It seems like every day, a story comes out about an American police officer murdering or abusing a civilian. Not all of those victims are innocent, of course, but neither are the cops involved. Coming from Europe, it’s utterly bizarre to read all the wild stories about cops in America. Generally speaking, I really admire the idea of serving the community by putting one's own life on the line to protect it. “Putting their life on the line” is not even an overly dramatic statement, especially not in the States where so many people carry guns around. Of course I believe that __almost__ every police officer is mentally fit to do the job, has noble intentions and has their heart in the right place. But there is no question in my mind that a small percentage is incredibly unfit for a wide variety of reasons. Being pulled over and getting cited when I was in the States last month, along with 2 crazy stories about incidents involving cops that I read this week were the immediate reasons why I decided to put my thoughts on paper...but I read many other mind boggling stories over the years. ![np punishment for kicking handcuffed woman.jpg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmeMJuj8uASWbmcsFW5n9nR7rcG2utJ3NqZXkmNLYL3sfs/np%20punishment%20for%20kicking%20handcuffed%20woman.jpg) _Unfortunately the stories are countless, this woman is handcuffed..._ In short, I got a citation because being from Amsterdam, I didn’t know that I was supposed to have my driver’s license in the front of the car in Maryland and that having it in the trunk “doesn’t count”. And then there are the stories I read about. The first story was about a driver getting pulled over, right after which a cop opened his door and without asking him for any documents, started calling the driver a motherfucker and beating him up severely, while the driver was still in the car. This news article is accompanied by a video which can be seen here: https://www.yahoo.com/news/dashcam-footage-shows-minnesota-cop-235259705.html I understand that there are probably nuances that weren’t addressed in the article but regardless of the nuances, the cussing and the __severe__ beating show a complete lack of restraint and professionalism from the cop. ![asian-driver-abuse.jpg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmcqTFLig1DwCzXVem21CdLJXeDWUQD4Hr1j5xyx4SaxfB/asian-driver-abuse.jpg) _A screenshot from the video_ The second story was about a black off duty officer trying to assist when a high speed car chase ended in a crash. The crash happened right by his house, so after he came out and after having been recognized by his fellow troopers, they told him to approach them. When he started to approach them, another cop pulled up, felt “threatened” for God knows what reason and shot the off duty police officer. https://www.yahoo.com/news/black-off-duty-cop-shot-colleague-responding-car-crash-2-185230363.html When I got pulled over on my trip, it was for all the right reasons. I did something incredibly stupid by accidentally driving in the wrong direction when I didn’t realize that my Google Maps directions had switched to pedestrian mode instead of car mode. When it told me to turn left, I made the stupid and dangerous mistake of not paying enough attention and I drove in the wrong way for about 150 yards before being able to turn into a side street. I realized it soon and nothing bad happened but I was pulled over and got a $90 ticket for driving in the wrong direction. Again, that couldn’t have been more fair, but it didn’t end there... ![IMG-20170625-WA0007.jpg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmeqZMv7trpExwmaqoprZAFKrAEznepnGFkUWJpJfnPQoe/IMG-20170625-WA0007.jpg) _I pulled a douce move in a bit of a douchy car (no offense!), but we had a lot of fun with her..._ After I had gotten pulled over, we had a very friendly interaction with the officer. He asked us where we were from and why we were there. I told him about the baseball road trip we were on, apologized and admitted that I had made a stupid mistake. He had of course, also asked me for my license and registration, which I handed him, along with my passport, telling him that my driver’s license was in the trunk and asking him if he wanted me to get it. He asked me what else was in the trunk, to which I replied “luggage” and then told me not to bother: “No that’s alright, don’t worry about it”. Hence my surprise when he told me I was getting a citation for driving without a license. I guess a rule is a rule but that was pretty lame in my opinion, given that a citation means I have to fly back to the States to appear in court. A pretty expensive little endeavor… He didn’t really care about that and when I started asking some questions about the procedure he told me that “that was above his pay-grade” and just took off. My best guess is that me going into my trunk could potentially be a threat to him. But there were 2 officers so one of _them_ could have even gotten it. I’m not here to bitch and moan about my own experience though. I just think that the underlying incompetence to assess a potential danger is the common thread. ![police violence.jpg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmYU9QwLgFzZX4P4HARHAK3W9E14gG7HCpiBq8XneHuKJ4/police%20violence.jpg) I really believe that it all boils down to a lack of ability to properly assess a situation and the potential danger that comes with it. The same lack of ability that probably caused the officer with 8 years of service under his belt to shoot that other off duty cop in Saint Louis. The following is going to be a bit of a bold statement that might gather some criticism...but in my opinion, a part of a cop's salary is based on him putting his life on the line every day. The same way a pilot gets paid for having the responsibility that he has. They admirably (I can’t stress this enough!) and __knowingly__ sign up for that. With how trigger happy some cops are, they are putting the citizens’ lives on the line instead of their own, basically transferring that risk back to the community. And apart from being unqualified for the job, they do not deserve to get paid for having that responsibility of putting their own lives on the line if they’re not actually taking it on. That’s my innocent and naive opinion coming from the Netherlands, a country in which people can not relate to these issues in any way. I am curious to hear what other people think of the state of the American police force. I __do__ like that American cops have a lot more striking power than the cops here, who have to abide by too many rules and regulations to be effective a lot of the time, but I think the balance in the States has shifted way too far in the wrong direction.