The recent acquittal of Mesa, Arizona, police officer Philip Brailsford in the 2016 shooting death of Daniel Shaver has once again sparked debate over the culture of policing in the United States. While the “blue lives matter” cult and other bootlickers have been predictably quick to trot out their usual litany of tired excuses for what is clearly an incident of a trigger-happy cop abusing his power in the taking of the life of one of our fellow citizens, people not inclined to tongue-kiss the boots of a violent police state have been expressing justifiable outrage over the clear miscarriage of justice that has let yet another sociopathic cop get away with murder.
Body cam video of the shooting was released a few hours after the not guilty verdict for Brailsford on Thursday, according to CBS News. The gruesome clip shows Shaver crying as he struggled to follow the often contradictory directions Brailsford barked at him in the hallway of a hotel. Brailsford, clearly enthralled by the power he had at that moment over another human being, could have easily de-escalated the situation and calmly apprehended the non-resisting and petrified suspect, Shaver, but instead, chose to engage him in a twisted game of “Simon Says” at gunpoint, with the punishment for losing being his death.
Please note, the following video displays graphic violence and may be disturbing to many viewers.
That the jury acquitted Brailsford should come as no surprise to anyone aware of how cops are given preferential treatment under our justice system that allows them to engage in repeated abuse of citizens, murder with impunity, and to perpetuate a culture of harassment, corruption and violence.
The rifle Philip Brailsford used to murder Daniel Shaver was inscribed with the phrase “you’re f**ked.” According to the Atlantic, the jury was not allowed to be made aware of this fact in order to avoid any “prejudice” it might cause against Brailsford. That a cop defaced a weapon paid for by taxpayers with a slogan that celebrates the potential taking of a life of a citizen is automatically viewed as not worthy of being taken into consideration. Forget that it exemplifies the callous attitude Brailsford has toward the use of violence while performing his job. Nope, wouldn’t want the jury to think bad thoughts about a guy who clearly thinks killing people is fun.
Juries are already inherently prejudiced in favor of police defendants. The state gives police the right to kill with virtual impunity. Whereas if most of us kill someone it’s assumed that the act was at the very least outside the parameters of normal behavior, with cops juries are expected to approach deliberation from the point of view that killing people is a normal part of the job and only extenuating circumstances push it over the line of criminality.
The “blue lives matter” cult and other defenders of police routinely waver between making absurd justifications for every incident of police violence that hits the news and excusing individual incidents as the work of “a few bad apples.” They tell us that most police are “good guys.” But really, how “good” is a person who decides to take a job where one of his or her primary functions is to ruin someone’s day because they’re driving a little too fast, or mess with someone’s life because they caught them smoking a joint? To say that police are sociopaths is not a “generalization.” It’s part of their job description.
We must attack the culture of policing in the United States at its dismal, abusive core. If this means abolishing the nation’s police forces, many of which exist as gangs that function outside the parameters of the law they are ostensibly assigned to defend, then so be it. The need that communities have for protection against violence and other victim crimes can be met with programs that focus on strengthening and protecting our communities rather than tearing them apart.