Hello, my name is Zak and I am posting this on a friends behalf as I believe in the power of the people and that with our collective voices we can make the powers that be listen.
Last month my friend, Eric, was pulled over for a very petty incident, an accident or a mistake if you will. He was driving with the window down and holding a tissue. This tissue flew out of his car window as he passed the officer, who was stopped at the exit of a shopping outlet, to his passenger side.
When this officer pulled Eric over, she threatened that he would spend a year in jail for this offense, and that it was her word over his. Does this seem to be the mantra of Innocent until proven guilty or are we slipping into a soviet society with no checks and balances of local power?
For a tissue accidentally dropped from a car in Virginia, a person can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor, a charge that carries a one year prison sentence, large fines, or hour of community service. If a judge finds Eric guilty then he ends up with a criminal record, which must be disclosed to all potential employers. What this officer said shows that she lacks the capability to remain unbiased and that she perceives all citizens in her community as perpetrators in victimless crimes. These unbiased approaches account for many false accusations by police every year, exponentially increasing the number of wrongful charges.
In other states litter is met with small fines payable directly to a court, without necessary need of a trial or the possibility of a police record. For instance in Pennsylvania a fine is directly related to the amount of litter dumped in an area.
Every year over ten-thousand people are falsely accused or met with trumped up charges. The very same people who expect the local police force to keep them safe. This same rate can be expressed that one in four officers will be accused of misconduct, worthy of news story representation, this statistic does not include those that do not make it into the headlines. This number is baffling and when paired with the quota system, that numerous officers have testified exist in every county around Norfolk, Virginia, it is enough to make any law abiding citizen afraid to step in an officers line of site for fear of harassment or unwarranted psychological/physical brutality.
Norfolk is the very same city that played host to an incident where an eccentric fifty year old women was tasered, and later suffered memory loss, for simply hula hooping in the grass with a radio, a by product for a mental disability suffered in a car crash thirty years prior. This women suffered passive seizures in inclement environments and yet the police found it necessary to repeatedly shock her with their tasers. There are plenty of testimonials from residents of Norfolk and other counties that the local officers do not respond to their distress calls, however, it is common to see two separate officers pull over a citizen on a traffic violation.
Residents of Virginia feel that we need more transparency in our police force. I personally feel that our officers should be required to take college level law, ethics and psychology courses so that they may better serve the communities that they are meant to protect. We need more people to raise their voices and end police brutality and harassment in order to end the damage to that can be inflicted on otherwise law abiding citizens. We need the mantra of innocent until proven guilty to be followed, without stipulation or systematic bias from circuit court judges, whom tend to side with the officers in this jurisdiction.
This is not fair, it is not right, and I feel it is in direct affront of the constitution. I do not feel safe to drive my car or to be around the officers in my community. At this point I would rather take my chances without law enforcement, even though I have suffered very little at their hands. This apathy, this fear, was caused by the very people who we embrace to keep our communities safe. Please help us tell Norfolk that it's citizens, and citizens elsewhere wont stand for police brutality, mental or otherwise.