Americans have watched some police officers attack protesters and the media in Ferguson, Mo., for over a week. A recent study found that two black people are killed every week by police officers in the U.S.
Sunil Dutta, who is a professor at Colorado Tech University and has been a LAPD officer of 17 years, wrote an article today defending police officers in The Washington Post.
Near the beginning of the article, Dutta writes:
It is also a terrible calumny; cops are not murderers. No officer goes out in the field wishing to shoot anyone, armed or unarmed.
However, that claim is patently false. Numerous police officers have been convicted for murder for decades.
Dutta also writes:
Sometimes, though, no amount of persuasion or warnings work on a belligerent person; that's when cops have to use force, and the results can be tragic. We are still learning what transpired between Officer Darren Wilson and Brown, but in most cases it's less ambiguous — and officers are rarely at fault. When they use force, they are defending their, or the public's, safety.
Dutta failed to mention that police departments usually conduct their own internal investigations of their officers, which can create an immediate conflict of interest. Dutta didn't make note that his own LAPD has a long history of abuse and corruption.
Instead, Dutta says:
Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don't want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don't argue with me, don't call me names, don't tell me that I can't stop you, don't say I'm a racist pig, don't threaten that you'll sue me and take away my badge. Don't scream at me that you pay my salary, and don't even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?
Save your anger for later, and channel it appropriately. Do what the officer tells you to and it will end safely for both of you. We have a justice system in which you are presumed innocent; if a cop can do his or her job unmolested, that system can run its course. Later, you can ask for a supervisor, lodge a complaint or contact civil rights organizations if you believe your rights were violated. Feel free to sue the police! Just don't challenge a cop during a stop.
Salon.com notes the implication is that Michael Brown and other people who have been beaten and killed by police must have somehow caused the police to suddenly break their protocol.
Gawker.com reports that Dutta even complains about the positive stereotypes of police officers by Hollywood:
An average person cannot comprehend the risks and has no true understanding of a cop's job. Hollywood and television stereotypes of the police are cartoons in which fearless super cops singlehandedly defeat dozens of thugs, shooting guns out of their hands.
CORRECTION: Sunil Dutta, a professor of homeland security at Colorado Tech University, has been an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department for 17 years. The views presented here are his own and do not represent the LAPD or CTU.