There Is Nothing More Dangerous Than A Coward With A Badge And A Gun

There Is Nothing More Dangerous Than A Coward With A Badge And A Gun

Philip a.k.a. Mitch Brailsford is a coward with a badge and a gun.

The footage and audio would be comedic if it didn’t end so horribly:  Barney Fife thinking he was a big tough SWAT officer, screaming angry, incessant, and contradictory orders at Daniel Shaver, a man who is not resisting but is thoroughly confused by the barrage of bullying commands hurled at him.

Yes, bullying.  Brailsford’s high pitched screams have nothing to do with law enforcement, nothing to do with maintaining order.

They’re the sounds a coward with a badge and a gun screaming his dominance at a victim.

I know there are a lot of people who are going to be pissed off by this, who will say “cops have tough jobs” and that is true.

But Brailsford is a coward and a punk and should never have been allowed on the force in the first place.

The police in responding to reports of a man pointing a gun out a hotel window were correct to approach the situation with caution.

But as it was not an active shooter situation, they had no knowledge a crime had indeed been committed.

Requesting Shaver and his guests to leave the room and comply with reasonable requests to let the police know they had no hostile intent was completely within the bounds of good police work.

But Brailsford didn’t approach it that way.  Instead of remaining calm and courteous -- and thus de-escalating the situation -- he exacerbated it by screaming hysterically at the suspects, threatening them again and again with death if they dared disobey his slightest command.

That’s not a police officer.

That’s a coward.

A punk.

A bully.

We’ve been militarizing our police forces for the last 27 years, giving them weapons designed to kill and intimidate, encouraging them to think of themselves as “new centurions” as Joseph Wambaugh observed.

They are too often not thinking of themselves as citizens who perform policing duties in our communities, but rather an occupying army facing hostile resistance.

I think this and the recent 2nd degree murder sentencing in South Carolina of a policeman who shot a fleeing unarmed suspect in the back are two different state judicial systems attempting to address the same problem.

In South Carolina,  ex-cop Michael Slager pled guilty to second degree murder in the unlawful killing of Walter Scott during a traffic stop.

South Carolina law enforcement realized they had to do something to appease the African-American community so they charged Slager -- who committed a pretty egregious offence and was caught doing so on camera -- got him to plead guilty, and make him a sacrificial lamb to protect the system by saying, “Hey, it works.”

The Arizona jury said, “Let’s show ‘em cops are impartial by forgiving him for killing an unarmed white man.”

This is wrong. 

It has got to stop.

There is a better way.

Given the task of organizing London’s police force in 1822, Sir Robert Peel -- he whom the “bobbies” are named after -- developed a guide to law enforcement commonly known as policing by consent.

It’s the form of law enforcement used in the United Kingdom and other countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand that is marked by its steadfastness under pressure, its resolute determination to treat all persons considerately and fairly, to de-escalate rather than confront, and to use the cooperation of the public as the primary means of maintaining law and order.

Countries following Peel’s principles have vastly lower numbers of police shootings than the United States.

Arizona police shot and killed more people in that state in 2016 that all the police in England killed in the last 27 years.

Arizona has a population of seven million; England has a population of 53 million.

Peel’s nine principles were as follows:

  1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
  2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
  3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
  4. To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
  5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
  6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
  7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
  8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary, of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
  9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

The number of unjustified killings by police in America is ridiculously high.  We have got to get rid of the idea that police are combat troops suppressing a hostile defeated citizenry and replace it with a more rational and realistic approach to law enforcement.

© Buzz Dixon

Past Parallels To Ponder:  France

Past Parallels To Ponder: France