For years we fought police corruption and misuse of power by passing laws to limit police powers. Actually it was a good thing. 40 or 50 years ago, police routinely beat confessions out of suspects, did 'fishing expedition' searches without probable cause, led people into criminal activity through 'entrapment', etc.etc. As people grew more aware of these abuses they got angry and passed laws to keep police 'honest'
This turned around with Richard Nixon. Nixon declared the "War on Drugs" and began passing laws to give police more discretion and more power. As you can see now, 35 years later, the purpose of this movement was not to stop drugs, it has had just the opposite effect. The real purpose of the War on Drugs was to erode constitutional protections, to give police and prosecutors more power, to take power away from judges and defenders. Now a cop could stop someone on the street and demand to see ID for no reason. They could tap phones and break down doors. They could search without a warrant in some circumstances.
The Supreme Court grew more conservative also, all this time, and backed this trend. The Supreme Court now has six justices appointed by Reagan and the two Bushes (actually they appointed seven, but Sandra Day O'Connor retired). Each of these appointments was promised to be the single swing-vote needed to overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortion. But in fact the are not all pro-life. If there's anything they all do have in common, it's support for more powers for police and prosecutors and for the Fed. Govt. in investigation and prosecution.
For instance, since our nation began, evidence collected illegally was inadmissible in court. Only a few years ago the Supreme Court decided that this evidence was admissible so long as the policeman said he collected it in 'good faith'.
Undercover cops patrol the streets of inner cities--Chicago, Philadelphia, etc.--offering drugs for sale. This is classic textbook 'entrapment' and shouldn't be allowed. This is one reason 1/3 of all our young black men are either in jail or on probation or parole.
A year ago I was stopped by cops in my middle-class suburban California neighborhood for nothing more than walking down the street carrying a camera! I had walked by an elementary school and someone across the street had seen me and suspected I was taking pictures of kids for purposes of kidnapping them! I did walk by the school but hadn't even used the camera. The cops were very nice about it, and I was easily able to show them there were no pics of kids on the camera, but that's not the point. I suspect if I'd been black or hispanic they might not have been so nice about it.
· 1 decade ago