The Biggest, Baddest Gang in Town
David S. D'Amato | December 29th, 2014
I live in Chicago, where police abuse is a disheartening daily reality, concentrated almost entirely in black communities, ruining lives, splitting up families. The white professionals I know live in good neighborhoods, ensconced either in downtown high-rises or out in the suburbs, safely away from the violence but hearing enough about it to casually blame it on gangs. But there’s one vicious street gang, flagging the color blue and in numbers higher than in any other major city, that no one wants to talk about.
The issue of police abuse is often framed in terms of a dichotomy that separates “good cops” on the one hand from “bad cops” on the other, thus reducing the question to how we address a supposedly few aberrant cases. Within this framework, police abuse is necessarily a marginal phenomenon, an infrequent occurrence caused by the especially violent proclivities of bad apples, but never reflecting the more general, inherent defect in police departments themselves. Tweak a few things here and there on the margins, the theory goes, and “problem solved.”
But police abuse actually has precious little to do with the unique character of any individual officer. ...