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Bashing Critics Of Brutality Betrays Efforts To Help Police

By       Message Linn Washington       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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opednews.com Headlined to H1 12/23/14

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Last fall an apparently unbalanced survivalist steeped in anti-government paranoia murdered a Pennsylvania State Trooper and seriously wounded another Trooper during a sniper attack. Recently an apparently unbalanced man with a criminal past murdered two New York City policemen as they sat in their patrol car hours after he allegedly shot a former girl friend.

Authorities said Eric Frien, the man now charged with attacking the State Troopers, acted out of anti-government beliefs to "wake people up" because he wanted to make a "change in government."

Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the man who executed those two New York City policemen before he shot himself on a subway platform acted out of beliefs opposed to police brutality according to announcements from authorities based on Brinsley's Internet postings.

Brinsley shot the officers as revenge for the police killings of Eric Garner in the Stanton Island section of New York City and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, authorities said. Brinsley rode a bus from Baltimore to NYC, authorities said, after shooting his former girl friend. In NYC, Brinsley went to Brooklyn where he randomly shot Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were on a temporary assignment.

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The murderous act of the unbalanced Eric Frien and the murderous act of the unbalanced Brinsley however have triggered starkly different responses from law enforcement supporters.

Few law enforcement supporters publicly berated the entire anti-government movement during or after the 48-day search that captured Frien -- a manhunt that cost over $10-million.

Yet, shortly after those brutal murders by Brinsley, many supporters of law enforcement unleashed a barrage of caustic barbs at the anti-brutality movement and persons targeted by law enforcement supporters for backing anti-brutality protests. Law enforcement supporters are incensed by the anti-brutality protests during the past few weeks.

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Those law enforcement supporters that linked the lone act of Brinsley to all critics of police brutality did not link the lone act of Frien to all critics that consider government as the enemy. While anti-brutality protests are predominately peaceful although sometimes raucous, anti-government activism includes vocal proponents whose adherents have a history of violent often murderous attacks police and prosecutors unlike persons that regularly protest against police abuses.

The starkly different responses from law enforcement supporters to these murderous attacks on police in Pennsylvania and NYC are stark and illustrate how police defenders are not working to ensure that the American justice system is truly just.

Law enforcement supporters vigorously and persistently oppose both criticism of police abuses (criticism protected by First Amendment rights) and limited reforms initiated to reduce police abuses -- even limited reforms that ironically would eliminate abuses and the need to criticize police. In 1992, New York City police staged a violent protest outside that that town's City Hall in opposition of then Mayor David Dinkins support of an independent civilian complaint review board to monitor abuses by police.

Law enforcement supporters consistently claim critics of police abuses radiate a blind hatred of all police. Supporters' imply that this hatred is embedded in the collective DNA of critics. Yet, as one NYC activist noted on the eve of the 1999 trial for one of the NYPD officers charged with the brutal beating and broomstick sodomizing assault on Abner Louima: "We're not anti-police. We're anti-police state."

Anti-brutality protestors condemn the legacy of double standards under which authorities on the one hand will proclaim their allegiance to "law-&-order," while on the other they will remain oblivious to illegal brutality by police. A 1994 report on police corruption in NYC stated police department supervisors encouraged a tolerance of unnecessary force.

America's legacy of accommodation toward abuses by law enforcement was cited in an April 2014 report from the United Nation's Human Rights Committee. That report, virtually uncovered by American mainstream media condemned excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, racial profiling by police and racial disparities in the criminal justice system among other human rights violations in the United States.

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"The Committee is concerned about the still high number of fatal shootings by certain police forces"" that U.N. reported stated. That report urged American authorities to prosecute "perpetrators" of police abuse -- a suggestion not implemented in the cases of Brown, Garner and other news making police abuse incidents in the months following released of that U.N. report.

The conclusions of that UN report clash with views of law enforcement and their supporters. The head of the national police union, Fraternal Order of Police President Chuck Canterbury, said "I don't believe there are systemic problems in law enforcement," during a recent "Meet the Press" television program. Canterbury also said, "We believe the existing system works," countering criticisms leveled at failures of grand juries and police department internal investigators to hold police accountable for abusive misconduct.

Caustic criticism from some law enforcement supporters in the wake of the tragic New York City police murders have elevated the inane to the absurd.

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Linn Washington is a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and This Can't Be Happening. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and failings of the news media. He teaches multi-media urban (more...)

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