If You Thought Police Brutality Didn’t Affect You Personally, You Were Wrong

Pepper spray cops goes to Kent State

Carey Wedler | TheAntiMedia

If you aren’t already disgusted by the unchecked violence, control and aggression exhibited by local police forces across America, it is unlikely that viewing images of their havoc will offend you. If stories of babies having flash grenades thrown in their cribs while cops are conducting SWAT raids don’t stir you, it is doubtful more instances like this will. If disturbing slayings of the mentally disabled and the elderly are excusable to you, daily stories of the same offenses likely won’t change your mind. Image credit

If you aren’t outraged by these injustices already, chances are there isn’t much else that’s going to set you over the edge, short of a massacre of children or an accidental no-knock raid on your home that kills your own dog or maims your own child.

If you cannot be bothered to care about the physical, emotional, and inhumane trauma inflicted upon your fellow citizens, maybe you will find motivation to care in the cold, calculable numbers. Not of lost life, but that police departments inflict upon the taxpayernot in human dignity, abuse or surrender of freedombut in dollars.

The city of Los Angeles just spent $1.5 million on a single case of a California Highway Patrol officer beating a woman senseless at a traffic stop.  San Diego paid $5.9 million to compensate for sexual assault against multiple women by one officer. A city southwest of Tucson spent $3.4 million to cover a deadly 2011 SWAT raid. Boston settled a single case of brutality for$1.4 million that left a man with permanent brain injury and Scottsdale, Arizona paid $4.25 million for the fatal shooting of an unarmed man.

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Viewed as city totals, the numbers are even more staggering. The city of Baltimore has paid $5.7 million dollars in settlements and an additional $5.8 million in legal fees for police brutality. This is trivial compared to other cities. Minneapolis has paid $21 million since 2003. Oakland paid $74 million from 1990 to present and Los Angeles shelled out $54 million in 2011 alone. Chicago paid $521 million over the last decade, with $84.6 million in 2013 (including court and legal fees).

As costly to tax payers around the country as these vicious city police forces can be, nothing compares to the most notorious brutalizer of all: the New York Police Department. New York City spent nearly a billion dollars–$964 millionfrom 2000 to 2010 (to be fair, including instances like cop car wrecks) and in 2012 alone spent $765 million dollars. The figure does include hospital negligence and property damage in addition to police abuse, but all around demonstrates the inability of government to adequately serve its people.  The New York figure is expected to reach $815 million by 2016.

These individual and city-wide figures do not always take into account the legal costs of cases that are shuffled through the “justice” system, where violent police officers are excused and victims are left with nothing. It doesn’t count the money individuals who are not compensated must spend to take care of medical expenses (such as the parents of the baby hit by a flash grenade).

It doesn’t count the cost of paid vacations issued to officers who aren’t fired, nor the amount of money the government spends equipping cops with the military weapons that often give them a false sense of power and leads to their flagrant abuse. Between Department of Homeland Security grants of $34 billion in the decade after 9/11 and Pentagon donations of $4.3 billion in equipment, taxpayers pay for their own nationwide abuse.

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If you are afraid of the police, it is time to remember that your submission enables them, empowers them, and keeps them well-armed and stocked. If you trust the police to use force, it’s time to realize that it’s costing you more than the false sense of security is worth.

Most importantly, it is time to accept that the fear, obedience, and loss of freedom that comes with acceptance to these practices costs more than any brutality settlement ever could.

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