Police Double Standard on Provocation?

This article asks and does not answer the question, “Does the criminal justice system have a double standard in place on the issue of provocation in which police are less likely to be convicted of crime resulting from provocation than the ordinary man?” I initially thought the answer would be a resounding “yes,” but real data on that issue is very hard to come by.

I will say that many crimes, specifically intent to engage in terrorism, are often provoked. Many would respond that this is called entrapment which is illegal, but it turns out that some things which normal people would call entrapment are legal. See this article and the video below:

This article is also relevant in pointing toward the hypocrisy, although it’s hardly sufficient evidence. The hypocrisy would be that if ordinary people provoke police to violence, the police would be let off on the grounds of justified force due to provocation. If police or government provokes people, though, the people are found guilty.

As I pointed out in the introduction, this double standard is at this point a reasonable suspicion, not a rigorously demonstrated fact. It is still worth discussing as the potential of such an issue alone is concerning.

Basically, police can pay you to commit terrorism, but if you go through with it you are convicted. That seems to be plain entrapment but under the law it is technically not. It is at least overt provocation or conscious incentive to commit crime. There is also systematic entrapment, subtle provocation and non-cognizant, systematic incentive to commit crime. As Rage Against the Machine might say, “the system.”Rand Paul would simply call it a legal incentive. For example, here Rand Paul argues, and I think correctly, that New York’s cigarette tax is a contributing factor to the death of Eric Garner because it gave incentive to the illicit sale of cigarettes which he sometimes engaged in and which may or may not have been occuring at the time of his death, but which apparently lead to police suspicion that day.
In addition to the FBI causing terrorism, UC researchers found that regular police often provoke protestor violence.Lastly I would point out that while the idea that cops are bad is popular, the idea that the military is bad is generally condemned. While the idea that cops sometimes engage in entrapment is greeted with reluctant acceptance by many, the idea that the CIA, FBI, military agencies, and others would engage in similar behavior is called conspiracy theory.Go check out my collection of research here. Cop entrapment, legal or not, is consistent with and evidence for the general practice of the deceptive implementation of the use of force by government, not an exception to the lack of such a general rule.

  • 1

Leave a Comment