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Honoring Good Cops Doesn’t Mean Ignoring Bad Ones

I recently mentioned the controversy surrounding some drug cops in Philadelphia who've been stealing cash and merchandise from convenience stores under the guise of enforcing paraphernalia laws.

Via Radley Balko, it looks like the story is getting more interesting. The Philadelphia Daily News obtained surveillance video from one of the stores, which shows officers sabotaging security cameras. While the video doesn’t catch officers actually stealing anything, it certainly doesn't look good that they're cutting wires on security cameras right before the alleged theft took place. The video also shows that the paraphernalia purchase cited on the search warrant never actually took place. Uh-oh.

The bottom line is that these cops are more than just a little bit dirty. They are insanely corrupt. And yet, the last time I wrote about this, someone actually complained about it in the comment section:

The majority of the criminals out there are bad mouthing the police organization because they are upset they got busted. Documented are thousands of cases where police acted as heroes and law enforcers; no one seems to want to report or testify on their behalf, so I am. I respect the law enforcement organizations for what their true goals are and strongly suggest that people such as your selves find a new line of work.

Yeah, I'll stop complaining about police misconduct when police stop committing outrageous crimes. I appreciate good police work as much as anyone, but I won't ignore or forgive horrible misconduct just because other cops are doing their job. Most bus drivers aren't alcoholics, but that doesn't mean every incident of drunk bus driving should become a celebration of all the heroic bus drivers who don't go to work wasted.

One crooked cop is one too many. And if the good cops can’t get rid of the bad ones, then they're not exactly perfect either.
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"One crooked cop is one too many. And if the good cops can’t get rid of the bad ones, then they're not exactly perfect either."

Thank you. I've been saying similar things for years, and most people give me the same kind of response as that which you got from the commenter on your previous post. Thank you for giving me the perfect response to them.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

There have been good Officers in Philly

But as soon as the bad cops identify them the good cops get driven out of the force. Systematically and historically. So the good cops keep their mouths shut and their heads down.

Good Cop Bad Cop

"So the good cops keep their mouths shut and their heads down."

That would make them bad cops too.

I am not willing

to say that.

As a journalist in Philadelphia I saw the good officers do heroic things. A couple of times even risking their own lives to literally save the lives of unpopular people only to have the overwhelming majority of bad cops then drive them out of the force.

The good cops do what they can as they can and keep their heads down so that they can continue to do what they can when they can.

It is a difficult and dangerous situation in the Philadelphia police department. I have seen horrific things come from the rank and file. I have also seen totally selfless valor in spite of the risk to both life and career.

The media in Philadelphia does not support the good officers. Journalists on the street are either in from out of town sympathizers of the right-wing white police or cowed by the threat police can pose by simply not considering the safety of journalists during a dangerous event. I had police point guns at me for my taking pictures of their actions. I had numerous pictures of police palms on camera lenses. Such pictures were a joke in newsrooms.

Simply put, if the police do not allow you to gather the news you have become useless as a journalist. So you report what you can.

The same goes for officers trying to do right. You have to understand the risk to a good officer of not getting timely backup when you are confronting a deadly situation. Or the potential of other officers looking the other way at a critical moment in a deadly serious moment.

And it is not only Philadelphia. I quit journalism when I was told by a detective in the town I now live in that police and fire personnel would not watch my back at emergencies because I insisted on taking some pictures that they did not want taken. I was told directly, by a detective, that officers would go to court and lie under oath to get me off the street. I realized that my career was over because in an emergency environment everyone has to depend on everyone else. I could no longer make that assumption about the police and fire fighters I was covering.

What good police officers there are have to face this every day of their careers. And balance this with the need to get home safely to their families each and every day.

Police in America are absolutely corrupt and it is the lawlessness of the war on drugs that licenses that lawlessness. This is what started me on reform advocacy. The police corruption and how it extends into subversion of all of our democratic institutions.

Breaking Corruption

I'm guessing politicians fall into a similar dilemma.

That is why it is up to us to directly engage the public in a proper manner (not as weird-looking fools, but as composed, articulate, righteous, and charming people), doing what we can to put prohibitionists in a national or even international spotlight needing to answer tough questions we know they cannot sanely answer.

Much of the battle is being fought in comments sections of major sites where prohibitionists have not demonstrated any ability to form a single respectable argument to support drug prohibition.

All we need is a few politicians to step in the re-legalizing direction (which is apparently happening), and human nature and public opinion suggest other politicians will follow.

The crumbling of the corrupt prohibitionist "wall" may be near.

Stop calling them police and policy makers!

they are terrorists


I'm guessing politicians fall into a similar dilemma.

That is why it is up to us to directly engage the public in a proper manner (not as weird-looking fools, but as composed, articulate, righteous, and charming people), doing what we can to put prohibitionists in a national or even international spotlight needing to answer tough questions we know they cannot sanely answer.

Achtung! Questioning Authority is Verboten, re Prohibs

Criticizing corrupt cops doesn’t mean all cops are to be considered corrupt, but there are always some people who are into black-and-white absolutist thinking—no shades of gray allowed.  Then there are some people, most notably authoritarian followers, who think that any criticism of a perceived authority is taboo no matter how evil, corrupt, incompetent, wrong, pathological, or stupid some civil servant or despot happens to be.  We see this occurring at the highest levels of government time after time.

Focusing on this problem, sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists have demonstrated in scientific experiments that 10 to 12-percent of the authoritarian or master/slave behavior we witness within the government, and in particular the judicial system, derives from an evolved neurological wiring in the human brain.  What this means to reformers is that logic and reason are often useless when employed as a weapon against the gut (neurological) feelings people experience that ultimately motivates them to commit intolerant acts.

The research also explains why there is no cap for education or social status that limits certain people from reacting negatively toward those who question authority, or who defy some arbitrary and senseless demand for conformism.  We see highly trained judges and other well-heeled political professionals who naïvely perform their duties as if the state can do no wrong.  They believe that laws that enforce conformity for the sake of conformity are perfectly acceptable and useful for eliminating ‘undesirables’.  In this sense the drug warriors are championing the same tactics used by the Nazis to seize control of Weimar Germany.

Robert O. Paxton, who writes about fascist political movements, notes that a little bit of fascism can always be found in any society.  The trick in cases such as drug enforcement is to recognize the fascist pathology when it surfaces and to weed it out well before its roots can penetrate too deeply into the cracks of an already crumbling foundation of American democracy and freedom.


They are trained to respond that way in police academy!

Police undergo extensive psychological training in order to carry out lawful duties.

There are great cops. There are also those that are high school bullies that want to beat people up. The military, legal, teaching and medical professions have this as well.

The difference is you don't see doctors giving out the "you're going to wish we were there when you're in trouble" line... probably because with their higher education, they wouldn't use such a blunt and unsophisticated attempt at manipulation.

Of course, regardless of who is doing the whining, it still deserves an eyeroll.

dear writter and stoners

you all need to stop talking bad about law enforcement officers.My taxs dollars pay for them to do their job and they do it very well and if that means they gotta commit crime to get rid of paraphilena then im perfectly okay with that becouse then u hardcore druggies cant smoke your nasty crap cause eww why would you want to its a gateway drug and it makes you stupid ,you get volient and evil and do all these crazy ungoddley things .marijuana is the worst thing to ever be invented.i just drink my brother is in prison right now for having marijuana on him and i kept telling him its illegal and you deserve to get arrested and he did becouse i was right .in fact i was the one who informed the police he had marijuana in his house and how it was upsetting me that he thought it was okay and he needed to learn his lesson and pay for his criminal act i couldnt just sit there and let him break the guys are just bitching and talking shit about the police cause your not obeying the law and ur afraid of getting arrested .just do the world a favor and stop smoking weed cause its kills brain cells ruins the immune system gives you lung cancer and second hand smoke from marijuana is more dangerous than cigarette smoke . so shut up about what you say about the police they are enforcing the law that u horriable criminals break .that shits worse than rape and murder you make me sick


We make you sick? I know something that will kick that nausea in the butt! Or, you could just go vomit! The rest of the comment deserves no response or consideration, since it contains mostly a rant about things known to be untrue about that "evil weed"!. You write like an adolescent So, I could assume the lied about "your tax dollars", as well.

Drink your vodka, like an alcoholic, and you will be in your grave (one less drug warrior!) long before the pot smokers! That shit is poison! People die from alcohol poisoning every year! Ask any LEAP cop about the violence. It is booze that makes people violent and crazy, not weed!

I can't believe I answered a troll! Shame on me!

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