In what is surely the universe's warning to me about creating badly written and structurally unsound posts, replete with unnecessary phrasing and unneeded facts that would, ultimately, serve only to muddy the metaphysical waters, my original attempt at this one disappeared. I have no idea when or how, since I had the tab open and unfiddled-with for a day or so. Checked in this morning and - hey-presto! - it was gone. Thank you, universe.
No. Really. Thank you. I needed to do a better, tighter, more direct job. That didn't happen, but I do think this is a better post than my original effort.
My younger brother is a retired cop.
He ended his career as an RCMP officer, after many years serving our hometown as a town police constable and moving to the RCMP when the force took over covering our town. He was the guy who took the drunks home, and told asshole university students to calm the fuck down and stop bothering the neighbors, and worried about the working girls (yes, even towns of fewer than 5,000 have working girls and they knew my brother and trusted him, because he didn't arrest them, just told them to be careful.)
He was one of the few town constables accepted as an RCMP officer in the transition - not too bad for a man who never graduated high school and worked, years later, to get his GED. The RCMP has made a shit ton of reprehensible mistakes over the years, but seeing the worth of my brother was not one of them.
During his time as an RCMP officer, he helped shocked, frightened and confused passengers downed at Halifax airport on 9/11, calming them with his presence, his smile, his stupid jokes and his great heart. There were 40 planes with 8,000 passengers (two planes and almost 2,000 passengers more than in Gander Nfld. of "Come From Away" fame, she said, with a Bluenoser's pride.) and I know that the passengers on many of them were cared for and soothed by my brother.
He worked on fighting human trafficking as part of special detail tasked with that. Yes, human trafficking in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and other Atlantic provinces. People brought in from eastern Europe and African nations via eastern Europe. Many of them trying desperately to reach the U.S. and depending on the viciously unpredictable mercies of traffickers. He was proud of what he did, and he should have been.
He returned to the airport in his final year or two with the RCMP, acting as both a smiling ambassador and that guy who takes the drunk and rowdy passengers off the plane, and gets hit and kicked for his trouble (he was in the news for that one, when the woman was on trial for ... ahem ... attempting to join the Mile High Club with another passenger, who was a bit less rowdy and kicky apparently. She got charged more for the kicky and hitty parts, although, yeah, trying to join the club in your seats and not in the dubious shelter of a bathroom, also nets you a couple of misdemeanor charges aaaand I digress.)
He left earlier than he wanted to, after an unexpected emergency quintuple bypass surgery, complicated by an asshole superior - but he left on his own terms.
As I said, he was a good cop.
And when I called him a week or so ago and we talked about George Floyd and Derek Chauvin, he was livid. Chauvin was a murderer, Mac said. We agreed on that. I said at least Chauvin had been charged - at that point, it was just the third-degree murder charged.
Mac wasn't mollified. "He should have been charged that day. And the three cops who did nothing? They should be charged as accessories to murder." He stopped for a moment. "I watched the video, and -" Here he stopped again. I could tell he was reining in his temper. "He was looking at that man, Floyd with such contempt."
The loathing in his voice was unmistakable. I understood that. To Mac, a police officer should never treat anyone (except perhaps those asshole university students) with contempt.
This is, after all, a cop who may have pulled his gun only once in his career, on a car full of suspected armed robbers who left Quebec and decided for who knows what reason to drive to my hometown. Who, after yelling that the car's passengers and driver, who had attempted to drive by him and then to try to run him down, should get out of the car, finally drew his gun and yelled "Get out of the fucking car!"
So Canadian, my brother.
Anyhow, I have long been proud of my little brother. But after that phone conversation, I knew an even greater pride.
When he began his career, he wanted to serve and protect. He did that his entire time in uniform. And he continues to do policing proud in retirement. So I'd love to be a fly on the wall, were he ever to find his way into a locked room with Derek Chauvin or any of his assistant murderers.
He and I don't talk about policing a whole hell of a lot. In the last couple of years, I've come to believe that policing has to be torn down, brick by brick, and rebuilt into something new, something that has to do with really serving and protecting people and not, as modern policing was originally formulated, to protect capital and the ruling class. It has to happen, and I am ashamed of how long it took me to get over my rather Canadian-middle-class-white-lady trust in the police.
But I believe that if it is to happen, it will take at least a few police officers from The Old Times to make it work; the few good apples in the whole reeking barrel of bad apples. It will take at least a few people like my brother.
Yes, he worked in Canada, yes he worked with colleagues and citizens who were largely although by no means completely white. And perhaps, people might suggest, had he been an officer in a large American city, he might have turned into a Chauvin or into one of Chauvin's enablers. It's possible, I acknowledge that.
But I don't think it would happen.
So I end this with two thoughts.
Look for the occasional good cop apple. They're out there, trying not to drown in the Fucking Racist, Classist, Misogynist Ocean of Shit that is modern policing. Get them out of that ocean, and tell them "It's time for you to help drain that FRCMOofS and create something newer and better." I think they will be eager to help.
And, more immediately, read this New York Times article on William J. Lewinski, the reprehensible (there's that word again) prophet of American policing's "shoot first, cover it up later" philosophy. Many thanks to minoanmiss , who brought this guy to my notice back on May 31, and who advocated sending the PoS a message about how he is, in fact, a PoS peddling "Us Against Humanity" attitudes among police he trains - the snicker quotes around the word trains are more than implied - and suggesting that he, you know, STOP RIGHT THE FUCK NOW. You may well have seen this and done that, because I am, as usual, late to the party, but if you haven't - here you go.
Write your note and email it here: https://www.forcescience.org/contact.
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