You’re Free to Go, Of Course, But You Don’t Mind Me Searching Your Car, Do You? I Didn’t Think So.

Here’s an excellent Radley Balko piece that shows just exactly how our shitty war on drugs has managed to create a cottage industry of asset forfeiture and created a culture of shitty, deceitful, double-dealing cops. Check out this video:

One of the worst things about the drug war, aside from what you just saw above and what Radley describes regarding asset forfeiture, is that we’ve cultivated a mentality in the police that it’s “Us v. them.” That’s why they need ever and bigger arsenals, that’s why our SWAT teams are out of control, etc. And at the same time, these very same cops with that mentality have failed to realize that the citizenry is starting to take the the very same attitude with the Police. Cops look at every black person in the inner city as a potential threat. Guess what? I look at every cop as a potential threat. I don’t know which one I am going to run across that is a liar, which one is a threat to my health and well-being, which is willing to plant evidence, or which will taze me or mace me for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. AND I’M FUCKING WHITE.

In other words, every time I see a cop I don’t see someone who is there to preserve public order. I see a potential threat and I just steer clear of them. They all wear the same uniform, and I have no way of knowing which one will be a scumbag like the guy in the video above, which one is having a shitty day or had a fight with his wife and wants to get rid of some frustration with a baton, which one will be like the guys who pumped fifty bullets into an unarmed NYC man, which one is going to shoot my dogs while breaking down the wrong door, or which one will be someone I can trust. So I just steer clear of them. I want nothing to do with them.

I have absolutely zero faith in any uniformed officer anywhere in the country. As far as I am concerned, these days I’m just caught in the crossfire between the gang-bangers and crooks with colored bandanas and the gang-bangers and serial perjurers with badges. And both have itchy trigger fingers, a broken moral compass, and a penchant for violence. The only real difference is the cops have better weapons training and a better code of silence.

Best to stay the fuck away from the whole lot of them. I wish I didn’t feel that way, but it is what it is. When I see a cop, I just clear a wide berth, because they just can’t be trusted to be rational actors. And now, thanks to our glorious Supreme Court (and the Obama admin- thanks B!), they can strip search me for a parking ticket. Awesome.

Because an out of control, violent, over-armed police force who feels like they are at war with the public they are supposed to protect needs more power.

*** Update ***

And I hope you truly understand the coercive manner with which this unlimited right to strip search will be used. Yes, you legal eagles who love to jump on knaves like me will say “It only applies to those going into general population.” Bullshit. We’ve just given police intimidation another weapon. In the Florence case, the man was arrested for no reason for a traffic ticket that was paid. And they threw him in jail for a week and strip-searched him twice anyway, and SCOTUS found that legit. Now think about that ruling in the context of the video above. Now, you are going to be “given” the choice of having your car searched without cause or being strip-searched in jail when the cop lies and arrests you on bullshit. It won’t be long before it is just understood by the public that you do what the cop says, however unjustified or unwarranted, or they will be hauled off to jail and fucked with via invasive searches. Mark my words.

But then again, some of you are the same idiots who don’t think police will be using drones illegally, or won’t be arming them, etc. Because history has proven over and over again that when given the choice, authorities always err on the side of individual rights. They never, ever, ever lie or overreach.

127 replies
  1. 1

    For me, it varies by department. What you describe is exactly how I feel about Minneapolis cops. St. Paul police are better, though still problematic. I don’t know the suburban departments at all.

    On the other hand, I have never had a bad interaction with a Minnesota state trooper. They have always come off as reasonable, stable and professional.

    I worked as a security guard in downtown Minneapolis about 20 years ago (which, granted, is long enough for things to have changed) and the off duty Minneapolis cops were uniformly overtestosteroned assholes; the one female was worse than any of the rest. They automatically assumed that I wanted to hear about their excessive exploits and that I was on their side.

    The troopers we had, on the other hand, were a pleasure to deal with. They were friendly. They were professional. And they said little things that seemed to indicate that they had much the same impression of the city police that I did, though they never said anything direct and I never asked.

  2. 2
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Funny, here in Illinois it’s totally opposite. The city cops are almost 100% professional and polite every time I’ve seen them, and the few jerks manage to get themselves in the paper for shooting folks. On the other hand, State troopers in Illinois all act like bicycle pump badasses with chips on their shoulders the size of cinder blocks.

    And, of course, Ogle county cops all do traffic tickets like they work on commission, so try never to drive there if at all possible.

  3. 3
    Jon says:

    Isn’t the whole theory behind gun nuttery and the NRA that an armed citizenry is supposed to prevent this?

  4. 4

    @NobodySpecial: I suspect that it depends upon the culture established by those at the top and isn’t all that predictable. Talking with people who live in various places, my impression is that state troopers are usually better than the city cops, but this isn’t universal. I’ve got several hypotheses as to why this is, ranging from better pay to the personality of those likely to apply to each organization (city police get the real authoritarians; troopers usually want to drive really fast), but I don’t have anything solid to go on.

  5. 5
    Danny says:

    thanks to our glorious Supreme Court (and the Obama admin- thanks B!)

    Funny thing, I had written a long comment on this GG post when I found that I had been banned from commenting at Salon. Over the ten years I’ve been posting on various places on the internet, I’ve only ever been banned two times: From FDL (by Jane Hamsher), and from posting at Salon because of posts at GG.

    Fact is that these assholes aren’t interested in an honest exchange of ideas, or learning the facts. They’re interested in a) a paycheck, b) a soapbox, and c) spinning sophistry.

    So fuck you heartily John whenever you post a link – for whatever reason – to the shyster Greenwald. (His striking dishonesty is once again on display btw in the second to last paragraph in the post you linked to…)

  6. 6
    trollhattan says:

    @Jon:

    The NRA won’t get involved until game wardens start checking their shit for illegal weapons and out-of-season kills. Then, watch out!

    I’m still flabbergasted over the SCOTUS ruling, I guess cops need one more way to demean people. On the flipside, we can’t even get the names of the Davis cops involved in the pepper spraying hosing. They get protection, we don’t. Clear enuf?

  7. 7
    Warren Terra says:

    I’ve been thinking about this issue in connection with the Trayvon Martin tragedy: isn’t it interesting that Zimmerman believed the cops would respond to a scarily black teenager walking on a public thoroughfare, but Martin didn’t trust the cops to help him when he was being stalked by a big guy in a SUV? And Martin was right not to trust those cops, too, by their later actions.

  8. 8
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Danny:

    shyster Greenwald

    I’m thinking I can see why people would boot you, Spanky.

  9. 9
    David Koch says:

    @Danny:

    I had written a long comment on this GG post when I found that I had been banned from commenting at Salon.

    that’s hilarious, considering glenn’s bullshit about free speech being absolute.

    so what did you say that got you banned?

  10. 10
    joel hanes says:

    My brother-in-law, the lawyer and journalism professor, once remarked that he had really believed that law was about justice, and that the words of Fourth Amendment had meaning, until he read the decisions on which rest the legality of civil forfeiture.

  11. 11
    David Koch says:

    thanks to our glorious Supreme Court (and the Obama admin- thanks B!)

    yes, all B’s fault. he personally micro manages every case that goes for appeal, as well as micro managing every aspect of every cabinet department. Someone goes to the brig for fucking up on a military base in Guam, he reviews it. Every FOIA request, he signs off. Every plane landing at Dulles, he double checks with the FAA air traffic controllers. Every application submitted to the patent office, he reviews it. Every passport renewal at your local post office, well hell, he’s the one in the back taking the portrait photos.

  12. 12
    psycholinguist says:

    Thank Nixon and his drug war. My sleepy little town has a swat van, and the cops love dressing in all black and driving around in their black cars with their black combat boots and such. The paramilitary stuff is pretty damn scary.

  13. 13
    Joey Maloney says:

    Tuesday night’s Daily Show guest nailed it. Jon asked him why conservatives scream about TSA patdowns but not about this. “Because they go to airports, they don’t get arrested.”

    Do the SCOTUS justices have round-the-clock Secret Service protection? I wonder how fast Alito or Thomas would change his tune if he got pulled over for a broken taillight and for some reason got arrested?

  14. 14
    Danny says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    You know, different places on the interwebs have different policies w/r/t what language is considered acceptable. I am quite capable of knowing that JC (to his credit) has a pretty laissez faire approach to colorful invectives – even when they’re directed at his own self.

  15. 15
    Jebediah says:

    Cops are supposed to have civilian oversight. Out of control bastardosity is tolerated because for the most part it affects the poor and the brown. Maybe, like the GOP, they will overreach a bit too much and start fucking with too many white people – then maybe we will see civilian oversight with some teeth.

  16. 16
    Danny says:

    @David Koch:

    I emailed Salon and asked, but I haven’t gotten a response yet. The only comments I made over there were on the legality of the death of Al-Awlaki.

  17. 17
    David Koch says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    I’m thinking I can see why people would boot you, Spanky.

    Why would glenn be offended by that? GG is noted for legally defending the hate speech of a white supremacists.

  18. 18
    freelancer says:

    Welcome to why most nights off, I just chill, watch Netflix or whatever, and maybe invite some friends over with the implicit understanding that they’re supposed to crash here unless they have a good reason otherwise. It definitely beats a night out on the town under the overzealous scrutiny of local law enforcement, and the possible jackpot you place yourself and others into with respect to their jobs, their record, not to mention their reputation. It just doesn’t seem worth the risk of encountering assholes with a buzzcut and a badge to be out amongst the public if any member of your party has to be driving.

    I have zero faith in local police to do actual policing. When I worked as security for a retail chain, we’d catch shoplifters and do the cops’ jobs FOR them. The reports would write themselves in that they could just copy/paste our internal reports that we had to hand over. We were giving them an arrest, handed to them on a silver platter with practically no effort involved on their part, and yet, in my time at that job, I never met a police that wasn’t a complete fucking dismissive dickhead. Part of that may have been persona, but behind the scenes, when given a moment to be human, not one of the people in uniform that I dealt with passed the test. The only law enforcement I ever interacted with that was worth a shit was the CID detective who gave me his card and kept me up to date on regional crime activity and asked us to keep him informed on anything up to date.

    You had to get a dude in an inexpensive suit that was an investigator to get a mind involved. Local uni’s weren’t worth their weight in piss, and most of them still aren’t no matter where you go in terms of conflict resolution. But we still owe them every due diligence, including our undue deference to peer into our boxer briefs if we are acting outside “reasonable” norms.

    Ugh, it’s my Friday tonight, but between this and Doug’s post about the Billionaire article; it just makes me want to froth at the mouth.

  19. 19
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Having grown up around Boston I’m totally with you on that. Staties were all bastards but at least they weren’t going to plant drugs on you if you didn’t flash your tatas like the boston/suburban cops.

  20. 20
    Narcissus says:

    Ok. So what do you do about it? Set up an actblue for Elizabeth Warren? Write a letter to the editor?

  21. 21
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Danny: Don’t attribute to malice that which can be explained by a crufty, tottering infrastructure and a de-staffed IT department.

  22. 22
    Ruckus says:

    John
    I agree. I don’t trust any cop. What are you supposed to do when something isn’t right? You call the cops. Now, I hesitate to call. I wait for someone else to call if possible. Because I don’t want to take the risk that I’m going to be involved. I don’t even want to give them my name or info. I just don’t want to give them any opening into my life.
    I don’t trust them. Even the one’s that I know, I don’t trust them. I wanted to be one many, many years ago but I once rode along with a good buddy who was a deputy. This was 40 years ago. Found out that as much of an asshole that I can be when I try, at least I have to try. Now you don’t have to be doing anything wrong to get yourself dead. And if you find yourself in a situation, no matter what you do, you will lose. I’ll play it safe and not trust any of them.
    Protect and Serve. My ass. Protect and serve who?

  23. 23
    Danny says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    Oh, I’m not! It’s not even been 24h since I mailed Salon…

    But I do expect to hear from them within the next seven days. On the internet, transparency when implementing editorial control over the comments section speaks volumes about the intellectual honesty of the people in charge, imho.

  24. 24
    Ruckus says:

    I got about half way through before I had to stop watching. I’m too old for my blood pressure to get that high. And have no ideas (good or bad) on any kind of a fix. I see videos of the TSA searching an infant and 85 yr oldsters, transit cops shooting a detained and restrained man in the back, people stopped for no reason and then their car searched or forfeited just because the cops can and I’m pissed I was born here. Can I move? Maybe. Should I even have to consider it?

  25. 25
    Arclite says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): It’s funny this is the first comment. I was about to write the same thing. I have a friend who’s a Hawaii state trooper, and he’s the nicest, most laid back guy. Sometimes he’s working at the capitol building, other times he’s serving warrants and hauling people in and tracking down fugitives.

    On the other hand, there are the Honolulu city cops who gave me a ticket for a cracked windshield (upper right corner of passenger side, 3 inches long) when my car was freakin’ parked. I hate it when one of them pulls behind me, b/c I feel if I make the slightest wrong move they’ll pull me over. I always pull into someplace so they can go past. I totally relate to JC’s feeling. They make me nervous, and these new powers really mean they can do and get away with a lot of corruption if they want.

  26. 26
    Ruckus says:

    They never, ever, ever lie or overreach

    People over the age of 7 who believe that scare the fuck out of me. I mean how naive can one be and still feed and dress one’s self?

  27. 27
    Arclite says:

    Also, that was a great article by Balko putting the vid into context and explaining the reasoning for such behavior.

  28. 28
    Captain Howdy says:

    The only real difference is the cops have better weapons training and a better code of silence.
    Best to stay the fuck away from the whole lot of them. I wish I didn’t feel that way, but it is what it is. When I see a cop, I just clear a wide berth, because they just can’t be trusted to be rational actors

    .

    I think this general sentiment here is bullshit, JC. If something bad happens to you or yours, you will almost certainly call the police for help, unless you’re irrational to the core. It’s not that I disagree with what you say, but if you were to tell the whole truth — “Better to stay the fuck away from the whole lot of them, until I need help” — it kinda takes the sting out of your rant.

  29. 29
    Someguy says:

    So what we need is a constitutional rule that after a person is arrested, the cops can only strip search bad guilty people who are likely to have small weapons hidden on them, while the searching of innocent arrested people who are unlikely to have small weapons on them is prohibited.

  30. 30
    Johannes says:

    Legal eagle here: I agree with you, John. Period.

  31. 31
    Weaselone says:

    To date, drone use has been allowed only with a warrant. Which means there is over-site of the use of drones by the courts. Unless that changes, that’s a barrier to your fantasy of police using armed predator drones at will against jaywalkers. Heck, the police haven’t even armed them yet. There’s plenty of steps on the slippery slope between where we are now and where you fear we will end up.

    The Supreme Court’s decision on strip searching is another beast all together. It essentially gives police the right to strip search at will provided they go through the trouble of bringing an individual down to the station and dropping them into the general population. And before you legal scholars object, the case the Supreme Court decided involved an individual who was brought in for unpaid fines that he had not only paid, but had evidence on his person of payment at the time of his arrest. If an innocent man, with positive proof of his innocence can be drug in and cavity searched twice, anyone can. There’s no asinine slippery slope argument here, we’re already at the bottom.

    It means that your teenage daughter can be nabbed off the street on suspicion of prostitution, brought down to the station and strip searched. So can your teenage son, but he’ll probably just match the description a suspicious person provided by an anonymous caller.

  32. 32
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    And now, thanks to our glorious Supreme Court (and the Obama admin- thanks B!), they can strip search me for a parking ticket. Awesome.

    In practical terms, they always could. That doesn’t mean it’s right. That doesn’t mean I agree with it – I don’t. It, however, remains a fact that cops have been able to pull this kind of shit forever, and few people to whom it happens have ever been a position where they felt able to challenge it. Those who do try to challenge it face an uphill climb due to the costs (in both dollars and time) of litigation. Then Court decisions like this fail to provide any relief for the people who do put in the effort to fight.

    The Justices on the right side of this Supreme Court are pretty fucking authoritarian in their legal views. Republican appointed Justices have been since at least the Nixon Administration. It is who they are.

  33. 33
    Steve says:

    As Justice Scalia says, this is the new professionalism. Only he wasn’t being sarcastic.

  34. 34
    Auldblackjack says:

    Arm yourself with knowledge.

    Busted: The Citizens Guide To Surviving Police Encounters
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqMjMPlXzdA

    And

    10 Rules For Dealing With The Police
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....7282389571

  35. 35
    Wag says:

    I have an NRA loving right wing McLennan who lives outside Phoenix in unincorporated Maricopa County. As I was leaving after having dinner at his house in December he warned me to. OT speed or drive erratically be ause Sherrif Aripio and his Deputiea were crazy, and arrest anyone for anything.

    In a normal world my uncle would be Sherrif Joe’s biggest fan, but Sherrif Joe has gone too far, even for my uncle.

  36. 36
    Trabb's Boy says:

    @Captain Howdy:

    It doesn’t take away from the rant that you call the cops when you’ve been hurt. They do generally do their jobs. The problem is when they haven’t been called. The crap happens other times — car stops, those random stop-and-searches in NYC, protests, acting on info about someone maybe selling drugs. When they’re investigating an actual crime, they’re generally pretty careful so as not to get the case thrown out.

  37. 37
    sherparick says:

    @trollhattan: We have interesting where a middle-age woman was killed by a police officer for the offense of being parked on the street.

    http://www2.starexponent.com/n.....r-1814557/

    The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star actually gives the version of the story where most of the local citizens are kind of shock and angry about this matter (and about a series of other misadventures of police and prosecutors railroading apparently innocent men while serial killers roam free.) However, the Richmond Times-Dispatch gives the “official version” of the events, a version that a number of eyewitnesses dispute. http://www2.timesdispatch.com/.....r-1812676/

    I would just say that this is not a particularly new development (I watched “The Grapes of Wrath” on TCM a couple of weesk ago. I doubt Hollywood would even dream of making a movie today that portrayed police as essentially brutal thugs as that movie did.)” But as our society drifts more and more to Randian/Paraguayan model of two classes, the role of the police as thugs for the 1%.

    But remember, although the Supremes see no threat to “Freedom” in arbitrary police humiliations and detentions such as this for us in the “general population,” letting Congress have the power to tell us to eat Broccoli would be Stalinist.

  38. 38
    danielx says:

    Now, you are going to be “given” the choice of having your car searched without cause or being strip-searched in jail when the cop lies and arrests you on bullshit. It won’t be long before it is just understood by the public that you do what the cop says, however unjustified or unwarranted, or they will be hauled off to jail and fucked with via invasive searches. Mark my words.

    If you’re just now figuring this out, you’re behind the times. This is one of the reasons cops love tasers so much – they’re used to subdue suspects, sure, but it didn’t take the guardians of law and order long to figure out that tasers make a top-shelf instrument of coercion and extrajudicial punishment. Radley Balko is a libertarian and there’s a lot on which I disagree with him, but he’s posted a lot of accurate and valuable information on these issues.

    As for civil forfeiture, police turning into paramilitary forces, and all the rest not news either, except that the likelihood of it affecting oneself is much lower if you don’t live in an urban neighborhood. But it can happen to you, if you’re one of those peculiar people who takes his/her rights seriously, or are old fashioned and like to use cash, or just because you run into a cop who got out of bed on the wrong side.

    It’s true that cops have shitty jobs; nobody ever called the police because thing were going great. They get to see people at their worst and the consequences of people at their worst every day. But nowadays they pretty much have free rein to do pretty much as they please, and by the law of averages they’re going to mistreat a lot of people who have done nothing wrong just because they can.

    I was told once by someone in a position to know that there are three kinds of people who join the police, these being those who want to protect and serve, those who want a secure civil service job with good benefits and those who want to carry a badge and a gun and push people around. The big “however”, this person went on, is that the average cop can be any or all of these types depending on who you are, where you are and what you’re doing and you don’t have to be doing anything at all to run into trouble with type three. If you seem to “disrespect authority”, whatever happens to you is what the cop says happened to you, which is why cops generally hate video so much. But as pointed out, thanks to the Supremes, the drug war and the Patriot Act, there really are no barriers to the cops doing anything they choose. The 4th and 5th Amendments are pretty much dead letters and the 6th, 7th and 8th are close. It can happen to you, and if you don’t believe it do a quick internet search on Cheye Calvo.

  39. 39
    barath says:

    @Trabb’s Boy:

    The problem is when they haven’t been called.

    Bruce Schneier had an interesting observation related to that. He pointed out that most kids are taught “don’t talk to strangers.” But that means that when the kid is in trouble, if they follow the rule they won’t seek help. So he pointed out the correct rule is “don’t talk to strangers who talk to you first.”

    The chances of a random stranger being trouble if you seek them out first is low, but the chances of them looking for trouble if they seek you out is high. Sounds like the same rule applies for the cops.

  40. 40
    Privatize the Profits! Socialize the Costs! says:

    Remember the infamous Canton OH cop-shop strip search of Hope Steffy by an all-male team of cops?

    You’ll recall that Hope Steffy was actually the one who CALLED the police to her house in the first place!

    Well, guess which sheriff of which police force was subsequently elected President of the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association?

    http://www.bigbendbikersforfre.....io-it.html

  41. 41
    salvage says:

    Yup, the Land of the Brave is now the Land of Take Away My Rights so I can Feel Protected.

    From “Kids for Cash” to this latest outrage America is rules by fear.

    It’s awkward, I have American friends and relatives and I’m running out of polite excuses why I don’t visit them anymore. At some point I’ll have to say “Your government has gone insane and I don’t want to be at its mercy.”

  42. 42
    RossInDetroit says:

    A few years ago it was calculated that the average value of a vehicle pulled over for a traffic stop was less than $1000.
    Does that sound like traffic cops are using our public resources in the best way to keep our streets safe?
    I think there’s a good case to be made that events like the one in the video, besides being an unconstitutional violation of civil rights, are a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars by cops looking for a big bust rather than protecting public safety.
    Not only are we being treated like criminals, the people we’re paying to keep us safe are wasting our money.

  43. 43
    Captain Howdy says:

    @Trabb’s Boy:

    “The problem is when they haven’t been called.”

    Sure, Trabb, but that’s not what Cole is saying. He’s saying he doesn’t trust all cops, full stop. It’s probably just hyperbole on his part (you know how he gets), but if it isn’t, it’s a bit ignorant and a lot of hypocrisy. Because even though he claims he has “absolutely zero faith in any uniformed officer anywhere in the country,” I’m pretty sure his little faith meter will tick up to eleven if some mook steals his car, or if, God help us all, anyone ever harmed his roommates. So yeah, his rant is kind of hollow.

  44. 44
    RossInDetroit says:

    @Captain Howdy:

    Most cops aren’t crooked. Most dogs don’t bite. It’s still wise to be wary of the ones you don’t own just in case.

  45. 45
    MattMinus says:

    @Someguy:
    What’s a risk assessment?!?!?!?!

  46. 46
    MattMinus says:

    @RossInDetroit:

    Strongly disagree. I suggest most cops are crooked. Anyone would be in their situation, really. If the boss makes clear that he doesn’t care if you get in at 9:00, no one will be in their cubicle at 9:00 AM.

    Now, if the boss has the ability to make it clear that he doesn’t care if you beat the shit out of and taser people, people WILL BE beaten and tasered.

    Even if they’re not all beating and stealing, the vast majority are fixing tickets, extending “professional courtesy” to cops who break the law, remaining silent about the misdeeds of others, etc.

  47. 47
    ellie says:

    I, too, hate the police and I am a middle-aged white woman. I give them a wide berth whenever I see them. Which one is the good guy? Who knows? I don’t want to find out. My 80-year-old mother feels the same way as I do.

  48. 48
  49. 49
    60th Street says:

    Why is it that we can’t just single out these instances, like the one above, White Plains or Trayvon Martin, hate on them, engage socially and politically and turn on the heat without going cuckoo and developing the paranoid mentality that because some cops are insane, all cops might be?

    Americans watch way too many goddamn movies and cop shows.

    I live in fucking Chicago. In a black neighborhood. I hear my share of gunshots. I watch some cops sweat the locals from time to time. But, I also watch them chill with the locals and protect them and be normal folk day in and day out.

    I watched a goddamn car chase from my third-floor balcony the other day, I shit you not. Not even a week ago; right after waking up from a nap. I watched the asshole driving a sedan nail a stop sign, lose control and damage three cars in the park across the street. There were old guys talking and kids running around playing and this asshole was all over the place.

    One cruiser was pursuing him and not once, NOT ONCE, did that cop lose control or floor the accelerator or even speed in order to catch the guy. In fact when the asshole flipped a wild bitch he slammed into an Suburban, recovered and sped off right past the cop in the other direction. The cop was mindful made a damn three-point turn and pursued him doing the speed limit careful of everything around him. Needless to say, the asshole got away.

    I gained a ton of respect for that cop in that moment. Never lost control for a second.

    Cops are people, man, doing people shit 99% of the time.

  50. 50
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    The vast majority of dogs are loyal, whether ‘working dogs’ or ‘companions’, and a great benefit to humankind.

    But a few, a very few, are rabid: dangerous, unpredictable, and violent.

    Looks like cops are earning themselves the same kind of rep.

  51. 51
    daveX99 says:

    @sherparick:

    I watched “The Grapes of Wrath” on TCM a couple of weesk ago. I doubt Hollywood would even dream of making a movie today that portrayed police as essentially brutal thugs as that movie did.

    Really? I’m sorry to say I’ve only seen bits of the Grapes, but Hollywood has made plenty of movies about bad, brutal cops. Really – with enough time, I could think of dozens (‘Rampart’, ‘Training Day’, ‘Bad Lieutenant’, ‘Cop Land’, ‘Dirty Harry’, ‘Serpico’… these just come to mind in a few minutes).

  52. 52
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    And don’t think that being a cop or ex-cop yourself might save you from your fellow boys in blue. You’re liable to get shot at multiple times, then get arrested for attempted murder and found guilty. Despite acquittal on discharge of a weapon.

  53. 53
    brantl says:

    @Captain Howdy: Haven’t dealt with many cops, have you?

  54. 54
    Svensker says:

    @psycholinguist:

    Thank Nixon and his drug war. My sleepy little town has a swat van, and the cops love dressing in all black and driving around in their black cars with their black combat boots and such. The paramilitary stuff is pretty damn scary.

    Yes. A toxic time bomb that has gone off. Turns out the “war” wasn’t against drugs, it was against the citizenry.

  55. 55
    liberal says:

    …serial perjurers with badges.

    Police perjury has been around for a long time. John Paul Stevens has a review of book by Irving Morris about a rape case the latter defended in the 1950s.

    First paragraph of the review:

    The Rape Case: A Young Lawyer’s Struggle for Justice in the 1950s, by Irving Morris, tells us at least as much about its author as it does about the facts of the underlying case, which concerned an encounter between an unnamed young woman and three young men in Wilmington, Delaware’s Woodlawn Park in the early hours of October 30, 1947. The book, Morris writes, “is essentially the story of a fledgling lawyer’s struggle to overturn the result of a flawed trial by proving…police perjury.”

  56. 56
    Frank says:

    @60th Street:I agree that not all cops are insane. The problem is that even the decent ones will clam up and support the nut jobs. In that way they are all complicit.

  57. 57
    patrick II says:

    You are free to go. Unless you want to go, then you appear suspicious and you are not free to go.

    That is some catch, that catch 22.

  58. 58
    RAM says:

    What John said. Cops, in general, are fucked up in their personal lives, are far more prone to dysfunctional marriages and private lives than us regular folks. I think about the losers from my high school who went on to become cops and am not the least bit surprised about what’s happening these days. Among the dozens I’ve interacted with, I’ve met just three stable cops in my life, and that includes 30 years as a weekly newspaper reporter and editor.

  59. 59
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    @patrick II: and when you do go, you’re resisting arrest so we’ll arrest you.

  60. 60
    Comrade Dread says:

    @Weaselone: Yes, and no-knock raids also require a warrant.

    Unfortunately most judges seem to rubber stamp them, and this is why you see the cops raiding the wrong address because a cop wrote down the wrong number, detaining innocent folks at gunpoint and shooting up Fido.

    So, you’ll forgive me if the fact that a judge has to sign off on it doesn’t exactly comfort me or placate my feelings that my right to privacy will be violated.

  61. 61
    Brian says:

    @Ruckus: The one time i did call the cops after an accident, I was sent through to their voicemail. WTF

  62. 62
    Comrade Dread says:

    @60th Street: Because you don’t know which cop is good and which cop is bad just by looking at them.

    And because it’s pretty infrequent that a good cop will actually go after the bad ones rather than overlook the bad behavior.

  63. 63
    ant says:

    ive had some really bad experiences with the police in the past. I was saved by a skeptical judge.

    for example, without the erratic lane change on film, nothing should have held up in court in the video above.

    perhaps i had a rare judge.

    after moving away from that shithole town, ive had really good experiences with the police.

    i currently have the opinion that the good copps far outweigh in numbers the bad ones.

    the asset forfeiture is a racket, and the law clearly should be changed.

  64. 64
    Thomas F says:

    Someday, I hope I can run a blog so that I can use it to smear millions of other (low paid) people as racist, free-wheeling butcherers based on my limited personal experiences. Thank you, John, for your sense of scope and discretion. This is what democracy is all about.

  65. 65
    jh says:

    The police are nothing more than another armed cartel in this society.

    Their primary purpose is to preserve an ‘establishhed order’, which is shorthand for whatever those in power want them to be doing.

    The well being of the citizenry being served is secondary to the goals of those setting the agenda for the police.

    That some police officers perform their duties with any decency or rationality at all, is the luck of the draw, as the profession itself is designed to attract (despite so-called “screenings”) indviduals with who fall near the ‘awful’ end of the spectrum in DSM IV diagnoses.

    Violence, authoritarianism, sadism, paranoia sociopathy, you name it.

    And they have power over life and death.

  66. 66
    graves007 says:

    If Officer Asshole was arrested and charged for past infraction, how is it he can become a cop at all? Is the standard that low?

  67. 67
    redshirt says:

    When I first moved to a city I had an “A-ha” moment of wanting to see the cops around.

    So I figure this might be an urban/rural thing in part. City cops usually don’t have time/will to deal with insignificant BS. The country cops I grew up with itched to write a ticket for rolling through a stop sign.

  68. 68
    gocart mozart says:

    The asset forfeiture cases are a piece of work. The presumption of innocence and due process don’t apply because the authorities aren’t “punishing” you. They are arresting your car or money. This is O.K. because inanimate objects don’t have constitutional rights. I’m not making this up. That is actually the reasoning.

  69. 69
    shortstop says:

    @Frank: For me, this is the heart of the matter. The code that says they always protect their own, instead of cleaning up their own profession by weeding out the bent ones, means we cannot fully trust any of them. When the people charged with fighting crime so regularly shield criminals among their own, we are living in one of those “no place to run to safety” dreams that little kids have.

  70. 70
    shortstop says:

    @Frank: For me, this is the heart of the matter. The code that says they always protect their own, instead of cleaning up their own profession by weeding out the bent ones, means we cannot fully trust any of them. When the people charged with fighting crime so regularly shield criminals among their own, we are living in one of those “no place to run to safety” dreams that little kids have.

  71. 71
    RossInDetroit says:

    @graves007:

    Seriously, you don’t want to know how low the standard is.

  72. 72
    handsmile says:

    Here is a link to an excellent Alternet article with practicable advice: “5 Reasons You Should Never Agree to a Police Search (Even if You Have Nothing to Hide)”:

    http://www.alternet.org/rights.....o_Hide%29/

    On two occasions upon entering the NYC subway system, I have politely but firmly declined requests by the police to inspect my shoulder bag. While my action was not warmly received on either occasion (“Asshole” and “Get the fuck outta here” was the reply of the peace officers in one case), there was no further harassment. Of course, the fact that I am a 54 year-old white male, professionally attired and groomed, may have had something to do with that.

  73. 73
    RossInDetroit says:

    In my high school 35 years ago there was one guy everyone knew was batshit reckless crazy. Of course he ended up on the police force.
    In our small town the cops felt stretched too thin and outmatched. Some of them compensated by being assholes and striking fear into the people they couldn’t be watching all the time. Like disabling the cars of kids playing basketball on school grounds. Or just stopping and intimidating people (me, a home owner) out walking at night. It probably worked to some extent but it sure didn’t make us like or respect them.

  74. 74
    gocart mozart says:

    @gocart mozart: It’s unclear whether Scalia would create an exception if brocoli were involved.

  75. 75
    Craig says:

    Years ago a UK police chief was asked if UK police should carry guns. He said, no, carrying a gun would attract the wrong element into the police profession.

  76. 76
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @patrick II:

    The best there is!

  77. 77
  78. 78

    @NobodySpecial:

    here in Illinois it’s totally opposite

    Which is why the Police union lobbies to make and keep it illegal to videotape/record Police in public.

  79. 79
    Nina says:

    I think part of the problem can be squarely laid at the feet of George W. Bush. Many police are military reservists or recent ex-military. They’ve been stretched thin over the past decade with multiple deployments. And while overseas, they learned techniques for dealing with the public where a good percentage of the people they deal with will be actively hostile.

    Of course that’s going to affect them. And they can try to tune it back down and go back to being Americans when they get back here, but deep inside their reflexes are going to be more tightly wound.

  80. 80
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @60th Street:

    Why is it that we can’t just single out these instances, like the one above, White Plains or Trayvon Martin, hate on them, engage socially and politically and turn on the heat without going cuckoo and developing the paranoid mentality that because some cops are insane, all cops might be?

    Because these problems are far more systemic than you realize.

    I was taught, early on, how to act when pulled over by a cop. Keep a notepad and a pen in the glove compartment. Shut off the engine, both hands on the wheel, and you “yes, sir!” and “no, sir!” until that dreadful experience is over. Once (if) you are allowed to drive off, keep driving for a few minutes, then pull over, and write down everything that happened while the memory is still fresh.

    For years, people talked about DWB (Driving while black/brown). I always loved how my experiences would be casually dismissed by many of my white friends. It took an episode occurring while one of those friends was in the car with me for him to finally realize that I was not exaggerating.

  81. 81
    RalfW says:

    I am an impatient man and unwilling to sift through Reasonoid type crap, but are our libertarian, erm, friends even the slightest bit upset over the strip-search ruling?

    It seems like the window dressing has fallen off most putative libertarians in the past couple of years: they’re just asshole Republicans who are embarrassed by the Perry-Palin-Cain nonsense and who think that having less foreign adventures means bigger tax cuts for their creme-de-la-creme incomes.

    Cops can run amok, since of course libertarians in white skin and this year’s Range Rover won’t get fvcked over by cops. Voter ID is good, even though it seems like the slipperiest of slippery slopes towards mandatory gov’t ID on your person at all times to me (a past libertine worry that has utterly evaporated as far as I can tell).

    Whichever FPer the other day said that libertarians are the leading edge of GOP evil, sans some gay-bashing, are correct.

    I suppose Friendly Facism is all okay, as long as your in the friend circle.

  82. 82
    jon says:

    Hate to rain on various parts of the parade, but I think the Supreme Court made the right decision in that case and also left open the fact that the guy can sue for the wrongful arrest even if he can’t sue over the searches.

    The thing is, there’s this principle called “custodial responsibility” involved in holding inmates and suspects and others, whether it’s in prisons for life or in a jail holding cell for a few hours. Generally, this is a good thing. It means the officers in charge (and anyone else who works there, such as a prison librarian like myself) has to do what we can to keep the place safe for everyone there. That means the inmates at the prison have a right to healthcare access, not to be assaulted by officers or other inmates, and not to be placed in filthy conditions or served food unfit for humans. In general, that’s considered pretty basic stuff. But what happens in the real world? People inclined to fuck things up turn our prisons and jails into the greatest examples ever of Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. There’s a reason “kiester” is a verb in prison. There have been cases of loaded pistols brought into women’s jails, and not in the rectum. And there’s the simple reality that searches for contraband save lives.

    The problem with the case was the bigger one of the wrongful arrest. That’s where “Sorry, shit happens” just doesn’t cover it (as I would say about someone getting stuck in jail and searched for lice and drugs in every nook and cranny.) Has anyone here ever tried to look themselves up on criminal databases? Well, unless you work for law enforcement, you pretty much can’t. And then if you do, what can you do if you find an outdated warrant or a warrant from some town you’ve never visited? It’s no secret that it’s easier to get into records than out of them. And it’s also no huge secret that every governmental agency doesn’t talk to every other governmental agency. The problem is the records, and the solution is an efficient governmental database that’s programmed correctly. Good luck getting that through the Congress. Hell, good luck getting that through your local city council. Instead, we’ll continue to have a hodgepodge of courts, sheriff departments, state police, Federal officials, and all the rest getting gummed up with bad information, false identification (ever had a brother say he was you and make you go to driving school? I have, and do you think the police would have bought my story that it wasn’t me? me neither), outdated records, duplicate records, and more.

    That the police can make stuff up is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems with police records. Yes, it’s about the most egregious. But a good cop can do some horrid shit to someone without any poor judgment, just because someone didn’t clear a record from a database once a fine was paid. The man in the Supreme Court case had a copy of his paid fine. But which would you believe, the database you’re told to rely upon or some piece of paper provided by some guy that database says should be arrested? If that’s an easy call, I worry about you. If that’s a problem to you, then you start to understand what the real issue is.

  83. 83
    Jack K. says:

    John,

    I can tell you that needless strip searches most definitely DO happen to people even if they don’t go into general population. It happened to me.

    I was recently arrested for failure to pay an $18 late auto registration fine (I had taken care of my registration but forgotten that the fine was still outstanding) and put in a holding cell. But prior to that, I was fingerprinted and strip-searched. I was released 8 hours later and charged $2 for my incarceration — a fee which stunned the clerk who processed my fine payment, for it indicated that I was put in jail for nothing.

  84. 84

    I’ll put any 1 of my 5 kimber 1911 up againt’s this ruger 1911

  85. 85
    BigSouthern says:

    @Captain Howdy:

    Thank you, Col. Jessup, your purity concerns have been noted. We now know that we live in a world with walls guarded by men with guns.

    Of course, that Cole may one day NEED to call the police is part of the problem. The idea of an independent squad to investigate and keep order is all well and good, and it keeps people from turning into vigilantes and in ideal practice produces the least violent, tragic outcomes. However, we’re well past the ideal.

    Let’s assume the writer has something terrible happen, and has the wherewithal to figure out who perpetrated the act. If he decides to take matters into his own hands, he becomes a criminal. If he wants any sort of justice then he needs to call the police, even if he doesn’t per se need their help.

    We’ve given this group of people a monopoly on the use of force in our society. When they begin to abuse it, the response of “Fuck it, I don’t trust nary a one of them” doesn’t make a person a hypocrite even if they one day have to call them. It just means they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t, and they’ve decided it’s better to deal with the cops as a victim of crime rather than a criminal.

  86. 86
    dcdl says:

    My husband has dark skin and when he was driving a certain type of vehicle,’90’s Pontiac Bonneville, he got pulled over all the time for crap reasons like crossing the yellow line when turning, ‘drunk driving’ when he got off of work (not only does he not drink, but he was crossing over into a turn lane to turn and the cop said he was driving erratically), and various other made up reasons. He never got any tickets. We sold the car and got a small, used pickup. Knock on wood he hasn’t gotten pulled over in that vehicle yet.

    Cops scare me now that I’m married to someone with dark skin and have four boys. I know that not all cops are bad and actually do the best job that they can. But all it takes is one to have an issue and screw up your life or of someone who you love.

  87. 87
    Culture of Truth says:

    It almost as if Cole just discovered methods cops use to stop and search including tricky questioning, dogs, strip searches, etc. and decided to write a rant about it.

    It’s an impassioned oversimplication of complex issues, but feels a little someone writing in 2012 “hey guys there’s this cool thing called the Internet! Thanks Obama!!”

  88. 88
    Donald says:

    ” It’s not that I disagree with what you say, but if you were to tell the whole truth—“Better to stay the fuck away from the whole lot of them, until I need help”—it kinda takes the sting out of your rant.”

    Why would it do that? He could say the same in some country where the police are universally acknowledged to be corrupt–you might still have to rely on them if your life is threatened by a criminal gang.

  89. 89
    jon says:

    And they threw him in jail for a week and strip-searched him twice anyway, and SCOTUS found that legit.

    No. The Supreme Court only found the strip searches to be constitutional. The man can still sue over the arrest itself. Though I have little doubt they’ll figure out a way to fuck the guy over in that case, they haven’t done it just yet.

  90. 90
    jon says:

    Link. Money quote: “He still may pursue other claims, including that he never should have been arrested.”

  91. 91
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    And because it’s pretty infrequent that a good cop will actually go after the bad ones rather than overlook the bad behavior.

    This. Citizens have zero assurance that bad cops will be punished for bad behavior, so we really have no confidence that the cop who pulls us over for having a tail light out is going to act professionally.

    There may only be 1 out of 10 cops who’s bad, but if the other 9 out of 10 are covering up for that guy, you can’t trust any of them. It’s like dealing with the Catholic Church — the kid-abusing priests were a small minority of all priests, but the fact that the entire hierarchy dedicated themselves to hiding those crimes and preventing prosecution means that they’ve clearly chosen their organization over the people they’re supposed to be helping.

  92. 92
    Marcellus Shale, Public Dick says:

    you have to be the more upstanding person in the eyes of the police, than the person you are dealing with. its like the thing about not trying to outrun the bear.

  93. 93
    cmorenc says:

    My brother-in-law is a retired North Carolina Highway Patrolman. Although at first, he came across as very stern and intimidating, as I got to know him on a personal level, he has proven over the years to be a very decent, considerate person, the kind of guy you can rely on to go out of his way to help you.

    THAT SAID, I’ve heard from friends living in the area he formerly worked as a trooper that he had a reputation as something of a hard-ass cop whom it was unwise to irritate during a traffic stop or arrest. I’ve actually heard him say that people who gave him a difficult time resisting arrest would sometimes “hit their head on the door frame getting them in the back of the patrol car”, nudge nudge, wink wink. He knew the techniques for managing a traffic stop to maximize the sustainability of “probable cause” in court, and just as important, he knew from years of experience the particular inclinations and habits of every magistrate and judge in the local court system. Nevertheless, he was, by all accounts, an honest cop, skilled enough at his job and with enough legitimate criminal elements and traffic scofflaws to deal with that he had no inclination to falsely frame or trump up charges on anyone.

    We can only wish most cops were like my brother-in-law, even though he could be by reputation intimidatingly stern to be stopped by, and fewer were like the dishonest cops in this video.

  94. 94
    JWL says:

    Your views about police powers accurately reflect my own. By the time I got to the end, I thought, “Now there’s a guy who has been hassled by a King Shit cop”.

  95. 95
    shortstop says:

    @cmorenc: I feel less than heartened to learn that a guy who bangs people’s heads on door frames out of spite is considered one of the good cops the others should emulate.

  96. 96
    West of the Cascades says:

    One of the things that sucks about this decision is that it means that we’ll move away from some common national understanding and standard for the limits of police intrusion into our lives. People seeking some constitutional limits on police power will resort to state constitutions since the federal constitution is now toothless because of our current federal Supreme Court — and states with stronger traditions of upholding individual freedom under the state constitution will continue to have more protections. New York and Oregon, where combined I’ve lived most of my life, both have traditions of the highest state court interpreting the state constitution to give more protection than the federal constitution in several private liberty area. Liberal politicians and voters on both states make sure that the courts in those states (in general) remain protective of individual rights, even as the U.S. Supreme Court chips away at them.

    At the opposite end of the spectrum are states with weak state constitutions and traditions of “law and order uber alles” in the courts and law enforcement (the ones that come to mind are the states that – shockingly – decided 150 years ago that they didn’t want anything to do with the federal constitution anyway). So we’ll end up having different standards in different places, which sucks for the people in the worse places — the commenter above who expressed he’d never had a bad interaction with Minnesota State Troopers probably stems largely from the fact that Minnesota is a state with a history of robust protection of individual rights at the state level and a historically progressive politics.

  97. 97
    Argive says:

    I live in Philadelphia, and have family in law enforcement. Typically I have found the Philly PD to be perfectly fine. Of course, I am a suburban white kid. Given the PPD’s history (MOVE, for one) I am dead certain that I would not feel the same way if I were black or Latino.

    Now, a real problem in my lovely state of Pennsylvania is that outside of the big cities there are hundreds of tiny little towns where the local cops have nothing to do. In many of these places the cops are guys who could not cut it as city police (or even as Temple/UPenn police). So they go to Allentown, or Schuylkill/Northampton/Luzerne County and lord it over the people there.

  98. 98
    Culture of Truth says:

    The last time I had involvement with a police officer he thanked me for being so polite.

    Then he committed perjury.

  99. 99

    I’m not giving in an inch to fear

    I promised myself this year

  100. 100
    karen marie says:

    The kind of bullshit described in the post has been going on long before the War on Terra. In the summer of 2001, two months before 911!, I was living in a small city in southeastern Massachusetts, after living the previous twenty odd years in Boston. One of my neighbors decided it would be brilliant to play really loud, obnoxious music at midnight. I did what I had done over the previous twenty odd years and called 911. I was told 911 was for emergencies, not noise complaints, and that I should call the business line but that it was unlikely a car would show up. I told them to forget it and hung up. Fifteen minutes later my doorbell rang. There were two cops outside my door. They were there not for the noise complaint but because I had “hung up on 911.” They asked that I let them in my apartment so they could look around. I said no. They then told me that they were there for my safety because this might be a hostage situation and they had to make sure, I could either let them in to look around or I would be arrested. “We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way,” I was told. Needless to say, I let them in my apartment.

    Cops have been using the same bullshit to search cars for decades. It’s SOP. I know, because I have been typing criminal court transcripts since 1984 and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard it described and upheld. “It was a voluntary search!”

    Gah.

  101. 101

    @karen marie:

    Well yea, the difference now is a sekrit republican in the WH.

  102. 102
  103. 103
    Clime Acts says:

    I had three distinct, separate, and identifiable social justice orgasms while reading this righteous post.

    Thanks, John.

  104. 104
    Rafer Janders says:

    @cmorenc:

    I’ve actually heard him say that people who gave him a difficult time resisting arrest would sometimes “hit their head on the door frame getting them in the back of the patrol car”, nudge nudge, wink wink…Nevertheless, he was, by all accounts, an honest cop,

    Well, no, he wasn’t honest. Because, as even he admitted to you, he would often criminally assault helpless, handcuffed suspects. An honest man doesn’t do that.

    He may not have been corrupt in the sense of taking money, but he was corrupt in the sense of using his authority to inflict pain for his own enjoyment.

  105. 105
    Water balloon says:

    Just a couple weeks ago, when coming home from a family st. Patrick’s day party, my car got stopped by troopers in NJ. The reason he gave was my car matched the description of a dark colored car causing a disturbance in the area. The only problem is that the car I was in is electric blue, not dark at all. Cops don’t even have to have their lies make sense any more.

  106. 106
    kuvasz says:

    The abuse of cops towards citizens is widespread, and well known to minorities. My mother was a state, and federal law enforcemen agent, my step father a local, state, and federal law enforcement agent, my brother a local cop, my wife is an ex-cop, and two cousins are local cops.

    I listened around the dinner table to stories that would make you puke. Cops don’t give a shit about serving and protecting… they could accomplish that by being a fireman or EMS tech. Their major objective is to carry a firearm and bully people, and the pyschological profile is exactly referred to as “the gun and pecker club.” the attitude of cops is quite simple: “EVERY citizen, every single one of them is a scumbag waiting to be arrested.” Cops will lie, cheat, and steal with the best criminal, and their purpose on the witness stand is to get a conviction, and the truth be damned. They are as a class of individuals not to be trusted and avoided at all costs.

    The only way that it will change is to recruit better people by increasing pay and educational credentials, and pyschological profiling examinations.

    My advice is my father’s, whose own father worked for “the Mothers And Fathers Italian Association” in the 30-40’s… “Never trust a cop, they can murder you and get away with it.”

  107. 107
    Argive says:

    @WWStBreitbartD:

    I won’t, because the only thing I meant by that was that they have never hassled me. Perhaps you missed this part of my comment:

    Of course, I am a suburban white kid. Given the PPD’s history (MOVE, for one) I am dead certain that I would not feel the same way if I were black or Latino.

  108. 108
    DFH no.6 says:

    From John Cole’s righteous rant:

    That’s why they need ever and bigger arsenals, that’s why our SWAT teams are out of control, etc.

    I was watching an episode of American Weed (I think on NatGeo) the other night, and one of the things they covered was a daylight raid on some suburban Denver homes of people who were growing pot.

    Leaving aside the whole “were these people really growing medical marijuana as allowed by Colorado law?” (it seemed at least one of them had too many plants) one thing about the raid really stood out – the SWAT team. They looked like Star Wars stormtroopers, except all in black and even more heavily armed and dangerous.

    They weren’t cops, they were military. With full armor, gas masks, and assault rifles.

    The one person who was home and subsequently arrested was a middle-aged mom (I think she had like a dozen plants growing in her house). The cop talking to her was giving her shit about there being “children in the house” as if growing plants were the same as having a meth lab (even if those plants, as the hilarious Katt Williams put it, “just grow like that, and if you should so happen to set it on fire, there are some effects”).

    All together, including the stormtroopers, there were well over two dozen law enforcement personnel doing the raid.

    Yeah, that was tax money well-spent “serving and protecting”. Guess those are a few pounds of pot that won’t be getting smoked by any hippies, and mom will get to spend some quality time in jail (perhaps being strip-searched a time or two along the way).

    Sorry, Howdy-Doody and similar commenters here, I’m with Cole.

  109. 109
    Smartpatrol says:

    @Ruckus:
    Loud & clear. I hope the guys in question change their minds & launch a civil suit against both the department, Riech-fart & for this level of bullying & intimidation & the partner for not reigning him in.

    What’s going to happen to R-Fart is what always happens to thugs like him: one day he’s going to show up dead and his whole ugly history is going to crack open, and anyone who reads it’ll say “Good riddance to bad rubbish Why did his department protect this scumbag for so long?”

  110. 110
    Mr_Gravity says:

    Whoever thought it was a good idea to let the various departments keep the vehicles and money they confiscate should be anally probed 24/7. They must be hiding something up in there.

  111. 111
    Ruckus says:

    Commentators here and in previous posts including me have mentioned that dishonest/unprofessional cops are nothing new, and they are right. But we had a period of time, I think it was about a week, in 1973 or maybe 74, that the tide appeared to be changing to me. But I realized that I was not just wrong but completely, totally, absolutely wrong. The old saying was a bad apple spoils the barrel. One bad cop that no one does or can do anything about is bad. But the whole system now seems to be about making sure that no bad cop gets caught, and especially punished. We are turning(have turned?) into an authoritarian society in that people in power have all the power and the citizens none. @Omnes Omnibus:, a lawyer if memory serves, states it like this: Those who do try to challenge it face an uphill climb due to the costs (in both dollars and time) of litigation. Then Court decisions like this fail to provide any relief for the people who do put in the effort to fight. For all practical intents if there are no effective legal ways to fight the corruption of the police, it will continue unabated. For the vast majority of us, there is no legal resource. There for sure is no practical, on the ground resource. @karen marie: gives a perfect example of this. Were those bad cops? Did they physically assault her? Doesn’t sound like it. Did they try to extract a bribe? Doesn’t sound like it. Were they bad cops? Yes, because they violated her right to herself and her property without cause. They violated her right to privacy. That’s not spelled out in the constitution directly but it is the basis of the entire document. That the government has to show a compelling reason to violate your privacy. Governments before ours never had to do that. Some did so anyway but they didn’t have to. That was the major difference. Now that’s no longer true. That’s why you shouldn’t trust cops, even when you have to call them.

  112. 112
    akaka says:

    John, I hope you meant naif or naive, not knave?

  113. 113
    Ruckus says:

    @Smartpatrol:
    What’s going to happen to R-Fart is what always happens to thugs like him: one day he’s going to show up dead and his whole ugly history is going to crack open, and anyone who reads it’ll say “Good riddance to bad rubbish Why did his department protect this scumbag for so long?”

    No it won’t. There is no longer(if there ever was) a reasonable method of getting rid of him and there are so many cops willing to do what ever to find and put away the one who successfully fights back in the wrong way. Thin blue line my ass. That sucker is miles wide and never stops. Violence will never win in this type of situation, never. They are stronger and can get away with better lies than you. You can only win by playing their game better than them. That means using the law and if necessary getting better laws. That takes time and money and effort. Three things that most of us don’t have.

  114. 114

    This is one of the dangers of being logical. Seriously.

    When I was taking first aid training, they said “always use protection in a blood-borne issue; treat everyone the same.” And it took me some time to realize they were saying “don’t get in a hazmat suit for the guy you think is gay, while not bothering to put on a rubber glove to block a bubbling chest wound for the person you think is straight.”

    Treat everyone the same – that’s “logical” right?

    Yes, it is. You take a set of dumbass assumptions, and apply them. “Elephants are pink. Nellie is an elephant. Therefore, Nellie is pink.” Except, hey, *dumbass*, elephants are typically grey (unless you’ve been drinking too much and are in an old movie or TV show).

    Logic is only good if your assumptions are good, and the assumptions that everyone should be okay being strip-searched is even dumber than “elephants are pink”.

  115. 115

    Okay. Did I use naughty words in my first edit, or was it something I’m missing that got me in moderation? (Not complaining – honestly curious.)

  116. 116
    Nied says:

    But then again, some of you are the same idiots who don’t think police will be using drones illegally, or won’t be arming them, etc. Because history has proven over and over again that when given the choice, authorities always err on the side of individual rights. They never, ever, ever lie or overreach.

    Because when cops started using airplanes and helicopters decades ago it rapidly turned in to the reality today of every SWAT team having bombers and attack helicopters right?

    My problem with all the “DROOOOOOOOONES!!!!!” scaremongering I see from so many of my otherwise rational fellow lefties is that it seems to be based in some kind of bizarre ludditism. Drones are just airplanes (or occasionally helicopters) that just happen to have an innovative cockpit location. The big operational difference is that they can stay in the air longer than an aircraft with the cockpit inside of it.

    Yet we’re somehow supposed to believe that a few extra hours in the air is somehow going to lead to unlimited police abuses or that if you use one on a battlefield it’s suddenly a war crime? If a the police using drones story you freaked out about a few month ago had instead been a cop in a crop duster would it suddenly have been OK? If we bombed western Pakistan with F-16s instead of MQ-9s is it magically not a warcrime?

  117. 117

    @Argive:

    Given the PPD’s history (MOVE, for one) I am dead certain that I would not feel the same way if I were black or Latino.

    The cases that I cited were against whites.

  118. 118
    Smartpatrol says:

    More on why drug-sniffing dogs are a bad idea.

    @Ruckus. No. If this guy’s as bad as the expose on him indicates, then he’s got plenty of people waiting for him in the tall grass. If he keeps this up, then – statistically – he’ll pull this stunt on someone with nothing too loose and wind up dead with the dashboard snuff film of his asking for it going viral, with those who watching it just shrugging their shoulders in mild wonderment that it didn’t happen sooner. As long as police departments close ranks around thugs w/ badges, they’re complicit in the corruption & violence, and as long as the people they’re supposed to protect have no recourse, are denied justice & see thug cops back on the job after they’ve been brought to trial – if it ever gets to trial – then said citizens won’t shed a tear when one of the pigs finally get what’s coming to them. Some might even clap & cheer.

    If you’re part of the 1%, you can buy all the cops & justice you want. If you’re part of the 99%, the cops are just another gang w/ guns you’re on your own & have to pay for the priveledge.

  119. 119

    @Nied:

    Well, to be fair. It is only a short slippery slope from drones with cameras to drones with Hellfire missiles pointed at potty mouth bloggers. If that prospect sends a chill down your leg, anything will.

  120. 120
    Smartpatrol says:

    More on why drug-sniffing dogs are a bad idea.

    @Ruckus. No. If this guy’s as bad as the expose on him indicates, then he’s got plenty of people waiting for him in the tall grass. If he keeps this up, then – statistically – he’ll pull this stunt on someone with nothing too loose and wind up dead with the dashboard snuff film of his asking for it going viral, with those who watching it just shrugging their shoulders in mild wonderment that it didn’t happen sooner. As long as police departments close ranks around thugs w/ badges, they’re complicit in the corruption & violence, and as long as the people they’re supposed to protect have no recourse, are denied justice & see thug cops back on the job after they’ve been brought to trial – if it ever gets to trial – then said citizens won’t shed a tear when one of the pigs finally get what’s coming to them. Some might even clap & cheer.

    If you’re part of the 1%, you can buy all the cops & justice you want. If you’re part of the 99%, the cops are just another gang w/ guns you’re on your own & have to pay for the priveledge.

  121. 121
    Nied says:

    @General Stuck:

    Well, to be fair. It is only a short slippery slope from drones with cameras to drones with Hellfire missiles pointed at potty mouth bloggers. If that prospect sends a chill down your leg, anything will.

    But that’s my point: it’s no more of a slippery slope from police airplanes with cameras to police airplanes with Hellfires. The only distinction is the cockpit configuration.

  122. 122
    Tonal Crow says:

    Remember, if a jury finds a person not guilty, the case (at least under that sovereign) is over. The powers that be don’t like us talking about jury nullification, but it’s a fact of life — and it can be a backstop for Liberty.

  123. 123
    Argive says:

    @WWStBreitbartD:

    Those actions are despicable and I won’t be defending them. Thanks for reminding me that the PPD goes after white people too. I tend to view the PPD’s problems as stemming from racism because that’s been a major issue for them for close to a hundred years. Here’s a recent example.

  124. 124
    jefft452 says:

    “I know the police cause you trouble
    They cause trouble everywhere
    But when you die and go to heaven
    You won’t find no policemen there”

  125. 125
    Lavocat says:

    Holy fuck! Who pissed in your Cheerios this morning?

    Not that I disagree but … DAMN!

  126. 126
    Ruckus says:

    @Smartpatrol:
    There may be a lot of people who would like to wait in the tall grass. There are not a lot of people who will. Sure maybe one person will take it upon themselves to rambo it up, but that’s not something I’d count on. And what happens next? Cops won’t stand around and say, “What an asshole, got what he deserved”. They will say “We have to get the bastard who took out one of us”. That’s that wide blue line.
    You can’t fix this properly using their methods, that just doesn’t get it close to fixed.

  127. 127
    tones says:

    Right as rain again , Jon.

    They can break the law, then lie about it, then harass you for mentioning it , then close ranks and deny that you hit your head on the door with help.
    Then the worst thing that will possibly happen is they have to go on vacation with pay while the dept “investigates” itself.
    Oh, and by the way -they do not EVER find themselves to have done anything inappropriate after these investigations.
    The guy on the ground in handcuffs shot in the back?
    The officers behaved appropriately, they thought there might have been some miracle by which the victim may have defended himself, so he had to be killed.or tazed to death. or beaten to death.or strip searched…ad infinitum.
    after all , he was not immediately compliant with the bullshit and unlawful unnecessary orders they gave, he needed to show more respect [groveling and ass kissing].
    If you think there is any basis for trusting them you are a fool.
    they are the modern SS who would not hesitate to gun down their fellow citizens if offered the opportunity -see Katrina.

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