We know that some police officers are capable of crossing a terrible line. Some not only threaten violence, but also go as far as to kill, outside of self-defense. Usually these situations are informed by a deeply embedded racism: most victims of police brutality are black men and women. We ask the guilty officers: The person you hurt or killed was someone’s family. How would you feel if someone had done this to your family?
Well, at least one police officer would be relatively unmoved. A part-time Kahoka, Missouri cop, Michele D. Miller, was arrested this past Sunday after threatening her teenage daughter with a handgun. Was it self-defense? Nope. Miller was just irate that her kid hadn’t finished her chores.
Her daughter told police that her mother rushed out of their home with a loaded pistol and threatened to shoot holes in the swimming pool if she didn’t come back inside the house. If that wasn’t bad enough, two neighbors said that they saw Miller pointing the gun at the girl. She allegedly said that:
“It would only take one bullet and [her daughter] wouldn’t have to be here.”
Miller has been charged with misdemeanor domestic assault, but released after posting a $2500 bond.
If this seems like an isolated incident, get this: a number of studies have found that at least 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence, in contrast to 10% of the general population. Victims of cops—including their own families—are especially vulnerable because of the allowances given to police officers. They have guns and the right to use them. They have a reputation and a police department to back them up. They have inside knowledge about how to manipulate the system to avoid punishment.
Which isn’t to say that all police officers are violent, corrupt, or cruel. The majority are not. The majority provide a necessary service and many put their lives on the line for the greater good. But if police officers in general are not held more accountable for their crimes, this will embolden those cops who are violent, or have an inclination to be so.