Arrogance and entitlement of American policing – The Royal Gazette

Petula Dvorak is a columnist for the Washington Post’s local team that writes on homeless shelters, gun control, high heels, high school choirs, parenting policies, prisons, abortion clinics, mayors, modern families, strip clubs, and gasoline prices, among other things. Before joining the Post, she covered social issues, crime, and the courts

“Humbled”? You won’t think of that when you watch the viral video of two Virginia police officers harassing, humiliating, powerplay and pepper spray harassing Army officer Caron Nazario after stopping him on a dark stretch of road for no apparent reason.

However, it is the word Police Chief Rodney Riddle uses each year to describe these officers and the rest of his small town division to Windsor City Council.

“”[Windsor Police Department] Officials remain humble and honored at the opportunity to continue serving the people of Windsor, “Riddle concludes on each of the reports he submitted to justify why a quiet Tidewater town of 2,600 residents spends a whopping 33 percent of its budget on policing should .

It is the missing word at the root of the American police brutality problem.

Racism is a certainty in many cases of police abuse. That’s the point the Black Lives Matter movement made.

But the comorbidity in this lingering and disturbing American pattern is a culture of arrogance, pretension and impunity that tarnishes too many police stations and dwarfs the good and courageous officials who risk their lives every day. Regardless of the breed.

This week the Windsor Police Department launched America’s Exhibit A.

The department runs toy rides and officer-friendly school programs. Officials practice cultural diversity and help scouts earn badges of merit for fingerprinting. They present themselves as the good guys.

But at a gas station, alone with a biracial, black, and Latin American man in a new car, the same officers wrapped themselves in an authoritarian superiority that led them to indulge in total obedience, submission, and blind obedience from an innocent man – a military officer in uniform demand – As if they were checkpoint guards from wartime.

“You have received an order! Obey it!” An increasingly hysterical officer, Joe Gutierrez, barked when Nazario asked him what was going on that night.

“What’s going on is you’re preparing to ride the lightning, my son,” Gutierrez yelled at him, a foreboding hint of the death penalty and the electric chair.

The only things the cops were watching? Your own ego.

The nation became acquainted with the city of Windsor and its supposedly humiliating officials after Nazario filed a $ 1 million lawsuit on April 2 for the shameful manner in which officials Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker the 27-year-old Lieutenant treated on the night of December. 5.

Videos – from both police cameras and Nazario’s personal cellphone – show a respectful, calm driver in his military clothing, raising his hands for officers to see as he repeatedly asks a question that any American is entitled to ask: ” What’s happening? “

The officers had their weapons pointed at Nazario. And they escalated, threatened, and harassed instead of just answering his question.

The incident started when Crocker spotted Nazario’s new Chevy Tahoe but didn’t see a license plate. He turned on his emergency lights to overtake the vehicle.

Nazario slowed down and switched on his blinker, indicating that he was going to pass. He drove less than a mile to find a gas station – a safe place to get out of traffic and get some light.

By then, Crocker had escalated the traffic obstruction into a police chase by telling his co-workers that he was on the heels of someone trying to escape him. Gutierrez – the hothead in the video who has since been fired – took part.

When the “car chase” reached the gas station in slow motion, both police officers were upset and agitated, yelling at Nazario and refusing to answer his questions.

Nazario told police he was “genuinely afraid of getting out of the car” after slowing down, signaling and stopping.

“Yes, you should be!” one of the officers answered.

This should reassure any American.

All the more so since it happened in a quiet town in a nation where violent crime has radically declined, falling 71 percent between 1993 and 2018, according to the Pew Research Center. But even if the country becomes safer, bored officials looking for action in small towns will be given more money, equipment, leeway and entitlement.

This is what the Defund Police movement is all about. Don’t take all the money away and let anarchy rule. Rather, critics of the American police suggest banning the purchase of surplus military equipment and allocating funds for social programs that can relieve the police authorities.

Rather than small towns buying military attack vehicles to confront the local hermit if he freaks out, social workers can offer the hermit psychological advice and solutions before he disintegrates with 100 cannons and sets off a bomb threat.

The Windsor Police Department seems small, with an average of seven full-time officers, including the chief of police and some part-time workers. It’s about the right size if you look at the average FBI numbers for police departments in cities with fewer than 10,000 residents – 3.4 officers per 1,000 residents (Windsor has roughly 2,600 residents).

But the budget of the Windsor Police Department is huge compared to other cities in Virginia.

The department routinely receives 33 to 34 percent of city money, according to city budget documents. Departments in other cities in Virginia rarely make it to 20 percent. Alexandria’s department accounts for 13 percent of the budget, Hampton’s cops get only 5 percent of the city’s budget, Newport News police take 10 percent, and the Richmond police force 18 percent of the budget is the action center for calculating the city’s race and economy budget .

Even in the similarly small town of Wise, the police budget is only 10 percent of municipal spending. Same goes for Hillsville, about 10 percent. Almost identical population groups and similar population groups, but police officers financed differently.

Is it because Windsor is a crime hotbed?

Barely. Even the police chief described it as a “quiet” town in one of his reports. A drug bust they bragged about in their annual report looked more like a raid on a senior high school trip – with about a pound of weed and “over half an ounce” of cocaine.

No It’s all about pretension and arrogance, perfectly embodied by Windsor’s embarrassed former police chief Arlis “Vic” Reynolds.

“I became complacent and arrogant in my duties,” Reynolds said in court in 2015 when he pleaded guilty to a petty theft. “I made bad decisions.”

Reynolds was released in 2013 after being charged with embezzlement. Virginia prosecutors said he was collecting hours in false overtime and trading one of the police’s $ 400 sights for an AR15 rifle to rent for a month.

After the confession of guilt, he was defiantly outside the courtroom and insisted it was all a misunderstanding, according to the Capital Gazette.

That is claim, that is arrogance. This is called a cultural problem that is woven into an institution.

This leads to an exchange that took place in the bright lights of a gas station in Windsor last year. And that’s what needs to be eradicated.

• Petula Dvorak is a columnist for the Washington Post’s local team, which writes on homeless shelters, gun control, high heels, high school choirs, parenting policies, prisons, abortion clinics, mayors, modern families, strip clubs, and gasoline prices, among other things. Before joining the Post, she covered social issues, crime, and the courts

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