Below is an excerpt from my recent piece (“The toxic police response to #ICantBreathe”) which has been published over at The Daily Dot. I encourage you to go read it.
Racial bias combined with arrogance unleashes another host of problems. “Contempt of cop” is law enforcement jargon for behavior by citizens towards police that officers perceive as disrespectful or insufficiently deferential to their authority. Police reactions to “contempt of cop” are considered to be a sort of “occupational arrogance,” bred by exactly the kind of culture and attitude that Dutta promotes in his Washington Post article. When citizens aren’t sufficiently deferential, violence and/or arrests are officers’ way of coping with what they perceive as disrespect. When Harvard professorHenry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested in front of his home in 2009, it was his outward expression of anger that police say led to their decision to arrest him. Others say this was a clear case of “contempt of cop.” The same for journalists in Ferguson, Mo., who were arrested fornot moving fast enough. In 2011, a woman was awarded $97,500 in damages after she was unconstitutionally arrested by two officers who were offended by statements she made in a convenience store about police. In 2010, a man was arrested for having the audacity to ask for an officer’s badge number.