In June, when the rash of lootings, rioting, and general mayhem that has plagued the streets of American cities for months was new, Paramount Network threw gasoline on the flames by canceling the show “Cops.”
Paramount’s explanation for deep-sixing “Cops” was that the show painted minority police suspects in a bad light. But showing what police are up against in their day-to-day grind was one of the show’s singular strengths.
Could “Cops” be called an educational program? I would respond by saying that at a time when police accountability is being questioned on a daily basis, the general public could certainly benefit from a better understanding of the standard procedures police use for subduing an uncooperative suspect.
One of those procedures is the implementation of a “spit sock” or “spit hood, a breathable mesh restraint placed over the head of a suspect who is spitting or attempting to bite officers. It is designed to prevent the transfer of disease.
An awareness of this standard piece of equipment, which was deployed from time to time on “Cops,” might have quelled some of the outrage over the use of a spit hood in the case of Daniel Prude. He is the black man who ran naked through the streets of Rochester, N.Y. in March screaming until police subdued him. Some are arguing that Prude died because police “suffocated him by putting a bag over his head.”