Over the past few years we have witnessed police abuse of power on a visceral level unknown throughout our history. The almost universality of the camera phone, the increased use of police dashboard cameras, and the early implementation of police body cameras, have brought the public right into the midst of police/public interaction.
The murder of Laquan McDonald, shot 16 times by a Chicago Police officer, and the attempted cover up, caused the resignation of Gerry McCarthy, the police chief of one of the largest departments in the country. And soon after, the defeat of powerful Cook County States Attorney, Anita Alvarez. Many suspect that Mayor Rahm Emanuel will also be unable to wipe the blood of Mr. McDonald off in time to save his next election bid.
Lest we sleep, police unions, and “law and order” politicians are, of course, fighting back. Oh, that they would be fighting back with better oversight, removal of criminal police officers from their rolls, renewed programs to build relationships with the communities they serve, or an end to racial profiling and “stop-and-frisk” citizen stops. What a blessing this would be!
But no, instead, they are digging in, as an occupying force would be expected to do.