Dog Day Afternoon: The Militarization Of American PoliceYesterday, as I drove by I saw a policeman handcuffing a woman who was standing by her car which I assume she had pulled off the road onto a side road as part of a traffic stop. It looked quite peaceful, no apparent Tasers or force.
The difference is in me. Even 10 years ago I would have assumed that the policeman was doing his job in a responsible manner. Now I wonder if he was handcuffing her for no reason. Was the stop legitimate? Did it warrant an arrest? Was he bullying her. Did she have to cringe to keep him from Tasing her?
This is Tucson --not Los Angeles which has had an occupying army of cops for decades-- and though I have not had an unpleasant interaction with the police force, I am very aware that it can and will happen to an increasing number of us over time. I was always aware that there are individuals who will abuse their power but I trusted that most police officers were professional and human. Now I know that the majority are no long professional and that as a group they behave more like a gang than protectors of the community.
This trend started before Bush, but the downward spiral from community service to gang behavior accelerated during his disastrous reign.