Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Culture of Brutality and Lawlessness

In police departments, that is. Bad Cops in the ’Hood A scholarly study tells us what we already know - even if a lot of us want to refuse to believe.
While residents in Black and Latino neighborhoods may have already accepted this as a reality, a new report documents a troubling tendency by law enforcement agencies to ignore cases of officers accused of brutality and corruption.
They can - and do - get away with an awful lot.

It goes on to cite some of the problems in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, etc. So how do these problems live on?
The Futterman report found the Chicago Police Department had a “deeply ingrained culture of denial which enables certain officers to operate with impunity in certain communities.” The department “goes to great lengths not to know about or address its ‘bad apples’ and the harm that they inflict” on the public and the justice system, said researchers.

The problem isn’t Chicago’s alone. Advocates for police reform have long complained of a “blue wall of silence” and the difficulty of having departments police themselves.

In New Jersey, where De Lacy D. Davis recently retired as a sergeant after 20 years with the East Orange New Jersey Police Department, the same problem exists. “Not only does the blue wall of silence exist, but the organizational culture of law enforcement is white male dominated, racist, sexist, homophobic and then you might find a good cop,” said Mr. Davis. “When you operate in a paradigm that has that as a cultural foundation, it is very difficult for anyone other than those in the dominant culture to seek or get any form of justice.”
It is more than a handful of cops getting out of control. Go read the whole thing.

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