You can be against police brutality while still supporting police

I’m shocked I have to say this, but obviously: Not all police.

If I say I am against police brutality, it doesn’t mean I am against police any more than saying I am against sexual assault means I am against sex.

I would think that most police would also be against police brutality, right? Just like most of the lawyers I know are against dishonest lawyers.

But whenever I say something like “Gee, those police sure are attacking peaceful protesters” I get “Why are you against police?”  I’m not. Why is that so hard to understand?

Maybe people don’t want to understand. Maybe they just can’t figure out a way to defend these secret cops who confront peaceful protesters with rubber bullets and tear gas while dressed as if they’re going into a combat zone.

police brutalityI deal with police every day. I’m a criminal defense attorney. And the vast majority of police are decent, good people that I have no problem working with.

But not all of them.

I see police as falling into two categories, really. There are the “Boy Scouts” who are doing their very best to be good guys and help people. And then there are the “bullies” who became officers because they like the power and like pushing people around. Anyone who denies that the second group exists is not paying attention.

Speaking out against the bullies is something we should all be doing. It’s something the “Boy Scouts” should be doing too, but too often, they remain silent and support their fellow officers when they should be speaking up.

And this is nothing new. History is full of stories of police, guards, and others with authority who abuse their authority — especially in totalitarian regimes of the kind Trump apparently wishes he ran.

So when I post something like the cartoon above, I am not attacking all police — I am pointing out the hypocrisy of a protest movement against police brutality being met with police brutality, thus proving the point. Nowhere in there is the statement that all police do this.

The sad thing is that this police action has led to more violence. The mostly peaceful protests have been met with officers in riot gear tear-gassing mayors and teachers and mothers who are armed with nothing more than leaf blowers, and now some people are saying, “Fine, you want violence? We’ll give you violence.”  This doesn’t help. Meeting violence with violence is exactly what they want, because then Trump can go on TV and say “See? Re-elect me to protect you against these protesters who are protesting me and my policies and who will most likely go away if I do.” (There’s not a lot of logic on the Trump side.)

But back to the main point: Shouldn’t we all be against police brutality? Isn’t that something everyone should say is not the kind of thing we want in a democratic society?

 

There are exceptions

I love this quote, and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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A friend criticized the quote, pointing out that it should have mentioned exceptions:  Some protesters were indeed anti-police, for instance.

Ironically, that was the point of the original quote, wasn’t it?  You shouldn’t take the exceptions (racist police) to imply that all police are bad any more than you should take the exception (violent protesters) to imply that all protesters are bad.

If we have to add “there are always exceptions” to everything we say our conversations will be unwieldy and ultimately not very informative. (Of course, not every conversation. There are always exceptions.)

See?