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A Word About the Police

On October 29, 2010 as he was driving to work at 4 in the morning, Adam Greene, 38, a man suffering from diabetic shock, was mistaken for a drunk driver, ripped from his vehicle, beaten by five officers from two local police agencies (Henderson Police and Nevada Highway Patrol) and finally was kicked five times in the head by a sixth cop, a sergeant, Brett Seekatz, and kneed in the ribs by a seventh. The incident was recorded on a Highway Patrol Camera mounted on one of the cruisers. At one point Seekatz was heard screaming “Stop Resisting Motherfucker!” even though Greene was comatose at the time. Greene filed suit for the brutal beating and was awarded $292,500.00 from both the State and local government for suffering such an indignity.

Incredibly, Greene has shown compassion for his abusers. In an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal, Greene explained he has no hatred for the cops involved because he, “doesn't want his son to grow up thinking it's common for police to arrest or assault someone for having low blood sugar...". Moreover, Greene has stated that "I just don't want my kids to think that's normal behavior to expect from officers". Unfortunately, although it may seem unfair to suggest such behavior is normal, it does seem to occur frequently and, increasingly, police officers appear to hold the view that everyone is a criminal and that they are entitled to use force at will and at their sole discretion, justice and moderation be damned.

Recently, the Las Vegas Review Journal ran a piece entitled “Deadly Force: When Las Vegas Police Shoot to Kill” that reported police in Clark County have killed 142 people in 378 officer-involved shootings since 1990; Metropolitan Police Department cops were involved in more than 80 percent of those killings, a higher rate of deadly force incidents than many other urban police agencies. In addition, there have been a slew of high profile beatings by police in Clark County, including one incident where a Metro cop beat the crap out of a guy that was filming the cop from his own property. With such a record of abusive practices, at this point civilians should expect police to “shoot first and ask questions later”, figuratively speaking, that is.

What's at the root of such conduct and why would a victim of such egregious behavior on the part of the cops be so conciliatory? Friedrich Nietzche once commented that “He who does battle with monsters needs to watch out lest he in the process become a monster himself. And if you stare too long into the abyss, the abyss will stare right back at you.” I'm sure that individual police officers started their careers with good intentions, hoping to provide a valuable service to society and protect the innocent from the predators among us.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the line the focus shifts from protection of the public to protection of the police and government they serve from the public. This paradigm shift has the effect of putting the public in danger every time individuals come in contact with the police. For when those armed and empowered to “keep the peace” at the point of a gun see evil and vice everywhere and see themselves as holding the line between chaos and civilized society, those of us not wearing the uniform are placed in grave danger and injustice in the name of law and order abounds.

As for Mr. Greene, his Saintly absolution of his abusers is dangerous and unwarranted. In America, police are given too much deference, partly due to the same paranoid view that your neighbor and every one else that is not you and your immediate family is up to no good, always and under every circumstance. This paranoia is demonstrated in the glut of walled and gated “communities” that dot the landscape and conceal cookie cutter houses and their paranoid owners. When such fear permeates society, atrocities and abuses are far easier to tolerate and, as in Mr. Greene's case, are paradoxically understood and actually forgiven.

But they shouldn't be. Cops are not heroic. They perform a duty that is a necessary evil, nothing more. And due to their proximity to monsters, they should be closely watched and tightly leashed lest the animal escape and unleash his passions and prejudices upon an unarmed and unsuspecting public, guns blazing and jack boot stomping away.

Here are the names of the cops that dishonored themselves, their agencies, their families and who have demonstrated by their egregious conduct the very worst of human nature, government and the law:

Douglas Lynaugh, Henderson Police Department

Francis Shipp, Henderson Police Department

Seth Vanbeveren, Henderson Police Department

Sgt. Anthony Bandiero, Nevada Highway Patrol

John-Sydney Cass, Nevada Highway Patrol

Sgt. Brett Seekatz, Henderson Police Department

Categories: Criminal Law, Opinion

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