I've been thinking about good cops lately

I heard a lot in the last few months people talking about how not all cops are bad -- how there are good cops, and we shouldn't hold the bad cops against them. And I just keep thinking, more and more, like --

There's a thing, that's really deeply established in our culture, called "Good cop, bad cop."

The bad cop is the abusive monster who breaks rules and violates your human rights.

And the good cop is the guy who lets him do it, so you feel like you have to cooperate with him.

That's not one good guy and one bad guy. That's two people who are both deliberately undermining the system of protections that are supposed to insulate you from institutional violence. Two people who are both saying "This system is only here to protect you when you're doing what we want."

A "Good cop" isn't someone who's standing up for what the system's supposed to be. A "Good cop" is the guy playing the honeymoon side of the abuse cycle.

On the scale of an interrogation, we get this. But for some reason when it comes to a whole institution, some people can't see that it's not an ideological rift within the police force; it's a division of labor.