Sunday, February 2, 2014

Police Brutality? Please!

All week I’ve followed the story regarding the Troy Police Dept. and the Kokopellis night club, plus the subsequent charges by the business itself that the Troy PD was at fault. Too brutal. The reason why violence went next level. Read here:

"There was a scuffle in our stairway and our security had already restored order and had the situation under control ... before the police arrived," said Barry Glick, who operates the club with his son, Joe Glick.

So why did police 'arrive'? Who called them? Why were they there? Listen to the 911 calls: I understand what Kokopellis is trying to, I get it, we all do. Then came the calls by Troy-based community groups for Chief Tedesco to resign. He ain’t resigning. Nor should he.

It’s easy for people to Monday morning QB police procedure, but I wouldn’t want to be charged with coming into a nightclub--full of drunk people, possibly violent--and restore order. But that’s what these cops do on a daily basis. They worm into the rat holes of hell and carry out the law. Are their procedures sometimes questionable? I suppose. Would this nightclub mess have been better handled if the Green Berets came? Of course. But local cops aren’t commandos. Most are young guys with the new family and the mortgage on a mid-level salary. Don’t let the brushcut fool you. They’re just trying to provide for their family and build a career without getting killed, or maimed, or crippled. Did they overact? Who cares? You call the guns, you get the guns.

“But, Brian, they should be trained.” Trained? Agreed. You throw beer bottles at them they throw nightsticks at you. See, trained. It’s not rocket science. Cops' careers are spent rubbing up against the criminal element, the most desperate people on the planet. Have you ever seen an episode of COPS? It’s funny for like twenty minutes. Try it for twenty years. Everyone’s always lying to you, angling against you, and flat out targeting you. And for the love of Martin Luther King, please kill the race angle on this story. The cops were called into that club. They didn’t voluntarily storm the castle. It was far from under control (see the tape). They were attacked. They attacked back.

Are all cops the hero-saints I’ve described here? Hell no. I know all about smalltown guy who gets off-duty drunk, drives through town at 80mph, running red lights, because he can. He’s above the law. We all know that idiot. With that said, here’s what I say to all my second guessers. Next time a call of violence comes from Fourth Street or Arbor Hill or Hamilton Hill, we’ll let the cops sit it out, and YOU go down there and break it up. You get dressed and drive down and resolve the whole affair peacefully. If those cops are so misbehaved, YOU clean up the next call.

If I was a cop, I couldn’t sleep, eat, or crap straight. Imagine living with the nonstop reality that being shot on the job is something you have to at least think about, all the time. You think those cops wanted any part of that nightclub chaos? You think they wanted that trouble? They wanted to cruise the beat, drink coffee, and go home to their kids. They did it because they had to do it. And they did what needed to be done.

When we were 19 years old, my friend Bill bounced at a club in Albany called Michael’s. It was a late-night spot, good college-girl selection, but a touch of edge to the place. Remember that song that said, “Hey, dirty, baby I got your money”? That’s the song I associate with that four a.m. scene. Anyway, one night near closing, as the crowd thinned, a very large, bull-bodied man who’d been released from ACJ the day before (so the story went) began to get out of control on whiskey and whatever. He had a violent rep and he was a scary SOB. He was getting in people’s faces, threatened a bar tender, smashed a few bottles, tossed a stool on the ground. He was ramping up and ready to unleash, and it was on my friend Bill to intervene, physically remove him if necessary. Oh, boy.

To say that was the scariest fifteen minutes of my life (and I was only there by extension) would be the biggest understatement since “Houston, we have a problem.” Luckily, it ended well that night, but I can only imagine the human fear those cops felt when faced with a nightclub full of this, and you’re the big-blue target, the enemy, the racist, the bad guy. You did what you had to do, boys.

Brian Huba

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