When it comes to Black Lives Matter protests, a common misconception (among white people) is that the violence that occurs sometimes is always against police officers and it’s never the cops who are willing participants if not the ones who started the violence in the first place. People who believe such “back the blue” nonsense likely won’t be convinced to feel otherwise after hearing the story of Phoenix, Az., police officers who were caught by their body cameras expressing their regret that they didn’t commit acts of police brutality on fleeing protesters and reminiscing over the good old days when their
brutality conduct wasn’t scrutinized—but we’re going to tell that story anyway.
Three officers who took part in the arrests of 18 BLM protesters last October were heard on recently published body-cam footage “allegedly lamenting that they hadn’t trampled the group and doused them in pepper spray,” the Washington Post reports.
“Why didn’t we just stomp on them when they were leaving?” one officer can be heard asking, while another cop can be heard saying, “Gas ‘em,” and that they should “just gas them and let them run like crazy.”
If you’re wondering what reason a police officer would have to stomp or gas protesters who were leaving the scene, well, there isn’t any, but that won’t stop “blue lives matter” folk from needing further context. They’d probably also dismiss the rest of the pro-excessive force banter the unnamed officers are allegedly shown engaging in later in the video.
From the Post:
In the Phoenix video, the officers bemoan the proliferation of body cameras, which one says “has taken the job down the drain.” Departments have heralded the cameras, which have become more common in recent years, as tools that promote transparency and protect officers and civilians.
“We actually want to do the job like we did 10, 15 years ago, but it’s never going to come back,” one officer says in the video. “If they ever came back and they said, ‘Guys, just f——— kick some f——— a— out there and reduce crime,’ I’d say, ‘Okay.’ ”
“So you won’t be in f——— handcuffs and doing your job?” another officer replies. “Going, ‘Oh, let me go watch that body cam video just in case he might have struck somebody.’ I remember back when. It was so much nicer.”
If I were a petty news writer, I’d take time to discuss the hilarity of cops getting caught by their body cameras complaining about body camera footage getting cops in trouble. Instead, here’s a question: Doesn’t a cop’s fear of what body-cam footage might show prove the very need for police officers to be surveilled?
Anyway, the Post reports that hours after the footage of the cops’ recorded cry-fest was released, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced that it had moved to dismiss the charges against 15 of the 18 protesters who were arrested in October.
More from the Post:
Public pressure to drop the prosecutions had been mounting, especially after ABC15 reported that some of the same officers who have responded to recent demonstrations shared a “challenge coin” — allegedly tied to a neo-Nazi symbol — in 2017 to celebrate shooting a protester in the groin.
Phoenix police have a history of scrutiny. A video showing an officer threatening to shoot a pregnant woman and her fiance in 2019, the year after Phoenix led the United States in police shootings, ignited protests, lawsuits and tense public hearings.
But nah, I’m sure police officers lamenting the existence of police body cameras has nothing to do with any of that; they just want us to trust that they’ll be good even if they aren’t being watched. After all, if protesters and other civilians have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about.