THE BLOG
09/08/2014 01:55 pm ET Updated Nov 08, 2014

Does the Law Still Apply to Police, or Are Police Becoming a Law Unto Themselves?

Adam Petto via Getty Images

When a robbery takes place, police arrive on the scene and either arrest the suspects, or go find and arrest them. When a woman calls police to report a domestic violence incident, they again either arrest the perpetrator or go find and arrest that person. When there's a murder, or any other crime for that matter, police are trained to quickly find and take into custody the person(s) who may be responsible. There is no grand jury that convenes prior to their arrest. Once identified, they aren't allowed to roam the streets freely or leave town. Those who commit offenses are arrested as quickly as possible, period. They are innocent until proven guilty and will have their day in court, but they are booked, fingerprinted and put into the system. So why is it that police officers accused of serious crimes are given the benefit of the doubt and don't face the same consequences as the rest of us? Let's stop playing games and ask a serious question: Does the law still apply to police, or are the police becoming a law unto themselves?

Tomorrow marks one month since unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri. It has been over a month since unarmed father of six Eric Garner died from an apparent illegal police chokehold in Staten Island, NY. In a few days, it will be one month since 24-year-old Ezell Ford, who was reportedly mentally ill, was shot and killed by LAPD officers. It has been over six months since Victor White III was shot and killed while in the back of a police cruiser with his hands cuffed behind his back; police argue he somehow shot himself. And last week marked one month since 22-year-old John Crawford was killed in a Walmart store in Ohio because police say they mistook the BB gun he was holding (which the store sold) as a real gun. What is the one thing each of these tragic cases has in common? No one has been arrested for their deaths.

Either we need to redefine what probable cause means and say that police are not subject to it, or we arrest officers right away just as we would with any other person accused of committing a crime. Either we write new laws or enforce existing ones; we cannot have it both ways. Civilians are arrested every single day -- including innocent ones -- and they must wait until their day in court in order to argue their side of the story. Police officers must be subjected to the same rules. You don't need any indictment in order to arrest someone; probable cause is sufficient to arrest civilians so it must be enough to arrest police. If I walked in somewhere and shot somebody six times, do you think they would hesitate to arrest me? Why is it not the same for a cop??

If we want to continue calling ourselves a democracy and a just society, then it's time we put this issue to rest. We should not have to explain that our lives matter too. We should not have to ask that those hired to uphold the law be held accountable for their actions. We demand immediate answers. If police are immune from arrest, does that mean that if an officer beats his wife or girlfriend, he shouldn't be taken into custody? Or if an officer robs a bank, he or she shouldn't be arrested? Or is it just when a black man is shot that officers are not arrested? Let's keep it 100% real. Don't continue to lie to our faces or insult our intelligence. This is exactly what we see playing out all across the country. If people like Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others were unarmed, then why haven't the officers who killed them been booked and charged with a crime? The fact that they have not been arrested gives a perception to a grand jury that they are not really criminals.

When law enforcement isn't held to the same standards as everyone else, they begin to behave as if they are superior and unstoppable. The United States isn't a dictatorship ruling with a brutal army and an iron fist, so our police departments must understand that they are there to serve and protect us -- all of us. And when they do commit crimes, they must be arrested and prosecuted like anyone else, bottom line. Otherwise, they need to just admit that they are immune from arrest and have different laws that apply to them. If they are making an exception for themselves, then pass a law that defines that exception. But don't continue to speak about justice and fairness when you look the other way when the culprit is in your own backyard.

Let us know if the rule of law still applies to you.