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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bad Cop, No Doughnut

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

The jury is still out, but so far 2009 appears to be shaping up as the year of the bad cop. The year started off with a bang, when an Oakland, California cop shot an un-armed man in the back, and for the boys in blue it’s all been downhill ever since.

It all started January 1st, shortly after revelers rang in the new year, when Johannes Mehserle, an Oakland transit officer shot Oscar Grant, while Grant was lying face down on the pavement. Officers at the scene of the shooting attempted to confiscate all videos of the incident, but ultimately, several damning videos surfaced, showing the officer acted inappropriately. Officer Mehserle has since been charged with homicide and removed from duty.


Then on March 1st came the disturbing story of the King County Sheriff’s deputy who “beat down’ the fifteen year old girl in a cell. Once again, the brutal beating was caught on tape. The Deputy, officer Paul Schene, has been charged with fourth degree assault, including kicking the girl in the stomach, pulling her hair, slamming her head against the wall, and punching her while she was on the ground. This, all because the fifteen year old had referred to the officer as “a pig”.

Are you squirming in your seat yet? This is not the stuff I like to read about, nor is it the kind of story I prefer to write. And it just gets creepier from here. Read on.

There are two disturbing stories about rogue cops in the headlines as I write. First, there’s the story about the Dallas cop who detained NFL running back, Ryan Moats' in a hospital parking lot while his mother-in-law was dying. Yes, the incident was once again caught on tape, and again, it isn’t pretty. In fact, Ryan Moats’ mother-in-law passes away during the exchange, while the officer Robert Powell continues to badger Mr. Moats. The Dallas police department has expressed embarrassment over the matter.

Finally, there’s the story about the federal marshal in El Paso Texas who skips out on bail, having been busted stealing handguns and other items belonging to the feds. Vincent Bustamante, a deputy sheriff didn’t stay on the lamb long, however. His body was found just south of the US border in Juarez Mexico. He had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the back of his head.

During my research for this column, I found more stories of such behavior than I care to list. It saddens me, and perhaps, it frightens me. I hoping this will all turn out to be an aberration of sorts, a departure from the norm, rather than a sign of things to come. Still, I am reminded of a bumper sticker I used to see often on the bumpers of beaters rolling around New England. ‘Bad Cop, No Doughnut’, it read. No doughnut, indeed!

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

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