Why police officers are not generally trusted

Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Lights Start Flashin’ Behind Me

Like I said, horrifying, right? Every parent’s worst nightmare, some thugs come steal your kid in the dark of night. So what did the Galveston police do about it?

As it turned out, the three men were plain-clothed Galveston police officers who had been called to the area regarding three white prostitutes soliciting a white man and a black drug dealer.


Well, that changes things. Not, you know, the horribleness of the action by police, or the horrible abuse of civil rights this represents, or the terror the girl must have felt. No, what it changes is that the police could compound the damage by making things even worse:

We’ll see how the Dymond Milburn’s trial for assaulting a police officer goes, but don’t you kinda expect something even worse to come out if there’s any substantial investigation? Who the hell calls out three plainclothes officers and an unmarked van to look into a report of three prostitutes soliciting a couple of guys, one of them a drug dealer? What quality of police officers grab a 12-year-old black girl and beat her up when looking for three white women really isn’t a question.

If I were completely cynical, I’d theorize that the three guys might be a crew of serial rapists preying on prostitutes, and the ostensible call was a cover story that will fall apart in discovery. If I were a conspiracy nut, I’d say that the call would hold up on discovery and that the dispatcher was a procurer alerting the three to potential victims. But the reputation of police in so many jurisdictions is such that incompetence seems as plausible an explanation as malice. (Or at least specific malice — even if you are detaining a prostitute for questioning, grabbing them without identifying yourself and beating her up displays malice; it’s just toward people whom society has labeled as disposable.)


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