A police officer’s open letter and a response from Charles Rae

Raleigh, NC. (TFC) – This is an excerpt from an open letter written by a white female cop. We hear the rhetoric that most cops are good, normal people thrown around after every publicized police attack on citizens and it’s time to put them to bed. I’m gonna break down some reasons why these sentiments are dangerous.

COPS ARE PRODUCTS OF CORRUPT INSTITUTIONS

Citizens protesting the institution of the police force is not the same thing as protesting individuals. If individual “bad cops” can make it onto the force and brutalize and kill civilians then there is something wrong with the system. It is the system we protest to hold these “bad” individuals accountable, it is the system we blame for corruption for giving these “bad” men badges, it is the system we want reformed. It is the system we blame for not serving killer cops justice after the fact.

POLICE WHO DON’T MURDER ON-DUTY AREN’T “GOOD COPS”

We cannot have a complete or comprehensive dialog if language is vague and abstract. What does “bad” and “good” mean in this context? If by “bad” we mean killer cops, or cops who brutalize, intimidate, or otherwise act like thugs in uniform, we have a serious problem even if it is only a fraction of the police force. If by “good” we mean manages to do their job without killing citizens, which is how it is being used in the context of calling killer cops “bad”, then I don’t even think we need to talk about these cops because they are not spectacular law enforcers for managing not to kill civilians while on duty. That’s a low bar to set.

COPS ARE NOT AUTONOMOUS ACTORS

The actual job of an officer is not to “do good” in society. The job of the police is to keep society running smoothly by following orders. The smoothness of society is determined by corporate interests, not social ones. It doesn’t matter how good they are or want to be, they have do follow their orders or face the consequences. Hence: cops don’t find lines for soup kitchens so they can feed and house the homeless, they patrol the lines to make sure no one is fighting or “causing a disturbance.”

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COPS HAVE BACKUP AND ARE TRAINED TO USE LETHAL FORCE

Cops are not like you or I when they have their uniforms on or off. They are part of an elite, idealised military force. They have state sanctioned weapons, complex structures of back up, intense training in violence, access to militarized weapons and gear, such as tanks and military grade guns. They have radio stations, partners, and trained dogs at their disposal. Access to “riot” gear and, now, unmanned drone bombs. They have ‘in case homicide committed on duty’ written into their career contracts. They are not average citizens. Obviously.

GOOD COPS WOULD CONDEMN POLICE BRUTALITY

If you deign to fancy yourself a “good cop,” but in light of publicised and public police perpetrated executions attempt to obfuscate the truth, derail righteous criticism of a violent racist and sexist system, and attempt to change the conversation in lieu of your personal feelings, you’re not only being completely disingenuous, but outright obtuse. Any “good cop,” in the true sense of what we know it means to do good, would never redirect the conversation in an attempt to confused the citizens they intend to serve. Any and all commentary and energy would be focused on condemning the injustice you are claiming to be on the other side of.

Follow Charles Rae for women-centered news at The Fem Column.