Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Police - What Can You Believe?

Today's front page of the NY Times story on the police shooting in South Carolina raised the issue of trusting the accounts of police, who have been given the benefit of the doubt when there is no proof otherwise. This is presented as a new thing.

So let me tell a story of the early 70s when I first became active with people on the left through working in the opposition in the UFT. Very quickly, their stories of police actions in negative ways began to shake my faith. Early in my active days at school board meetings, a police car rolled by and a white cop called us n-ger lovers. Then I got a ticked because of my "hippie" look -- the disgust the cop showed -- and an implicit threat when I argued.

So when I found myself being questioned for jury duty and the prosecutor asked the panel if we would believe the testimony of police, I raised my hand and said I wouldn't automatically believe police testimony.

The judge had been distracted while I answered but when the prosecutor told him what I said he went off on me - screaming at me and saying "and you're a public school teacher? Get out of my court room." And so I discovered a way to get off jury duty.

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