Or manslaughter, or whatever it may be called in their jurisdiction.
Of course, it might be found that the individual worker did nothing wrong… the equipment was unsafe, or the person who was killed ignored posted warnings to not be standing in a place they had no business standing, or whatever, but the default assumption is not “Oh, the construction worker was doing their job, so it’s not a crime.”
The point is, if a construction worker accidentally kills someone in the course of performing their job, the law treats it as a potential crime, and investigates, and then renders judgment.
If a taxi driver or long-haul truck driver runs someone over, it’s not treated differently under the law than if a non-commercial driver runs someone over. I mean, it might actually affect them more because they could be fired or lose their commercial license but that happens on top of whatever the legal penalty is. There’s not a separate justice track because it happened as part of their job.
Why is this not the case for police?
You so rarely hear about police being charged with assault for cases of casual brutality that have nothing to do with stopping a crime in progress or protecting anyone. When police gun someone down… even when it’s a military veteran wearing a medical alert device that triggered the 911 call that brought police to his doorstep… there’s this tacit assumption that it’s not murder, that any thought of criminal charges has to wait for what is basically the equivalent of a company disciplinary hearing. Actual justice depends on how the write-up with H.R. goes.
I phrased the question as “why” up above, but that’s not really the question I want to ask because there are too many easy answers, like “It doesn’t work like that because the police are the ones who arrest people for breaking laws. If police had to worry about being arrested every time they did something they couldn’t do their jobs.”
So the problem, then, is that we have a “job” of police officer that is conceived of in a way where violence is anything more than a regrettable last resort. There are municipalities in the U.S. where heavily armed and armored assault teams are mobilized to execute every warrant, regardless of the nature of the suspected crime, as well as to serve summonses for non-violent offenses. When people die because of this, it’s treated as a routine side-effect of a necessary job. Unfortunate but unavoidable.
Our police departments are paramilitary forces that operate outside and above the law. This didn’t happen suddenly, or recently… though the post-9/11 fervor for law and order at all costs did help move things along.
The problem here is institutional, and I don’t mean that the institution has problems. I mean the institution is the problem. To solve it, we’d need to have an entirely new conception of what police are, what police do… what it means to maintain order and keep the peace.
working at my office today basically alone except for the graphic designer. my office is hosting a conference yesterday and today and so everyone is gone and it’s awesome.
breaking my dress code by wearing jeans and sneakers to work and watching true life with my headphones while i do things i don’t need my computer screen for ~~ rebel ~~.
also!! i’m amped because melissa is in town and we’re hanging out with kristyn !! I’ve actually never even met kristyn so this is extra exciting and i finally get to give her the yay scale i promised her months and months ago!
yesterday was sort of a bummer because i thought i was going to get to see a cutie lady who was in town but it didn’t end up working out so instead i just scrubbed my bathroom and swept my apartment. oh well. both things that needed to get done.
“As we have so recently and publicly discussed, girls and women have “anger issues” in that they are socialized to not demonstrate anger, but instead to sublimate it where it can sometimes then manifest itself as anxiety or depression. Girls are not born less angry and more anxious, they’re rewarded for being less angry and more anxious. So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that large groups of stressed out girls and women collectively facing the dissolution of a cohesive social structure might be more disposed to fall prey to mass psychosis. It is arguable that men and boys experience similarly jarring episodes of anger and anxiety-channelling mass psychosis, but we call it male aggression and fund military industrial complexes to deal with it.”—Soraya L. Chemaly, Stop Telling Girls They’re Hysterical (via anorable)
“I think we can all recognize that the “it’s a joke excuse” is the most dismissive, self-righteous loophole, created by those who refuse to examine their power, and assume they have not only the right to say whatever they want to people, but the right to control how other people react to what they have said.”—