Law Enforcement – unaccountable and out of control

I don’t doubt there are still many good individual police officers.  But “Law Enforcement” as a system has become a largely unaccountable juggernaut that is seriously endangering the rights–and safety–of ordinary citizens:

The feds still won’t reveal what an internal investigation determined about a Deputy U.S. Marshal’s raid on the wrong Sarasota apartment

Goldsberry, as you might recall, was washing dishes in her kitchen — after dinner with her visiting boyfriend and a day on the job as an operating room nurse — when she saw an armed man.

He was pointing a gun toward her, through her kitchen window.

Goldsberry screamed, ducked, and crawled to her bedroom. She and her boyfriend were further shocked when another man began banging on the front door, demanding to be let it. He claimed to be a law officer.   From what Goldsberry had seen, that seemed unlikely.

While the man at the door cursed and threatened to break in, she grabbed her small pistol from her bedroom and cowered in the hallway, thinking it was a home invasion.

Instead of directing Goldsberry to call 911 to confirm that law officers were at her door, Deputy U.S. Marshall Matt Wiggins kept yelling and then opened the front door, while protected by a tactical shield. He aimed a blinding flashlight and a gun at the panicked woman.

Eventually her boyfriend confirmed that they were real law officers. He and Goldsberry then surrendered. Both were handcuffed and later released after Wiggins determined that a suspect he had been seeking was not there.

Wiggins confirmed afterward that he had threatened to shoot Goldsberry if she did not drop her gun and come out. He told me she should feel grateful he did not do so and, for that matter, grateful that he did not arrest her.

Wiggins said he could not see why she would be complaining to the press when she was the one who disobeyed police orders.

The attitude displayed here is all you need to know: you are not a sovereign individual with rights, but a serf who has to comply with any command, however unwarranted (literally — the officer here had no warrant to enter this apartment, according to the linked story above).  And on top of that, if such a rogue operation and the natural inclination of every human being to self-defense doesn’t result in you getting shot in the name of ‘officer safety,’ you should feel grateful to Big Brother!

For a more concise version of this arrogance on display, try this:

giphyBoth of these cases — pointing a gun at a citizen who had done nothing to warrant it, and pepper-spraying people on a whim — should result in a felony assault charge, as it would for you and me, were we to do such a thing. It should also result in permanent disbarment from the performance of any official duties, as the individual has demonstrated a disregard for the life, liberty and property of the public they are supposed to “protect and serve.”  Instead, we see a caste system, where the law is applied selectively at best to those who wear a badge.

I realize the police deal with some of the worst humanity has to offer, and that theirs can be a dangerous profession (though the level of actual danger is often stated as hyperbole). Which is why those in that profession need to demand of themselves and their fellow professionals the highest standards of conduct. Treating the general public as a threat — in the way an occupying army might do — does nothing to increase their odds of “going home alive at the end of the shift.” Sadly, it’s all too reasonable to assume that if Goldsberry had exercised her right to defend against what gave every appearance of home invasion, the “blue line” would have worked overtime to find a way to fault her for what was a confrontation they themselves had started.  This “us versus them” mentality is not healthy or safe for the officers OR the public.

A final thought: some readers may note I didn’t focus on the fact Goldsberry is receiving a (modest, given the circumstances) settlement for the unwarranted invasion and armed detention.  The reason is that this doesn’t equate to accountability, which is the point of this post.  Not only are the agencies refusing to reveal information (the internal investigation) that should be a matter of public record.  The officer(s) involved won’t be paying that settlement–the taxpayers will.  And thus does one assault on the citizenry lead to another

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