the police

I dislike the police.

It’s no secret. All too often they use too much force; they abuse their powers; they treat other people like dirt; they intimidate to excess; they’re non-transparent and cannot be held accountable for their actions; on the off chance they are held accountable, the disciplinary measure is so small and disproportionate to the misconduct/crime committed; they’re faceless and unsympathetic and lack mercy.

They’re a pawn of the government. They serve and protect the government and its cronies rather than the people. They are the civil military. As a citizen, I fear them. They don’t make me feel safe.

Oh yeah, and they’re also unfair and unjust. Institutionalised racism (see, eg.: numerous reports, esp in the UK and US, esp on stop-and-search) and sexism (see, eg.: origin of Slut Walk) runs rampant in the force.

Riot police I dislike especially.

All this is well-documented and was recently on full display at demonstrations like Occupy and the Toronto G20 ; in media stories like the handcuffed man in Vancouver being kicked in the chest; the man at Vancouver airport being tasered (and died) because he didn’t speak English and couldn’t answer the police officers’ questions.

Common police tactics that I abhor because they are often abused: pepper spray; kettling; stop-and-search; water cannons; sound cannons; beating with batons; checking I.D.; forbidding filming; racial profiling; tasers; guns.

Anyway, this weekend’s the big annual Schanzenfest here. It’s a big “left/alternative” street festival with booths and presumably music. And protests, of course. This year 1560 police officers have been deployed, most from the neighbouring state of Schleswig-Holstein, for a cool €350000. God I sometimes wish taxpayers could choose what their taxes paid for. On Saturday night at 11pm-5am a large area of the Schanze has been declared a danger zone, ie. police will stop and check I.D.s and all that fun nonsense. I have no doubt that windows will be broken and buildings will be on fire – like last year. I’ll be there in the afternoon but am clearing the hell out by dinnertime.

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