The World has reported on the life and times of Carl Foster, now a quadriplegic at the hands of Coquille Police Department. The article and pictures does a lot to humanize a man being further brutalized by small minded, mean spirited people attempting to justify what happened to him.
The military use this technique to make it easier for GIs to behave inhumanely toward their fellow man. The enemy is no longer a man, someone’s father, lover or child but a gook or a haji or raghead, little more than a dog. In police work the same methods hold true when police engage in any type of profiling… age, class, race. Last summer, the Coquille police chief, Mike Reaves, labeled all who disagreed with him as being disrespectful of the law. City councilmember Bruce Parker categorized these same people “malcontents” and Reaves had a lawyer, George Derr, from Eugene post a letter on Dian’s blog attacking the personal hygiene of anyone daring to voice disapproval of the department by declaring them the ‘hairy unwashed’, I think it was.
Consequently, this negative perspective of the general population ( one fostered and encouraged by the leadership at the police department) sets the stage for just this type of tragedy and puts the entire community at RISK! Another benefit of this thinking by the police department is that it may make it easier in the mind of the officer to screw their fellow citizens in court.
So what about those recordings? Last summer, Mayor Steve Britton and Councilman Loren Wiese attending a meeting of Concerned Citizens of Coquille advised all of us present that it was now city policy to record any and all contact, even casual contact with the citizenry. We were advised that Chief Reaves was included in this policy. We were told that we could obtain an audio CD from the city of any contact for $10.
The World reports that interim district attorney Paul Fraser challenges that recording policy.
Frasier was quick to point out that the officers in the department only tape traffic stops. No audio tapes of the incident exist, he said.
So when did the Coquille PD stop recording? Last summer Officer Webley, the same involved in Carl Foster’s injuries, came to my home and advised me that he was recording me and I wrote about it here. If it is still city policy to record contact why would both officers forget to turn on their recorders when making an arrest?
My daughters know Chris Webley from his elementary school days as a special ed teacher and like him very much. Probably he is just the type of person we would all want as a police officer in a small town. We may never know which officer contributed the most to Foster’s injuries but it is unfortunate that a decent young man like Webley is being indoctrinated into the law enforcement culture enacted by the leadership at Coquille City and PD. Both Webley and the community would be much better served if some radical changes were made at the top. Shame on the city council for not protecting their fellow citizens.