Michael Mechanic

Why you never, ever get righteous on a street cop

Michael Mechanic


Friday, Jul. 24, 2009

Oakland, Calif. — From Friday's Globe and Mail

Smiling triumphantly, I opened the front door only to stare straight down the barrel of a police 9mm. I don't think I said a word. Just slowly put my hands in the air. Let the officer cuff me and put me in the back seat of his cruiser.

The scene was Emeryville, Calif. It was 1993, and I'd just entered an unlocked upstairs window to gain entry to the residence where my companion was house-sitting. We'd accidentally locked the keys inside. The neighbours didn't know that, though. They just saw an unfamiliar white man trying to get in. Eventually, I was released, humiliated to be treated like a criminal, but I knew better than to get righteous on a police officer. As I'd learned the hard way four years earlier, that's a losing game.

Flashback to a Sunday in the summer of 1989, when police had reported to the West Oakland Bay Area Rapid Transit station parking lot in response to noise complaints about an afternoon party across the street. Juke, my old punk-rock band, was playing at a run-down rental house along with Green Day (in its pre-stadium days) and a couple of others. After we finished our set, I wandered across the street with a friend. That's when an altercation of other partygoers broke out in the BART lot, not 100 feet from several Oakland police cruisers.

The cops did nothing to stop the fight, but we helped separate the brawling parties, and the cops detained them. Shortly after, with observers crowding around the lot, one officer walked a full circle around my friend, then told him to take a hike or get arrested. At the first word of protest out of his mouth, the officer grabbed and cuffed him.

This struck me as completely unjust, so I spoke up. “Why are you arresting him? He didn't do anything”

“Shut the f--- up,” said a couple other officers.

I wasn't finished. “I have a right to know why you're arresting my friend.”

They tackled me from behind, and twisted my arm painfully behind my back. Somebody kicked my head into the pavement, leaving a large welt on my forehead. I was cuffed - so tightly it hurt for weeks - and thrown in the back seat of a cruiser piloted by one Officer Jim Burns.

“Name?” he demanded. I had no wallet or ID on me.

“Michael Mechanic.”

“NAME” he repeated.

“Michael Mechanic.”

“I'll just put John Doe, then,” he said.

“It's my f------ name” I responded.

I proceeded, through tears, to taunt Officer Burns, equate him to a Nazi, question his education, upbringing and patriotism. In retrospect, I was lucky he didn't take me to some vacant lot and beat me to a pulp. Because he could have.

Long story short, I was transferred to a stinking police van and driven around the city for hours, with no bathroom breaks, until it was packed with crackheads. I then spent the night in the city jail and was charged with interfering with the police - a felony - and resisting arrest and public intoxication, which was entirely fabricated. Because they can. In the end, it cost $1,500 to hire a lawyer to convince the DA none of it was worth pursuing.

I was shell-shocked by the whole experience. It took me a long time to get over it, but it taught me an important lesson, one that many a poor black kid in Oakland learns from an early age: You don't talk back to the police. You don't question them. And you certainly don't call them racist, even if you think they're profiling you. (And they most likely are.)

Because you will lose. It doesn't matter whether you're a prominent black Harvard prof, a white kid on his way to attend graduate school or a Hispanic high-school dropout. I understand the indignation of Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Harvard prof arrested last week on disorderly conduct charges, which were dropped after an officer established that Mr. Gates had not broken into his own Cambridge, Mass., home. Mr. Gates, however, has clout in the Cambridge community, and he could have brought his complaints straight to the brass or to local politicians. (And speaking of clout, even Barack Obama weighed in on the Gates case during a White House news conference on Wednesday – he accused the police of acting “stupidly.”)

But get righteous on a street cop and you will lose every single time. Henry Gates should have known as much.

Michael Mechanic is a senior editor at Mother Jones magazine.





Commentary by the Ottawa mens Centre


7/24/2009 10:02:33 AM
In Canada the place where you could expect to be treated "righteous" is a court of law in Canada but its the very place where if you happen to be MALE, is the very place that men get abused on an every day basis.

Men not only get arrested without a shred of evidence, they also spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on attempts to convince Crown Attorneys that its not worth a prosecution, and who frequently face days of trial over charges for which there is not a shred of evidence that he assaulted her but in fact, she assaulted him.

In one recent case in Ottawa, a high tech security consultant was smashed in the face by his paranoid spouse who just spent $50,000 on a private investigator to find evidence that he was having an affair. The investigator found none, not even after bugging his cell phone and wiring the home with cameras, that were conventiently off when she called 911 after punching him in the mouth.

This is typical of Canada's corrupt Feminist Judiciary who not only allow but encourage women to abuse the process of law.

Next in the list of an insult to "righteous" is the cess pool of the worst abusers in society that make up 'the underbelly', of the Family Court Judiciary.

Its that "underbelly" the small percentage of the very worst of the worst who make most of the draconian decisions in Ontario, they make "Power orders" "Sheffield orders" that routinely deprive men of the right to an answer and defence, trials simply very rarely ever happen.

Ontario's Family Court Judges, collectively, act as a "Cartel" using any dirty trick, of which they have a wide variety that they habitually use to get rid of self represented male litigants.

The injustice in Ontario is getting worse, its sending fathers to jail in epidemic numbers all thanks to the "feminization" of society.

Only one problem, for every abused male there is a sister, a mother, a grandmother a daughter.

Ontario, is an Insult to Justice.




On my first arrest in Ontario, on a trumped up charge that never reached trial, the cells were full of men either abused by their wives and a diabetic who looked and acted drunk but was not.

If you happen to be unlucky enough to visit any remand cell, on any given day, most of the prisoners are male, arrested without a shred of evidence and which have an extraordinary low rate of conviction.

The charges are used to give women custody of children by abusing the criminal justice system.

Society supposedly has a low tolerance towards domestic violence but it fails to add up the prejudice to society by the fact that the process is abused more than it is used out of any real need based on real evidence.

Our police have guidelines that amount to an official instruction to abuse men.

If men complain of domestic abuse, its generally HE gets arrested and so the conditions are made that destroy children's relationships with fathers.

The injustice in Ontario towards men in increasing and getting worse, thanks primarily to the underbelly of the Ontario Superior court Judiciary who lack any compassion , any ethics and as judges , set out very deliberately, to obstruct justice, fabricate evidence, and to destroy lives out of protection towards "the legal Cartel" and in the name of political correctness.

Its a cancer that is destroying Canada economically and an insidious problem that the vast majority of Canadians cannot and will not ever understand, until of course, it happens to them.

It takes a Dead Beat Judge "To Create" a dead beat dad and, Real Crime Starts in Family Court.

Check out the research by Peter Roscoe, over thousands of hours of research show the incredible level of bias and hatred by the Ontario Courts towards men.



7/24/2009 11:42:18 PM

There are good guys and bad guys, good cops and bad cops. Good prosecutors and good judges and unfortunately, some very corrupt bad cops and the some of the very worst dangers to society become Judges of the Ontario Superior Court of Ontario.

There is nothing, nothing more revolting than being in front of that underbelly of society that commit more child abuse, more real crime than those warehoused in jails.

These criminals have "jobs for life", they are unaccountable, and have total immunity against criminal and or civil complaints and their own authority, the Judicial Council, is set up by them operated by them, as their own police which of course is well known to do next to nothing besides sanitize complaints about Judges.

It takes a rare breed of public officer to investigate and prosecute complaints against those with absolute power, and unfortunately, they as a group of the worst criminal in society, have set themselves up, to be investigated by themselves with a mandate of sanitizing complaints and ensuring that complaints are never held.

That is folks, the dirtiest most corrupt mandate in the legal world, the mandate of the Judicial council, who, protect the interests of those with the most power and of course the most likely to flagrantly abuse that power.

Ontario Superior Court Judges are an Insult to Justice.

To quote Stacy Rob,
"it takes a dead beat judge to create a dead beat dad
Real Crime Starts in Family Court.

Spare a thought for all those fathers who have their pleadings struck, have restraining orders that banish them from entire cities for ever and who are effectively sentenced to a life time of indefinite incarceration without the right of any variation or appeal, thanks to "Power Orders" and "Sheffield Orders" that are the judiciaries "hit men" to get rid of male self represented litigants and who, act like concentration camp guards, without compassion or empathy able to destroy lives.