© Jenna Pope
NYPD threw people to the ground and tackled them before arresting them, because why not?
I had a particularly disheartening exchange with my cousin the other day on the NSA database Facebook. There's a viral post going around about a traffic stop in Tucson, AZ. An African American man, member of the national guard, was pulled over for having a tail light out. He was armed with a glock on his hip - totally legal - which he informed the officer about. After a rather cordial interaction with the police they let him off with a warning.

My problem with the post was how it ended:
I'm a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn't be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities.

Maybe...just maybe...that notion is bunk.

Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.
The context and timing is always relevant. Concurrently, the nation is processing a vicious attack that occurred in a school, of all places, in South Carolina. Quick summary: a teenage girl checked her cell phone and was then asked to turn it over to her teacher. She refused. Then she was told to go to the principal's office. She also refused, as she had already put away her phone. The teacher was so incensed by her defiance, he called in the vice principal, and again she refused to leave, asking what exactly the problem was. Then the school SRO (short for School Resource Officer Savage Roid-enraged Oppressor) was called in.

ben fields, south carolina cop

300lb Officer Ben Fields aka 'Officer Slam' rips a teen out of her desk and drags her across the floor before handcuffing her for 'disturbing school'
He grabs her, flips her desk, drags her across the floor and then handcuffs her while a passive classroom looks on. Only one girl was brave enough to stand up and speak out against the violence, and she was also arrested. Their crime? 'Disrupting school.' In South Carolina, this is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and jail time.

Coming back to the viral post, the implication is that the victims of brutal assault crimes, rape or murder by police are to blame for not showing enough 'respect'. I commented on the post on my cousin's FB page, pointing out that I'm sure that little girl in SC would feel better knowing that not all police are brutal thugs. I also mentioned the innate tendency we, as a culture, have to defer to authority and blame the victim for the behavior of the abuser. The response?
F*** you Brent. That girl was a little b**** and cop acted properly. You are so on the wrong side of everything I can't take it anymore. Grow up and accomplish something. Please don't post on my stuff anymore.
Subsequently my aunt added, "I can't believe some of the things you say." Both of them unfriended me. I'm not going to lie, I was hurt. Not only due to the personal nature of his comments, but more from the fact that these are my relatives. I was shocked that family members could justify a 300lb man assaulting a child. There's also the fact that this 'man' has a history of violence, is potentially using steroids and the little girl was an orphan in the foster system. She's likely suffering from clinical depression. These are all details that get swept aside during a 30-second sound bite.

I had a discussion with another friend of mine. He has friends and family that are in the police force. He argued that there's 'a few bad apples' giving police officers a bad rap. I get it. We have a tendency to minimize or dismiss data that makes us especially uncomfortable. There's also authoritarians in the population. These are people that are hard wired to need some sort of external system of rules and authority in order to guide their moral existence. That's why I wrote this piece. I want to make it crystal clear that the problem is not 'a few' bad apples, but that the bunch, the tree, and even the ground, are rotten.

How can we be so sure? Simple: we examine the 'apples'.

First, here are some of the other 'apples'. I'm going to provide a rather exhaustive list to make the case that the entire batch is rotten. This is not to make the point that every single officer is a bad person, but that the sheer volume of incidents indicates a systemic problem with the police force nationwide.

Jeremy Mardis
© Family photo
Jeremy Mardis was killed by police on Nov 3rd, 2015. He was 6 years old
Nov 8th, 2015: Cops assault and brutally arrest three people in Austin, TX for the dangerous crime of jaywalking.
Nov 8th, 2015: Arizona man was beat bloody by police for making a phone call. Reason they originally stopped him? No light on his bike...
Nov 4th, 2015: Louisiana cops killed 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis, when they fired upon a car that bumped their vehicle. Wasn't clear why shooting the car was necessary and the officers involved changed their stories several times before being given 'time off to recover'.
Nov 4th, 2015: This cop was embezzling money and stealing from his department. He carefully staged his suicide to make it look like he was KIA.
Nov 3th 2015: A cop in Arkansas was fired after he shot himself and invented assailants. The motive remains unclear.
Nov 2nd, 2015: Ex-cop's trial to begin over 2013 allegations he raped a minor 5x in Texas while other cops watched.
Nov 1st, 2015: A 17-year-old in Texas is placed in a medically induced coma, suffers permanent brain damage after the SRO at his school tases him for breaking up a fight
Oct 31st, 2015: NJ police beat a man bloody, requiring hospitalization, after he honked his horn at them. Then they taunted him and his wife. They sued, and the lawsuit was settled for $500k, but the department still maintains there was 'no wrongful conduct' on the part of the officers.
Oct 30th, 2015: Cell phone video proves man was falsely arrested, effectively kidnapped for 60 days
Oct 30th, 2015: A New Jersey officer with a history of drunk driving kills two people hours after posting pictures of him drinking shots to Instagram
Oct 28th, 2015: Man calling for help was killed by plainclothes officer in Florida after his car breaks down
Oct 27th, 2015: Dashcam video shows cop murdering teenager, firing bullets into his side and back at point-blank range when he attempted to drive away
Oct 21st, 2015: Florida cop walks up to house, knocks on door, kills dog that tries to greet him
Oct 19th, 2015: Report reveals over 7,000 people effectively 'disappeared' in Homan Square black site outside Chicago
Oct 19th, 2015: Cop kills his wife claiming she was 'going to smoke marijuana'
Sept 27th, 2015: US border patrol agent indicted for murder after shooting Mexican teenager through the fence as he was walking home
Sept 21st, 2015: Man tasered for flipping off Cincinnati cop
Sept 24th, 2015: In Delaware cops murdered a disabled man in a wheelchair because he didn't raise his hands
Sept 18th, 2015: This guy was tasered after a cop harassed and assaulted him. His crime? Walking on the street at night while black and wearing a hoodie.
Sept 16th, 2015: California officers attack this teenage boy, 4 of them force him to the ground. His crime was jaywalking.
Aug 20th, 2015: Retired 4-star army general assaulted by police following altercation over food delivery
Aug 19th, 2015: Pennsylvania cop attacks elderly man for singing in public
Aug 18th 2015: 14 cops in San Francisco attack and arrest one-legged homeless man, stripping him of his clothes on the street
July 18th, 2015: This Colorado cop slammed a handcuffed girl into the floor, knocking her teeth out
July 21st, 2015: Insane cop in Florida attacks mentally ill, nonviolent man, uses his finger to dig out his eyeball while other cops restrain him
July 20th, 2015: Tennessee man killed by police after being hogtied and placed face-down on a stretcher
July 14th, 2015: Cops in California shoot two men riding their bikes, killing one. The dashcam video was only released after a judge ordered it.
July 10th, 2015: Sandra Bland is arrested and then murdered by police in Texas. Her crime was failing to signal a lane change. When the officer attacked her after perceiving 'disrespect', he levied charges of assaulting an officer against her.
July 5th, 2015: Salt Lake City man executed by police 20 seconds after they approach him. He 'ignored commands' to raise his hands due to listening to music and hiking up his pants was misconstrued as 'reaching for a weapon'
June 21st, 2015: A father calls cops on his son who 'borrowed' the car without permission, they kill him
June 13th, 2015: Texas police looking for a parole violator kill a neighbor's elderly dog
June 6th, 2015: SWAT Team destroys home of innocent man when a shoplifter hides inside - tanks, grenades and chemical weapons used
June 2nd 2015: Cop threatens teens after they make a U-turn in a parking lot: "If you f*** with me I'm going to break your legs before you get a chance to run."
May 15th, 2015: NYPD tries and fails to arrest 14-yr-old girl when the 7-yr-old she was with pushed the police call box button
May 11th, 2015: Natasha McKenna was murdered by police while handcuffed and shackled - no reason for her arrest or detention was ever given.
May 3rd, 2015: 18-year-old Sheneque Proctor was killed while in police custody, no explanation for her death was given. She was arrested and held for 'disorderly conduct' or for being at a hotel party.
April 30th, 2015: NYPD snatch and grabbing protesters from the street during Freddie Gray protests
April 24th, 2015: Freddie Gray is murdered while in police custody in Baltimore, MD. He was clearly beaten to death, but the tried to frame it as if he had caused his own injuries while in the back of the police van.
April 3rd, 2015: This man was allowed to die in his jail cell when police refused to administer him his medication, police doctor's denied he was in any pain or distress.
Feb 23rd, 2015: Elderly man ripped out of a car and tasered by police after losing his balance.
Jan 2nd, 2015: Tasha Thomas, 26, is killed in a mysterious car accident. She was John Crawford's girlfriend when he was killed, and had been participating in protests against the police department. Just as the national spotlight began to focus on Crawford's murder, she's killed under questionable circumstances.
Dec 7th, 2014: Cops brutally arrest college student for the crime of smoking outside in between her classes.
Nov 26th, 2014: 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by police in a park near Cleveland, Ohio, after they see him playing with a toy gun.
Sept 25th, 2014: Unarmed man killed by police on his front porch moments after making a cheerful Facebook post
August 5th, 2014: John Crawford is killed by police while shopping in Ohio. His crime was purchasing an airsoft BB gun and a 9-11 caller set off the police by claiming there was a man waving a gun around in the store.
April 21st, 2014: Cop kills 19-year-old girl, his body camera 'malfunctions' for the third time in a row.
Nov 2nd, 2012: A woman in Salt Lake City was murdered by police in her car after they think she's on drugs.

Here's the 'tree', or the justice system and other law enforcement agencies. You'll note a consistent lack of charges against cops who commit crimes:

Nov 7th, 2015: Cop who killed mentally ill man gets disability pay... how many other murderers get government subsidized tax-free money?
Nov 5th, 2015: Quentin Tarantino threatened by police union chief over his remarks in support of protests against police brutality, "We've got a surprise for you..." - whatever happened to free speech?
Nov 4th, 2015: Demonstrating the reality of living in a police state, schools in California call the police every 2.6 seconds.
Nov 4th, 2015: Idaho rancher murdered by police after they call him to the scene of a car accident involving one of his bulls, cover-up likely
Oct 31st, 2015: FBI knew Jared Fogle was molesting kids for years - did nothing
Oct 27th, 2015: Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice caught sharing misogynistic, racist and pedophiliac jokes
Oct 25th, 2015: No charges against cop accused of helping his brother dispose of his girlfriend's body
Sept 14th, 2015: Lawsuit aims to stop NYPD from mass arresting peaceful protesters
Aug 30th, 2015: Police officers documented traveling to Israel to learn methods of repression
Aug 29th, 2015: West Point professor suggests military should target legal critics of the war of terror
July 20th, 2015: Retired US Army General Wesley Clark suggests locking up people who 'don't support America' in concentration camps
July 6th, 2015: No charges against officer who opened fire on a van full of kids
June 19th, 2015: Police seize $11,000 from student, file no criminal charges against him, but keep his money
June 10th, 2015: No charges for Atlanta officer who fatally shot driver in back
May 20th, 2015: Sheriff's Department in Georgia flash-bangs a baby in crib, refuses to pay medical bills
April 15th, 2015: Man arrested and fined for having ponds on his property
March 23rd, 2015: Cops who killed autistic man awarded 2 million dollars each claiming 'discrimination'
Feb 20th, 2015: The Memphis police department threatens to demote officers who repeatedly complain about racism
Feb 19th, 2015: No charges for cops who shot unarmed innocent man 16 times while he slept in his own bed
Nov 25th, 2014: No charges filed against Officer Darren Wilson who murdered Michael Brown
Nov 10th, 2014: No charges for DEA agent who shot grandmother during botched raid
Oct 8th, 2014: No charges against Georgia SWAT officers who threw flashbang grenade into baby's crib
Sept 24th, 2014: Officers who killed John Crawford are let go without indictment, 'no crime' committed...
July 17th, 2014: Eric Garner is killed by police after a chokehold was used to subdue him, his crime was selling loose cigarettes.
July 3rd, 2014: No charges for officer who attacked paralyzed wheelchair bound man. His offense? Accidentally bumping into him

And the 'ground', or our nation's leaders and their behavior abroad (I included Israel because it receives $10 million dollars a day from the US and so we're somewhat responsible for how it behaves):

Nov 6th, 2015: US-backed 'moderate' terrorists chop off Syrian soldier's head and plaster pictures on social media
Nov 3rd, 2015: Documents reveal that IRS purchased 'stingrays' - suitcase sized devices that can record cell phone calls and text messages as well as log metadata.
Oct 30th, 2015: Details of the crooked dealings Hillary Clinton, the supposed democratic front runner for president (video version)
Oct 28th, 2015: John McCain's think tank wants to ignore the first amendment and go after assets of uncooperative media
Oct 28th, 2015: John McCain & Mikhail Saakashvili are conspiring to shoot down American plane in Syria to blame Russia
Oct 27th, 2015: Days before 2008 crash, congressmen sell their stocks after briefing from Treasury Department
Oct 27th, 2015: A short history of the pathological Neocon quest for empire - all we knew and worse
Oct 26th, 2015: 'Moderate' rebels in Syria, funded by US tax dollars, decapitate Syrian soldiers and threaten minorities
Oct 26th, 2015: The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an attack on the internet, satire and dissent
Oct 25th, 2015: Captured ISIS leaders in Iraq confirm they were receiving support from US
Oct 25th, 2015: Palestinian genocide continues, 1,300 people shot in the last 11 days
Oct 22nd, 2015: Round-table discussion analyzes pedophiles in positions of power in US government
Oct 21st, 2015: Prime minister of Israel blames a Palestinian for Nazi Holocaust
Oct 17th, 2015: Drone pilot blows the whistle, tells media his superiors don't care who dies in drone attacks
Oct 14th, 2015: Russian President calls out Washington for being uncooperative on destroying ISIS in Syria
Oct 13th, 2015: US targets civilian power plants in Syria while Russia bombs terrorist camps
Oct 12th, 2015: Zionist verbally assaults child bleeding on the ground after he was shot by soldier
Oct 3rd, 2015: US military attacks hospital in Afghanistan, killing dozens of innocent people
Sept 20th, 2015: US Soldiers in Afghanistan told to ignore pedophilia occurring on their base by locals they're working with
Sept 16th, 2015: Putin accuses US of using terrorists to destabilize foreign governments
July 11th, 2015: Video shows US soldiers in Iraq killing random citizens and bragging about it to one another
May 2nd, 2015: African Jews in Israel protest against police brutality
Jan 30th, 2015: Orwell would be proud - US fighting a war against Al qaeda leader who does not exist
Sept 8th, 2014: Benghazi attacks used to justify arming terrorists
Nov 19th, 2013: Congressman who pushed to drug test food stamp recipients is busted for possession of cocaine

A brief glance at this list should convince anyone that there is a much larger problem than 'a few bad apples.' Further, I could spend many days compiling a much longer list that goes back years. The above list is only the most famous and recent examples.

Psychopaths rule in the USA and most of the western world. Until that fact is acknowledged and dealt with, their lack of compassion, their brutality and violence will trickle down and touch the lives of every one of us. If we are lucky enough to avoid being the victim of violent crime perpetrated by the state, by justifying the barbarity and insanity from the sidelines, we risk losing our ability to determine right from wrong. Many US citizens are already suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, and they don't even know it.