Police officer immunity from the consequences of their behavior is qualified by the condition that the behavior has been authorized by policy and procedure. In other words, their behavior is “by the book.”
The problem is that nobody knows who wrote the book and decided what is proper and lawful and consistent with the Constitution. In part that is because the bureaucracy has been successful in persuading us that “professionals” are better and more knowledgeable about everything. Another part is that the “culture of obedience” requires enforcers because, since obedience is a natural virtue and culture is coercive, the coerced or required behavior has to be irrational.
So, for example, cops demand that naturally mobile persons stop moving when ordered. Their commands are coercive and unsupported by probable cause. But our law enforcement agencies have altered their mission from responding to citizen complaints to applying “social control.” Instead of responding after a person has been insulted or injured, law enforcers have taken it upon themselves to be “proactive” much as the GWB war on Iraq was claimed to be preemptive (to act before something bad is done) under the guise of providing protection to someone.
Protection is a racket. Its real purpose is to impose prior restraint: i.e. coerce someone for their own good.
The culture of obedience is the answer to the question raised by the civil rights agenda: “how do you control three hundred million people without sparking a rebellion?” The answer for almost half a century was “by depriving them of the necessities of life and their rights gradually.”
The problem now is that the response to a deprivation of rights is not necessarily revolt or rebellion. Suicide is also an option. Moreover, suicide, whether by one’s own hand or by cop, severs social control. Dead people cannot be made to obey.