Here’s a Possibility- Maybe We Have a Policing Problem

Fer fuck’s sake:

The call to the police sounded dire: a violent dispute at a house in Wichita, Kan., a person shot to death, an armed man holding hostages and threatening to burn the place down.

Officers raced to the scene and surrounded the house. A man emerged and the police commanded him to put his hands up. Moments later, an officer fired a deadly shot.

The whole encounter on Thursday night had been based on a hoax: There had been no shooting before the police arrived, no hostages, no threat of arson. Instead, it was a fatal incarnation of “swatting,” in which people report fake crimes in hopes of getting a SWAT team to raid a rival’s house.

“If the false police call had not been made, we would not have been there,” Deputy Chief Troy Livingston of the Wichita Police Department said at a news conference on Friday. The police did not say whether they knew who had placed the prank call, but said that it was a key part of their inquiry.

Obviously, this does not excuse the evil behavior of those who called in the hoax, but jesus fucking christ, maybe we have a policing problem when they show up and start shooting before they even know what the hell is going on? What if that had been a hostage coming to the door (as it was, it was already a completely innocent person)? Why bother calling the cops in a hostage crisis if they are just going to open fire, kill ’em all, and let god sort it out.

Just thinking outside the fucking box, here, but maybe decades of pretending the police are infallible and deserve our complete unflinching support and that we bow down at their feet for people who have a job less dangerous than a lumberjack combined with shitty pay, long hours, no chance of punishment for fuckups, and arming them to the teeth with weapons they do not need is also a problem here?








It Ain’t Murder If You Got a Badge

Another day, another cop gets away with murder:

Police in Mesa, Arizona released disturbing body camera video on Thursday hours after a former officer was acquitted of a murder charge in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man.

The verdict cleared Philip Brailsford, 27, of criminal liability in the 2016 death of Daniel Shaver, of Granbury, Texas. He was also found not guilty of reckless manslaughter, reports CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO-TV.

The shooting occurred at a hotel in the Phoenix suburb where officers responded to a report of someone pointing a gun out of a window. The video, obtained by KPHO, shows Brailsford pointing a gun at Shaver as Shaver lies on the ground, holds his hands in the air, cries and begs the officer not to shoot.

I don’t know how jurors could watch that and not convict of at least reckless manslaughter.








File This Under Rape Culture

A NY teenager was arrested and handcuffed by NYPD cops, allegedly raped, the cops claim it was consensual (which is impossible when you are under arrest), and the NY Daily News then writes it up and adds a picture of the raped teen but not a picture of the two NAMED cops.

Awesome work, media. Obligatory “Why don’t women come forward more often…”



Heartbreaking Read(s): The Participant Who’ll Never Tell Us His Story

A news story about a police officer (in Salt Lake City!) manhandling an ER nurse for RESISTING HIS AUTHORITAY!!! seemed almost too on-the-nose as an analogy for life during the Trump Occupancy. But there are real people at the heart of this metaphor, and the Washington Post followed up:

William Gray, a commercial truck driver and reserve police officer, died late Monday of the injuries he suffered when a fiery July 26 crash left him with burns over nearly half his body, University of Utah Health spokeswoman Suzanne Winchester said.

Gray was unconscious at the Salt Lake City hospital when police detective Jeff Payne asked to draw his blood hours after the crash.

Nurse Alex Wubbels refused because hospital policy required a warrant or patient consent. Payne handcuffed her and dragged her outside.

Gray was hauling a load of sand in northern Utah when a pickup truck speeding away from police crossed the center line and hit his truck head-on, causing an explosion. State police had been trying to pull over the pickup driver after several people called 911 to report he was driving recklessly.

Gray was not suspected of wrongdoing.

The pickup driver, Marcos Torres, 26, died in the crash, and Utah police routinely collect such evidence from everyone involved in fatal crashes.

Dramatic video of Wubbels’ arrest caught widespread attention online amid national scrutiny of police use of force. Payne and the supervisor who backed him, Lt. James Tracy, were placed on leave amid internal and criminal investigations…

Gray, 43, served with police in the southeastern Idaho city of Rigby. Chief Sam Tower said he was dedicated to the community of about 4,000 people and plowed snow from a sidewalk last winter so neighborhood kids wouldn’t have to walk in the street.

“Bill was truly the best of mankind,” Rigby police said in a Facebook post. “Always willing to help, always willing to go the extra mile. Bill was a big man, with a bigger heart. Everything about him was generous and kind.”…

Amy Davidson Sorkin, in the New Yorker, explains “What the Utah Good-Nurse, Bad-Cop Video Says About Medical Privacy”:

The story began on July 26th. That day, the police had engaged in a high-speed chase on a highway that ended with a deadly multi-vehicle crash. But this was not a cinematic case of, say, fugitive armed robbers. It began around 2 P.M., when the police received reports of a Chevrolet Silverado driving erratically. As the officers began their pursuit, the Silverado, now on US-89/91, swerved into a semi truck that happened to be on the road, causing an explosion. The driver of the Silverado, Marco Torres, who was twenty-six, was killed instantly. The truck driver, William Gray—who, in one of this story’s many byways, was a reserve police officer in Rigby, Idaho—staggered out of his semi, his clothes and body on fire. He was airlifted to the burn unit. One might wonder why the police wanted his blood, when he was, essentially, a bystander. The Utah police have said that it was meant for Gray’s protection, but Payne, in his report on the incident, obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune, said that the officers who were dealing with the crash wanted to know whether Gray had any “chemical substances” in his system. Another, troubling possibility could be that they were looking for something that might place some of the responsibility for the crash on Gray, in case he complained that the police had been reckless in their pursuit.
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At least he didn’t shoot her…

Shitty cop in Utah manhandles and arrests nurse for doing her job:

Via Deseret News:

Payne, a veteran Salt Lake police officer, was sent to the hospital by another police agency to get vials of blood for the investigation. But because the patient was not a suspect in the crash nor faced potential criminal charges, because he was unconscious and unable to give consent, and because the officer did not have a warrant, Wubbels [the nurse] — one of the supervisors that night — did not allow him to draw blood.

“If they needed blood, then they needed to go through to proper channels to take it,” she said.

In the body camera video, Wubbels is seen on her phone with numerous supervisors advising them of what was happening and getting confirmation about the policy. Payne sounds impatient in the video and continues to threaten to arrest her.

Wubbels, who is surrounded by other hospital staffers, explains in the video that she is doing what her bosses told her to do. She eventually prints out a copy of the policy for blood draws — one that Salt Lake police agreed to more than a year ago, according to Porter — and shows it to the officer.

Wubbels said close to 10 supervisors were consulted either directly by herself or by the supervisors checking with their own superiors.

But Payne insists he, too, is following orders.

“I’m doing what I’m being told by my boss, and I’m going to do what my boss says,” Payne says sternly at one point in the recording.

Wubbels can be seen trying to tell Payne to calm down while telling her boss on the phone that Payne was threatening to arrest her, and that a University of Utah police officer who was present wasn’t going to stop him.

“She’s going to jail,” Payne says in the video.

“Why?” a hospital staff member asks.

“Interfering with a criminal investigation,” Payne replies.

Turns out the nurse was right and the cops were wrong. A SLC police sergeant admitted in the article that the department’s blood-draw policy “hadn’t been updated for a little bit” before the incident. Officer Payne was wrong to arrest Wubbels, and Payne’s supervisor was wrong to direct him to do so.

But the truly disturbing thing was how Payne went all HULK SMASH on Wubbels, evidently enraged by her polite refusal to immediately obey. He charged at her, tried to bat the phone out of her hand, pinned her arms, cuffed her and wrestled her out of the building. It was completely unnecessary. She wasn’t resisting arrest — she was responding as any normal human would to an assault by a lunatic.

After the nurse is handcuffed and strapped into the seat of Payne’s cruiser, the other cop delivers an incredibly condescending lecture to Wubbels, of the “why were you wearing such a short skirt” variety. A longer video clip captures that part of Wubbels’ ordeal.

According to the Deseret, Payne is off the blood-draw squad but is still on active duty. The department is receiving training on blood-draw regulations so they’ll stop asking medical professionals to violate the law.

That’s not good enough. Payne should be fired since he clearly doesn’t have the temperament to handle his job, and the department should receive anger management training to weed out other Paynes.

The whole thing is outrageous but unsurprising. After viewing news reports about justifiable public anger and largely peaceful demonstrations to protest the killing of unarmed black men and children, 64 million assholes voted in a “law-and-order” mega-asshole, in part as a big FUCK YOU to anyone who objects to extrajudicial executions by police.

And mega-asshole is delivering, “joking” to an audience of cops just the other day about roughing up people they’ve placed under arrest. I suspect Officer Payne heard him loud and clear.



Open Thread: Trump & Arpaio, Dirty Birds of A Nasty Feather


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It’s All Fun & Games, Until Somebody Loses Their Kid

It’s sad (no lie!) that the New England Cosplay Association had to cancel a long-scheduled public gathering because some nitwit college kid got a permit to let Nazi wannabes swarm Boston Common. But this is serious:

Y’know, I’d have trouble picking Insane Clown Posse songs out of a general metal sound-off, but if the Very Serious Pundits could get past their bourgeois prejudices, the classic Juggalo is exactly the type of disadvantaged, Appalachian-heritage ‘Working Class White’ that they slobber over so endlessly. And it would probably cause at least one cardiac incident if this were pointed out to a roomful of Media Village Idiots…