Fueling the flames

After officer Darren Wilson was not indicted in the shooting of unarmed teen, Michael Brown, Ferguson Missouri erupted

Published: Dec. 1, 2014

Police have a different set of rules than the rest of society, and that is a problem.

People opt for the burly alpha type personality to fill police roles, hoping that the strength of conscience will protect them. The sense of moral vindication in its ideal is supposed to be beneficial to the masses and is tinted by rose colored glasses. But what moral superiority really equates to is two distinct sets of rules.

It makes sense that a person commissioned to protect society would need to be protected from what the dark facets of the world make them do. Batman the Dark Knight comes to mind as this symbol of a man who does what he has to for the greater good, but at the cost of minority rights.

Rodney King was filmed being beaten and bludgeoned by several officers to submission in 1992 according to a CNN documentary “Race and Rage: The Beating of Rodney King.” In 1999, Riverside local Tyisha Miller was shot in her car while she was passed out, possibly on the date rape drug GHB, with a gun in her lap, according to the Los Angeles Times. Oscar Grant was caught on multiple cell phone cameras being shot in the back while he was restrained on the ground by police, later causing his death.

The rationale for each of these cases, that we don’t argue with, is that the police felt frightened and the victim was aggressive so the use of force was justified.

If any of us killed someone and claimed self defense the case would be carefully scrutinized and any suspicious activity, like washing off blood or moving the body would be looked at as foul play. Our history would be carefully combed and character witnesses would have to testify on our behalf. In addition, any criminal record from our past that we might be trying to move past would be brought into the picture. All the mistakes of our youth with stolen cars and drug use would be clear indications of our deserving strict punishment and would impact jury decisions.

The difference between the case with us that would likely end with us spending decades in prison for murder and where Darren Wilson was acquitted of all charges for shooting Michael Brown is not the severity of the crime, but the punishment for it.

Legally police have more right to commit agitated murder than anyone else. If Wilson were a white male construction worker, and he got into a heated fight with a punk 18 year  black male for walking down the street, which escalated to murder, he would be charged in an open court for murder, or manslaughter and aggravated assault.

“So you give me, at the end of this training you give me the badge,” said Instructor of Administration of Justice Oliver Thompson in a earlier interview on a different topic. “You give me the gun, you give me all the implements of my office, don’t come down on me at the end with Kelley Thomas and say I’ve done something wrong.”

After a crime is committed, Police must isolate witnesses before proceeding with interviews, according to Clay Hodson, criminal investigation instructor.

But when an officer is involved in a crime, officers are responsible for interviewing the witnesses, officers are responsible for containing the crime scene and officers are responsible for conducting how to proceed.

The first officer on scene likely knows the officer who committed the crime. Or was he called in as backup? Is he then the responding officer, or an additional suspect.

The parameters are clear in the case of murder, and controversies are avoided by distinct laws that establish parameters from self defense to intent and malice.

When an officer becomes angry out of adrenaline from a situation it’s no longer within the confines of the law for people, but within the law for officers. At the point an officers feels threatened his aggravated responses are justifiable.

“Police today don’t be bull*****, they take your ass out, dog, you know what I mean,” said Herman Johnson, a convicted felon for manslaughter. “I can’t be mad though. Them motha***** was doin’ they job.”

Johnson went to prison for 15 years for manslaughter after he fired at a man in a club who had earlier shot his afro.

Police are like gang members, but they’re just on the other side, according to “Rampage,” a member of the Insane branch of the Crip gang.

“Can we be a gang? sure we can be a gang,” said Thompson. “(Maybe) a person says they found narcotics when in fact they didn’t.”

Like a gang, police operate by a code or set of rules.

“Snitches have been killed,” Thompson said. “Police officers have been killed.”

According to Thompson, police, like gang members can be killed or brutally beaten for crossing the Blue Wall of Silence, a code that police operate under to protect their own and ensure trust.

The similarities in function and creed between police and gang members are innumerable. But when a gang member is murdered no one cares. When a gang member is murdered by an officer no one cares.

“That’s part of the game,” Rampage said.

But when an innocent person is killed by a gang member police phase in a unilateral crackdown to appease society.

But when an innocent is killed by an officer, the rules change.

“All it needs is to have people willing to stand up to the bullies,” Thompson said.

The riots in Ferguson Missouri and across the nation are a moment of outrage at a system that let’s their sons and daughters die in the streets without repercussions. For years people have expressed outrage through social unrest at the system through cases like Grant, King and Brown. Despite progress, cases like Brown’s still show how far the system needs to come before it truly looks out for the people.