July 29, 2017

First, what were Suffolk County uniformed cops doing, serving as a backdrop to what looks suspiciously like a campaign rally?

It's against the law for police officers to appear at political campaign events in uniform to endorse candidates, and for good reason. That's been the law in New York for more than 40 years, and for good reason: having uniformed officers endorse a politician at a campaign event can either give the candidate an aura of support from the government itself or make people afraid to oppose the police choice, which is inappropriate in elective politics.

[...] In 2014 the state Board of Elections reaffirmed the law, ruling: "The use of the uniform as a prop adds the weight of the police office and accomplishes the very evil which . . . [the election law] would avoid."

Yeah, Trump claims his Friday speech was to discuss gang violence -- but used the occasion to encourage criminal behavior in police.

“When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, please don’t be too nice,” he said.

“Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody — don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”

The cops cheered. I don't think all of them did, which gives me hope.

Some of them might have been thinking of their former chief, James Burke -- who sounds a lot like Trump.

He's in prison now, sentenced to 46 months in prison for brutality.

The judge, Leonard D. Wexler of Federal District Court, compared Mr. Burke’s style as police chief to that of a dictator who commanded a loyal following. Judge Wexler said that Mr. Burke had “corrupted a system,” and that his crimes were not limited to a single episode.

“It did not take one day,” Judge Wexler said of Mr. Burke’s efforts to thwart the F.B.I.’s investigation. “It stretched over three years.”

Burke not only threatened and beat a petty thief who took a duffel bag full of sex toys and pornography out of his SUV, he got a lot of other cops to lie during the investigation.

His career was almost derailed early on by a relationship with a prostitute, and his habit of losing his service weapon.

Yep, sounds like a lot of the cowboy cops I've known.

In one recent legal filing, prosecutors say his office “was repurposed into a makeshift bar which was open every night for ‘drinks.’” Mr. Burke also had subordinates “conduct surveillance” on his girlfriend or his girlfriend’s exes, prosecutors claimed in the legal filing.

If women understood how many cops do this, they'd never date one again.

Anyway, go read the entire story. It's illustrative of how having a leader who ignores the rules corrupts an entire department.

I'm sure the judge wanted to send a message to cops that they weren't going to get away with brutality and corruption. And with one speech, Trump undermined that, telling them to do whatever they want. "Please don't be too nice."

We can only look forward to the day he's arrested.

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