HOW MUCH JUSTICE CAN YOU AFFORD?
That man in Cleveland, Ariel Castro, who imprisoned those 3 young women for more than a decade is a monster. He beat them, abused them, raped them, and starved them. He had his own private gulag in a rundown American neighborhood. He took the women outside with collars around their necks and led them around naked, leashed like dogs.
Neighbors saw him and reported those incidents multiple times to the Cleveland police.
The officers did nothing more than tap on the door and leave when no one answered. There was no follow-up, no investigation. Even when screams were reported coming from inside this house of horrors, even when one of the neighbors reported a woman and a young child were banging on a shabby, half boarded up window, pleading for help, the police did nothing. Even the 911 operator who took the call from Amanda Berry treated her as if she were interrupting her manicure. The woman said she'd dispatch a cruiser as soon as one was available. Then she hung up on Berry.
Have police become so comfy with their padded pensions and other perks that they no longer feel obligated to protect and serve the people who pay their wages? Are they so focused on amassing revenue through unnecessary drug busts, questionable speeding tickets, and intrusive seat belt fines, that they've ignored their prime directive? Are they just armed guards for the establishment, enforcing tradition and authority while treating those of us who sign their checks with contempt and disdain, forgetting that they exist to serve us and not to scold us?
There’s a pervasive attitude among much of law enforcement in this country that we, their employers, are guilty until proven innocent. Think about this. How many times have you seen an expensive Mercedes supercoupe pulled over on the side of the Interstate with local county mounties rummaging through the car looking for contraband or seeking cause to arrest the well-connected, well dressed executive clad in seven hundred dollar Santoni shoes, Prada tie, and Brioni suit ? If your answer is "never" join the other 99% of us who haven't seen it either.
I remember an incident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when I saw the Ferrari in front of me pulled over by Broward County sheriff’s deputies. The young black driver, his cap on backwards and his jeans hanging down below his skivvies, was ordered out of the car and made to stand in the hot sun with his hands braced on the rear of the Ferrari while police checked his I.D, ran a background check, and once again, rummaged through his car without a warrant. I swung into a Shell station and watched as the officers had no choice but to release the young man because he wasn't breaking the law, wasn't speeding, had a clean record, wasn't driving dirty, and had proof that indeed, he held the title to the 250 thousand dollar Italian road rocket.
I'm tired of this chip on the shoulder arrogance many police officers adopt when they engage with the public. Police used to be courteous public servants, more helpful than hostile, more accommodating than accusing. And while we all know too well the potential dangers they face while on patrol, we need to remember that they not only signed up for the job, but they're armed with lethal weapons and other accessories to use against those evil doers who try to harm them, or resist arrest.
Perhaps it's the political all access pass police receive from the politicians who make the laws, who expect the police to be as suspicious of the public as they are.
Reforms need to be enacted to bring police departments back into line, to remind them that they serve all of us, at our discretion, instead of just the one percent of the upper income bracket who can afford to pay for the justice they receive.