Violent police are increasingly criticized for everything from killing dogs to shooting the homeless and beating the mentally ill. These abuses of power are disturbing and desperately need attention. One under-discussed problem with police accountability (or lack thereof), however, is police irresponsibility while driving.
Stories about drunk officers driving the wrong direction on freeways and hitting civilians or soberly ramming into pedestrians are not uncommon. This week alone, three cops caused mayhem and fatalities on the road.
In New Jersey, a car of off-duty officers (who had posted a picture of whiskey shots to Instagram earlier that evening) drove the wrong direction on a freeway, killing a civilian and one of the officers in the vehicle. Two other officers were critically injured. The driving officer had a previous DUI and 8 prior accidents on record. The Police Chief of Linden, James Schulhafer, was vague in his comments, saying “We were all young once and I’m sure we’ve all done stupid things in our life.”