Scheffler: If cops were a product, it’s time for a recall.

Disclaimer: I have no idea what it’s like to be a cop.

Scheffler: If cops were a product, it's time for a recall.

Nick Scheffler

A product is a thing or person that is the result of an action or process.Cops are a product in the protection business, just as Hasbro Easy-Bake Ovens are a product in the toy business. They are both the result of a number of processes, such as police training or product testing, that determines whether they can be safely used by people.

So, what happens when a number of these products fail to meet their intended purpose or even harm those they’re supposed to help? In 2007, there were 29 reports of children getting their hands or fingers stuck in a Hasbro Easy-Bake Oven. Five of these children were burned. Hasbro recalled nearly one million ovens as a response, perhaps realizing that some problem occurred during the production of their ovens. Even though only .0001% of the ovens accidentally harmed children, they assumed that all of them were defective. Because some were a risk, all were a risk. 

Why can’t this apply to cops? 

The Minnesota Law Enforcement Code of Ethics states that the fundamental job of a Minnesota cop is “to serve mankind; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice.” They must “maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn, or ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare of others.” 

You pledge to do these things when becoming a cop, and, in return, you’re given a plate of colossal responsibility served with a side of immense power. You adopt the duty to protect people, and in return we as a society put our trust in your judgement. But yet again, Minneapolis cops, who have supposedly undergone the proper training and testing required to do their job effectively, have failed the communities they’re supposed to serve. 

People are dead as a result. 

Nearly a year has passed since former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison for killing Justine Ruszczyk. In July 2017, she called to report what she thought was a possible sexual assault occurring near her home. Noor got spooked when Ruszczyk walked up to the police car and he shot her through the window of the car. Noor was found guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

A few days ago, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged for the same crimes after forcing his knee on the neck of 46-year-old George Floyd for nearly nine minutes. While Floyd pleaded for his life, he said he couldn’t breathe and begged for his mother. 

Minnesota is one of three states that has a third-degree murder charge.Being charged with this crime means you unintentionally caused the death of another person by committing a dangerous act, showing a depraved state of being or showing a complete disregard for human life. 

It seems reasonable to assume that for something to reveal itself – such as a regard for human life – it needs to be there in the first place. It also seems reasonable to assume that in order for a cop to fulfill the oath of their job and be effective, they must value human life and think before they act. 

Whether it’s a problem with the training of these cops, a lack of discipline, proper psychological vetting or a culture of racism and megalomania in the department, something has gone wrong during the production process of Minneapolis cops like Noor, Chauvin and the three others at the scene of George Floyd’s murder.

With 800 cops in the Minneapolis Police Department, video evidence of Floyd’s death alone undeniably reveals that at least 0.5% of the cops in that department showed an indifference toward a black man begging for his life. At least 0.5% percent of the cops in that department failed to serve mankind, to respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice, to be constantly mindful of the welfare of others and to protect. At least 0.5% of that product is dangerously defective. It’s time for a recall.