> The court noted that if police officers "willfully or wantonly" destroy property, they can be sued in a civil tort case. Lech tried to pursue that legal argument in Colorado state court, but he was not successful.
Here is the real problem. Eminent domain is clearly not the right strategy.
But when a police department is so out of control that they damage a home enough to get it condemned, over a single armed man, and they are not considered to have acted to wantonly destroy property, our society is seriously screwed up.
Every day, these sort of toxic over reactions and abuse of power are making people think less and less of police power. Even those that the police do not abuse are starting to believe the "ACAB" line.
Police need to start admitting to being able to make mistakes, because when they refuse to admit to any error when they have made obvious errors, they look morally weak and we stop thinking they deserve any of the massive amount of power we see them abuse.
This is why "ACAB" takes hold. They 100% get behind their shittiest members, effectively taking collective responsibility for them. I am really not sure what else they expect, really.
From I'm a black ex-cop, and this is the real truth about race and policing http://www.vox.com/2015/5/28/8661977/race-police-officer
And also non-minorities. According to Scott Alexander the rate of killings per police encounter in the USA is similar for both black and white people.
It's more of a reaction to the idea of changing an institution from the inside.
Just really surprised they'd prioritise such low value items. I know I've heard in some cities like San Francisco, the police are so busy with everything else even cars being broken into or stolen isn't even a high priority. So the police are pretty much useless and only good for just to get it documented for the insurance company. Then, of course, you have to pay for a copy of the police report, and some or maybe even most places won't even accept credit, debit or even checks. Exact change only. Ideally, though no one should steal at all and in the ideal world, everyone who stolen would be caught.
My first iPod Touch was stolen in high school, and the police took a report. I even thought I knew who did it... The officer even asked me if I'm sure I didn't misplace it or lose it, trying to blame me I guess. I kinda feel like corporations are more protected than everyday citizens sadly. Maybe a Walmart in a city will bring more income than a single person though is the logic.
We tried again and again to get the phone back but they refused. We had to buy a new one. As far as I’m concerned, those cops stole my brother’s phone.
To answer my own questions, police do not care so much about the "value" of the target. Their behavior is much easier to explain once you realize that their job is to protect capital.
Also, the victims of wage theft are less likely to be "well connected" sponsors of political careers, while the victims of larceny are naturally more often business owners whom are more likely to have a "voice".
Furthermore, cops aren't exactly skilled at digging out such things. Wage theft is something for the department of labor, not the cops.
A petty thief who stole $50 worth of merchandise was armed with a gun. That's your problem and that's what led to the overreactions.
Cartels are billion dollar enterprises with shipping connections all around the world, to believe they're getting their LAW's and M249's from Billy Bob's Country Emporium is beyond ridiculous.
They don't. We've given it to them willingly.
It has been granted to them by every person who has chosen to "outsource" dealing with their problems to the police. Loud neighbor? Call the cops. Something doesn't look right at the house down the street? Call the cops. Someone breaking into your home? Call the cops.
As a society, many, many of us have forgotten how (or even why) we ought to fight, defend ourselves, or interact with society. So we call the cops and go back to our Netflix or whatever it is we are doing that we don't want to be bothered with.
I'm coming from the UK perspective, so our police are less trigger-happy and mostly unarmed but certainly have a very dark side. Historically was more likely that the black / Irish / gay / minority-du-jour person ended up lying at the bottom of the stairs in the police station than a straight white person. (Edit: originally phrased in present tense)
Maybe the dominant group would be less happy to outsource it if they or their parents had also been on the receiving end.
Do you have a source on this?
The idea that an arrested person is more likely to be injured in police custody if they are one of the listed minorities in the 21st century in the UK is very surprising to me.
That discusses deaths in custody.
I would like to highlight a specific issue of shootings:
> BAME people have made up about one third of those shot by the police since 2004, according to a third set of figures from the Independent Police Complaints Commission. These suggest 8 people from black and minority ethnic communities died in police shootings from 2004/05 to 2015/16, out of a total of 27.
> About 14% of people in England and Wales identify as black or minority ethnic, as suggested by Kiri Kwankhende.
(Americans are invited to consider that figure of 27 deaths from police shootings over a decade...)
However, although I wasn't necessarily talking about the present day, we do have to look at the historical context. IMHO police forces such as the Met need to do a huge amount more to convince us that they've stopped.
And my point was really that whether someone was beaten up by the police or their parents were, they are much more likely to consider the downsides of getting on the wrong side of the police than someone who has never met anyone who was targeted.
You speak of loud neighbors? In my town a guy was just murdered a few weeks ago over a long running feud about a loud dog. The two homeowners had tried to settle it many times by fighting until one brought a gun.
Sure, call the cops if you need to interact with a violent person. A better solution with neighbors is usually to build a relationship with them when you aren't needing their dog to stop barking, so that when you ask for a favor (which is what that is) they are more likely to grant it. Sometimes, they don't. What do you want the cops to do about it? Shoot the dog? Fine them? You still have your neighbor.
And what do I want the cops to do about it? Issue a noise violation. Shockingly, laws are made to handle these sorts of things. We don't all have to take a baseball bat, or bake them cookies and suck up to our neighbors into taking care of their dogs.
I'm not really saying baking cookies and sucking up to your neighbors - that's pretty negative way to characterize my 'treat people with respect and try to be friends before you ask for a favor.'
Seems like you are saying you did just that, and it didn't work out. That sucks. You went through the exact process I'm advocating. It doesn't mean that rather than talk to your neighbors you should just call the cops the next time a dog is barking, though.
Right back at you. Do you seriously run away?
Is that your response to any situatuon that includes potential danger?
That being said, if your back is against the wall you have every right to defend yourself.
If you are in a life or death situation it might make sense to arm yourself and encroach, but if someone is breaking in your front door and you have access to an exit you are not yet in a life or death situation. Arm yourself and attempt to flee.
If you don't have homeowners/renters insurance, live alone, value your property over your life, and enjoy high risk life or death situations - then by all means charge on in. Just make sure you don't shoot your friend who you gave a key 8 months ago stumbling in from a night at the bar.
I'm not asking for advice.
The point is that if we were all better in "public relations" and de-escalation, we wouldn't need the cops at all. But if the default answer is just simply "call the cops" then people do feel attacked and they tend to get defensive.
What is fucked up is that there's no law that requires the government to compensate the homeowner.
Absolutely. And there is no reason they couldn't have cut utilities to the property, set up a perimeter, and waited him out.
One of the biggest problems with SWAT teams today is that they seem to feel that they have failed if they don't go in all-a-Rambo. Protocol should be just the opposite: the most successful missions are the ones where a cop never has to fire a gun.
When it is founded on hard evidence I think belief is not the right term to use.
Who's firing at the police officers and is in the same building as an innocent bystander, 9 year old boy. Seriously, this situation could've easily gone much uglier than property damage really fast.
A) The lives of bystanders
B) The property of bystanders
C) The cost of equipment
D) The aesthetics of equipment
- Definitely A.
- B & C at some point if the cost/risk is above a certain amount...but what is that number?
- Never D.
The issue here is not one of giving the police protection, it is one of misuse (to put it mildly) of the equipment intended for that purpose.
Not to mention the safety issues of firing tear gas into the building, blowing out the windows and driving an APC into it if he wasn’t already out…
Yes, it could have. The cops could have shot the 9 year old boy.
I'm not sure how you can see a man with a gun shooting at people and think the solution is more men with guns shooting at people.
How common is escalation like this during the course of law enforcement? (I'm hoping this is an extreme case?)
>Who Pays When The DEA Destroys Your Vehicle And Kills Your Employee During A Botched Sting? Hint: Not The DEA
Ah, ignorance of the law. Fine for them, not for you.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.
Luckily he must've gotten a better lawyer, because an appeal was allowed to continue under grounds the DEA violated the Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment:
> Because plaintiffs have stated facts sufficient to demonstrate that the government physically deprived them of property for the duration of the controlled drug delivery operation, we hold that plaintiffs have stated a claim for a taking compensable under the Fifth Amendment. We therefore deny defendant’s motion to dismiss pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6).
For anyone interested in the truth: they were responding to calls of a man with a gun in the train car. This wasn't simply a fare evasion.
This video was them picking him up at the next station. They just stated the charge for arresting him was not paying the fare.
You have a man that officers tried to question who fled into a subway train and who is reportedly armed. You’re picking him up at the next station from a loaded train on a crowded platform.
Please with 20-20 hindsight spitball how you think this should have gone down?
That’s how it works in a court of law, but I find it’s a good way to catch yourself when drawing conclusions based on speculation.
The video clearly shows a train with closed doors and large contingent of police corralling a specific train car and cornering a specific suspect. That seems to correlate well with an identified person who fled and got away at the prior station; they knew who they were going after, and had time to assemble a force to confront the person. Obviously the size of the force and the rapidity of response supports the notion that they thought the person was a danger and wanted to very quickly subdue them in a crowded area.
All in all it seems like a professional operation designed to be prepared for a worst case scenario and to try to control a situation with potentially deadly consequences if it got out of hand.
When someone is fleeing from the police and was reported to be armed, I would absolutely expect that they are going to take extreme precautions especially in a crowded space.
No one can challenge the authority of the state and all its tentacles like a Giant Squid. Take common law (case law) which partly governs the 5eyes countrys, its a legal framework which are moving goal posts based on future events and decisions made by a judge or judges (ala UK Supreme Court for Brexit) which no one can predict except Dr Who travelling in his Tardis! Common Law sets everyone up to fail, so why doesn't the state recognise its own weaknesses and failings by insisting on tarring everyone with the same brush? I'm sure that person would have bought a ticket if their circumstances were different ala Eddie Murphy's Trading Places. We don't know the full in's and out, but only now with the help of technology can we start to learn what someone has been taught and understood learnt from various sources (parents, schools, peers, religions etc.) and then work out better if the act was intended or not. This relies heavily on medicine stepping up to the plate in order to quantify better our exposure to chemicals and environmental stimuli which control our decision making processes. Understand this and you have built a general AI.
Man, when you have staff and resources, I guess you need to justify the bills. Instead of, you know, putting a couple units outside the house and waiting a week.
Those must have been some expensive belts and shirts. Though there's no way the use of force here is comparable with the value of items being reclaimed.
What should happen here is that whoever thought this was the right course of action should be fired, and liable.
edited to add quote
Who drives armored cars? People who expect gun-fire. Usually people with some fire-power of their own. -Burn Notice
But this though... oh no.
A single guy with a pistol, in an area they could have evacuated, who would have inevitably tired himself out after standing off for the best part of a day, daring to face off against the almighty police force? Nah, you gotta go full Michael Bay on that shit. Bring out the armoured cars, explosives, tear gas...
There's literally no rational justification for this. The actual soldiers out in the middle east know better restraint than to go nuclear at the first chance. And they're dealing with people packing a lot more heat than this guy with his belts and a pistol.
this is the problem: police aren't soldiers but have military-grade equipment.
People who buy them don't go on shooting sprees.
The few that are out there are collectors items costing upwards of $20,000.
So while it’s tecnichally true that if you live in a state where they have not been banned outright you can legally buy a fully automatic assault rifle in the US, they are extremely rare and expensive.
In most states you can purchase one, some states (CA, NY,CT) have banned them.
"Assault weapons" is a meaningless phrase.
They could have just parked the APC out front and waited a bit.
No need to crash it through the front door.
I've never been shot at, but I suspect there is probably a very aggressive response that humans have to be shot at. A response serves well in most situations, not so much in this one.
I'd love to see more training for the police officers to help in situations, but I don't see tax payers wanting to pay for it.
My outrage really isn't at the police officers actions, but I understand being outraged about it. My outrage is at the courts. Although I do understand it appears this gentleman may have selected the wrong court.
I don’t think it’s more training they need, but different training (so rather than more money, it’s a matter of spending the money they already have differently).
A whole industry has sprung up of ex-military personnel and LEOs providing training which isn’t far off the sort of thing you’d get for a tour of Afghanistan; unsurprisingly when you train and equip people as if they’re going to a war zone they then act and use that equipment as if they’re in a war zone.
Just throw in a few canisters of tear gas and wait for the dude come out. Then open the windows and that's it. How they managed to blow up the house is ... insane.
And it took 19 hours? Why? He was using a handgun. Haven't they heard of suppressive fire? What the hell.
But that sounds completely out of proportion in this case. Is it really that important for the safety of the public to aprehend a man who stole two belts an a shirt from Walmart, that it justifies blowing up someone's house walls and driving an AV through its doors? Isn't responding with such force a bigger threat to the public than letting a shoplifter go?
I understand that the man had a gun and barricaded himself to the family's house, but still the response sounds disproportionate and more damaging than anything the shoplifter could have done.
The central task of the police, according to classical Foucauldian analysis, has been to thwart and foil the possibility of revolution, the possibility of transgressing the order of capital: “For the bourgeoisie the main danger against which it had to be protected, that which had to be avoided at all costs, was armed uprising, was the armed people, was workers taking to the streets in assault against the government.”
If protecting citizens isn't the first mandate of the police, then it comes as no surprise at the level of force that can be deemed acceptable as a course of regular action.
But at the same time, if you ask the average “middle class” homeowner (probably the primary consumer of this genre) about their perception of police or something like BLM, they’ll respond with the most naive platitudes and defenses.
I understand that identification with and defense of the ruling class is central to contemporary American culture, but I find this constant, screeching dissonance quite fascinating.
- The suspect
- Mr Lech (owner of damaged property)
- Mr Lech's insurance
- The police department / other involved agencies / city
- The store from which the belt was stolen
- Insurance for the store from which the belt was stolen
- Individual police officers or superiors who made a call for an excessive reaction
As a mental exercise, let's sort this list by who should be responsible, using whatever metric. When I do it, Mr. Lech comes out on the bottom, regardless of what I use as the criteria. I'd be interested in hearing if anyone can come up with a way where Mr. Lech would be at the top of such a list.
Mr. lech was a victim who was completely passive here.
Sure, everybody is technically correct. Loosely reminds of of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_many_angels_can_dance_on_t... -- people getting caught in admiring the cleverness of their arguments and forgetting what the whole original purpose was. Or when some gamers spending more time in the virtual fantasy world then in the real one, solving "challenges" there rather than here.
Now, why the lawyer recommended this line of action is an interesting question. My uneducated guess would be that there was precedent in favour of the police, and framing it as a constitutional issue was seen to be the best possibility.
As a whole, this entire thing sounds insane, of course. But the court did what they were supposed to do, it's the rest of this whole story that is messed up.
"It's ok if the police does it" is a fair summary.
No, they made no comment on whether that is acceptable.
The court case was about "alleging violations of the Takings Clause". The court said that this clause does not apply in this case:
- (1) when a state acts pursuant to its police power, rather than the power of eminent domain, its actions do not constitute a taking.
- (3) any damage to the Lechs’ home therefore fell outside the ambit of the Takings Clause.
This does not say anything about it being "ok if the police does it" or even comments on whether it is okay at all. It just says that they sued over the wrong law.
Isn't that moving the goalposts, though?
What this ruling effectively says is that as long as the state doesn't invoke eminent domain to take a citizen's property, then it's not eminent domain, even if the end result is that a citizen's property is taken?
I would much prefer a reading of eminent domain that says if a government invokes its authority to seize or destroys a citizen's property, regardless of its justification for doing so, then that's Taking.
If "a government invokes its authority to seize or destroys a citizen's property" what does it derive this authority from?
If it is from eminent domain it is allowed to do A but must follow rules B.
If it is not from eminent domain, such as in this case, the first question is not whether it has to follow rules B, but whether it is allowed to do A at all.
My point is that this _is_ eminent domain, because eminent domain should be defined by the action (government taking control of private property) not the purported intention.
It's not taking if done under police action, or "it's OK if the police do it."
>It just says that they sued over the wrong law.
Is there some clause in the police action laws that makes them liable for damages? You would think they would have just sued them under that clause after the first trial rather than try to make the appeals court consider it "taking."
So Lech's house was 100% destroyed as a result. Now that is a lot of damage over two stolen belts and a shirt.
> In an attempt to force the suspect out, law enforcement blew up walls with explosives, fired tear gas and drove a military-style armored vehicle through the property's doors.
Even if the shoplifter was armed and firing at officers, their response looks slightly disproportionate. The interesting bit here is that they didn't kill him.
> The suspect in the case, who was wanted in connection with shoplifting, was taken into custody after a 19-hour standoff. More than 100 officers from agencies around the Denver area responded to the incident.
> "As unfair as it may seem, the Takings Clause simply does not entitle all aggrieved owners to recompense," the appeals court wrote.
Yes, it totally reads like a joke.
> "There needs to be a line drawn for what police departments can do and what they need to do to compensate citizens for this kind of damage," Lech said. "I didn't want to sue anyone for millions. I just wanted fair market value for my house."
That seems reasonable. If the police forces are not responsible, can a case be held against the shoplifter to pay those damages? Not that it would be in any way more realistic given that he is insolvent, but the lawyers should try every route.
Admitting a mistake and trying to make it right will gain trust.
“His expenses to rebuild the house and replace all its contents cost him nearly $400,000, he said. While insurance did cover structural damage initially, his son did not have renter’s insurance and so insurance did not cover replacement of the home’s contents, and he says he is still in debt today from loans he took out.“
Sounds like his family was under-insured and he took out huge loans to rebuild without any assurances that he would be compensated by the city.
We all pay a price for police work (taxes, of course, plus some inconvenience At times). But this ruling says there neeed not be feedback to determine proportionality.
Some crimes are not worth addressing. We could put automatic speeeding enforcers in every car, but we don’t. Famously we could eliminate passenger risk on air flights by forcing everybody to fly naked with no hand luggage, strapped to the seats, but people aren’t interested in that much security. Surrender in warfare is a cost/benefit decision.
But, particularly in the US, the feedback loops at all levels (determining what’s a crime, what punishment is worth enforcing, which offenses are worth prosecuting, etc) runs open loop, with the obvious result.
The police posting photos of his new house is disingenuous and irrelevant and has nothing to do with the fact that morally they should compensate him for the destroyed previous house at fair market value. That the law apparently does not require them to do so only means the law is without meaning and deserves only contempt from any rational ethical person.
Classic case: Surocco v. Geary, from the middle of the 19th century. Those of you who are in SF may recognize the name of the defendant. https://www.casebriefs.com/blog/law/evidence/evidence-keyed-...
The home was destroyed after a 19 hour stand off with a intoxicated subject who continued to take meth throughout the standoff, during which the suspect continued to fire at police, and after which the suspect was apprehended alive. I'm trying to think of a more justifiable use of force outside of a hostage situation, but I'm having trouble thinking of one.
See https://kdvr.com/2015/06/08/greenwood-village-police-standof... for a bit more background.
PSA: Always get renters insurance. Flood, fires, vandalism, and I guess police damage can happen.
Which in other words means that "everybody" compensates such a person.
It's like getting into a car accident and going to buy a nicer, more expensive car before the insurance comes back. Sure you can do it, but that's on you to pay.