When, over a decade ago, I attended a conference on policing in Istanbul, I rephrased a well-known quote from a famous police scholar about policing being hard on democracy by saying that I think that it is actually democracy that is hard on policing.
Nothing exemplifies that idea better than the outrageous events in New York City a few days ago when members of New York’s Finest were doused with buckets of water in a horrific display of total disrespect for this most noble of professions. What especially enraged me was the rather mild, borderline dismissive response from city officials, who should have been up in arms about these vicious attacks.
On paper, some of these responses tick the right boxes, but there is no passion, no calls to action, no calls for accountability or even responsible behavior.
As somebody who has studied the police profession for over three decades, I am flabbergasted. Can you imagine what the political reaction would have been if roles had been reversed — if it had been police dousing civilians with water?
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