Defang the police or defund the police?

By Emmanuel S. Tipon

Is there any similarity between a policeman and a vampire?

“Yes,” according to a Filipino observer, “they are monsters. They have fangs.”

“A policeman and a vampire are different,” said a second observer, “a vampire kills his victim by biting the victim’s neck; a policeman kills his victim by pressing his knee on the victim’s neck.”

“A vampire victimizes beautiful white women; a policeman victimizes ugly black men,” chimed in a third observer.

“Fuera de los buenos,” (Except the good), I excepted.

“Es como si todo lo bueno fuera tragado por lo malo,” (Like all that is good, they have been gulped down by the bad), said the first observer, showing off his Spanish.

“If so, what do you propose,” I asked.

“Defund the police,” he quickly replied.

“That will not eliminate their fangs, why not just defang the police,” I suggested.

“I will bring a crucifix and garlic, vampires are afraid of them,” said a fourth observer.

The good people need to be protected from the bad people. Who will protect them? People have lost faith in the police who are believed to be monsters and racists.

Violent protests against police brutality started with the death of George Floyd who was shown on social media with a policeman pressing his knee on George’s neck as he cried “I can’t breathe”. [It is a safe bet that the policeman will be acquitted. He will say he was praying.]        

The protests have escalated with the shooting in the back of a black man Rayshard Brooks while running away from Atlanta policeman. He was sleeping in his car on the driveway of a Wendy’s restaurant blocking customers when two policemen tried to arrest him. Protesters burned Wendy’s whose employee had called the police. [The police shooter should have listened to the advice of Presidential candidate Joe Biden “Shoot them in the leg.”].

Cities should start with a clean slate by creating an entirely new department to protect the good people. Whatever they are going to call it, they should avoid using the word “police” which has become a dirty 6-letter word. A department to protect the people cannot consist of “the good, the bad, and the ugly” like the current police departments. They must consist of only the good.

People to be recruited must be interviewed to determine the following:

  • Attitude – The most important factor in employing a protector of good people is attitude. Is the person caring or cocky? compassionate or confrontational?  helpful or hateful?  Does he shoot first and ask questions later or ask questions first and shoot later?

  • Background – What is the person’s family background? Does he come from a home where his parents are frequently quarreling or committing domestic abuse? Are his parents racists or white supremacists? Was he beaten by his parents when he was a child? In school was he a bully or a victim of bullying? Is he married to a bitchy wife who subdues him into meekness such that he has become a USA  (Under the saya always). What kind of neighborhood did the person grow up? What kind of friends did he have and currently have? What are his scholastic level and ability? Does the person have bad habits? Does the person take drugs? Does the person have a criminal background, including traffic violations?

  • Motive – What is the person’s motive in wanting to be a protector of the people? Did he apply with the military and fail to meet physical and mental requirements? Policeman are derisively called “flatfoot” because they are generally believed to have flat feet which is a disqualification for military service. Is he a bully at home or in school and wants to continue bullying people. Is he a meek husband of a misbegotten wife who wants to get back at her by confronting easily terrified people?

  • Experience – What is the person’s experience in protecting and helping people? Can he document it?

The person must be thoroughly trained in the art of protecting people. He must be taught about maximum tolerance and stand your ground when in the right. The person should be taught when to use force and what force is reasonable.

The Chief of the People Protection Department must be appointed by the Mayor and the Chief must report to the Mayor. The Mayor must be held responsible for the Department. Get rid of toothless and unnecessary Police Commissions.

Complaints against staff members of the People Protection Department must be made public and prosecuted with vigor.

Employees of the People Protection Department must not be allowed to form a union.

Keep current police units but control them very well until the People Protection Department is adequately staffed and operational. There must be an agency to protect the good people even though imperfect until the new People Protection Department is ready.

I was in London during the April 29, 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. I told a Bobbie (policeman) guarding the Westminster Abbey churchyard that I was from Hawaii and would like to take pictures for my newspaper the Philippine News. “Hawaii,” he exclaimed, “sure,” and he motioned me forward. He did not ask for credentials or frisk me for weapons.

I was in the Philippines driving behind a funeral procession. A policeman stopped me, asking “Kasama ka ba sa patay? (Are you with the funeral?) “Hindi” (No). He motioned for me to park on the side. He asked for my license which I handed with a P500 peso bill with the picture of Ninoy Aquino. “Mahina ang abogado mo,” (Your lawyer is weak) he said. “Si Ninoy Aquino yan, ka klase ko sa U.P. Magaling siya” (That is Ninoy Aquino, he was my classmate at U.P. He was bright). “Mahina,” said the cop. I handed another P500 peso bill. “Mahina pa rin,” he said. “Wala na akong pera,” (I have no more money), I told him. Balikbayan ka yata, sigue na nga. (I think you are a Filipino returnee, go ahead).

I was driving on Kaiulani Ave. and stopped at Ala Wai Blvd. Suddenly a police car came up behind me and stopped. In about a minute the police car flashed its red light. I did not move forward. A short while later the police car sounded its siren. I still did not move because there was heavy traffic. When the traffic condition permitted, I moved forward and made a left turn and stopped. A policewoman came out and approached me. I handed my license, insurance card, and business card. “So you are a lawyer, eh, old men should no longer be driving,” she said sarcastically after looking at my birth date. She handed me back my papers. “Good looking women should not talk like that,” I remarked.

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