100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

May 11, 2009 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2009-05-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Monday, May 11, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

15

Policing the police

BELLA SHAH
E-MAIL BELLA AT BELLZ@UMICH.EDU

Living in Ann Arbor, rallies
and protests aren'tanything
new to me. But a few weeks
ago I became
curious when I ,
ran across my
friends' photos
of a rally at Pur-
chase College,
located about
a half hour
north of Man-
hattan. EarlierE
that week, Pur- ED
chase held its MCPHEE
annual spring
festival "Cul-
ture Shock," featuring an evening
concert performed by the fairly
well-known ska band, Streetlight
Manifesto. As with many other
ska concerts, a mosh pit quickly
formed and just as quickly grew
out of control. The show even had
to be stopped a few times to ask
the audience to move back from
the stage - and from the cops that
guarded it as well.
Naturally, one student was
pushed too hard out of the mosh
pit and into one of the cops. The
student, Hart Seely, fell backward,
and his hand hit the policeman's
hat. When other students asked
what had happened to Seely after
the show, the police responded
that he had been removed from the
scene for hitting a policeman.
Any sensible person would
realize that this collision was
accidental. And maybe so did the
cop. But something got under his
skin, because he didn't react as
any sensible person would. When
Seely asked why he had been taken
from the scene, the cop responded
with "You know what you did" -
a generic one-liner straight out of
a Bruce Willis movie, rather than
a precise description of formal
charges. It wasn't until 11 a.m.
the next day after a night spent in
transport between three law-en-
forcement facilities that the police
informed Seely of the charges
being filed against him.
At this point, it could only be
assumed that he was beingheld for
assaulting a police officer. What
else could he be charged with? But
by the next morning, attempting
to steal an officer's firearm was
added to the assault charge.
Since his release from jail, See-
ly's life is in shambles - and he
hasn't even stood trial yet. At a
hearing by Purchase College, he
was suspended from the school,
banned from the residence area
and isn't even allowed in his room.
He's been allowed to finish classes
this semester, but his return to the

college afterthatisupinthe air. It's
as if he's already been found guilty
before his trial has even started.
How could he have imagined on
the night of the concert that by the
next morning he would be a crimi-
nal for falling into a cop? Now he's
worrying about his ability to finish
his education and escape the situ-
ation without a conviction for the
ridiculous charges.
Hart's story isn't the first one
about a cop taking advantage of a
citizen. From the 1991 police beat-
ings of Rodney King to Seely's mis-
treatmentinApril2009, policemen
breakingthe lawsthey'resupposed
to uphold is nothing new. But the
practice of cops ignoring citizens'
rights should be the exception, not
the rule. It's as though the police
have forgotten they're supposed to
keep people safe, not cause more
trouble. How can we ever trust the
police when they continue to take
advantage of harmless citizens?
So much for the
call to "protect
and serve" us.
There has to be a check on
the police. Dirty cops seem to be
everywhere, and it's difficult to
tell the good from the bad. Our
legal system frequently doesn't
help the situation, either, as a cop's
word carries more weight in court
than that of a normal citizen. A
cop usually has to get caught in
the act to be charged with a crime
- and that's easier said than done.
In the end, there's no one to police
the police, and as we continue to
see abuse of their authority, a way
to check cops seems all the more
essential.
It's sad that those assigned to
"protect and serve" aren't held to
the same - if not better - stan-
dards of the law than the rest of
society. The police should be held
accountable, so that everyone still
trusts the force as they ought to.
If cops were held accountable,
Hart wouldn't be headed to crimi-
nal trial. His future has been put
in jeopardy by a cop abusing the
system - a cop seemingly disin-
terested in protecting the masses.
If those meant to protect consis-
tently fail at their job, how safe can
we feel?
- Ed McPhee an be reached
at emcphee@umich.edu.

"7

*, 4
rne s,.

cii
D ttf

The most dangerous game

No more than five minutes
after the marching band
arrived in Columbus for
the Ohio State
football game,
we had already
been flipped
off by about
30 Ohio State
fans, many of
whom were
not students. -
Let me JEREMY
repeat that.
Ohio State LEVY
fans, some well
into their thir-
ties and forties, were giving the
finger to members of the Michi-
gan Marching Band, who ranged
from 18 to 22 years old. Really?
I don't mind being ridiculed by
Ohio State students, but any full-
grown adult who still flips the
bird at a college marching band
needs to get a life.
The problem, of course, was
that these overzealous Ohio State
fans were caught up in the intense
rivalry between the University of
Michigan and Ohio State.
Rivalries and intense compe-
tition in sports are an integral
part of nearly every culture.
Whether you are talking about
enmity between Michigan and
Ohio State, the Red Sox and
the Yankees or even the soccer
teams from Argentina and Brazil,
rivalries are unavoidable in the
sporting world. Of course, these
rivalries can be fun. I enjoyed
lying on my couch with a bag of
chips and a tub of guacamole to
watch the championship round
of the NCAA Basketball Tour-
nament. I would also love to see
our football team demolish Ohio
State next year.
But it's a stretch to assume, as
many people do, that rivalries are
inherently good. As spectators,
overly intense rivalries in sports
shape our views of competition
and can indirectly affect the way
we perceive higher education and
politics.

Let me start with the afore-
mentioned Ohio State fans who
were so entrenched in college
rivalry that they never grew out
of mocking Michigan students. I
hope that by the time I reach my
forties I will have moved on to
better things.
But Ohio State fans are not the
only people who treasure foot-
ball rivalries as one of the most
important aspects of attending
college. As I'm sure you know,
their view is fairly common. Two
of my high school teachers, both
alumni from the University of
Illinois, booed when I told them
I was going to college at the Uni-
versity of Michigan. I know they
were joking and whatnot. But it's
a problem that even among pro-
fessional educators - who are
supposed to encourage higher
education - any mention of a Big
Ten school conjures up notions of
sports rivalries.
Maybe you don't mind that our
society often values sports more
than education. But sports also
seem to reinforce the competive-
ness of politics - and I doubt that
anyone thinks politics should
become more competitive.
After Barack Obama was elect-
ed president last November, the
celebration in Ann Arbor bore a
strange resemblance to a sports
rally. People with cowbells led
the same "Go Blue" chant that is
typically heard in the Big House
and at some points the crowd
often burst into choruses of "The
Victors." Sports and politics are
competitive, but potential voters
should not view both from the
same perspective.
Contrary to Meg Young's
column about March Madness
(An amateur at the Big Dance,
03/23/2009), I am less con-
vinced that competition in sports
encourages meaningful pas-
sion. Young argued that sports
fields were often the place where
important social battles could be
fought. She used events such as
Jessie Owens' victory in the 1936

Berlin Olympics or Jackie Robin-
son's entrance into Major League
Baseball to indicate the uplifting
quality of sports.
But these events were monu-
mental because they were reflec-
tive of the political and social
environment in which they
occurred. Jessie Owens's gold
medal symbolized ideological
differences that already existed
between the United States and
Germany, and Jackie Robinson's
breaking of the color barrier was
one event in a pre-existing move-
ment against segregation. These
events certainly deserve praise,
but they do not prove that rivalry
in sports is intrinsically valuable.
I hope I won't be
flipping off Ohio
State fans at 40.
When I tell people about my
spite forunnecessarysportsrival-
ries, they usually tell me to go
complain in Europe, where soccer
matches often cause riots. While
Americans' sense of rivalry cer-
tainly pales in comparison, it isn't
any more justified. I understand
that rivalry can make sports more
fun, but in many instances it goes
to far. For example, it worries me
that my roommate wants to burn
an Ohio State effigy in front of
our apartment next year.
Sports are intended to be
entertaining, but they can also
influence our societal mindset.
If we recognize this, we can stop
sports from shaping our view of
more socially relevant institu-
tions like education and politics.
In the end, these are the institu-
tions that have a more import-
nant impact on our lives.
-Jeremy Levy can be reached
at jeremlev@umich.edu.

* LIKE WHAT YOU SEE HERE? WANT MORE?
Read more from Daily columnists and check out new cartoons online
on Wednesday and Friday at michigandaily.com/section/opinion.

Back to Top

© 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan