Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
August 28, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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August 28, 1997

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6 Thursday, August 28, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette More police brutality --or did we really see it correctly ? I didn't think I'd be back on the subject so quickly but national events dictate a response. I'm beginning to think that the national media is drinking Payrump water. In the news this past week were no less than three charges about police brutality. First came a video tape from Texas showing inmates in a private prison being beaten and subjected to guard dog attacks and having stun guns applied to them while they're helplessly crawling on the floor trying to get away from the antagonistic guards. Then there was a video tape showing a woman and a state trooper having words for awhile and then the trooper grabs the woman, who was simply and innocently stopped for a traffic violation and then arrested for failure to pay a past traffic ticket, and throws her about, handcuffs her, etc. The woman sued the back East state and won a settlement. Finally, the tragic story from New York City about a Haitian man who was allegedly beaten and sexually assaulted in a brutal manner by the cops of the 70th precinct. Once again we're being assaulted with information that would tend to make you believe the cops are people to be afraid of. Children see these scenes and are forever impressed with such a belief. This is a more tragic situation than the occasional bad cop. But what about the bad cops in the above situations? Does all this national media information really stand up to scrutiny? I don't think so. Let's take a closer look. First, the prison guards. We've been shown about 20-seconds of video tape that certainly does show scenes of brutality. But, I ask myself, what happened just prior to that video tape? Perhaps these inmates were in the process of a riot, or attempting to escape, or beat the guards, or, or, or. This has never even been questioned on any of the reports I've seen. Another question, who photographed these scenes and why did he/she release this tape? What was the motive here? The deputies say the whole thing was staged for a training film. Let's throw those questions aside and assume the 20 second tape is perfectly legit and this abused occurred exactly as shown. Why is this being used as an example of "police" brutality. These were private guards working for a commercial-style prison. These guards are privately employed by a company. These were not policemen, nor were they state certified prison guards. Take this issue offthe burner right now. Do not equate this with the serious issue of police brutality. It doesn't belong in that subject matter. In the second issue, yes, the woman and trooper were having quite a battle of words. The trooper was not Mr. Nice Guy in responding to the woman. However, when he arrested and cuffed her it was right after she "blew up" and began beating on a piece of equipment. The officer was right to restrain her at this point. Nobody said you have to study Will Rogers when you pick up a badge. While the officer certainly could have been more polite with the woman (he sounded like a Marine drill sergeant) he might have had a very bad day handling the usual run of the mill scum bags and simply had had his fill of whiners. This didn't warrant national media attention and didn't fall in the category of police brutality, in my opinion. Then comes the New York situation. I don't know what to say here. It would appear that something truly horrible happened here. While my gut reactions to stories like this is to defend the cops -- this is a situation where there appears to be no defense. I condemn the officers that were involved in this ungodly situation. There's no doubt that there are some bad apples out there. But to play some of these stories may be a bit reckless and premature. I have doubts about two out of the three recent stories. When I was a kid you were brought up to respect people in uniform. A cop was someone you could always trust and go to when you were in trouble. It should still be that way today but it isn't. Being inundated with these stories places an indelible impression in the minds of today's youngsters. Fear the cops. Run from them at all costs. They're the bad guys. Nonsense! We must support our police, our sheriff's deputies, our troopers. Ninety-nine point nine percent of them are honest, law-abiding, and trying to make a difference for the rest of us. Room and board full up The cops arc, against the robbers, the htws are against the cops. According to a report from the Justice De- partment, the prison population in the United States has doubled in the last decade. The fig- ures for last year put the number at 1.6 million. In 1995, one out of every 167 Americans was On Target by Joe Richards from the Kingdom of Nye Whether you hate him or love him, he won't let you ignore him! and lawyer pathic "t psychics." Pope charges $40 per half-hour telephone, ,y