A professional (American) football player is “under investigation” for “taunting a police dog” according to the BBC.
Ray-Ray Armstrong, a line-backer for the Oakland Raiders of the NFL, apparently “lifted his shirt and barked” at a K9 police unit during the run-up to last Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Such behaviour is, if you can believe it, not only illegal but a “class 3 felony” under Pennsylvania law – resulting in a possible $15,000 dollar fine or up 7 years in prison. You read that right, 7 years in prison.
Now, while I’m entirely certain Mr Armstrong is not going to jail for this – you don’t send high-profile athletes to prison for anything short of torturing dogs in America – that’s not really the issue. The issue is Joe Bloggs, who can’t afford a 15 grand fine or a decent lawyer, having to spend nearly a decade in prison for barking at a dog.
The Prison Industrial Complex in America is the modern slavery – with inmates working for mere cents per hour, all the while being charged for bed and board – thus emerging from prison already in debt.
This system is an important tool to prop up the limp US economy – with inmates being used to make anything from park benches to supplies for the army and, ironically, police uniforms – and as such you need more and more reasons to send people to prison for longer and longer terms.
Hopefully a noteworthy athlete falling foul of the increasingly Kafkaesque American legal system will bring home to some every day American citizens just what their country is turning into.