I get paid to be a time traveler, a revisionist historian, and a royal pain in the ass.
That is to say, I get paid to watch, analyze, and scrutinize police body cam footage.
I watch the way police talk — to citizens and about citizens. I watch the way they talk to each other. I watch the way they investigate. I watch the way they build official stories. I watch the way they choose who to arrest and who not to arrest. And I watch the way they talk about Baltimore.
And so when Barack Obama and Joe Biden, nationally, and Nick Mosby, locally, felt it appropriate to use the convenience of the post-election period to profess their strategic disagreement with (read: self-important politically-motivated hitjob of) “Defund The Police”,
I thought about that time when…
…I watched police open fire on and strike a child through oncoming traffic.
…I watched police fabricate an entire story to justify a police-involved shooting.
…I watched police convince a 13-year-old to sign away her rights without an attorney or guardian present.
…I watched police openly mock the career aspirations of detained children.
…I watched police tell each other that they’ll speak when the cameras are off, saying, “I know how to play the game.”
…I watched police directly misrepresent witness statements in order to suit an official story.
…I watched police construct an official story before conducting any interviews.
…I watched police yell at family members seeking basic information about their detained brother.
…I watched police tell a minor during an interrogation that he won’t need a lawyer.
…I watched police break into and occupy the living room of a home for several hours without a warrant.
…I watched police chase a teenager because his hands were in his coat pockets. It was winter and he was walking home.
…I watched police tell detained children that their mothers are no good.
…I watched police outwardly disregard the dissenting opinions of other police challenging official accounts.
…I watched police turn their body cams off only to turn them back on moments later to “find” drugs.
The expected response to this argument goes something like, “But you’re leaving out the times in which police acted properly.” And those people are correct. I am leaving that out. I leave it out for the same reason you don’t take note when your car operates as advertised. You take note when it doesn’t. Doing your job with the bare minimum of expected basic human decency is not noteworthy.
Recklessly firing on citizens, actively covering up misconduct, misrepresenting evidence, invading private property, coercing children, degrading children, and creating official stories out of thin air is noteworthy.
If Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Nick Mosby don’t think such an organization is worth disinvesting from, maybe they’d like to inform the rest of us on what levels of unconstitutionality and brutality they would like citizens to endure before they’re comfortable taking a stand.
Until then, this existential nightmare will continue to play out and my job will continue to exist.