The entitled 57

Update to one of the stories in yesterday’s post, the one from Buffalo about two riot cops shoving a 75-year-old so hard he stumbled back several feet, fell, and started bleeding from his head:

They were suspended, and then

The entire Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team has resigned after the department suspended two officers without pay when a video surfaced showing them pushing over a 75-year-old protester.

Well… bye.

John Evans, president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, announced the 57-member team’s resignation at a press conference Friday.

“Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,” Evans told a local NBC affiliate.

The reason this is called the “Nuremberg defense” is that it’s been thoroughly and notoriously discredited since 1946, so much so that I’m impressed that even a police union official could say it out loud. How much perverse self-discipline does it take to wrap your tongue around that idea without cringing or sneering at it?

The resignation of the Emergency Response Team would send a bad signal, said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

“If they resigned, I’m exceptionally disappointed by it because it indicates to me that they did not see anything wrong with the actions last night,” Poloncarz said…

Well, they don’t. They see a small act of casual, callous brutality as business as usual. Either that or they think of it as a perk of the job – sure, they have to train a little extra in riot tactics, but they get more discretion about casually brutalizing people… or at least they did until a bit of local-news video went viral, and the PD and local politicians (who might have resented being lied to – “he tripped,” remember?) declined to defend them.


The thuggish 57 are still employed by the Buffalo PD, just not as part of that unit, so they didn’t sacrifice much, if anything, with their “resignation.” (Did they get an extra dollar an hour for being certified riot cops or something?)

And if their gesture of support, solidarity, or whatever was meant to persuade their bosses to go easy on the original two thugs, then they failed. Assault charges are now pending, and the thugs’ names – Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski – are now public record.


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