Social Question

SQUEEKY2's avatar

On the news it was said a bunch of off duty cops participated in the riots at the Capital, what should be done about those officers?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (19624points) 1 week ago

Just wondering?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

It depends on what they did. If they participated in the insurrection, they should be prosecuted as insurrectionists. If they engaged in violence or other serious crimes, they should be prosecuted for those crimes. If they just stayed outside yelling, they should be treated like protesters and left alone.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I would look very closely at the oath that they swore when they were sworn in as police offers, and take action accordingly.

It is probably something like this:

“On my honor,
I will never betray my badge,
my integrity, my character,
or the public trust.
I will always have the courage
to hold myself and others
accountable for our actions.
I will always uphold the Constitution,
the community,
and the agency I serve,
so help me God.”

si3tech's avatar

Hold them accountable and prosecute. Lose their badges forever.

Pandora's avatar

Depending on their level of involvement like @SavoirFaire said. But if they were on duty and were there to protect the Capitol and did not protect but rather let people through by opening barricades or leading them, or giving information to the mob as to where to go, then they not only were not doing their duty, they were in violation of their oath as cops and are involved, insurrectionist. So they should be treated as terrorists.
@SavoirFaire, I thought there was no such thing as an off duty cop. If a cop saw a robbery while he is off duty, I thought he was suppose to try to either do something or at least get help.
Like when my husband was in the military. He could not attend any protests even if he did nothing wrong. If he got arrested than he would be in trouble. It wouldn’t matter if it was on his off time. I may be wrong but I thought cops were the same. There job is to contain a mob not be with them.

JLeslie's avatar

If they actually went beyond the barriers I would fire them at minimum. Then I would prosecute them the same way I would anybody if they committed a crime.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Pandora While off-duty police officers are allowed to intervene (and to make arrests, so long as they are within their jurisdiction), they are not obligated to do so. They are obligated to adhere to certain standards of discipline and professional ethics. Officers can also be fired for private actions that cast their department in a bad light (which is why any officer who even attended this rally faces the possibility of termination).

Merely attending a protest is not supposed to be against the rules, however, which is why—in my personal opinion—anyone who just stayed outside yelling should be treated as a protester and left alone. The right to protest is not limited only to those with whom I agree, nor should it be (no matter how much I might disapprove of their cause).

That said, I do believe that people can abuse their rights and/or use them in immoral ways. Having the right to do something is not the same as it being right to do that thing.

gorillapaws's avatar

@SavoirFaire ”...anyone who just stayed outside yelling should be treated as a protester and left alone.”

”...stayed outside” ...next to the makeshift gallows and the guy with the confederate flag on one side and the “Camp Auschwitz” shirt on the other? I would argue even if they didn’t breach the barricade, their presence at such an event casts negative light on their respective departments and certainly erodes faith/goodwill with the communities they’re entrusted to protect and serve. At the very least, it casts serous doubt about their judgment, intelligence and character.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@gorillapaws Standing next to the gallows isn’t “just staying outside yelling.” It is therefore not included in my statement. If you cannot understand that, please review this article thoroughly.

“I would argue even if they didn’t breach the barricade, their presence at such an event casts negative light on their respective departments.”

And they can be fired for that—something which I pointed out myself and have not said one word against. But they ought not to be prosecuted for it since it’s not a crime.

Remember, the context of my original answer was prosecution. Any charitable reading would have to recognize that “left alone” means “not prosecuted.” It does not mean “face no consequences of any kind.” That should be clear on its own, but it should be particularly clear to anyone who has read even a fraction of my answers here given the number of times I have argued that having and exercising a right does not shield one from all possible consequences.

Dances_with_Werewolves's avatar

@SavoirFaire That’s perfectly reasonable, but no one is interested in perfectly reasonable right now.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Dances_with_Werewolves I don’t think that’s true. And in any case, it certainly isn’t true about @gorillapaws. When Aristotle said that man is a rational animal, he didn’t mean that we are rational all the time. He meant that we have the capacity to be rational. But it is a capacity that faces many obstacles, and no one is going to get it precisely right every time. Case in point, I may have been too strident in my previous response.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Fire them and make sure they never get a job in L.E. again. Ever. They crossed the line. Just like the “Officers” who beat Rodney King in the L.A. incident years ago. At that point they were no longer Officers, they were a gang of thugs. End of Story.

gorillapaws's avatar

@SavoirFaire ”...they can be fired for that—something which I pointed out myself and have not said one word against. But they ought not to be prosecuted for it since it’s not a crime.” [emphasis added]

I think this was the source of the misunderstanding. I interpreted your answer to distill down to “they shouldn’t be prosecuted and also shouldn’t be fired.” This was based on my interpretation of your ”[they can be fired]... however….left alone” phrasing. The notion that they should not be fired and “left alone” was what my response was objecting to.

Of course I didn’t mean literally the guy standing next to the gallows—it was a rhetorical embellishment to drive home the general idea. The point is anyone in the general vicinity of the protest would have seen the giant gallows and likely seen many people displaying objectively disgusting sentiments. I expect any law enforcement person to exercise the judgment to not want to associate themselves with such a group regardless of their physical proximity to the gallows and leave at that point. Therefore, based on that standard, I believe all law enforcement participants in the rally (regardless of whether they remained outside) should be terminated from their respective police departments.

It sounds like we actually agree on all points. Apologies if the ambiguities in my post upset you. That was not the intent.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@gorillapaws “I interpreted your answer to distill down to ‘they shouldn’t be prosecuted and also shouldn’t be fired.’”

As you now realize, that is not what I meant. But clarification is an important element of discourse, so what matters is that we ended up on the same page.

“This was based on my interpretation of your ’[they can be fired]... however….left alone’ phrasing.”

I don’t want to belabor the point, but that phrasing does not appear anywhere. My first response, which is about prosecution, doesn’t even discuss firing. My second response contains one paragraph that responds to @Pandora‘s factual question about the legal duties of off-duty police officers, a second paragraph where I reiterate my position with regards to prosecution, and some small text where I point out that rights can be abused (e.g., that rights protect us from prosecution does not mean that they cannot be used wrongly, with all the consequences that may entail). One has to cross paragraphs that address different subjects and remove a lot of important words to get ”[they can be fired]...however…left alone.”

“Of course I didn’t mean literally the guy standing next to the gallows… the point is anyone in the general vicinity of the protest would have seen the giant gallows”

The Capitol Building was surrounded on all sides by the various assembled groups, and the gallows were on the opposite side of the reflecting pool. I know people who were there counterprotesting who did not see the gallows until they saw them on the news. I would not be surprised, therefore, if many of the people right outside the building didn’t actually know about them.

In any case, I would agree that anyone who did know about them should have—at an absolute minimum—left the protest. And a police officer probably should have done more. I’ve marched with people I don’t like, and I don’t think one has to agree with someone on everything to protest alongside them. But that sort of overtly threatening behavior is way past anything that could be reasonably called a gray area.

“It sounds like we actually agree on all points.”

In the end, I think this is true. Regardless of who could see what from where, there was enough unacceptable behavior on all sides of the building that any police officer who continued protesting after the line was crossed ought to face termination.

“Apologies if the ambiguities in my post upset you.”

I’m not upset, but I do like to clarify things (sometimes to the point of tedium, I know—it’s an occupational hazard).

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