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California’s Criminal Cops (mercurynews.com)
249 points by danso 25 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 154 comments

One thing weird to me about the gun debate is that it always seems to exclude police -- on duty or off, current or former -- and nobody questions that in the slightest.

For instance, California has a handgun roster. If a citizen buys a handgun, it needs to be on a special list. The last time a model was added was 2013 [1]. Supposedly it's to make sure pistols are safe. But if you are a police officer, go ahead and buy a 2019 model! In fact, go ahead and buy a 2019 model, and then sell it for 2X to a normal citizen, if you want. A good side business!

How does any part of that make sense?

I guess the theory is that officers are well-trained and responsible, but where is the evidence of that? And why can't anyone else take the same magical steps to show their worthiness?

[1] Due largely to the "microstamping" requirememt, which is impractical to meet, but required for new models (some very minor variants are still allowed without microstamping). See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microstamping

Many gun control advocates see removing guns from private hands as a first step towards disarming the police. This is often couched in terms of a comparison with British policing: the argument is that British police are not as afraid, so don't engage in excessive force as often, because there aren't guns around that could be used to kill them.

However, most American police and sheriff's departments tend to support gun ownership. Maybe because they are as aware as anyone of the saying: "When seconds count, police are only minutes away.".

"the argument is that British police are not as afraid, so don't engage in excessive force as often, because there aren't guns around that could be used to kill them"

From what I've read, this has been changing in recent years, with British police getting more and more armed, apparently in response to terrorists and organized crime being better armed.

So the US and British police are converging, but perhaps not in the way that gun control advocates might have hoped.

They are not converging, not even close, please don’t spread misinformation.

In 12 months up to March 2018, there were 18,746 armed police operations in the UK. Weapons were fired on 12 occasions. In comparison, 1,147 people were shot dead by police in the US in 2017.

Since 1990, a total of 70 people were fatally shot in the UK.

12 occasions of guns used vs 1,147 people shot by the police during the same time frame. 70 people killed in 30 years vs 1,147 in 1 year.

So please, UK and US police are not converging, do not spread misinformation.

For correctness sake you should normalize your numbers for population, but your point of course still stands.

Using raw numbers without adjusting for population is spreading misinformation. America's population is ~5x greater.

Using numbers from 1990 is also meaningless for addressing the claim that gun use by UK police is increasing, as low numbers could just represent it being low in past.

Just looking at the 2017 numbers, a 5x population difference cannot account for a nearly 100x difference between uses of armed force vs people being killed by the police.

So if all gun deaths in the UK since 1990 were also in the last month then the 2 systems are converging?

The Police Federation, the association for low and medium rank police, regularly sounds out officers' view of their being armed. The public is keener on armed police than the police are - thanks to idiot perspectives from the likes of the Daily Mail. Police themselves are always overwhelmingly against - like usually 80 or 90% against when polled. They get tasers - though even those don't seem universal - even that was considered a step too far by many.

Firearms officers will remain - thankfully - volunteers subject to significant extra training, psychological screening and oversight. When mistakes or negligence happen they make front page news. There are more firearms units and more in visible positions like airports and other protection than there used to be, but they remain a small minority of the overall.

When mistakes or negligence happen, they make front page news in the United States, too.

OK, then I should have expressed it better - it's vanishingly rare. Even armed officers are expected to de-escalate when possible, rather than shoot. There's been some questionable sounding incidents amongst the very low numbers of actual shootings, and of course there are sometimes major cock-ups - a couple of which that sounded seriously negligent.

Wikipedia says in the year 2011–12, conventional firearms were used FIVE times. At the time there were 6,756 Authorised Firearms Officers and 12,550 police operations in which firearms were authorised throughout England and Wales. Which doesn't sound like UK:US convergence to me. :)

I agree with your point to the effect that US and UK are not converging in this area.

What are differences in UK training? I imagine the training is very good because the confidence not to over-react in self-defense comes from knowing (a) that you can handle many situations and (b) how to assess the situation you when are in it.

A regular officer in the UK still doesn’t carry a firearm. There ARE plenty of Firearms Officers around but they receive significantly more training than a typical US officer and are usually only there to respond to armed crime, or at major airports etc.

> When seconds count, police are only minutes away

... to shoot you in your home.


But really, I never comprehend why police support civilians having guns since it just makes their job more dangerous.

Probably should talk with them. Take a couple of shooting classes in any state and you'll meet a lot of cops really quickly.

I've done that. I know the reasons they say, just stating that I can't comprehend why they value those reasons more than their personal daily job safety.

It would be a contradiction to choose a profession where you put yourself in harm's way to defend society's values of a just and free society and then try to pick away at justice or freedom in the name of personal safety. Oh, and: most cops know that the overwhelming majority of gun owners will never be a danger to them.

Yes, but what happens when the harmless owner's guns are stolen? Now they're a danger.

The best way to protect against tyranny is an armed population

Most democracies today don't have an armed population.

In the uk we don’t have an armed population neither tyranny so are there alternatives?

Not that I agree that an armed population is the BEST way to avoid tyranny, but saying A helps avoid B isn't contradicted by saying 'we don't have A or B so that can't be true'

> neither tyranny

We just ignore ("non-binding") referendums sometimes

British tyranny sounds pretty polite, I'm not sure shooting anyone over this would really be considered an improvement.

I mean someone did actually shoot and kill someone over just suggesting that people should vote in a certain way, and he's generally considered the bad guy in this interaction.


Ask the Irish how "polite" British tyranny sounds.

Which is quite ahistorical statement.


BubRoss 24 days ago [flagged]

This is one of the most insane things I have ever read here.

Please don't respond to a bad comment by feeding it, which just makes the thread even worse. Flag it instead. This is in the site guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.

Yeah but I think I'll accept some low chance of tyranny for not getting shot in the face. Reckon I can handle dealing with the tyranny if it pops up, honest.

I feel the exact opposite way - I'd rather risk the minuscule chance of being randomly shot than risk tyranny. Far, far more citizens were killed by their own governments each year in the 20th century (Some 2+ million) [1] than are killed by mass shootings (< 50) [2] or all guns [3] in the US every year. More people are killed with hands and fists, or with knives, or hammers than are killed with AR-15s, AK-47s or any other rifle in the United States every single year [3], yet we don't call for bans on those?

By the statistics, even if widespread gun ownership only has a 0.0001% chance of preventing tyranny every year then it seems worth it

Furthermore, how do you reckon you would deal with tyranny, if not with arms?

[1] https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM [2] https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-... [3] https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-...

The founding fathers would disagree

Because police leadership is elected, or appointed by someone who is, and their opinions tend to reflect the local politics.

The gun control advocates currently don't have the numbers to disarm the population. That suggests that if they do get the numbers it will be in an alliance with the people who like centralised government power - ie, the sort of people who look at Hong Kong and think that it is a better state of affairs than open rebellion. Not an invalid view, and not as unpopular as people might expect - there is a big chunk of the population that trusts authority and values stability.

From that perspective, it is likely that any gun control legislation will increase the power difference between individuals and the state.

The thing is, they will never have the numbers to disarm the population, at least in the door-to-door sense. You'd have to be a moron to sign up for that job. All gun control is to increase the power difference between individuals and the state, because armed individuals are the final check on the state - the state's entire power derives from a monopoly on violence.

I'm hoping more people will do like you and draw conclusions to Hong Kong. When 50%+ of your populace has taken to the streets, and still can't achieve their goals it should be illuminating.

The Dayton Ohio shooter earlier this year was killed by police officers 32 seconds after he opened fire. He killed nine people in those 32 seconds. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Dayton_shooting

Dense crowds tend to end up with large casualty numbers like that, regardless of the method of attack.

This is often couched in terms of a comparison with British policing: the argument is that British police are not as afraid, so don't engage in excessive force as often, because there aren't guns around that could be used to kill them.

It's becoming more and more common to see British police with guns at events, central stations, etc (and not just handguns.. they carry MP5s). It's apparently to give the public confidence that terrorists won't attack but in reality it just makes me more scared of being shot by the police.

British training reaches some real high points. The SAS famously used MP-5s with flashlights on top and no sights — they were that well trained.

That is common view, but unfortunately it ignores the straightforward answer of just disarming everyday police right now. Things like routine traffic stops should not be performed by armed officers. Parking enforcement generally doesn't worry about whether the person they're writing a ticket to is armed - it takes two to escalate.

Routine traffic stops usually involve checking for warrants. That is one reason they are performed by armed officers.

Sure, but current procedure doesn't invalidate what I said. Checking for warrants doesn't necessitate a physical escalation if they're found. If the person wants to speed away, tack it onto their list of charges and perhaps call in a proper team.

Or simply stop checking for warrants altogether, so that every unlucky motorist isn't put into a situation that is primed to deal with a cornered animal.

There is a deeper philosophical point that if the reason someone is being stopped is a moving violation, then that is not a cause to address anything besides that specific violation. Sticking to that would also help reduce the occurrence of "broken taillight" pretexts.

As long as criminals are aware that a traffic stop might result in their warrants being found and their later arrest, they have every reason to shoot first and ask questions later.

This model of a criminal is overly simplistic - shooting only happens if it is required to get away. If, from the perspective of traffic enforcement, a motorist refuses to stop or just speeds away, then there is no cornered animal that needs to escape, and hence no gunfire.


They really do support everyone owning guns. Think about it -- cops in LA are not all the same color, same politics, or same gender. Not sure what you think a real police department in any major city actually looks like.

Dave Chappelle has joked that the best way to institute comprehensive gun control would be for minorities to start arming themselves en masse.

This is a joke with a real history—the Mulford Act was passed in California in the 1960s as a response to the Black Panthers arming themselves and patrolling the streets.

I would imagine this isn't the only example.

All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

It's just the way things are when you "trust the government" to work in your best interest.

If you're not on them like stink on a turd, they'll go tyrannical

The three most powerful entities in California politics are the police union, the nurses union, and the teachers union. It’s important to remember that the teachers union fights for the rights of teachers, not students. The nurses union fights for the rights of nurses, not patients.

And the police union fights for the rights of police, not citizens.

Their rhetoric might say otherwise, but their underlying motives are clear. And they often scratch each other’s backs.

When the teachers union says that a new gun control law will protect kids, everyone just believes them.

To be clear, this handgun roster is justified by claiming that new handguns needed to be tested to make sure they're "safe". Of course, only dirty civilians need to have "safe" guns, police departments can and do purchase untested guns with taxpayer money and as mentioned above cops can and do buy and flip untested guns. Obviously, this testing isn't free and is required on an SKU by SKU basis, so you can get a black Gen 2 Glock 17, but not a tan one because Glock only ponied up for the one model.

The map[1] of the 5 states without the power to remove a cop's badge for misconduct also happens to have some of the most strict gun control in the country. Seems this is what happens when safety is valued above all else.

[1] https://www.mercurynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/SJM-L...

> I guess the theory is that officers are well-trained and responsible, but where is the evidence of that?

Police beat their spouses at 4x the rate of the general population. The extremely well-armed police (who themselves demonstrate that they tend toward the more violent part of society) are one of the primary reasons that widespread civilian gun ownership is essential.

Without it, you get situations like what happened during the RNC in 2004, where the peaceful are denied defense, yet the oppressors are armed to the teeth.

Politicians will, without a hint of irony, give a speech claiming that "assault weapons" are only useful for murdering crowds of people as quickly as possible, and then introduce legislation that bans them for everyone except the police.

Cops are more likely to commit crimes than CCW licensees.

There are plenty of people who question that in the slightest! There is lots of activism going on about police violence

Browse the mainstream coverage of anything related to gun control. It will be hard to find anything skeptical of police and their special gun privileges and exceptions to gun control.

There may be a nearby article about police brutality, negligence, incompetence, corruption, favortism, or even murder. The article may even suggest that the problems are sustemic in some departments.

But as far as the media can tell, they are completely unrelated topics. It's just assumed that gun control excludes police, and that's obvious and normal and right.

>One thing weird to me about the gun debate is that it always seems to exclude police -- on duty or off, current or former -- and nobody questions that in the slightest.

Other commenters have already covered possible motives I will cover the practicality side.

It would be impossible to pass gun control with that massive voting block (law enforcement and everyone that supports them) against you. Public safety or something along those lines is one of the reasons people advocate for gun control. If you don't exempt the police then basically every police chief will go on record saying your gun control will be terrible for public safety.

A public safety rationale would be about cops service weapons. The parent post sounds like he means individual cops can buy guns on the open market as private citizens would be allowed to do in states with looser gun laws.

He does and that is currently the law in CA. Police officers can buy any handgun with any magazine capacity they like as personal property.

That looks, on it's face, like a violation of the 14th amendment equal protection clause.

Great point! I’ve never heard that said before.

Cops actually buy most of their equipment on the open market, replacing and upgrading it as needed. Think about it: we don't have special, government-only clothing, boot or weapons factories in the US anymore. If we did, we'd have the same planned economy shortages and overruns that any other such system does.

Cops are also allowed to keep guns after they retire. It's important to remember that guns are issued to police for self-defence, since the work they undertake puts them in harm's way. That doesn't change after they retire.

You are generalizing, but that general reasoning doesn't make any sense when applied to specific people and laws.

First of all, why are they not bound by the same magazine capacity limits? If more than 10 rounds are needed for self defense, shouldn't everyone in the state have that tool at their disposal (per Heller)?

Similar question about buying a newer model of pistol. Why would the 2019 model be crucial to keep a retired cop from getting gunned down, but forbidden to others? There isn't even a major functional difference between a 2013 glock and a 2019 glock.

And generalizations about how retired police somehow need their special guns and nobody else does are just not compatible with the notion of individual rights. I bet a lot of abused women are in much greater danger than an average retired cop. Who decides who the special groups are that get special privileges?

Fundamentally, a police officer is a citizen. It happens that their job is dangerous, and I respect and admire their courage. But it's also a position of power, and we need to keep that under some control so that we maintain trust. Arbitrary privileges erode that trust.

Perhaps you've stumbled unwittingly into the real reason behind current gun control measures in California and some other states.

It's not about keeping people safer, nor about making it easier to track criminals...

It would be less offensive to just be transparent about these regulations. It's about making it more difficult for anyone to legally purchase or maintain a firearm.

The shoe is on the other foot -- we really need to justify the restrictions. Why is it a good idea for cops not to have those guns?

The argument you make about Gen 3 vs Gen 5 Glocks actually suggests there is no reason to restrict the general public from buying them, either. The Gen 5 has duplicate controls for left-handed shooting and is thus safer for some people.

All the points you are making are basically why the laws are dumb -- 10 round magazines are not significantly safer for the public than 17 round magazines, for example -- and no one likes to be subject to useless restrictions. Least of all cops.

Oh come on, they really aren't in harms way after retiring with maybe a handful of exceptions. There's no reason they should be allowed to CC in all 50 states. Especially since literally no one else has that right.

Point: everyone does have that right, it is just unconstitutionally abridged.

Oh come on, they really are. Think about it: they typically retire in the area where they've been a cop. Criminals know who they are and where they live, and have for years -- and criminals never retire. Cops should definitely be allowed to carry concealed in all 50 states.

That no one else has that right maybe tells us we should expand CCW reciprocity. It's already something like 35 states.

>Criminals know who they are and where they live, and have for years

I'd need to see some stats on how often retited police officers are retaliated against by criminals before I'll buy that this is anywhere near likely enough to worry about.

Even if the answer is zero that doesn't prove what you're hoping it would because as has been discussed, in reality those retired cops still have their weapons and criminals are aware of that.

So the hypothesis is that criminals want to kill retired cops, but they don't because they know the cops still have guns? I'm not buying that. If someone really wants to kill you, and they know where you live, a gun in your house or in holster isn't going to stop them. You can't be constantly on alert.

What's the problem, really?

How many retired law enforcement officers go on binge shooting sprees?

Or should we oppose them having a legally purchased firearm just because?

I don't think there really is that huge of a problem, but the justification for these special rules seems a bit absurd. If you want to treat retired cops differently and give them special privileges, just say so. Stop positioning as something that retired cops need because of all the criminals out hunting them down.

>What's the problem, really?

The double standard!

Perhaps that means we should do away with the double standard... But not in the way a few might hope.

I'm saying that it seems likely that there is at least some deterrent effect, yes. I'm not sure what the magnitude of the effect is, but I can't imagine that knowing someone inside is armed has no deterrent effect against would be invaders or that being armed provides no defense advantage should they do so.

We're not talking about your normal criminals who have some economic motive, we're talking about people who are already acting against their own self interest and to take revenge.

Either way assuming that being armed doesn't provide a 100% effective deterrent, statistics should still help us here. Even assuming a very high deterrence rate, you would still expect to see at least a handful of revenge murders of retired cops every year if this was a significant problem at all.

>provides no defense advantage should they do so

This one should be very easy to determine. How many times each year do armed retired cops thwart revenge attacks?

From what a quick Google search tells me both of these things basically never happen.

Are you saying that there's a difference in deterrent effect between a 2013 glock and a 2019 glock?

If not, how are these police privileges remotely relevant to any need beyond that of a normal citizen?

Elsewhere in the world retired cops do not have weapons.

Everywhere else in the world? How do you know that?

Are you trying to discredit gun rights advocates?

What countries are you referring to in your reply? Pretty tough to fact check “elsewhere”.

> we don't have special, government-only clothing, boot or weapons factories in the US anymore. If we did, we'd have the same planned economy shortages and overruns that any other such system does.

But now, Western governments have to endure usurious prices or massive budget/time overruns for basic supplies (e.g. Germany has a problem with shoes for soldiers), quality issues (in Germany, G36 rifle, police uniforms in Bavaria and IIRC there were also issues with protection vests).

Planned economy Soviet-style didn't fail because of being what it was, it failed because of a lack of data gathering and processing (demand modeling), as well as the procedural inflexibility to react to short term changes.

Those problems often exist because of single sourcing, and the arsenal system was often much worse. Protection vests, helmets and other stuff that meet military standards are actually quite affordable in the US and there are multiple vendors for all of them. A good search to run online to see what the system looks like is “AR 670 boots”.

Well, the problem with your argument is you seem to be arguing that any gun control is good gun control so it's reasonable to push for a completely ineffective gun.

In which countries are law officers accountable for their crimes? I can't name any.

Two weeks ago in France, 2 policemen were sentenced for beating up students. This kind of conviction is extremely rare, but they were caught on CCTV beating up "for fun" two students that were walking back home. It was probably a racist beating, since they first attacked the colored guy. Their sentences were symbolic. Both are still policemen, and one of them has been promoted. https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/prison-avec-sursis-pour-d... (in French)

De facto, policemen are above the law. And of course, many of them abuse that system. Yet most people don't care. They want law and order, even if the law is not the same for everyone, and even if the order is not just, and sometimes criminal.

There is a more insidious problem at work here. Police are, by dint of their daily work, good at understanding how the law works and how people get away with crimes.

This means that if you treat them equally to a random person, they have the knowledge to/will get away with more crimes.

The only problem with holding them to a higher standard once you understand this, is that it generates resentment, and the higher standard becomes a different system they learn and game.

I say this as someone committed to justice for who 15 years in policing is receding into the past.

I don't have a perfect solution or I might have stayed in policing, at least kept my badge- I work in security now which scratches the itch that got me into law-enforcement in the first place. (don't tell my coworker devs that- some already think infosec is out to get them- we are not) It is hard to stay justice oriented no matter where you are- in gov law enforcement or the private sector, startup or big-corp.

>> In which countries are law officers accountable for their crimes? I can't name any.

Basically none, if you mean as a rule. There are exceptions of course in all countries, including the United States, but by and large, officers are above the law.

Yet the answer is rarely "less government / oversight" when it comes to these issues. It's just a race to get their preferred candidate into office who will wield the expanding power in a more efficient and effective manner, of course.

The "officers" being shown in /r/HongKong disgust and enrage me.

My dad was Oakland PD in the 70s - he quit after OPD killed several black panthers. He said he had to quit, as, "When you spend your whole life looking for bad, soon, thats all you can see"


Policemen are above the law because that's how the system was created. At least in the US, police departments were primarily created by the elites to protect the elites from immigrant masses. When the elites were all mostly anglo-saxon protestant, we didn't have a need for police. But when cities started attracting immigrants - particularly german and irish, the elites needed a forceful mechanism by which to suppress and control these people. Of course when the germans and irish moved up the social ladder and the new arrivals were italians and blacks, the germans and irish suppressed and controlled these people. Now in a "post-race" age, police exist primarily to serve and protect the rich elites against the less wealthy masses.

The idea of police existing to protect you ( Protect and Serve nonsense ) is just PR/marketing. Just like "Don't be evil".

I suspect in most countries, these same pattern holds.

It would be more accurate to describe police as 'in group' vs 'out group' for their bias as opposed to the straightforward rich elite narrative. While they may overlap the region and its politics may vary heavily. Still often servants of a status quo in an ugly way but certainly not wealth alone. "Carpetbaggers" with the gall to move south to provide goods and services in Post Bellum south sure as hell didn't benefit from police protection much less favoritism. Nor did Greenwood District, Tulsa a.k.a. "The Black Wall Street" or the other pogrom victims of what were euphemistically and victim blamingly termed 'Race Riots'.

And there was the old summing up of cliches as the cops went from beating up the Irish for 'not fitting into society' to being the Irish beating up Hippies for 'not fitting into society'. Indeed part of why historically gay neighborhoods and districts exist in many cases is because they congregated under friendlier enforcement jurisdictions.

Putting aside the ancient police 'expecting the city to mob accused and restrain or kill them' the military largely were what we call the police essentially - at least with European history although they weren't homogeneous and there was some nuance to it and memetic factors. English highwaymen for instance could thrive better in the isles than on the Continent where they had Gendarme where as in England using cavalry for that was viewed as tyrannical.

Their longbow practice also had some 'citizen army' and ancestral 2nd Amendment rhetorical factors while still not exactly 'free' it still provided a check to power in a 'don't piss off the armed peasantry enough that they decide an armed rebellion is worth it'. Meanwhile France and others specifically didn't adopt the practice because the rebellion concerns made the idea anathema to their worldview.

>At least in the US, police departments were primarily created by the elites to protect the elites from immigrant masses.

They were created first and foremost for slaves, not immigrant masses. History gets too sanitized for my liking in this country and we miss important lessons because of it.

"The Texas Rangers are the earliest form of state law enforcement in the United States, first organized by Stephen F. Austin in 1823. The original ranger force consisted of ten men charged with protecting settlers from Native American attacks." ...and slaves escaping to Mexico...

The down voters are why sanitizing history is a bad idea. It also allows the criminal past of many families/institutions to be swept under the rug.




Amazon's had an episode in their tv series: The Giant Beast that is the Global Economy where they covered corruption throughout the world. It showed who's living with it and who's stamping it out better.

Direct link to the episode: https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B07NVPSSK7/ref=stream...

This is only tangentially related, but This American Life did an episode about a month ago about how difficult it is to reform an institution. Specifically it was about fire fighters in Amsterdam:



This was just one department in one city, and it was mostly just bad behavior ("macho, frat house culture"), nothing criminal. The effort failed.

> They encountered numerous hurdles including poor record keeping, uncooperative clerks and hundreds of destroyed files.

Well this is terrible... I'd have expected courts to do things by the book.

Give "Making a Murderer" on Netflix a watch.

It's a real eye opener if you thought that courts do things by the book imho.

I did watch that but the documentary seemed very biased toward the defense.

Like... Avery's dna was found in the victim's car, and the victim's charred bones were found in Avery's fire pit. But the show plays these off and makes it seem like a police conspiracy.

> Like... Avery's dna was found in the victim's car,

Yeah, smeared blood that looked like it came from a q tip. And a vial of his blood in the evidence locker was found punctured by a syringe with no record as to when or why.

Not surprised that was looked at suspiciously.

apparently the syringe punctures are just how they work.


> two national experts – including the chair of the committee that writes the industry standards on drawing blood samples – told OnMilwaukee that such blood vials are supposed to have holes pierced in their rubber stoppers. According to the experts, that's how the blood gets into the vial.

There were undocumented broken seals surrounding the vial as well iirc, however.

How do you know this if they were undocumented?

I believe GP means the reasons the vial was punctured were undocumented, not that the punctures were undocumented (as you said, it wouldn't make sense if that were the case).

Why can't it be both? To me, the impression the show gave was that he probably did it, but that the police also faked evidence to increase the odds of a guilty verdict.

If he did it, it certainly wasn't the way they said he did it. Their evidence was very convenient. They tied her to his bed, stabbed and raped her, but her DNA isn't in the house. They then take her to the garage and there's just a single shell casing with her DNA. This is all done by two low IQ individuals, yet they cleaned everything perfectly. I call bullshit.

Last time I plead innocent for a speeding ticket, the clerk asked me to sign a blank form, which they would later fill in for me (!!!!).

Unbeknownst to me I had been driving around on a suspended license for 6 months. The traffic ticket I had paid was never entered correctly. Apparently my hobbies include giving courthouses free money. I walked into court with a copy of the cancelled check. The clerk's record showed the receipt with a big PAID stamp on the digital copy.

If this happens to anyone, see if you can get permission to record it.

Did you do it?

heck no, had to go back and sit in court to get judge to proclaim things for them to put in form for me to sign.

Stepping back, societies often struggle with managing the behavior of the instruments of public order. There seems to be an inherent tension between tasking people with dealing with society’s “undesirables” and bad behavior and also having them behave as model citizens themselves.

An interesting read is, “The Faithful Executioner” about 16th century Nuremberg. The book is heavily based on contemporary sources. The town archers, who are responsible for law enforcement, often cause trouble through drunkenness, excessive violence, and general bad behavior, and are rarely held accountable except for the most egregious offenses. An interesting parallel that points to that broader tension.

> They drove drunk, cheated on time cards, brutalized family members, even killed others with their recklessness on the road. But thanks to some of the weakest laws in the country for punishing police misconduct, the Golden State does nothing to stop these officers from enforcing the law.

Honestly I dont like the American enthusiasm for restricting employment of criminals that have served their time. If someone had a DUI or cheated on time cards in their past I have no problem with them being a cop. Brutalizing family members sounds more serious but I'd like to find out more before judging someone on a brief description.

Those were examples of POLICE MISCONDUCT. Which is to say, crimes committed WHILE THEY WERE EMPLOYED AS POLICE OFFICERS. This has precisely nothing to do with employment discrimination against former felons. It has to do with enabling ongoing criminal behavior by police officers -- those very people entrusted with a sacred privileged duty to uphold the law -- without fear of consequence. Police officers (and judges and others granted power by our society to wield life-and-death power over other citizens) must be held to the highest standards in their conduct.

I think being in the justice system like law enforcement or judiciary where decisions are made about life and death should require higher standards than other jobs.

I know somebody whose cop ex-husband first beat her and then terrorized her for years. No local cop would ever do anything about it. She moved away a few hundred miles and even there he managed to get other cops to harass her constantly. This should just not be possible and people who behave like that simply aren’t fit to be a cop.

From what I know stuff like this is quite common.

Addition: the abusive ex-husband retired with 50 and pulls a 150k pension now.

Why are cops getting special privilege that normal citizens aren't? I'm not a fan of the criminal justice and reform system either. But police should be held to a higher standard, not lower one.

Because the system was messed up by mistake or design that they are effectively a bloc of power instead of being properly subordinate to its citizens. "Law and Order", "Tough On Crime", and other DA election scare tactics have resulted in them having too much electoral power to be accountable - which media coverage also shares blame in. And this is before stupid human tricks of those completely unprivileged by the existing system judging those who are higher up to a lower standard.

It's a lot harder to find motivation to go hard enforcing this or that law when you know that if you broke this or that law they'd receive the same treatment.

I'd break drunk driving and cheating on time cards into separate categories, as there are different reasons to deny each a job.

Drunk driving can reveal poor judgement and a lack of foresight. Cheating on time cards can reveal a lack of ethics. It could also reveal a personal struggle with gambling, drugs, or other other financial problems. These sorts of problems constantly demand more money and might cause future fraud or theft issues due to on-going or escalating financial desperation.

Of course, all that aside, it's often easy to tell if someone's "turned toward the light" and grown up a bit, usually making him okay to hire. I'd agree that brutalizing family members probably reveals a pretty screwed-up guy, and probably wouldn't ever hire such a person. It's worse than murder; one has to be more of a psychopath to hurt those he loves than walk walking into a store and shoot a man as part of an armed robbery.

A DUI for someone who spends much of their work hours behind the wheel is a significant issue, IMO. 2 DUIs bans you for life from getting a CDL in California, and the BAC level to be considered a DUI is half that as someone without a CDL, even when not driving a commercial vehicle.

It would be interesting to see how the rates compare to other professions.

>More than 80 law enforcement officers working today in California are convicted criminals

So 80/80,000 have some sort of misdemeanor conviction. I wonder how many of those are serious and how the rate compares to doctors, politicians, and engineers

You also have to keep in mind that cops also by statute have a much higher bar for conviction, which not only means they are more likely to not to be found guilty, but not even prosecuted for acts that would be an open and shut case for anyone else. Also, let’s not forget sovereign immunity also applies to cops.

And this on top of the the fact that cops underreport cop crimes, and prosecutors use their discretion to not prosecute cops by a huge margin.

Previous discussion, before the list was released and looked into: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19257434

What do you know, the most common offenses are alcohol related. People that cant control their own drug use are the front-line warriors in the war on drugs arresting people for not abusing the same drugs they abuse. I know things have obviously gotten better in regards to prohibition in California, but there is still no excuse for people being caged, harrassed, and lightly abused for taking a substance to try and feel better in this shitstorm of pain and suffering that we call life. As long as people arent hurting anyone other than themselves, then no reason to cage them and ruin their ability to get jobs and progress out of the hole that our drug laws put them in.

Idk i just thought that it was incredibly telling that the group of people that continuously arrest others for drugs putting them in situations where they are unable to find employment, do not suffer from the same penalties when they get caught abusing the drug that they say is OK (and is arguably one of the most destructive of all drugs).

It truly sucks to hate and fear the group of people that are supposed to help and protect you in emergency. Even now that I am a professional, long removed from my days of risky behavior like fearing the police while leaving a rave with personal amounts of drugs, they still prove they dont care about helping and are more concerned about their bonuses from finding drugs. The last time I called police because my roommate was drunk and yelling and threatening me, they saw a single syringe cap on the bathroom floor from where my roommate had thrown the bathroom trash can. They got aggressive and started threatening and looking around the apartment and in open rooms without express permission. I work in a biochemistry lab and use syringes, mostlyneedl3less everyday at work, had accidentally thrown some minor trash in my pocket and emptied it out while changing clothing in the bathroom. But this apparently was probable cause enough to be an asshole and search around mildly and forget about the actual reason i called

California cops are definitely not on the front lines of the drug wars. Many departments have standing orders to ignore all but the largest quantities of drugs.

“When I see an actual flesh-and-blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman, I do not have to ask myself which side I am on." -George Orwell

Saw this on front page of reddit today: https://www.reddit.com/r/Wellthatsucks/comments/dua2bh/hong_...

What I am left wondering is how many are kicked off a police force in another state and then get hired on in California? This report only looked at officers California records.

I know there are cases where doctors lose their medical license and there's a handful of states where they can move and regain a license. Is the same true for police officers?

One would presume past convictions would greatly increase the potential liability of any officer behavior involved lawsuits. Perhaps some of these municipalities will suddenly find their insurance policies dropped.

The simple solution is to have officers carry their own liability insurance, similar to other professionals. Bad officers would become uninsurable.

Absolutely and if their insurance doesn't cover the damage they've done, the liability should overflow into their pensions.

That is exactly the reason large cities self-insure.

Are you saying large cities self-insure so that they can hire officers who are uninsurable due to committing crimes? That doesn't sound like a reasoned policy decision.

> One thing that is clear: Many of the officers on the state’s secret convictions list who are still working today likely wouldn’t be cops in other states.

That's not how it always works. The officers pled to misdemeanors because they knew they could keep their jobs with a misdemeanor. In other states they would plea to a non-criminal charge instead, or manage to not get convicted at all.

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodhart%27s_law

Cops should lose their jobs if they commit crime. But, recklessness, drinking and domestic violence are common symptoms of PTSD. Police see a lot of bad stuff. Maybe the police department should look after their people better before their officer’s conduct gets out of hand.

amazing how investigative reporting is so rare that they felt comfortable dedicating the whole article to heralding that they even did actual research to begin with

they went to places where the records were supposed to be instead of merely googling and being content with the poor information? Two pages to describe that experience coming right up

My mistake, it looks like I linked to the About page and not the story page: https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/11/10/californias-criminal-...

Paging dang... link change?


Have you ever considered that some cops are people who want to stop crime? And not be part of a crime? I’ve seen many people texting and driving, and every once in a while, I’ll wish I was a cop so I could pull them over and chew them out.

I've also seen plenty of cops flash their lights on the highway when traffic is slow just so they can get to lunch or wherever the hell faster, and then immediately turn the lights back off when they can go back to doing 80 in a 55 without people in front of them. If that isn't a casual and blatant abuse of power I don't know what is.

We'd like to think most cops are "people who want to stop crime, the good guys!" but it often seems to just be people that get off on the power-trip. Even then, what crime are they trying to stop by camping behind trees to meet their ticket quotas for speeders when I can't even remember the last time I've seen a cop go the speed limit themselves?

But to quote someone else that also has far more power than they should: "some, I assume, are good people"--this does not mean that there is no cause for serious concern with the operations of the "thin blue line".

I never said that there weren’t bad cops, or that good cops never abuse their power. I was responding to the argument that they join just to be thugs.

You're confusing thug with psycho. Someone needs to enforce the law. Just travel to a place where police don't enforce laws and you'll see how dangerous it is to even go to the nearest store, and live in constant fear.

Police stopped patrolling in New York and focused on only serious crime recently....Crime dropped.

Not a complete end of enforcement but it shows broken window policing might be stupidity on steroids.

I don't believe that, and willing to bet source numbers will show otherwise. Similar situation in SF, and I have recently observed two shopliftings at local stores, which I have never seen before. If officers only respond to $1000 damage or above, thugs know to only take $900 from the store. If police doesn't do anything, no one else CAN because the same laws comes back and bite you in the ass.

Here is the study https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-017-0211-5

Our criminal justice system has a heavy financial penalty component, I can see how this nickle and diming of certain economically at risk communities can result in more crime.

Ferguson is a great example, where the city made a large percentage of it's revenue overpolicing minorities (in many cases even planting drugs etc... As video evidence and DOJ investigations showed). This resulted in many escelations of fines/warrants/arrests for not being able to pay simple traffic/jaywalking etc fines.

Putting people in a position where they have to choose between paying rent/medical bills /food or escalating fines (for non payment). Also in many cases, if they could afford a lawyer these outcomes would be very different.

MLK talked about the "2 Americas", this is what the other one looks like.

"A third study of older and more experienced officers found a rate of 24 percent, indicating that domestic violence is two to four times more common among police families than American families in general."


I've got a neighbor that's a cop.

And a nephew who is a detective.

And the gym I work out at is crawling with cops. There's a judge and some school police, too.

All of them are very good people. I think the few bad apples get a lot of press.

All of them are very good people.

Just how "good" are they if the "blue wall of silence" is rule #1 in terms of ignoring what you call "bad apples" and what civilians call criminal misconduct?


You don't know these people, do you?

I am not aware of any bad behavior from any of them, and I am first-hand witness to good deeds done by them.

Do you have any first-hand knowledge of police misbehaving? I mean people you actually know?

Do you have any comments about the specifics of the Mercury News article? Are they making stuff up for clicks? You personally haven't seen your neighbors misbehaving, but it's not like they're just going to brag about it to you, are they?

Do you have any first-hand knowledge of police misbehaving?

You mean other than the time I got pulled over in some shithole town in NJ because that's just what the local police did there to raise revenue?

The Interstate used to end right at that point, it went down to a normal 4-lane road. The local pigs would have a car working that area, pulling people over. When they finished writing a ticket for one car, they'd get back on the road, going the other direction (they only worked about a 1 mile stretch). Within 30 seconds their lights would be flashing and they'd pull another car over.

I used to commute that stretch of road daily, so I saw this happen constantly. Constantly. Constantly. For years and years. Finally they finished the Interstate and bypassed the town.

This was the early 1980s. That's what used to happen in the open in NJ. Far worse were other shithole towns in NJ that had a reputation for having police control the stoplights as you went thru town. They'd flip the light red, pull you over, arrest you, take you to court right then. "What you got there now, Seth", said the judge to the arresting police officer. That one I heard second hand, from a friend of mine, a person I "actually knew". Nothing an on-the-spot fine payment couldn't take care of.

Simple petty graft. Done out in the open. For years. Just off an Interstate.

Experiences like that give the entire justice system a bad name. Everyone knows what's going on, nobody does anything about it, even if they're not personally profiting from the corruption.

It's that pesky blue wall of silence, elaborated in detail at the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_wall_of_silence

I lived in NYC in 1970. Was the stuff documented by the Knapp Commission made up? Was all of that stuff contemporaneously reported on TV and in the newspapers made up for ratings and circulation? Did I have to personally experience it before I was allowed to believe it?

Unfortunately, one bad interaction with police negates 100 good interactions. Just like one bad meal at a restaurant can negate the 100 good meals you've previously had there. That's simple human nature.

Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds has had several drunk driving convictions. Why should police be held to a higher standard than the Governor?

There is a very good argument to be made that disallowing people with convictions from running for office would allow the police force to be weaponised against political opponents.

Because the Governor actually had to be elected for one - the positions are apples and oranges.

Simply allowing people to be barred from office because of conviction past or present is dangerous as it gives a very abusable tool to disqualify political rivals. This isn't a theoretical thing - many dictatorships and sham-democracies use it regularly. Now politicians shouldn't have impunity but it is ultimately up to the voters to decide what does and doesn't disqualify someone from governorship. If the voters know of their record and decide to elect them anyway it is within their right. Mathew Lyon got re-elected after being jailed for violation of the Sedition act where his whole defense was 'this law is blatantly unconstitutional'.

Meanwhile a police position employeed is supposed to be subordinate to the laws and by the books. Demonstrating questionable judgement and keeping them on isn't fair to /everyone else/. Having every last police officer elected wouldn't be very logistically plausible nor would voters be as well equipped to evaluate candidates so having a 'bureaucratic' process makes sense for those sorts of roles.

Perhaps they should all be held to the same higher standard, this whataboutism is coming at it from the wrong angle imo

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