Street drugs are made illegal (prescription drugs are fine), hidden and unlicensed weapons are illegal (carried by people on unsafe streets, which is to say the poor), flawed cars are illegal (busted taillight, broken muffler, unpaid insurance).Thus police spend a large part of their time distributing crime to the sorts of people who seem likely to be criminals — the poor and marginal — and the prediction is prophetic: these people turn out to criminals as soon as they are stopped and forced to turn out the contents of their pockets or glove boxes.
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Sometimes this is reserved for the arrestee on the ground who is already restrained, as a form of punctuation.
Sometimes it is done in the van or on the way to it.
Police are more likely to do this when they believe they cannot easily be recorded with cameras.
The purpose of touching by police is to make persons touchable. The restraints in civilization on attacking anyone, especially a citizen who portends no harm or threat, are fairly high.
The unspoken rule is that the citizen must never return touch.
Singling out an individual for arrest, the next escalation is to grab the citizen’s body at the neck or shoulders — attacking from the front, black-gloved fingers grip the face, while from behind, the palm shocks the base of the skull — pushing at the fulcrum of the neck to hurl the person down.
The most manpower and work time are still devoted to it. Today, when police accused of racial bias in their traffic stops and pedestrian searches are asked to justify themselves, they speak with pride of the fact that they do not just stop and question black people, but also white people caught in black neighborhoods and rich people cruising in poor neighborhoods. They don’t recognize their role in making up the boundaries of these neighborhoods in the first place, or why not all neighborhoods are functionally the same.
“Catching criminals.” This is the activity police truly like to identify with, however little of their time it occupies.