So says Ramon "Mike" Vargas (Charlton Heston) in Orson Well's 1958 "Touch of Evil" (thanks, Dave H.).
Two Peoria, Illinois, police officers were arrested in relation to a police stomping. Here's the story in the Peoria Journal Star.
I worry about publicizing such things because they make people think such behavior is normal for police. It's not. Such beat downs are not common. I didn't see them and it's not just because police weren't thumping people when I was around. And even if that were the case, great! Then all it takes it one decent cop to stop such things. And you know what, there are a lot of decent cops.
I just wish there more videos of cops doing good. Day-in-and-day-out, police put themselves at risk to keep the streets safe. Where are those videos? The problem is that when cops do everything right, the videos tends to be pretty boring.
In this video, I assume the cop wasn't moving his leg up and down because he had a twitch. It looks pretty bad. Do I have sympathy for the stomped guy? Not really. He's a drug-dealing, cop-running, and perhaps girlfriend-beating prick. But that still doesn't make it right to stomp the SOB. Besides, now he's going to win a lawsuit and get paid. Thanks a lot. Boy, you sure showed him.
I like to think that had that happened in front of me, I would have moved in to stop it. I'm pretty certain I would have. As soon as the stomping starts, you push the officer away and say, "What the fuck are you doing?!" End of story. But it's not.
Then when the video comes out I still get in trouble for not doing more. Even though comparatively I was the good guy.
Had I been there and seen everything, would I have turned in the cop? I doubt it. That same stomping cop may have saved the life of me or a friend some other time. That's what makes it so tricky. When you have a job where you need people to cover your back and save your life, you're going to cut them a lot of slack. How can you not? Hell, we all make mistakes.
Doing the right thing is never easy when you can't figure out what the right thing is. And even when you try to do the right thing you can get in trouble. So best not to see anything. Best to remain ignorant. It leads to what I call the Blue Wall of Ignorance. It's not the Blue Wall of Silence. That's overrated.
Let's say there was no video of this incident. Then nothing happens.
But the next time the officer who stomped the guy needs backup, maybe I'm a little slow to respond. I don't want to be around for whatever he does because I don't want to get in trouble for his actions. I don't want to get in trouble simply for being present. Best to get there after everything is done. But that attitude doesn't stop a beat down. Nor does it make anybody safer. Nobody wins.
Police that do bad things need to be socialized into good behavior by the vast majority of officers who do the right thing. But the system doesn't let it work that way. That's the real shame.