Where Are the Good Cops?

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I want to believe there is a God.

I do not consider myself an atheist or an agnostic, mostly because my grandmother would turn over in her grave, likely awakened by the wails of her children as they laid their disappointed hands on me in prayer. I honestly hope there is an invisible, omnipotent being in the sky whose only goal is to protect us and keep us on the right path.

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I imagine that the people who doubt God’s existence are neither liars nor idiots. I bet they, too, want to believe the stories about the water-walking savior who has them wrapped in his loving arms. But because there is no empirical evidence, we are only left with faith and hope. We must choose to believe that God is real...

Or not.

I imagine Laquan McDonald’s parents wondered why God let their 17-year-old son die.

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On Wednesday, the City of Chicago finally released a 3-year-old report investigating Chicago police officers’ involvement in a cover-up after Officer Jason Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times in 14 seconds in the middle of a busy Chicago street. The shooting happened on October 14, 2014, and the 2016 report from Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson was kept secret until Wednesday. The IG’s investigation revealed that nearly a dozen CPD officers lied, “exaggerating the threat McDonald posed” and one officer, Lt. Anthony Wojcik, even threw away handwritten notes from the officers at the scene and then “personally recreated” an entirely new set. Another officer reviewed and approved falsified reports from Van Dyke and his partner, according to the Tribune.

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NBC reports:

The report also revealed that at least two officers, who were not fired after the inspector general’s investigation, untruthfully claimed they heard Van Dyke tell McDonald to drop a small weapon he was holding, and that the teen repeatedly ignored the officers’ calls to stay down.

The false statements served to “mischaracterize the events leading up to the McDonald shooting, and to thereby bolster a false narrative which might offer justification for the shooting,” the report said.

The report found that the officers not only fabricated the details, but that they would also not have been able to hear any interaction between Van Dyke and McDonald from where they were standing during the encounter.

At least four officers who were present the night of the shooting failed to “visually and audibly record events” with in-car video systems, and were found to withhold and shield video evidence establishing what actually transpired between Van Dyke and McDonald, according to the report.

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Ferguson eventually recommended that 11 officers be terminated, but only four were fired.

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We’ve seen this before.

After Dallas police officer Amber Guyger murdered unarmed Botham Jean in his apartment, Sgt. Mike Mata instructed his fellow officers to turn off their police cameras and her partner deleted text messages she sent that evening. Milwaukee police claimed that NBA player Sterling Brown was “physically aggressive” and “physically resisted officers’ attempts to handcuff him,” so “he was taken to the ground in a controlled manner” before he was Tasered. That was a lie.

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Two LAPD officers said Charly “Africa” Keunang tried to grab an officer’s gun before he was killed. That was a lie. North Charleston cop Michael Slager falsely accused Walter Scott of attacking him before video footage showed that Slager was lying. It happened 43 times in Baltimore. The same thing happened to Robert Johnson. And Danquirs Franklin. And De’Von Bailey. And Jerry Smith Jr. And Deontrace Lamont Ward. And William Chapman. And Antoine Rose. And Amadou Diallo. And Rekia Boyd. And Anthony Lamar Smith. And Natasha McKenna. And Edward Lamont Hunt. And Dominique White. And Brendon Glenn. And Louis Frederick.

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Not only were these people victims of police brutality, but other officers on the scene vouched for rogue cops’ false version of events. In many of these cases, not only did the officers on the scene know the cop was lying, but they conspired with their colleagues by destroying evidence, writing false police reports, and in some cases, giving false testimony. And, like the McDonald case, police chiefs, city officials and fellow cops know they are working with rogue cops and choose not to spill the beans.

These are the proverbial “bad cops.”

Because of body cameras, dash cams, recording devices, police partners, data collection, civilian complaint boards, internal reviews and intra-work relationships, it is nearly impossible to work in a police force and remain blithely unaware of which officers have gone rogue. A good cop would turn in an officer who was breaking the law.

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More than a dozen cops were on the scene when Laquan McDonald was shot, but none of them expressed outrage at the false prevailing narrative presented by the CPD. Rahm Emanuel and the city of Chicago held the inspector general’s report for three years and suppressed the video for four years. North Charleston police officers watched Michael Slager tamper with evidence at the scene of Walter Scott’s shooting and omitted that fact from their police reports, but none of them were charged with a crime. At least four officers watched Robert Lawson punch a 17-year-old, slam him to the ground and manufacture charges against the teenager. They did nothing.

Where the fuck are the good cops?

I want to believe there are good police officers but I cannot find any proof. 93 percent of Washington D.C.’s stop-and-frisk victims wouldn’t be black if there were good cops. If good cops existed, the Los Angeles Police Department wouldn’t continue their disproportionate searches of blacks and Latinos even though whites are more likely to carry contraband. If there were good cops, black people wouldn’t make up 34.9 percent of the people who were unarmed, not attacking but were still killed by police in 2018.

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I do not consider myself to be anti-cop.

I honestly hope there are men and women who want to protect and serve the citizens in the communities they serve. I imagine the people who call them “heroes” and paint them as saviors are not liars or idiots. I’ve seen cops give their boots to homeless people—but I’ve also seen Hitler pet his puppy. 

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People don’t believe Joshua Brown was killed in a botched drug deal because there is irrefutable proof that the Dallas Police Department are liars. Anyone who believes a word that the Chicago Police Department utters is an idiot. I want to think that the people wearing uniforms want to keep me safe from harm but there is no empirical evidence that this is true. To accept this, one must ignore a mountain of proof to the contrary. One must actively choose to believe that there are good cops...

Or not.

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About the author

Michael Harriot

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.