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Leaked Documents Reveal Police Department Planted Drugs for Years, DA Complicit (henrycountyreport.com)
579 points by coloneltcb on Dec 2, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 252 comments

It seems like there is a smoking gun in this case (though I didn't review the evidence thoroughly). Widespread availability of video recording and distribution has provided many more smoking guns. Certainly, there are many more incidents where no smoking gun evidence is available.

For a long time, black Americans have been claiming that such things happen and were widely ignored or disbelieved. It was and is a grave error - I can't imagine how many victims there are. This raises critical questions:

1) Why did our society make this error?

2) How do we prevent making the same mistake in the future, regarding other issues?

3) About what issues are we making the same mistake right now?

Also: What do we do about the legions of victims? Ignoring them yet again would be a crime.


1) Police are corrupt. Maybe not all of them, but enough of them that "police are corrupt" is true. This will always be the case.

Police don't fight crime, nor prevent it. They create it. If you think this isn't so you haven't had enough exposure to them.

Maybe my opinion is coloured by my experience: illegal search of person, car, and house. They ransacked my house, stole money and property from me. It took 27 months to have the case dismissed nolle prosequi and my money returned to me.

If you see the police, cross the street.

I'm so sorry that happened to you. I think some police officers don't even realize the extent to which they can totally fuck up your life. Then there are the ones that know it well and enjoy it. Or the ones that think they are planting that evidence in order to get the bad guy and the ends justify the means. Since there's historically been no check and balance behind the Blue Wall absolute power has corrupted absolutely.

Police are like the proverbial bull in a china shop. There may be a need one day to call on that bull, but they'll probably leave one hell of a mess, and hope you don't get trampled in the process.

There was a great post a couple weeks on the front page about a guy traveling through Germany I think it was, for a contracting software gig. He got detained on the bus because a cop "smelled pot" and you can imagine how the story went from there. His biggest personal takeaway was exactly as you say, treating people like this must be creating an awful lot of criminals.

There may be cops out there who still believe they are civil servants, and stewards of our constitutional rights. Who understand the terrible power they wield, and insist on always operating within the law. Who arrest civilians as a last resort. Eh, who am I kidding? 'Protect and Serve' changed to 'Shoot to Kill' a long time ago.

BTW, if that's your #1, I'm almost afraid to read your #2 and #3!

I usually say police have moved from Serve and Protect to Seek and Destroy. But shoot to kill sounds reasonably like police too.

A lot of police are corrupt, and there is an absolute ton of racism in this country so we believe it when the cop tells a lie that implicates a black guy.

Not racist like we're out in klan hoods on the weekend, and it's definitely not like we're consciously choosing to be racist--this is just lifetimes of unexamined biases, media information, etc. We have these little biases that tell us not to trust the black guy's word and that adds up over time.

Overcoming that shit is hard.

Personally, I don't believe a single damn word out of a police officer's mouth. Particularly so if they are under oath. It has nothing to do with race, I don't care who the defendant is.

They say the least reliable form of testimony is eyewitness accounts. Actually, I think the police have the eyewitness beat on this account. Too bad I've never had jury duty, and even if I did I'd probably be dismissed, so unfortunately I'll never get my chance as one of the 12 angry jurists to apply this in practice.

It seems like there are more and more like-minded people who will outright dismiss the grand-standing Detective and insist on just the facts please. Show me actual proof because your word is truly worthless.

Did you read the articles? Police officers were the first ones to report on their fellow officers for their misconduct (i.e. planting evidence) triggering the investigations of Internal Affairs. I suppose the irony here is under your logic you would not believe the whistle blowing officers because they only had eyewitness accounts - and you don't believe a single damn word out of a police officer's mouth - rather you would have sided with the defending officers as you don't care who the defendant is.

I'm sorry, I forgot the most important part, which is why I don't believe a word... it's because it's self-serving. Any time a witness is testifying, the job on cross-examination is to expose the bias or self-serving interest that the witness may have in offering their testimony. When arresting officers testify against a defendant, they are of course just backing up their prior actions. Pretty damn rare is the officer who will admit on the stand that they bungled XYZ component of the arrest, or that they didn't actually have probable cause, etc. Because it's their arrest, it's their own record on the line, they have too great a self-interest in supporting their own arrest, and therefore their testimony should be discounted.

When an IA officer testifies against one of their own fabricating evidence, I can be sure it is testimony that they are thoroughly unhappy about giving and not particularly self-serving. Therefore, more trustworthy. Somehow I doubt, for example, that the IA department operates under quotas and driven by officer-arrest stats.

>Did you read the articles? Police officers were the first ones to report on their fellow officers for their misconduct

In those cases. Not in tons of others, where it took a lawsuit or some investigation started from an independent organization (NGO etc), or even pure chance, to bring misconducts to light. "Internal Affairs" people are notoriously not popular with regular police.

I'm sure that's true, but responding to an article in which honest cops bring to book their dishonest colleagues by saying all cops are bad and can't be trusted is hard to swallow.

Yes, and the honest officers were driven out of the police force while the ones involved in planting evidence got promotions. That seems like a pretty good additional reason not to trust police officers most of the time - anyone who's honest probably isn't police anymore.

>anyone who's honest probably isn't police anymore.

The only reason anyone is aware of this story is because it was officers who took it upon themselves to leak the record and are agreeing to testify.

I guess you are correct that there is a lot of racism here and there. However, there is also a lot of rabid anti-racism. For example, you'll never read an article in the mainstream press about how blacks, on average, have lower IQs than white people, although this clearly is relevant in the whole crime debate. Why are blacks more likely to commit crimes than whites? The IQ explains a lot, but mentioning it is taboo, it seems. What happened here in Alabama is of course horrible, but it seems unlikely that corrupt and racist cops is the whole explanation for the high crime rate among blacks elsewhere in the US.

This shouldn't be necessary, but I probably need to point out that not every single black person has a lower intelligence than every single white person. It's just the average. Some black individuals have higher IQs than some white individuals, of course. Which means that solutions like segregation/apartheid are ham-fisted and totally unfair to these high IQ blacks.

For more info on the IQ and race thing, I recommend the book IQ and the Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen.

I have noticed a lot of this "scientific racism" junk creeping into HN lately. It's a little worrying to see it on a tech forum like this.

It used to be that extreme groups kept to themselves and were pretty quickly ostracized because of their extremism. Most people in San Diego wouldn't join Heaven's Gate, and the group wouldn't be able to spread very far because the further it reached, the more pushback it would see.

On the Internet, that isn't really true. There are always enough people who can be convinced of the merit of an idea, and so extreme groups continue to grow in size. As they do this, the overlap between any given extreme group and other groups grows, because the extreme group is growing. This means that their ideas metastasize out into the population as a whole.

Scientific racism, neo-reactionaryism, monarchism, even just defiant "political incorrectness" and "I'm no SWJ"-ness. The heightened availability of all of these ideas produces the same, as group polarization (a technical term in social psychology) happens on a scale never before seen. This is hardly limited to the right wing; liberal-identified Tumblr users are more behaviourally restrictive than most of the anarchist-communists I knew in college, even though the "safe-space" rhetoric of the current liberal milieu originates from more radical activist circles.

Expect to see more scientific racism on hacker news; hacker news is a fundamentally more friendly platform for racist and misogynistic viewpoints because women and people of color are so underrepresented and the focus on "objectivity" and "data" mean that a shoddy study that is the very essence of scientific racism can beat out the stories of however many women or PoC dare to speak out, only to be shouted down.

Most of the people making these comments would probably be fairly reasonable had you both been born 20 years earlier (or possibly later, if the world grows more sane) and met at a party. Few people set out to become a scientific racist, they just see an article linked (possibly by a Stormfront member, who knows) that "just makes sense to them"; they believe it and internalize it; when they see future statements they are more likely to remember those they agree with and forget those that disagree with their existing outlook; gradually, they become more and more "awakened" to the "racial reality" of the world until finally they're posting on Neoreactionary News about how they've finally realized democracy is degenerate and women should never have been allowed to vote.

And those people write your software.

Worried is the least you should be.

Wow. Well said.

I think there is another good book like that. It's called Mein Kampf or something. Can't remember who wrote it.

Another fun factoid. IQ isn't static and is a fairly useless measure of intelligence.

The lack of any conceivable confounding factors is what really makes this explanation so intuitively compelling.

  > Not racist like we're out in klan hoods on the weekend,
Don't worry, police have that covered too https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2015/09/01/police-chief-...

> Maybe not all of them, but enough of them that "police are corrupt" is true.

Usually I would never generalize the actions of a subset to the entire group, but in this case there is a key difference that justifies "(all/most) police are corrupt": the failure to clean their own house of the "bad apples". When a supposedly "good" policeman gives cover and protection to a criminal in their department instead of reporting the crime, they become an accomplice. in many cases, protecting the guilty may even be a crime in itself (misprision of felony[1]).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misprision_of_felony#United_St...

It's worth noting that it's not enough for police to passively not cover for each other's crimes. It's the job of police to actively investigate crimes. When corruption is so rampant, any police department which doesn't have a well-funded internal affairs bureau with extensive prosecutorial support is not doing its job.

> It's the job of police to actively investigate crimes.

In the US, this is not true. The police, at large, are there to control a situation and assign blame. Investigation is to those ends.

I've experienced this before at the federal level. They're corrupt. All of them either are themselves corrupt, or complicit in the knowledge of it.

The police also stole more from people via asset forfeiture than actual burglars did last year. They are criminals.

While I agree that the police have a history of horrific abuse of asset forfeiture laws, this oft-quoted event doesn't tell the whole story. The 2104 numbers were skewed greatly based on a proper $1.7 Billion forfeiture from Bernie Madoff. Most of this money went back to his victims:


So the numbers for police and burglars are "really" about the same, rather than the police exceeding the burglars by over a billion? Whew! What a weight off the mind! TIL there's nothing to worry about with forfeiture...

The $1.7 billion was a settlement between the government and JP Morgan Chase, in relation to the Madoff scheme (apparently they ignored things that they should not have).

just curious, what race are you and what country do you live in?

That's one of the beautiful things about the Internet. You don't need to know (or even think about) the answer to those questions in order to have a civil discussion.

Country is pretty relevant. Experiences with French police mean little with regard to US police.

Maybe, but when we're discussing the real world and especially lived experiences, these details can help to provide context.

"Opinion: Blacks are corrupt. Maybe not all of them, but enough of them that "blacks are corrupt" is true. This will always be the case. Blacks don't fight crime, nor prevent it. They create it. If you think this isn't so you haven't had enough exposure to them. Maybe my opinion is coloured by my experience: they {put bad thing here}. If you see a black, cross the street."

Do you honestly think that this is a fair statement?

Being a cop is an optional choice people undertake as an adult.

Your analogy falls down when you apply that to race.

yes, downvote instead of answering the question.

While there are dozens of answers to your strawman, here is a simple one:

Black people are not responsible for the safety of the citizenry, black people are not defined by the need to protect and serve us, black people are in fact, just people.

Cops on the other hand are responsible for the safety of the citizenry, are given special powers due to the additional trust and responsibility we (all the other people) grant them.

The comparison is ridiculous.

>The comparison is ridiculous.

Indeed. It's very rare for people to call local gang/NCAAP/#BLM/ACORN/other black orgs when police breaks into their house. The opposite, though, happens all the time.

The NCAAP, BLM, ACORN, and "other black orgs" break into houses "all the time"? WTF.

BLM certainly does so do gangs. The point is though that police provides services that Blacks don't. Nobody has been comparing them and the GGP pointed out the bigotry of the statement "the police perpetuates crime".

Do you have evidence or are you just smearing people and groups for the sake of your argument?

"Gangs commit crime" is sort of a truism, but for the others... that's going to take some evidence.

Others represent Blacks in general or black criminals in case of #BLM. Do you require evidence to find that black criminals commit home invasions or you are just trolling?

I am asking you to provide evidence that "#BLM", if it can even really be considered a cohesive movement with a defined purpose, supports or performs home invasions. And, evidence that the NAACP openly supports or harbors criminals would be welcome, too.

I'll be waiting, but not holding my breath. At a minimum, your statement lacks nuance. At worst, and more likely, it is factually incorrect and smears groups with legitimate goals.

I don't think you are arguing in good faith judging by the size of strawman you have to build.

There is no strawman. This is the claim that you've made:

"The opposite, though, happens all the time."

The original claim is 'police break into houses and no one calls local gang/NCAAP/#BLM/ACORN/other black orgs.' The opposite claim is therefore that '"local gang/NCAAP/#BLM/ACORN/other black orgs" break into houses and people call the police'. I've conceded that local gangs may break into houses, and now I'm asking you to justify the assertion that "NCAAP/#BLM/ACORN/other black orgs" (it's NAACP, BTW) break into houses. Do you have sources that show that people operating under the NCAAP/#BLM banner actually break into houses? If you don't have information that suggests that, why do you make such an offhanded claim?

How is this trolling? How is this not a good faith argument? My distillation of your claims is that "blacks commit crimes, so black special interest groups must also be bastions of criminality." If that's not your point, then what is?

No, the opposite claim is "Blacks are breaking into houses and people are calling police". The organizations listed are ones that represent Blacks and since there is no number similar to 911 to call generic Blacks you'd need to call one of those to have an experience similar to calling police if we want to compare Blacks and police like the message I replied did.

I propose that if an officer is caught planting evidence or government official is caught covering up such acts and found guilty that the officer or official will serve twice and amount of time and twice any monetary amount the wronged served. And follow the drug war policy of mandatory sentences so no judge can reduce the sentence. For examole if these guys planted evidence that resulted in 10 guys behind bars, each for 5 years try then these offices and officials should be mandatorilly sentenced to 100 years behind bars (10 victims * 5 years * 2). These scumbags were not scared of the consequences of what they were doing.

> I propose that...

We're not in short supply of proposals, so what's the point? Everyone has ideas like this, they're meaningless because they don't address the problem, cops don't police themselves and never will.

Really? I thought the leaked documents revealed:

>As early as 1998, other police officers lodged complaints regarding their beliefs that police officers were planting evidence.

In other words officers were policing themselves to the point of triggering Internal Investigations. Nevertheless, if the parents proposal has no point, and you have identified the problem, what is your proposed solution?

> As early as 1998

It's 2015, lodging complaint's that go nowhere for nearly two decades isn't "policing" themselves; arresting their fellow police officers for breaking the law is policing themselves and that's extremely rare. The thin blue line is a real thing, cops shun cops who rat on cops and since cops tend to only hang out with other cops, or fireman, being shunned matters. Civilians in general don't like hanging around with cops so it's a very segregated little culture.

> In other words officers were policing themselves to the point of triggering Internal Investigations.

Meaningless ploys to cover their asses that nearly always end in nothing being found.

I used to be a cop, I've known hundreds of cops because of this, in general (meaning yes there are exceptions) they're idiots and jocks who take the job because they get paid to be bullies and they like the power. They don't give a shit about your rights or you at all, they care about their stats and how they rank in comparison with each other.. who got more busts, it's like a sport to them. They compete. It wasn't for me, I switched to IT.

> if the parents proposal has no point, and you have identified the problem, what is your proposed solution?

As I said, identifying the problem isn't the issue, never has been. There is no solution to police corruption other than the public getting fed up with them and firing them all; they will not police themselves, internal affairs is a joke, and even the good cops generally keep quite in order to not be ostracized. Time and again cops are caught doing bad things, suspended for "investigation", and the investigation finds no wrongdoing after the media storm has died down and the cop is put back on the streets.

Police are corrupt; that's simply life.

It's 2015. If they've been doing it since 1998 those complaints really weren't that many or that effective, were they?

One could serve 17 years in jail in that time.

Obviously the complaints were not effective - there were at least 3 officers who independently reported the concern of possible evidence planting - except the part about IA recommending immediate termination and prosecution of the officer, and the reopening/investigation into his cases.

My point is parent stated that officers are the problem because they won't police one another, not that officer complaints are ineffective (seemly a fair distinction). So I asked parent what his proposed solution was, and he explained the solution is to fire all police because they are inherently corrupt. I'm not taking a position, I am curious about the thought process. Do you believe as a society we are better off without police too?

> These scumbags were not scared of the consequences of what they were doing.

That's because they knew there would be no consequences to be scared of.

Any policy changes will be opposed by an army of well-paid lobbyists and advocacy groups that are incredibly good at spreading fear uncertainty and doubt, and in the end justice will not likely come for those already effected or in jail, unless there is hard smoking gun evidence. Its not in any cops's interest to have all their actions even in the heat of the moment put under a microscope. The good is that this could precipitate more body-cams and have it eventually have it put reasonable doubt back in the hands of the defendant rather than the officer - if you have a body-cam, why was it off during this altercation where questionable things occurred?

> Its not in any cops's interest to have all their actions even in the heat of the moment put under a microscope.

Honest police may feel it's in their interest. It protects them from false accusations, and from leal and reputational consequences of being associated with dishonest associates. Being honest, they might also want to see dishonest, criminal actions stopped and punished.

To play devil's advocate: if I were the most decent nicest cop in the world I could see why I wouldn't want my every word and action on camera. It'd severely limit things I could say in confidence to anyone, and if I were say speaking to a victim of a crime its difficult to comfort people with a camera in their face. I'd be worried to being reduced to essentially the role of a call-center employee with every interaction graded not only for not screwing up, but also adherence to rigid policy.

Its dehumanizing and eats away at the core of any intelligent person wanting to ever be a cop.

These concerns are spurious. You describe situations in which most cops, "nice" or not, would simply turn the camera off. Other situations include using the restroom or making personal phone calls. No one ever said the camera had to be on all the time; how would that even be enforced?

The camera should be on in any situation that might later be a subject of dispute. If it's off in such a situation, the courts should consider that a reason to disbelieve the cop who turned it off. A cop who doesn't possess the judgement to operate a camera, probably doesn't possess the judgement to carry a firearm either.

Well, given the mandate by some police departments to only hire the less intelligent...

I subscribe to the notion that cops absolutely need to be held to a higher standard, esp. given their potential for exponentially causing harm (because guns and LE powers).

Not clear why I'm getting the downvote here. Is it because I didn't cite a source for the line around hiring practices?

[1] http://thefreethoughtproject.com/court-police-departments-re...

  > Honest police may feel it's in their interest.
Yes. I choose to have a dashcam in my car; it has once proved me not at fault, but if I screw up, it could equally prove me at fault. I think it is in my interest because I think it is overwhelmingly likely that the truth will be in my favour.

As a private citizen there is no expectation that one will have a dashcam, so with discretion it would be possible to benefit from good driving without being penalized for bad driving.

> Why did our society make this error?

> How do we prevent making the same mistake in the future, regarding other issues?

> About what issues are we making the same mistake right now?

- Drugs are a classic victimless crime; prosecutions tend not to be motivated by someone filing a complaint. Rather, it is the responsibility of the police to detect the crime and mete out punishment as they see fit.

- Society has reward processes in place for police who identify and punish drug offenders.

Those two are sufficient for a lot of abuse. There are some aggravating circumstances:

- It's easy for the cops to prey on low social classes, because they don't report to them. The higher social classes aren't really interested in what's going on elsewhere. A doctor's kid is unlikely to be the victim of planted drugs, and so is the doctor. That's not because doctors' kids aren't using so many drugs, it's because the police aren't really supposed to deal with the higher classes at all.

I see some other commenters saying that, e.g., society is always driven (at least in significant part) by racial tensions. While I don't actually disagree, I think this is at root an issue of social class rather than race directly. Police preying on a community of white-collar professionals will be reformed.

Since these communities don't have the political power to get rid of predatory police, the police are acting without supervision. It shouldn't be surprising that they do what they feel like.

...at root an issue of social class rather than race directly.

I agree with much of the rest of your comment, and in the past I would have agreed with this as well. However, police are not inherent to the human condition. (We haven't always had police, and with luck we'll be rid of them soonish.) When police were created, it was largely for basically racist purposes, even if the "races" under consideration in many locales were "Irish" and "Italian". (Further south, however...) People would have objected to a police force imposed on everyone, so the trick was to impose it mostly on those who didn't control the public purse or the courts.

A society that relies on relentless, capricious violence to compel large swathes of the population to accept their assigned roles is not pareto-optimal. We will improve when we change our laws with the goal of reducing the necessity of policing.

> When police were created, it was largely for basically racist purposes, even if the "races" under consideration in many locales were "Irish" and "Italian".

Ok, but I think this is a reflection of different races falling en masse into different social classes. If you're in Italy and your city has natives, gypsies, african laborers, jews, and persian merchants (note: stylized example, not necessarily reflective of any historical events), I'd expect the police might be called into being as a defense (or, depending on your perspective, offense) against the gypsies and africans, while at the same time people largely didn't care about the jews and persians (from a policing perspective). They'd be dealt with more by the taxing authorities.

If the police were an expression of racism, I'd expect something different.

Umm, "treating different races differently" is kind of the definition of racism.

But think it through further, please. Why do different races fall into different classes? There is more than one reason! For your average racist fuck, the answer is "because race". But TPTB are not all, nor even primarily, average racist fucks. Like "race", "class" is an invention that allows elites to control and extract rent from the rest of us. Classes seem to the average person to be more contingent categories than races, so the concept of race is used to bolster that of class. It's easier to convince a poor white dude to oppress poor black dudes than it would be to convince him to oppress poor dudes in general.

Also, don't expect policing to conform to reasoned expectations. It is more effective for its real purpose of controlling and extracting rent from the rest of society, because it is capricious and unpredictable.

At this point, you've defended the existence of racism, but you've abandoned the idea that there's something wrong with it.

I'm probably missing something essential about your argument, but does this thread require a proof that racism is bad? Observing that various parties benefit from it is not an admission that it is of general benefit.

Let's go back to the beginning. I argued that what's going on with the police is that they're used by the higher classes as a tool of defense/oppression against the lower ones. I don't think race is of any direct relevance to this phenomenon.

You argued (as I understand things) that the motivation for forming the police was usually "racist", and that it made more sense to view the depredations of police as race issue than a class issue.

I counter that in a society of several racial groups, some poor and some wealthy, I think the police would be expected to spend their energies on the poor groups while leaving the wealthy ones alone. To me, this is evidence that the police are a social-class based instrument rather than a race-based instrument, because if they were an expression of racism they'd be expected to spend their energies on aliens while leaving natives alone (in this analysis, Jews who have been resident for centuries but maintain their own separate culture are "aliens", not "natives").

You say that the different treatment of racial groups according to what social class they belong to is just more racism. You can call it that, but the label stops being useful -- if the police are a "racist" institution, by this definition, you can't predict anything about how they'll treat someone even knowing the race of that person, or knowing whether their race differs from the race of the police they're interacting with, or whether it differs from the race of the group running the police, or any such thing. You have to know their race and the position their race occupies in society. But the social position is doing all the work -- your predictions will be nearly as good if all you know is the personal social standing of the person interacting with the police. Race is a sideshow.

Why is treating different races differently because they have very different social standing primarily an issue of race rather than social standing?

Sorry for the hiatus in discussion; I have broken two fingers. I don't think I have the typing stamina to get to all of that, but to react to your last question: when a social arrangement has racist effects, that social arrangement is racist, and will improve by becoming less so. Although you haven't really defined "class" here, one couldn't make the same statement about any sense of "class" without some caveats.

Your example seems to be a largely static one, which is neither realistic nor particularly illuminating. Policing like any "modern" phenomenon is relatively recent, so we should examine the entire narrative of effects rather than taking a snapshot and presuming it to encompass the whole range of possible experience.

Race admits to much less mobility than most other pretexts for oppression. That is bad because it makes society less agile, and because it kills hope and confidence. Both of those emotions are entirely beneficial, so their loss in any subgroup is harmful.

1) Societies (all around the world) tend to be more racially driven than we like to admit. It's really easy to ignore the suffering of a group of people if you are readily able to distance yourself from them. Race plays a significant role in this in many places.

2) Develop systems that are structurally uncorruptable and uninfluencable as best as they can be, by having significant separations of power by design. There must be no incentive for those with the power to audit to be influenced by those they're auditing.

3) Probably many, scarily enough. Corruption runs deep in many societies that tend not to be considered corrupt.

In this case, I like the idea that the officers should be sentenced to prison at some level proportionate to the amount of corruption they were responsible for. The wrongly imprisoned should be released, and the State responsible for implementing the auditing controls against these officers should be forced to provide the wrongly imprisoned the average (for a given value of average) wage, or a multiple thereof to account for additional damages, for the entirety of the time they were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for. That way, there's a personal incentive not to be corrupt in that if you get caught you are heavily personally punished for said corruption, and there's a strucutral incentive to implement effective anti-corruption controls as the state is then responsible for those that represent it.

> Develop systems that are structurally uncorruptable and uninfluencable as best as they can be, by having significant separations of power by design

Oh kind of like The Constitution, for example? Obviously that hasn't worked out too well in the long term, what with the US being a burgeoning police state and all.

But if "we" write a new and more sternly worded piece of paper that says "rulers can't mistreat their subjects", that should work, right?

Try again without the facetiousness. I don't mean like a piece of paper saying 'thou shalt'. I mean by implementing systems where, by design, the decisionmakers over roles that police each other have no way to influence one another. For example, those who are in charge of policing the police shouldn't also be in charge of working with the police on policing other people. I don't mean auditors, I mean those who then receive the information from internal audits and are responsible for making judgements based on it.

Sorry but what you're suggesting basically just amounts to rearranging the chairs on the Titanic's deck.

Besides, it's been "tried" already, in this form: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers - and by now it's clear how much that helped, right?

In reality, "the separation of powers" was just a bullshit PR-distraction, meant to give us a false sense of security, to alleviate the nagging subconscious awareness that the idea that we live in a system that benefits us just makes no sense whatsoever.

Regardless of how parts of the government are ostensibly "separated" or "firewalled", they're still all part of the same overall organization: the government.

There's no way to arrange an all-encompassing "authority of coercion" in a way that benefits the people being coerced. Another way to look at it is that forcefully taking people's money does not benefit whoever's money is taken. It benefits the takers.

The exploiters need the masses of the exploited to be blind to the exploitation, because otherwise it would come to an end, and that's why we find the idea of "the separation of powers" floating around, along with "the social contract" and "consent of the governed" and so on.

So, you are proposing ancap? Or, just the an part I guess.

I'd like to suggest voluntary co-operation instead of exploitation by rulers. It's really not that complicated.

For 1), even modern liberal people still have racist-like prejudices which are not intrinsically different. We're led to believe it's wrong to discriminate based on race so we just transfer our discrimination to some other classification. Blacks are OK, but not if they're from Africa. Indians are OK but not if they're from India. Whites are OK but not if they're from Syria, Irish are OK but not if they're from Ireland. That is, racism has morphed into nationalism, which is widely acceptable so we feel it's OK.

Similarly, homophobia has morphed into "pedophobia". We can't hate gays anymore but we're plenty virulent at hating pedophiles. Just the same emotions transferred to another group.

Inside, most of us are still basically the same bigoted people, but we've restructured our bigotry to fit the popular modern values.

None of that is ok, and I don't know anybody who feels any of that is (openly enough for me to know about it) ok.

1) People don't value critical thinking and instead value things like political careers and crafting narratives.

2) Throw out corrupt leadership and anyone who evades auditing.

When we try things like #2, we run into politics. There's no shortage of such scandals from any sufficiently large political party.

I'm Anglo-Saxon, and about as WASPy as it gets. When I was a teenager and got my driver's license, my Dad warned me that there were "bad cops" and that I should be careful to avoid getting stopped by police. If I did get stopped, he warned me to be on my guard and gave me tips on how to handle the situation (most of it was about saying as little as possible and not talking to police).

But the main thing I wanted to share was that he told me that bad cops sometimes plant evidence (usually drugs) in order to incriminate innocent people, and that I should be on my guard during these encounters and aware of everything that happens. And guess what? I didn't believe him! I honestly and naively could not believe that an officer of the law would do something like that. I had bought into the "protect and serve" nonsense.

Later, when I got a little older and more experienced, I figured out on my own that he was right and I told him that I had been wrong all along. Not because I got drugs planted in my car during a stop, but because I had seen it happen over and over again to other people, usually black or hispanic men.

When cops are found to be engaging in criminal activity and racism like this, they ought to be run out of law enforcement and never allowed to get another cop or security job. They should also be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

>For a long time, black Americans have been claiming that such things happen and were widely ignored or disbelieved.

I can't understand this "surely this doesn't happen" mentality of a lot of Americans in general in such cases. I mean, I can understand wanting to see hard proof for a particular case (and to name names), but to think that these things do not happen or are not widespread seems delusional to me, like believing we live in Sesame Street kind of society.

Maybe because in other parts of the world the general culture doesn't include "trusting authority" as some default -- which used to be the case in the US too, for blacks, 60s students etc, but somehow got lost for the middle class. For a place with the biggest incarceration rate in the world, that seems bizarre.

This goes beyond police abuse too. While they would still condemn it, nobody would bat an eye in disbelief for something like "watergate" for example in other parts of the world. Of course those things happen -- in a place like Italy or France for example, they've seen the same things going on tons of times. But even when remember people like Hoover, they tend to think it was some isolated incident, due to a bad person, etc (the "few bad apples" theory as opposed to systemic issues).

>I can't understand this "surely this doesn't happen" mentality of a lot of Americans in general in such cases.

"It can't happen here." It's very disruptive to some people's worldview to suggest that there's still any sort of racial inequality problem.

If there isn't enough evidence to prove someone is guilty, they go scot-free. This is true to protect people who are innocent.

But these people were not innocent. This is the evidence. And justice will be served.

As long as discoveries like this are made and we have freedom of the press, justice will continue to be served.

edit: I do not make a claim to the sufficiency of the system, but am happy to see democratic ideals in action; there appears to have been a misunderstanding

It's not nearly sufficient. People in this one town have been suffering for decades. It's probably happening in many more towns where nobody leaked the Internal Affairs investigation. We are failing as a society if we don't see our obvious, critical error and do better.

I never said it was sufficient. (If this is what you understood, I'd like to better understand how I could better write my statement so as not to be misunderstood in the future.) I am only remarking that people in power are not safe from the press or from guilt.

Besides, what would you have them do? You speak of the failures we encounter in society, but not a way to solve them.

I am just happy to see democratic ideals in action. I do not make a claim to the sufficiency of the system in place, but to the ideals that the system stands for. I advocate for replacing the system. (and not the ideals.)

People in power are very safe, people in power torture and commit war crimes, how foolish to say otherwise.

Regarding #2, "trust, but verify".

I think we need a (i) strong and (ii) independent audit system. We have the technology to make it strong, just borrow it from other federal agencies who specialize in intelligence. And with enforcement relying more and more on data gathering and extraction, audits would help ensure these are not misused, and help validate how well due process is followed.

The independent part would have to mean it is run by an agency that it not part of enforcement and in a way that is hard to influence. Who exactly it would report to, I'm not sure. Maybe a peer agency of the FBI & CIA?

That audit system would data-mine all enforcement activities and keep the data locked up in a vault. That data could then be requested via subpoena (for investigations like these) or FOIA requests (after a "reasonable" time to prevent interference with actual investigations).

>1) Why did our society make this error?

Because America was, and is, racist.

I wish it wasn't necessary to need to point out the simplest explanation to a crowd as smart and analytical as HN.

And even as it is necessary, I wish HN didn't downvote you for it.

But reality.

> About what issues are we making the same mistake right now?

Military and Intelligence affairs.

1) Why did our society make this error?

Racism. Victims are most available in the disenfranchised of our society and black people have always been disenfranchised in our society.

2) How do we prevent making the same mistake in the future, regarding other issues?

Stop being racist. Stop disenfranchising entire segments of the population. Start investigating those in positions of power and stop the cover-ups.

The solution is dead simple. Put cameras and mics on every cop in the country. Release the recordings to the public after a certain amount of time (leave this up to the states and local govt). Put a cap on how long these recordings can be withheld from the public regardless of special circumstances (maybe 10 years?). Problem solved.

There's another question that should be asked: How do we find and punish those that were complicit?

The theory that African Americans are being shot by police because they are black is not supported by data. About 50% of deaths at the hand of police are white and 30% black. Of course that means blacks are overrepresented compared to their percentage in the population. However, adjusting to blacks' higher crime rate shows that in fact whites are 1.7 times more likely to be shot by police. Policemen are well aware of potential political fallout when dealing with potentially dangerous African American subjects and think twice before shooting.


1) The analysis here is conducted by a pretty biased source: a former cop 2) his data is fed by news reports which may not evenly cover actual incidents 3) 25% of the data lacks racial info at all 4) The likelihood of biased policing being a factor in higher reported African American crime rates completely undercuts the conclusion he reaches

Put another way: there are at least 2 layers of biases that occured before Mr. Moskos even touched the data.

> 1) The analysis here is conducted by a pretty biased source: a former cop


> 2) his data is fed by news reports which may not evenly cover actual incidents

OK, although I doubt white deaths are reported LESS than black deaths (nothing to support it)

> 3) 25% of the data lacks racial info at all

OK, but this won't affect conclusion that much. Even if all those incidents involve black subject, it won't affect the conclusion.

> 4) the likelihood of biased policing being a factor in higher reported African American crime rates completely undercuts the conclusion he reaches


Of the 12,664 murders 4,077 were cases where offender's race was unknown leaving 8,587. Males were responsible for about 90%. 90% of 8,587= 7,728 US murders we know to be committed by males. White males committed 45.2% of 7,728 murders which = 3,143 murders. Black males committed 52.4% of 7,728 murders which = 4,049 murders. Black males make up 7% of this nation's population with about 19m individuals. White males make up about 28% of this nation's population with about 112m individuals.

Odds of a white man being a murderer: 1 in 35,634. Odds of a black man being a murderer: 1 in 4,693.

African American male is 9 times more likely to commit homicide. It's very unlikely that biased policing is the cause of 9x homicide conviction rate.

This Times article makes a mistake by acknowledging that the data are not trustworthy, but then relying on the data to make its point.

For example it concludes:

> “Yes, more whites than blacks die as a result of an encounter with police, but whites also represent a much bigger chunk of the total population,” PolitiFact said in its Aug. 21 post.

> But PolitiFact did not take into account the percentage of those by race involved in violent crime or shootings of police, as Mr. Moskos did.

The data of who is involved in violent crime or shootings of police are themselves in question, because they are self-reported by the very officers and departments who are under consideration. Saying that police can't be biased, because their self-reported data does not show bias, is begging the question.

Until very recently, with only a few exceptions, the only data on police activity was provided by police themselves. The ubiquity of camera phones is now providing a growing body of independently gathered--and contradictory--evidence. I think this represents a fundamental shift that is taking place in policing today.

> About what issues are we making the same mistake right now?

Wasn't there an article on HN about the government trying to rebrand Islamic State as Da'esh just a couple weeks ago?

> 1) Why did our society make this error?

Society doesn't act, individuals act. The error lies entirely with the corrupt police who did this.

1) Most of society doesn't care, isn't aware, or approves of what the police are doing (similar story to mass surveillance)

2) Nothing since no one cares etc. You can vote to express your opinion but have fun losing every time to the majority who make their voting decisions based mostly on TV ads.

3) A lot of things, but again nothing can really be done since most people don't hold those in power accountable

I don't think stuff like this is going to change any time soon. Society is too busy looking at their phone.

Well put, but I suspect large swaths of people will still be in denial since any criticism about the police (or military) is off limits. In any case, if this keeps on going the police force would be the first to be "roboticized". I even have a simple algorithm:

1. Investigate reported crime (race/gender/economic parameters are ignored) OR catch criminal red handed.

2. Create a police report and submit evidence.

3. Testify if required, go to step 1.

I suspect physical security will be robotized before policing is. Robots could get very good at recognizing firearms held in human hands (i.e. rather than stored in a holster) and then incapacitating the owner of those hands. Once enough such robots are installed in crowded public areas, the current mass-murder-mania (and one hopes, the hysteria that has arisen in reaction) would be eliminated.

False positives would be scandalous. We would also need an unspoofable way for the AI to distinguish intent of the weapon drawing, because law-enforcement et cetera. The bot can't always already be at the scene when something happens.

Anyway I know at least one company working towards this goal as we speak, but I bet they aren't anywhere near that yet: http://gimltd.fi/ (Generic Intelligent Machines)

False positives...

The only valid reason to draw a firearm is defense of life. If there are security robots around, one doesn't need to defend oneself or one's companions. (It's true that life may be threatened by tools of violence other than firearms, but robots might be trained to look for those as well.) Besides, by "incapacitate" I don't mean double-tap, rather something reversible like an enveloping foam etc.


This is unnecessary scope creep. Firearms have one legitimate use, killing. They are not props to use to bolster one's argument, even though the current state of jurisprudence allows police to use them as such. Keep it in your pants until it's time. Cops brandishing firearms are barely less of a danger to the public than anyone else doing so.

The bot can't always already be at the scene...

It's true that many locations, at least at first, will not have these robots installed. However, those places that have them, will have enough of them to control extreme numbers of armed humans. Capital costs might be higher than human security, but robots don't need doughnut breaks. So "arriving at the scene and figuring it out" is also scope creep, and incidentally not something humans are good at either. The robots will always be on the scene already, so they'll always be ready to take action.

By false positives I meant non-firearm objects which the robot recognises to be firearms, and incapaciting brought tasers to mind.

I am probably looking at this problem through smaller-and-safer-country specs, Here police shootings are really rare, but so are other kinds of shootings. I thought of bots with high mobility due to the recent advancements in that sector, which would in my opinion make much more sense here than installing dozens or hundreds of stationary devices in every public space.

Congratulations on not living in a nation that has caught the mass-murder-mania. b^)

It might not make economic sense yet, but the trend only goes one direction. Electronic devices get cheaper and more capable over time. Robocop might not ever make sense, because that is a very complicated use case. However, a constellation of devices charged with enforcing a single rule, "no human hands may hold a firearm in this set of rooms", is already nearly within reach of current technology.

Woah, comments like these are why I read hackernews. Sounds potentially dangerous from a hacking perspective but almost certainly this will be the future.

Step 1 there probably breaks down to several billion subtasks.

A lot of which we can automate.

These are the hard problems we should be solving, not $social_network_flavor_of_the_week.

I don't disagree in the slightest, but phrasing it as a three-step problem is a bit disingenuous.

> What do we do about the legions of victims?

Financial compensation and putting those that caused the injustice in prison equaling the total of all of the terms served by all of those affected. That is as close to justice as could be had.

As for preventing corruption- there's no way to do this as long as there are people that can be corrupted. You can add oversight. You could replace the entire force with minorities. But if there are people that are corruptible, these efforts will fail. The best that you can do is to (1) promote ethics education in schools and flag students that reject it/scoff at it as they may need much more help and (2) don't divorce government and schools from religion which is an additional force for peer-pressure and community support against corruption.

Which religion? Which denomination of that religion? What if that religion has reprehensible beliefs?

Do you disagree that religion in any form can be used as a force against corruption?

If you work to exclude religion as a whole because some religions or those practicing them have certain beliefs you may find reprehensible, you also exclude other moral and ethical beliefs, peer pressure, and community support that would combat corruption.

I have to invert your first statement to make sense: do you (I) agree that religion in any form can be used as a force to encourage corruption?

To which I would reply yes, religion in any form can be (and is) used to support and encourage corruption.

All (communal, as opposed to internal) religions look good on the surface, promising wealth (prosperity gospel Christianity), eternal life (various abrahamic religions), removal of body thetans (scientology), etc.

They all share the attribute of not being provable, and all will fight (often quite literally) for their own survival based on no evidence at all.

And they all require the existence of THE OTHER, a threat, sometimes existential, sometimes racial but in some way unacceptably different.

Actions against THE OTHER are seen as noble, even when they otherwise seem to go against the letter and spirit of the communal creed.

Religion cannot be used as a tool of inclusion because for someone to be considered "good", there has to also be an identifiable "evil". Strangely, nobody ever claims this latter title for themselves.

Finally, I'm sure we (you and I) will never know for sure, but I'm willing to bet the majority of the authorities involved here were all part of their community churches.

Which religion is devoid of reprehensible beliefs?

Agree with the idea of ethics education in school but strongly disagree with it having anything to do with religion!

Do you dismiss that much of the moral and ethics we have today in our society evolved in parallel with religious teachings?

I feel strongly that it is foolish to remove the freedom to practice religion if it promotes moral and ethical behavior. Freedom to believe and have faith in something that helps society shouldn't be dissolved.

That said, I'm all for having additional secular classes in ethics and morality for those that don't want to practice a religion. Freedom goes both ways as long as it doesn't promote values that hurt others.

We need to work together to solve corruption and other problems. Religion is not the enemy of morality, and neither is secular education of morality.

> Do you dismiss that much of the moral and ethics we have today in our society evolved in parallel with religious teachings?


Much of our morality and ethics are innate and stem from our nature and evolution as a social species. Religion just took credit for it.

Even social groups of monkeys and rodents tend to avoid killing eachother and do what is in the best interests of the group.

> Much of our morality and ethics are innate and stem from our nature and evolution as a social species.

Where is your evidence for this? It would seem more evident to me that the source I am aware of through my education in history and life experience for teaching of morals and ethics has been religion.

Although many here may not be old enough to realize it, countries that are mostly secular not long ago historically speaking had much moral and ethical teaching from their religions.

Attributing this to monkeys and innate behavior may account for part, but from what I understand, you could just as easily bring up monkeys in a ruthless environment where it is every monkey for him/herself. Having an established organization or organizations that teach morals and ethics is important.

Like your ruthless monkeys, someone could point to countless proclaimed adherents in jail or advocating bloodthirsty war or abusing children or embezzling community funds.

Are there any important religious teachings that wouldn't be taught in a secular ethics class?

No, I think it goes without saying that ethics classes would find common ground with major religions. But I think we have everything we need to have learnt from a history with religion and can do without the ridiculous bits in 2015+.

Not saying that people can't practice freely, but that it has no place in state education and government. No need for it in ethics classes either.

FWIW, I come from a country where religion doesn't play a big part in life and can think of two friends out of 50-100 that would be considered at all religious. Religion might seem more relevant to people in other countries obviously.

Keep the leaks coming world!

The joke is that anyone who is truly qualified to run for office doesn't want the job.

I hope that the more leaks like this that come out, more qualified people will realize they can't just stand by idly thinking the system will just fix itself.

I imagine Snowden leaks alone have gotten far more "qualified" people engaged in civic activities than we'll ever truly comprehend, and have taken a bit of the "fear of rebellion" out of those who might not have spoken up in the past.

Reminds me of Isaac Asimov's "Franchise", where multivac picks and legally requires a regular family man to run in in an "electronic election" for US president. Highly recommended short story!


> I imagine Snowden leaks alone have gotten far more "qualified" people engaged in civic activities than we'll ever truly comprehend, and have taken a bit of the "fear of rebellion" out of those who might not have spoken up in the past.

You wish. The reactions vary from 'oh, I knew that all along' to 'well, no matter what I do, the spying will continue' and a whole bunch of shades in between. Then there are those that see Snowden as the great evil (yes, let's shoot that messenger) and would like to see him suffer.

On the whole the effect of Snowden's revelation is a big disappointment, I thought far more would happen because of them but maybe I'm just too impatient.

I imagine most who were changed by Snowden leaks are not necessarily trying to be vocal about it. Instead I figure they're just doing something about it. These are the people who, even if they were part of the "I already knew what was happening" bunch, probably wouldn't have done anything about their beliefs since they were only that. Hunches without enough evidence to warrant digging too deeply about, and certainly not enough concrete data to warrant dedicating one's life to.

It's a far different thing to call out your government and demand something when there's no concrete evidence to support your claims in the first place. Now governments must take citizen demands seriously, and people can now pursue these things without fear they're just spinning their wheels, because we've seen real evidence.

It's these kind of people, the ones who realize it means nothing to talk about something unless you're actually going to do something about it, who I'm talking about. My belief is leaks like this have the power to change enough people to make a real difference in the future of civilization on Earth.

And keep in mind. I didn't mention in my original comment, but Snowden leaks are something that as far as I'm concerned could warrant being required reading in undergraduate history textbooks (core curriculum). I think it was the kind of historical event that will continue to affect Earth's inhabitants centuries after we're all gone.

>On the whole the effect of Snowden's revelation is a big disappointment, I thought far more would happen because of them but maybe I'm just too impatient.

I have similar sentiments for similar reasons you list. I also tend to find the battle that people seem to create of "privacy vs security" to be sucking up all the air in the room of plausible ideas that can change the status quo and bring upon more effective societies, with namely corporate sponsors and individuals within governments reaping the benefits (effectively status quo) with most individuals in a given society mostly being taken on a ride with no true internalization of how any of it will enrich their life at best or end up dead from mostly being a function of where they happened to be born at worst.

I guess in saying that, it's not too surprising that I see that using technology to subvert our present collective individual behaviors that takes advantage of how we operate today could break the apparent deadlock in a way we might not expect to unfold (with the ethics in mind of how some ways of going about such could just enable more of the same).

> Keep the leaks coming world!

Seriously. I can't imagine how something like this, or Snowden's docs, could have leaked in the pre-internet days. It's so easy to replicate & distribute information now, and the process by which stories make the "front page" is so democratic.

>I can't imagine how something like this, or Snowden's docs, could have leaked in the pre-internet days.

No imagination needed.

The Pentagon Papers, Deepthroat, Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Hutchinson Letters, Mordechai Vanunu, and The Iran–Contra affair all predated the internet. Thats just off the top of my head.

I totally respect all of those examples on their merits, but IMO if these are the best examples out there, they all (even aggregated together as a single leak) pale in comparison to Snowden leaks.

1) I'm not sure that I agree with your judgement of the significance of those events.

2) Doesn't it stand to reason that papers that are more significant than those that were previously published are almost certain to be published, given that papers of lesser importance were published?

I wouldn't argue that the events weren't significant. They almost certainly captured just as many headlines as the Snowden leaks have. I'm mostly making a comparison between the information that was leaked.

Stakes are higher when there's more significant information to be published, so I would say it's not necessarily obvious to me that more significant information is more likely to be published.

Perhaps it will bring you clarity to understand that the first place this information was published was The Guardian. [0] It's a British newspaper that circulates physical papers, in addition to its Internet publication.

It's possible that in this day and age no US papers would have picked up the story, limiting its impact in the US. However, a story this large and important would have been picked up in the 1970's, just as the Pentagon Papers and other such stories were.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guardian

I'm not snarking.

You've heard about the Pentagon Papers? The NSA domestic surveillance documents were at least as big as the Pentagon Papers. They would have been national news.

Is it bad that this honestly doesn't surprise me? In 2005 my 15 year old self was passing through Northern Georgia to see grandparents, and we hit traffic at the only town stoplight because a Grand Wizard and lots of KKK members were rallying in the streets celebrating running the last minority out of the county. As a white middle class guy, that was quite the contemporarty class on race relations.

Racism is alive and well in the South, and it is slow to change because the communities are small and not super interested in the internet justice movements.

Can you remember the town?

I am from NE Georgia, and while racism is undoubtedly alive, public racism like what you saw is something I have never heard of in my 30 year life-span.

Yep racism is only a problem in the South

That's not what he said, nor is it even implied by the comment.

OP could have mentioned visiting the grandparents without mentioning which state that was. Yes the South has a problem, but drawing lines like this is a way for the rest of us to pretend that we don't. I seem to recall that some issues have arisen in some Midwestern cities recently?

Sorry if my comment drew lines, that was not my intention. I just wanted to highlight a particularly vivid memory I had at a very impressionable age which has helped contribute to my desensitized reaction to this - the lack of which I am a little worried about.

If this story is not picked up in the larger media I will be disgusted, but I'm happy to see this come to light. Trust is a huge part of the police/citizen relationship, and it's in a bad state.

Anecdotally, this is blowing up on my Facebook feed. My guess is it will get coverage.

it seems to be going viral...I hope it is

Note that as well as the DA being complicit, the involved supervising officers are the current department chief and the state Director of Homeland Security.

This is explosive. The white supremacist implications here are undeniable. Director of AL homeland security? Good god

This is LITERALLY as bad as it looks.

The evidence is astounding.

A ton of the comments below are about how cops are abusing their power. The other group that seems beyond the reach of justice are district attorneys.

The system is setup so that DA's watch out for cops' backs and the cops for the DA's. Cops would be less likely to engage in bad behavior if they knew that DA's were less willing to support it.

Oh, and then there's the private prison system...

I just read the title and it immediately reminded me of Dave Chapelle..."just sprinkle some crack on them and leave".

This is an honest question.

Realistically, how do we dismantle the police state. It seems like the NSA, FBI, and some not insignificant percentage of the police forces have gone entirely rogue or lost track of their mission entirely.

It feels hopeless. So much outrage but so little actual ever changes. Does anyone have any ideas because I'd love to hear them.

The police are as much members of society as anyone else, and they require the active cooperation of you and the rest of society to survive.

You can be part of the solution by depriving them this support: Do not cooperate with them in their job. Do not call them. Decline to speak with them if they contact you. Do not associate with them officially or socially. Do not permit them to shop at your place of employment, do business with you, or join your social organizations. Do not permit their children to be friends with yours.

very narrow-minded suggestions, some outright illegal. if "non-significant" part of police force is actually gone "rogue", it means rest is +- still OK normal human beings. These actions will alienate also these, fostering "us vs them" mentality.

Good job, you just proposed how to make things even worse.

> Do not permit their children to be friends with yours.


Another reason to decriminalize drugs in favor of self-help programs.

> Another reason to decriminalize drugs in favor of self-help programs.

Decriminalizing drugs may change which crimes are available to use to frame members of a disfavored group, but it is unlikely to change whether bigots in power seek to frame members of their disfavored groups for crimes.

While I agree with this statement - I would like to point out that drug possession is particularly easy to frame someone for, and it has a high payout (that is, long and severe punishment, easy to re-frame someone, etc) compared to other crimes. Making drugs legal would put a huge dent in a lot of problems.

Um, if it wasn't drugs it'd be something else. Stolen firearms, maybe? This is a racist domestic terror group using their position of power to target a minority.

Please don't shift the focus of this to some other vaguely related issue. The important part: a racist cabal formed a conspiracy to put young black men in jail. Because they hate them.

It's not "vaguely related" - drug laws are, simply put, the current form of jim crow.

Drug laws were made for this purpose, and openly so.

And it's ludicrous to say that "if it wasn't for drugs it'd be something else." So then abolish all criminal laws which prohibit common, consensual, adult behavior. But drug laws are the whale here, not anything else.

> And it's ludicrous to say that "if it wasn't for drugs it'd be something else."

When you've a police force that's planting evidence on marks, that knows about the planted evidence and chooses to cover it up, that has a DA that knows about the planted evidence and chooses to prosecute these cases anyway, and a system that chooses to promote those involved in the conspiracy to high office, then yes... if it wasn't drugs being planted, it's very, very, very likely that it would be almost anything else.

You are missing the central point here:

You can't have "something else" unless there are "crimes" which don't require victims. That's the only reason that planting evidence is even possible in most cases.

Well, I guess if you're hell bent on erasing the victims of this horrible conspiracy so as to make an argument for greater latitude in recreational pharmaceutical use... Congratulations.

This is like "all lives matter." The idea that black people were victimized because there exists a crime to pin to them seems to me like you're changing the subject away from the humans whose lives are stolen by long term prison time, or from the terrifying treason against the American people this agency committed.

They aren't two different things.

The "war on drugs" is, and was created precisely to be, a way to legally oppress people of color, especially black, latino, and Chinese people.

And it's not just this iteration of the "war on drugs." Prohibition generally, as a policy, has throughout history been first and foremost a tool to legally oppress people who have managed to win a modicum of legal protection otherwise.

You are the one diverting the argument by talking about "greater latitude in recreational pharmaceutical use," which, again in concert with every instance of prohibition throughout history, has not been interrupted by this policy and was never the impetus for its imposition to begin with.

I absolutely agree the "war on drugs" and racial bias in enforcement disproportionately hurts people of color. No one disagrees with that in this conversation.

What we disagree with is your decision to blame the law in this specific case rather than a racist conspiracy.

The reason your actions are scary here is that they follow a pattern of dehumanizing the crime and divorcing the responsibility for said disgusting actions from the people who did them (people who deserve life in prison many times over) and instead saying it is the law itself that did this. I mentioned "all lives matter" intentionally. You're following a very similar pattern here, but ignoring the perpetrators instead of the victims.

People did this. Cops and judges. They were not following a racist law.

> They were not following a racist law.

Prohibition is a racist law. It is designed to strengthen the institution of racism. It was openly created for this purpose. It seems that you are trying to act like this isn't the case.

> ignoring the perpetrators instead of the victims.

The perpetrators include not only those who participated in these acts in Alabama, but also those who conspired to pretextually pass these laws in the first place.

If you prosecute everyone who participated in this crime, which I hope will happen but almost surely will not, and secure a just verdict in every single case, which I hope will happen but almost surely will not, but you fail to repeal prohibition entirely, you won't have made much progress against racism.

They aren't two different things; prohibition (and its material form, the prison state) is the same thing as racism.

> The perpetrators include not only those who participated in these acts in Alabama, but also those who conspired to pretextually pass these laws in the first place.

Which law specifically legalizes planting evidence on people and then covering up evidence of it?

> They aren't two different things; prohibition (and its material form, the prison state) is the same thing as racism.

No. Prohibition is part of what racism is in the west, but it is not the "same thing." There are many forms of racism people struggle with every day that don't have anything to do with prohibition.

As far as I can tell, you're appropriating this argument to turn an important chance to remind people how brutalized black people are in America and turn it into a conversation about drug use and enforcement. I find this reprehensible and racist in and of itself, and I will no longer entertain a conversation with you.

No need to be hostile.

Perhaps you just haven't been exposed to the facts about drug prohibition (and its history) before.

Let me recommend a book which will crystallize these things for you:


> how brutalized black people are in America and turn it into a conversation about drug use and enforcement.

So, you keep making this mistake. I didn't change the topic; supporters of prohibition did when they argued for its passage.

You keep acting like prohibition is about "drug use" - it's not. It is about racial oppression, plain and simple.

Be reminded that "drug use" is almost completely legal. Of the tens of thousands of drugs in the contemporary pharmacopoeia, just a few are prohibited. These were selected specifically (and openly) because of their traditional use among non-white people.

Everybody uses drugs. Out of everybody, only poor people, and overwhelmingly poor people of color, suffer the effects of prohibition.

In fact, it's only recently (in the past 30 or so years) that prohibition (the "war on drugs") has even had a pretense of being race-neutral. From 1914 until ~1970, drug laws were open discussed as a way to perform racial oppression.

> "There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."

> “Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men."

These are things that our current prohibition's earliest champion, Harry Anslinger, appears to have said whilst holding national office as the chief of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

So again: prohibition is not currently, and has never been, about drug use. It is a policy enacted in a spirit of racism, with a racist intent, and per its design, continues the institution of racism. It has no other goal.

No matter what other policy change may come to this land, if prohibition continues, racism will not have been defeated.

> That's the only reason that planting evidence is even possible in most cases.

Are you honestly saying that -given everything we probably know about this case and the extent to which people in power were involved and actively worked to support it, cover it up, and promote those involved to even higher positions of power- fabrication of complaints and testimony would be impossible?

You are moving the goal posts now.

Fabrication of complaints and testimony is, of course, possible, but it's not the same thing, nor is it in the same category of ease for a corrupt state official, as merely planting evidence.

The main benefit of prohibition, from the standpoint of the state, is that planting evidence against anybody is suddenly possible, and in fact in many communities the evidence is already planted.

In this particular case, we happen to have evidence of the former, but it is not evidence that fabrication of complaints and testimony, which require a far more elaborate corruption superstructure, are possible in this community.

> You are moving the goal posts now.

I absolutely am not.

Officials shut down a police IA investigation into the years-long scheme. The folks who were complicit in this scheme SHUT DOWN an active investigation into the scheme.

Why on earth do you think that fabrication of (or paid production of) testimony wouldn't be possible?

An internal investigation was shut down by those involved in the conspiracy!

I think we're talking past each other.

I'm not saying that fabrication of testimony isn't possible - I fully acknowledge that perjurious conduct occurred in this very case!

What I'm saying is that fabrication of testimony and planting of evidence aren't the same thing.

You aren't going to be oppress an entire class ( / race) of people by producing "victim" after "victim" whose basis is perjurious. Some, sure. Especially when the stakes are high and the state needs a solid lie.

But in order to have this assembly line of false convictions, you absolutely need a victimless crime.

> What I'm saying is that fabrication of testimony and planting of evidence aren't the same thing.

Correct. Planting of evidence is more difficult and more unlikely than fabrication of testimony.

Fabrication of testimony is lying about the facts of a matter.

Planting of evidence is lying about the facts of a matter in addition to leaving physical traces that corroborate your lies.

> But in order to have this assembly line of false convictions, you absolutely need a victimless crime.


This crime has been ongoing since at least 1996.

The article mentions "hundreds" of cases. Let's say that that's 500 cases, which works out to ~2.1 cases per month. I wouldn't call that an "assembly line" of cases.

Dothan has -roughly- 60k people in it. Over ~twenty years, this conspiracy touched less than 1% of the area's population... and -to be frank- it's a segment of the population that is not well-liked by a lot of the folks in the area. Few locals would bat an eye if "Them $RACIAL_SLURs done hit Jim-Joe's Gun Shop again.". [0]

The article states that the police department called the DA's office in order to get the DA's office to actively block the IA investigation. I see no reason why the office wouldn't also fail to question periodic rashes of burglary against a few suspiciously unlucky business owners.

As has been demonstrated, all you need to run this scheme is a few corruptable (or corrupted) people in key positions and a pool of people who are too poor to raise a competent defense.

Alabama has both... in quantity.

[0] Citation: I grew up in the sticks in Alabama. There are lots of good people, but there are lots of terrible people, too. And, yes, there are many folks with names (or nyms) like Billy-Bob and Jim-Joe. :)

I agree in full with everything you have said.

Where I'm a little lost is how you project this into a future where drug prohibition (and other consensual "crime") doesn't exist.

So, sure, you have a few gnarly guys who will perjur themselves for you - but what do you accuse people of? What is the crime that replaces drug possession?

Without victims, you can't really make this work...?

> What is the crime that replaces drug possession?


(As I've explicitly mentioned at least once. :) )

Other possibilities: False statements to authorities. Possession of a (loaded or unloaded) pistol in the cab of your vehicle, without possession of a pistol permit. Trespass. Assault. Traffic violations. (And then arrest for failure to appear for the same, or jail for failure to be able to pay the fines for the same.) Parole violations. (Here's where evidence planting gets you back to the quick path to jail time.)

You've gotta understand. The criminals who were running this scheme were dedicated. There are a wide variety of crimes that could be used for a relatively quick frame-up.

When you know that the DA isn't gonna closely examine your case, you know that IA isn't going to expose your scheme, and you're fairly certain that the folks you're targeting can't mount an effective defense, you get to do all sorts of things that reasonable people would expect to be impossible.

What will this person have stolen? To whom will it belong? Someone will have to claim to be the victim.

I guess still, we're talking past each other.

We need to repeal laws against every one of those offenses except assault and theft (which will require a victim to come forward, again returning to my initial question).

My assertion (and one that I think it quite clearly backed up by the evidence in history on the matter) is that these victimless crimes are created precisely to target (typically racial) groups.

I don't view the unethical law and the racist enforcement as two different things, but as parts of the same motion.

> What will this person have stolen? To whom will it belong? Someone will have to claim to be the victim.

Property from a collection of property owners who -just like much of the Dothan police department and parts of the DA's office and who knows who else- believe in the ongoing quest to target, harass, and jail a disfavored group of people?

I mean, have you personally known a rabid dyed-in-the-wool racist? I've known many. Several of whom would -if they had the means- jump at the chance to participate in such a scheme.

> We need to repeal laws against every one of those offenses...

We need to repeal laws that make illegal and/or unsafe possession of a firearm, trespassing, parole violations, and traffic violations illegal because... such laws could be used to disproportionately target a particular class of people?!

That's definitely throwing the baby out along with the bathwater.

Look. Your continued assertion that the biggest problem here is nuts-as-shit drug laws, and this would have never had happened if it wasn't for them is (deliberately?) obscuring the real problem.

What's the real problem?

* For roughly twenty years, evil people in positions of power successfully harassed, jailed, and -effectively- stole money and property from targeted members of a disfavored class of people.

* These evil people occupied positions of power in both the police force and the judicial system.

  These evil people used their influence and power to:
* Quash objections to their ongoing conspiracy.

* Terminate an official police investigation into their conspiracy -long after it turned up hard evidence regarding the nature and scope of the conspiracy-

* Promote those who furthered the goals of the conspiracy to higher office (including State Director of Homeland Security!)

* Demote or remove from positions of power those who attempted to dismantle or shut down the conspiracy

I get that you don't like drug laws in this country.

There's a much bigger and much more important story here.

I'm reading these comments somewhat in disbelief. Put the torches down people. You know it took me the better part of 40 years to realize that if one is the greatest guy in the world 95% of the time and a complete asshole 5% of the time guess what that makes you? A complete asshole. Especially ally to the people that only see you during that 5%.

Well the same holds true for the police. These travesty could and probably is only perpetrated by a tiny percentage of officers yet Now with the release of this story(has anyone -confirmed it's legitimacy?) at least those commenting have already confirmed judged and condemned the bulk of every police department in the nation as shoot to kill monstrous overlords. I'm sorry but that's just not the case.

I hope that there will be an investigation into who has been effected by this.

I look forward to seeing the details from the future court dates that result from these findings.

The SPLC has retracted their links to this story amidst doubts about its veracity.


At some point the limits of immunity have to be tested. Can a DA operate with such malintent and get away with it? The cops? At what point can they be stripped of immunity and pursued by their former employer for creating a huge liability?

Dan Quan, a co-worker of mine, spoke about his experience as a police officer, and the mentality he saw from other officers, in his talk at Rocky Mountain Ruby, "Policing and Pairing: An Unlikely Preparation" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgGaO92oIGg). While not the main subject of the talk, it's an interesting first-person perspective.

The website was down. Here's the wayback link:


Thank god for whistle blowers.

Aka people with souls

We need to ensure that these whistle blower police officers receive praise and reward for their good work, so that they and others are encouraged to do the right thing. They may not get the same treatment from other police officers who might not trust them in future.

What is the Alabama Justice Project. 99% reliability on a POLYGRAPH test?

I wish I could read more of the article since it seems to be down and google webcache isn't the best. How come none of these cases have been covered by any other organization? Wouldn't a pending lawsuit against the police organization be news?

Surely there is corruption/racism in the police department. But is this article valid?

Also to consider is the ridiculous police letter. Which is probably the second most farcical part of this article.

I do hope this story is true. It is going to drive the narrative of police corruption for a while, since it's big enough. I do have doubts about its authenticity however.

Try googling "Alabama Justice Project", which is the group responsible for this release.

I got three news items, 2 from today. One empty blog set up months ago. Poking around some more, I get Jon Carroll, the author of "The Henry County Report", breaking the story from the Alabama Justice Project, which he is also involved in. I see the Southern Poverty Law Center mentioned in a couple of the dozens of copy-links from this story, but nothing on their site.

I'm not saying this report is fake, or even trying to discredit Carroll. But you gotta admit this is a really weird way to break a story of such huge magnitude. Sure would be nice to have some other outlet check the facts on this. There are a lot of people implicated in this article, and the author uses phrases such as "slam shut case" which leads me to think he has an agenda. Combine that with the weird provenance? I get uneasy. We got one lone wolf and 47-thousand mainstream news outlets copying what he's putting out.

News ain't what it used to be.

Systemic severe racism over the course of 20 years? A cover up by the police? Par for the course in the USA, and it's disgusting. The justice system in this town has been an injustice system for as long as some of the people who live there can remember.

There may be riots because of this. They will be justified.

Someone whose very job demands a high standard of integrity, acting in this fashion... This is what a horrible human is.

Michael Magrino, cited in that article many times, seems to be the person behind http://mandmprivateeye.com/ so perhaps he's already moved on from straight-up police work to private investigations.

I hope everyone who has heard the cry of a victim claiming to have been framed and ignored it reflects on having done so.

Is there a better source for this story?

Heres all the documents:


This is terrible and it undermines The entire justice system. This is treason against the constitution.

I can't see the article when I click through - anybody got a mirror?

I also get nothing. Was it taken down?

It's working fine for me (and I have ad blocking + noscript on). Perhaps try the Google cache version: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3Ahenry...

Hmm. I cannot reach the site.

Bring the motherblowers down!

(reposting a comment I put elsewhere with direct links to exhibit documents)

The Internet Wayback Machine has it from today

Archive.org has https://web.archive.org/web/20151202021559/http://henrycount... , this is just one of the versions they picked up today.

The article links to a variety of scanned documents hosted elsewhere, which look like excerpts from a full document dump. Exhibits 8 & 9 do not appear to be linked from the Henry County Report page.











(edit: note that the documents numbered 144484-144489 are unrelated, mostly Italian?)

America is a police state, ruled by a corrupt elite Willing to break laws, rewrite them if possible, create secret ones when needed, they will torture, murder, commit war crimes, this the country Americans reside in, only they do not want to except this increasingly glaring truth.

What happens instead is people who speak out are ignored, derided, and silenced.

actually, what stroke me hard when I went from Europe to US in 2003 for summer student work was how much more repressive the whole system felt. For example coworkers (in central Hollywood) openly afraid of cop cars going in opposite direction, because they had forgotten an unscrewed bottle of alcohol which was not in the trunk.

It might very well be we'll be in similar place in 10 years here, but it was quite a shock to experience back then.

Maybe it's just my American blinders, but I don't see how "you can get arrested for driving with an open container of alcohol" is particularly repressive.

America is a democracy, where a majority of the population supports the War on Drugs, War on Terrorism etc.

America was never a democracy.

It was founded as an oligarchy in the guise of a constitutional republic.

There should be an upvote by 1k arrow.

Huh. I see someone posted an article about police corruption to Hacker News...

- declaration that the US is a police state? Check.

- assertion that all police are criminals? Check.

- call for the repeal of all drug laws? Check.

- argument about whether or not black people are genetically predisposed to violence and criminality? check.

Now all this thread needs is a tangential discussion about the Second Amendment and I'll have bingo.


We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10660295 and marked it off-topic.

You reveal your lack of good faith with the slur, "the criminality of the black community". If you were genuinely interested in factual exploration, that's where you'd be least likely to go.

> and marked it off-topic

What does this mean, technically?

It makes the subthread go lower in comment ranking and adds it to a corpus of offtopicness.

Agh, sorry, I downvoted you by accident.


Given that this isn't an isolated incident, and we're seeing black people on the receiving end of a great deal of police misconduct over the past couple of years (Laquan McDonald and the subsequent cover up is the most recent example), perhaps it's time you consider that the reason arrest rates for black people are so high is because they are targeted unjustly. Not because they're actually committing crimes at higher rates.

It could be both. It could also be that the two phenomena are related in more ways than one. I'm not a sociologist and this isn't my wheelhouse, but I can both imagine a world in which exposure to crime can jade law enforcement against a community - and one in which a community can become jaded by corrupt law enforcement.


"criminality" is not an inherent trait in any race, including black Americans. The increased crime rates are a function of a number of inputs, many of which stem all the way back to slavery-- which has never fully been addressed/redressed in our public policy. To fail to recognize this and treat "black criminality" as some initial condition is to fail to critically think about our collective history and the resulting consequences.

This is just made up shit that sounds good in your head. Even if we suppose for a moment that what you should have kept to yourself is true, what do you expect black people to do? In a dysfunctional relationship the person in the position of overwhelming power is the one that needs to change. Who "started" it is irrelevant.

It's sad that you actually think this is true.

You're saying it's not true? That policemen don't assume all blacks must be guilty of something? I'm sure a lot of them really do. That's just how human nature works. We all judge people on flimsy evidence and form prejudices. Police are humans like the rest of us and are bound to have those same kinds of prejudice.

> That policemen don't assume all blacks must be guilty of something?

I believe this is closer to the truth, but that's not what the flagged comment was getting at. His blanket assertion was that blacks committed more crimes than whites.


You can't draw conclusions from one fact and then call your suppositions facts.

> Downvote me all you want: it won't change the facts.

I downvoted you because you are simply incorrect about the facts. Black people make up 12% of the US population, and use illicit drugs at approximately a proportionate rate. Yet, black people make up more than half of the prison population of drug offenders, and nearly two thirds of those under any form of criminal supervision for drug offenses.

Why are you saying otherwise?

I upvoted him because it's difficult to read what he wrote (and I routinely upvote grey comments). HN should decide whether a downvote means ‘I disagree’ or ‘this isn't worth reading’ — ‘I disagree therefore this isn't worth reading’ is incompatible with reasoned discussion.

It's one thing to have a different opinion - I often upvote people with whom I have a different opinion.

It's entirely another to make a claim about facts which is not supported - in this case by evidence that is not controversial.

It's simply not so that black people commit crimes in proportion with the representation in the criminal justice system. In fact, if poverty and geography are controlled for, ethnicity and race seem to be non-determiners of criminality.

This is explained, among many other places, here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-farbota/black-crime-rates-...

If you want to read a faded comment more easily, simply click on its timestamp. Please don't vote for that reason.

"Disagreeing" on facts is not compatible with reasoned discussion too, especially when one couches their opinion in such clearly unreasoned ways such as "go ahead and downvote me." This person knows that they're trolling, and does it anyway.

> I upvoted him because it's difficult to read what he wrote

Does this mean that you upvote greytext comments because it makes the text too difficult to read, and you find that upvoting such a comment not infrequently makes it easier for you to read it?

If yes, then you might be pleased to know that you can solve the contrast issue by selecting the text with your mouse or whatever other pointing device you use.

> HN should decide whether a downvote means ‘I disagree’ or ‘this isn't worth reading'

I can't speak for the community at large, but PG has condoned downvotes as a signal of disagreement.

Just hit ctrl-a.

Unfortunately, Hacker News has decided, and considers the censorship of comments for any reason at all (including no particular reason) to be not only compatible with, but vital to, reasoned discussion.

If you prefer to make your own decisions about what comments are worth reading, and use Firefox, here[0] is a userscript that will unfade them.


Without providing a reference backing up your second sentence your claim is no more believable than the OP's.

The reason I mention it is that on average black people tend to be poorer and live in worse neighborhoods, and poor people in bad neighborhoods (of all races) tend to do more drugs. So my expectation would be black people tend to do more drugs than white people, but I still doubt it's enough of a difference to explain the difference in prison population.


Edit: Just to be clear before I'm downvoted into oblivion, I agree that the police and justice system are heavily biased against black people, I'm just not sure that sentence is true.

> poor people in bad neighborhoods (of all races) tend to do more drugs

This is not true. This matter has been thoroughly studied - have you a source to back up this claim?

Even though the drugs that are often consumed in poor neighborhoods are more likely to be criminalized, they are still used at comparable (and sometimes higher) rates in affluent neighborhoods (along with many other drugs in configurations that aren't prohibited).

I don't understand what you are asking me to source - you are the one making the claim.

Here's an easy read that lays this stuff out plainly (I already linked it from my other comment, below):


Correlations with race are highly suspect as well as self-reinforcing. I believe they should be abandoned because the damage they cause (by perpetuating a problem) may be greater than any possible benefit they provide.

Correlations with race are _facts_. Impartially collected data collated with robust statistical methods results in race falling out of the mix as an important correlate with all sorts of things; we then publish these correlations. Which part should we abandon? Impartial data collection? Robust statistics? Publication of the results? Are you suggesting that certain facts are too dangerous to know?

Correlations are never facts: they are interpretations of statistical measurements.

Correlations with eye color may also be _facts_, but this does not mean that they are important. And (hopefully by definition, since these are all just physical attributes), such correlations (as ridiculous as it sounds) should be no more, or less, important than racial, gender, age or other correlations. They're all just tools to oppress minorities and treat people as groups rather than individuals, which is good for a single brain trying to make sense of the world but bad for the individuals in the group.

Are you aware of the blue eyes/brown eyes experiment by teacher Jane Elliott? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Elliott

In any event, the problem, if any, is cultural and economic, NOT racial. I lived with a white Irish guy who grew up in an entirely black neighborhood, and if you closed your eyes you would have zero doubt he was black. One of the coolest (and most mind-blowing) guys I've ever met.

Have you read "Night" by Elie Wiesel? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_(book) The Nazis had plenty of correlations (I'm sorry, _FACTS_) to being Jewish, put it that way... and we all know how that ended up.

The only racial correlative that makes any sense to track, to me, is sickle-cell anemia, because it is helpful.

The problem is your brain (and my brain, and everyone's brain). As soon as you learn of an unfortunate correlation with race (or sex... did you know almost all rapists are men? Did you know most people interested in math and science are male? Etc.), you tend to lean on it too much to make judgments across ALL of the correlate, and therein lies the serious problem, because the outliers get _the_shaft_. The well-meaning black man experiences bias on a daily basis and gets worse jobs, the science-interested woman gets scoffed at and thus discouraged by male teachers, and the good gentleman never gets the girl because she crosses the street before actually meeting him out of fear.

So, fucking quit it, man. It's not helpful, in any way, shape, or form. It is disingenuous to all humans, to restrict a handful of them based on a correlation with a physical attribute. It's giving in to the laziness of your brain trying to oversimplify a complex world. It's actively evil, in fact, the equivalent of grouping all Koreans together and calling them "gooks" because the idea that you're shooting actual humans is just too distasteful a thought.

Don't you see? It's ENTIRELY easier for you to not hire an entirely qualified black man, if you're spouting this bullshit.

Well, it's not exactly the black people's fault that the police decided to be corrupt. So now they've made their own bed and they'll have to lie in it: if they could have categorically said 'this does not happen' they would have had a strong position. Now everybody that gets in trouble with the police can muddy the waters by saying that the evidence was planted. And in some of those cases that will be the truth.

These officers have all but destroyed the reputation of their force and that's something that they're not going to recover easily - if at all.

So, let's have a productive public conversation: How will guarantees be provided that something like this can never happen again, how will the people affected by this be properly compensated for the crimes done to them, how will everybody involved in these affairs be charged, tried and punished, from high to low and how will the police force change it's inner culture so that if there is another instance of such a thing it will be immediately and swiftly dealt with before another culture like the current one can take root?

All that has nothing to do with the arrest rates of blacks, elevated black criminality and the black community at large, this is a police problem, and only a police problem, the people evidence was planted on are called victims and you don't get to blame those for any misconduct of the other party.

I'm assuming that if they plant evidence they plant evidence where-ever they feel like and if they want to arrest people for no good reason that they'll do that too to whoever they feel like. If they do that more often to blacks than to others then there are yet more problems but these are significant enough by themselves to be extremely damaging.

> While I of course condemn polite misconduct, I can understand how repeated interaction with a recalcitrant criminal element could harden and corrupt a police officer.

I can't. If you can't stand the heat stay the fuck out of the kitchen. Good police officers can not function if their not-so-good colleagues spoil the reputation of the whole department like this.

To those that downvoted this comment: feel free to explain your reasons.

> Black Americans commit a wildly disproportionate amount of crime. While police conduct exists and is deplorable, my sense as an observer is that the majority of black anti-police activism is about somehow pinning the criminality of the black community on society at large.

> While I of course condemn polite misconduct, I can understand how repeated interaction with a recalcitrant criminal element could harden and corrupt a police officer.

This right here, this is what racism looks like. This is its kernel, its essence.

Racism is fundamentally a double standard between an in group and an out group. The in-group is judged compassionately. Wrong-doing is contextualized and labelled as a mistake, an outlier, the doing of a tiny subset, uncharacteristic. The out-group is judged harshly. Wrong-doing is claimed to be characteristic to the point of being universal, it is never contextualized and there is never an allowance for human imperfection.

Here you have a situation where millions of people (black americans) are being characterized by the actions of a tiny subset (criminals), and condemned for it while on the other hand the crimes and abuses of another group (police officers) are contextualized if not excused.

All racism is based on a seed of truth, but you can no more use the higher crime rate of blacks to condemn an entire race than you can use the higher crime rate of men to condemn an entire gender.

Well said.

Actually, black Americans are primed for entry into "the system" from kindergarten. It's called "the school to prison pipeline" and it has been conclusively shown that blacks get disproportionate punishment at every phase of life.

Similar things have been done to other minority populations, especially indigenous populations, in other countries, with much the same results.

If police officers can be made corrupt just by doing their jobs, then we really need to change how that system works.

> I can understand how repeated interaction with a recalcitrant criminal element could harden and corrupt a police officer.

If a job is hard and hardening, and the job requires you to behave fairly, sensibly, and rationally, then a reasonable employer will often and regularly check to ensure that the job hasn't damaged the employee in such a way as to render them useless or ineffective.

One common way to handle this sort of thing is to proactively rotate employees in and out of the stressful portions of the job.

Take your racism somewhere else, it doesn't belong here.


> Once the examiner has an adequate series of charts to evaluate, he will begin the scoring process. This is done most often using a numerical scoring method which evaluates the subject's physiological responses to the Relevant and Control questions. The computer polygraph may also use an algorithm developed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory or other researchers to score the examination. The examiner can use this algorithm to independently score the examination or for quality control purposes to verify his own determination.


If you look closely, you'll notice that that's a copyright notice for a piece of software evaluating the results. The test isn't necessarily being run by JHU APL, but the software was developed there.

See also: http://www.jhuapl.edu/ott/technologies/technology/articles/P...

JHU APL does tons, well primarily, highly sensitive defense contracting work. For instance, you can actually head on over right now to Linkedin and apply for their "Combat Systems Kill Chain Engineer" position. [1] Security is thus a big requirement.

From Wikipedia: "APL is primarily a defense contractor. It serves as a technical resource for the Department of Defense, NASA, and other government agencies."

There is a very strained relationship with some parts of the JHU community due to this. At the offices where they control the Hubble Space Telescope for instance there is a deli with a tip jar for, tongue in cheek, COINTELPRO.

[1] https://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/70728662?trk=jobs_jserp_...

On a somewhat related note, the relationship between CMU's campus and SEI / CERT (another FFRDC) was somewhat strained recently in light of the recent Tor allegations.

Traditional academia and government researchers will always make for strange bedfellows.

It's still an ugly involvement. Evaluation software isn't going to redeem "lie detectors' as anything other than voodoo. It just gets the stink of that voodoo on JHU.

> For instance, since when does JHU Applied Physics Laboratory run polygraph tests?

There's no indication that JHU APL ran the tests, just they are identified in the copyright notice for the software providing the test results. A quick Googling reveals that JHU APL is a fairly significant developer of polygraph-related technology, so this isn't at all surprising.

These police officers are probably as guilty as sin. But the fact that their accusers have used the polygraph against them reduces the credibility of the evidence against the corrupt police. Polygraphs are junk science.

The use of a polygraph doesn't reduce the credibility of any other evidence.

After the collapse of Soviet Union, in my country there was explosion of mafia. Police were incapable and this is exactly how police dealt with them. Draconian drug laws meant that cops could easily put gangsters to jail for a long time.

Basically if thugs play dirty, cops are playing dirty as well.

Are you suggesting that the hundreds of black men falsely convicted and imprisoned by corrupt white supremacist police and prosecutors were culpable because they are “thugs playing dirty”?


When such corruption is completely normal and the assumption is that the state is always in the right somehow, you get opinions like the above.

Also you can't really convince people that hold these opinions otherwise, since when endemic corruption REALLY IS everywhere its quite foolish to assume the best of people, except somehow in this case, the grandparent commenter is assuming that despite all odds the police were doing the right thing, just through illegal means.

I was stating the fact that happened in my country ruled by gangsters who were extorting innocent people.

Why you are reading something that is not there?

Your three-sentence story was about police battling the “explosion of mafia” using underhanded tactics, and makes no mention of innocent people.

The case under discussion is police planting drugs and guns on people who were wrongly arrested and who had no prior criminal record or connection to gangsters, because the police were hateful racists.

Since those two scenarios seem completely unrelated, my inference was that either (a) your comment is totally off topic, or else (b) you are trying to suggest that the situations are similar. Option (b) seems more likely considering your statement “basically if thugs play dirty, cops are playing dirty as well” is in a separate paragraph, and the obvious implication is that it applies to both your first paragraph and to the original article. Hence my question.

Rather than inferring that all thugs are black, you should have inferred that mafia isn't there to help people.

Anyhow, sorry if my story isn't interesting.

'thug' has some really bad associations right now. It's basically the latest euphemism for 'black person', so people read your initial comment as explicitly intended to compare the situation in your country to the situation here.

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