Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Not the Same Old Bobbies or Are They?

British authorities have admitted that the man held down and shot in the head on a London train earlier this week was a Brazilian man who may have had no connection at all to the train bombings. Witnesses said that police tackled the man and held him down while a plain clothes man shot him five times in the head. After a couple of days of announcing that he had been on their watch list, that he was wearing a bomb, that he refused to obey police instructions, British authorities are now gradually coming to the point that their officers chased down and murdered an innocent man.

This kind of reckless abuse of police power is more commonly associated with Los Angeles than with London. But have the British police really behaved in such a way that we are justified in our surprise? Check out this Human Rights Watch report on Northern Ireland. You might say that Belfast is different but in Britain's highly centralized law enforcement apparatus (a structure envied by Republicans), the same policies and people are in charge of standards and practices in both London and Belfast.

The British have a long history of abusing police power. It was a major bone of contention for the Founding Fathers here in the United States (which is why Republican demands for increased police power are such a radical departure from American norms).

The facts aren't completely in. But given what the British authorities are already admitting to and their seldom talked about record of human rights abuses, it does not look to be a story with a happy ending.


Anonymous said...

The latest version of events is that the Brazilian man was shot 8 times! He may have run because he had an expired visa and needed to stay in the UK to make money to send home to his sick father back in Brazil (if it were his mother it would too cliche for words).

The family of the victim is talking very loudly about filing a wrongful death suit against Scotland Yard. Frankly I hope they do. But given the lack of judicial independence in the UK, I wouldn't hold my breath until they got any compensation through the courts. They are far more likely to get satisfaction politically by embarassing Tony Blair until he does something. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

In Los Angeles, we have "officer-involved shootings" on a routine basis. Thecity's own  reports show that in the 1990s, police shootings ranged from a high of 21 dead, 54 wounded to 8 dead, 14 wounded (I assume these are the high and the low, as the City uses these to show a "trend" and mentions no other numbers). Numbers are eerily hard to get. But every week there's another story, sometimes daily.

When this happened in London, I thought: see, that's why the bobbies don't usually carry guns. Because despite the rhetoric, British cops will act just like ours do, if they are armed. 

// posted by LTG