Specifically, Tim VanderPlaats somehow deserved the death threats and subsequent beatings because he is a "ladies man," and the wheelchair victim deserved being shoved out of his wheelchair because he has a criminal history. Remarkably, some also believe the paraplegic deserved being toppled over because he ran into the cop's shin. Erin Gardner deserved being yanked from the backseat of a car and slammed to the ground because she questioned authority.
Citizens must send a strong and loud message that there is no room for these types of dangerous attitudes in our community. These futile attempts to deflect attention from the bully to the victim do nothing but add to the shame of rogue cops. In fact, the cops in these instances pose a greater threat to society than those charged with alleged crimes.
There is no excuse for police misconduct or brutality. Whether the victim is an upstanding citizen or someone with a criminal history, police officers are commissioned to uphold the letter of the law with integrity. When public trust in policing has been broken it is difficult to repair, and as long as rogue officers remain on the force it will remain beyond repair. How can any citizen trust the local police when bullies with badges are still policing our streets? Insiders may be able to distinguish good officers from the bad apples, but no one can expect the general public to know.
What the public does know is that there are officers patrolling the streets who threatened to kill a man. There are officers patrolling the streets who discharged their guns into private property after driving drunk. They reportedly avoided arrest after a high ranking officer with personal ties to one of the offending officers ordered their release. These officers arrest citizens for much less than the offenses they allegedly committed themselves. They should not be above the laws that they arrest others for.
The damage caused by a handful of police officers is difficult to assess, but one thing is for sure. The benefit of the doubt will no longer be given to the man with the badge when there are no video cameras to capture questionable exchanges between citizens and police officers. We can expect a rise in requests for jury trials in the future.