Everywhere, the Same Sort of Thugs

It’s interesting, and telling, that although cities and other political units differ greatly across the USA, they all have rotten, overbearing police departments. It makes no difference whether one is looking at leftish places such as Berkeley, Seattle, or Charlottesville, at conservative boondocks such as southern counties or Texas backwaters, or even at theocratic Salt Lake City. The cops everywhere are the same sort of thugs.

This fact strongly suggests to me that cops in the USA are out of control, that they do pretty much as they wish, act as brutally as they relish, and get away with their actions as readily in Chicago, Miami, or St. Louis as they do in New York, Boston, or Portland. They are, owing in considerable part to the strength of their unions and lawyers who ward off all critics and accusers, an imperium in imperio. Governmental officials either are or pretend to be powerless to control these armed occupiers.

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Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, the University of Economics, Prague, and George Mason University. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.