By Trista di Genova
I can now say from personal experience how much I prefer and appreciate lovely Taiwan po-lice officers! I’ve always thought they are SO nice, like teddy bears even, espesh compared to our Robo-Cops in America!
Today, whilst responding to an elementary misunderstanding regarding forwarding my tenant’s mail, my local law enforcement agency, Pima County Sheriffs sent THREE police cars to the incident – totally unnecessary for the task at hand. Their ‘response’ turned out to be a fine example of overkill, in fact, as well as a sheer waste of taxpayer money.
Then, instead of employing some simple CONFLICT RESOLUTION SKILLS to resolve the situation peaceably, an officer named Kerr assaulted me! He beat me up, shoved me into his sweltering car, and hauled me off to jail! Seriously! I have multiple abrasions, gashes on my foot and chin from my face being slammed into the gravel, and a badly twisted ankle from when he tripped me. Pics to be posted soon!
Of course, as soon as I got out of jail, I filed an online employee complaint against this ‘individual’ who seemed to have absolutely no qualms inflicting this behavior onto ANY GIVEN INNOCENT AND UNSUSPECTING MEMBER OF THE POPULATION. To him, the situation was routine: con your way onto the property, then instead of offering any assistance, he descended like the Nazis in The Sound of Music. He attacked ME, then he gleefully tacked on the charge of “resisting arrest” for good measure – which is how police are now able to justify brute force on someone who is simply doing nothing; or, in my case, suggesting ways to compromise and f’ng RESOLVE the situation at hand, peacefully. He was hell-bent on hauling me off to jail, suspiciously so. “NEGATIVE,” he kept saying, to all my proposed ways of resolving the situation other than being attacked and thrown into a police vehicle.
The cab driver on the way home came from a family of police officers, and explained that these days there were far more ‘bad cops’. This modern brutalization> of American police is because they come from military background, as well as the fact that police training is basically the same as military training. But why train your police force to be so brutal, and to instead of PROTECTING the peace, they DISTURB it! I was peacefully minding my own business, I am a law-abiding, taxpaying American, and up until today, I have enjoyed a pristine record! I also consider myself a productive and helpful citizen of the United States; I volunteer for causes such as at-risk youth, indigenous health, public safety and food banks for the poor.
Americans might read this story, and think, “Well, so what? You got beat up – it happens all the time in America!” That is so sad that we don’t do ALL we can each do to put a stop to this disgraceful and unprofessional conduct. Police officers are by their own definition supposed to PROTECT AND SERVE THE COMMUNITY, not their own brutal self-interest. They are doing a disservice to all of us who pay their salaries.
Same thing with the ‘prison rape’ that is RIFE in American penal system. This should not be allowed! Why does everybody pretend that that is okay? Cuz it’s NOT! Prison rape is a CRIME, as heinous as any other except for maybe murder, which is all too common in prisons, too. Why? There are plenty of prison guards, who are often the perpetrators of prison rape themselves. But the Powers that Be, they WANT us all to be terrorized by the experience. It is DISGUSTING, and has to stop! And the sad thing about it is, almost nobody talks about this stuff.
I encourage any other victims of police brutality in America to DO THE SAME. File a complaint! If you don’t say anything, nothing will change, and we need to change EVERYTHING in the American criminal (IN!)justice system. As the saying goes, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”! And HELP EACH OTHER. Give some free legal advice to your friends. Go out of your way to help others in need, even if some of them burn you and don’t deserve it! You can save someone’s life tonight.
The treatment of prisoners at Pima County Jail is awful, too. It was freezing in there! Those unfortunate to come in at night were only given a thin blanket to deal with the inhumane treatment of making us as uncomfortable as possible! We are treated like ANIMALS in Pima County Jail; the conditions are very Abu Graib-like; designed to torture, not reform at all. The bathrooms are filthy, there is only a cold and hard-as-a-rock place to sit, kind of like a Swedish restroom I visited on the side of the highway, except WAY FILTHIER (The Swedish prison system is an excellent model to emulate, by the way). At ‘PCJ’ they gave me a ‘choice’ of 1 or 2 soggy tuna sandwiches; sometimes it’s peanut butter, I’ve heard.
On the other hand, I imagine that my Taiwanese compatriots reading this would be as HORRIFIED as I am by the criminal state of police brutality in America today. We have the highest incarceration rate per capita in the WORLD. Prisons are a FOR PROFIT AFFAIR, as well; in other words, locking up as many Americans as possible is extremely lucrative for those few people capitalizing off the prison ‘industry’ as it’s called. This should stop, too.
I have never been arrested in Taiwan, assaulted like I was today by Officer Kerr, or thrown in jail like I was today. I HAVE, however, hung out DRINKING TEA! with Taiwan cops, when the rare crime occurred, such as a friend’s lost purse on the beach! Taiwan FEELS like Sweden, in terms of public safety.
But I confess I got my scooter confiscated once, close to my home in Taipei, because I’d been drinking slightly too much. The open mic MC wouldn’t let me perform my poetry and put away the mic instead, after waiting all night to do so. So, incensed, I read it aloud LOUDLY, for the benefit of the other patrons. Then I split, kind of angry, admittedly. Normally, I would drink water and wait, but I left in a huff that night, of course after I proved my point. So I split, tried to do a wonky traffic move I suppose, and two very SWEET (by comparison), CIVIL and RESPECTFUL Taiwan police officers pulled me over.
This was right about the time, 10 years ago or so, when Taiwan’s DUI laws started catching up to the US…. A LITTLE BIT! I remember noticing that Taiwan cops had begun to get more fluent in English, in efforts to handle dealing with ‘foreigners’. Until then, about 2012, all I had to do to be ushered through police checkpoints was lift the visor. “Adoga!” (“Beaknose!”) they’d say, and foreigners could just coast through a myriad of situations, being blissfully on the margins of society.
At the time, another foreigner friend of mine had recently been nabbed, drunk as a skunk! and I guess I should’ve taken heed from his experience. He got his scooter impounded, spent the night in jail. But you know what? Taiwan officers never laid a hand on him, or me! They didn’t have to! They had what’s called CONFLICT RESOLUTION SKILLS, something American cops don’t seem to have training in, anymore (if you have any knowledge of this subject, please do leave a comment in the remarks below).
Also, there aren’t enough women police officers in America. Women have more & better conflict resolution and communication skills; making us particularly well-suited to working with the public. I feel that if law enforcement looked 50-50 like the population, there would be a lot fewer false arrests and incidents of police brutality.
Having cameras on police officers is reportedly helpful to substantially reduce reports and complaints of police brutality and harassment, injuries and deaths. However, as ‘band of brothers’ cops in America often support each other’s misconduct. These ‘bad cops’ are only looking out for their own, instead of having the public’s best interest, and genuine safety in mind.
But you know what? Living in Taiwan for so long gave me a special ability. Thanks to Taiwan and its peaceful ways of seeing and dealing with things, I’ve internalized the Buddhist approach of what’s called “compassionate understanding’. What a horrible job these cops have! Their job is so pressure-filled, and now the public has an extremely negative view of them, and distrusts them. How can they sleep at night, after following orders from The Man, when The Man is an Abusive Tyrant?
All these egregious incidents of police brutality contribute to make them targets, actually; cop-killing gains respect in gangster circles. it is an extremely dangerous job, since guns are also passed around like candy in America.
If you have a conscience — and all of us do, no matter how much we may pretend our actions don’t bother us! Imagine going home at night after a long day of ‘busting’ people and basically ruining their lives, to achieve a quota of police reports for that month. These police officers themselves are in a kind of prison. No wonder alcoholism and domestic violence is RIFE among police officers in America.
In America, police are trained to ‘tase’ (basically electrocute us! How much more cruel and unusual punishment can you get, anyway??). It’s part of police TRAINING to use disproportional force on civilians, and they must continue doing so or they will lose their jobs, be demoted, castigated etc. Furthermore, police officers, I have been told by a fireman! are notorious for using cocaine, and I have a feeling this is part of the problem. Why is coke so popular, the drug of choice for cops? Because it passes through the system in 3 days; thus they can have a wild weekend and still pass a drug test. However, cocaine, as most people are aware, has a tendency to make people arrogant, self-absorbed and belligerent. I would recommend stronger disciplinary action for police involved in drugging and being held responsible for the attendant police brutality.
Also police training should be overhauled. It is a disgrace in a freedom-loving nation. The system is currently designed to OPPRESS the entire population. In jail, I met a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). She was in there for ‘slapping up’ her daughter’s boyfriend for having beaten her pregnant daughter, in her own home. When police came, the daughter blamed only the mother, taking the side of the boyfriend. So the mother was taken away and charged with 6 counts of domestic violence!
That is another crappy thing about America, “DV” charges are thrown around like candy. And even a bogus DV charges will RUIN one’s career! Spiteful people are well aware of this, too! And druggies, I’ve found out, have nothing better to do with their time than scheme their way in life using the loopholes in the system. I personally have been the victim of a bogus DV ‘protective order’, which I fought in court and had dismissed. It was hell, but I learned a LOT, and the case might be heard on Judge Judy, if I can convince that druggie to show up.
At least nnow I can say with certainty: there are MANY small things that can be done to start on reforming the American criminal justice system. For starters, if charges are dismissed in court, it should also be taken OFF your record. I got a few parking tickets and another dumb ticket for allegedly using my cellphone, and claim of expired insurance coverage, fought them all in court, and they were all dismissed. The officer was SUPER-pissed off, too, for some inexplicable reason (perhaps his quota ruined for the day?)! So why are they still on my record, causing me higher insurance rates? This is unfair treatment of the public. We are continually haunted by charges that a judge threw out. So why aren’t they expunged from our record?
Several jail employees today actually agreed with my comments, that the American justice system is BROKE. All of these people working in the jail system are on the inside, but not looking out. They can’t, for fear of negative repercussions, namely RETALIATION from the higher-ups. This is unsustainable, because the changes must come from within the department, and the WILL for compassionate reform should come from the higher ups! This is a good argument for more decent, progressive-minded people to step up to the plate and running for office. We need more decent people in positions of power – a vantage point to usher in some constructive, far-reaching reforms. I myself am one of these people, and I encourage all my friends to join me! If we don’t take these positions, the same old self-interested people will fill them – kind of like an opportunistic disease!
I became a Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteer, but now I seriously doubt I would enjoy such a career; to the contrary. The way I see it is right now I finally have TOTAL freedom to discuss and write about these issues, to freely speak my mind and about my experiences on these issues, precisely because I’m NOT an employee. I would be crushed by the machinery, because in America, whistleblowers are also treated with disrespect and contempt – another sign of a sick and twisted, defunct and utterly unfair criminal justice system.
Maybe instead of sending American police to train Taiwan police, we should send Taiwan police to train American officers!
By Trista di Genova