Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Latest Round of Cops Behaving Badly

Police officers have a tough and dangerous job. Often times it is thankless as well. Most police officers in most municipalities and state-level agencies abide by their oaths. Like our loyal and valiant uniformed military service members, police officers put their lives on the line to make sure people are kept safe and necessary laws are enforced.

The majority of police officers are like Mike Fosler. Mike Fosler is a disabled, retired police officer who served in New Jersey. He was on small-town, suburb forces as well as the Camden Police Department. Mike is also a US Army veteran and former counter-intelligence agent. He knows the oath to support and defend the US Constitution very well. He'll be the first to admit that there are times when an officer must make a quick assessment of a situation and may have to take some physical actions in order to preserve both the life of the officer as well as that of the suspect. He will also admit that there are clear lines that emerge that should not be crossed. An officer lacking "good moral judgement" may be better served seeking another profession, one that doesn't involve hasty life and death decisions that must also weigh-in individual natural rights such as those protected by the US Constitution.

Officers like Mike Fosler deserve our gratitude. They do the hard job, choosing the hard right over the easy wrong. 

Nobody can rationally dispute that some laws and regulations are necessary for civilized people to live, civilly, in the modern world. There will always be those who seek to prey upon those perceived as weak, defenseless, or easy targets. There will always be people who seek to harm, steal from, abuse, or destroy the properties of law abiding citizens. Also, nobody is perfect. Humans are beautifully flawed creatures who, while seeking excellence, inevitably falter and make mistakes. Actions have consequences, be they intentional or accidental. The police make sure that when such infractions may bring infringement to the life, liberty, property, or other natural individual rights of another that the perpetrator be brought before a constitutional trial.

Also like our fine military members, there exist those few police officers who overstep their authority. There are those few who have no integrity and do not uphold their oath of office. There are those who betray the public trust. It is not all. It is a scant minority. However, their illicit actions cast deep stains upon all others.

In the latest event of "Cops Behaving Badly" we have one such scumbag caught fraudulently impersonating an upstanding police officer.

40 year old, 11 year veteran San Antonio Police Officer Jackie L. Neal is accused of raping a 19 year old girl. Of course, he denies the charges. At 2am Friday Nov. 22, Neal allegedly pulled the 19 year old over, handcuffed her, and raped her on the hood of his police cruiser. The GPS tracker on Neal's car puts it at the location named in the allegation, at the time the incident allegedly occurred. Miraculously, his dash-cam happened to malfunction, not having a working hard-drive installed at the time.

This wasn't Neal's first sexually-related infraction. Similar allegation happened a few years ago, according to Chief William McManus. However, no evidence was collected, at least not enough to conduct a proper investigation.

Neal also had an affair with an 18 year old member of the "Police Explorer" program. That led to a suspension, then transfer to a night shift on the South Side of San Antonio.

That makes this the third sexually-related allegation against the same officer. In short, he makes his fellow officers look bad. He is disloyal to his oath and a betrayer of public trust. He is dishonorable, even if not guilty of these allegations. Why? Because he puts himself into the situations as a magnet to bring discredit upon the uniform.

Now, in this case, Chief McManus is promising a full investigation. He is even asking the FBI to assist out of concern that civil rights may have been violated. A burning question is if the FBI will investigate potential civil rights violation allegations surrounding McManus while they are in the neighborhood.

McManus is no saint. There is an ongoing case that includes McManus in civil rights violations, including potential 4th Amendment violations against a whistle-blower. McManus allegedly reported an anonymous tip that James Foddrill was acting maniacal. In the middle of the night, McManus's "mental health division" conducted harassment raid. Minutes after arrival, the officer in charge on the scene recognized the call for what it was, harassment, and stated as much in his report.

It would come as no surprise to find that the only reason McManus is so adamant in this case is that it has received so much public attention and cannot be covered up like Neal's previous offenses.

This comes on the heels of Temple, TX police officers being fired for abuse of authority and brutality in the arrest of a teenager suspected of theft. This same department has come under scrutiny for excessive force in two other recent cases including CJ Grisham's arrest and the arrest of Matthew Sibley.

If police are supposed to help the people hold lawbreakers accountable for their illicit actions, they first need to hold each other accountable. As perceived authority figures, they must set an example of "what right looks like". They cannot be considered above the laws they serve. Instead they must hold each other to a higher standard and stricter interpretation than they expect the citizens who employ them to follow. Most do just that. Others attempt to do that but fear repercussions from corrupt officials, politicians, and superiors. Those brave men and women who toe the line, do the hard job, and stand up for what is right deserve our respect and gratitude. Those who don't, people like Neal, deserve the highest sentences appropriate for their crimes and betrayals.