The org chart

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers were not Black, yet they had a working familiarity with the arbitrary traffic stop. © and all praise to Gilbert Shelton

Well, that’s one killer cop down, and … let’s see if he stays down before we all start dancing in the end zone.

I won’t presume to speak for Black people in this matter or any other. Shit, I don’t even know what or if honkies are thinking and I am one.

That said, I will propose that all of us devote at least as much attention to what’s going on at home as we do the national performance art in DeeCee. Governors, legislatures, mayors, city councils, county commissions, police and sheriffs, judiciary, school boards, etc. All of these affect the quality of your lives, regardless of race, creed, color, or religion.

You want smart, caring, hard-working people running the shop, handling the hiring, oversight, discipline, and firing as warranted. Even when you’re satisfied you’ve got the right people in place, keep one eye on ’em while you go about your own business. You get an asshole at the top of the org chart, before you know it you’ve got assholes all the way down.

And some of them have badges.

Assholes with badges don’t always tase you, shoot you, or kneel on your neck. Sometimes they just roust you for not wearing a helmet when cycling. Or pull you over for hanging an air freshener from the rear view mirror, having a broken taillight, sporting an unfashionable hue for the ’hood, or demonstrating a unique personal style (see Phineas Freek, above). These are what we call “fishing expeditions.”

“Are you a dope fiend, sir? Mind if I root around in your trunk, see if you have any hogtied White children, bales of marijuana, or rocket launchers in there? Let’s see your license, registration, and MAGA hat. But keep those hands on the wheel where I can see them.” Etc.

With the right management in place, cops like this become ex-cops. Let them fish full time, for food.

• Obligatory disclaimer: Yes, I have had positive interactions with law enforcement since I quit being a hippie. It’s probably not so easy to quit being Black.

Tags: , ,

12 Responses to “The org chart”

  1. mike w. Says:

    Damn! The nail had been squarely hit on its head.

    Thank you.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    This case was a no-brainer. Its all the other ones that happen in a split second at o-dark thirty that are hard. Anyone who thinks its just the cops shooting up places like the bad parts of Chicago or Philly have not been paying attention.

    Its probably not hard for cops to expect incoming but that is not an excuse to fuck up. You want the best, we have to pay for the best. Meanwhile, no one wants to pay for it. Like I used to tell people when I ran an analytical lab. They wanted better, cheaper, and faster. I said you get two out of three on a good day.

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    I got stopped once on I-10 by the border patrol. I was driving a Ford cargo van converted to camper/passenger van by yours truly. Even had some pin striping done on the sides. I was trying to grow a beard, last and only try, and had long hair. Border Patrol pulls me over, looks at me and the ex, then asks me for some ID to see if I was a citizen. I could sell the van, shave, and cut my hair. All three of those things happened eventually. The last sentence in your disclaimer says it all. I got a taste of profiling, but others get a steady diet their whole lives. Especially within 150 miles of the Southern border.

    • khal spencer Says:

      We went through the inspection station on US 70 east of Cruces and I was a little worried, given my spouse is “a woman of indeterminate origin” but nothing came of it. Saw a lot of Border Patrol down there. My better half is S. Asian and has never had a problem with LE, including the time she decided to hold everyone else’s pot when they were hitchhiking in S. California as high school students and got questioned by John Law. Some people are lucky.

  4. John A Levy Says:

    Since 9/11 cops and firemen think they are the heroes of America. Lots of good people in these jobs but still a fair number of foul ups that do not get policed or censured by the higher administrative folks.
    I like you Patrick got tuned up by the Denver Police Dept, for carrying a lunch box and having long hair in front of the State Capitol in 1975. My offense refusing to show ID. Funny thing was I was a janitor for the State Office building one block away. Later had to show the Bomb squad around the building after a bomb threat.

  5. khal spencer Says:

    I got detained by British Customs in 1986. Long hair, male traveling alone from the Netherlands, funny name. They held me for about four or five hours in the proverbial well lit empty room, turned my bicycle and panniers inside out, sniffed at my water bottles (I was bicycling to Cambridge U) and said very little. Not sure what set them off except I think there was some terrorism violence in Europe that summer. At some point I showed them my letter of invitation from the Vrije University in Amsterdam. They walked off with it to some honcho and then let me on my way. Fortunately, I could still find a B and B open at that hour.

    Never had a problem here. Even when I was on a motorcycle with a black Marlin Brando jacket and long hair. Got stopped once by a NY State Trooper when I had a shotgun bungee corded to the passenger seat of the motorcycle but the cop never raised the issue. Just wanted to know if I really did have a MC endorsement on my license.

    As others have said, it helps to be White.

    • DownhillBill Says:

      A friend with dual Irish-American citizenship once spent 8 hours in a similar back room at Heathrow. The coppers couldn’t believe he really had one prod parent and one catholic.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      That was the situation in our house. Dad was a ring-kisser and Mom was a Presbyterian. Didn’t make any difference because all the sky pilots running the base chapels looked like officers playing dress-up to me.

  6. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    I was extremely fortunate for a hippie. Got ticketed a lot for speeding, mostly out of state (Arizona and Utah). The Walsenburg cops didn’t find the 10 pounds of weed in the back seat when they got me with their new radar gun. The Denver cop who suspected I might be pie-eyed one evening told me to park the truck and walk home instead of jugging me (being a smartass, I pulled a bike out of the bed and rode home).

    The only time I ever got jailed I considered it fine police work. A few of us were leaving a Colfax bar with our beers when a veteran cop and a rookie buttonholed us and said no no no. I believe we were two white guys and one brown, and it was entirely possible that we had been amusing ourselves with substances that were slightly more powerful and less legal than long-neck Buds.

    One of the white guys (not me) said, “You can’t arrest us for walking out of a bar with a beer.” The officers begged to differ. We got a ride to the carcel in the drunkmobile and were detained overnight, enjoying many interesting experiences that I do not care to repeat.

    Being two-thirds white we were released without charges the next day. Didn’t get tased or shot or nothin’.

  7. SAO' Says:

    This is where the “systemic racism” thing gets tricky. Because it’s not a system. It’s a system of systems but filtered through a chaos machine. And a lot of actions that are clearly racism also have sexist or cultural counterparts.

    Huntsville, AL, home of Redstone Arsenal, tons of young women serving as Ordnance officers. In the mid ‘90s, every single one of them will tell you, they got pulled over for speeding, then propositioned by the cop. Better than getting shot, for sure, but also helps make the argument that, “see, we’re not racists, we’re equal opportunity assholes.”

    Then throw this into the calculation: Your bike can be used against you.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/20/us-helmet-laws-police-citations-cyclists-of-colour-homeless?CMP=oth_b-aplnews_d-1

    I’ve been saying this forever: $70k/year cop in a $60k Interceptor with $10k in body armor, munitions, and computers, out there writing $100 speeding tickets and checking taillights? Every low tax, small govt rethuglican should be throwing a fit about that. So, yeah, defund the shit out of that noise. They wanna make us great again? Bring back Barney and give him one bullet, and make him ask Andy every time he wants to sign it out of the arms room.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Probably impractical in the modern U.S. city, but it would be interesting to see the cops walking beats again. Keep them in shape and let the taxpayers meet Officer Friendly in less stressful situations.

      It goes without saying that they’ve got to give all that military hardware back. You want to drive a tank? Join the Army.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Spot on. Its called community policing or something like that. And give that 1033 Program military hardware back to the troops.

        That said, it means every snotty nosed 19 year old or middle aged wannabe with a MAGA hat and a hot dog hanging out of his mouth can’t walk out of a gun shop with an AR-15 or equivalent. I’ve always said I’m happy to jump through whatever (reasonable) hoops are requested for the shit I own. As some know, Uncle Sam trusts me with more evil stuff than an AR but I had to earn that trust. I think we need to hold the public to higher standards of ownership so the cops are not always in an arms race and rushing into the face of danger wondering whether they are facing the latest lunatic who is armed to the teeth with shit more appropriate to the Anbar Province.

        The country is fucked up from the ground up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: