Police misconduct: Signs of a breakdown of civil society

August 19, 2011

A plainclothes officer is pummeled with 42 bullets by fellow officers outside a Baltimore nightclub. An off-duty police officer puts over a dozen bullets into a former Marine, who is unarmed and pleads for his life before the officer riddles him with gunfire. His body drops to the asphalt, lifeless. Later that same evening, the same off-duty officer boasts to a fellow officer about the "hot chicks" he was observing at the nightclub he had attended. Compassion? Nary a sign of it by the cop.

Another officer is accused of dealing heroin, one time brazenly supporting his "side business" on the district parking lot after a shift meeting. Multiple officers are accused in participating in a kickback scandal with a local towing company. A dime store paperback fiction writer would even have a hard time conjuring up these scenarios.

One has to truly feel for Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld. Are these signs of the pending demise of our city police force, and consequently our city?

Perhaps not, but the fissures in the proverbial dam of our supposed civil society are more evident than they ever have been before.

Patrick R. Lynch, Nottingham

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