Skip to main content

Corrupt police boycott first amendment

After repeated incidents of police pulling over drivers on trumped up charges, and letting them off only with the payment of a bribe, a man decides to do something about it.  He refuses to pay the bribe, argues with the incompetent cops about the law, and videotapes it.  Soon after he is in the hospital with major injuries following a police beating.

Elsewhere, the city police engage in many corrupt practices as well.   Excessive overtime pay is given to the chief's brother, officer salaries are inflated because they possessed otherwise valueless degrees, and documents regarding officer misconduct are withheld from the press.  When local paper reported this incident, the police began a boycott of the newspaper.

For those of you who follow the news (or else clicked on the above links) you will know that the second incident took place in Worcester.  For the record, the other one took place in authoritarian Russia.

I bring them both up to highlight their similarities.  Both involved repeated incidents of police corruption, efforts by citizens to uncover that corruption, and retaliation against the individuals that uncovered it.

My readers will object that a boycott is hardly comparable to a beating, but I disagree.  While the Russian incident was an attack on an individual, the Worcester one is an attack on democracy. 

The reason the founders put the first amendment guarantee of a free press in the Bill of Rights was specifically so government (including police) couldn't engage in corrupt activities in secret.  The police boycott is obviously meant to smother this protection given to the American citizen and thus give them free reign to maintain the status quo, unchecked by the free press and the citizens who receive information from it.

If the police have even a sliver of belief in democracy, they should end this boycott immediately and take the opportunity to weed out corruption from the force rather than trying to deny it and play the victims.