Is this East Germany, or Northern Idaho? Yes.

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Two young men from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho had just ended their shifts working in the productive sector when they were accosted and harassed by two costumed tax-feeders. One of the bored but ambitious officers claimed to have overheard one of their gainfully employed betters make a comment about a “nickel bag” — which would be a reference to the dreaded devil weed, marijuana.

When confronted by the aggressive and dim-witted armed stranger, the young man patiently explained that he had actually referred to the Canadian band Nickelback, which has inflicted immeasurably greater damage to society (especially to innocent music consumers burdened with good taste) than marijuana or most other proscribed substances. The officer pretended that his misunderstanding constituted “reasonable suspicion” and continued to interrogate and harass the young men, which eventually resulted in one of them being shackled after he “violently” (the officer’s word) reached into the back seat of his vehicle.

This “isn’t an arrest,” one of the deputies insisted, claiming that the degrading assault and public humiliation of the innocent man was necessary for the “safety” of the officers and the victims — the latter comment an implicit acknowledgment that the officers considered themselves entitled to injure, mutilate, or murder either or both of the victims if given an excuse to do so.

Unfortunately, the victims in this clip were far too accommodating in dealing with the cops, answering their impertinent questions and even inviting a search of the vehicle. Never indulge, for as much as a picosecond, the idea that a police officer is a reasonable individual who will give you the benefit of the doubt: They are seeking to cage you, not clear you, and they don’t care if you’ve done nothing wrong.

The behavior of the officers, who appeared to be with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, is quite similar to that of prison guards, which is quite appropriate. Prisoners are subject to physical search, interrogation, and summary punishment at the whim of their uniformed overseers. A very similar state of affairs exists outside of prison walls in the US(S)A, as well.

At the title of this video recognizes, there is no sense in which behavior of this kind — which is utterly typical of police in northern Idaho and throughout the soyuz — can be construed as “serving” or “protecting” the public. Lurking beneath the superficial politeness and supposed professionalism of these two armed functionaries is a cultivated reflex for predatory authoritarianism suitable for service in an undisguised police state.
(Note: In the original version of this story, I incorrectly identified the deputies as being officers with the Coeur d’Alene Police Department. I regret the error.)

6:11 pm on June 21, 2014