Monday, November 21, 2011

Dear Police Brutality: Zing

This photo has caused quite a bit of shock lately to people who don't regularly follow issues in American policing (to those of us who do, it's neither surprising nor shocking). It's a member of the UC Davis campus police casually point-blank pepper-spraying a group of non-violent and non-confrontational demonstrators who had not left when told to disperse. I say it's not a surprise to people who follow such things because many police have gone on record already saying this is  standard procedure.

Amid calls that the officer, his superiors, and even the university president should be fired or step down over the incident, the internet has sprung to action to get a more immediate, if somewhat less satisfying, retribution on the officer responsible. His phone number and address are now widely-available public knowledge, and he's become an internet meme -- the casually pepper spray everything cop.

And while this is what it is -- fairly juvenile mocking of someone who arguably deserves it -- it shows one of the internet's greatest collective powers these days. While retribution of any meaningful kind will probably never come to this guy or those issuing the orders (police have such incredibly strong unions that firing them is nearly impossible), at least we can take comfort in the fact that this guy is now a world-wide punchline and poster boy for police abuse. And that's something...

No comments: