Gerald (Jerry) Zezas

Home » Ferguson » Cops and Gangs. Too many similarities.

Cops and Gangs. Too many similarities.

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When I see how modern cops use symbolism like their uniforms, medals, weaponry and comments about “brotherhood” and standing up for one another…

When I see how they defend one another at all cost, right or wrong…

When I see the vehemence directed at anyone who would say anything negative about cops, as well as the defensiveness directed at anyone who would point out one of their many shortcomings…

When I see the above traits it reminds me of the biker gangs of the 1960s and 1970s. Tough, arrogant, often racist and tribalist, self-assured and convinced of their infallibility and entitlement to their power they wield. Thoroughly convinced of their superiority to others, as well as the smirking confidence that they will likely get away with anything they do.

Just something I’ve been thinking about.



  1. Ask Cara says:

    You are absolutely correct.

  2. Bill Cadiz says:

    No, Cara, he’s not correct. I’m hereby disagreeing with Mr. Gerald Almost-always-right-on Zezas. Gangs can be criminal for sure, and cops, like doctors, pilots and priests, all technically ‘gang members’, can go horribly wrong (and those groups will defend their peers to the death; go ahead, tell me I’m wrong). But, sorry, to put cops in the same room as gangsters is to attribute behavior, bad or good, to a particular group, with prejudice. Let’s see, what do we call that again? It is the rare cop who does not begin his/her career without grand intentions of heroically serving society. But cops serve at the whim of society, with all its fits and starts. Budget woes, grandstanding politicians and charlatans of every color and stripe regularly conspire to use public employees to justify or excuse whatever the whim-of-the-week issue happens to be, so long as it doesn’t stick to said politician. It’s hard for these people to fight back. Even if an aggrieved mayor or county commission finds it hard to fire the outspoken or maladjusted public employee (thank you, union guy) there’s the budget-cut option, the re-assignment to desolate locations, and bunches of other chicken-shit retaliatory knife-cuts that can be applied. And we’re surprised that some of these human beings come unglued sometimes, or at least quit in disgust, or just wait out their careers in frustrated silence, hiding in the proverbial bathroom? Come on, citizens, what exactly do we want? Law and Order with some flaws, or anarchy, fully flawed and deadly?
    Bill (full disclosure; father of one fine cop).

    • jerryzezas says:

      What? Did someone suggest that I’m not always right? Blasphemer!

      Seriously, there are many who will disagree with my attitude for perfectly legitimate reasons. It is only important that my rationale for writing this piece be given the same degree of legitimacy as I will give there’s.

      I understand that I may be painting all cops with the same brush and that that is always an error. Of course, there are many fine cops. But please remember that the platitude “there are many fine…”, or “of course all…aren’t bad”, or, “the great majority of… are good, upstanding citizens” usually comes after a large, vocal minority of a particular group has shown themselves not to be as fine as those whom they hide behind to maintain their reputation.

      When a sub-group of any larger group does things that repulse society, the innocent among them will likely suffer. No, not all Catholic Priests abused little boys. No, not all Muslims are terrorists. No, not all black kids are crack dealers. No, not all cops stop black teenagers indiscriminately and shoot them. Starting to see a pattern?

      The problem is that when one writes about these groups, it is assumed that the audience knows that not everyone in that group is being targetted. But it may sound as if they are.

      I’ve written about this problem before, but as an aging white guy, I’ve seen too much of how certain cops have treated me and others poorly, even violently. To wit:

      I was living in NY in the 1970s when half the damned police force was on the take from heroin dealers and good cops died when they exposed it.

      I was standing next to a close friend of mine when a cop calmly walked over, drew his arm fully back and clocked my friend with his gloved hand, in response to a snide, childish remark my friend had made. We were both15 years old at the time.

      I, personally, heard a Piscataway, NJ cop, a friend of mine, tell his girlfriend about a black kid who they had beaten senseless in his jail cell that evening. When his girlfriend naively asked if that was legal, his response was “we decide what is and isn’t legal”.

      I was accosted, and physically dragged across a concrete parking lot, in my mid 40s on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Key Colony Beach Florida by a local cop, over what he perceived to be a traffic violation. He had been accused three other times of physically abusing citizens. He quit the force before I could bring charges against him.

      My point is that, although I get much of my information from current events, I have personally had too many occasions to question the integrity of the police. I can only imagine what it must be like to be black in a racist town like Baltimore and have to tell my kid to keep his head down and his hands up whenever a cop comes near, lest his cell phone be mistaken for a gun and I end up making funeral arrangements for my baby boy.

      The fact, Bill, that your son is a fine cop may be more a result of his upbringing and the values with which he was raised, and his having brought those values to his job. It may just be that he values human life, and human dignity, and understands that the law isn’t his to make, but ours. He may get genuine satisfaction from defusing a potentially violent situation rather than reacting to it as if he’s never had any training in how to do so. He may be the kind of cop who dreads ever having to kill, and will use every other form of deterrence at his disposal before he does.

      If he’s a fine cop, I suspect that prior to becoming a cop he had been raised to be a fine man, and brought those traits to the job before being fitted for his uniform. And after having known his father for a couple of years, I’d just bet that I’m 100% right on that one.

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