Emily Good

I’ve been traveling and I’m late to this party, but I wanted to post about Emily Good. She’s a DFH in Rochester, someone who occasionally gets arrested during protests. A few weeks ago, she used her iPod to videotape a police stop in front of her house and was arrested by a cop after she failed to comply with his order to return to her house. That’s upsetting, since it’s perfectly legal for a citizen to videotape police, especially when they’re not interfering (and the video shows that Good wasn’t). Charges against Good were, predictably, dismissed on Monday. But, in my view, that’s not what’s disturbing about this case — it’s the lying and intimidation by the local cops that’s much worse.

After the video went public, Good was called “biased against police” by the police union president. When her supporters had a meeting, a group of police officers showed up with rulers to ticket any car that was parked farther than 12 inches from the curb. And Good’s home was burgled under suspicious circumstances.

Though the video shows one black male being handcuffed by cops, the police are claiming that the stop involved three members of an inner-city gang.

I think Good is a harmless hippie, but even if she is an enemy of the police, as the union rep charges, there’s no way she could have done a fraction of the damage that the cops inflicted on themselves in her case. They’ve shown themselves to be liars who will spin gang members from whole cloth who will use Mickey Mouse charges to intimidate innocent civilians. I’m not a lawyer, but if I were on a jury, I’d be very goddam skeptical about anything written in a police report in my fair city, or any evidence offered by a police officer that wasn’t corroborated by independent witnesses.

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43 replies
  1. 1
    LGRooney says:

    So, does this mean we no longer have the right to look at the police from our own home without their consent? I mean, should we divert our eyes to avoid looking directly at these badged sun kings?

  2. 2
    burnspbesq says:

    As the grandson and nephew of urban cops, I learned at an early age that there was a, umm, disconnect between perception and reality. As a law student, I read countless cases involving outrageous conduct by cops. None of this is surprising.

  3. 3
    Citizen Alan says:

    Cops and prosecutors refer to them as “gang members” because they can’t openly call them “n*****s”. It’s the same reason why, in other contexts, every African-American in the nation is assumed to be on welfare.

  4. 4
    John X. says:

    We need a federal-level crackdown on the police. Getting out from under the militarized Drug War/War on Terror era police state is going to one of the major civil rights battles of the next few decades.

  5. 5

    fuck the police. seriously.

    locally i am watching the case of subhash modhwadia. a “road rage” case with the twist of a pirate player riding in the car. his wife was alledgedly attacked, but not actually hit, before so-called good samaritans beat the crap out of the guy, and the police responded by taking the word of them plus of course the woman who nearly cut him off on his scooter.

    the over the top coverage, the sympathy ploy for a herniated disc surgery, my spider sense is that its all b.s..

    pre-trial has been postponed once until tomorrow. i wonder about mr. modhwadia’s side of the story.

    it hasn’t stopped city council from honoring the people who beat him up and detained him. i could be wrong,of course but the over the topness, has me thinking its all bullshit

  6. 6
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    As a DFH with the hair to my ass to prove it, I am well acquainted with the heavy hand of the law. I get pulled over so often for Driving While Having Long Hair that I always tuck my pony tail into my shirt/coat before getting behind the wheel. Face on in traffic or if they are behind me (high seat back in car) is no problem but if they see me from the side (and catch a glimpse of my pony tail) it’s game over. I have been given tickets for “excessive engine noise” (legal dual exhaust system, case dismissed), illegal fog lights (Kmart brand, legal in all 50 states, case dismissed), unsafe vehicle equipment (traction bars, legal & mounted properly (dismissed), “excessive tire spinning” (leaving from a stop sign on ice, dismissed), throwing burning trash on roadway (claimed I threw a cig butt out the window, didn’t happen but got stuck with guilty and a $35.00 fine) and numerous other stupid bullshit tickets, most dismissed or found guilty with a small fine. I’ve been pulled over on my bike too; no tickets, they just wanted to run my name to see if I was clean.

    Some cops lie because they love to abuse their power. If a cop takes a disliking to you they will do their best to make sure that you know it. While I can appreciate the tough and dangerous job they have to do, I have little respect for them.

    One time I got pulled over by a Washington State Patrol because he wanted to check out my Mustang. He didn’t ask for my license, registration or insurance (Papers please!) either, he genuinely wanted to check out my car. He told me that he saw me driving the highway daily during the week and he really liked the car. It was the late 80’s and he was driving one of the Ford Mustang Police models at the time. He even gave me a tour of his car but admitted that I had a much larger and more powerful engine than his car came with. I told him that my engine couldn’t beat his radio. He lol’ed at that.

    Not all cops are assholes but enough of them are that I avoid them like the plague. If I see one while driving, I will carefully find a way to lose them, even if I have to go out of my way to do so.

  7. 7
    LGRooney says:

    @Citizen Alan, #3: Next thing you’re going to tell me is that all Hispanics aren’t illegals.

  8. 8
    Cacti says:

    Anyone who’s practiced criminal law can tell you that petty intimidation, thuggery, and brutality are staples of modern law enforcement.

    Start “watching the watchmen” and you’ll quickly learn what a pack of thin-skinned bullies most of them are.

  9. 9
    Rosalita says:

    And there are idiots commenting on one of those articles that they think SHE was wrong? That the police behaved this way is bad enough, but I can’t believe that citizens would think it’s acceptable. Bunch of war hawks, no doubt.

  10. 10
    Chris says:

    @ OHM –

    Some cops lie because they love to abuse their power. If a cop takes a disliking to you they will do their best to make sure that you know it. While I can appreciate the tough and dangerous job they have to do, I have little respect for them.

    “Do you want to be a cop, or do you want to appear to be a cop? It’s a fair question. Lot of guys want to appear to be cops. Gun, badge, pretend they’re on TV.”
    “Lot of them just want to slam a n*****’s head through a plate glass window.”

  11. 11
    Superking says:

    I know this is a serious issue and everything, but the word is “burglarized,” not “burgled.”. Burgled isn’t a real word, it’s an improper reverse derivation from burglar, but burglar isn’t burgler–that is burglar is not a verb that has been turned into a noun.

  12. 12
    NonyNony says:

    Superking

    I know this is a serious issue and everything, but the word is “burglarized,” not “burgled.”. Burgled isn’t a real word

    PRESCRIPTIVIST!!!!!

    Ahem. It is in fact a “real word” – it’s in the dictionary and everything. In fact, the online Miriam-Webster dictionary traces its first usage to 1870.

    If you’re going to say a word that has been used for almost a century and a half is not a “real word”, then I don’t know what you do with things like Xerox, Kleenex and Google.

  13. 13
    gypsy howell says:

    but if I were on a jury, I’d be very goddam skeptical about anything written in a police report in my fair city, or any evidence offered by a police officer that wasn’t corroborated by independent witnesses.

    No shit. Cops will and routinely DO lie about anything and everything. I would be quite suspicious of any testimony a cop gives at trial. They have everything to gain and nothing to lose by lying.

  14. 14
    Nathan says:

    Greetings from Toronto.

    … and if you know your G20 history, I can pretty much leave it at that.

    If not, enjoy this.

  15. 15
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    Not all cops are assholes but enough of them are that I avoid them like the plague. If I see one while driving, I will carefully find a way to lose them, even if I have to go out of my way to do so.

    Substitute dark skin for long hair and yeah, same here. I know some of ’em are good people, but you have to assume with any interaction with the police that he/she’s a complete power mad asshole who’ll shoot you and get three days off with pay for his/her trouble.

    All cops are murderous assholes until proven otherwise. (ps- the ohio state patrol have nabbed me (righteously) for speeding more than once; and they’ve to a man/woman been courteous, polite and respectful. professionalism ain’t dead yet amongst coppers)

  16. 16
    Chris says:

    No shit. Cops will and routinely DO lie about anything and everything. I would be quite suspicious of any testimony a cop gives at trial. They have everything to gain and nothing to lose by lying.

    Plenty of people will lie, even in court; cops aren’t different from the norm. What sets them apart is an entire fraternity of fellow cops who’ll back them up under Blue Code of Silence, and a public with a pretty big bias towards the cops themselves. Most people who lie in court don’t have that kind of thing to back them up.

    It’s still a step up from military justice, where soldiers are tried for their crimes in military courts by fellow soldiers. You can’t tell me that an Iraqi citizen bringing a grievance to the U.S. military about a member of the U.S. military’s going to get anything close to a fair hearing.

  17. 17
    TooManyJens says:

    She’s just lucky she’s white. I suspect that she knows that, and was using that privilege to do what other people can’t get away with (i.e., exercising her civil rights).

  18. 18
    Tone In DC says:

    Not all cops are assholes but enough of them are that I avoid them like the plague. If I see one while driving, I will carefully find a way to lose them, even if I have to go out of my way to do so.

    Can I get an amen.
    The ones here in DC are worse.

  19. 19
    Chris says:

    The ones here in DC are worse.

    What part of DC do you live in?

    Just curious, because I’ve never had a problem with them; every time I’ve been pulled over, I deserved it, and they were never assholes about it. But then I was driving in Northwest where things are nicer, quieter and richer, and being white helps too I’m sure.

  20. 20
    shortstop says:

    Odie Hugh: And the sign said, “Long-haired hippie freaks need not apply!”

    (No, I’m not really old enough to remember that song. I just know it from my older sister singing it incessantly one year.)

  21. 21
    edmund dantes says:

    True not all cops are assholes, but almost all cops stick to the Blue Wall of silence. They don’t actively root out the bad apples. Sorry. This makes them assholes.

    Check out the tape of the Defense attorney at a DUI checkpoint. Notice how much the cop lies. How much the cop tries to bully and intimidate. How the cop threatens (what is an illegal) detention for failure to cooperate.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/tec.....ps/240916/

  22. 22
    David in NY says:

    The one law that all cops enforce is that you can’t do something that crosses a cop or might make him/her look bad.

    It’s in enforcing this particular law that cops become complete assholes.

  23. 23
    shortstop says:

    I have a couple of times mouthed off to/pushed back on cops well beyond the point at which I would have been handcuffed if my skin were darker or I’d been locally famous for being librul. In one notable instance, the details of which I’m not going to share because I’m not particularly proud of what I said, I could actually see the wheels turning in the cop’s head as he weighed bringing me in against my then credibly telling his superiors and everyone else that he had enthusiastically encouraged me to suck his cock.

    I suspected that he frequently extended this invitation to women citizens and that he spent a certain amount of time gauging which of them were likely to go to the mat on it — and win — if he made an issue of their responses to his request. It would have been sweet to watch him walk away if it weren’t so damned obvious that in many cases he did not.

  24. 24
    Chris says:

    True not all cops are assholes, but almost all cops stick to the Blue Wall of silence. They don’t actively root out the bad apples. Sorry. This makes them assholes.

    Yeah, that’s kind of my problem with both them and the military. We keep being told that they’re honorable duty-bound heroes, and that no one hates crooked or dirty or abusive men in uniform more than they do. But then every single time a case of abuse comes up, all you seem to hear from them is anger and outrage at the people pointing it out. There was a lot more whining after Abu Ghraib about the media daring to point out what was perfectly true, than there was whining about the soldiers dishonoring the uniform.

    I’m sure most of them aren’t douchebags, but most of them also have no interest at all in stopping those who are. If there was more public pressure on them both, maybe things would be different, but the public by and large is happy to just give them a free hand in all particulars.

  25. 25
    Timothy Trollenschlongen (formerly Tim, Interrupted) says:

    God bless “harmless hippies.” They were right all along.

    And this entire post is right on.

    I live in Boston. Every time I see a cop a part of me cringes. And I’m fairly legal-ish, as far as I know.

  26. 26
    shortstop says:

    True not all cops are assholes, but almost all cops stick to the Blue Wall of silence. They don’t actively root out the bad apples. Sorry. This makes them assholes.

    This is really the core of the matter. (See what I did there?)

    We all get that not all cops are assholes, not all members of the military abuse civilians and/or prisoners, not all priests rape children. The real problem is the insistence on much of the rest of these professions on circling the wagons and protecting the bad guys at all costs. It spreads the guilt to the enablers and makes people without a personal axe to grind naturally distrustful of the entire group.

  27. 27

    @Chris: Plenty of people will lie, even in court; cops aren’t different from the norm. What sets them apart is an entire fraternity of fellow cops who’ll back them up under Blue Code of Silence

    Well, the other thing that sets them apart is that they are, by definition, representatives of the state. When I lie in court, I’m covering my own ass. When a cop lies in court, he’s covering for a whole system.

    This is why I hate it when macho shitheads like Cassidy go on and on about how the police are justified in treating the citizenry like enemy agents, in using preemptive force to preserve their own lives, and in general acting like they’re in a war zone. In their role as police, they are no longer private citizens. It’s part of their responsibility to put their own lives at risk in defense of the lives of others. That doesn’t mean they should recklessly endanger themselves, it doesn’t mean they’re expendable, it just means that they have to get over believing that they are action heroes, that it’s all about them.

  28. 28
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    Where there’s smoke, there is fire. The cops are way too defensive in this case. What are they trying to hide? or is just bad management and training? I remember an anti-Afghanistan war protest in Rochester and something like 35 cop cars showed up. You can’t find one cop when you’re getting mugged on the way to a night club but a bunch of hippies get together one afternoon and all of a sudden there are 70 cops and its head bashing time.

  29. 29
    Chris says:

    That doesn’t mean they should recklessly endanger themselves, it doesn’t mean they’re expendable, it just means that they have to get over believing that they are action heroes, that it’s all about them.

    And it also means they have to get over believing that they’re above oversight, or spouting shit about how until you’ve been a cop, you’re morally unfit to judge what they do. Fuck that shit. Yeah, maybe they’ve got a tougher job than most, but maybe that job affects the rest of us too – how many of those soft and easy civilian jobs involve having a lethal weapon and the ability to use it? As far as I’m concerned, those things cancel out.

    I remember an anti-Afghanistan war protest in Rochester and something like 35 cop cars showed up.

    Be nice if they showed similar concern at teabagger conventions outside of townhall meetings. You know, where people show up with automatic weapons and if even a single one of them decides to be a nutjob and start shooting, you’ll have a dozen bodies before anyone can even react.

  30. 30
    Moonbatman says:

    Why are you guys UnionBusting?
    Emily Good is guilt of a crime. The Police Union just need to get it add to the books.
    Charges Against Emily Good Dropped

    Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo says he’ll lobby for changes in the law to protect officers and allow them to do the job for which they are trained.

    “We have people with agendas out there and we can’t allow these agendas to, God forbid, allow one of our officers or another individual to get hurt,” said Mazzeo. “That’s the issue.”

    Peace Out. The Power is Yours. Free Crystal Mangum

  31. 31
    Carl Nyberg says:

    An incident i witnessed had the cop Taser a guy after a “driving while black” traffic stop. At the scene the cops said it was a tail light being out. Later it was changed to a seatbelt violation.

    The guy asked to phone his boss before being arrested (the company car was being impounded because the registration was bad); the cop was arresting the driver for a suspended license.

    Rather than explain that the car was getting towed no matter what–the boss couldn’t come pick it up–the cop told the guy to put his hands behind his back. The driver was already being pressed against the car.

    When the motorist did not put his hands behind his back, the cop Tasered him.

    The motorist said that the cop was making him shit himself.

    The police wrote the report that the guy willfully crapped his pants while being interrogated at the police station. The police threw away his pants, socks and shoes. After holding the guy for five hours, he was discharged on a freezing day without shoes.

    The Cook County State’s Attorney tried the individual for resisting arrest and had no problem using the testimony of the cops who claimed the defecation was the result of the motorists spite, not the Tasers.

    There were three witnesses for the defense: a local business owner, a crossing guard (employee of the police department) and myself a military veteran and journalist.

    Fortunately the jury saw through the police lies. Although it was interesting that even in a heavily Black portion of Cook County (Maybrook), there were very fews Blacks on this jury or the other jury that marched by while I was outside.

  32. 32
    Carl Nyberg says:

    The other suspicious detail of the case was the arresting officer disabled his squad car video before making the stop.

  33. 33
    Carl Nyberg says:

    The Roberts court sees restrictions on corporations giving money in election as being inimical to free speech.

    But laws against video taping police officers conducting *public* duties in *public* places are A-OK.

  34. 34

    @Carl Nyberg: The other suspicious detail of the case was the arresting officer disabled his squad car video before making the stop.

    Is that even allowed under department policy?

  35. 35
    liberal says:

    @ 16 Chris:

    Plenty of people will lie, even in court; cops aren’t different from the norm. What sets them apart is an entire fraternity of fellow cops who’ll back them up under Blue Code of Silence, and a public with a pretty big bias towards the cops themselves.

    I thought the ultimate problem here is that they aren’t charged with perjury when they lie.

  36. 36
    jayackroyd says:

    Cops go ballistic in cases like this because perjury by cops is so common. It’s obviously good public police, at this point in technological time, that every arrest, every interrogation be captured on video. Cops’ opposition to even casual videotape is very damning evidence wrt to normal police procedure.

    Now, it might turn out that actual police procedure, rather than what it is legal is necessary. In his In Defense of Flogging Peter Moskos writes about alternative policing methods involving informal sanctions by cops–beating people up, taking them way out of town and dumping them–that he believes can be more effective and less damaging to the lives of petty criminals.

    I don’t know. I do know that cops’ extreme resistance to recording their behavior means that they engage in illegal activity on a routine basis.

  37. 37
    Tonal Crow says:

    I’m not a lawyer, but if I were on a jury, I’d be very goddam skeptical about anything written in a police report in my fair city, or any evidence offered by a police officer that wasn’t corroborated by independent witnesses.

    Every juror should be skeptical about everything presented to her in court.

    And every juror in a criminal case should know that it’s the prosecution’s job to prove every element of the charged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. And that means that a juror must not convict if the evidence seems to show that the accused “could have done it” or “might have done it” — or even “probably did it” or “is really really likely to have done it”. No, the standard is the absence of *any* reasonable doubt that every element of the crime occurred and that the accused did it.


    This is blogging, not legal advice. Consult your favorite lawyer for legal advice.

  38. 38
    Nutella says:

    @Moonbatman

    We have people with agendas out there

    Cops with guns are frightened of civilians with agendas? Bold and brave, aren’t they?

    It’s the damn Brotherhood of cops, of soldiers, of priests, of doctors where all of them protect each other from any blame for those terrible outsiders who just don’t understand that their profession justifies everything up to and including rape and murder. Even photo and video evidence of crimes committed by one of the Brothers isn’t enough to make them see their crimes as crimes.

    The classic example is the off-duty Chicago cop who was videotaped beating a bartender with a chair because she didn’t serve him his booze fast enough. He got a lot of public support from his colleagues, although at least the top management of the police department didn’t support him after the video came out.

  39. 39
    shortstop says:

    Although it was interesting that even in a heavily Black portion of Cook County (Maybrook)

    Just curious — not familiar with Maybrook — do you perhaps mean Maywood?

  40. 40
  41. 41

    @jayackroyd: I do know that cops’ extreme resistance to recording their behavior means that they engage in illegal activity on a routine basis.

    I’m going to be a little more generous than that. I’ll suggest that police officers believe their techniques are legal, right, and necessary; but they don’t want their behavior recorded because they know many of those techniques will be unpopular, and they don’t want to have them taken away.

    Think of a parent who believes in spanking, but lives in a community where corporal punishment is frowned upon, so he prefers not to physically punish his children with other parents watching. It’s not that he thinks it’s wrong, it’s that he doesn’t want to be subject to the judgment of people who aren’t involved.

    The main difference is that police are public servants and their techniques should be public knowledge.

  42. 42

    In the three juries on which I have served, police reports are not admissible evidence.

    Not a defense of this behavior, these lying sacks of shit are tarnishing the shields of good cops everywhere.

    And: fricking iPhones, camera phones, pocket-sized digital cameras and hand-held digital video recorders are as prevalent as any other electronic devices. Hell, the troopers use dash cams to video tape their own traffic stops. “Cops” is its own cable channel with all the re-runs and variations. Law enforcement ought to be used to be being made famous – did the union rep just arrive from Mars?

  43. 43
    Tyrone says:

    I totally agree with cacti.

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