by Garret Ean
Sept 11 2011
On Lemonade Freedom Day, there had been a mention of arrests made in DC during the day’s celebrations. A video from the scene shows an arresting DC Park Police officer making a shocking admission when asked about the ethics of enforcing segregation policies.
It is rare that officers will answer such tough questions, and I prefer that H. Dunn of the Park Police had been honest about his feelings rather than choosing to avoid answering truthfully. He may not realize it, but he has made naked the always obscure unintended consequences of faith in legislation which is a necessary mentality of the enforcement arm of government. There was an honest tone of guilt in the officer’s voice. Perhaps it was the first time such a thought had materialized in his head. Alternatively, he could have internalized and swallowed this moral compromise years ago. Although I have received a university education in criminology, I could never accept such a moral compromise for myself, which I why I chose not to seek a career in law enforcement. History does not reflect favorably upon those whose mantra was, “I don’t do what is right, I do as I am told”.
Money has a way of persuading individuals to repress their internal objections and follow orders. We’ve seen the disturbing effects of blind obedience in the experiments of Stanley Milgram, and the Stanford Prison Experiment demonstrated a human tendency to abuse arbitrary authority over others. When an officer in the background of the video exclaims, “I think it’s absurd, and I’m sure most people do, but I’ve got a good job that pays me about six figures, and I’m not losing it,” it is no surprise why DC Park Police have the imperious reputation that they do. It is surely far more costly to reside in DC than Concord, New Hampshire, but even in the imperial city, I can’t imagine that six figures is not significantly more than ample. Perhaps inflation strikes hardest in the city that most perpetuates it.
If legal discrimination akin to segregation were ever enacted again, I would hope that there would be peace officers brave enough to sit in solidarity alongside those choosing to break bad laws.
Hear DC Park Police officer H. Dunn’s admission at 3:50.