Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Behind the Police: How Police Unions Made Cops Even Deadlier

Behind the Police: How Police Unions Made Cops Even Deadlier

Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:00

Behind the Police: How Police Unions Made Cops Even Deadlier

Listen to Episode

Copyright © 2022 iHeartPodcasts

Read Episode Transcript

Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Wanna say I don't know less? Listen to stuff you should know more. Join host Josh and Chuck on the podcast packed with fascinating discussions about science, history, pop culture and more episodes. Dive into topics like was the lost, city of Atlantis Real? And how does pizza work? Say goodbye to I don't know. Because after listening to stuff you should know you will listen to stuff you should know on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioral discoveries on chimpanzees. It wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that actually shook the scientific world. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. The art world. It is essentially a money laundering business. The best fakes are still hanging on people's walls. You know, they don't even know or suspect that they're fakes. I'm Alec Baldwin and this is a podcast about deception, greed, and forgery in the art world. I just walked in and saw this bright red painting presuming to be a Rothko. Of course, art forgeries only happen because there's money to be made. A lot of money. I'm listening to how what they're paying for these things. It was an incredible amount of money. You knew the painting was fake. Umm. Listen to art fraud starting February 1st on the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hello, I'm Minnie Driver and on my podcast mini questions I asked trailblazers across different disciplines the same 7 questions questions about the inflection points in their life, what they like least about themselves, and what relationship has defined love for them. This season I'm coming back with new Trail Blazers like Blondie vocalist Debbie Harry, journalist and television host Jeremy Clarkson, editor in chief of InStyle magazine. Laura Brown and Creative juggernaut Goldie join me as we continue this exploration on season 2 of many questions on the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. Look through your children's eyes and you will discover the true magic of a forest. For you and start exploring at, brought to you by the United States Forest Service and the Ad Council. Welcome to behind the police, a production of iHeartRadio. Now I am become pod, the destroyer of casts. Welcome back to behind the ********. This is Robert Evans trying a trying a new style of introduction. This is actually behind the police, our special miniseries, and behind the ******** we talk about history's greatest ********. American police. Back with me for part five of the six part series is my co-host Jason Petty, better known as the hip hop artist Propaganda Jason, how you doing? What's up, man? Eating dried mangoes and listening to old DJ scratch. Hmm. And I hope that like, I hope you got. I'm sorry, guys. I'm back, man. I'm here again. Thanks, godding. All the variants. Yeah, you're the 1st guest we've had for three straight weeks or for two straight weeks I think, man, I like, I'm getting am I hitting like Billy Wayne? Like like. Like zone you, you're hitting you're hitting propaganda zone. Yeah, I like that, man. My own zone. Like people zone. Yeah, piezos like those. Like those calzone things that they used to make a pizza. I think it was Pizza Hut. The payzone. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Those were good as hell. Yeah. Yo, can I quick joke about quick joke? Not quick joke. Quick story about calzones? Absolutely. And we can move on there. So my homeboy Joseph Solomon, he's probably one of the most gorgeous men I've ever met. And. He's a caramel 6 foot six like soul singer, poet. It's ridiculous. It's not fair. You know, you never meet the guy where it's like, this is not fair. You shouldn't be. Yes. No one should be this beautiful. So that's Joe, right? Joe lives in Atlanta. He was ordering this pizza or he was. He went to the spot, you know, during the quarantine. He wanted the cows zone. And, you know, first of all, it's it's Atlanta. You know, this, let's be real. This, this, this chocolate city, these black people, right in the whole shop with black people. And he tries to get a calzone. And he could tell based on the way that the lady was looking at him, that she didn't know the cows zone was right. So. So he but she still was like, pressed a few buttons on the screen and then you could see her look back at the home. He's like, hey. Hey, what's it in, right? And they kind of whisper it back and forth. You could tell somebody must have googled the cows zone and then he finally gets it and then stupid him didn't open the box till he got home and he opened the box and it was just a pizza folded in half. I mean, that is essentially right now, though that's the funny part. I was like, that is a couzo, but now he was like, you just folded a small pizza in half. What else do you want? I mean, really? You know what? Isn't like a calzone prop? Uh, the American policing, yes, the evolution of American policing in the 1900s. Is not very much like a folded pizza. Thanks. Unfortunate. Thank the Lord above. What if that's how we handled law enforcement? What if when you had two feuding gangs, the government just sent calzones over and we're like, hey guys, yo, if you tried calzones, some cow zones, little bit of BBQ couple. Oh yeah, you know, I'm saying it's like, everybody just sit down. Let's just have some cow zone and some hot links. I think a good 70% of the problems of law enforcement. Like instead of tear gassing a bunch of protesters, what if the state provided calzones? I'd be with it. Yeah, and it's cheaper, too. I bet we'd save money on tear gas and such because you can buy, you can feed a lot of people, cows, cows, zones for the price of hundreds of tear gas canisters. Let me tell you something, and you know, it's less to clean up, you know? I mean, it's easier on the environment, creates more jobs, creates more jobs. Look, we just pods over. Thanks very much, guys. Yeah, you know, look forward to our new behind the Calzone series, behind the cow, once this idea of ours goes horribly wrong in a year. Yes, yeah, the Kazon shot a kid. No, no. But no one had ever seen anything like it. Hell did with a cow zone from a cow zone. We'd have to deal. OK. So, yeah. Yeah. So last week we dug into the, really the very racist roots of US policing the KKK, Jim Crow lynching and the death penalty. And in doing so, we kind of took a break from the broader history of how police have evolved in this country and focused on, like, the enabling of white supremacy and the suppression of black people as an integral part of the justice system. And today, we're going to kind of peel back out again to discuss how the broader system of policing evolved in the US over the last century to bring us to where we are now, which is, you know, police stopping random people. There's no reason doing horrific violence to them and then being shielded from consequences by police unions, so that's what we're going to explain today. OK, cool. Yeah, there it is. This will be fun, where you talk a lot about police unions and a lot about stop and frisk and broken windows. OK, yeah. So yeah, those two stop and frisk gets to like, my life. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. OK. So to get to that point, we have to, you know, zoom back a bit to the start of the 20th century. By the time this nation started entering, you know what most people would call the modern era, most police departments were de facto the enforcement arm of organized crime. In the words of 1 scholar. Who cops existed. We talked about this in episode 2. Cops existed as muscle for for criminal for like gang leaders and stuff. Yeah, police departments engaged in constant election fraud because their jobs were generally tied to the position of local political bosses who were also gangsters. And during this. This is like Tammany Hall and ****. And during this. Police drew salaries, but there was no such thing as overtime, and their salaries were generally ****. So instead, they took a lot of bribes. Doctor Gary Potter, who's a historian of law enforcement, insists that it's actually wrong to call the. At least in this. Corrupt, he writes. Quote, they were in fact primary instruments for the creation of corruption in the 1st place. So like, the police aren't corrupt, the police create corruption in this. Which is an interesting but I think really important distinction to make. That is meta, bro. Like actually took a second. Like, yeah, Dang, yeah, I need to lean back from that one for a little bit like that. Yeah, that is profound. Yeah. Yeah. Harry Potter doesn't mince ******* words at all. Yeah. So in the early 1900s, police departments and major, major cities, particularly in the eastern seaboard, but also Chicago, because Chicago is a Midwestern city, but we all kind of lump it in with the East Coast. We all do it. Even Chicago does sometimes when they're lazy. Like deal with the Chicago. You should have moved further E if you wanted to not was like, do you have. Yeah. Do you get snowed in from a tundra? You're on the East Coast, bro. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. So yeah, police departments in major cities in the eastern seaboard in the early 1900 did a bit more than just provide muscle for gangsters and crack the heads of Labor organizers. They also got into the business because no one else was going to do it of, uh, what we'd call social welfare. It was kind of their job to take care of the homeless and the critically ill and they weren't good at this. But police in Boston, NY, and other cities sheltered homeless people in precincts. They emptied public toilets, and they kept track of the infected during epidemics. Now, since again, these men were at the time hired gangsters. They were not renowned for taking to these tasks with a great deal of empathy, but nobody else really gave a ****. They didn't give a **** either, but they were kind of the people you gave the bad jobs. Again, not a lot of respect for law enforcement in this. So they're like, we need somebody to, like, pull the homeless people off the streets so they don't freeze to death. Have the cops do it. Yeah, so it was prohibition that finally tipped law enforcement over the edge. Like over the edge of of of creators of corruption to so. Outwardly criminal that the state had to like, that the federal government had to do something about the the sheer scale of corruption unleashed by prohibition. And like the era of speakeasies and gangsters turned police departments into, you know, whatever they had been before a complete mockery of law and order. And federal authorities pushed reform and investigatory commissions that had to look into a variety of different scandals. Dr Potter lays out just a few examples of police crime that inspired the creation of commissions, quote #1, the formation of a prostitution syndicate by Los Angeles. Mayor Arthur Harper, Police Chief Edward Kearns, and a local organized crime figure combined with subsequent instructions to the police to harass the syndicates, competitors in the prostitution industry, #2 the assassination of organized crime figure Arthur Rothstein by police Lieutenant Charles Becker, head of the NYPD's vice squad, and #3A dispute between the mayor and District Attorney of Philadelphia, each of whom controlled rival gambling syndicates, and each of whom used loyal factions of police to harass the other. So, like, these are just a couple of examples of the sort of behavior police departments are engaging in at the time, where they're they're they're just. They're even, like, more criminal than a lot of the criminal syndicates. Yeah. Yeah. And another investigative Commission that was set up during this. Was the Linux committee, which was formed to look into the charges of police extortion in New York. It found that promotion within the NYPD in the early 1900s was based entirely on direct bribes paid by officers to the department. A promotion to Sergeant cost $1600, a promotion to captain cost $15,000. All of these scandals. And yeah, he would just pay to get promoted. And the police. Wow. Yeah, yeah. It's just it's just so crazy that, like, I mean, as much as you want to believe that, like throughout the course of time we have gotten somehow in some way better at being the species we are, it's just I just the more, you know, of history, the more you're like now we've kind of been a plateaued. We've kind of just always been like this, you know? And that's the part that just like. No, but. I cause because I'm thinking about like. I'm still hanging on the word on the on the phrase of like it created the corruption because I'm going well. I mean, you don't pay them a lot. You're. I'm incentivized. You're like like you're just hoping these people. Would somehow not have the same? Corrupted soul as the rest of the people. But they just people. And they're gonna find the path of least resistance, the quickest way to get a buck and the best way to, like, push other people down for their own success. I don't know why you think putting a badge on their chest gonna make them any different. So when you hear this stuff like this, I'm just like, God Dang it was it. Were we ever have we ever done good things? No. Well, yeah. You know, there's, there's a. I forget who the name of the individual, who it was, but there I believe it was a Holocaust survivor. And he wrote something to the he had a quote that was something along the lines of and like any given period of time, like 10% of people are genuinely good, 10% of people are total monsters, and about 80% could kind of go either way depending on, like, where it's seen, how it seems the wind is blowing. Yeah. And like, if the wind is, you know, blowing in the way that, like, if if everyone in charge is literally running a criminal syndicate. Of, like, prostitution and. Yeah. And like, and probably a lot of forced prostitution and, like, gambling and, like, murder for hire and all this stuff. That's everybody then. Yeah. That's what you get involved with, like, then, like, OK, well, I'll find some way to make money within this system. It's the ocean. It's the ocean. So you just kind of, like, do it because that's, I mean, you gotta swim. Yeah, you got to swim. Yeah. So the current committee of 1913 investigated NYPD collusion and gambling and prostitution. The Seabury Committee in 1931 also looked into the NYPD, this time into the broader system of bosses and bribery for political positions. That was the core of why New York law enforcement sucked. Each of these commissions made changes, but right up until the 1950s there were still regular inquiries into police involvement with gambling, prostitution, and organized crime. And I cannot exaggerate how many of these committees were focused on the NYPD. Like one way to look at the 20th century is the federal government fighting tooth and nail to stop New York Police from being just a criminal enterprise. Like, that took decades of battling. Yeah. Not metaphorically, not as a way to understand what's happening. No, seriously, they're just, no, they're pimps with badges. Yeah. It's just what they actually are. And while I was Googling around, I wanted to kind of come up with another example or two, like the direct one of the NYPD, you know, being pimps or whatnot. And the the early 1900s. And it was actually a hard because there were so many cases of them in the 21st century doing the exact same thing. For example, when I was Googling around on this, I came across the 2018. Story about a retired NYPD detective who ran a $2,000,000 bravo ring using active cops as muscle and his inside knowledge of how department undercovers did prostitution stings in order to avoid getting busted. He knew that, like undercovers weren't allowed to show their genitals to prostitutes, so he would make all of the John strip naked and like, let themselves get fondled before starting the transaction because that helped him avoid getting busted by the NYPD. Yeah, there were seven active duty officers who worked for his prostitution ring. One of them was actually willing to work for free in exchange for discounts with his favorite prostitute. So again, 2018 is when that gets busted. Just regular scumbags. Yeah, it's awesome. Regular dudes just being normal scumbags? Yeah, it's like someone decided like, OK, let's take 10% of the normal scumbag population and make them immune to being punished if they shoot someone. Yes. So yeah, while the federal government was fighting to make the NYPD a modestly less criminal enterprise, a major revolution had started to overtake law enforcement nationwide.