I work in a non-restraint facility for special needs kids (21 and under) with extreme behavioral issues. I’m talking real violent stuff. Sixteen and twenty-one year old boys who can (and do) home-run swing desks at your head.
As a non-restraint facility, we are trained to respond to these outbursts in the most non-threatening, non-confrontational way possible, while still protecting both the bystanders and the person currently attacking us.
We are monitored every second of our shift to make sure the safety and dignity of our clients is maintained, especially–and just let me emphasize this–the safety and dignity of the person attempting to hurt us. Their right to be treated fairly and with empathy is not forfeit just because their brain chemistry fucked them up today.
We have to be calm, regardless.
We have to be gentle, regardless.
We can never respond with any kind of force, ever.
Those rules apply to all the staff, all the time, no matter what.
So when I hear bullshit about how somebody “reached for their waistband” or they were “resisting,” when I hear yet another police officer got off because the situation was “scary” or he “feared for his safety” or whatever the fuck, I lose my shit.
You wanna talk about how you were frightened for your safety, walking up to someone in the middle of a psychotic episode? Yeah, well, I’ve been there. Pretty regular–probably twice a week, at least–no gun, no taser, with guidelines that state I cannot even use my fucking thumb because that’s considered “grabbing” and therefore a “restraint.”
And you know what? I’ve walked away from every one of those. I haven’t died. I’ve never even been seriously injured. We defused the situation in ways that didn’t involving riddling the other participant with bullets and at the end of the day, everyone went home. Go fucking figure.
And yet–and fucking yet–I keep hearing “not all cops.”
“Not all cops” are bad. “Not all cops” shoot innocent people .3 seconds after rolling up on the scene. “Not all cops” are racist fuckbags, misusing power for a personal joyride. “Not all cops” rape people at gunpoint (and get off scott-fucking-free).
Yet, at my place of employment, somehow everyone is calm in a crisis. Somehow everyone responds to violence with non-violence. Somehow everyone is always able to act like a goddamn compassionate human-being in the middle of the worst kind of street fight–
but you’re telling me that cops, people paid to protect, can’t all do what I do?
You’re telling me that cops, trained to respond to crises, can’t all respond to the same crises, with the same skill, that I do?
And you’re telling me that cops have to stick together in the face of these “potentially false” accusations. That cops have to support each other, no matter what, because their job is dangerous or whatever. That yeah, some cops, but ~actually, sweetie, not all cops~
Fuck that noise. My job is dangerous, too. But you better believe that if anyone sees a member of our staff breaking regulation, their ass gets reported immediately. That person loses their clearances; they can no longer be hired in the field, anywhere. There’s no moving to another district. There’s no finding another location. We make it stop.
So until every cop is cleaning house, until every cop stops this strategically blind bullshit, until every cop refuses to stand by and watch the rampant abuse and corruption inherent in this system, until all the bad cops are weeded out and unemployable–
Until that moment, then yeah, all cops.