“Dominate?” We Are in This Mess Because of Police Domination

Posted by Rob Uriostegui on June 3, 2020

Police Domination: George Floyd

June 3, 2020

By Rob Uriostegui ESQ
robu@margolinlawrence.com
 

On a conference call with governors, Trump used the word “dominate” on how to deal with the civil unrest throughout the country. ( https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-united-states-governors-weak-dominate-protest-civil-unrest/ ) This completely misses the point, lacks leadership, and is dangerous. This is how we got into this mess to begin with. The cure for a disease is not more of the disease. Police domination is ineffective and lazy police work. For example, the “light ‘em up!” police strategy of shooting citizens with paint rounds, who were merely standing on their porch, was appalling in Minneapolis. (https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2020/05/30/light-em-up-video-appears-to-show-law-enforcement-shooting-paint-rounds-at-citizens-on-their-porch/ ) Storm troopers marching through residential neighborhoods terrorizing citizens is counterproductive, especially in the time of social media. This picture just demands more protest. This type of police domination is only going to further agitate an already fed up public with police brutality. They were on their own porch, not out on public property. Stop this literalist stupidity by cops.

Santa Monica was another place of police lunacy. While looters were rampaging stores, and as Journalist Merle Ginsberg put it, “police didn’t seem particularly eager to engage with looters…,” the Santa Monica Police chose to dominate peaceful protestors instead. Probably, it is safer to exert dominance over peaceful protestors or a handcuffed black man, as Derek Chauvin did with George Floyd before the murder, instead of confronting the looters. This is the root of the problem. Bad and ineffective police work. The frustration is that police actions are at times so off point and clueless that it begs the question why are they even in law enforcement if they cannot discern the difference between the constitutional activity of free speech from criminal activity or a threat from a non-threat?

Governor Cuomo was right about saying the NYPD failed to do their job in protecting property. ( https://www.lohud.com/story/news/politics/2020/06/02/cuomo-rips-police-mayor-de-blasio-after-rioting-nyc-new-york-city/3123904001/ ) All of the police across the country are failing to do their jobs. Yet they are dominating the streets as several viral videos show. Instead of having roving patrol units patrolling Santa Monica’s retail districts and dealing with the looters, Santa Monica had all their officers making googly eyes and mad-dogging peaceful protestors. Insane. An effort to recall Santa Monica Police Chief is now underway. (http://www.surfsantamonica.com/ssm_site/the_lookout/news/News-2020/June-2020/06_01_2020_Petition_Circulates_to_Recall_Police_Chief.html )

Stay focused police! Do your job! Engage the looters and leave the protestors alone. It’s not that hard. This incompetence is just fueling the people’s anger. Why are you showing “police dominance” against peaceful protestors while a few blocks away looters were operating unabated? The police should stop this feckless dominance and be more concerned about substance and effectiveness than form and appearance.

The people are reasonable and just. They will not protest the arrest of criminals even if force is used if it’s justified and properly used. But when the police kill or maim for no good reason, the people will no longer tolerate it. Unbridled police domination is the very reason why we are here. It is a losing police strategy just inviting more unrest because Americans are not cowards and will stand up.

With over 40 million out of work, the last thing we need is an escalation of force by police targeting innocent citizens. You do not have enough police to dominate over 300 million Americans. These acts of domination by police over innocent people are getting caught on many cell phone cameras and going viral. These viral videos of meaningless police overreaction, basically overkill, will just add to the narrative that police are out of control and action must be taken. These videos will serve as a recruitment for more protestors. The people have had enough of police conduct that lacks proportionality and respect for human dignity. Yet our leaders do not understand this. They want more of the same. Domination. This is shameful.

Trump’s call for police to “dominate” is a call for insanity. Einstein said insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The proper response to police brutality is not more police brutality. That’s insane. It is a failure in leadership that invites chaos and offers no boundaries or barriers to keep police violence in check. We are here because of police domination that has run amok for years. Failing to provide guidance and discipline to police officers is a game of Russian roulette. Cops cannot make their own rules for policing. They must be told by leadership on how to be a cop. Police must follow standardized protocols or disciplined if they do not without reasonable justification. Cops cannot have absolute discretion. It invites trouble. At a minimum, if a cop continually fails to turn on his body cam, he must be terminated.

Our courts have invalidated laws that gave unfettered discretion to officers because such discretion invites abuse towards civil liberties and is antithetical to democracy. You know what they say about absolute power, yes absolutely it corrupts. When police authority is not restrained by strict guidance from leadership, we do not have “a government of law, not of men.” When we tell our cops to dominate, we are telling them to act on their emotions and not on reason and professionalism. Proliferation of emotions by the police and protestors solves nothing and only makes the problem worse.

No one wants to admit it but, there is a sinister element among our police officers. There are some individuals that join the force to satisfy their sick desire to exert power over his fellow man just for the thrill of it. The video depicting the premeditated murder of George Floyd shows a demented sadist criminal dominating a defenseless human being for no good reason. This type of psychopathic individuals thrive in an undisciplined environment and go undetected. Giving them the green light to dominate is a crime against humanity. And if we do not require more from leadership to take better steps in restraining police use of force, you might be their next victim.

Lack of discipline and control over our police, also, threatens to make good cops bad cops. Undisciplined officers lead to dehumanization of people. When cops see others as less deserving of respect, cops will resort to shortcuts. “Let me just put my knee on his neck to teach him a lesson.” “Us vs. them” mentality by police is a crime against liberty. Our leaders, especially the President, cannot enable these proclivities. How many police officers were corrupted by the Commander in Chief’s unlawful order to clear out peaceful protestors with teargas, so he can get a photo op in front of a church? These types of orders are counter to police officers’ oaths to uphold the Constitution and lessens the sanctity of the Constitution in their minds. If the Constitution is not respected by our President. How can we expect our police to respect it? (https://www.npr.org/2020/06/01/867532070/trumps-unannounced-church-visit-angers-church-officials ) This leads to good cops to bad cops and a green light for sick sadist cops to satisfy their sick thrills.

Eradicating police brutality is a taunting task. Some parts of police culture have a dark aspect. It has no use for patience and tolerance. Effectively, cops are like mini-Judge Judies. “I know everything already. Stop wasting my time with your bs explanation.” This abrasive and rash thinking may be entertaining for tv. It certainly not proper for policing. Some police see patience as a weakness. This is so deadly. We have had so many dead unarmed victims of police brutality. This impatience is endemic amongst police as illustrated by tweets from a former police union lawyer. Her racist tweets basically said the protestors and looters should be shot. ( https://abc7.com/sports/usc-cuts-ties-with-booster-over-controversial-tweets/6225215/) Imagine this is a lawyer talking. No respect for human dignity. The ignorant lawyer should know due process even protects looters. Even if this tweet came from a fit of anger, it came from a dark place that explains dark police culture. The lack of respect for human dignity by police has brought this civil unrest.

Trump’s tough guy talk about the Insurrection Act of 1807 and bringing in the military to get “law and order” is complete foolishness. ( https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-insurrection-act-deploy-us-troops-2020-6 )This is not World Wrestling Entertainment with actors making tough guy promos. This is reality. We do not use our own troops against our own citizens. That’s called civil war. Retired military leaders are warning against this. The reasons opposing troops facing off with American civilians are obvious. There is no insurrection! There is no rebellion!

The Romans had a law that prohibited its military from entering Rome to avoid a coup. Caesar crossed the Rubicon River with his troops and entered Rome. This was in violation of Roman law that led to civil war and the beginning of Caesar’s dictatorship. We do not need Trump to “cross the Rubicon.”

Of course, most cops are good cops. But that’s not the point. Look at what one cop, Derek Chauvin, was able to do by being allowed to dominate. What about all the other Chauvins that do not get caught because no video. Total destruction of human beings. So yes, if you want America to be further destroyed have your cops dominate. The better route is for leadership to dominate the rank and file of cops with guidance, instruction, oversight and discipline. It is more efficient and cost effective to keep the police in line with good leadership than to have the police dominate the people. America does not need another vicious cycle of violence akin to the Vietnam or Balkan conflicts. If we want the protestors to be non-violent, shouldn’t we expect the same from our cops?

For more information about this post, contact Margolin & Lawrence.

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