The problem with police accountability is a bit like the problem with algorithmic decision making. Like, a risk-assessment algorithm used by a court might over-estimate the risk posed by a Black person because of the racial bias in the input data. Similarly, when an officer’s conduct is evaluated against the conduct of a hypothetical “reasonable officer,” and expectations for the reasonable officer are informed by history, the outcome is likely to be a judgment that validates the regurgitation of some historical bullshit.
In that way, police accountability is like the hokie-pokie:
You put the Bullshit in,
You take the Bullshit out,
You shake it all around but you get the same result,
That’s what it’s all about!
Like, have you heard the one about the pig in Georgia? The pig shoots at a nonthreatening dog, misses the dog and shoots a child but is cleared on the grounds that the court could not “conclude that no reasonable officer would have fired his gun at the dog under the circumstances.”
Once you understand police accountability as the hokie-pokie, it all makes perfect sense. It doesn’t matter how you shake it, you get the same result. People on twitter don’t seem to get that. And they’ve wasted their morning fussing about Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability (OPA) validating the use of pepper spray against a small child. Because the child was not SPD’s intended target.
As noted by the hackney media firm that published the OPA report, OPA ringleader Andrew Myerburg justified OPA’s determination by saying, OPA is “required to make decisions based on applicable policy and training … not just reach a finding that may be the most politically expedient or that which we think will be most acceptable to demonstrators, officers, or some other group.” ♪That’s what it’s all about!♪
A few days ago, I released a very, very, very concise article on police accountability that argued we should focus accountability efforts on the performance of law enforcement as an institution, as opposed to focusing on the actions of individual officers. What we’ve learned by focusing on individual officers, as OPA demonstrated this morning, is that officers are unaccountable because the law enforcement institution itself is so deeply flawed. Anyway, it’s time to start talking about disbanding SPD completely. To allow for public safety solutions that *DON’T* carry an institutional memory of impunity for the procedural use of unconstitutional violence.
That’s all for now.
Join me later as I share the feelings that result from rubbing my penis all over a picture of mayor durkan’s face.