Why All Cops Are Bad

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Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Linda Chong

Opinions Editor & Senior Copy Editor

CORRECTION: When this article was originally published on our website on 6/6/2020, we mistakenly stated that “Police officers are responsible for 90 percent of Black killings in the U.S.” and that “1,028 Black people have been shot and killed by the police.” These figures were incorrect, but they have since been corrected to accurately reflect the cited sources.

If you haven’t figured it out, ACAB means, “All Cops Are Bastards.” People say that because the police force is currently enforcing racism and an abusive system that oppresses Black people. They instigate violence on often peaceful protestors and they don’t face consequences because the law protects their own. Despite the overwhelming evidence of all cops being bad, many have declared the Black Lives Matter movement to be a fight of Black people against racism, and they advocate that all cops aren’t bad. 

“It’s just a few bad apples,” they say, because there must be some good cops within the bunch; there are good people in the police force! You’re right, all people aren’t bad; but that doesn’t mean all police officers aren’t. To give some context, it’s not about the person themselves, it’s about the deafening silence they project during duty and the actions they don’t take to correct injustice. It doesn’t matter if an officer is a good person serving at church on Sundays, because they still serve to enact racism. 

They use their title to legally discriminate against people of color, and they use their privilege to avoid consequences. The Ferguson report, written by the Department of Justice, is written evidence provided by the police force, that admits power and legal authority changes people’s actions, their morals, and their humanity. This a culture within law enforcement that’s based on racial hierarchy. So in turn, cops are driven by their sense of legal privilege, and they don’t want to oppose the source. 

This contextualizes the discussion of current, more pressing matters that turn all cops “bad.” Police officers stand fully armed against peaceful protestors, tear-gassing and releasing lethal rubber bullets on unarmed civilians against police brutality. Police officers are attacking neutral parties such as the media or press, and the police are committing war crimes by assaulting neutral medics. There are countless stories and witnesses of people reporting unjustified violence from law enforcement and the National Guard. 

Unnecessary police brutality shown during these times is incredibly wrong and disturbing. With an overwhelming amount of evidence posted on different social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. I think it’s clear who the real victims are. 

But even with abundant evidence, some have pointed out that the media is filtered and biased. Social media encourages editing, accounts are meant to draw people in, and social media is overall untrustworthy. But can you still say that with the undeniable amount of personal testimonies, witness accounts, and multiple source coverage? Can any cop be excused or given the benefit of doubt when the overwhelming majority of officers standing against protestors have injured, maimed, and assaulted unarmed civilians? 

The most perplexing thing in this entire situation is the fact that people want to argue how only some cops are racist, and this is a war against racism, not the police force. According to Mapping Police Violence research group, police officers across the country are responsible for the disproportionate killing of African Americans.” 

Black people are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by the police, than a white person. According to the US Census, despite the 13 percent that Black Americans embody in the U.S. population, they also occupy a third of incarcerated inmates in US prisons. This can no longer be called police brutality; this is a deeper social injustice that is based on an anti-Black, white supremicist framework. Police forces are constitutionally ordained racists that target aggressively and specifically on Black people.

To side with the police and argue that there are some good apples, you must have personal relationships in mind. I get it; your friend is a good cop and it’s hard to label someone “bad” when their actions are relatively not as severe as other officers. You can’t compare the actions of Derek Chauvin and Darren Wilson to those of a small-town officer that tries to be productive, filling up his fair share of parking violations. 

You can’t compare an officer charged with second-degree murder to officers that participate in misconduct and/or dishonesty of the law. But that doesn’t take away from their central job that is to protect and uphold a now fascist government. That doesn’t excuse any “good” cop from abusing their power and sticking to a system of oppression. 

This is an educated guess, but people who don’t agree with ACAB are doing so because of one or more of these three things: 

One, they compare the actions of individual cops. They advocate the person behind the uniform and ignore the injustices that their title represents. They empathize with the fear of speaking out and they only see the plight of cops dealing with violent protesters and angry Black men; those of which are not comparable to a Black life. Hate to break it to ya, but at least officers can take off their uniform and walk away, you can’t take off Black skin. 

Two, they are not researched. They only check their Instagram for posts from their favorite slacktivists, and they feel good about their hour of scrolling on a biased blue-lines page. They argue that there is a good side to everyone, and they encourage victimizing the police without knowing any statistics or historical segregation of the Black community. 
Three, they are most definitely not Black. They don’t know the privilege they have when they are safe at home (Breonna Taylor), when they can jog safely in the neighborhood (Ahmaud Arbery), or when they can walk home from the convenience store (Trayvon Martin). They can’t compare their privilege, economic standing, cultural history, or social circumstances to those of the Black community. There is no argument when it comes down to human rights, and the fact is, people who still think “not all cops are bad” know where they stand in the dichotomy between our current systemically racist government and a potentially accountable infrastructure that the minorities deserve.

Linda Chong
Linda Chong is a third-year Communication major from Los Angeles, CA aspiring to work in journalism. As the opinions editor and senior copy, her goal is to allow students to be heard through an objective viewpoint and she hopes to contribute to the distribution of accurate news for the students of Santa Barbara.

117 COMMENTS

  1. The very first thing in the article is an apology for making a horrible mistake! 90%?! Amount of blacks killed by police officers is 3%. And the vast majority of them were firing a weapon or fought the police officer. Shame on this guy!!!

  2. Why all cops are bad? You are very insolent and ignorant! There are many police officers who die every day to save lives! There are police to risk their lives to make law-abiding citizens safe. There are a few rotten apples, yes, there are corrupt power-hungry cops. But saying “all” is so wrong! Educate yourself before posting stupid stuff like this online.

    • In America, there are not cops “dying every day to save lives”. In 2019, only 89 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty (48 of these officers died as a result of felonious acts and the remaining 41 officers died in accidents.) If you truly believe that there are only a few “rotten apples”, I would suggest reading the National Institute of Justice’s study titled “Police Attitudes Toward Abuse of Authority: Findings From a National Study”.

  3. The author uses the term “they” too frequently. No “they” don’t all think the same and have the same objectives (to enforce racism …haha). There are 800,000 police officers in the US. No, they don’t all think the same. No, they are not all racists determined to oppress black people. Come on. How does stuff like this get published. Are you insane? This kind of ignorant bucketing and prejudging groups of people is exactly what got us into this mess of racial inequities in the first place.

  4. Cops actually good people. Yo, SJW and BLM, next time when someone will try to steal clothes that you stealed in the shop hour earlier, who would you gonna call?

  5. Guys, the writer isn’t saying that all police officers are bad and abusing their position – I think the point they’re trying to make is that by being in the police and working for this flawed organisation, they are complicit in the actions done by other police officers. In that way they are all bad.

  6. According to this logic, all teachers are also bad. So are everyone in Congress and anyone linked to systemic racism.

    This ACAB approach is far off target. When you want to change something, you don’t dehumanize a group of people to do it. That’s why we are in this crap hole in the first place.

    Most “progressives” views over the past few years have not been liberal nor progressive. They flirt with a different form of fascism which is not a modern or progressive approach. This is not an indictment of BLM at all – I side with them – but the good side of this fight is riddled with bad logic by some who tend to spiral off on their own.

    Instead of ACAB, we need to De-militarize police, draw them from the local communities they protect, and provide better resources instead of simply police (ie if someone calls 911 on a homeless issue, perhaps social workers and not cops should go).

  7. What the F is this shit?! Chong is a pole smoking asshat. How did Chong become an expert? FU Chong.
    Read one journal and form an opinion you plageristic bitch….no your an asshat…read a few with some data and the collective might bring you closer to the truth. You know nothing about daily police life and you are pandering to your socialist student body who knows shit about the world. Take one ride along with the local police and I know your view will change. Scumbags like you should be ashamed. Go back to learning and shut the F up!

  8. I rewrote a section for you to be more topical.

    Men are 20 times more likely to be killed by the police, than a women. According to the US Census, despite the 50 percent that men embody in the U.S. population, they also occupy a 90% of incarcerated inmates in US prisons. This can no longer be called police brutality; this is a deeper social injustice that is based on an anti-Male, female supremicist framework. Police forces are constitutionally ordained sexists that target aggressively and specifically on men.

    There. I have proven that sexism is what drives all the deaths of men by police in an unassailable fashion. You are welcome.

    I can rewrite all of this article to prove that men are consistently and historically discriminated against by law enforcement. Does this prove my hypothesis that men are oppressed? Nope. But I can really make the argument like they are. The numbers are there to prove it out were I to have to argue it. Who is to say I am wrong?

  9. I support the black lives matter movement wholeheartedly. But I just don’t think it’s right for the slogan to be “all cops are bad”? Am I the only one with this issue? I feel like it’s if the slogan of feminists was “all men are rapists”? But maybe it’s just my white privilege showing. Can someone help me out here?

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