Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Am I unfair to cops?

This may be the most defensive post I've ever written, and I've thought more than twice about it, but after a number of recent accusations both on this blog and in Springfield/Northampton forums that I am a liar, filth, and damaging the lives (!!) of police and hospital personnel, I decided to go back and take a look at my previous posts to see: am I really too hard on law enforcement?

In the two years I've been writing this blog, I've posted 781 times. Fifteen of those posts have mentioned the police-- that's a bit under 2%.

In fact, I could have posted much more about the police than I do-- there are many items that catch my eye that I'd like to share. But I happen to have two very close family members in frontline law enforcement, and there are so many other things to write about-- why go out of my way to choose to write about things that might alienate my family? It's a balance I find myself weighing every time I post about the police.

Of those fifteen posts, I have never engaged in name-calling-- the closest I've come is calling the actions of the New Orleans Police Department in setting up homeless people by leaving valuable items in parked cars and waiting until a homeless person broke into the cars as "sleazy."

So: four of the posts were about police actions regarding homeless people-- cutting up their tents, arresting them at demonstrations-- facts not in dispute. One of the four was sympathetic to the position of the police.

Two were about people who died after being tasered. Facts not in dispute.

Two were about SWAT raid-- one where a 92 year old woman was killed in a botched drug raid where the ex-officer on trial said he was forced to lie to cover up the facts; one where a small town mayor's home was raided and his two dogs shot to death. Facts not in dispute.

Two were primarily about policy issues where the police were mentioned, one over police departments confusion over the new Massachusetts marijuana law, and one about the Mass. Supreme Court expanding the powers of the police to frisk people on the street. I did say I thought that would make the police happy.

Two of the posts were complimentary to the police, in particular about how swiftly they acted to catch the murderer of a local homeless man.

One was primarily about the rapes and beatings of sex workers in Springfield which quoted Sgt. Delaney of the Springfield Police Dept.

And five were personal.

Three of them were about friends and what I considered to be overzealousness on the part of Springfield Police when it came to finding their behavior suspicious. Guess those depend on who you believe.

And two were about my own experiences. One happened many years ago, when a police officer lied about how he obtained evidence when I was arrested for possession of marijuana. (The case was dismissed.) The other was about my being arrested at a protest where, besides being charged with disorderly conduct, I was also charged with assault and battery on a police officer. She had her hand on my arm, and supposedly I pulled myself out of her grasp and she sprained her wrist. It was entirely bullshit, and both charges were dropped when the officers failed to appear in court.

My recent post "Police Brutality in Northampton?" does seem to fall into a different category. What I did was repeat an entire email sent to me by someone who was at a Northampton rally about an alleged incident of police brutality. I've been trashed by a number of people and all I can say is that if I'm proved to be wrong, I'll admit it. But the truth is, I may never be able to be proved right. The truth may never come out.

The degree of institutional power held by law enforcement stacks the deck against the average person here in Western Mass. and everywhere. Last week Springfield's toothless Community Complaint Review Board was disappointed when only two people showed up at Springfield City Hall to hear the board's first annual report. Why should anyone have bothered? All the board can do is review the already completed decisions of Internal Affairs, and return them to IA if the board doesn't agree with IA's conclusions. This, however, mandates no action on the part of IA.

"Alejandro (board chair) said the board determined none of the 43 use-of-force complaints it dealt with merited being returned, though he said police officers in some of those cases were ordered to undergo additional training." Springfield Republican. Well, that makes me feel a whole lot better.

I remain as interested in the truth of the alleged brutality in Northampton as anyone else. Let's hope we get to find out.


Anonymous said...

I just started following this, but it seems if your the one making an accusation, the burden of proof is on you to support your allegations. The police department should be innocent until proven guilty. It sounds as if you're trying to get defenders of the department to prove that they didn't do something. That shouldn't be how our system works. The 'proof' thus far is hearsay. You'd posted early that there would be photographs posted; what happened to those?

Anonymous said...

Yes you are being too hard on the police. You do not know the truth but went ahead and demanded the officers be punsihed then mis-quoated hospital staff who now risk losing jobs. Nice job liar, keep up the good work for the everyday person you claim to protect. You now caused investigations in the PD and the hospital. Good people could lose their job over your misdeeds. People who work for the community. So keep posting your stories before knowing what is really going on becuase you got one email from one person. You admit you were not there when Al got arrested, were not at the "rally", and have not seen Al yourself. You also refuse to post the picutres you claim to have proving the beatings. I don't believe you have family in the police department either. If you did you would understand what you have done.

Anonymous said...

Why am I not surprised that you have a arrest record and now claim cops are bad. You also in the other blog state you will no longer post comments from the one maybe two poeple saying the same thing over and over but in this blog you say you have been trashed by several people. You keep changing you story and defense. Usually a sign of a guilty person who can't remember which lie they told. And not once were you calle filth, just a liar. So there us one more lie you told. Where is the email from the person at the rally? Does it exist and if so you shuold pass it onto the police so that ineternal can fully investigate this. Make sure to send those picutres you said were taken in the hospital. You seem very slow in proving your point. Is it that you have no proof?

( I figured I would use my masslive name so that you can see how many different people post and that it is more hten one that believe you lie)

Michaelann Bewsee said...

My, you are grasping at straws. I said I wouldn't post the same comments over and over from the same one or two people. then, when I started getting trashed on MassLive, I thought maybe several people. Seeing as you (kinda) didn't post anonymously, I let your current comment go through.
The word "filth" came from a MassLive comment; you can check the archives, but then again, why bother? Clearly, you only see what you want to see. And I have NEVER made a general statement that cops are bad.

If you are saying that anyone who has an arrest record has no credibility, that's clearly just your opinion.

Re the email, YOU JUST DON'T GET IT! The WHOLE of my post, except for the introductory sentence, was an email from someone at the rally. It is that person who said they had photos. I expect that the first place they will appear is the PINAC blog.

Virginia Schulman said...

Hi, Michaelann,

I see you are still in there fighting the good fight for ordinary people, and that, as usual, the carpers and critics and no-nothings are having a field day dissing you. Here's best wishes from someone who's known you a long time and doesn't think you could have changed that much, overnight, from the person I have known as an honest, fair, caring person.

Anonymous said...

So cops and nurses are no-nothings. Keep that in mind the next time you need them. And she is fighting the good fight this time for a convicted felon while calling for punishment of innocent people. It is her way of thought or no way. And her past does have someting to say about her basis in this cae. She was accused of hurting the police and she now calims at the first chance she gets , and without proof, that the police are hurting someone. She stated the people just dont get. I know that she doesn't get it. The damage she has caused to innocent people. Plus her story keeps changing and the tone of her story is that of hurting the police and hospital staff. KEEP OF THE GOOD JOB!


Michaelann Bewsee said...

I just published the above comment because it shows how utterly stupid this debate (?) is. If the above poster is on the side of the police, God help them.

"She was accused of hurting the police and she now calims at the first chance she gets , and without proof, that the police are hurting someone."

So yes, indeed, I have first-hand experience that police sometimes lie. But why would I wait five years to wreak my revenge?

Anonymous said...

Wow. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked at the venom displayed by most of the above posters-- the anonymity that the internet provides seems to give people license to throw civility out the window! And adding your Masslive ID, does not count, you are still hiding behind a persona. (And yes, I too am posting anonymously-- I have a public position that prevents me from being too open with my personal opinions-- but at least I am not using that as an excuse to trash anyone).

On the other hand, Michaelann-- whether you agree with her opinions or not-- at least deserves respect for using her real name, real identity, real photo. It requires real bravery to put yourself out there and make yourself a target for hatred and name calling.

She also doesn't have to post your comments, you realize. She is airing your dissenting opinions even though it does nothing to benefit her.

I suggest you think about this before making your next post. Would you still write these things if a picture of yourself and your family popped up alongside the post? Would your grandmother be proud of the way you are responding?

Remember, your comments are directed at an actual individual, not a computer.