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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Have the cops gone crazy?

Does the stress of being a cop turn decent people into lunatics, or do police departments intentionally seek out loony applicants?

This story (also see here) caused my eyes to go wide: Three teens in New Jersey, intending to pay a visit to an acquaintance, knocked on the wrong door. A very wrong door. They had mistakenly visited the home of a state trooper bearing the improbable name of Kissinger Barreau, who -- before opening the door -- flew into a rage and screamed profanities.

Realizing that they had stumbled onto the lair of a total whackjob, the teens did not wait for the door to open. They scrambled into their vehicle and sped off. Barreau came out armed and started firing at the car.
What they didn’t realize was that the man who shot at them was a cop, which meant that his buddies were going to do everything they could to justify firing a gun at three teens who were not even on his property anymore.

About a mile-and-half away from the trooper’s home, once they believed they were safe from the crazy gunman, they stopped the car and one of the teens called his mom to tell her what had happened. He then called police to tell them what had happened.

Minutes later, when the teens noticed police helicopter and police dogs conducting a search in the area, they figured the cops were looking for the trigger-happy gunman.

But then they found themselves surrounded by cops, who searched and handcuffed them before leaving them in the back of a patrol car for hours on accusations that they had attempted to burglarize his home.

They were then driven down to Sparta police headquarters where they were photographed and placed in different cells.
Long story short, the cops worked on the teens to get them to sign onto a false story. The teens refused.
The teens were eventually released when the cops confirmed that they did have a friend living on the same block and realized they were not going to admit to something they did not do.
This story reminds me of an incident from my college days, when I tried to pay a visit to a lady who had advertised a potential gig. Her directions took me to a street just off of Mulholland Drive above Los Angeles -- an area with a reputation for attracting the wealthy and the strange.

Mis-reading the address, I knocked on the wrong door. Within seconds, I found myself facing the wrong end of a rifle.

Standing on the other end of that rifle was a trembling, wild-eyed man who -- well, I was going to use the term "raving maniac," but that phrase seems rather too gentle. Imagine filling Nicholas Cage with meth and coke and telling him to do an impression of what Bruce Dern might be like if he were filled with meth and coke. Now imagine crazier than that.

Although I managed to escape without the discharge of that firearm, the incident made a lasting impression.

Those poor kids! They ran into an even nuttier nut. And Barreau is a freakin' cop.
And, what's happing to HIM??? The crazy, I mean

Back in the day I had a cousin who very badly wanted to be a cop. He told me "When I get my badge no one will push me around again." He applied everywhere but couldn't get hired. It turned out he was too goddamn short. On top of everything else, he was a sadistic little bastard. I think there are a lot of cops with his personality, especially on small city police forces where they'll hire anyone with a pulse who is white. Throw in a little heavy drinking and there you go.
I think it has to do with budget cuts in the public sector and lowering the standards because of staff shortages that explain the current cop insanity.

It used to be that there were extensive background checks of every person who applied to be a police officer and a battery of psychological tests to boot. It was extremely difficult to get hired as a cop, but apparently not anymore.

The most extreme example of this is Antoinette Frank, who with an accomplice shot and killed innocent people in a robbery attempt. Frank was a cop and also moonlighted as a security guard at the time she murdered two restaurant co-owners who were friends of hers and another cop. She had failed in the psychological test batteries prior to hire, but New Orleans was so severely in need of cops, she slipped through the cracks. She is currently on Louisiana's death row.
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