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No Badge of Honor

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Police are the protectors of the purveyors of America’s wealth inequality.

Look Man, there need not be any more award giving to police. Period. In Conservatives’ efforts to thwart and destroy labor unions, I see them passing over one unionized group of civil servants - police unions. I see all deference given to these people selected to protect and serve, and I can’t see why. You may counter my argument because a policeman or policewoman stepped in to save your life. Many everyday citizens have done as much. I contend that we need to see that these people are human - and act less than such on too many occasions.

Where do I begin?

Well, the beginning started long, long ago - likely in the 1600s with the first sheriff’s department in New York - but most recently, a Houston police officer shot to death a double amputee in a wheelchair, who police said was trying to stab another officer with a pen…yes, a pen! An ink pen! Have you ever heard the quip, “Don’t bring a pen to a gunfight?” …figured you had never heard that either…

The man, Brian Claunch, was shot in the head Saturday morning after two police officers arrived at a group home for the mentally ill. The officers were responding to a report that Claunch - a reported schizophrenic who lost an arm and a leg in a train accident - was acting aggressively. Can you imagine two well-trained, physically-fit policemen losing a pen fight to ‘half’ a man??? What would/could they say at roll call? Gimme a break!

His caregiver had refused to give him a cigarette and a soda, according to police and the facility owner. So, the man became agitated. No doubt, nursing home staff briefed police upon arrival, so they knew the man was schizophrenic. Then, why shoot him?

What kind of fear are police operating under? Everyday Americans have to walk the streets without guns - and most choose to - and maneuver around thousands of other people who walk the streets with them - and no training! And, many of those people are as crazy as bats - and toting guns.

Outside a Metro station, the police attacked a man with no damned legs.

Police said Claunch was clutching an object as he advanced on one of the police officers. That’s their justification for cowardliness. I think of the case in August in which NYPD officers gunned down a Black man wielding a 6-inch knife after the police stopped him for smoking marijuana in public. The world watched the video as 20-plus officers followed the man - backing all the way down Broadway - and then shot him in cold blood! No one drew a taser

And what about the case where witnesses caught Washington, DC’s Metro Transit Police pulling Dwight Harris out of his wheelchair while putting him under arrest in May of last year? Outside a Metro station, the police attacked a man with no damned legs!!! Then, the police said, “the patron resisted arrest which resulted in him falling out of his wheelchair.” Falling???

Thank God for video! The video recording of the arrest contradicts the official account. In the video, two officers can be seen lifting Harris out of his wheelchair, and then dropping him to the ground - on top of a metal grate. Just plain hateful…

Another outrageous abuse of power occurred almost a year ago when White Plains, NY police shot and killed elderly Marine veteran, Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., in his home. When police responded to a call triggered by his Medical Alert device, he told police he was alright and to leave. Police insisted on entering, forcing their way in; they tased him and then shot him dead. Mr. Chamberlain was 68 years old and apparently infirm, hence the Medical Alert device.


Washington, DC’s The Examiner newspaper revealed in an expose that in the past three and a half years, more than 90 D.C. police officers - from detectives to captains to the rank-and-file cops on the street - have been arrested. I didn’t say nine…I said ninety! You can’t tell me these people are more honorable than any Everyday Joe?

DC’s Metropolitan Police Department officers have been nabbed within the District and as far away as Florida. They’ve been arrested on charges ranging from child pornography to murder. The majority are DUI and domestic violence arrests, but included are sexual assaults and murders to boot! 

Of course, I could list literally thousands of unjustified police shootings and brutal beatings, but one sticks out in my recent memory. After months, Alan Bluford’s family still awaits a response - and a police report - that explains why Oakland police shot and killed the teen in the middle of the night. Alan was weeks away from graduating from Skyline High School when he was killed around midnight last May. Police and the media initially claimed that Alan opened fire and injured one officer. You know how they work together. Not surprisingly, however, they later admitted that Alan hadn’t fired a weapon and the officer’s injury was self-inflicted! A real Barney Fife moment…you think?

We need to see that these people are human - and act less than such on too many occasions.

Yes, the cowardly police blamed the victim (just like in the Trayvon Martin case). Bluford was reportedly struck by three bullets in the back and legs, while running away. The more brutal aspect to this incident is that by some accounts, Alan might have survived had he not lay at the scene of the shooting for four hours before receiving medical attention. Can you think of any rational reason why responsible law enforcement officers would allow that to happen? By comparison, the wounded police officer, Miguel Masso, was rushed to the hospital immediately. 

I can’t say it loudly enough: We need law enforcement; we don’t need cowards serving as law enforcement officers. Police get the best benefits; they get the best perks and most get highly undeserved honor. Why do we continue to allow American society to place these people on pedestals? Perhaps it’s because this gang-in-blue protects the holders of America’s wealth, and wealth acquisition, before Occupy Wall Street, was an admirable pursuit (i.e., pursuit of happiness). Police are the protectors of the purveyors of America’s wealth inequality. Let us not partake in police injustice; we can stop the brutality. Let us not give police any more badges of honor. Columnist, Perry Redd, is the former Executive Director of the workers rights advocacy, Sincere Seven, and author of the on-line commentary, “The Other Side of the Tracks.” He is the host of the internet-based talk radio show, Socially Speaking in Washington, DC. Click here to contact Mr. Redd.

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Sept 27, 2012 - Issue 487
is published every Thursday
Est. April 5, 2002
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble