I still don't doubt the truth of what he says he say and participated in. That's important. As to his character or motives, nobody outside of policing really gives a damn what they are or if Wood was a good police officer or not.
Wood makes some very good points. Points that need to be made. So good on him for making them! These are all from his twitter feed:
Guess what will happen if police act super courteous while being filmed? Would get boring huh? Kill em w/ kindness, duh.These things need to be heard more. And right now people are listening to Wood.
Of importance is that, because of the culture, nearly any BPD officer could have been involved in Freddie Gray, that's the shock they have.
PC Batts has been feeding you BS from day one, research what he says. Is it true? Does he carry out?
7pm-3am shifts with 9am court, destroy your sanity, your family, your life.
[It's wrong to place] people in a situation where they can choose either a 6 month guilty plea or face 20+years in prison.
But people are most interested in the bad and illegal things Wood saw and did.
It's one thing, as a young cop, to go along with the flow or not report on bad behavior. I'm not saying it's good. But it's understandable. It's one thing to decide six years after your last arrest that something needs to be said. That's even understandable.
But at some point you can't just admit that bad things you did and hold your head high. Wood says this in the BBC story:
I was a shift commander [VCID, I would guess, known as "Impact" in my days] and I told the shift that when you go out there doing car stops: "I don't want to see you stopping an old lady - this is Baltimore! You stop 16-24 year old black males." Why? Because 16-24 black males are the ones who commit all the crime.Seriously? What the fuck?!
You're not some great whistleblower if you blow the whistle against yourself. That's called confessing to your crimes. Look, I'm glad Wood if has matured and no longer says racist or anti-semetic comments. But as Chris Rock once said, you don't get credit for shit you're supposed to do!
To be clear, I don't mean this as a personal attack on Wood. If Wood is using himself as Exhibit A for a messed-up system, more power to him. There is a problem not just with individual people but with a system that allows a supervisor to issue such racist illegal commands. There's a problem with a system that allows people to get through the academy no matter what they do. There's a problem in a system that thinks their way is the only way. But when you want to change and improve that system, attack the system. Attack those who do wrong. But you shouldn't besmirch others by thinking your own malfeasance is typical.
My shift supervisors never told us to stop black men. I was never encouraged to conduct an illegal search. I didn't conduct illegal searches. Though like Wood, I saw many cops' hands unconstitutionally empty pockets. Also like Wood, I wrote about this (in Cop in the Hood) and mentioned it whenever I could. ("But do they call me Pierre the Great Whistleblower? Non.")
Now I and those in my squad were not angels. But I never heard of a cop taking a dump in a home. Nor did I witness cops slapping anybody. I didn't see a handcuffed man get beat by police (I did see that happen once in CBIF, but that's another story). There is a pretty hard and fast rule that once the cuffs are on, the fight is over. That said, if you are going to criminally assault a prisoner, you would certainly want to assault somebody else's prisoner!)
So what's different about Wood? Best I can tell:
1) Wood was a cop longer than I was;Kind of related, and this is one of the few good things I've heard Batts has done as chief, but the worst offenders were demoted from specialized units. Rumor has it that complaints against police dropped 40 percent. Of course what happened to these obnoxious cops? Most were just sent back to patrol to be bitter and pissed off at even less criminal citizens.
2) Wood was in a specialized drug squad that did more bad stuff;
3) Wood actually did more bad stuff. And like attracts like.
My sergeant (who never went to college) could articulate the legal distinctions between a stop and an arrest, between a frisk and search, and between reasonable suspicion and probable cause. Why can't others? Also, he never took a day of medical.