This officer shot into a car seven times with a little girl on board, murdering a man who was cooperating.
And then he gets off without charge, despite there being video evidence. Where is the justice in that? People aren't that dumb, they aren't being treated fairly and they know it.
According to this study, less than 30% of people believe that police behave lawfully.
Just a minor nitpick about this, forgive me. Overall this post is perfectly agreeable.
Police primarily serve private property owners, with private property being different from personal property.
Private property refers to property which earns their owners accumulated wealth: think landlords, business owners and such. Personal property, such as your smartphone or house are intuitively different from this even though things like this are called private property in vernacular.
I think it's a distinction worth posting about since policing as an institution got its start in union busting and slave catching.
Do you happen to have a good citation for this, I've heard it several times but am not familiar with any scholarship documenting that connection.
The second source seem to support the connection, but doesn't document any actual institutional connections. It relies on similarity, and bald assertion. The existence of overlap between the KKK and local law enforcement is evidence that policing in the US is racist. It isn't actually evidence that the institutions of policing were descended from slave patrols.
I'm not a huge expert on criminal justice, but my degree is history, and these kinds of assertions seem to ignore the parallel developments in NYC, Boston, and other Yankee cities in policing and crime solving that established our idea of a municipal police department. That such departments may have been racist isn't a surprise, virtually every institution in 1880 was, but they were in states that did not practice slavery(abolished in 1799 in NY) and as a result had no institutional history of enforcing it.
Consider that Federal Marshals were so reluctant to enforce laws on the return of escaped slaves that it took an act of congress, with severe financial penalties, to get them to actually enforce the "property claims" of southerners.
1 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/slavery_01.shtml
What I find striking is that GP doesn't have facts at hand.
David Friedman has a great summary of how a variety of societies pursue justice and the origins of our own system and comparisons of the systems.
I think you meant that he got off without conviction, not without charge. He was charged with manslaughter and a couple of felony gun charges, and was tried by a jury on those charges .
If you ask someone if they think a large collection of individuals behaves lawfully, the answer should always be "no" because with a large enough group there will always be criminals in that group.
If you're instead thinking about whether police break the law in an organized and collectively deliberate fashion, that's an entirely different question.
Edit: which is to overlook the most glaring examples of NYPD corruption: parking placards and get-out-of-jail-free cards for friends and family (recently reduced from 30 to 20 per officer!). It is not a great exaggeration to claim that the NYPD is America's largest criminal gang.
Why do police act this way?
Have they always acted this way or did something change?
Are police different from other people, that is do they have an innate propensity to act the way they do, or are they conditioned to act this way by their experiences?
What sort of job experiences do police have? Have the experiences of policing changed in recent times, and why?
What systemic factors contribute to the problem? What social factors contribute to the problem?
Thanks to the miracle of the internet, there are many great resources to see the kind of situations real police must routinely navigate. This youtube channel is one of my favorites: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMYxKMh3prxnM_4kYZuB3g (NSFW, violent content)
In discussion on the subject I've had multiple people who do not know each other say things like "everyone I knew who was a bully growing up became a cop" (and that's a near direct quote). The current state of policing where they can use force to get people to do anything they want and get off scot free even if they're in the wrong definitely attracts a certain personality type.
Granted there's room for alternate interpretations, I think history speaks pretty clearly to the fact that the primary function is maintaining control of populations at scale, and that necessarily implies certain things about the outcome of any law enforcement system.
I don't mean to be critical; I'm quite sympathetic.
I grew up in a post-Soviet Bloc country, and while things have definitely changed a lot since 1980s, the mistrust in police and state was still something you could sense. However, that sense of mistrust was dramatically different, because there was no conflicting sense of "it shouldn't be like that". There was a sense of acceptance. Maybe you could call that Soviet defeatism.
The only lesson I can draw from that is that it's easier to look at what's happening in U.S. if you don't presume that the state is your friend.
I suppose so, if you consider all countries. But I'm not sure that's reasonable to compare The US and, for example, Mexico, like that. If you consider peer countries to The US, with similar cultures, like Australia, The UK, France, then it is not normal that the police are antagonistic to citizens. In The UK most police don't even carry guns.
This comes off like saying that a country is a one-dimensional object, and all countries can be adequately compared on a straight line spectrum. Just to be clear, I think it's much more complicated than that.
 - https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/belarus
 - https://freedomhouse.org/country/tajikistan
 - https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/kazakhsta...
 - https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/azerbaija...
 - https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2018/kyrgyzsta...
 - https://freedomhouse.org/country/uzbekistan
US has one of the lowest ratios of police force per capita - 284 officers per 100k citizens .
Compare to Belarus - 1442 per 100k citizens and Russia’s 515 per 100k.
 - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_depend...
If they are all directing traffic it’s not a police state.
A couple of weeks ago, we had a terror incident in Melbourne, where a man set his car on fire and started trying to stab people (killing one). The police arrived on scene within seconds, and attempted to stop the attacker using non lethal methods, it was only when it was clear that he wasn't going to be stopped that one of the officers drew their firearm and shot the attacker (apparently only once too, unlike in the USA where they empty their magazine). You can view footage of the incident here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnk4su6HSHk
The officer only used lethal force when it was clear that there was no other option. I don't want to speculate, but I feel like if this was the USA, both officers would've immediately unloaded their magazines into the attacker, possibly hitting bystanders (it's happened plenty of times before).
Compare that to the USA, where an unarmed Australian woman who rang the police to report a possible assault was shot by the police from inside their car: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Justine_Damond
Look at how calmly they handle the aftermath when bystanders want their piece of the attacker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42ktuyfsHCA
No guns drawn!
I won't mind-read and suggest where you went wrong.
And there is a pattern that other countries don’t feel obliged to repeat.
That means cops have to be more vigilant about guns.
I know it's hard being a cop … But some jobs can't have bad apples. Some jobs, everybody gotta be good. Like, pilots. American Airlines can't be like, 'You know, most of our pilots like to land, we just got a few bad apples that like to crash into mountains.'
Then why do the police need guns? Shouldn't knives be sufficient?
Sure, if your plan is to only deal with threats that are < 20ft away and can be handled with a knife.
I never said the person with the knife would survive. They may very well get killed. Who cares if he managed to slice open your arm or neck and you bleed to death anyway.
While there is federal assistance for police departments to buy military surplus equipment, there's very little assistance (outside of anti-terrorist funding) for improved and lengthened general training (e.g. de-escalation of force, averting the need for force, etc).
This results in some states and cities having well trained professional police, whereas others receive minimum training and are then expected to learn "on the job." For example California police officers are now receiving better training on handling the mentally ill, something a rural police officer in another state is unlikely to receive.
This is both unfair to the public and police officers alike. Unfortunately getting people to pay for things can be challenging.
Funny you mention that. I think that if anything the rural cops are less likely to have an "us vs them" mentality. I think the fact that there's so few cops means they are forced to extend their social circles beyond just other cops where city cops do not have to do that.
Now getting people to pay higher taxes to fund it? That's the real challenge.
Why administrative leave? Why not "changed jobs because they were completely shunned by their colleagues after this incident". It wouldn't even cost a cent to achieve that, just personal integrity. Can't have "the blue shield" and "not all cops" at the same time, pick one and then own that decision.
I propose that police forces must be self-insured, with their pension fund backing the policy.
Raising the stakes for a group that already protects its own just increases its incentive to cover up malfeasance.
What's needed is something more systemic: abolish prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutors will then have no choice but to pursue these cases or face prosecution themselves.
It also creates incentives to repeal old or broken laws that are used only as leverage against otherwise law abiding citizens.
It's a dramatic change, no doubt, but there's a lot to be said for it.
Exactly, and that's part of the problem isn't it? You can address this either by hiring more litigators, or reduce illegality to what's truly essential.
The point I'm trying to make is that eliminating prosecutorial discretion creates a different set of incentives whereby the law must be understandable by mere mortals, and eliminates incentives for abuse (the blue line).
Re (1): This is a big problem. We need to get rid of the double standard. Whatever rules for use of force the police are playing by they should be at least as restrictive as the rules of engagement that 18yo marines in Afghanistan have to play by. A bad shoot by Joe Average should be a bad shoot when Officer Hotdead does it.
I'm not sure I agree that cops shouldn't get a double standard vs regular citizens — they spend far more time in dangerous / escalating situations than your average hothead with a gun. If they had no double standard protections, it'd be impossible to hire cops (or the ones you'd find would be too stupid to do the job) due to the legal jeopardy. I agree that military discipline makes police look like sloppy amateurs, but the military has the advantage of military training and discipline. Cops by and large don't have that continuing discipline, even those who are former military.
This just gives everyone involved further incentive to ensure that negligence or malfeasance get covered up.
One can dream.
You'd have to start at the other end, impose severe discipline on the officers, and it would be a good idea to introduce proper drug testing, steroid abuse is a serious problem with police officers. In the short term that would exacerbate the recruitment problem, so no easy solutions. Maybe conscription would be viable, if the military can have conscription, why can't the country have mandatory public service. Bring back the miliz!
I can't think of a single person I worked with and talked about taxes with that wasn't for increasing taxes slightly here. Not too much, but something more than what they have been.
I went to whatever meetings I could, wrote to the newspaper, and every single time I got to the board it was immediately shot down without much of a discussion. It's political suicide that none of them want to try, even the ones who are 75+ years old and have been "wanting to get away from this shit for 25 years." It's a power trip for them.
Instead of increasing taxes, they voted to spend 1 million plus to fix up downtown to get people from outside the county to come in to spend money. Now a lot of those businesses are still failing, younger people keep leaving and I still get shit on for suggesting the idea.
But change doesn't happen overnight... At least, that's what I tell myself anyway.
With that being said, I think police could do a better job of being helpful and approachable. In the times police are actually needed, such as a car accident or something being stolen, adding a bit more effort would go towards establishing a better impression among the public. Further, changing the structure of police incentives could also help, where they should be rewarded and recognized for the positive outcomes created in the community, and not the number of tickets written to bring $X dollars into the station.
First was stopping to ask a cop idling in a parking lot if they'd considered more enforcement of the new yield-to-pedestrians law at a nearby intersection/roundabout. Cars consistently run through the pedestrian crosswalks while people are in them (I have many videos of this), which is supposed to be a $1000 fine, but I've never seen any enforcement of it, or heard of anyone getting such a ticket. She basically said that they don't have time for that and would need more funding to be able to do proactive enforcement. Although she was polite and took the time to speak to me, I was disappointed at the lack of interest in something I see as a critical issue impacting safety and walkability in the community.
Second was a case where I'd witnessed what looked like a bike theft in progress at the side of the road, and then a moment later realised there was a police car half a block behind me. I pulled over and waved vigorously to flag him down, but I believe he was looking at his console (it's not clear in the video due to windshield glare) and cruised by without stopping. Either that or he saw and ignored me, which is probably worse.
Obviously both were fine in the sense that I wasn't yelled at or shot, but neither experience gave me warm fuzzies either.
I witnessed a hit-and-run in Chicago, tried to flag down a cop that passed by less than a minute later, he did stop for a second but said he was on another call and to call 911 to report it.
That's one of the problems right there. In America the cops' mission is to catch something, criminals, speeders or undesirables, and even their vehicles are camoflaged. In normal countries the mission of police is to keep the peace, and police vehicles and uniforms are designed to be visible.
Cops have repeatedly proven themselves to be state thugs without a modicum of human decency.
There are no good cops.
Copy/paste finding statement from executive summary:
Accurate and comprehensive data regarding police uses of force is generally not available to police
departments or the American public. No comprehensive national database exists that captures rates
of police use of force.
The best available evidence reflects high rates of use of force nationally, and increased likelihood
of police use of force against people of color, people with disabilities, LGBT people, people with
mental health concerns, people with low incomes, and those at the intersections of these groups.
Lack of training and lack of funding for training leave officers and the public at risk. Critical
training areas include tactical training, de-escalation techniques, understanding cultural
differences and anti-bias mechanisms, as well as strategies for encounters with individuals with
physical and mental disabilities.
Repeated and highly publicized incidents of police use of force against persons of color and people
with disabilities, combined with a lack of accurate data, lack of transparency about policies and
practices in place governing use of force, and lack of accountability for noncompliance foster a
perception that police use of force in communities of color and the disability community is
unchecked, unlawful, and unsafe.
The only conclusion we can draw right now is that some software company has an exclusive contract to provide the government with PDF export applications that do not generate hyperlinked tables of contents, and that publishing such a document is in fact a crime against the people.
A retired police officer described to me his actions when patrolling a neighborhood. After muster, he would drive his unit to an urban park in his district and start picking up trash. The residents got to know him from this and other actions. He would when time permitted play a game of horse with the kids on the basketball court or engage a dad who was at the park with his kids who might be having a beer. Interestingly, under “broken windows” theory of policing the dad would be cited for open container or taken to jail. However, this officer thought it was a good thing the dad was with the kids spending time in the park and not
creating a problem. He also engaged the basketball kids. Over time he interacted this way with many citizens in his patrol area. As a result, he not only gained trust and respect from the citizens, he also gained great sources of information.
However, there was no department consistency in this policy. The next officer on duty may have cited the dad or ignored the kids and merely patrolled in his/her prowler.
Such a different conception of policing than most are used to.
1) To deter crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
2) To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
3) To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
4) To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
5) To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
6) To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
7) To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
8) To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary, of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
9) To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.
Seems like US policing as a culture is slowly learning that these aren't optional, but required to effectively police a large diverse set of peoples.
It seems that this report is falling into the common trap of 'Officer deaths are down, the job must be safer'. Officer training has increased in the last 20 years, as has protective equipment, and life saving measures.
Page 38 states "Further, the data presented on Chart 5 (which includes the average number of police fatalities due
to shootings, stabbings, assaults, bombings, and vehicular assaults) suggest that intentional attacks
against law enforcement are at historically low levels.200"
The FBI's statistics report that in 2017, 60,000 officer were 'assaulted'. 2677 were assaulted by firearm, and over 267 of them were injured.
Quite simply, the most thorough and definitive source of attacks against law enforcement officers is not used to measure attacks against law enforcement officers, instead we are simply measuring deaths. Safety is a difficult thing to measure. If a pilot with 5,000 hours of flight time has crashed 4 small charter air planes with 0 deaths, is he safer than the pilot who has 2,000 hours of flight time with 0 crashes?
What we can measure is things like 'Felonious assaults' and 'Injuries per weapon type'. Which we have measured, but people keep ignoring in reports like this. Reports and reviews such as this usccr report are important, but we need to look at the situation at hand accurately if we want to address it properly
So, police stop you in the street for whatever reason, you brush by them, and bang, you're charged with felony assault.
1 - https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title18.2/chapter4/secti...
A police officer can shoot an unarmed innocent civilian in a swoop and swat and receive zero repercussions essentially turning swat teams into assassination teams on call. In my personal opinion, every accusation of police misconduct should be fully investigated by the FBI and if laws are found to have been broken then federal charges are brought and if found guilty, the officers right to be a police officer is permanently removed in much the same way people with felony's are not allowed to serve in the FBI or own a weapon. If an officer kills someone who was "reaching for their waistband" and that person is found to not have been armed, instant manslaughter charges. If officers are found to have known about a violation and protected their fellow officer even if just through their silence, they should be charged with obstruction of justice or a similar crime. Until police officers are held at the very least to the standards of their fellow citizens, things will never improve.
I have seen officers off duty that are wasted pile into civilian cars and speed off then throw zoom past on duty officers who laugh and let them continue on their way. Luckily no one was killed. All of those officers should have had their badges trashed, especially those on active duty.
I respect the police, they have to deal with the worst humanity has to offer and they charge into places everyone else is running from. Many of them are good people. They cannot be given carte blanche to rough people up, or kill them. They also cannot be allowed to essentially run state sanctioned gangs.
This passage starts by discussing an explanation for police excessive use of force and ends by discussing an explanation for crime within the black community.
It seems like the authors are saying that we can’t use crime within the black community to explain police brutality until (unless? because?) we use systemic issues to explain this crime. This seems fuzzy. It’s likely that black-on-black crime is a symptom of something; but that doesn’t prevent it from having symptoms, too.
Edit: if you disagree, say why.
I'm dreaming here, but ideally, the incentive wouldn't be "nail cops for things they done wrong", but simply professionality. That department, with the same justification IMO, could also be responsible for praising officers or departments for very good conduct. And ideally, the communities would also be involved in that -- as a partner, rather than just a potential subject of police misconduct and a source of complaints.
I’d rather live in a world where the rulers need the begrudging consent of a large number of people, for the reasons explained in The Dictator’s Handbook or in this CGP Grey video https://youtu.be/rStL7niR7gs
I thought their job was "to enforce the law?"