You're a Customer

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It's always amazing to me how the people with the guns, the ones who enjoy virtual immunity in the use of deadly force, are the ones who are, somehow, being bullied:

A police official who had spoken to Inspector Bologna following the incident confirmed that the inspector had used the spray. "He did his job and now he's concerned for the safety of his family," said the official, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to confirm the inspector's name.

That is an amazing quote -- though utterly unworthy of a grant of anonymity. A public servant pepper-sprays two citizens, and then slinks away. Members of the public record this, ascertain his identity, and somehow he is the victim. 

But this all strikes me as a keen understanding the reality of American democracy The NYPD is a service paid for by a tax on the public -- and not simply a local tax. In other words, you're a customer. I think it behooves any intelligent customer to observe the quality of service, and report those who dispense it poorly. 

The "protester" who records a cop dispensing abusive service is, first and foremost, an engaged citizen, and a vigilant tax-payer. Give America more people like that--more intelligent customers-- and I guarantee you we will have fewer abusive cops.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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