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NEWS & FORTEANA

To protect and to serve?

By guest editor Richard Caldwell

Posted December 03, 2015
Richard Caldwell on cops in America
Building trust and mutual respect: Community policing States style. © Ignatius Rake

Just when you thought American cops couldn't possibly get any worse...



Bad enough they kill more people than do some of the standing armies of the world.

Police in America are also more likely than many other occupations to commit acts of domestic violence.

And if recruits score too highly on an IQ test they are disallowed from joining the force, because intelligent cops are not what department heads are looking for.

Only bullies, sadomasochists and thugs need apply.


CONFISCATED AND RE-APPROPRIATED
Last year, the Justice Department deposited over $5bn (£3.3bn) into its asset forfeiture fund.

This is from the money and valuables confiscated and re-appropriated by law enforcement officials under whatever circumstances.

But the FBI reports that burglary losses topped out at $3.5bn for 2014.

This means that the monies taken by police officers from citizens was greater than the monies burgled from citizens by the more obvious ne'er-do-wells.

Doughnuts do not pay for themselves no matter how nicely you ask them to.

And talking to doughnuts is just weird anyhow and you should not let your mum down like that.


assets seized by US law enforcement versus property stolen through burglaries
Nothing to see here: This is an illegal gathering! Disperse! Disperse! Disperse! © Washington Post


CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE
Christopher Ingraham scribbled a thing about it for the Washington Post (and where the above graph comes from).

He wrote: "Officers can take cash and property from people without convicting or even charging them with a crime — yes, really! — through the highly controversial practice known as civil asset forfeiture."

He tries to explain away the actions of the keepers of the peace, however, in saying that the FBI also tracks property losses from larceny and theft, so that if one were to add up losses from all crimes then the bad guys would out-do the public servants.

As if this makes it any easier on the palate, comparing apples and oranges.

One is clearly a fruit whereas the other is where all sin comes from, unless my old Sunday school teacher was lying through her nicotine-stained dentures.

He further defends the servers of the public trust, protectors of the innocent and upholders of the law in saying: "The net assets of the funds are usually seen as a more stable indicator — those numbers show how much money is left over in the funds each year after the federal government takes care of various obligations, like payments to victims."

So, after the police pay their phone bills, purchase lingerie for undercover cops to entrap John Doe for prostitution and pay off the families of persons shot or beaten to death by the police themselves, then you get a smaller total of monies collected by law enforcement.

This changes everything.

When monkeys fly out of my butt.


GET YOUR CAMERAS OUT
Ingraham also fails to mention the stone-cold likelihood that not every single red cent taken by police actually ever finds its way onto official reports and into appropriate department bank accounts.

Ethical-anarchist Fred Woodworth, who has been faithfully self-publishing his mail-order periodical The Match since 1969, rightly refers to American police as the largest gang in the nation's history.

One other man hoping to help turn the tide is filmmaker Scott Marcano.

Some may recall his name as the screenwriter for, among other things, Bio-Dome.

In the many years since (along with becoming a graphic novelist and teaching high school kids how to be storytellers themselves), he has learned to use his powers for good, which of late involves making really awesome short documentaries for Brave New Films, such as the stirring, soon-to-be classic Film the Police, embedded below.


Film The Police from Scott Marcano on Vimeo.



REAFFIRM YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS
Granted, they may confiscate your cameras or smartphones as well, but if you must pull anything out to reaffirm your civil rights then it's a fair bet that any recording device would be safer for you than a gun.

Unless you're a minority and/or in a bad neighbourhood, in which case you'd probably need to have a Last Will and Testament pre-written and notarised.

But many cops are possibly prone to checking themselves out in the mirror at home as they masturbate, so the right policeman may honestly appreciate the special attention, inferring how photogenic they are in that moustache and those shades.

In closing digression, police officers in America are scary and I am scared and if anybody would let me come over and crash on their couch for a bit that would be fantastic.

I will scrub toilets.

Seriously, please help.


See also Practical Lovers, posted 11/11/15.


Richard Caldwell
used to write for the now sadly defunct New Comics Day. Fortunately, his writings still abound elsewhere on the interweb, such as on his flippin' ace blog that you are strongly advised to check out here.



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