The only good cop is an ex cop

The telegenic police giving impassioned speeches and kneeling with and hugging protesters while their coworkers indiscriminately tear gas, beat, cage, and shoot rubber bullets (or in Louisville, actual bullets) are nothing more than superficial propaganda to make (mostly, but not all) white people feel good.

Institutionally, the police (including the “good” ones within) views itself as an aggrieved victim. They are entitled pissbabies unable to withstand a modicum of criticism who, horrifyingly, have access to an arsenal of war material while conservative leadership urges them to lay waste to the actual humans resisting them.

They (including “good” cops) want this all to go away as soon as possible. When/if it does, they’ll talk about reform, diversity hiring, cultural & mental health awareness, sensitivity training, etc. – all of which is already being done and doesn’t work at all. The well-oiled PR machinery is already in place for the authority-approved “healing process” to commence.

At the very least, these “good” cops should take off their thin blue line apparel, remove their shitty punisher tattoos and, most importantly, stop allowing themselves to be used as feel-good propaganda shields for the paramilitary terrorist organization they freely chose to join.

The police as institutional entity is fundamentally unreformable. The rot is ubiquitous and runs too deep. There is an unbroken line connecting Derek Chauvin to its former iterations; from the slave patrols of the south; to the union-busting tools of the bourgeoisie; to the professionalized purveyors of state violence during the civil rights era; and, finally, to their eager enforcement the failed racist War on Drugs.

Nothing less than defunding and demilitarizing should be seen as an acceptable outcome to the unrest spawned by the murder of George Floyd. If we dare to dream we might go further:

The alternative is not more money for police training programs, hardware or oversight. It is to dramatically shrink their function. We must demand that local politicians develop non-police solutions to the problems poor people face. We must invest in housing, employment and healthcare in ways that directly target the problems of public safety. Instead of criminalizing homelessness, we need publicly financed supportive housing; instead of gang units, we need community-based anti-violence programs, trauma services and jobs for young people; instead of school police we need more counselors, after-school programs, and restorative justice programs.


  1. says

    That’s like saying “the only good cannibal is an ex-cannibal.” If they were a cannibal once, how/why could you trust them to have really stopped? A cop will always carry the attitude and mentality that made them decide to be a cop in the first place. It’s not curable.

  2. StonedRanger says

    My dad was a cop for 25 years. 10 years as a motorcycle officer and 15 years as a detective. He died 18 years after he retired. As a cop, once he became a detective he did just the minimum to get by. As a father and a person he was a complete and utter failure. Three other children besides me and he used to beat the shit out of us daily just because he could. The verbal and physical abuse endured until at 17 I was thrown out of the house. My older sister and brother left home as soon as they graduated high school and my younger brother ran away from home at 15 and got himself emancipated. When my dad retired, he was no longer able to beat us up, but he remained an utter asshole and a jerk. When confronted about the way he treated us, he said he realized what he did was wrong, but would not change it if he had the chance. He was a miserable piece of crap before he became cop, he was a worse piece of crap while he was a cop and he was just a dick afterwards until his death. So, no. The only good cop is not always an ex cop. In my experience ( at one time I knew most of the police and their families in Portland Oregon) if they suck as a cop, they suck as an ex cop too.

    • says

      Sorry that happened to you and your siblings

      Did not expect to get such pushback on the title. I’ve hated police (even the “good” ones, as I made clear) for all of my adult life for the reasons described in the blog. But I didn’t want to title it something like “ACAB” or substitute “dead” for “ex.”

  3. says

    The only way to fix policing is to completely replace it. Get rid of ALL current cops and start with a completely untainted pool of people and new system of rules.

    Current policing isn’t a broken machine that you can replace parts and make new. It’s a toxic and radioactive mess that will continue to poison everything it touches until you isolate it and bury it in concrete. Bringing in new parts only taints the new parts, it doesn’t take away the poison from the old.

  4. Steve Watson says

    The Peelian Principles. You want a Constabulary; not Law Enforcement Officers. Unfortunately the way the Union is set up, as a federation of states, you will always have Stupid enshrined somewhere.