Salt Lake City, Utah (TFC) – The Utah Fraternal Order of Police hosted an event for more than 70 law enforcement agencies. The local media dutifully touted it as a way to reduce violence and some form of community outreach, apparently they didn’t examine the message very closely. The propaganda effort is, unsurprisingly, being conducted in a state where cops kill more people than drug dealers or gang bangers. It’s being conducted in a city that had a DA elected after promises of holding police to account for their actions. There has not been a single conviction.
The premise behind the program is as Stalinesque as they come. The advertising for the program paints it as something that helps officers and the community step into each other’s shoes. However, rather than address the fact that officers consistently use excessive force, it’s designed as a mobile reeducation center to convince people to “play the yes sir, no sir game” when dealing with officers. In other words, comply or die. For officers, the training revolves around attempting to alter the community’s perception of excessive force, rather than actually stopping it. During the class in Utah, officers were advised to go to neighbors after they bust down a door to execute a search warrant to explain why it was done. Nothing says “safe community” like terrorizing one family with a no-knock raid and then going and knocking on all the doors in the neighborhood to confront those families and scare them as well. More importantly, what are the officers going to say? It’s doubtful they will act with a presumption of innocence and therefore open the department up to a lawsuit.
The speaker at the event said, “Who is going to re-educate people who have been educated in a negative way? You!” Yes, it really is designed as a reeducation program.
The name of the organization is “Why’d You Stop Me.” There’s a 17-minute commercial available on YouTube that showcases some of the advice they are giving to kids who endure the reeducation program. Even in the video designed to make the organization look as if it is something other than a propaganda effort, the one-sided message provided by the organization that incorporates “the thin blue line” into its logo is apparent.
The video starts by displaying a badge wrapped with the “thin blue line,” which has become synonymous with police cover-ups, brutality, and misconduct. It then shows a series of clips of officers being beaten or shot. Then after endorsements from a bunch of members of the thin blue line, it displays: “121 Police Officers died in 2014 while protecting the communities they serve.”
With all of the images of violence, the message is clear: 121 cops were killed by criminals last year alone. Of course, that isn’t anywhere near the truth. According to the ODMP (the cited source in the video), the actual number of line of duty deaths was 134. However, they weren’t all beat to death or gunned down by merciless criminals. 2 were killed by other cops, 19 had heart attacks, 7 died from a “9/11 related illness,” 41 were killed in car accidents of some sort, and so on. Less than half of that number were actually killed by the actions of criminals. There’s no telling how many were killed during excessive force scenarios they provoked or by conducting no-knock raids against people that would have otherwise been nonviolent. It makes no mention of the number of unarmed civilians killed by cops during the same year. It makes no mention of the number of people killed by cops at all. That number is 1104. Seems like it would be worth mentioning that cops are killing civilians at a ratio of 20:1.
At 8:21 in the video the speaker states: “If you guys act respectfully, you get through that contact alive.” Seems to me that simply being unarmed should be enough to get through the contact alive. Just like World War II propaganda films, it shows successful conversions of people that didn’t respect police officers, who now say they do. They must be very proud to be able to trick a child from an underfunded inner-city school by feeding them lies and half-truths, but what is going to happen when that child sees a cop beat someone to death because they weren’t acting respectfully?
The primary speaker is obviously some form of social worker, anthropologist, or psychologist, right? Nope. He’s a cop. He works for Long Beach Police Department. He’s a member of the thin blue line. Why should we have expected anything else?
Why does Utah need some form of propaganda effort to reeducate the population? It probably has something to do with the fact that becoming a homicide victim at the hands of police is the most likely way of becoming a homicide victim in the state except for domestic violence, but we don’t have the numbers to determine how many domestic violence victims were killed by partners who are law enforcement. A cursory search found at least 4.
One Utah incident that has made headlines recently because the cop taunted the family of the unarmed man he killed is the case of Joey Tucker. Tucker was in some form of medical or emotional distress when an officer shot him three times. Even though the video clearly shows the officer’s statements to be false, and the new DA, Sim Gill, campaigned on holding police accountable and once wrote a paper lamenting the law enforcement community’s practice of not properly investigating crimes, no charges have been filed. Two videos of Tucker’s execution and screenshots of the Facebook conversation in which the cop says the son’s life was only worth $100,000 are available here.
Welcome to a society that will allow the population to be reeducated to accept brutality and violence, rather than ending it. We are headed to a hellish future where the security services of the United States are permitted to behave as judge, jury, and executioner while the public is expected to cheer at their own executions.