When I left military service, I wanted to be a police officer. The one thing that prevented me from realizing my wish was my vision. I had 20/200, corrected to 20/20. My vision was too poor to be a police officer.
So, I took the next best step. I became a Texas state employee as a Corrections Officer. I attended the Correction Officer Academy near Huntsville, Texas, and upon graduation was assigned to a medium security prison in south Texas.
There are two kinds of Correctional Officers, referred to as Bosses by inmates: good bosses and bad bosses. Inmates classified me as being a good boss. I was firm, but fair.
I did not refer to black inmates as niggers, as many other officers did. I always showed all inmates respect. My thinking was they broke the law, got caught, and are now paying their debt. There was no reason to make their lives even more miserable than they were in prison, and as long as they obeyed the rules or did not let me catch them breaking the rules, we could get along.
I will not say any more about my time as a Correctional Officer other than to say: many people in prison really need to be there. If released, they would just do the same thing(s) they did to be sentenced to prison in the first place. And if they did, most certainly someone would get hurt, most likely an innocent citizen.
There are some very bad people in prison, and being in prison will not, did not, rehabilitate them.
The Department of Corrections in the state of Texas was very well run in 1974. Texas prisons operated on an annual budget of about $38M, if my memory is correct. California prisons, on the other hand, operated on a budget of more than $100M annually. That is why California sent a number of officials to Texas to figure out how we operated so inexpensively.
Texas prisons are (or were back then) pretty much self-sufficient. We had prison farms. We grew much of our own food. We had a meat packing plant, and slaughtered our own pigs. We had a textile prison making uniforms, towels, etc., and a transportation system of semi trucks to distribute goods between the various prisons.
While working as a Correctional Officer, I had the opportunity to meet many law enforcement officers as we ate together in the Officers’ Dining Room. I met state troopers, deputies, police officers, and once two FBI agents.
In order to be hired by a city police department and sent to their academy, an applicant must pass many tests, both physical and psychological. It is not easy to become a police officer trainee, much less make it through the academy and graduate. I have nothing but respect for police officers, because I know the type of trash humans they must deal with and the risks they take every day. There are criminals who seek to kill police officers as a badge of courage, and some gangs require a gang member to kill a police officer in order to move up in the gang.
Every day a police officer, male or female, puts on his/her uniform and steps out into the public they risk their death. There are some very bad people walking among us.
Although police officers have some special privileges due to their position as police officers, they still are human beings with the possibility of doing something(s) wrong either by choice or innocent mistake. In the heat of a moment, in a stressful situation, an officer often has to make snap/immediate decisions. A wrong decision could mean they or a partner or an innocent citizen could die. I doubt anyone, other than combat soldiers, have ever been in a very similar situation.
Police officers are human. They make mistakes. However, you would think the training they receive in the academy and on the job would help them make fewer mistakes. To repeat, a mistake, a wrong decision, could cost the life of someone.
In the case of Michael Brown in Ferguson, we all know, except for those people who have been hiding under a rock for the past six months, Brown committed a strong arm robbery in a convenience store before encountering a police officer a few blocks away. It can be clearly seen in the convenience store video, Brown was a big guy. His size was intimidating. The police officer he encountered was a smaller man.
Self-defense is a “touchy” defense. If self-defense is a defense between two “civilian” citizens, it can be a pretty good chance, depending on the evidence, the accused can be acquitted.
If self-defense is claimed by someone who was in a confrontation with a police officer, the chances are not in favor of the accused. It is perceived by most people (my guess is “most”) that the accused is a suspect of something for which the police officer(s) was/were trying to arrest him, and the claim of self-defense is just a ploy to avoid prosecution.
Now, in the case of a police officer, self-defense is a very difficult defense claim. The officer has a firearm, baton, taser, pepper spray, and maybe something else. Although it may be a legitimate defense, it is still perceived to be a skeptical claim.
If the suspect is significantly bigger than the police officer, self-defense is a bit more plausible. Without an unbiased eyewitness or video, proving such a defense is, again, quite difficult.
Being that I am familiar with police officers and all of them good men and women who risk their lives every day to protect us from the kinds of people I’ve dealt with as a Correctional Officer, I will probably, not definitely, side with the law enforcement officer(s).
For those people who cannot be unbiased and be an objective thinker, finding a police officer innocent is almost an impossible decision. Bias can be race, religion, gender or any other number of reasons. In Ferguson, bias is primarily based on race.
Now, I can choose to be against law enforcement, like I am about a case in Phoenix, Arizona, when a woman was convicted of murder based on very, very sloppy police work. The investigating detective stated he took notes as the woman confessed. However, there was only he and the suspect in the room. There was no tape recording. There was no video. Then he stated he wrote the confession paraphrasing what the suspect said then threw his notes away. Also, there was no signature by the suspect. So, that officer could have concocted the entire “confession”. It was very, very sloppy police work. A DEA agent even stated that is how things are done in Iraq, not how they should be done in the U.S.A.
If I was on the jury in that trial, I would most definitely think the detective was lying, forged the entire “confession”, and would not have voted for a guilty verdict. There is just too much doubt.
So, not all police officers are honest, upstanding people. There is a long history of bad cops, but I believe bad cops are not the norm, but an anomaly.
If I was on the Grand Jury in Ferguson, I would not find the officer should be charged and stand trial. The officer has been decorated and no reprimands are in his file. However, Brown just committed a robbery before encountering the officer. I’m sure Brown would do almost anything to avoid being arrested. His size would make him confident and a bully, especially when confronting a smaller man.
Those of you who are racists and despise Caucasians may accuse me of being a racist, but you would make that accusation due to your racist stupidity. I do not have a problem with any race. I have problems with bad people within a race. That includes all races.
As shown above, I can take a side against law enforcement. As a Correctional Officer, I felt sentencing a first time offender to two years in prison for just smoking some marijuana was much too harsh. I do not condone marijuana or any other drug. I vehemently oppose drug use, sale, and distribution, but the punishment must fit the crime, and two years for just smoking—well, that’s a little too harsh. Especially when people are still driving after multiple drunk driving convictions. If anyone should be sent to prison even for a first time offense, it should be drunk drivers.
Certain people in Ferguson are chomping at the bit hoping they are given a reason to riot, loot, commit arson, throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police. I hope they are given the reason. That would mean the officer in question is not put on trial.
However, I wish those “certain people” would act like civilized U.S. citizens, not out-of-control savages who have more toes than their I.Q. rating.
We are supposed to be a civilized country with freedoms unseen in any other country in the world. We have the best nation in the world. I don’t see millions of people sneaking into China or Russia or North Korea or Vietnam or Thailand or etc, and etc.
So, since this nation is the most civilized and the best place to live, why are so many people rioting, looting, committing arson just because a decision comes down with which they don’t agree?
Because they are ignorant, violent, and racist morons.
If they choose to riot and create a melee, whatever misfortune comes their way will not make me so much as shed a single tear or well up in me any pity.
You reap what you sow.