The Pathos of Politics (112-12) US Policing continued 4


There appears to be a relationship between reduced motivation as a result of negative publicity and less willingness to work directly with community members to solve problems. ~ American criminologist Scott Wolfe

In 2015, waves of public indignation against police brutality drew a response. Like a bully playing the victim at being chastised, American police whimpered to the press about their law enforcement efforts not being appreciated.

 Body Cameras

In response to public frustration with police violence and unaccountability, police officers were increasingly equipped with body cameras in the early 2110s. Police agencies quickly lost their enthusiasm, because those darn things just cost too much. As of 2017, fewer than 25% of officers on crime duty wore cameras.

Even when body cameras do record gratuitous police violence, it seldom results in accountability. The supreme court has ruled that juries must respect an assertion by police that their violence was justified because they felt threatened.

Studies have repeatedly shown that people are on their best behavior when they think they are being watched. This is a hoary tenet. The invention of an omniscient, moral god was devised with this mind. Evidence shows that body cameras make no difference in police conduct.

We are unable to detect any statistically significant effects. ~ American sociologist David Yokum et al, in 2017, concluding from a large-scale study the effect that body cameras had on police behavior

  Alex Wubbels

People need to know that this is out there. ~ American nurse Alex Wubbels, on police bullying and brutality

On 26 July 2017, University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit head nurse, Alex Wubbels, told Salt Lake City police detective Jeff Payne that he was not allowed to draw blood from a badly-burned patient. Detective Payne did not have a warrant, and the patient was not conscious, so he could not give consent. Without that, the detective was barred from collecting blood samples by basic constitutional law. The supreme court affirmed in 2016 that warrantless blood tests were illegal.

Still, Payne insisted that he take the blood, telling the nurse that she would be arrested and charged if she refused. Wubbels politely stood her ground.

Payne snapped: seizing Wubbels, shoving her out of the building, and roughly cuffing her behind her back. Another officer arrived and told Wubbels she was obstructing justice. Police cameras recorded Payne’s lawless assault.

In the aftermath, Wubbels was released without charges. Payne was fired, and his commander demoted. The city paid Wubbels $500,000 in settlement for its criminal acts.

The police have to police themselves. ~ Alex Wubbels

  Keyarika Diggles

Body cameras worn by Jasper, Texas police showed 2 white officers grab Keyarika Diggles, slam her head on a counter, pull her hair and then drag her across the floor by her feet. Diggles, a black woman, was in jail for an unpaid $100 traffic ticket, which she had been paying off in installments. The arrest that had jailed her had been illegal.

City officials later settled a civil rights lawsuit by Diggles for $75,000. The 2 policemen were fired, but no criminal charges were brought against them.

  Sattar Ali

They didn’t say why or what happened or what did we do. We had no idea what the arrest was for. ~ Sattar Ali

In September 2017, Iraqi-American Sattar Ali tried to deposit a check for $151,000 into his account in a Wichita, Kansas bank; the proceeds of the sale of his family’s home in Michigan. Ali supplied verification documents to the bank, but the bank called the cops nonetheless. Police duly came and arrested Ali, slapping him in handcuffs, along with his weeping wife, 15-year-old daughter, and 11-year-old son. Ali was grilled for 3 hours before the police released him without charges.

The police publicly lied about their abuse and mistaken arrest. The bank publicly congratulated itself on its racist misconduct. It’s the American way.

Does Wichita not welcome any foreigners? Then tell us. Be up front and forward with people and say, you are not welcome in our city. ~ Sattar Ali

  Mary Hawkes

6 officers were on the scene – wearing body cameras – when 19-year-old Mary Hawkes was shot down in cold blood by an Albuquerque, New Mexico police officer. The body camera of officer Jeremy Dear was not recording as he pumped 5 bullets into Mary Hawkes at point-blank range.

Police said that none of the police body cameras on the scene recorded anything relevant. Albuquerque custodian of police records Reynaldo Chavez said it was routine for officials to delete, alter, or refuse to release footage owing to “political calculations.” That moment of truth got him fired.

Police body cameras are just a façade for the public. ~ Mary Alice Hawkes, mother of murdered Mary Hawkes


American police throughout the nation continue to abuse citizens on a daily basis, especially blacks: beating, maiming, and killing without accountability. Beyond occasional empty words of regret, government indifference means there is no end in sight to police brutality.

The refusal of juries to convict or even indict cops in the face of the most damning evidence only reinforces the fact that police have endless system accessories for remaining above the law. ~ Kali Holloway