I´m not going to get into detailed specifics at this moment, but I would like to share a thought, and hear your opinion as well.
I´ve been to the United States well over 20 times and have visited Florida, New York, Rhode Island and Conneticut.
I´ve lived most of my (almost) 21 years in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. My family, for the most part, comes from Spain, so I also visit the country often. It´s been about 8 times I´ve been there now, each time I go I stay about 2 months.
One of the things the most stands out to me in all countries I´ve been to is that the police, in the US, tend to look to arrest people versus just walking or driving in a car and stoping people for serious matters.
Allow me to explain. In Europe, for example, I see the police driving around or patroling the streets and they tend not to stop people simply because the “look” suspicious or because a car has a small crack in the back window or if a car has a broken tail light. They are more into (with what I´ve seen, of course) giving tickets to cars that have been parked for way longer than what laws allow. They also tend to stop people who are being blatantly violent, or if they catch a criminal stealing on the act.
This is not to say that there are no under-cover operations, or that the above mentioned examples are always followed, it´s just a trend I see.
In the US, cops can stop you for pretty much anything. Merely glancing at a cop quickly or making a sudden movement in front of the cop is enough reason for them to stop and question you. When arrested, besides the Miranda rights, they are excessively cocky, and will nail you in court for pretty much anything you say to them. Of course, as noted, exceptions exist everywhere, but I do sense that “big brother” feeling in the states, where you are forced, in a way, to protect yourself from the police, versus just letting the police defend your rights (again, I must stress exeptions).
By contrast police in Dominican Republic, and much of Latin America are just plain corrupt and can arrest you if you are not a person of wealth, or can let you go if you pay them money.
Anyway, I´ll add more details later on, but now I want to ask, do you, fellow doper, believe that cops in the US are a bit excessive and have too much power? Do you have any comments about the Police in the US at all?