The Myth of “Rights”

We live in a free country where the rule of law forbids the police from abusing individuals. We have constitutionally guaranteed rights which cannot be over-ridden by the police, prosecutors or judges.

Yes that’s the myth.

The reality is different.

We all know that the police cannot force their way into your home without a warrant. Jason Alan Kemp was suspected of reckless driving in Grand Junction, Colorado in 2010. Kemp denied the police entry into his home since they had no warrant. The police kicked in his door, sprayed him with pepper spray and then shot and killed him.

Ordinarily things that happen in public can be recorded.

But when Melvin Jones was being beat by the Police in Springfield, Massachusetts, Tyrishia Greene videorecorded the assault. Though Jones was blinded in one eye and suffered multiple skull fractures, the police weren’t  charged. No, the police filed a criminal complaint against Tyrishia reinterpreting videorecording as illegal wiretapping.

If an officer stops  but does not arrest you, you have no obligation to answer questions and may leave. That’s the law but it didn’t work for Jesse Kersey, a mentally handicapped teenager. Jesse has a speech impediment which the officers determined to be evidence of disrespect. Although wanted for no crime, Jesse was tasered, pepper sprayed and body slammed into a squad car.

Every year there are 3445 reports of police misconduct involving 4778 victims of police abuse. 258 of these victims died as a result.

One of 266 police officers have been accused of a violent crime. One of 947 officers were accused of sexual assault. And one of  1875 officers have been accused of killing someone.

We delegate authority to the police as a safeguard. The police alone may exercise physical force even deadly force as necessary. But that delegation is contingent upon the police using this power lawfully. Increasingly, the police fail to police themselves. The death penalty is not the proper punishment for reckless driving. Beating and tasering is not the proper way to deal with a mentally handicapped teen who has committed no crime.



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