POLICE COMMISSIONER Charles Ramsey's announcement that he's hiring Washington, D.C.'s Police Executive Research Forum to evaluate our police department's "use of force" policy and officer training struck me as -
Don't we already have a policy forbidding cops to play soccer with a suspect's head? Don't we already train our officers? Maybe not all that well. Two of the four fired cops were recent grads of the Police Academy. (Do they grade on a curve?)
Thinking about training police reminded me of an "educational" video for civilians - black civilians - Chris Rock did in 2002.
The four-minute satire, "How to not get your ass kicked by the police," is filled with common- sense do's and don'ts for run-ins with police. It's hilarious because it's true as magnetic north.
Rock tells viewers: "If you follow these easy tips, you'll be fine. First, obey the law." Things to avoid, he warns, are carjacking, armed robbery, arson, selling drugs, buying drugs, stabbing, shooting.
"You probably won't get your ass kicked if you just use common sense," he says.
Some pebbles of wisdom from Rock:
* When you see flashing police
lights in your mirror, stop immediately.
* When an officer approaches
your car, be polite. Stay in your car with your hands on the wheel.
* Before you let your friend in
your car, ask him these questions: Do you have a gun? Do you have drugs? Do you have any warrants?
* Whenever possible, drive with
a white friend.
In each case, the motorist ignoring Rock's advice gets his ass kicked by police, to the hysterical laughter of his audience.
Rock might have better advice for our cops than the Police Executive Research Forum. Here's what Rock might say:
* Kicking is OK for mules, not
cops. Once the handcuffs are on, the footwork must stop.
* "Street justice" is out. Al
Sharpton is in.
* They are called "suspects," not hacky sack.
* Rock, scissors, paper is a
game, not an method of arrest.
* As a control technique, try
"tickling into submission."
* It's not permissible to inform
suspects of their rights by printing a Miranda warning on your baton and beating them on the head with it.
* Hurting them bad makes you look bad.
* If there's a K-9 available, turn
him loose. (He won't be fired.)
* Don't use Mace as "sun block" on those in custody.
* If there's a news chopper overhead, drop the blackjacks, join hands and sing, "We'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony . . ."
To Rock's rules I would add that even if a brother officer has been killed, you can't let emotion overrule your judgment, and just because the mayor flouts the law by signing illegal gun directives, don't think you can flout the law.
We always expect more from the thin blue line. *
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