Torture Topic within Law Enforcement Ranks

This posting with the Siler torture audio initiated some interesting debate over at a law enforcement site. It started this way:

Heard about this on a podcast I was listening to at work to day and actually got physically ill hearing the recording… And the longest any of them got was SIX YEARS. SIX YEARS FOR TORTURE.

The conversation continued:

There is an evil streak within some people. We are placing these people in positions where they can abuse their power.

I think any honest law abiding police officer here will agree with this statement. What’s the solution? Police chiefs and sheriffs nationwide would like to know the answer. You don’t know a person is a loose cannon until they have already lost their cool. And by then the sheriffs and chiefs have to back the loose cannons and their actions so as to lesson their own civil liability.

Others had different views:

I, for one, am glad that we have young Marines who are able to dehumanize the enemy and kill them in their own countries. And I’d much rather hear an 18 year-old speak like this than a 30 year-old. Maybe you’re not giving them or their leaders enough credit to be able to distinguish non-terrorists from the “ragheads” they want to kill. God Bless young bloodthirsty Americans with good guns and good leadership.

In the words of John McEnroe, you cannot be serious. The trouble with your theory is that the 18-year-old marine will grow into the f***ed up 30-year-old cop, who still has nightmares about what he did when he sleeps, and dehumanises “the enemy” – i.e, other people – when he’s awake.

I’ll add a couple of suggestions towards that conversation. One thing which can be done is to change the laws so cops aren’t wasting their time on victimless crimes. I don’t know how many serious crimes I see unresolved and how many lesser ones aren’t even investigated while I read daily stories of people being arrested for a little baggie of weed.

Another suggestion is to treat cops (and other public officials) like other citizens with respect to prosecution. Had Siler tortured a law inforcement officer in a hypothetical reversal of roles in this case, Siler would probably be spending life in prison and not just a few months.

posted by Stephen Gordon
  • http://www.freeme.org Keith

    Yes, I also listened to the tape on the Free Talk Live podcast/ radio show and I must say I felt ill. I am in the Army and really, I don’t want to know people like that. Really, the tape was sick and I almost puked. Sadly, that is the same day that I heard Mexico is going to stop messing with people for tiny amount of drugs, something similar to what caused the torture on the tape. At least one government in the world is trying something new.

    Shameless plugs-
    Of course, I hope to work for the same thing with groups such as LEAP in New Hampshire via the Free State Project.

  • Timothy West

    I have to say the number of people ( especially Frank Booth )
    on that board who seem to approve of the torture is a sad case. No wonder no one respects the police or the laws they are charged with enforcing.

  • Yizmo Gizmo

    It’s hard to discuss torture without
    bringing up the famous Milgram
    experiment, in which “normal” people
    will do horrific things like torture
    if an “authority” allows it.
    So it’s not just “rogue” cops always
    but the hierarchy, the beat, the atmosphere,
    the emotion,
    that contributes to these crimes.
    As long as there is a Drug War the
    dealers will be winning the war
    and cops will do stupid things like this
    out of frustration and desperation.

  • http://blog.joseph-a-nagy-jr.us Joseph A Nagy Jr

    There was a case (I forget how recent) where someone impersonating law enforcement officials was calling up random fast food restaurants and having managers and assistant managers do horrific things to their own employees (including rape IIRC).

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