When Killer Cops Get a Pass, There Are Consequences

via the Center for a Stateless Society

The trial of Fullerton, California police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli for the killing of Kelly Thomas was unusual from the start. Usually when police officers murder civilians, they are put on “administrative leave” (paid vacation) until an “internal review” determines that they “acted according to policy.” In many cases, the killers’ identities are never even divulged to the public. So when Ramos and Cicinelli were charged, the charges brought with them hope that justice, just this once, might be done.

Let’s be unequivocal on this point: There is no doubt whatsoever, let alone any “reasonable” doubt, that Ramos and Cicinelli brutally murdered an innocent victim. They tased Kelly Thomas five times, then brutally beat him, on camera, as he begged for his life. Thomas arrived at the hospital in a coma and died five days later of his injuries.

An Orange County, California jury’s acquittal of these two clearly and irrefutably guilty murderers, for no better reason than that they were wearing uniforms and carrying badges when they committed their crime, is troubling not only in and of itself, but for its likely future consequences.

Almost by definition, major social changes involve upheaval. But there’s a range within which such upheaval may occur. US president John F. Kennedy alluded to that range when he observed that “those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Granted, Kennedy’s definition of “revolution” involved relatively minor changes — like, for example, convicting and imprisoning killer cops instead of giving them free passes — within a system he considered too obviously natural to question because he was born into, and fully participated in, it.

That 400-year-old system, the Westphalian nation-state, is disintegrating around us even now. Its 200-year-old progeny, the “police” system as we know it, will almost certainly slide into the dustbin of history with it.

A hip-pocket example of the continuum I’m talking about is the late 20th century dissolution of the Warsaw Pact regimes. In some countries, mass demonstrations segued relatively peacefully into slightly more “liberal” political regimes. In Romania, on the other hand, dictators Nicolai and Elena Ceaucescu were put up against a wall and shot, and regime police attempting to escape the country in an armored vehicle were tracked down and killed by angry Romanians.

When the United States dissolves, as is it inevitably shall, the range of possibilities looks something like this:

At one end of the continuum, former police officers move on. The worst of them may find themselves shunned by right-thinking people, but most of them get real jobs, become productive members of society and spend the rest of their lives trying to live down their sordid pasts … and maybe even succeeding.

At the other end of the continuum, former cops are hunted down like vermin and exterminated without mercy by their victims, their victims’ families and their victims’ friends, with onlookers cheering the executions on, or at least declining to intervene.

The jury’s acquittal of Ramos and Cicinelli was a vote for the latter outcome. It was also a vote for continuing and escalating police lawlessness. The less the specifically guilty individuals pay for their crimes now, the more such crimes we will have, the more the generally guilty class will pay later … and the sooner that later will come.


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CoverA Handbook for Ranch Managers A Comprehensive Reference Manual for Managing the Working Ranch. Click here to buy the paperback version from Land & Livestock International’s Rancher Supply aStore.

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Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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3 Responses to When Killer Cops Get a Pass, There Are Consequences

  1. Brian in Chile says:

    We should be grateful to no end for this verdict. I can’t recall a single incident of the past that more eloquently points to the bankruptcy of our criminal justice system or their shabby pretense of “legality” behind it than this sordid event. And what of the other cops who witnessed this atrocity and did nothing to stop it? Are they not equally culpable? One can only hope that Kelly Thomas’s death will not have been in vain if it could possibly inspire the necessary outrage to finally spark the revolutionary reform that is so badly needed today.

    Like this

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