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Wayne Post
  • BENJAMIN WACHS: Bad cops must be bounced

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  • I havenít seen anyone say this yet, so apparently it needs to be said:
    A police officer who canít handle three law-abiding kids waiting for a bus without arresting them is a terrible cop.
    It doesnít matter what the kids look like, or if the store owner has complained about other kids harassing his customers: If the best way an officer can see to handle three law-abiding kids waiting for a bus is to arrest them, he has no place dealing with the public.
    And if that cop is approached by a school coach, a responsible adult, who vouches for these kids? And he still arrests them? And threatens to arrest the coach too?
    That cop has no business wearing a badge.
    A man with a gun and sense of entitlement who is this bad at dealing with people, and this bad at recognizing law-abiding citizens, is one bad day away from a tragedy. He has to go.
    Mind you, the culture of law-enforcement arrogance doesnít begin or end in Rochester. Itís not surprising that police around the country believe they can harass minorities with impunity when, in fact, they often shoot and kill them for little-to-no provocation (speeding, being outside a strip club, driving a nice car) and get away with it because, after all, it was in the line of duty.
    But thatís the wrong place to draw a line. Arresting and harassing the innocent is not their duty. Police who harass or even kill civilians without an actual provocation should not be getting off. They should be kicked out. The fact that this is a controversial statement only exhibits just how much of a problem we have.
    You cannot simultaneously harass the innocent and preserve order. Harassing the innocent is the opposite of preserving order.
    I understand that police officers are often heroes. I know that they face danger every day on behalf of our society. I thank them for their service, and wonít pretend that Iím half the man many police officers are. But the fact that many cops are heroes doesnít excuse those who are terrible. When officers canít think of another way to handle kids waiting for a bus besides arresting them, theyíre not serving anyone.
    It should be harder for a cop to harass and arrest innocent kids than it is to kick his blue butt to the curb.
    We need police accountability to the citizens they serve. Instead, Rochester has a history of officers targeting supporters of Emily Good. The efforts of police brass to ďreach outĒ to neighborhoods and citizens over the past few years have been fine ó but letís be clear: Outreach will never replace accountability. Not even close.
    Page 2 of 2 - If police officers can get away with arresting law-abiding kids, disrespecting law-abiding community leaders, targeting their critics Ö one can legitimately ask whose side theyíre on. Changes must be made.
    A system without meaningful accountability ó which includes people who are bad at their jobs getting fired ó is vital to prevent abuse. Thereís no standing still here: If we donít make it better, it will get worse.
    Benjamin Wachs writes for Messenger Post Media, and archives his work at www.TheWachsGallery.com. Email him at Benjamin@Fiction365.com.
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