“If you see something, say something.”
Isn’t that a cute little slogan? I think it is. If you’ve never heard it before, it’s the slogan Homeland Security made up in an attempt to turn us all into hall monitors and spy on our neighbors. Because, you know, if you’re not suspicious of every little thing you see and you don’t report that to the police, all sorts of unscrupulous people will commit untold horrors upon all of us. You are the one who needs to see something, say something, and save the world. Otherwise the terrorists win.
You know what? They don’t really mean that. Sure, they mean it when you’re “seeing” your weird neighbor. They don’t mean it when you’re “seeing” them, though.
I’m not going to pretend to have been in this law game forever. I’m approaching 15 years, though, and that’s long enough to have figured some things out. One thing that never would have crossed my mind had I not seen it several times in person is the amount of bullying that happens to witnesses of police abuse. I’m not even necessarily talking about the person directly abused by the cops. I’m talking about other people that were just hanging around and saw it happen. It’s scary.
It happens like this: defendant walks into a lawyers office with bruises all over his body, a face that looks like it’s been whacked with a meat tenderizer and a story that, he might have told the police to stick their batons where the sun don’t shine, but he absolutely didn’t get physical with them. Yet, they beat the piss out of him.
-KRS ONE “Who Protects Us From You?”
So, the abuse gets reported, the report trickles down to whatever police body is in charge of investigating the other police (sometimes they’re all even in he same department) and a “full investigation is underway.” The investigators talk to the cop who says something to the effect of “that kid came at me with a samurai knife so I had to ‘assist him to the ground’ and he accidentally struck his head.” Then the investigator goes to the witnesses who say “the defendant was minding his own business and the cops handcuffed him and started kicking him.”
You know what happens then? Well, if the allegations weren’t against a cop (but were against a “regular dude” like you or me) they’d charge us with the abuse thinking the jury can sort out who is telling the truth. So they charge that cop just like they’d go after you or I, right?
Exactly… the opposite.
They go back to the witnesses, tell them that they’ve got credible evidence that they’re lying, and that if the witnesses maintain their “false report” of such allegations, the witnesses themselves will likely end up in jail. You can’t be saying false things about a cop. And that cop you know you saw beating on your buddy? He says it never happened. So, it must be false.
That’s really just a long setup for the following video. It’s one of the most disturbing things you’ll ever see that doesn’t involve violence. A lady appearing before a hearing officer was pulled out of court by some clammy-handed, law enforcement goon for an unnecessary and very personal search. What followed? She saw something. Said something. Got arrested in front of her kid (and the hearing officer ignored the whole thing):
So, if you see something, say something. Unless it’s a cop doing something bad. Then you didn’t see shit, right?