Heads Should Roll

I simply have no faith in most police anymore. Many just can not be trusted to do the right thing:

Here’s another member of the St. Louis police force unleashing racist rants, smearing Captain Ron Johnson, and threatening to punch Attorney General Holder. As of now, this pig is still on the job.

I know the local police, and I am not afraid of them when I see them around because I know them and because there are witnesses (and I even supported my local Sheriff and like him and posted signs for his election). But if I see a cop car or a policeman outside my small county, I just go the other way or cross the street. There is just no way to know how stupid, untrained, undisciplined, or thuggish they will be, especially when they know they can get away with it and you are an outsider. I’m just better off not being near them, and so are you. Our entire justice system, starting with the STASI on the ground all the way up to the Catholic mafia in the Supreme Court simply can not be trusted. It’s as simple as that for me anymore. You are safer not being around police you don’t know than you are with them in your presence.

And the worst thing is no matter how many proven stories there are about specific acts of police brutality and police criminality, people will stand up and provide rhetorical cover for the bad cops. You point out a bad cop, and the default response from many is “Why don’t you support the police,” when in reality you just refuse to support shitty police. There simply is no excuse for Darren Wilson to not have been arrested at this point.

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127 replies
  1. 1
    James E. Powell says:

    I’d like to think that every time a white person – including me – has a moment of insight into matters that are common knowledge among non-white people an angel gets its wings.

  2. 2
    psychobroad says:

    F*cking barbarians. Charlie Pierce was eloquent to the point of making me cry about this. http://www.esquire.com/blogs/p.....The_Street

  3. 3
    geg6 says:

    And you’re a whiter than white boy. Imagine if you were black or Hispanic, of whatever sex. Hell, white women are less safe around cops than white men.

  4. 4
    Mnemosyne says:

    I love how the police spokeman’s immediate answer is that it was the fault of the spectators that Brown’s body wasn’t immediately removed. If they had just calmly gone about their business while one of their neighbors lay dead in the street, then none of this would have happened!

    I’m also a little shocked that apparently the police were just ignoring Brown’s relatives who came to the scene. Shouldn’t they have been taking some kind of statement from them, or at least trying to soothe them instead of shoving them aside?

  5. 5
    carlweese says:

    Matter of degree? I think it’s worse now. But, I’m 65, so went to high school and college in 1963-71, the height of the Vietnam era. Even dressed in prep school jacket and tie, any kid was seen by cops as a DFH. In the New Jersey suburbs due west of NYC, even a suburban white kid adopted exactly the stance you describe in regard to police presence. It was much worse for anyone with less Nordic coloring.

  6. 6
    MattF says:

    Don’t forget that the hiring, equipping, and training of local police forces are all in the hands of higher-ups. Of course, it’s a fact that if you hire thugs, you’ll get a thuggish police force. But the important point is that it’s not an accident– it’s that way because someone in charge made certain specific choices.

  7. 7
    Hal says:

    It’s amazing to me how many comments I’ve seen from people saying this isn’t about race, just listen to the Police, yada yada, yet these incidents keep popping up. Even Darren Wilson’s first assignment was troubled.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/08/2.....orruption/

    According to officials interviewed by the Post, Wilson maintained a clean record, but the Post reports that his first job “was not an ideal place to learn how to police.” He entered the police force in 2009, joining a nearly all-white, 45-member task force that patrolled Jennings, Missouri, a small, impoverished city of 14,000 where the residents were 89 percent African-American. The racial tension was high, and the police were accused of using excessive force against its residents:

    Racial tension was endemic in Jennings, said Rodney Epps, an African American city council member.

    “You’re dealing with white cops, and they don’t know how to address black people,” Epps said. “The straw that broke the camel’s back, an officer shot at a female. She was stopped for a traffic violation. She had a child in the back [of the] car and was probably worried about getting locked up. And this officer chased her down Highway 70, past city limits, and took a shot at her. Just ridiculous.”

    Police faced a series of lawsuits for using unnecessary force, Stichnote said. One black resident, Cassandra Fuller, sued the department claiming a white Jennings police officer beat her in June 2009 on her own porch after she made a joke. A car had smashed into her van, which was parked in front of her home, and she called police. The responding officer asked her to move the van. “It don’t run. You can take it home with you if you want,” she answered. She said the officer became enraged, threw her off the porch, knocked her to the ground and kicked her in the stomach.

    The department paid Fuller a confidential sum to settle the case, she said.

  8. 8
    Hungry Joe says:

    Oh, calm down. Take that attached story about tear gassing, for example. Police did not fire tear gas at people standing in their own front yards for no reason — they fired tear gas at people standing in their own front yards because it looked to the police like they were up to no good. Why, many a time I’ve stood in my own front yard and contemplated doing something no good, and a healthy dose of pepper fog or CS powder would have set me right.

  9. 9
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    Our knowledge is being corrected by the omnipresence of cell phone cameras. That was true of Romney, and it’s true of the Ferguson police dept.

  10. 10
    Woodrow/asim Jarvis Hill says:

    I’m a fairly eloquent — dare I say it, sometimes articulate, Black Male. One with a good steady job that can impress people.

    And the reality? As much as I tried to dodge, and deny, that race was an issue for too damn many years — that could have been me on that ground, that day. Too tall, too black, too risky for a cop to take chances with, “right” or “wrong” neighborhood.

    Those of you still doubting, still making excuses for a system that tells you I’m a risk? You need to get a grip. This is why so many people are shrill, to this day, and it’s high time more people listen tot those who’ve been talking about these issues for decades, now.

  11. 11
    AkaDad says:

    About 25 years ago, I was robbed at gunpoint. There happened to be a police unit right down the street and they were there in under 2 minutes. They got the guy and threw him in jail for 3 1/2 years. The system worked.

    I don’t hate all cops, but what I’ve seen over the years infuriates me. If I’m this pissed off, I can only imagine how non-white people feel.

  12. 12
    Shakezula says:

    The lack of consequences is the real problem. In my area a cop cost his department a few million dollars when he followed a college student into another state and then shot him to death. The county also had to overturn convictions based on his testimony because it emerged he was a compulsive liar. He was fired, but the same department recently rehired him as a captain for its anti-terrorism division.

    WTF? Why not take the money this creep is going to cost the county and put it towards something useful? Like bodycams for the other Quickdraws running around the place.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    docg says:

    Most galling to me is that after every police shooting of civilian is the proclamation that they were just following their training. Who set the training standard as “shoot first and no questions allowed later?” Is there no oversight, no review of training standards by communities?

  15. 15
    Botsplainer says:

    Like I’ve said before, there is a new professionalism in police these days.

    Now they say “quit resisting, sir” as they beat and tase you while you writhe in agony.

    If it were up to me, they’d go back to carrying revolvers with hard pulls. They’d also patrol in pairs and do a community policing model.

  16. 16
    Violet says:

    I found this reader comment posted over on TPM on Thursday really interesting:

    It’s incredibly unfair that it worked out this way but I think the historical take of the biggest success of the Obama presidency will be this.

    As a white, suburban, middle++ aged liberal, I saw the run up to his first election as proof of what I believed for a long time – we were in a post-racial world where the only thing that was holding individuals of color back was a willingness to do the hard work that the rest of us were doing to get ahead.

    The re-surfacing of the hidden racism that had become invisible to me was (and is) worldview shattering. The breadth and depth and virulence of both institutional and individual racism is so enormous that I have a hard time coming to grips with it. I’m entirely embarrassed by my pre-Obama beliefs and am still trying to figure out what I can do to move from being part of the problem and becoming part of the solution.

    While discussing Ferguson with folks who fall in to the “don’t think there’s any racism” category, I’m seeing a shift. Events like this, and the pro-protester media coverage seems to be chipping away at the middle. More people are starting to see the world like it really is.

    Looping back to my hypothesis, I suspect that without an Obama presidency, the lens through which we view the current events would have been much less sympathetic to the protesters.

    Oh, and healthcare.

    Maybe more white people are becoming aware of the way the world really is.

  17. 17
    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    Their problem is that if they fire every thuggish/racist cop/cop who has overreacted or behaved in an illegal manner, there won’t be any cops left.

  18. 18
    scav says:

    They’ll roll out entire elaborated “Broken Windows” theory of policing and defend stopping every other ‘questionable, person in the street in order to ‘send messages’ and then leave bodies lying about in full view. Must be a different sort of messaging. And they’re So Proud of themselves! Announcing. Insisting They’re Doing A Good Job! Evidence would suggest just a teeny bit otherwise, you pious twirps.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @docg:

    Who set the training standard as “shoot first and no questions allowed later?

    Heinrich Himmler.

    Next question?

  21. 21
    mark says:

    @Shakezula: I could not agree more. This drives me crazy! No one is ever fired. American policeman have the greatest job security in the world. It is insane. Giving some ill-educated (many times brutish) person the power of life and death and ZERO responsibility.

    but Republicans think it is (only) public school teachers who need to be fired for whatever.

  22. 22
    Richard Shindledecker says:

    A little late to the sho bro but welcome.

  23. 23
    skerry says:

    This past week in my very-well-off suburban DC-Baltimore neighborhood, 2 suicidal men armed with knives were shot dead by the county police. I do not know the race of the victims or the cops.

    The police said they tried to use a taser on the second guy, but he ran back into his house. So they shot him when he came back outside.

    This scares the shit out of me. Shoot to kill someone with a knife?

  24. 24
    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I love how the police spokeman’s immediate answer is that it was the fault of the spectators that Brown’s body wasn’t immediately removed.

    Especially since, if I remember the timeline correctly, it took Wilson about 20 minutes to get around to calling it in, and about 45 minutes more before anyone official responded. So is he saying they didn’t respond because there was a crowd there? The crowd that they had given plenty of time to assemble while they finished their donuts and coffee back at the station house?

    OK, the donuts part is an unfair stereotype, but really!

  25. 25
    Shakezula says:

    @Kay (not the front-pager): Well, no. If they started firing cops who broke the law, didn’t let them back on the force and goodbye to that pension, the ones who had self-control would stop being assholes. The ones who don’t would be off the force and possibly in jail. It really isn’t the case that our choice is Either let the cops do whatever they want OR have to personally fight off crooks who aren’t wearing badges.

  26. 26
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Shouldn’t they have been taking some kind of statement from them, or at least trying to soothe them instead of shoving them aside?

    Well, you know, actual professionals probably would have done that. Think the guys from “Law and Order”.

    Oh, wait. Those are actors, not actual policemen.

    Never mind.

  27. 27
    Cain says:

    I live in a well to do, upper middle class neighborhood. The only time I see a cop in the neighborhood is when a black man is walking the streets either to a) help me move a fridge or some other thing b) house sit for my house c) a man trying to get his life back on track by selling something people might want. There is some motherfucker in this neighborhood that gets his panty in a twist when he sees a black guy. If I ever find out who he is, there will be words exchanged.

    My friend? WHo babysits my hosue? Two college degrees, and a respected engineer. To cops? He’s just another thug. Every time I think about it my blood boils. No matter what you’re status in life, you’re just someone who potentially going to commit a crime. He’s not even african american, he’s from Nigeria. I have more in common with him based on my Indian background than I have with my own indian friends.

  28. 28
    MattF says:

    This is a little OT, but… Is anyone else bothered by that Newsmax headline where Pat Buchanan is predicting a race war? Isn’t that just a wee bit over the top?

  29. 29
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MattF: Pat Buchanan is well versed with over the top. During his “red meat” speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention, Al Franken called the election for Bill Clinton.

  30. 30
    Baud says:

    Justice Scalia’s opinion in Hudson v. Michigan, 547 U.S. 586 (2006), which the four other conservatives signed onto, seems appropriate to recall:

    Another development over the past half-century that deters civil-rights violations is the increasing professionalism of police forces, including a new emphasis on internal police discipline. Even as long ago as 1980 we felt it proper to “assume” that unlawful police behavior would “be dealt with appropriately” by the authorities, United States v. Payner, 447 U. S. 727, 733-734, n. 5 (1980), but we now have increasing evidence that police forces across the United States take the constitutional rights of citizens seriously. There have been “wide-ranging reforms in the education, training, and supervision of police officers.” S. Walker, Taming the System: The Control of Discretion in Criminal Justice 1950-1990, p. 51 (1993). Numerous sources are now available to teach officers and their supervisors what is required of them under this Court’s cases, how to respect constitutional guarantees in various situations, and how to craft an effective regime for internal discipline. See, e.g., D. Waksman & D. Goodman, The Search and Seizure Handbook (2d ed. 2006); A. Stone & S. DeLuca, Police Administration: An Introduction (2d ed. 1994); E. Thibault, L. Lynch, & R. McBridge, Proactive Police Management (4th ed. 1998). Failure to teach and enforce constitutional requirements exposes municipalities to financial liability. See Canton v. Harris, 489 U. S. 378, 388 (1989). Moreover, modern police forces are staffed with professionals; it is not credible to assert that internal discipline, which can limit successful careers, will not have a deterrent effect. There is also evidence that the increasing use of various forms of citizen review can enhance police accountability.

  31. 31
    Violet says:

    @skerry:

    Shoot to kill someone with a knife?

    In another area of St. Louis the cops did just that and a bystander got the whole thing on video. Guy had a knife and was known to have some mental issues. Was apparently walking around saying threatening things or something. Cops showed up and shot him.

  32. 32
    Shakezula says:

    @skerry: That happened to a suicidal boy in Virgina a month or so ago. First, unless they’ve had special training or are going to back up a psych worker, I don’t see why police are responding to calls for potential suicides, at all. Second, why the fuck can’t the cop go hide in his 100% knife-proof car if he feels threatened?

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, even with the NYT pro-police slant on it, this story really makes it look like the Ferguson PD were in over their heads from the moment Wilson pulled his gun and had no idea WTF to do. It took them 40 minutes to call St. Louis PD and get the ball rolling on the investigation. Forty. Nobody seems to have had any clue what to do once they had a dead body laying in the street.

  34. 34
    James E. Powell says:

    @docg:

    Who set the training standard as “shoot first and no questions allowed later?” Is there no oversight, no review of training standards by communities?

    People (voters) who are convinced that overwhelming violent force is the only way to deal with the things that scare them – real or imagined. It comes from the same place as Dick Cheney’s 1% Doctrine.

    If memory serves, the United States military made no effort to keep track of the Iraqi civilians who it killed and maimed. The suggestion that they should was deemed to be treasonous, objectively pro-terrorist.

  35. 35
    srv says:

    Richard Sale’s “A Riot” covering the 1968 Democratic Convention/Police Riot:

    @Botsplainer:

    Forming circles, the police stooped to beat those who were down. A scrawny kid in a white coat, who had unkempt, matted hair, screamed, “I’m a medic,” after a cop had whacked him viciously. “I’m a medic!” the kid screamed. The cop, half mad, said, “Oh, excuse me!” and hit him again.

  36. 36
    Hal says:

    @MattF:

    This is a little OT, but… Is anyone else bothered by that Newsmax headline where Pat Buchanan is predicting a race war? Isn’t that just a wee bit over the top?

    I was just thinking that about the ISIS headlines. Giant bombs, hundreds of Americans joining, sleeper cells. I can’t believe we are back to the pro-war hyperbole of the early 2000’s. Lindsey Graham has caught the vapors several times these past few weeks.

  37. 37
    scav says:

    Oh. And I am damn well tired of all the cooing fluffies asking for time for ‘healing’ that is to say, amnesia, a quick whitewash, and the beautiful mind restored.

  38. 38
    kc says:

    And then there’s this guy.

  39. 39
    AliceBlue says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I didn’t watch any of that Convention but I read about it every day while it was going on. Supposedly a cameraman was overheard muttering “what are they going to do next, burn a witch?”

  40. 40
    muddy says:

    I had the disturbing experience earlier this summer when I had to call the police (death threats from neighbor) and when the cop came he bullied the shit out me, instead. In my sweet little Vermont village.

    10+ years ago cops when we were in Asheville NC beat the shit out of my son, because he was walking around in the wee hours. They refused to tell him why they were taking him in, and then they used his cuffed hands behind his back as a pivot to swing his head into the cruiser several times. This in addition to the beating.

    And we’re “respectable” middle class white people living in “nice” neighborhoods . I can only think how much worse for others.

    I got very upset when I called my son to talk about Ferguson – I likened it to what had happened to him, and said how he probably would be dead if he’d been black. He says, I shouldn’t have asked why they were taking me in, I should have kept my mouth shut. WTF??? No, gods forbid you ask that, so out of line! I said he wasn’t wrong to ask it, they were wrong to beat you instead of answering. He says, This is the world, Mom.

    So he learned a lesson, and recently when I needed help I learned a lesson too. Until I see a bunch of cops coming out against this stuff, I don’t care that some cops are good. Fuck them all behind their nasty blue line.

  41. 41
    Kathleen says:

    I thought one of the most poignant moments in the video was the statement that one of the reasons a crowd gathered so that his neighbors could make sure that the police would not try to plant any “evidence”.

  42. 42
    Gene108 says:

    @MattF:

    Impending race wars does wonders for guns and ammo sales…somebody probably paid good money for that headline to scare up sales…

  43. 43
    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    @Shakezula: Um, you might want to adjust your irony sensors.

    Actually, I guess this is the kind of thing I should know better than to make sarcastic comments about. It really is too serious. It’s just that sarcasm is how I’ve always dealt with unbearable tragedy. I’m sorry.

  44. 44
    TooManyJens says:

    Typically, said John Paolucci, a former detective sergeant at the New York Police Department, crime scene investigators would work methodically.

    If there had been a struggle between an officer and a shooting victim, the officer’s shirt would be taken as evidence. The police cruiser would be towed to a garage and examined there.

    I remember reading at least a week ago that Darren Wilson was allowed to drive away in the cruiser. Does anyone know if that’s true?

  45. 45
    Peter says:

    Heads will not roll, sorry. There hasn’t been anywhere near enough rage yet.

    We have such a sanitized memory of how change happens. Two weeks of protests isn’t going to change anything. The Montgomery bus boycott lasted thirteen months and the city of Montgomery still didn’t give in and integrate the buses until they lost in the Supreme Court. Before that they pressured insurance companies to cancel the policies of carpool drivers and arrested MLK for “conspiracy to interfere with a business”.

    The powers that be in Ferguson have not yet begun to dig in their heels.

  46. 46
    Shakezula says:

    @MattF: Assholes have been predicting a race war since the first slave was freed. And of course if some Teahaddist gets in a first strike by opening fire on someone’s family reunion the same RW clowns will wine and snivel because people are being so mean to them and calling them racists for going on about the race war.

  47. 47
    Mike J says:

    @Shakezula: Somebody on Balloon Juice pointed out earlier this week that when a bear wanders into a residential area (something that’s not rare here in the PNW) everybody involved goes out of their way to capture it as safely as possible.

    The cops keep calling protesters animals. Why can’t they treat them that well?

  48. 48
    debbie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    When I lived in NYC and people died on the streets, they were immediately covered up and stayed covered up until they were taken away.

    Once, a homeless soul died in the gutter at 3rd and 51st. A yellow tarp covered the body. Someone (suit and briefcase, but I won’t indulge in stereotyping) walked up and lifted a corner to peek, and a cop was immediately all over him (physically and verbally) to move along.

  49. 49
    🚸 Martin says:

    @MattF:

    This is a little OT, but… Is anyone else bothered by that Newsmax headline where Pat Buchanan is predicting a race war? Isn’t that just a wee bit over the top?

    He’s not predicting one. He’s calling for one.

  50. 50

    @srv: Wow.

    I’m going to link that story again in case anyone missed it.

    My dad, who has been gone for 18 years now, was on the street until he shimmied up a lamppost.

    In his 82nd ABN uniform.

    His dad was a sergeant in Cleveland and he knew better than to trust Chicago cops with his skull.

  51. 51
    MattF says:

    @🚸 Martin: Tsk. Silly me. How could I have missed that?

  52. 52
    TooManyJens says:

    @🚸 Martin: I get a little schadenfreude just thinking about Pat Buchanan eventually meeting his end without ever getting to see that race war.

  53. 53
    Mike in NC says:

    Pat Buchanan has been predicting demanding a race war for about the last 40 years.

  54. 54
    Roger Moore says:

    @MattF:

    Is anyone else bothered by that Newsmax headline where Pat Buchanan is predicting a race war?

    The headline might suggest that, but it doesn’t look as if that’s what he’s actually saying. He’s suggesting that Obama taking executive action on immigration will anger red state Democrats and trigger a firestorm of protest. Considerably more realistic prediction, albeit in typically flamboyant language.

  55. 55
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mike J:

    The cops keep calling protesters animals. Why can’t they treat them that well?

    Bears are popular animals, and people move into some neighborhoods specifically to be closer to them.

  56. 56
    MattF says:

    @Roger Moore: I’ll take your word for it. I clicked once on a Newsmax hed just to see where it went, but that’s not going to happen again, ever.

  57. 57
    Mike J says:

    @Roger Moore:

    will anger red state Democrats and trigger a firestorm of protest.

    A group so powerful they’ve been out of power for 30 years.

  58. 58
    Roger Moore says:

    @MattF:
    I click on the Newsmax headlines whenever I want to know what the actual story is that they’re distorting. I’m perfectly happy to transfer a few pennies of their money to John Cole.

  59. 59
    HinTN says:

    There’s a reason we called them Pigs in the Vietnam protest era. It’s still relevant.

  60. 60
    mark says:

    Here is the video of the St. Louis cops murdering a crazy black guy with a pocket knife. They gave him no time to drop it, nor did they get behind the doors and repeatedly give the guy a chance. This is an abomination
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUuB4XA0PHQ#t=740

  61. 61
    wmd says:

    I’ve been beating the drum about Joseph McNamara for about 2 weeks now.

    This column shows the type of police leadership needed.

    Just a few days after I took charge, on a crystal clear day in 1973, a uniformed officer responded to a daylight break-in of a home. The officer raised his shotgun and fired at a youth running away. He killed Rory Lark, age 15, unarmed and slight, at 115 pounds …

    Kansas City’s black community wanted to know, Why had this boy died for a nonviolent crime? My police department responded quickly: He should not have been fired upon.

    McNamara started as a beat cop in Harlem. He went on to get a PhD from Harvard, Chief of Police in both Kansas City and San Jose, California. Both times he was able to affect a change in police culture. He should be getting a lot of airplay, and the techniques he used to clean up his departments need to be widely repeated.

  62. 62
  63. 63
    Pogonip says:

    Is anyone reading this a police officer, or were you one at one time? If so, what’s your take on all this?

  64. 64
    raven says:

    @PhoenixRising: I almost left a comment on that article but it’s been over a year since I quit Lang so I didn’t. I’m actually surprised that Pat “Hippies spit on me in the airport” hasn’t chimed in to savage the demonstrators. I was in the barracks at Lewis waiting to ship out and watching the convention on TV was just another in the chain of events that took me down the liberal path.

  65. 65
    Zach says:

    It blows my mind that the other St. Louis shooting days later (person w/ mental health and/or substance problems with a knife shot and killed) didn’t inflame things at all. Based on the responses of officials to that shooting, it seems the officers were acting within their training, but training police officers to take that course of action in that situation is incredible. The odds of either officer being permanently injured or killed had they attempted to deal with the situation any other way (nonlethal force, backing up for 2 seconds and at least trying to talk to the guy, etc) must have been very low. The odds of killing from 9 point blank shots were very high. The only way their actions made sense is if we place much, much more value on the lives of police officers than on the lives of the mentally ill…

  66. 66
    J R in WV says:

    @Woodrow/asim Jarvis Hill:

    I worked for a well educated black guy who left his managerial position because other administrative people would shitcan his paperwork for new hires or purchases, and as a result his unit couldn’t progress as well as we should have. BS, MBA, no respect, no support, just fuck you black dude!

    So I understand where you’re coming from. Post racial my ASS! I’m a 63 yo white guy, and I know the black community suffers from oppression in so many ways. I wish I could do more than just be open minded. I will do whatever I can to move people to treat people right.

  67. 67
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @🚸 Martin: I’m sure in his mind it’s always 1992, and he’s always addressing the GOP convention in Houston.

    That was his Spitfire summer….

  68. 68
    Roger Moore says:

    @Zach:

    The only way their actions made sense is if we place much, much more value on the lives of police officers than on the lives of the mentally ill…

    Like it or not, that does seem to be the case. Actually, I would say that we place a much higher value on the lives of police officers than we do on anyone who threatens violence, no matter how pathetic the threat is, and regardless of whether the person in question is mentally ill. The bigger problem is that police know this and use it to cover up their wrongdoing, making up threats after the fact to justify violence against people who were completely peaceful. As long as enough people are willing to believe them, nothing will improve.

  69. 69
    WaterGirl says:

    @Roger Moore: So Buchannan isn’t predicting a race war, he’s threatening President Obama with a race war if he takes action on immigration. Awesome.

  70. 70
    rikyrah says:

    Clinton ignores questions on Ferguson

    // Westhampton Beach, New York (CNN) – Hillary Clinton, who has yet to comment about the protests over the death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, ignored questions about the incident on Sunday. After signing more than 700 books at Books & Books in Westhampton Beach, Clinton was asked by two reporters for her reaction to the controversy.

    Clinton ignored both questions and left the bookstore. Liberal activists and civil rights leaders have asked Clinton for her response, saying she is the presumed front-runner for her party’s presidential nomination in 2016 and that she has commented on major news stories in the past. //

    http://politicalticker.blogs.c.....-ferguson/

  71. 71
    Ruckus says:

    @Roger Moore:
    It’s somewhat analogous to TV news. People believe it because it gets repeated as the truth and they want to believe that cops (or TV news) are good and will protect (truthfully inform) them. And it won’t change until people start to recognize that it’s mostly bullshit.
    Have cops gotten worse over the last couple of decades? I’m not sure that’s the case. When I was 18 I wanted to be a cop. But I looked around and saw things that told me that there is a veneer of propriety about police but below that the concept of helping people is BS. One of those things was the SEB. This was/is? the special enforcement bureau of the LA County Sheriff’s dept. Two or more guys, very large and muscular would ride around in cars and enforce the code of the west, which is do as I say or get the shit beat out of you. Mostly in gang territory but I’d see them around different parts of the county regularly. They had a little plastic plaque in the back window to let you know who they were. As I understood it if a regular patrol car was having a discussion with someone(usually about BS), SBE could and would swoop in and administer a bit of physical justice, all the while the regular deputies would watch or get in their cars and drive off. I wanted no part of this. No, I think that we are seeing what has been going on for a very long time. The militarization seems to have made cops feel that we are all the enemy. Crime is down substantially and yet the cops act like everyone is a murderer, with fresh blood on their hands.

  72. 72
    J R in WV says:

    @Baud:

    In his dreams! If this was the way it worked, life would be better for all of us. I wouldn’t worry about the next cop that pulls me over being crazy violent!

  73. 73
    rikyrah says:

    SEE IT: Texas cops mistakenly pull over, arrest woman with 4 small children inside car
    The officers in Forney were looking for a car with four suspects who waved a gun out the window. The officers quickly realized their mistake and then tried to calm down the four children who were 10 years old and younger.
    BY Joel Landau
    NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    Sunday, August 24, 2014, 12:19 PM
    Texas police mistakenly pulled over and arrested a woman, scaring her four children in the car including a 6-year-old boy who exited the vehicle with his hands up.

    Dashboard footage from the officers’ car in Forney, Tex., was released to TV station WFAA.

    The officers were searching for a beige or tan Toyota with four black males after authorities were alerted a gun was pointed out of the window.

    Police pulled over a burgundy red Nissan Maxima driven by Kametra Barbour’s on Aug. 9 that was spotted in the same area as the other car, the station reported.

    Barbour was immediately pulled out of the car and handcuffed with her four children inside.

    “Yes sir, what is wrong? My kids. They are 6 and 8 and 10, 9. What are we doing?” she asked. “Sir, what is going on? Oh my God. You will terrify my children.”

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new.....z3BMHOIPDM

  74. 74
    Just One More Canuck says:

    ‘”up to no good”? WTF?!

  75. 75
    muddy says:

    @rikyrah: The best part is that they had a report of a tan Toyota, so they pulled over a red Nissan.

    I can’t tell cars apart, but are they colorblind?

  76. 76
    El Caganer says:

    @rikyrah: Christ, Jay Nixon has said more about it than she has, and he hasn’t exactly been a profile in courage.

  77. 77
    Ruckus says:

    @rikyrah:
    Sounds like the idiot cops who shot up a pickup delivering newspapers in LA when they were looking for that cop that had threatened to shoot cops and in fact had done so. He was one person, not two, he was in a different make and color of truck(his, so the make, color and license was known). Can’t remember the number of rounds they fired off but it was substantial and they managed to only wound one of the two ladies inside. So not only did they do the wrong thing, they did it very poorly. Which in this case was a good thing.

  78. 78
    El Caganer says:

    @muddy: Quite the contrary….oh, you meant the color of the car….

  79. 79
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @muddy: ABC national news left out the color error in their reporting on that incident. I just shook my head and went on with supper.

  80. 80
    Ruckus says:

    @muddy:

    I can’t tell cars apart, but are they colorblind?

    I’m reading this a bit different than I think you intended. I’m assuming here, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong but the answer is no, they arrested a black person. They got the color right. Screwed up every other bit of info possible. Ignored all but one fact. Sex, age, color of car, make of car, number of occupants….
    But it’s OK they were just making sure.
    /snark, just in case it wasn’t clear.

    ETA Damn, I don’t type fast enough.

  81. 81
    JimV says:

    Another anecdote: I was driving through the streets of Schenectady with a friend who grew up there. We passed a police car parked on the side of the road, and my friend swore as he saw who was inside it, saying, “Every damn punk and bully I knew in high school is now in the Schenectady police!”

    It strikes me that a bully, especially one with little or no marketable skills, would consider police work an ideal job – unless of course they make an effort to weed them out in hiring, which it appears they don’t.

    I had to take the MMMP test to get into nuclear power plants as a GE engineer. They gave us computer-generated personality summaries based on the test, and I thought mine was surprisingly accurate. Maybe they should do that with police recruits.

  82. 82
    muddy says:

    @El Caganer: @Ruckus: I wasn’t even trying to make that work both ways. But of course it does. Fuck.

  83. 83
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ruckus:
    The LAPD cops who shot up the delivery truck at least had the plausible excuse of poor visibility and erratic driving patterns. I’m out early enough to see people delivering papers fairly regularly, so I know that you never see them with good, or even mediocre light, and they regularly break multiple traffic laws simultaneously. I’d hope that LAPD officers put on protective duty would be more competent than they were, but I can at least see where the mistake came from.

  84. 84
    Ruckus says:

    @rikyrah:
    You’d have thought that when they did the stop on the car and came up and looked inside they would have realized their mistake. But no, they have to remove her, handcuff her, before they realized how fucking stupid they were. A ray of light. A very small, tiny, very dim light, they didn’t shoot her and claim she attacked them which would have proved she was one of the 4 men they were looking for.

  85. 85
    scav says:

    @rikyrah: What what! They freaked out this much about a celebration of the Holy Second in Texas!? ‘f course they did!

  86. 86
    seabe says:

    Well I guess since your area is so local that maybe it changes perspective, JC. However, even though I’m a white person, any time a cop enters a store I’m in, steps onto the same Metro-rail train car, is parked in my neighborhood, I don’t feel safe; I get insecure, and just want them to get the fuck out of wherever I am. Cops are not my friend. They’re not to be trusted. They’re liars, they’re goons, they’re thugs.

  87. 87
    Ruckus says:

    @Roger Moore:
    I don’t give them that excuse. They put enough rounds into that truck that they should have killed both of the women. They missed one completely. They shot at someone they didn’t know to be the person they were looking for, driving a truck that didn’t come close to matching the description, other than being a pickup. Didn’t they notice them delivering papers to other houses? Yes the guy they were looking for had shot other cops, yes they expected him to show up and kill the person they were supposed to protect. They still used extremely poor judgement to start shooting before they were sure. And if they were sure that’s even worse for they were completely wrong. Talk about bad judgement. We are here complaining about cops having bad judgement, about having an attitude that citizen’s lives have no value and these cops proved that, in the same way if not the same reason as was done for Michael Brown. Cops matter, citizens don’t. I don’t like that.

  88. 88
    gwangung says:

    @Ruckus: I’m just glad the kids weren’t waving around toy guns.

  89. 89
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Here’s an interesting comment on Naked Capitalism on how someone who ideally witnessed the incident can report this to the United Nations Human Right Office of the High Commisioner, with instructions on the process for filling out the necessary documentation.

    The question becomes-will someone actually take that risk and file one?

  90. 90
    J R in WV says:

    @seabe:

    I think you didn’t read or grasp what John said, which was that in a store or [lace where there were people to be witnesses he worried less, but mostly he wanted to avoid cops as much as possible.

    Isn’t that what you said as well?

  91. 91
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @MattF:

    Don’t forget that the hiring, equipping, and training of local police forces are all in the hands of higher-ups. Of course, it’s a fact that if you hire thugs, you’ll get a thuggish police force.

    Absolutely. Many departments will not even hire over a certain IQ. Perhaps for fear of underlings that question their actions?

    It’s probably based on complete superstition, like so much of American policing. Real science shows lower IQ correlates with anti-social behavior because lower IQ is associated with lesser frontal lobe development, the part of the brain that helps a person anticipate the consequences of their actions.

    The real action is in psychological profile and of course personality disorders. Some depts are actually good at screening out freaks, but others are less discriminating. And people have a way of fitting into their circumstances so a thuggish department will elicit thuggish behavior, because the sociopaths can get away with it and the weak-minded ones will go along to get along, and the strong minded ones will end up at loggerheads with the system and be ejected by it.

  92. 92
    seabe says:

    @J R in WV: He said he wasn’t afraid of them because he knows them, which causes a slightly different interpretation. I meant even in smaller local areas, even where I know them, I still wouldn’t trust them, whatsoever. In fact a friend of mine just married a cop; wouldn’t trust him either. If he meant what I said, then we are in agreement.

  93. 93
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Hal: The ones who say it isn’t about race are the ones who also have something to tell you about the Negro. No exceptions. Usually in the very next Tweet/breath.

  94. 94
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Shakezula:

    The county also had to overturn convictions based on his testimony because it emerged he was a compulsive liar. He was fired, but the same department recently rehired him as a captain for its anti-terrorism division.

    “He can’t do any harm there.”

  95. 95
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: Victor White III is only the latest, I mean there’s been an epidemic of young black males committing suicide while cuffed in the back of police cars lately. They should do a PSA!

    Chavis Carter:
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetw.....-a-suicide

    More of those Negro super powers, I guess.

  96. 96
    J R in WV says:

    @seabe:

    John said “I am not afraid of them when I see them around because I know them and because there are witnesses ” – not that he knew them, trusted them, but because there were witnesses in a store.

    I don’t know why you didn’t take a second look at what he wrote, but there it is for you.

    I know a few cops that I trust, but most I wouldn’t let get behind me if I could help it. There are cops who believe in law and justice, but most believe in enforcement…

  97. 97
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Shakezula: Well said.

  98. 98
    nellcote says:

    Bad cops stay on the job because of the police union. Take it up with them.

  99. 99
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @rikyrah: This is our inevitable heir apparent? A woman who runs away Michele Bachmann-style when asked about the most topical of topical domestic issues right now?

  100. 100
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Network news and CNN are all doing cleanup for Fox News Channel at this point, omitting facts and making the racists look less like the deranged, obsessed liars that they are. Oh, NYT as well.

    As problematic as MSNBC is at least a bunch of their anchors and news teams proved their worth over the last two weeks. (It was the perfect story for MSNBC because they had a rich stew of tweets, livestreams, and a lot of the story was the media, so perfect for news aggregators with a liberal bias, and you had a bunch of opinionated people hip deep in the story to bring on for segments, making the pundit filler portions a lot less anodyne than usual (‘let’s bring on a former Democratic consultant to talk about why Paul Ryan’s latest photo op is dumb’).

  101. 101
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @nellcote: Bad cops stay on the job because they’re only accountable to other cops.

  102. 102
    wmd says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):
    The union does enter into it; internal affairs investigations have personnel implcations and hence are not subject to sunshine laws (i.e. the public doesn’t see the results of the investigation).

    One of the things Chief McNamara did in San Jose was put the IA office at a remote location so that officers couldn’t easily see who was talking with IA. What he did in San Jose WORKED to rein in bad (cowboy) officers. We’ve got a scholar that walked the beat in Harlem on our side – we need to be using him!

  103. 103
    Hal says:

    Everything about this police department is shady as hell. What fundamentally bothers me about a fundraiser for Wilson is that he has not been charged. He’s on paid administrative leave, he isn’t on disability and he may never see more than the inside of the grand jury room. Giving him money now makes this a reward for killing Michael Brown, and looking at some of the comments attached to some of the donations, it quite obvious that many of his supporters see it that way as well.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/jacobf.....e-c#5uxeg5

    GoFundMe Page For Darren Wilson Replaced By Tax-Deductible Charity

    The original donation page to support the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot Mike Brown has been replaced with a charity, which shares the same address with a local police union in Missouri.

    A long message to the Support Officer Wilson GoFundMe page was posted Friday afternoon, noting that donations will now go directly to a 501c3 charity called Shield of Hope, which the post says is designated “the authorized charity for donations on behalf of Darren Wilson.”

    Ferguson Police Department’s Public Relations Officer Timothy Zoll serves on the board of Shield of Hope, The Wire reported Friday. In an interview with the site, Zoll said the organization raises money that is “allocated to officers in times of need.”

  104. 104
    The Sailor says:

    @nellcote: @nellcote:

    Bad cops stay on the job because of the police union. Take it up with them.

    Unions don’t make laws, if the cop broke the law they should be put in jail like anyone else, but their fellow cops, and supervisors, won’t do that.

    Every cop who is anywhere near a ‘bad actor’ should also be arrested for conspiracy.

  105. 105
    Mike in NC says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer): Hillary Clinton: Profile in Courage

  106. 106
    mclaren says:

    @JimV:

    It strikes me that a bully, especially one with little or no marketable skills, would consider police work an ideal job – unless of course they make an effort to weed them out in hiring, which it appears they don’t.

    Every bully in my high school who set cats on fire and beat turtles to death with a rock and duct-taped firecrackers to pigeons’ legs and let the pigeons fly away after lighting said firecracker, wound up becoming a cop.

    Every.

    Single.

    One.

  107. 107
    El Caganer says:

    New Smacks really is a gift that keeps on giving. I see that in addition to the Patster shilling for race war, they have “Ex-NYPD Head Kerik: Why We Must Militarize The Police.” This wouldn’t by any stretch of the imagination be Jailbird Bernie, would it?

  108. 108
    magurakurin says:

    @Botsplainer:

    If it were up to me, they’d go back to carrying revolvers with hard pulls.

    Don’t get me wrong, because I agree with you 110%, but one more thing needs to happen at the same time: the populace needs to go back to carrying revolvers with hard pulls. I realize it’s complex but one reason cops have such powerful weapons is that people have them too. Limit the cops fire power and limit everyone’s fire power. I say, one revolver, one pump action shotgun and one 5 shot rifle limit for everyone. I imagine a lot of cops would actually be happy about that as well. The way to demilitarize the cops is to demilitarize the population.

  109. 109
    leeleeFL says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: thanx for mentioning that speech. Molly Ivins review: it was no doubt better in the original German. I fell in love with her that day.

  110. 110
    Jerry O'Brien says:

    Saint Louis County is separate from Saint Louis. Some blog posts have confused the two.This Weston guy with the latest rant about Ferguson is from the county, not the city.

  111. 111
    Mandalay says:

    @rikyrah:

    Hillary Clinton, who has yet to comment about the protests over the death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, ignored questions about the incident on Sunday.

    Both sides do it!!!….

    Hillary Clinton, the undeclared but formidable Democratic frontrunner for president in 2016, has said nothing at all. Neither has vice-president Joe Biden. Former Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan made a point of saying that he will not be saying anything about Ferguson, a position later adopted by New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

    So there you have it: four possible presidential candidates for 2016 have absolutely nothing to say about Ferguson.

  112. 112
    Original Lee says:

    @Kathleen: Co-sign.

  113. 113
    Don K says:

    I lost my image imprinted in childhood of cops as benign protectors when I watched Chicago 68 on TV. I was helped in this view by my very RW dad, who stopped telling the town police we’d be out of town when one of the town cops was arrested for B&E of houses whose occupants were on vacation and had so notified the police force.

    Having said that, I’ve never had a bad interaction with the police. By the 70s, college town police forces were pretty mellow. A friend of my roommate and mine who was in ROTC drove to NJ from Fort Bragg for Fourth of July 75 with some real fireworks. After smoking large amounts of pot, we went to the balcony and were setting off bottle rockets and M80s on Livingston Ave in New Brunswick. This drew three cop cars who sat facing the apartment while we went inside and stared, scared shitless, out the window, and who then dispersed when they figured we were properly frightened and wouldn’t bother them anymore. I’m sure in today’s environment we would have drawn an MRAP or two with the full SWAT team and the lasers trained on our torsos.

  114. 114
    karen says:

    I want to scream at people to stop saying it’s incompetence. Incompetence means that they didn’t purposely leave the body out as a calling card and to obfuscate the evidence. Incompetence is accidental. This wasn’t.

  115. 115
    gwangung says:

    @Mandalay: Biden may have an excuse…not jostling the elbow of the President (though this hasn’t stopped him before). And I expect this from Republicans. But Hilary? Crap…..this smells of taking the ethnic communities for granted and chasing after white votes….

  116. 116

    And another thing — why is it that the same people who will defend police if they abuse their authority by arresting people, shooting them, and jailing them, are also the first people to say that teachers should be fired at the drop of a hat, for heinous crimes like teaching evolution or talking a about birth control.

  117. 117
    Chris says:

    @MattF:

    Don’t forget that the hiring, equipping, and training of local police forces are all in the hands of higher-ups. Of course, it’s a fact that if you hire thugs, you’ll get a thuggish police force. But the important point is that it’s not an accident– it’s that way because someone in charge made certain specific choices.

    I remember reading somewhere that back in the early/mid 20th century, Californian police forces made it a point to hire white transplants from the South, precisely because they had a reputation as the most hardcore racists in the nation and it was thought they wouldn’t cut those unruly blacks and Mexicans and Asians any slack.

    Ignoring whether or not that’s fair to white Southerners, the intent of the people hiring the cops was pretty blatant.

  118. 118
    Chris says:

    @MattF:

    This is a little OT, but… Is anyone else bothered by that Newsmax headline where Pat Buchanan is predicting a race war? Isn’t that just a wee bit over the top?

    Pat Buchanan still thinks World War Two was history’s greatest missed opportunity to ally with Hitler so we could all crush those filthy Bolsheviks together. So, considering the source, no, not really.

  119. 119
    Chris says:

    @Ruckus:

    It’s somewhat analogous to TV news. People believe it because it gets repeated as the truth and they want to believe that cops (or TV news) are good and will protect (truthfully inform) them. And it won’t change until people start to recognize that it’s mostly bullshit.

    This.

    Just like whenever a priest misbehaves, Polite Society is primed to want to think that it’s all a lie and couldn’t possibly have happened. (Also whenever a man is accused of rape. Also whenever a soldier is caught pulling a My Lai. Etc).

    It’s hard to enforce the law when so many people have prejudged the cases before they even happen based on what they want to be true.

    (Make the comparison to white people and black people during segregation, or point out that “comparison” doesn’t come into it because that simply never ended, as you will…)

  120. 120
    Chris says:

    @seabe:

    Well I guess since your area is so local that maybe it changes perspective, JC. However, even though I’m a white person, any time a cop enters a store I’m in, steps onto the same Metro-rail train car, is parked in my neighborhood, I don’t feel safe; I get insecure, and just want them to get the fuck out of wherever I am. Cops are not my friend. They’re not to be trusted. They’re liars, they’re goons, they’re thugs.

    Key sentence there…

    It’s fairly obvious that nonwhite and especially black people constantly get the worst of it, but there’s something almost adorably naive about the people who cheer on abusive cops, assuming that they’re safe because these cops will only shoot bad people (you know what I mean…) they’d never do it to me… Kind of like the people who cheer on welfare cuts because they assume that it’ll only be for these people, the ones who’re mooching; that nice Mr. Ryan knows how hard people like me work, he’d never come after my Social Security checks.

    (Oh, wait, they’re the same people. That explains things).

    Course, on the flip side, if they ever do get screwed over – by cops, welfare reform, whatever – and realize it… they’re likely to still blame Obama, Eric Holder, and the ACLU, because “why doesn’t anybody care that this happened to me? Why is it only when black people are in trouble (which they probably deserved anyway!) that people make a scene? White people just can’t catch a break! Look at what a dystopia multicultural politically correct diversity’s turned us into! It was never like this in the old days!”

  121. 121
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Somebody here a few weeks ago said “you really gotta ask yourself, before you call a cop, if the situation will be improved by having a homicidal screaming maniac with a gun show up”.

    Words to live by.

  122. 122
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    As a white, suburban, middle++ aged liberal, I saw the run up to his first election as proof of what I believed for a long time – we were in a post-racial world where the only thing that was holding individuals of color back was a willingness to do the hard work that the rest of us were doing to get ahead.

    The re-surfacing of the hidden racism that had become invisible to me was (and is) worldview shattering. The breadth and depth and virulence of both institutional and individual racism is so enormous that I have a hard time coming to grips with it. I’m entirely embarrassed by my pre-Obama beliefs and am still trying to figure out what I can do to move from being part of the problem and becoming part of the solution.

    @Violet: I’m younger than this person but this was pretty much my experience, word for word. Thought anyone still bitching about racism was just a whiner. Oh fuck, was I wrong, more wrong about this than anything I’ve ever been wrong about in my entire life, and oh my lord, I apologize.

  123. 123
    Tone In DC says:

    In my area a cop cost his department a few million dollars when he followed a college student into another state and then shot him to death. The county also had to overturn convictions based on his testimony because it emerged he was a compulsive liar. He was fired, but the same department recently rehired him as a captain for its anti-terrorism division.

    I am assuming you mean this shooting.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.c.....oates.html

    I am just shaking my head right now. Please tell me no one hired Carlton Jones for anything. Let alone as a high ranking officer in such a division.

  124. 124
    boatboy_srq says:

    @AkaDad: About 12 years ago, I was in my neighborhood walking with a neighbor when another neighbor walked up and decked the guy I was with. I called 911, and the police showed up promptly – and arrested the guy I was walking with who got decked. For assault. It took a detective lieutenant and three weeks to get the mess cleared up.

    I’d like to have confidence in law enforcement, but the cops keep taking it away. In handcuffs. After a beatdown.

  125. 125
    sad says:

    “…people will stand up and provide rhetorical cover for…”

    Not me.

    Peace… sad

  126. 126
    Paul in KY says:

    @skerry: He can throw it like a ninja. Seen it happen in many movies. Can’t take any chances…

  127. 127
    Paul in KY says:

    @Zach: Bingo!

Comments are closed.