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Police Abusing Their Positions as Protectors of the PublicDexter Phoenix Salem-News.com
There is something obviously very flawed when it comes to the training and behavior of American law enforcement.
(SALEM, Ore.) - Now, I was going to write a whole story in comparison to other police all over the world, it was huge undertaking that I was very reluctant to begin. All my good American friends always talk about the police system, even more so my very best friends who are top L.A American defense attorneys and judges, which can be very amusing to say the least.
The most amazing thing is, most are surprised how the police and other related agencies work so differently in other countries.
Now before I start, I do not want to paint a negative picture towards how your whole legal and police system works... I have met many who are or have been involved in the system itself.
So far, I have been lucky in getting along with most of those people. I am not sure if it's due to my British accent, or the way I was brought up to respect people in those positions, but it's great when you do finally get their human side to finally show; all the tension just seems to melt away, and respect and appreciation starts to crawl back in. I think it's very sad that most of these people seem to be trained in the art of intimidation... It's just not the right way to treat the public that are, after all, paying taxes to have these people protect our society. But so far I have managed to break through their robotic, clinical behavior that seems to be trained so aggressively into them, while ostensibly training to serve and to protect the public.
I don't think I am alone in my opinions on this topic. I have had people from all walks of life who I have had conversations with on what I am about to talk to you about.
I decided to write about this subject due to a story I had just seen on the news regarding the shooting of a sheriff, and his estranged wife in a Gresham bar recently.
Now there are three things that I have a problem with in this story:
Well for a start, everyone knows the police and sheriffs are notorious for being involved in domestic abuse themselves. None of them really undergo any strict psychiatric analyses while being trained, or after they complete their training, as a general rule.
Although they seem to have strict background checks, it seems to not be working when it comes to filtering out anyone that has some grudge, vendetta or violent background, that might affect their judgment or behavior towards the public on their so-called “protect and serve” value... why? Because when this does occur, the police are normally very quick to cover the whole thing up before word gets out to the public or the press. Surely that kind of behavior by its employees would make any other agency or company unrelated to law enforcement liable?
I know being involved in any law agency can be stressful, but no one is forcing those people to take those jobs. They should realize what they are getting themselves involved with... just like the military. In Europe, people have very little sympathy because of that. Sure, if there are deaths due to their actions, then people will get upset, but if someone complains or goes off the rails, then people just frown upon such behavior. You very rarely see people lose it emotionally, or take it out on the public when it comes to those job positions.
So there is something obviously very flawed when it comes to the training and behavior of the American sheriffs and the police.
I can hear most of you saying that American police forces have every right to behave the way they do... trigger happy, nervous, agitated, overly aggressive behavior that actually causes more accidents and problems, rather than actually solving the issues that they are confronted with... but...
America is not the only place where the police are in danger when it comes to dealing with the public. We have a huge mafia problem in various countries in Europe, well, in most of the world. These people are very well trained and very well armed. But you still never see police run up to a car, after some one had got pulled over for speeding, getting dragged out the car at gun point, shouted at and threatened, then kneed and elbowed while having their face pushed firmly into the ground, while having their "rights"read to them!
If the American police behaved in such a way in most other countries, they would get themselves sued for police brutality, and the American police wonder why they have very little respect from the public?! The public will never respect and trust the American police, sheriffs and the FBI as long as they abuse their positions...
Intimidation, threatening behavior, domestic violence cover-ups, as well as abusing the court systems to get the desired effects... and worst of all, not being able to sue them or take them to court for such behavior; all this will just perpetuate a disdainful mistrust towards those agencies and departments from the public viewpoint.
You do not even have regulations or regulatory departments to oversee or prevent all this power while it's being abused. As long as this happens, NO ONE will trust, or cooperate (unless they are blackmailed, entrapped, or coerced into confessing) with all the law enforcement agencies, to give them what they want, or to protect their interests.
The FBI's plausible excuse is the “eye for an eye” terminology. But not when they have to use such dirty tricks as entrapment, smear tactics to put anyone, and I mean anyone away (even if you are 100% clean, the feds will still find ways of putting you in a corner to get anything they desire out of you). Their methods make even the KGB look tame. Even the CIA, as well as any police force can confirm that their bullying tactics are unsound and borderline illegal... Why do you think most local agencies do not get along with the feds?
That is something else that works differently over in Europe; most government run agencies, including the police departments, work very closely in almost perfect sync with government agencies (similar to US federal agencies) -- including the intelligence services (Mi6 and Mi5, now under the name of SIS), as well as GCHQ, and new Scotland Yard.
U.S. law enforcement agencies do not stop on American soil, either, when it comes to there questionable tactics. There have been many cases where they have used bullying, draconian methods towards other countries. Strolling in like they have diplomatic immunity anywhere they go, having every right to bear arms, even though in many of those countries, it is illegal to do so.
If any other foreign agency behaved in such a way in the States, it would probably cause an all-out WAR, or a diplomatic nightmare. No other agency behaves in such a way. There will also be other people who will say "But the feds are catching big-time, high risk people", -- but the truth is, most of that is all down to chance, luck and tipoffs. Sorry to burst your bubble on that, especially people that are hypnotically transfixed by FBI-based TV shows like Criminal Minds.
I have met many people all over the world who are or have been involved in the same level as the US feds. Most of them have been normal, down to earth human beings, not like the robotic-sounding, sterile, intimidating folks in American federal agencies. Because of the down to earth behavior of other countries' law enforcement, people are working and cooperating with those officials without too much “if you don't talk, we will find a way of making you talk" -- or put you in a compromising position to do so tactic, which the American law agencies seem to adopt, and are infamous for enforcing.
The US Patriot Act is one of MANY good examples of being able to abuse these powers. The Patriot act basically increases the powers to the FBI, especially in wiretapping and monitoring of Internet activity. One of the most controversial provisions of the act is the so called "sneak and peek" provision. This grants the FBI authority to search a house while the residents are away, without requiring them to notify the residents for several weeks afterwards.
Behaving in such a way to anyone that they are investigating, gives very little to no chance of that person, or persons (if innocent), to prepare or to protect themselves legally. Now I can understand if it's something like terrorism involved, but as it has been proved time and time again, these new strict laws have been abused to catch the most simplistic, less serious, crime situations out there. Whereas before, this Patriot act was reserved and designated for the most serious cases out there.
Here is another example of the police abusing their position:
I had a problem once with a girlfriend I was with, about 2 years ago in the states. Unfortunately, she had a rather nasty inquisitive aunty that had two sons that are Californian police officers. She constantly gave my girlfriend a hard time in wanting to know more about me. Now being from Europe, amid living in the blissful environment of our own PRIVACY laws, I found her behavior intimidating and aggressive, extremely rude and intrusive. My girlfriend was not playing ball with her demands, so in the end her aunty decided to use her two sons to abuse their positions as police officers to dig up, and try to find every kind of information about me... with no plausible excuse, with no charges even pending against me!
I spoke many hours about this to attorneys concerning the ongoing abuse that the police and sheriffs use to get their own way with certain people. Most agreed it was wrong, and that there should be strict regulations against being able to just randomly check up on anyone. A bit like being in a public court; if a state judge or public attorney needs to check up on someone for their case, they have to have a good reason to do so, and because of that, it is actually regulated and questioned. They even have spyware to inform the database of any searches, which is great... something the FBI, sheriffs and the police departments do not have... to my knowledge. If that is not the case, then why is it being abused, and why are many attorneys crying foul on this persistent problem?
Until this abuse is regulated, you are going to get the same types of cases as we have just had had with the Gresham shooting. There have also been many other cases where they have manage to obtain personal information about “innocent” people that they have managed to use and abuse for their own sadistic use, to get back at someone, whether it was just for a personal vendetta by a lone police officer, or even worse for a relative, or his whole family to use and abuse the police search system.
Do not think we are all smelling of roses in Europe, though, when it comes to law enforcement agencies...
The English Police have already enforced stupendous laws on our people. There have even been cases of our special forces having their house surrounded when they get back home after a tour, (still a high risk threat from terrorist groups, that they or their families might still be at risk from, inside their own home or out in public, due to the sensitive nature of their work)... for carrying a sidearm (army issue).
Now how on earth can anyone, including the police, enforce that kind of regulation on such people that are so highly trained, or with such a sensitive background? The mentality over there is “the police should be the only people qualified to use and carry firearms. If you had someone break into your house and decide to rape, slaughter your whole household on your own land, and you decided to defend yourself or your family with a gun, or anything else you might be able get your hands on, you would either get shot at by the police, or arrested for first degree murder!
Or if the armed assailant or intruder survived the whole ordeal, he or she would have a field day at court suing you for everything you have, including trying to have you put away for attempted murder. So we too, do have an issue of overly strict police-state regulations when it comes to treatment of the public.
Back to the Gresham incident... This sheriff was obviously allowed to randomly exploit his job position by carrying his firearm nearly everywhere he went. This is not the first time I have personally come across police or sheriffs who proudly show off that they are carrying firearms, along with their badges, as they walk through a night club or bar “off duty”.
The reason a lot of these police and sheriffs do get in to trouble in public with their firearms when they are off duty, is because they abuse their positions, especially when they are drunk. Nearly every story I have heard or read, as well seeing first hand when this kind of thing happens, is when they show off what they are carrying... a gun and a badge, and no bar or club owner or security staff will question it or approach that situation. After all, no one wants a disgruntled police officer coming back with a search warrant, a piece a paper that can revoke their bar license, or just harassing their customers every weekend before closing time.
There were also a couple of stories in LA a year or two ago, where drunken off-duty police officers (separate cases) had gotten into arguments in public, including one of them being in a bar, and deciding to use their firearms on unarmed people. From what I could remember, one of the civilians was shot dead. I thought the police were supposed to be highly trained in grabbing and restraining people. So why resort to firearms again, when the people were clearly unarmed?
There is also an unnerving wave of police and sheriffs getting a thrill from their actions of shooting people dead, even when (the victims) are at fault. It seems like the police and the feds do have a monopoly going on when it comes to controlling the courts, and have the decided edge when it comes to the final ruling in the courts. This also produces a lack of faith in the judicial system.
As long as the law agencies have this cloak of protection when it comes to their mistakes, there will still be trigger-happy, on-edge people pointing a firearm at you while shouting your rights to you. Knowing full well that if things go wrong, most of them will be protected... giving them a false ideological sense of being able to do anything they want, regardless of the situation they might be in.
Domestic violence in Oregon seems to be running rampant as well. I have met so many people who have known of, or have been on the receiving end of, a violent domestic dispute. I have been shocked and appalled by the way the courts and the law have handled this up here (from what I have heard). I realize there are many cases where men do get framed or set up, by some disgruntled girlfriend or wife that decides to get revenge by going to the police with false allegations, and thankfully now the courts are taking this very seriously.
It seems like girls and women here have very little say, or control over any kind of situation that relates to domestic violence, domestic threats, bullying, death threats from their boyfriends or husbands. Also in marriages gone violently bad, with the court system in Oregon. From what I have heard or seen on the news, that only recently the police have stood up and taken notice of this on a serious level... only after (it seems) a few recent killings that have been domestically motivated.
I once talked to a girl who discussed the same kind of situation that she herself had been stuck in for a few years. She had seemed to think that the courts do not do much to protect girls or women who are stuck in this predicament.
She also mentioned that if you do report it and press charges, then there are other obstacles that you have to deal with, that discourage people from reporting crimes, like victims advocacy, social services, DHS could stop you from claiming child support from that person, you can be investigated by children services for having your children in a violent environment, and so on. As most of the women here have kids, this can cause another headache for people who feel stuck in this situation.
This is of course is counter-productive, and not good for the kids to be brought up in such an environment. But as long as they all fear those things, on top of their violent boyfriends and husbands coming after them, then they have no option but to bite the bullet and not change their lives.
No one in their right mind would want to go through all that, knowing full well that they'd be interrogated, and run all the obstacles that this girl had mentioned to me. If it all goes wrong, both parent could lose the kids, even though one might not be at fault.
There is also that possibility of still getting burned because of not reporting any of it to begin with... these agencies not wanting to tolerate any kind of excuse that might be thrown at them. With the whole tunnel-vision mentality of “who cares about the parents”..."we are here to take the kids away!", it has has discouraged many people from doing anything about it. If the worst does happen, then you will have a huge uphill struggle in trying to convince a judge, let alone trying to beat these agencies in court, it would almost be impossible, especially in government-run cases.
As long as those kinds of agencies behave that way, hardly anyone is going to step forward in informing them as to what is going on in their own homes. Those agencies thrive on fear, and have very little regard for how the parents think or feel when they decide to storm in, and virtually abduct the kids in a way that would even make Hitler's gestapo snatch units proud! These agencies need to know that most of the time, these people do not report such things because of the fear of husbands and boyfriends, who have a tight grip on their lives. That chance of ever losing their kids in the process, if they do decide to do something about it, is something both parents do not want to go through.
If we do not address domestic abuse and violence more seriously, then more events like this recent incident in Gresham will carry on. How many more lives do we have to sacrifice, or take chances with, until the law, as well as the courts up here, realize that this whole subject is life-threateningly serious!?
Dexter Phoenix has worked as a staff and freelance photographer since the mid-1990's and has a wealth of professional experiences on his resume. We welcome his presence to our staff at Salem-News.com.
This native of Great Britian moved to Los Angeles in 2007, where he photographed general news, general interests, sports, did freelance model photo work, and also stock images. In his career, Dexter has had photos published: World wide, in many magazines and newspapers and online. Throughout the course of his career he has experience with technology of all imaginable types. In his career as a photographer Dexter has covered stories in Norway, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, France, Mexico, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey, Somalia, Tunisia, Algeria, Angola, Iran, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Colombia and The United States. Email inquiries about photo purchase to Dexter at the above address.
You can email Dexter Phoenix, Salem-News.com Photographer/Reporter, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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