There are certainly many cases of police brutality all over the World. Police brutality is endemic where democracy is scarce or non-existent. Nevertheless, the United States and other democratic countries are not the exception and police brutality happens, perhaps too often. It is also true that many cases of police brutality involve racism and prejudice. And no matter what the reason is behind brutality, any kind of abuse of power is repugnant.
The fact is that in countries where law and order prevails within a fully guaranteed and independent judicial system, police brutality and abuse of power are under control and citizens as well as foreign residents have legal resources for their protection. Sooner or later, cases of abuse are resolved and violators of human rights are punished.
The problem arises when some sectors of the population distrust the legal system to the point of interpreting justice as a process to be promoted by violent mobs. The lynching mentality is a travesty of justice. And the instigation to ignore law and order for revenge or retaliation against legal authorities falls into anarchy and crime.
When there is a clear case of abuse, democratic countries have the legal system and peaceful and orderly demonstrations as effective tools to condemn it. On the other hand, authorities must be able to count on a margin of tolerance for making mistakes in their attempts to do their job in good faith. After all, anyone accused of abuse should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Public opinion should not be the judge to declare someone guilty of any crime.
However, this is what is happening in Baltimore, and lawless and violent demonstrations are trying to condemn six police officers making them hostages of public opinion.
Perhaps they are guilty. Perhaps they made a mistake. The mob does not know that. We do not know! The accused must answer for their actions and be submitted to a full investigation. If the prosecution finds there is a good case to take them to court, let us allow justice to follow its course.
That is not happening in reality. The mass media and many politicians have promoted an ominous climate of public opinion based on speculation about racism and the alleged oppression of minorities. However, in the case of Baltimore such arguments do not hold water.
Baltimore black community accounts for a wide demographic majority. They form a majority block of voters too. Indeed, they do vote and they have elected once and again afro-American candidates. Among them, their Mayor and their Police Commissioner (Chief of Police) are black. In spite of such an apparent racial bias, no revolt or violent protest against allegedly racist Baltimore officials who hate whites has erupted. It would not have been rational.
Furthermore, a high proportion of municipal and county authorities, including police officers, are black. Not only that, but also three of the six police officers accused of abuse of authority, racism and homicide in the turbulence of the court of public opinion are black.
The only rational explanation for the violence and the aggressive mobs in Baltimore is that anti-system forces taking advantage of a sad situation –where the facts are still under investigation– to provoke a violent reaction and to exacerbate racial hate and division instigate these tragic events. They also campaigned and mobilized to spread the revolt to other cities across the United States.
In the meanwhile, mass media is contributing to anarchy and to a gross travesty of justice instead of supporting the legal system and doing what journalists do best – to investigate the facts and reveal them with no political bias or speculation. That is what good journalists supposedly learn in their college and university years. It is really sad that so many of them so easily forget their professional ethics.
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