The Right-Minded view on protest and police violence

by richardhutton

It seems these days that our rozzers can’t do right for being wrong.

After doing their utmost to guard statues from threats which don’t even exist (it must be difficult guarding against threats which do exist, let alone ones which do not) they suffered no end of recrimination – merely for arresting violent criminals, who were acting lawfully and behaving peacefully during protests.

All you could hear from protestors was ‘ACAB’ this, ‘defund’ that, and ‘please stop hitting me’ the other. I tell you, the people I feel sorry for were the police. It must hurt being verbally abused – that is, attacked – by nouns and adverbs, with the odd rhetorical question thrown in as well.

But it didn’t end there. Oh no. Protestors were armed with cardboard placards, or else seen handing out daffodils to officers; and sitting down in such a threatening manner that the police had no choice but to walk up to people, and began whacking them.

After all, those placards could very well have upset the police officers’ feelings; and cops merely have batons, pepper spray, body armour, horse-mounted cavalry, attack dogs, and armoured vehicles to defend themselves from slogans.

That’s not all, however. If what I read in the newspapers is anything to go by, of the 40 police officers present, at least 50 were injured. In fact, I was shocked to read about officers suffering serious wounds ranging from broken bones, to a punctured lung.

Admittedly, it soon transpired that these injuries did not actually occur, but that isn’t because the police spokesperson lied. As if an officer of the law would ever be anything less than truthful!

No – they genuinely thought they heard the sharp snap of a broken bone; but thankfully it turned out to be somebody stepping on a twig. Likewise, what was believed to be the whistle of a punctured lung was, in fact, a referee officiating a five-a-side football game, on the other side of the city.

You can see how anyone might make mistakes of that kind, in perfectly good faith. In no way at all was it meant to deflect attention away from so-called ‘police brutality’.

In fairness, I suppose it was perhaps a trifle unfortunate that the odd gentleman’s cranium came into contact with a baton, here and there. A baton which may, or may not, incidentally have been attached in some manner to a police officer’s hand at the time.

But being whomped on the napper never did anyone any harm, if you ask me. I would welcome it, in fact. Being trampled by a horse, pummelled with a riot shield, kicked in the mouth. Just the kind of thing that builds character. So I really can’t see what people are complaining about.

I mean, if a police officer hauled me to the ground, pepper sprayed me, knelt on my throat, shot me in the back as I tried to run away, then lied about it, I’d be grateful to know that, in doing so, they’re statistically more likely to apprehend anyone who actually was committing a crime.

Prevention is the better part of cure, after all. Viewed from that standpoint, it makes perfect sense that the police were forcibly punishing people before they had even engaged in any wrongdoing.

For example, one officer struck a woman in the face with such force that the foremost voices on the Parliamentary front-benches were moved to call it “slightly concerning”.

Likewise, video footage came to light which showed another officer gently encouraging a journalist to move along, then gently encouraging them to lie on the ground, before gently encouraging them into a state of semi-consciousness.

Now, you can see why onlookers might surmise that people were demonstrating peacefully, in order to safeguard public freedoms, that this was all perfectly above board – and the police were abusing their powers in a fashion which illustrated precisely why the protest was necessary in the first place.

But let us consider a hypothetical scenario: what if the protestors were not demonstrating against police violence, and weren’t even human – but were a kind of mutant lobster/snail creature, who wanted to take over the world, and turn everyone into jam?

In that completely different scenario, wouldn’t the police have been entirely justified in their actions? I think we all know the answer there.

Besides, the police consequently investigated their own conduct, and declared themselves free of any wrongdoing. Even politicians who had suggested there may be something a shade untoward about the actions of police officers, and expressed a degree of sympathy for protestors, breathed a sigh of audible relief at the news – and began to condemn the protestors with renewed vigour.

Lessons for us all, there, I should venture.