published Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Crime-fighting phony

We’ve heard a fair amount of late about the supposed abuse of local public housing residents by officers with the Chattanooga Housing Authority and the city.

The tenor of the complaints has been that police are using over-the-top tactics when they respond to incidents in public housing complexes, and that must be because of some irrational hostility or prejudice on their part — not the fact that the facilities happen to be plagued with high crime rates.

That brings us to the curious case of College Hill Courts resident Joyce Hardwick — apparently nicknamed “Mama Joyce.”

Hardwick, you may recall, circulated a petition labeling officers verbally abusive, as well as excessive in their use of force. Additionally, she has joined an effort to urge residents to use cellphones to capture alleged police brutality on camera. No word on whether there is similar enthusiasm among occupants of public housing to record the doings of armed assailants. Reckon that’s because they know which group — police or gun-toting thugs — is more likely to retaliate?

Anyway, it is more than a touch ironic to learn that Hardwick was arrested earlier this year after police accused her of interfering with the arrest of her son, who, according to authorities, has been arrested more than a dozen times since 2009 and is a confirmed member of a gang.

Another son has been arrested in College Hill Courts five times on drug charges.

The young men, whose records Times Free Press reporters Beth Burger and Yolanda Putman recently detailed, are on a list of people who are forbidden to enter any housing authority site.

And Hardwick herself has already been convicted twice on earlier charges of disorderly conduct. In the latter case, police responded to a fight, and Hardwick continued screaming as authorities attempted to calm the crowd. Police records indicate that a woman with her punched a police officer as Hardwick was being restrained, and Hardwick told an officer, “I’m going to get you after I make bond.”

It is baffling why such a person is still entitled to live in taxpayer-subsidized housing, but for perfectly understandable reasons, self-styled activist Hardwick has been instructed not to let the two sons in question visit her home.

This years-long farce hasn’t carried on in sheer isolation, though. It takes a singular incapacity for clear thought to look at the Hardwick case and conclude that she and her family are primarily just victims of abusive cops. One needn’t pretend that police abuse doesn’t exist in order to recognize a bizarre inversion of priorities here.

The chief evidence of that inversion: By one account, Hardwick managed to drum up more than 100 signatures for her “petition” — in less than an hour.

Can the signers be so unaware of her troubles with the law? Can they believe she is purely a victim of circumstance and of overly zealous authorities?

No, this is about much more than a single case of she-said, cops-said.

It is about whether there is among at least a segment of our society a broad-based erosion of respect for the very concept of the rule of law. And whether the society as a whole has the mettle to withstand and begin reversing that erosion.

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conservative said...

David Cook carried water for Ma Hardwick. See David Cook: Living in a jail without a gate,July 15th,2012, below.

Also note my comment on what should be filmed.

August 3, 2012 at 8:27 a.m.
michaelb said...

With cook spraying his leftist anti-police graffiti in the times, it leaves little for the thugs to write.

August 3, 2012 at 8:58 a.m.
dao1980 said...

When reading stories like this, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep at bay the prejudices that would cloud my judgement with easy stereotypes and clean cut classifications in regards to individual people.

Sure, most any interaction I have had with police officers has revealed to me a mind poisoned by the un-accomplishable task of babysitting all of "us mouth-breathers" and protecting us from ourselves. Who wouldn't succumb to the reality of needing to be an idiotic jerk just to get through the day wearing the badge, whilst policing the equally idiotic jerks that call for your constant attention?

But the thought of these welfare parasites that willfully embody every negative stereotype of the lazy, unruly, uneducated, ever reproducing, complete and total waste of lives.. just makes it difficult to avoid viewing others that only vaguely resemble these stereotypes in the same negative light.

August 3, 2012 at 9:37 a.m.
Leaf said...

I'm sure there are genuinely dangerous criminals in the projects, and good people.

I'm sure there are genuinely dangerous criminals in the cops, and good people.

Too bad you can't always tell right away which is which. Darn reality.

August 3, 2012 at 9:52 a.m.
dao1980 said...

You're absolutely right Leaf.

It Kinda reminds me of a few different studies involving little kids playing cops-n-robbers, and the observation of what type of which character, each boy chooses to play.

Each kids individual interpretation of a "cop" or a "robber" and which role, in the specific kids perspective, was really the "bad guy" is always an interesting reflection of any culture's current state, as well as what parts of that culture's past are glamorized.

August 3, 2012 at 10:10 a.m.

I'm reminded of the cops who declared that it was illegal to record their conduct and activities.

But no, the editorial here would rather concentrate on one woman than the hundreds of police officers across this country who have abused the public trust.

And that's not even counting the "corrections" officers.

August 3, 2012 at 12:28 p.m.
DJHBRAINERD said...

She got 100 people to sighn a petition to use there cell phone cameras when it's the cops. So how many will use the same cameras to record the illegal activity happening daily? I would say no one. Snitches get stiches and bail is 3 cents on the dollar, so do you want to be a witness? Crook would be waitin on your porch before you could get home. No it's better to film the cops and sue the city. Punch that one way ticket out of the hood.

August 3, 2012 at 3:35 p.m.

There's a difference between criminals and police officers.

One enjoys the public trust. The other doesn't.

Ok, sure, I know we employ criminals in the legislature, but they hardly count.

August 3, 2012 at 3:49 p.m.
Lr103 said...

Over the years, the difference between cops and criminals has become less defined. At times, one seemingly blending into the other.

Should the poor have to tolerate abuse from authority as punishment for being poor? Does America really hate its poor so?

DJHBrainer, I think you or the writer misread that. The petition is not to encourage tenants to videotape the cops. No petition would be needed for that. It's the understanding the petition was to get federal authorities to look into the allegations of abuse.

August 3, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.
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