Note (4:50 PM March 25, 2014): I was questioned on whether using the word “threaten” was misleading in this situation. I decided to change the title of the piece to use the phrase “offered a visit to my workplace” instead of the word “threatened” as well as reword a sentence* in the article in order to try to eliminate any confusion. These efforts aren’t worth much if someone can use the wording to attack my view without actually touching upon the actual message I was trying to send. Please do not hesitate in the future to challenge me on anything I write here. This was an example of a poor choice of wording and oversight, so I do appreciate the feedback.
A little more than a month ago, I came across a Facebook post by a police officer friend who linked a story about CopBlock, an organization that documents cases of abuse and brutality by the police. The story was about members of CopBlock testing the police by openly carrying rifles into some neighborhood only to have them stolen by a local gang. When the police didn’t show up in time to help them, CopBlock attempted to sue the police.
The story was a parody and not true. Regardless of this, people were still trashing CopBlock, which is a group that I think does a great service. So I defended them.
This did not go over well. And things got worse when the father of my friend (who is also a police officer) got involved.
Note: Since I’m sure you guys don’t want to read all of my Facebook drama, I removed the comments made by other police officers (who also disagreed with me) and one or two of my comments in response to them. If you really want to read the entire thread, let me know, and I can supply it. You may also notice that the time stamps don’t appear to be in order—that is because I was saving the screenshots as the conversation was happening. I did this in case the post or comments were deleted, which is what happened.
First of all, I found it hilarious that he had to stress that his friend was “a very angry looking black guy” as though I’m more afraid of angry-looking black men than I am of an angry-looking man of any other race. It was also interesting to see that he didn’t quite understand what scholarships are and how they differ from taxes.
This police officer is an exact illustration of why I don’t want the state to have a monopoly on the police and why I want to have some choice in whom I choose to protect me. This guy can’t handle a simple Facebook conversation without making potentially terroristic threats against me (if misinterpreted)*. Granted, I realize that he wasn’t serious with the threat, but he was a brutally unprofessional representative of his department and the police as a whole. What made that even worse was that none of his fellow police officers involved in the conversation did not do anything except “Like” his posts.
He talks about how he has to analyze situations on the fly and how the lines get blurred. Fine, that’s true. I don’t disagree. I just question his ability to make judgments under pressure when he can’t seem to understand that the article about CopBlock wasn’t real despite being told numerous times. His judgments about me were incorrect as well. Based on this exchange, whether it would actually affect his ability to do his job or not (I cannot say for certain), I would not want to hire this man.
But the right to choose whom I do business with has been stripped from me. He might be a good police officer, but I think he’s a jerk. I would very much prefer to patronize people who at least act like they respect me.
It’s frustrating, because I’m mostly powerless. While not all police officers are bad, the system is such that people like him get away with this behavior. I’m told that if I don’t want to pay for the police, I don’t have to work. In other words, they’re saying, “Too bad you don’t like it, we have you by the throat.” If I dare continue to work but not pay taxes, then I become a criminal and they come and take me away.
Please, open your eyes.