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perception

Every once in a while a friend's extremely libertarian cop-hating blog (tjic.com) comes up triumphantly with another news story of bad cops under arrest for corruption.

He sees this as evidence of corrupt cops.

I see it as evidence that the corrupt cops get caught. ...though I'm sure the truth is actually somewhere near the midpoint of that continuum.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
soong
Nov. 12th, 2008 04:19 am (UTC)
The truth isn't near the midpoint of the arguments presented, though Faux News wants you to believe that. Then they provide arguments (frequently and loudly) off to one end and try to pretend they know where the middle is. I think the middle is somewhere else, but that may be my own wishful thinking, or my own thinking trying to make the world into that thinking.
willtruncheon
Nov. 12th, 2008 05:49 am (UTC)
If you'll allow a totally unscientific observation, I think individual opinions of police are determined by demographics. My wife (a small, attractive, white-collar female caucasian) has more regard for police, on average, than I do (a tall, somewhat rough-looking, blue-collar male caucasian). Our experiences with cops vary wildly. Mine are largely negative, and I can tell a few stories about abuse of power, rudeness, and "selective enforcement". Are all cops corrupt? Of course not. Probably not even most. A lot are, though. And many are never caught.
blk
Nov. 12th, 2008 12:02 pm (UTC)
Also, "the corrupt cops that get caught are vilified loudly and publicly."
nathanw
Nov. 12th, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC)
Any particular corrupt cops being caught doesn't speak at all to the general level of corruption (besides being above zero), or the level of investigation into corruption. To see it as evidence that the corrupt cops get caught is a projection from one's existing beliefs about the pervasiveness of corruption.

"Corrupt" is also a pretty low bar. A cop can be mean, racist, bludgeon people to within an inch of their lives and kill their dogs (during a no-knock raid, natch) without being corrupt.
tirianmal
Nov. 12th, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC)
If you're meaning "corrupt" only to mean cops on the take ... sure. If corrupt means that they aren't doing their job to the expectation of the public and abusing their powers, then I think all of the items in your last sentence count as corruption.

Edit: Well maybe except for "mean" since everybody has bad days.

Edited at 2008-11-12 06:38 pm (UTC)
nathanw
Nov. 12th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
Well, I picked those (especially the killing dogs bit) as things that I regularly hear about cops doing without much sanction, so if that's corrupt than it's exactly evidence that corruption isn't "caught" (I'm assuming "... and punished" in Chris's use of the phrase).
dcltdw
Nov. 12th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
I'm missing the context of the other half of this conversation. What, because we find a corrupt cop, therefore we should.... should... what? Get rid of cops? Issues "I heart u" flowers to all cops? :)
melted_snowball
Nov. 12th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this is more or less my reaction, too. I mean, if indeed all cops are on the take, well, that's a big issue and suggests a move to another country might not be unwise. But it's hard for me to believe that US cops are much more corrupt than, say, Mexican ones. (I have no idea what things are like between this country and the US in this respect.)
tirianmal
Nov. 12th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
Mind you, neither corrupt cops in Mexico, nor corrupt cops in the USA are ever going to submit to a survey that indicates their level of corruption. You can only go on the basis of reported crimes by cops and/or level of transparency into police actions in each country. Of course, I'll take my chances with a US cop over a Federale most days of the week.
tjic
Nov. 13th, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
we should do what about cops
We should move away from a system where the government has a monopoly on police protection, towards a service provider model where various police groups compete based on service.

We should have courts that prosecute criminals in uniform the same way they prosecute criminals out of uniform.

We should do away with the presumption that "if a cop did it, it's OK".

We should reverse various court cases that have gutted the fifth amendment.

We should equip all cops with small shoulder mounted web-cams that broadcast back to a secure server in their cars, so that courts can review their actions.

We should have term limits, so that no one can be a cop for more than five years (this helping to prevent the us-versus-them divide).

We should reverse the militarization of police forces.

etc.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )