I saw this survey up in a general news post before I saw it mentioned at Simple Justice, but I was too busy/lazy to say anything then. I have seen examples of it in some cases I've worked on as well - one that comes to mind is a case where a bunch of big cops arrested an almost 70-year old man and the man ended up with pretty severe trauma. Admittedly, he was arrested for potentially shooting a rifle at the police, but they really did not need to rough him up like he was.
I'm sure in a lot of situations it is more adrenaline than malice that leads to the massive beatings, but really, cops should know better and should be better trained than that. Probably it is a personality thing. I had a case where I needed to call a bunch of police witnesses. I ended up talking to one of them before the hearing for a while. He was a nice enough guy, probably in his mid-20s, and he was on the night shift. I asked him if he did not like working off hours, and he said no, he loved it. He said that he did not become a cop to talk to people and make nice, he wanted to bust heads (I'm not sure he said exactly that, but that is the gist of it). He did not say it with malice. I'm sure what he was getting at was that there just was much more "action" late at night. Generally you don't find good citizens doing good citizen things at 3 am, if watching "Cops" is any indication. So anyone you find out that late is probably doing something they could be arrested for, may be intoxicated, and is thus ripe for a confrontation with police. I can certainly see how that would be unlikely to be boring.
I don't really know what you can do about this, other than charging police with crimes (as they should be, under the law) when they assault those they arrest, and that is about as likely to happen as Dick Cheney making gay porn. Oh wait, he's a Republican, maybe that isn't so unlikely after all.
As always, when it comes to police and prosecutors, the question becomes, who watches the watchers?
4 years ago