This is a big deal. Here is a 29 page article. I suppose you might call it a booklet at that length. It is shocking what we have come to tolerate and how much things have changed since 1776. Every American ought to read this. I’m going to do whatever I can to get this into people’s hands.
The police are unconstitutional and bear a striking resemblance to the redcoats who occupied colonial America and prompted the colonists to declare their independence.
After we kicked the British out, the idea of an army of more than 700,000 people driving around looking for crimes and harassing people to generate revenue would have been anathema to the founders.
Here are a few important points about police from the late 1700s America.
1. There were no police. The word “police” didn’t even have the same meaning as today.
2. Private citizens executed search and arrest warrants.
3. Grand juries (of private citizens) investigated crimes and determined whether someone should be put on trial.
4. Most crimes that are solved today are solved because the victim could identify the perpetrator, or the perpetrator left evidence at the scene. If neither of those things happen, the crime is likely to go unsolved by police. Therefore, having police isn’t a great advantage.
5. Constables and sheriffs existed at the time, but they were held to the same standard of conduct as everyone else. Constables were volunteer positions.
6. No one could be arrested without a warrant, unless they were caught in the midst of a felony.
7. Felonies were death penalty crimes.
8. If anyone tried to arrest someone without a proper arrest warrant, they were free to resist arrest. Bystanders could help them resist arrest by whatever means necessary. At one point, the US Supreme Court ruled that it was permissible to shoot a policeman who attempted to arrest someone without a proper warrant or without good cause.
9. Private citizens were expected to help enforce the law.
10. The state was rarely named as a party in even criminal cases. Oftentimes the victim was the prosecutor in the trial.
11. “At the time of de Tocqueville’s observations (in the 1830s), “the means available to the authorities for the discovery of crimes and arrest of criminals [were] few,”47 yet Tocqueville doubted “whether in any other country crime so seldom escapes punishment.”48Citizens handled most crimes informally, forming committees to catch criminals and hand them over to the courts.49 Private mobs in early America dealt with larger threats to public safety and welfare, such as houses of ill fame.50 Nothing struck a European traveler in America, wrote Tocqueville, more than the absence of government in the streets.51
12. Police now have special laws protecting them from civil and criminal liability. They are a class of people who receive special treatment under the law.
13. It is largely forgotten that the war for American independence was initiated in large part by the British Crown’s practice of using troops to police civilians in Boston and other cities.244 Professional soldiers used in the same ways as modern police were among the primary grievances enunciated by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. (“[George III] has kept among us standing armies”; “He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to the civil power”; “protecting them, by a mock trial….”).245 The duties of such troops were in no way military but involved the keeping of order and the suppression of crime (especially customs and tax violations).
14. If pressed, modern police defenders would have difficulty demonstrating a single material difference between the standing armies the Founders saw as so abhorrent and America’s modern police forces.
15. “Under the Founders’ Model, a private person like Josiah Butler, who lost twenty pounds of good pork under suspicious circumstances in 1787, could approach a justice of the peace and obtain a warrant to search the property of the suspected thief for the lost meat.314 Private individuals applied for many or most of the warrants in the Founders’ era and even conducted many of the arrests.
16. As opposed to the high standard for warrants in the past, police can now find cause to stop pretty much anyone they want. And by using drug-sniffing dogs, they can cause the dog to alert and they can search any car they want without a warrant. A dog can be trained to alert on command, or they can simply say the dog alerted whether true or not.
17. It is in the best interest of police that the citizens have as few rights as possible. At the time of the Supreme Court decisions of Miranda and Mapp, the Garland, TX police chief was so upset by the limits placed on his power that he said, “We might as well close up shop.”
Of course, I’ve caught flack for saying the police should be abolished. I realize it’s a minority position, but only due to a lack of historical knowledge, which I have also suffered from. It turns out, I hold the traditional position of America and the founding fathers while people who defend the police are defending something that would shock the founding fathers.
I didn’t want to sit in front of my computer and read the long article, so what I did is copy and paste it from the webpage to a Word document. Then, I saved it as a PDF and I was able to read it on my old Kindle. When I pasted it into the document, it was 70 pages, and I read to page 30 and discovered the rest was footnotes, so this is a very well documented article.
I hope my points inspire you to read the article as it is very much worth the time.