Ask a Cop – July 2010

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Dear Cop,
I was recently reading an article about an animal rights group that was suing the police department for shutting down a legal protest. Say what you will about animal rights groups … yeah, I get that they can sometimes border on a level of craziness similar to Glenn Beck … but in this case it seems like the cops were violating the First Amendment rights of the protesters. When cops shut these protests down, they claim that they are using tax-payer-funded authority. If protesters decide to sue because they believe that the police have violated their First Amendment rights … the police department is defended by a tax-payer-funded lawyer. Regardless of your stance on animal rights activists (or any activists really) ,doesn’t it seem a little fucked up that the police department is wasting taxpayer money when they are dumb enough to violate First Amendment rights? Who is to say that those protesters aren’t taxpayers? Am I the only one who thinks it’s totally asinine that people essentially have to pay for the right to protest thrre-quarters of a right that is supposedly guaranteed to us by The Constitution.

Dear Animal Treater with Ethics,
The way you put things, yes, it is ridiculous that you pay taxes in order to shut down the protest you support. However, you’re making an assumption that law enforcement is political. It is not. It is apolitical, with a capital A. Law enforcement has no opinion as to animal rights groups’ arguments for or against. The individual cop might in his civilian life, but with the badge on, he’s apolitical.

When a law enforcement agency is required to “police” an event such as the one you describe, they are going to do so based on “policy.” Policy does not take into account whether the rally, protest, march or whatever is for or against any particular view. They’re required to “police” the event to preserve public peace. That’s why you’ll see black cops protecting a Klan rally or white cops protecting a Muslim Brotherhood event.

The only time a law enforcement agency is going to shut an event down is when there is a threat to the “public peace.” In other words, the “peaceful assembly” is no longer peaceful. Sorry, there goes your free speech.

Believe me, no copper ever took the job anticipating baby-sitting peaceful marchers holding hands and singing Joan Baez songs. There’s no job satisfaction in that …. but, once in a while, some of the fucksticks using that organization will show themselves. They are the anarchists, vandals, instigators and destroyers. They’re the ones who commit arson, murder, vandalism and mayhem in the name of whatever cause they choose that day. They are criminals, and whatever their stage and audience, they’re there to cause destruction. Cops get off on them and can be biased against them. We call it “Hats and Bats,” the riot helmet and the stick, job satisfaction.

Oh yeah, cops are animals lovers, too. Did you know it’s a misdemeanor to assault a cop, but it’s a felony to assault a police service dog (K9)? Cops got that bill passed. See, they love animals more than themselves, and cops love themselves a lot.

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