When suspects show disrespect or force police to chase them, some police officers are more inclined to use violence regardless of the actual need to do so. I have never believed that was most police officers. But it happens sufficiently often that it has led to a political movement to defund the police.
Now that we have video of these encounters, citizens can understand what life is like for those whose encounters with police differ from the polite respectful officers they know.
All of us, regardless of our politics, desire police officers to protect us and to act with mature decency even in scary and stressful encounters. That is the job.
I have represented many good police officers, and they do not support the sort of callous violence depicted in the video in the recent MLive article, “Michigan State Police Trooper Charged with Assault After Leaving K-9 on Suspect for More Than Three Minutes“. I have represented many victims of violence while in custody. The law should protect those who follow it — police officers and civilians alike—but the law doesn’t determine how any person acts at a particular moment — our choices do.
Those inclined to support the police as a political ideology must acknowledge we have a problem with too many violent police incidents. Those inclined to mistrust police must recognize that most officers behave professionally.
Let us work together to move to a more peaceful and law-abiding society. Let us ensure that victims receive fair compensation when they are tortured or killed by officers. And let us alter police employment practices to treat all police officers with dignity in employment, but remove violent people from serving in police forces.