up and the law on their side, and real respect isn’t earned through intimidation.
12. Make “Sheriff” a Label for Only One Elected Sheriff
It should be made illegal for cops who are not Sheriffs to wear anything that says Sheriff or drive a car that says Sheriff on it. This is misleading and a lie. The Sheriff is supposed to be the highest LEO in a county who is elected to that position, but some departments give rookies vests and cars labeled “Sheriff.”
13. Criminalize Police Lying
Cops can legally lie to people in order to entrap them or admit to crimes. This must be criminalized for obvious reasons. This is a violation of the Fifth Amendment, as is all undercover police “work.”
14. Make a Psychology Degree and 1000 Hours of Community Service Mandatory for all Potential and Current Cops.
Psychological testing, which is not even required to become a cop in all states, is not enough. Anyone can pass such a test by lying, and even those who fail current tests can seek out a second opinion from a private psychologist who will be inclined to approve his or her client for duty. Making all potential and current cops volunteer in the communities they are supposed to serve and protect without a badge and gun would give cops the sensitivity, compassion, and exposure needed to serve the variety of people they are intended to serve and protect. They would realize force doesn’t solve all perceived problems. Volunteer work could include trash pick up, tutoring at-risk youth, substance abuse counseling, community outreach to the poor, work in soup kitchens, women’s crisis centers, retirement homes, nonprofit farms, and more. A psychology degree beforehand would make them suitable for this volunteer work.
I don’t know if any of these reforms will become a reality. The limitations of online activism are very apparent to me. We can write and wax poetic about truths, but if no one in these positions of authority wants to change, they won’t without being forced to. If people in power start feeling their lives are in danger or they are forcibly removed from power then I think we would see change. People must take to the streets and demand change or overthrow those who won’t give us change. I am ready. Are you?