Several weeks ago, Philadelphia Police Lieutenant Jonathan D. Josey II was fired by the city’s Police Commissioner for punching a woman in, in an incident that was captured on video, and soon went viral. The video shows the woman walking and the officer punching her from behind, falling to the ground, being handcuffed and bleeding from her face as she is walked away. The Fraternal Order of Police lodge in Philadelphia is hosting a fundraising party in Josey's honor to help him pay his expenses, reports the Philadelphia Daily News, not The Onion.
I tried to think of a parallel situation. If a lawyer were fired for being caught on video deliberately engaging in unethical conduct and betraying a client’s trust, could you imagine a bar association hosting a fundraiser in his honor? If a doctor were fired for deliberately injuring a patient in an incident captured on video, could you imagine a medical society hosting a benefit to help her? Of course not.
The FOP party for Josey is powerful illustration of the culture of impunity from on-the-job misconduct that pervades much of American policing. This kind of party is only a flagrant illustration of how police unions have fought police management and local governments to take away much of their ability to enforce accountability. This kind of celebration of violent misconduct is more reminiscent of the behavior of an outlaw motorcycle club, a criminal gang, or a mafia family than a professional association of public servants. It suggests that the union has a sense of entitlement to make and live by its own rules independent of the community that would be considered intolerable by any other institution in our society. The FOP is saying, “We are shameless. Get over it.”
To view some of the benefits in police union contracts, check out http://policecontracts.