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For cops who kill, special Supreme Court protection (reuters.com)
197 points by leephillips 29 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 236 comments



Sir Robert Peel would be ashamed; this is in clear contradiction to principle 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.

People keep asking "how do we fix policing in America?!" Maybe start by following common sense guidelines written in 1829 that still apply today.

The Peelian principles are akin to a "Policing Constitution." The closer you get to its ideals the higher quality your policing is, and by that standard US policing even outside of "abuse" falls well short.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peelian_principles


The failure to implement Peelian principles in the USA is not an oversight, but a deliberate decision that stems from the USA’s racial tension. When this debate has arisen, white law-enforcement elites have claimed that Peelian policing is inapplicable to the American context, because if black communities were policed by representatives of that community (i.e. other blacks), then the police would likely overlook much of the crime going on. The black police officers would sympathize too much with the citizens they policed, they would see both themselves and the local citizens as opposed to an outside white world, and they would be unwilling to put fellow blacks before white judges and prosecutors. (Not to mention that there has been enormous suspicion among the US national-security apparatus about any kind of self-organizing among black communities.) Therefore, critics of Peelian policing claim, the only effective solution to ensure prosecutions for crimes would be to have these communities policed largely by outsiders.

So, if you wanted to fully implement a more just form of policing in the United States, you would have to somehow overcome this deeply entrenched racist thinking. Yet unfair policing also drives racism, because it tends to perpetuate among white society an image of minority communities as hotbeds of chaos barely kept in check by a "thin blue wall". So, the result is a vicious circle.


Much of the crime going on is drug related, which is a manufactured crime that was designed to make POC criminals.

End the war on drugs and a large chunk of crime magically disappears.

Obviously this doesn't address poverty from other systematic discrimination but it does remove a key driver for criminal activity.


What kind of drug crime are you referring to? If it entails dealing of drugs than I don't think ending the war on drugs will have a net effect. (Not that I don't think we shouldn't) Drugs are a lucrative business when made illegal, this can be seen a quick way to combat ones economic situation (created by major/historic societal imbalances). Legalize drugs and drugs would certainly not be the lucrative business, but something else criminal would take its place. IMO dealing with the economic imbalance is the priority, decriminalizing drugs only helps eliminate a portion of the chicken/egg variables.

As an aside, even with decriminalized drug usage/possession there would still be laws against illegal manufacturing, distribution and tax avoidance.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_involvement_in_Contra_coca...

> A number of writers have alleged that the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was involved in cocaine trafficking during the 1980s. ... The subject remains controversial.

- - - -

> something else criminal would take its place.

A. Like what?

B. Drugs are only criminal because we make laws. Theft, killing, etc.. are wrong but doing drugs is just stupid.


> something else criminal would take its place

Like what? Burglary? Insider trading? I'm not backhanding you here; I genuinely can't come up with any reasonably criminal activity that would blossom into that vacuum.


Protection, extortion, gambling, human trafficking, other contraband goods, and sure, burglary and robbery. Lots of things that could be more violent to the population at large then drug dealing (after all, you don't really want to kill your customers).


There weren't any surges in human trafficking, burglary & robbery recorded after prohibition was lifted. There was a steep decline in contraband goods, however.


The point is the criminal organizations aren't going to simply disappear if/when drugs are legalized. They're going to pivot to some other illegal activity to preserve their livelihood. Perhaps more conventional crimes like money laundering, loan sharking, and political graft will be less violent. But they certainly survived the end of prohibition without going legitimate.


Except... they kind of did. Prohibition created revenue opportunity for gangs and organized crime. Ending prohibition removed this revenue, replacing the speakeasy with legalized and regulated bars and liquor stores, effectively cutting off this revenue stream.

Sure the Mob didn't magically disappear overnight, but it began a decline they never recovered from. Replacing that revenue stream isn't as easy as "just" finding another racket, there is a lot of difficulty hidden in that "just".


I think society was a little different then. People had a shot at changing their life and switching to legitimate work. That's not really possible any more; once you have a felony arrest, you've got a black mark against you. Low-level jobs that might be willing to hire ex-cons don't realistically pay enough to support someone.

I'm not saying we shouldn't legalize drugs; I'm just saying any such policy change should also include some help for individuals to move away from that life or they'll more-or-less be forced into other illegal activities.


I wonder, if we decriminalize drugs and give priority for licenses and rights to ex dealers and gangsters if that would be a good thing or a bad thing.

In a way it kills two birds with one stone, 1. Eliminates the criminal element, 2. Offers a financial incentive towards legitimizing their enterprise.

In another it might reward people who may have done a lot of bad things, and puts them in a legitimized position of power over people they may have been terrorizing for decades.


I'd need to see the localized statistics on that. We're not talking about an overall effect, but a very specific effect on a very specific segment of the population.


> decriminalizing drugs only helps eliminate a portion of the chicken/egg variables.

If the last forty years of Southern Strategy has taught us anything it’s that you must seize every inch (portion) of ground you can.


> What kind of drug crime are you referring to?

Having, using, and selling drugs. The first two should be considered personal liberties, and the commerce should be taxed/regulated but not criminalized.


I'm not sure how much I agree with this. On the one hand, yes, you'll have fewer arrests on drug charges, but you'll still have (or maybe have more of) crimes related to drug use, such as theft and assault. Addicts looking for cash for a fix drop much of their moral compass.


How much of current drug arrests are related to addicts looking for a fix?

Spoiler alert, it's a tiny fraction.

Theft and assault should still be crimes. Usage should not be criminalized. Trafficking should be replaced with regulated commerce.


The prominent crimes here from addicts looking for a fix are panhandling, vagrancy and trespassing.


I don't think anyone is arguing that ending the war on drugs is going to directly reduce these crimes. It may have an impact on these crimes from second order effects, but to really tackle those crimes you would need to go one step further than ending the war on drugs and replacing it with more progressive policies.


Anecdote time...

Long ago and far away I once had a friend who was a speed addict. (Amphetmines) I liked the guy but he wasn't allowed in my house because he would steal shit to sell to buy speed.

So, on the one hand you're not quite wrong. On the other hand, we could have just given him some speed. It's actually pretty cheap.

The real problem is whatever happened in his life to make him an addict. Cops and jail do not help with that.

(There'a a nice ending to this one: eventually he got clean and has been stable for years now.)


There's an easy solution: prescribe drugs to addicts. Heroin is cheap; much cheaper than crime. Switzerland and Portugal have adopted this policy.


Opium is free if you want to plant a nice flower garden.


Do you have any evidence to back up these statements?


Do you have any actual evidence that addicts engage in a disproportionate number of thefts and assaults?

And whether the number of thefts and assaults they engage in is all that significant.

Finally, I'm pretty sure moral compass has little to do with whether addicts engage in theft and assault.


> Yet unfair policing also drives racism, because it tends to perpetuate among white society an image of minority communities as hotbeds of chaos barely kept in check by a "thin blue wall".

This makes it sound as though the relative prevalence of (especially violent) crime in American minority communities as compared to white communities exists only in the white imagination. Like it's some really simple problem but for those dastardly racist whites. I'm sure that's not what you mean (it's certainly an uncharitable interpretation), so I want to disambiguate.

Of course it's much more complicated than that--there's a lot of variety in violent crime levels across different racial and ethnic communities. There are a lot of (both racist and non-racist) theories for explaining this (genes, variations in socioeconomic status, etc), but it's not just a figment of the white imagination.

One such popular and generally credible theory (or rather, set of theories) suggest that the American policing model indirectly causes violent crime in minority communities. This is probably what you're suggesting (or if your post is a motte and bailey argument, then this theory is the motte). It's a genuinely interesting line of inquiry, so we should talk about it plainly and dispense with the ambiguous language suggestive of some racist plot (and for those who do favor "racist plot" theories, then I would rather we talk about those unambiguously as well).


> some racist plot

But that's exactly what has been going on, from slavery to the KKK to the "redlining" of cities...

Hell man, ask the Indians! This whole nation is "some racist plot".


There certainly have been various racist plots and of course they have left an awful legacy, but we're trying to explain the what perpetuates the ongoing cycle of violence. Thus it's important to be clear about whether you're espousing a theory of some ongoing racist plot or an emergent property of (for example) our policing strategy.

In general, US race debates would be a lot more productive if we were clearer about whether we are talking about a historical injustice or an ongoing injustice--even otherwise good communicators fail to articulate clearly here, and it gives the vibe that they're afraid that their position, articulated clearly, can't stand on its own. I don't think they have as much to fear as they seem to do, and as long as these debates are floundering in ambiguity these real social problems will persist.


Well, let me avoid "floundering in ambiguity". I'm not "espousing a theory" I'm stating well-attested facts: slavery in American was not theoretical, the KKK are not theoretical, redlining is not theoretical. Someone else in the thread has linked to a article about the FBI investigating white supremacists who are following today a "historical goal" of infiltrating Law Enforcement. That's not theoretical. So there are "ongoing racist plots", it's no theory.

Furthermore there are also emergent properties of our policing strategy that lead to problems as well.

FWIW I have no fear that my "position", as you put it, in the "race debates" can stand on its own.


You misunderstood my comment. The "theory" refers to an explanation for what is perpetuating disparities in violence across racial communities, not whether or not certain injustices have happened or continue to happen. (hence, "There are a lot of (both racist and non-racist) theories for explaining this")


I understood you fine. You want to call the obvious connection between racism and endemic violence "theory" and I'm pointing out that that's it's not theoretical at all.

I mean, think about it:

> the relative prevalence of (especially violent) crime in American minority communities as compared to white communities

That obviously has something to do with the fact that a lot of folks living in "American minority communities" can't call the cops for help, eh?


> That obviously has something to do with the fact that a lot of folks living in "American minority communities" can't call the cops for help, eh?

I don’t know. Seems plausible, as do many other theories such as the high incarceration rates of adult males leads a leadership/fatherhood void, lack of career opportunities, ratio of negative to positive role models, the types of behaviors that are glorified, etc. I would be terribly surprised if it came down to a single trite explanation (such as yours) as opposed to a complex interplay of all of the above and many more. Social scientists don’t even profess to understand, but you seem very confident, so please, take the floor.


This is fascinating, I've never heard of this debate before. Do you have any sources for further reading on it?


One does not have to overcome racism

The public in the country need to organize to change the law and enforce them

America isn’t losing standing in the world because of Trump

It’s losing standing in the world because it does nothing to sustain a protest against him

The US military is the largest polluter in the world

It’s effecting all of us

Putin is getting the upper hand by highlighting to the world how vain and unorganized Americans are, despite all the pretense and pomp

Here they go bloviating at their screens like usual for America

Meanwhile, truly exceptional masses in Hong Kong protest a vile tyrant

Americans have found it difficult to protest a sentient Cheeto in terms of relative intelligence

The nation of exceptional people full of grit look like muppets. Deeply controlled by their luxury lifestyle and indoctrination against self agency. “Be better by buying X.” With money and emotional acquiescence of agency to the habit. Now make buying into our managed system your goal for life

Who wants to determine life for themselves? May as well have a company get us to design, implement, build, and then charge us for our gadgets so they can keep control of the value store that is finance

The gadgets, you see, are a means to an end. To keep you screaming at the gadget not the old git Americans seem to believe is going to spank them for not going to work at scale

Traditional values is alive and well in America. The language of religion has faded. But obedience to a hierarchy demanding fealty to imagery emotional objects at scale is very much alive

Look at people that are concerned about going back to work but they may have no choice

It’s cowardice to think that’s the only option. Stay home, don’t login except for essential biz

Oh no, not only would we have to give up salons, but our iPhones and cloud apps for a bit? Too much!


Instead of “peace officers”, or even “police” we have “law enforcement” which pretty much shows how the priorities have shifted over the last 50 years. Whom now do they “protect and serve?” Not the citizens but the legal code.

This same kind of language has transformed the system output as well: instead of “penitentiary” (where you reflect on your crime and perhaps resolve to be better” or “correctional” facilities we just have a “department of prisons”. That’s been a longer shift.

The process has become the focus rather than the end result much less the broader good.


"Instead of “peace officers”, or even “police” we have “law enforcement” which pretty much shows how the priorities have shifted over the last 50 years. Whom now do they “protect and serve?” Not the citizens but the legal code."

I have a suspicion that we could take a long step back toward serving the public if all police officers were required to become EMT/EMR certified and had some kind of duty to act in cases of basic life support.

I don't doubt that there are logistical hurdles and very complicated rules of engagement vs. standards of care but I (an EMR in California) think these could be overcome - especially in smaller and/or rural locales.


> Whom now do they “protect and serve?”

Police departments, unions, etc., have gone to court in these cases and _successfully_ argued that they have _no obligation_ to protect _or_ serve. It's just fluff.


Peelian policing is but one of the foundation influences on U.S. policing, introduced in northern metropolitan areas: Boston, New York City, and Chicago.

The other major influence was the slave patrol. This is why there is such a strong overlap between the membership rosters of the KKK and police departments.

As policing expanded, and the institutions intermingled, the former was corrupted by the latter.

It is impossible to uphold #7 in an organization that implicitly divides "the public" into "citizens to be protected", "citizens to be ignored", and "savages".

The only way we can get there from here is to completely dissolve municipal police departments, and rebuild them from scratch, without re-hiring anyone that has ever served as a cop, training them specifically to be wardens of the whole community, rather than employ the "everyone is trying to kill you" videos that they show the young cop-cadets to make them twitchy and paranoid whenever anyone has a non-visible hand or is within 7 yards of them.


I had heard of Robert Peel, but not of his principles. Thanks for the link; it was an interesting read. And I agree that US policing would really benefit from following some of his ideas. Specifically Principle 6.


I imagine the Discworld series is pretty popular here, but for those who aren't super familiar with it, the character of Sam Vimes is a cop (and very much an honorable one) whose policing is based on Peelian principles. They even had a character named Keel in one of the books; the sort of historical reference Pratchett loved to include.

https://discworld.fandom.com/wiki/Samuel_Vimes


The public, in Sir Robert Peel's terms, with the middle and upper classes--who to this day in the US get along with the police fairly well. Have a look at Mayhew's London Labor and the London Poor to see what the poor thought of the London police.

I don't think that the police should have the impunity they do in the US; but don't delude yourself about Sir Robert Peel.


> People keep asking "how do we fix policing in America?!" Maybe start by following common sense guidelines written in 1829 that still apply today.

Stop training them like they're going to war and train them to "server and protect" instead.

The National Guard can come in if they're needed. Police don't need to handle that.


I just wanted to say that it's heartwarming to find the Peelian principles are the subject of the top comment here.

It makes me think of Star Trek (the OG stuff where the crew has their shit together, not the newer Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer-in-Space styff.)


> People keep asking "how do we fix policing in America?!" Maybe start by following common sense guidelines written in 1829 that still apply today.

Maybe you need to replace your supreme court judges?

They are in their majority clearly beyond the age at which mental faculties start to suffer.

Common sense tells me that you can't expect a bench of octagenarians to normally function as the top legal institute of a country. It is not a sacred cow beyond all reason and doubt, and its judges are not the 9 holy sages.

Why can't your put some effort, and replace them?


Most of the court is under 70.[1] The article says Sotomayor, Thomas, and Ginsburg have criticized qualified immunity. They're the 1st, 3rd, and 5th oldest.

[1] http://www.threestory.com/scotus/


Even before this, cops in the klan have been murdering minorities with impunity for a long time. This is what fascism looks like, no accountability for state-sponsored murder of innocents.

If anyone is interested in American history: Before we had our modern police departments, our earliest systems of law enforcement were actually slave patrols and organizations called Indian Constables. These institutions are rooted in controlling the behaviors of minorities. If you know your history, you know that slavery and colonization never really ended. The 13th amendment, world-leading prison labor system, and border camps are part of this living legacy.

You can read more here:

https://plsonline.eku.edu/insidelook/brief-history-slavery-a...


While I, like you, am against both state-sponsored murder of innocents and fascism, I believe you are using the word “fascism” incorrectly here. In my understanding of the word, fascism is a principle where corporations and the state make common cause against the people, whom they seek to exploit or control, respectively. This is not the same kind of thing as state-sanktioned death squads; even though they might be equal in their offensiveness, one should take care not to equate them. It is a grave mistake to bundle up all of one’s dislikes and call them all the same; they are not. Many things are even fundamentally opposed, but equally abhorrent.


> fascism is a principle where corporations and the state make common cause against the people, whom they seek to exploit or control, respectively

I'm not in a position to do the research at the moment, but I'd suggest that African-Americans have very clearly and for a very long time suffered state control for financial exploitation, and they are not the only ones, but simply the largest and most visibly egregiously maltreated minority.

Look at property values in areas with high levels of police violence. It's a chicken omelette in a way, but your definition of fascism does seem to fit the situation for this and other US subpopulations.


> corporations and the state make common cause against the people, whom they seek to exploit or control, respectively.

That's exactly the primary purpose of the police. The police serves capital and the state (which also serves capital) in order to exploit and control the people.


"serves capital" capital is a conscious entity here?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_fascism#Umberto...

It's my own preferred definition (Eco's definition), the essay itself is very short, highly recommend it. No mention of state or corporation.


God, reading that is so depressing.


Fascism is the cloak used to conceal the dagger of ethnonationalism. To quote a memorable video introducing extremist ideologies by explaining what life in those societies is like [0], "In the fascist village, the village itself looks really bad. The villagers themselves are doing pretty bad. But at least they all know they're not one of those other types of villagers." It doesn't matter whether races exist; they will invent races, and then use racism to justify hatred and oppression.

You are thinking of fascist corporatism [1], indeed a much more pointed critique of the USA's political practice than traditional fascism. But also, "traditional fascism" goes only back as far as Fascist Italy, which practiced corporatism, so perhaps all fascism is corporatist.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymg5FsruGEk

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatism#Fascist_corporatis...


With the biggest incarceration rate, greatest executions in all the west, and biggest number of cops who kill people, it's amazing how ideas like being the "land of the free" stick to the populace...


The police seem free enough, perhaps it's their land. A state of their own, even.


Even if the US only incarcerated rapists and murderers, we would still incarcerate more than Germany. It's not so simple as you're implying.


Perhaps. That would imply several times more rapists and murderers per capita than Germany (to match the 10x incarceration rate).

Still, why call it "land of the free" then? "Land of the most rapists and murderers per capita (or close)" or "Broken society" sounds more apt!

But I'm pretty sure the BS "marijuana laws" and other such incarceration reasons that wouldn't even exist in Germany, are a big part (at least until recently, not sure today) of the disparity.


> As of 2016, 2.3 million people were incarcerated in the United States, at a rate of 698 people per 100,000.

Germany is around 70 per 100000.

You were saying?


I was saying "Even if the US only incarcerated rapists and murderers"


I went looking for data to refute this, because it didn't seem right to me. But, looks like you're correct here.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics [0], among all state-level prisoners, 14.3% of them are in for murder, and 13.1% are in for rape. That's 27.4% for the combination, or about 350,000 inmates. 106 per 100,000.

If you add in Federal prisoners, the inmate count goes to ~370,000, or about 112/100k

[0] https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p18.pdf (PDF, see table 13, page 21.)


Thanks for contributing the stats! I appreciate it.


Can people be counted in both categories?


No. Those stats are exclusive counts. For the most serious offense only. So inmates who raped and murdered their victim are tallied under the “murder” column.


Actually it's not contradictory at all, it makes sense.

Whenever I visit America I'm astonished at how outrageous and uncivil some people behave. They really do want to press their freedom against the rights of others.

Carrying guns is the best example - it's an obvious 'freedom' that massively complicated policing and everything else.

Police in the US are rightly very afraid when pulling over someone for something petty like speeding because that person could be upset and have a gun. Where I'm from cops are not afraid because nobody has guns.

The woman who defied 'stay at home orders' - how do you deal with that as a cop? She just wants to cut hair to make money to stay alive, but you have to arrest her, which could lead to a confrontation with her and her 'supporters with guns'.

An ideology of 'land of the free' will necessarily have excessive conflict at the margins where said freedoms interdict with the ostensible freedoms of others and you have law enforcement in the middle trying to sort it out in sometimes ambiguous situations.


> Police in the US are rightly very afraid when pulling over someone for something petty like speeding because that person could be upset and have a gun. Where I'm from cops are not afraid because nobody has guns.

this sort of begs the question of why direct, in-person confrontation is even necessary for petty offenses. there's always a risk that such an interaction could go south, whether or not guns are involved. to write a ticket, all the cop has to do is record the measured speed and identify the vehicle and driver. with the tools available in 2020, they should be able to do this without stopping the person to ask for their license and registration. save the confrontations and arrests for when the person clearly poses an imminent threat to those around them.


> with the tools available in 2020, they should be able to do this without stopping the person to ask for their license and registration.

What tools would those be? Specifically how do you positively identify the driver without checking their ID?


You make the owner responsible. I.e. if the driver can be identified (or the owner identifies the driver) then you can fine the driver, otherwise you fine the owner.


take a picture of the driver and compare against ID photos later? for most vehicles, the set of possible drivers on a particular day is not large. it doesn't have to be perfect, just enough to make the charge stick a good chunk of the time.


Civilized people have absolutely no problem getting pulled over for speeding or whatever. It works just fine in almost every civilized country.

This is a question of basic civic virtue, not laws, policy or operating procedure.


The cops are only afraid when minorities own guns. See the Mulliford Act in California signed by Reagan when he was governor with the full backing of the NRA.

More recently see the White people who fully armed marched on the capital in Michigan, yelled at police and they did nothing.


Would you propose banning knives too, so police don't have to be worried about pulling over someone with a knife?


Police are the biggest cowards indeed.


> Police in the US are rightly very afraid when pulling over someone for something petty like speeding because that person could be upset and have a gun. Where I'm from cops are not afraid because nobody has guns.

They aren't actually scared. Publicly, they might talk about how stressful their jobs are etc. etc., but speak privately with one who is comfortable with you and you'll discover they are not scared in the slightest. They know everyone has their back and that they aren't really in any danger.


> "land of the free"

That just means we're legally afforded more individual liberties than most (if not all) other countries.


Most "western" nations provide roughly the same legal rights to their citizens.

There's some variance, but there's also a large amount of variance in laws between states within the USA.


There's no country in the world that provides, to the same degree as the USA, extraordinarily broad freedom of speech (and association) and the right to keep and bear arms.

And, to the extent that citizens of other "western" nations enjoy legal rights typical of republican democracies, it's because the US set the trend in the 18th century. At that time, the concept of a creedal nation obtaining its legitimacy from a governing document, in it providing checks & balances to limit the power of government, along with a bill of rights that guarantee broad protection of rights pertaining to speech, bearing arms, impartial trial, privacy (searches and seizures) — was truly unique to the US. That it is now commonplace in the West is a testament to one of America's many lasting contributions to the world.


Just because you did it first, doesn’t mean you did it best. There are so many things in the US that have previously or currently systematically denied liberty to large subsets of americans - but I guess you can publicly advocate for violence against specific groups of people, which you can’t do in many other countries, so you win there! :P

Since I know that someone is going to reply “like what?!?” here’s an example I recently learned about: it wasn’t until 1963 that public defenders were widely available as a result of a supreme court ruling. So equal protection under the law was clearly not available before 1963. We all know the rich Can afford better defense to this day, but can you call it justice if you don’t even get a lawyer?

Contemporary example: drive west from el paso for an hour or so, today. Well, not today, but when it’s safe to travel. The border patrol checkpoint along i-10 will check your papers if you’re visibly latinx. Freedom!


Yes, it is entirely possible for multiple things to be true at the same time.

1) the US has unique protections of individual liberties (free speech, associations, arms)

2) the US has systematic repression of certain minorities, especially among the police (the vast majority of which is illegal and just inadequately prosecuted)

> Since I know that someone is going to reply “like what?!?” here’s an example I recently learned about: it wasn’t until 1963 that public defenders were widely available as a result of a supreme court ruling. So equal protection under the law was clearly not available before 1963. We all know the rich Can afford better defense to this day, but can you call it justice if you don’t even get a lawyer?

Right, at the risk of diving into a rabbit-hole of negative vs positive freedoms — the US was never ever the land of positive freedom. It has always been the land of negative freedom, and uniquely so. You can dislike the implications of that all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that the US truly is the land of negative freedom — and that's not a normative statement.


Being attacked by a court runs directly contrary to negative freedom though. And with a single systematic infringement of negative freedom, the overarching ideal has been lost due to the contradiction of needing to respond by engaging with a system that requires you to jump through arbitrary "voluntary" hoops.


Sure, but there is no country in the world that satisfies the platonic ideal, in which you are totally immune to attack by the court.

No country on the planet is absolutely free. The US just happens to be the most negatively free country.


If you're trying to do justice to the concept of negative freedom, then what definition are you using? To me, it's about being free to be left alone and go your own way, as opposed to being provided for (eg freedom from hunger, or whatever).

I would classify a public defender as a mitigation of an impingement on negative freedom rather than a bona fide positive freedom. There are surely other countries where you have less of a chance of being harmed by the courts, because they compensate for their general infringement of freedom by giving you better protections to defend yourself from it.

> The US just happens to be the most negatively free country.

The US has some of the most draconian copyright laws in the world. Are those outweighed by something else, or should we dispense with this notion of "most" ?


> If you're trying to do justice to the concept of negative freedom, then what definition are you using? To me, it's about being free to be left alone and go your own way, as opposed to being provided for (eg freedom from hunger, or whatever).

Yes, and for most people in America, this is unquestionably the case.

> I would classify a public defender as a mitigation of an impingement on negative freedom rather than a bona fide positive freedom. There are surely other countries where you have less of a chance of being harmed by the courts, because they compensate for their general infringement of freedom by giving you better protections to defend yourself from it.

It's debatable that the US public defender system somehow mitigates this impingement less effectively than any other Western country, indeed most western countries have similar public defender systems.

For the sake of argument, even if we were to accept that premise...the majority of Americans spend far more of their lives exercising the uniquely strong negative liberties extended to them than interfacing with the one aspect of American life in which a globally uniform impingement of negative rights is allegedly mitigated the least.

> The US has some of the most draconian copyright laws in the world. Are those outweighed by something else, or should we dispense with this notion of "most" ?

The US's copyright laws are on par with those in most of the Western world. All EU countries are signatories of the Berne Convention, and the copyright length in the US is the same as it is in France, Singapore, Switzerland, South Korea, Italy, UK, Australia, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark...


> Yes, and for most people in America, this is unquestionably the case.

Maybe you should start questioning it. AFAICT, people in other developed countries enjoy comparable day to day freedoms.

> It's debatable that the US public defender system somehow mitigates this impingement less effectively than any other Western country

The original argument you engaged with was about a complete lack of public defenders in the past.

> The US's copyright laws are on par with those in most of the Western world

Empirically this is not true - eg most VPN providers prohibit torrenting on US exit nodes. And international copyright infringement inducers (eg Kim Dotcom) aren't prosecuted strongly in their own countries, but rather extradited to the US.

Overall, this refrain of "freedom" is actually blinding and counterproductive. And this doesn't change when it's limited to "negative freedom". Unquestioning assertions of "We're #1" erode our rights - detailed critiques preserve them.


Just stop. This guy has already made up his mind that the US is one of the worst countries in the world.


"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."


If you don't seem to react to the content of outside information and if we know what you're going to say before you say it, you're not thinking independently, you're just buying into someone else's beliefs.


I don't see how it's remotely possible to form that conclusion based on the mere two comments I said before yours. What specifically from my second comment was so predictable?


Which other countries? Most other western European countries are free-er and even have better press, and much less (to almost none) religiously motivated BS and puritanism...

Heck, for a while people weren't even allowed to ...drink alcohol...


Because ultimately people in the USA who aren't oppressed don't even notice or have to care that other people are being oppressed. Then they are given various -isms and -phobias to not only make sure that they continue to not care, but that in some cases they actively cheer on said oppression.


Land of the free, but not for you and me. It's reserved only for those who pay an entrance fee.


"Land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy."


Propaganda is one hell of a drug.


Well, the justice department decided to let Michael Flynn go free, so the US is still the land of the free for certain definitions of free.


You're mistaken; the "free" means "economic freedom", not anything to do with personal liberties.


I think the Puritans deem freedom to be economic freedom and that your expression should be done through business. Be the change (coins) you see in the world.


… and to those at the borders clamouring to get in.


It’s my understanding that qualified immunity was created by the courts; there is no law or constitutional clause that explicitly forms it.

I’d say that Congress should pass a law to wind back qualified immunity, but I fear they’d just make it worse.


Qualified immunity is the most egregious example of "judicial activism", yet the people who complain about it are the same people that support it.

The difference is things like gay marriage are a lot more visible.


"Created by the courts" is what opponents of any doctrine say about it. The Supreme Court's view of it is probably quite different. :-)

In other words, I think the only ways to get rid of qualified immunity are (1) to get SCOTUS to overrule their own quite recent precedent or (2) pass a constitutional amendment.


We have an amendment, the 14th.

"...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws".

If the law is interpreted as granting qualified immunity to police officers under certain circumstances then it should apply to anyone else who meets those same criteria. To carve out criteria that only applies to cops should run afoul of the 14th amendment.


Qualified immunity is a privilege that flows from the sovereign, not from the individual rights of the police officer. Equal protection does not apply because qualified immunity isn’t a personal protection but rather a governmental protection necessary for the arms of the government (eg - its employees) to carry out their function without fear of litigation.

So, it does apply to anyone who meets the same criteria: anyone who is a government employee carrying out their job functions.


In principle this makes sense; you shouldn’t be able to harass the county clerk with lawsuits as they implement laws duly passed by state legislators. There are other mechanisms to challenge laws.

The problem comes into play with lethal force, and how transparently thin the excuses tend to be. Qualified Immunity defenses hinge on there being a specific law and precedence that the cops must have known about before doing something illegal, a gross perversion of the principle that “ignorance of the law is no defense”. This leads to clearly unjust situations where cops get away with killing citizens or destroying their property, because there wasn’t sufficiently narrow case law to overcome qualified immunity.


QI is extremely problematic like you've mentioned

1) You need specific case law to overcome QI

2) Little to no case law exists because of QI

Some of the QI cases are egergious like Corbitt vs. Vickers [1]

Allegation: Suspect wanders into yard where six children are playing. Coffee County, Ga. police order everyone to ground, press guns against the children’s backs. One officer shoots twice at nonthreatening dog. He misses but does hit a 10-year-old, who was lying face down an arm’s length from the officer. Excessive force? Eleventh Circuit (over a dissent): Qualified immunity. No prior cases telling officers not to unintentionally shoot innocent bystanders. (Nor does this decision establish such a precedent.) [2] (IJ has a clear agenda, but their description is pretty factual)

[1] https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/corbitt-v-vicker... [2] https://ij.org/sc_case_entry/corbitt-v-vickers/


I don’t disagree that qualified immunity has been extended way beyond where it was even arguably appropriate, but I was just explaining why invoking the 14th for its protections is not appropriate.

I am anti-QI, by the way. Not just the current QI reading, but essentially all QI defenses.


Aside from really hating how QI currently works, I’m not anti-QI in principle; but in practice I suspect that what I’d like to see is legally unworkable.

Basically I’d love to see QI reserved for low-discretion and non-lethal cases. So QI for a county clerk implementing the law as written, you should sue the state over that, but no QI for police officers who might shoot a citizen. The level of discretion and the consequences for each action should be a factor in whether or not QI applies, IMHO.

It’s just not clear to me how that could be accomplished in the current legal framework.


I think anything that can be undone by the state should be subject to QI.

If the State takes money from you, maybe QI applies to that, because if the State is in the wrong it can make you whole.

But if the State's agents take your life, or if they take your freedom, the State cannot make you whole. Maybe, then, QI immunity should not apply. These actions are irreversible and do irreparable harm.

Further, I think the "knowledge" aspect needs to be dialed way back. Way way back. It shouldn't be sufficient for the state agent to not know about a law. For QI the State should need to show that its legal argument would have a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits.

Courts already think about irreparable harm and likelihood of success on the merits when they grant things like a TRO. I think QI could be workable if it applied on similar grounds as a TRO. It's a test courts are familiar with, and it's almost certainly enough to prevent nuisance lawsuits against individuals reasonably discharging their duties.


I'm not the biggest "law and order" fan, but we are asking law enforcement officers to make split-second decisions with limited information about the intention of the people they're interacting with.

Even believing that government power must be carefully and scrupulously limited, I would hesitate to put a police officer into a mindset where they're adopting the obligations to enforce society's laws but where we force them out somewhat naked in terms of support from that society.


I think that’s only valid if there is actually a serious danger to being a police officer. While officers really like to play up their dangerous job, it’s actually quite safe, because it turns out most people know that killing a cop is a stupid thing to do for a near infinite number of reasons.

A clear example is the common “split second decisions” scenario. No one is complaining about shoutouts with drug dealers. They’re complaining about a kid getting shot by a cop repeatedly trying (and failing) to kill the tied down family dog. They’re complaining about correctional officers leaving people in a room with their own feces for a week. Those are not split-second decisions, yet they got QI. Using that trope is exactly like using child abuse as an excuse to curtail privacy and other liberties: it’s a ploy to paint opponents as morally reprehensible, because who could support that?

In fairness, some version of QI is, in my opinion, necessary; we’ve just gone way too far towards no consequences for egregious behavior.


100% agree with your last paragraph!

In terms of danger by the numbers, while commercial fishing is about 10x more dangerous than police work, police work is about 10x more dangerous than office work in terms of workplace fatality rate.


Cops get paid and chose that line of work. My 6 foot 3 200 pound Black son shouldn’t feel in danger of his life because he is walking down the street in our own mostly White neighborhood.


Cops should receive less consideration for split second decisions than random citizens. They’re trained, armed, and given authority by the state; with that increased power comes increased security and expectations.

Also, cops make far fewer split second decisions than they talk about. Being a cop is far less dangerous than being a garbage truck driver, and far more cops die from medical issues and car crashes than violent encounters. Pregnant women have a much higher risk of being murdered than a cop does.


QI doesn't just apply to officer involved shootings.

QI also applies to the cop you tells you that you can't be recording and takes your cell-phone to prevent you from filming something that you have every right to be filming.

In fact, there are many _other_ protections for an OIS than just QI.


Sovereign Immunity is in and of itself a creation of courts, especially in the US. It's more understandable in the English legal system where the law itself derives from the sovereign, but in the US the government derives power from the people. The same reason why the US government can't copyright it's own works is the same reason they shouldn't have SI, and therefore QI.


it is a whole cloth invention of law.


This is the tradition of common law, and is not unique to the US. The job of the courts is to discover law. Even in the case where a sovereign dictates a law (older form, in monarchies) or a legislative body writes a law (modern form, in many republics and democracies), it is the duty of the courts to interpret these laws, both in the written law's specific verbiage, and its application in the context of other legal decisions.

It is effectively impossible to legislate every aspect of society. One solution is to empower the judiciary to create/discover law.

I am not making a qualitative judgment here, merely observing that this is not an instance of malfeasance or overreach in any way.


Anytime I hear people, in conversation, speak about police and draw any kind of distinction between "Police" and "Civilians" (their language) I immediately interrupt and correct them: Police are civilians.

As a firefighter/medic this is sometimes uncomfortable, depending on the setting, but I persist.

I would like it if this pushback, in language, would grow and I encourage everyone to make these corrections.

EDIT: to be clear, I am encouraging a distinction between civilians (like you, or I, or police officers) and the military who are governed by their own code of justice and held to a different standard of law and order.


> As a firefighter/medic

And today I learn rsync is a fellow fire/medic.

I entirely agree too. I work with several police departments and let's just say that there is a wide spectrum of attitudes and perspectives.

One local department had two excited delirium deaths in custody a few years back, leading to a coordinated LE/EMS significant training program on recognition and response as a medical emergency, not a criminal one, despite the fact that many of the hallmarks of excited delirium are "antisocial" and lead to a LE response (hyperthermia, leading to people naked in public), glass (reflections) attraction (leading to breaking windows, etc.), keening (animal noises, "he's crazy!"), bruxism (grinding of teeth, taken to the extreme, gnawing on things/people).

Every other department in the County was onboard. Excited to learn. Sure, help prevent deaths in custody and lawsuits! "Compassionate policing"! Win, win.

Not the department involved. They wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. "We will continue with our SOPs".

It was like an episode of The Office where I believe there was a sexual harrassment issue, and everyone has to take training, except Michael, who believes he doesn't need it. Until he's taken aside and told "Actually, this is because _you_ messed up. We just didn't want to single you out and make an example of you".


With all due respect, that theory is divorced from reality.

In practice, police consistently abuse power with little consequence. If doubtful, review what happens with most of the cases when ethnic minorities are killed, harassed, and abused by cops over the past several decades. [ the perpetrators getting a slap on the wrist ]

A cop can shoot and kill you, say they were "afraid for their life" and walk away.

Warning, disturbing content: (See: https://youtu.be/n1pJe_Tcdeg and many other deaths).

Police can steal your possessions under the umbrella of https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_forfeiture_in_the_Unit... with minimal recourse.

I like to believe you when you say police are civilians, but let's call a spade a spade. They sure act above the law civilians have to follow (hint: because they are.)

> EDIT: to be clear, I am encouraging a distinction between civilians (like you, or I, or police officers) and the military who are governed by their own code of justice and held to a different standard of law and order.

The police are held to a different standard of law and order. Do you truly believe otherwise in the United States of America?


As a European, this is the biggest distinction I see. Policing as a verb is society's job. Police as a noun, is someone who's taken this as their primary role.

It's not supposed to be us against them - there is no them.


> Police are civilians.

Well the police certainly aren't (or shouldn't be) military, if that's what you mean. But there certainly should be a distinction made between the police and a random guy with a gun who thinks the black dude that just jogged by is the thief they've been looking for.



In U.S. police departments and sheriff’s offices, there’s a clear distinction between sworn officers and civilian employees, so it’s definitely more than “their words”.


The article here is specifically about how police can murder unarmed people with near-blanket immunity, they are very much not the same.


Even before I had a family member killed by police, my rule of thumb has been to only call the police in life or death situations - because the act of calling them turns it into a life or death situation.


This is true. It's also true of firefighters and doctors (among others). The decision to bring people like this should not be taken lightly, because even assuming good intent on their part (which I generally do), you're giving a lot of decision-making power to people that you don't know.

To give a specific example, I had a kid trapped once in a situation that I became worried could be a tragedy if they weren't freed pretty quickly. In pretty short order, I decided to call the fire department for help, and I quickly had six experienced guys with lots of equipment to help. But, the solution ended up involving using a rather large, nasty-looking circular saw within a few inches of the kid's head. That in itself could easily have turned out far worse, as blades can break, hands can slip, etc.

Sometimes there are no great answers. As techies, we're used to the idea that we can take our time and usually try again if our first attempt goes wrong. Those professionals, though, often operate under time pressure and get only one chance to get it right. I wouldn't want that responsibility, myself.

I'm very sorry for your loss.


Also factor in that the courts have upheld that police forces have "no duty to protect" per Lozito v. New York City [i].

It's pretty clear that policing in the US is broken.

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maksim_Gelman_stabbing_spree


I really don 't understand why media outlets lately try to damage the reading experience with all the weird scrolling stuff. They do excellent journalism only to make it barely readable. Does anybody find this stuff actually good?


I liked here. It feels more efficient when the illustrations or photos are not a parallel reading exercise. Where you're never quite sure when to read the photo caption or end up with it just repeating what you've already read in the body.

You could do that without the weird scrolling stuff, but I thought it worked well here. I will resort to reader mode if it gets annoying.

I do worry a little bit about archival challenges, however. Not sure that we'll be able to replicate the full experience as browsers continue to evolve and change.


I like it, when used with care. I think it works pretty well in this article, and it's been used to very good effect at the New York Times. The main problem is that I'm distracted from the content by wondering how they did certain things, how it might be adapted to other content, whether I would want to use it, etc.


Personally I love it. Even when it doesn't work, I am happy to see the experimentation. Not everything has to fit my usual forms of consumption.

For those who don't like it, a normal article is just a keyboard shortcut away...


and that keyboard shortcut is?


Depends on your browser/os, search "reader view" for Safari or Firefox. Looks like for Chrome you have to install an extension.


Maybe it should be reversed. The experimentation is only a keyboard shortcut away for people who like to admire animations.


I think people should be free to create as they like. I don't think simply because something resembles an article, it must be an article. Personally, I would like to see pages that blur the lines between articles and virtual interactive museum exhibits, but I certainly don't think that my preferences should be the default. As long as there are the necessary accessibility provisions (which also provide for you to be able to read any page as a regular article), what gives? If you want a text based internet, use a text based browser.


Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

This case was gratuitous, I agree. But sometimes the animations can be extremely helpful in weaving in complicated data into a narrative. Think graphs that highlight the relevant lines, etc.


Graphs are fine but having to scroll for each paragraph while waiting for graphics to download makes no sense., I was about to stop reading until a little later it turned into a normal article.


Nurses are spat on, thrown bodily fluid at, bitten on a daily basis. That the USA practically abolished involuntary admission to mental wards is what creates scenes like in the beginning of the article.


> Staff at the local hospital in tiny Madill, Oklahoma, called the police in the early evening of March 24, 2011, for help giving Johnny Leija an injection to calm him.

I don't want to jump to defend the cops, but you bring up a point that jibes with my suspicion. Just look at that opening sentence to the article. Don't you suspect understatement there? Hospital staff deal all the time with patients who are upset because they're having trouble breathing, which is what I'm guessing someone who comes in sick from a week with pneumonia might exhibit. I'm quite sure calling the cops isn't their go-to protocol. So, if it came to their wanting to give him an injection "to calm him," I think responsible journalism would have tried to get a better picture of exactly what an "un-calm" Mr. Leija was like. I doubt he looked like he did in the first 7 seconds of that video.

That said, I am of a mind to believe that cops escalate too often, when they could deescalate if they tried. The bottom line is, if you ask me, there is more to this story.


> I'm quite sure calling the cops isn't their go-to protocol.

You'd be entirely wrong. The major hospital in my state capital, where I work as a paramedic for the EMS system, 400 beds, a 5 unit secure mental area in the ED, serving a population of 200,000...

... has 4 security officers 24/7.

"Tiny Madill, OK" has a population of 3,000. The "hospital" is a glorified urgent care (https://www.alliancehealthdurant.com/alliancehealth-madill). If they have 24/7 security, and that's a big if, as I've delivered patients to and from similar hospitals in the outreaches of our county and surrounds, there would be most likely 1 person.

And in those cases, absolutely calling LE is the go to. Hell, even my hospital described above does, when someone proves problematic, violent.

> That said, I am of a mind to believe that cops escalate too often, when they could deescalate if they tried.

Very true. I train new EMTs and de-escalation is a big part of their patient/ scene communication training. I repeatedly see LE on calls I am on undoing whatever de-escalation my partner and I have done.


> when someone proves problematic, violent.

This is exactly what I'm getting at, unless I'm misunderstanding you. "To calm him" is a euphemism, is what I'm saying. I specifically described it as suspected understatement. So, thank you. I'm even more sure now that I'm entirely right.


No, I don't think so - we still do, _when the resources of security, nurses, EMTs and paramedics_ are exhausted, say someone in excited delirium. A smaller hospital like this one has far less of this "buffer" so their first step for any kind of potential restraint/sedation event in a behavioral setting quite likely will involve calling police, from their own liability perspective, in situations a larger hospital could likely handle more easily.

I am not advocating for this. I think LE has near zero role to play in these scenarios except for the _very limited_ "poses an imminent danger to self or others".

But in a town of three thousand people, I guarantee that when a behavioral crisis escalates at the local "hospital" (I couldn't even find how many beds it has, likely under 10), for better or worse, the police are being called.


Okay, thank you.


Beat cops don't need guns. The UK has proven that they can do their jobs without them. Taking them away would not only remove the possibility of inappropriate discharge, I'd bet it would reign in the subconscious power-tripping that so many officers succumb to. When you could shoot somebody and they can't shoot you I imagine you experience a sense of total dominance over them, rather than a working relationship as an officer of the peace.


In most of Europe police carry guns,yet lethal encounters with members of public are rare( not saying they don't happen at all though). It's not just guns but the attitude of policemen. In Britain,police tend to talk to you for how long it takes until you come back to senses.If that doesn't help they do handle you.If they think you have guns, they'd send those who know how and will shoot if necessary. A stressed and confused guy in a hospital setting with no gun/knife is a low risk and should be talked to for beginners. They somewhat overreact there quite often.


Exactly. I think the assumption that every encounter needs to have a gun present encourages needless escalation.


In Europe, even if the police have guns during an arrest, they will generally not be pulled out unless the detainee is armed (possibly with a knife) and resisting.

An unarmed resisting person will generally be tackled and restrained without pointing a gun at them even if one is "present" - there are quite strict procedures against escalation that seem to be missing or ignored in USA.


Meh that sounds like less fun.

More fun is toss a flash grenade into the hospital room, rush in with shields and body armor after beating a hole through the wall with a battering ram, throw the guy on the floor and shout "Stop Resisting" while beating the heck out of him and shocking him with tasers, burn down 2 adjacent hospital rooms, terrify the staff, shoot the bing machine because it is causing you to fear for your life, then find out it was the other hospital on the other side of town and have a high speed chase over to that hospital running red lights and causing three fatal accidents along the way, repeat the whole process with no consequences whatsoever then high five each other and recount the salient details all the way back to the station.


You forgot about shooting any dogs you see, arresting anyone with a camera, defacing the american flag, and riding around in decommissioned military equipment.


Then make a Hollywood movie or TV series about it.

"Brash no-nonsense cop and his partner buck the system to bring down the bad guys! Preferably in body bags. Starring Michael K. Williams as hospital bad guy #1. Available on Showtime starting February 23'rd"


American here — we have more guns per capita than any other country in the world.

In the UK, the criminals ~never have a gun (and less crime occurs), so it makes sense that the police wouldn't need guns either.

In the US, normal citizens are often legally armed, and criminals are very often illegally armed.

It would make no sense to tell an officer "you can't carry a gun" when both average citizens and the criminals have guns. While the UK undoubtedly has a fine model for itself, it can't be extrapolated to a country where gun ownership is so common.


> In the US, normal citizens are often legally armed, and criminals are very often illegally armed.

It's a fairly common occurrence in the US for the highway patrol to pull over a driver for speeding, the driver has a firearm, the police issue a speeding citation and everyone goes on their way.

How does that require the police to be armed? Do you think it likely that typical motorists would be willing to shoot a police officer in order to avoid a traffic citation? Or that the infinitesimal minority crazy enough to do that are going to be deterred if the police are armed as well?

Ordinary police officers don't need firearms because ordinary police officers are not especially likely to have anyone try to shoot at them.

The situation is different if they're executing a warrant on a meth lab, but exceptional situations are exceptional and routine situations are not.


It's a fairly common occurrence for me to drive to the grocery store, buy my groceries, and return home without crashing. Yet, I wear my seatbelt for the worst-case outcome not the typical or most common outcome.

Likewise, I wouldn't issue police equipment based on the extremely common case where a policeman doesn't need a vest nor a gun all day and, in fact, on the majority of days doesn't even need their set of handcuffs.


The difference is that a seatbelt or a vest or a set of handcuffs doesn't escalate existing conflicts or cause civilian fatalities.

Or to put it another way, aren't you arguing that all civilians should carry firearms as well? After all, there could be a mugger, or a rapist, or a grizzly bear. Better to have it and not need it, right?


Don't they then become targets? There is a subculture of anti-police thought and behavior in the US (witness this thread). Do the mental exercise: will police injuries/deaths increase/decrease if they were unarmed?


Why would they be targets any more than they are now? If anything they would be less, because you stop getting all the "cop shoots innocent civilian" stories that are driving that sentiment. Meanwhile attacking a police offer would still be a life-ruining mistake, because you still go to jail for a very long time.


Cop killers are arrested and prosecuted in record time. The system throws the book at them and even the book is heavier when the victim is a cop (enhanced sentencing etc) even though the occurrence is rare.

Meanwhile, cops are murdering people with impunity at a rate of about 10x the former.

"Police" is a subculture of anti-society though and behavior and for some reason we keep giving them guns.


Nothing about that scenario refutes "cops need guns". Its a violent society; the police are under attack in some places.

I don't like it; but it's not helpful to shout blame. Have to understand where we are, to drive any change.


Garbage collectors are 3x more likely to die on the job than a cop https://qz.com/410585/garbage-collectors-are-more-likely-to-...


...and garbage collectors aren't armed! Thank you for the confirmation.


> There is a subculture of anti-police thought and behavior in the US (witness this thread).

I don't think this thread demonstrates anti-police thought in general. I think it demonstrates anti-police abuse of power/double standards/hypocrisy and other undesirable issues. It's certainly not littered with people chanting "ACAB!".


Still, to doubt police need the tools that they nationally use, and to keep equating their needs with the general population, is willfully misinterpreting/miscasting the situation. Even a locksmith is allowed tools outside what the public is allowed. Are police to be just well-meaning neighbors with no ability to do more than gently admonish? Witness the movie "Demolition Man" when cops of the future (actually more like therapists) were steamrollered by a criminal from the past.


That's a fair point- such a change might have stricter gun control as a prerequisite (which for the record I think we also need).

I was struck recently, when I saw The Gentlemen (a film about marijuana empires in the UK). Even the crime lords were very averse to carrying guns because it was so illegal. People here always counter with "but the criminals will find ways to get them anyway", but I don't think that's a valid argument.


[flagged]


Why would a detail like that be fictional?

Anyway, it lines up with the statistics: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-44053904

> In England and Wales in 2016-17, there were 31 fatal shootings - or one for every 1.9 million people.

> In the US, in contrast, there were 11,000 murders or manslaughters involving a firearm or one death for every 30,000 people.


That's a factor of 63 more fatal shootings in the US versus UK. I don't know whether it's correct or not, but it's certainly misleading. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intention... the homicide rate per 100000 people is 5.3 in the US versus 1.2 in the UK, a factor of 4.4 difference. Yes, more, but not 63 times more.

I think most people don't care whether they are going to be killed by a gun or by some other means.


I think cops should be specifically banned from owning guns, even personally, until every current cop is removed from the policing system and all policies are replaced.

The current system teaches them to be terrified, criminal psychopaths with no understanding of human beings or deescalation. Giving them a gun is not protection, it's culpable negligence.

The people we are letting become cops in America are the exact people who should a) never be handed a weapon and b) never be given authority.


I live in the UK and let me say that the US is not the UK. In the UK it's very difficult to get a gun. In the US it looks like guns are everywhere.

I'm all for fewer guns in general, but is it really feasible that cops don't have guns when everyone else has them?


Does having a gun magically make you immune to bullets? Why is this the only possible counter to criminals with guns?


We also issue them bullet-resistant vests, so no, it's not the only possible counter, but is there another ranged weapon you find more appropriate? Crossbows and long bows seem fairly unwieldy in the field.


I'm not much of a weapons connoisseur so I don't know really what's out there, but it's striking to me that the alternatives you mention are even older than the gun which as far as I know is pretty ancient. Are there any non-lethal long-range suppression technologies? Maybe smoke grenade launchers?


I hear this a lot, but if I'm not mistaken other law enforcement organizations in other European nations with equally strict gun laws and a citizen culture of not wanting guns have armed police. While traveling into Germany, getting off the plane in Frankfurt I'm greeted by Polizei carrying full auto capable sub-machine guns (mostly HK MP5s, some HK G36Ks). Even in America it's rare to see police open carrying anything more than a pistol and I've never traveled through an airport and seen weapons like that either, including Airports at our nations capital (Dulles to be exact).


There's a difference between SWAT or border patrol and regular cops on the street. They still have SWAT teams in the UK, they just acknowledge that the times you need to go in guns-blazing are the exception to the rule.


The UK doesn't really have SWAT. Ordinary people are most likely to see firearm officers with an MP5SF or similar, a black semi-automatic carbine, which a typical civilian probably mentally files as a "machine gun like in a movie" and its main purpose is to act as a visible deterrent and set them apart from "ordinary" unarmed police officers.

Many officers armed with the expectation they might need to actually shoot somebody, not just act as a deterrent have Glocks, because a pistol is the right tool for this job, and they may have also been trained to use a military-style shotgun. But that's about as far as it goes.

If the bad guys have a rocket launcher, in the UK the expectation is that this is now a problem for the Army, not some nutjob with a badge who thinks Judge Dredd is a role model rather than a satire.


Beat cops are not going to want to go into some neighborhoods without protection.


Understandably but that's often because of a feedback loop by their bad behavior. If those troubled neighborhoods collectively saw the cops as actually serving the community (rather than terrorizing it), they would likely be welcomed and safe.


Most of the resentment stems from how much crime is committed in these neighborhoods, which requires police presence, and how the penal system in the U.S. punishes rather than rehabilitating those found guilty.

Also, the lack of cooperation in poorer neighborhoods is largely due to respect for, or fear of, the criminals.

There's a lot more layers here - this 'shift' would require tons of slain officers, a lack of respect for the law, so on and so forth.

While I agree officers should do their best to serve the community, disarming them in dangerous areas isn't necessary to accomplish it.


"Beat cops don't need guns." - in the UK!

In the US, every second person has a gun, and think they 'have the right to shoot people' for a host of arbitrary reasons.

Meaning the cops pretty much have to have guns in the US.

Similarly, I think the issue of police aggression is 90% about culture and not about constitutional issues.


This topic is quite upsetting. I wonder if there is a technological solution. Perhaps some sort of volunteer-run citizens surveillance network that uses sensor fusion to collect and monitor police actions leading up to and during confrontation in detail. Could that help make stronger cases against brutality?


Well, I think body cameras are the most important technological solution. Unfortunately they're still huge problems with how the footage is dealt with and who is allowed to handle it. How many times have you seen police abuse cases where the body camera "wasn't running" or the footage was "lost"? I remember the NYT article a month or two ago about the police officer planting cocaine. The only reason he was caught was because he tried to shut his body cam off and didn't do it correctly. Unfortunately he still didn't receive reasonable punishment, but we at least know about it because of the cameras.


Cop watches do exist, these organizations could definitely benefit from the minds and expertise that make advanced technology possible.

However, they do not remove the fundamental power structure that makes these laws possible. Changing the power structure requires collective action, that is the meaning of a revolution and a revolutionary.

The recent rent strikes in Houston were organized entirely online. The internet allows us to organize nearly instantly across the entire planet, but we need people in the street to make change a reality.


I’d argue the US has the best branding of any country in the western world. It promises freedom, and the rewarding of hard work which can be very appealing to people seeking a better life.

However, based off what I see in the media, a lot of these promises are not true for oppressed groups or for people in certain areas. Like the use of excessive force by police officers. It seems like this all comes back to fundamental issues in the way some Americans think (that certain people are better than others).

My question is, is there a way to correct these fundamental issues such as racism (or more generally ignorance)?


The police culture in the United States, enabled by these absolutely absurd legal protections, is consistently the most embarrassing thing about our country. We're famous for our police corruption and brutality, to the point that the state departments of foreign countries have to warn their citizens of interactions with police while visiting the US.

The portuguese-american community that I grew up in mostly consisted of people who fled the fascist authoritarianism of Antonio Salazar, with the promise of freedom and prosperity. They found the prosperity just fine, but lived here long enough to see America become even more authoritarian than the Portugal that they fled. It is interesting to me that many of them are leaving the prosperity behind to return to Portugal, as it is now more free than we are.


Parts of the US government also know not to share certain information with law enforcement.

"[FBI] policies have been crafted to take into account the active presence of domestic extremists in U.S. police departments."

"White supremacists and other domestic extremists maintain an active presence in U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies."

https://theintercept.com/2017/01/31/the-fbi-has-quietly-inve...


I admire the work of the FBI against hate groups and extremists. However, one only needs to look at their work against BLM or the Civil Rights Movement to see that they are part of the same structure.

Workers unifying across social divisions is the greatest threat to oppressing the people. It is the most powerful method we have of gaining material freedom and our most basic human dignities, regardless of ethnic identity.

Some of our most deeply exploited white citizens are convinced that they have it better than others while they experience collapsing infrastructure, life on government benefits, prescription epidemics, growing government overreach, and erosion of their working rights. They also make up the heart of white supremacists and domestic extremists, while more fortunate liberal territories are convinced to despise and separate themselves from their fellow workers.

In short, our nation is divided by hatred and the result is a populace that is easier to control, oppress, and economically exploit. Overcoming this hatred and unifying is the key to securing our future and basic liberties from corporate and government authoritarianism.


I consider every interaction and encounter with our law enforcement officers as a potentially life threatening situation. I can’t imagine how it is for people of color.


This isn't legal advice, but I've only ever heard from lawyers and judges that you should never talk to police for any reason whatsoever.


It is a war. Everyone has an ethnicity, and our ideas of race are shaped by a long legacy of racial hatred and exclusion.

Our white working citizens need to realize that all workers are unified in our exploitation for basic human necessities. That is a practical way that we can overcome the hatred that is dividing us and facilitating the destruction of our liberties.


That's plainly hysteria and you're only encouraging unnecessary distrust.

The overwhelming majority of interactions with police for any race are benign. You've been manipulated by a race baiting media.


The overwhelming majority isn't great when you're talking risk of death.

Someone survives playing Russian Roulette the overwhelming majority of the time too. 5 out of 6 times, nothing bad happens at all. 1 out of 6 times, you die. Is that also not something you would consider a "life threatening situation?"

It's actually an interesting question. At what point does the risk of dying in a situation make it "life threatening"? I believe something like 1 in 291 police interactions end up with someone in the hospital or dead.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-07/b-upk072116....


1/6 is literally 2 orders of magnitude smaller than 1/291. Nonsensical comparison.

More importantly, how many of those hospitalizations/deaths are justified? You realize that police are typically responding to crimes and dealing with criminals who tend to be a little more violent than the average person, right?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a bootlicker by any means, and I acknowledge there are serious policing problems in the US. But seriously questioning whether you're going to survive a traffic stop if you act reasonably is irrational paranoia.


I do formal risk assessments as a part of my job, in a context where people are often risking their lives. Both 1:6 and 1:291 as the chance of of severe injury or death are both firmly in the highest risk category under most calculations, meaning that for decision making, you should assume that it will result in death. Yes, they are two orders of magnitude different. But the comparison is not nonsensical.


Well then you are no doubt aware that these statistics skew overwhelmingly toward those who are noncompliant, combative, and/or felons, correct? Such that the actual rate for "average" people (including minorities, although their rate may be higher) is probably miniscule.


OP > I consider every interaction and encounter with our law enforcement officers as a potentially life threatening situation

Which translates to: at any given interaction with the police, there's a non-zero chance that it come be a life threatening situation

You > The overwhelming majority...

Which also implies some non-zero chance...

So I'm confused as to how to OP's situation is hysteria by the "race baiting media"

Please keep this off of HN, thanks


The implication of OPs post was that this was a frequent enough occurrence to legitimately fear interactions with police.

My point is that this is excessive, and partly a result of the eagerness that the media to latch onto and sensationalize stories of blacks being killed by police.

It is relevant to the discussion.

Edit: all of this particularly when negative interactions are going to very heavily skew towards people who are combative and/or noncompliant. This is total paranoia.


> all of this particularly when negative interactions are going to very heavily skew towards people who are combative and/or noncompliant. This is total paranoia.

But also in multiple times a year with people who are non combative and compliant.

What is the acceptable loss rate _you_ are willing to accept on others behalf?


Multiple times per year in a country with 300MM people and what, tens to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of police interactions yearly?

Obviously in the ideal case it would be 0 but that's not realistic and, again, the current rate is far lower than the original poster implied. That's my entire argument. A couple times a year in the news does not justify worrying about being killed during a traffic stop or some other typical, mundane interaction.


If it's that rare, then shouldn't police be stripped of immunity completely?

Let's follow your logic. You claim that police abuse of power is exceedingly rare. In that case, to earn the public trust, and to punish the few rare cases that police do abuse their power, shouldn't the people be as free as possible to pursue justice in those cases?

If police abuse is rare, that argues for even more strict laws against police abuse, less legal protection, and more empowerment of the citizenry to address those few rare cases.


>You claim that police abuse of power is exceedingly rare

I made no such claim. I said that being hurt or killed by an officer is an unlikely occurance for a typical person. That's all I'm arguing and there shouldn't be anything controversial about it.


If we dig deeper past the shame, we find a power structure that is intentionally and fundamentally evil. In every economic crisis the facade becomes weaker, and more people wake up to the political and economic reality of our nation. This is when fascism shows itself, promising to take us to our former glory while people struggle to survive.

Fascism is a disease that slowly infects its host. We should remember how America fought so bravely against German fascism. My mother's family came to America to escape the fascist authoritarianism of that nation, and I can't see myself moving to Germany.


>We should remember how America fought so bravely against German fascism

About that...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Paperclip

We should more accurately remember that it was the express policy of the United States to rehabilitate and support former fascists in postwar Europe, Southeast Asia, and in Latin America. The US opposed German nationalist imperialism (quite late into that campaign), but never meaningfully fascism as such. During the Red Scare, several people were even investigated and blacklisted for being "prematurely antifascist."

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:tAcKhl...


I am aware of this history. We can't forget the veterans that fought with our allies to successfully defeat the Nazis.

German nationalist imperialism is Nationalsozialistiche Deutsche Abeiterpartei, the namesake of the Nazi Party. The immigration of my own family is a product of German fascism.


The words "by wearing that badge, they're the chosen whites" [0] keep going through my head. It disgusts me that the cop who is also a pastor has no problem with their conduct.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGV1xYJFAEI


Police officers and police departments are made up of all ethnicities, same goes for the owners of capital. Not all who profess faith are true to their teachings. Just look at how the teachings of Christianity were used to colonize America, the largest genocide in human history.


Oh, agreed. I am fairly anti-Christian, and I don't mean to say that cops should be held to higher standards when they're pastors, but more that it is despicable that a single person should both claim to be a source of moral guidance and also a tool of state violence. It reeks of theocracy.


Cato and other Libertarian groups have long been trying to get qualified immunity thrown out and while there is an odd uninformed dislike for Cato here this article [0] is worth perusing simply for some of the links including a good summary [1] why QI is unlawful including how it basically defies Congress's attempt to protect people rights [2]

Don't think the SC is deaf to the issue, the amount of money from Police and Sheriff unions defending QI is immense so when cases do land in courts the expertise in representation is lopsided on top of courts favoring police in most actions.

Also make sure not to forget, QI isn't just about cops. It also shields other government employees who cause harm to people or their property

[0] https://www.cato.org/blog/why-qualified-immunity [1] https://lawcat.berkeley.edu/record/1128553?ln=en [2] https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/1983


What should the cops have done? Let him run amok, possibly injuring others?

They used a stun gun, not a gun.

If the cops had let the strong, mentally confused guy go on doing whatever he wanted, it could have ended badly in any of a million other ways. Lose/lose


Maybe we need to look into more practical non lethal weaponry for the police, and remove their ability to carry a lethal sidearm. If we could develop a high accuracy non tethered taser, or something that has good stopping power and a decent accuracy at 25 meters, that would be a replacement. Then they could have an AR15 locked in the trunk; if they know they're going into a really high risk situation, it'll be there. But it won't be the first thing that they reach for when a homeless guy is swinging around a broom handle in public.


Oh, no. Police rarely escalate the situation immediately. They waiting until sufficient back up arrives before they draw multiple guns and shout conflicting orders.


Why is this a federal issue? Is there a federal law protecting state police? Or some kind of Constitution or common law thing?


Just what we need more imbalance


In the country with the highest percentage of prison population.

And the highest number of killings by police (per capita) by far.


The chapters on the USA in history books of 2030 are going to be so heavy to read:

<< Chocked by 9/11, they decided to implicitly discard the Habeas Corpus by installing the Patriot Act and officially autorize torture. A temporary measure that never got revoked.

Then, they went to war on the other side on the globe, spending a trillion of dollars, against the UN vote, lying about WMD.

Meanwhile, they setup mass surveillance of their own people, and ruthlessly attacked the ones speaking against it.

They elected Bush twice, and Trump, reinforcing every day anti-intellectualism, fear, agressivity and violence as part of the country culture. The medias, including news outlets and tv shows, followed since this is what brought the biggest audience.

Injustice rose. While the poor had a hard time even getting decent health treatment or diet and the black community compose most inmate population, milked by a privatized social system, the powerful are exonerated from accountability: rogue cops are not condamned, the Panama papers lead to nowhere, Esptein died in prison, brankrupt giants are bailed out with peoople's money and Trump was never impeached, staying the center of attention.

Finally, the covid-19 outbreak stuck the country in recession, rendering tens of millions of people incapable of producing revenue, tanking the oil price, and elevating social tensions. >>

Since the US peace keepers seems to have a licence to kill, this is not going to end well.

I'm glad I'm in Europe watching the show from afar. You have all my compassion.


little hyperbolic and a tad too smug I think. I believe history will be a little kinder, all things considered.


Look at current encyclopedia articles covering these topics [0][1][2][3][4][5] and see for yourself what sort of facts are headed for the history books. Parent is being very gentle on our neoconservative, neocolonialist, fascist, disappointing legacy.

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

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Ghraib_torture_and_prisone...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habeas_corpus_in_the_United_St...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_surveillance_in_the_Unite...

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equation_Group

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_St...


You can find just as many atrocities and missteps of the law by scrutinizing other 1st world countries. The West as a whole benefits from the system that America has created and protects. History books will give just as much a shit about this era as they have any other and while America has the most dirt on her face, nobody is clean.


That's not where your original goalposts were; you were talking about historical retrospectives of the USA in particular. You've now shifted to whataboutism [0] in order to try to minimize the USA's misdeeds. Meanwhile, I've already shown you what's in existing encyclopedic materials covering recent USA history. What, precisely, do you think I've failed to articulate or contextualize? Do you think that the USA's torture, war crimes, and mass surveillance are somehow excusable merely because other states also commit such atrocities?

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


No, sorry, my original comment wasn't super clear. I only meant that, in the context of world events of this era, history won't overly scrutinize the USA while it seems to be a generally Western problem. Not interested in getting into a back and forth pasting Wikipedia articles, sorry dude


How


The article fails to show how dangerous those situations are.

A pneumonia patient walking through a hospital where people are recovering from strokes and heart attacks.

Wrestling with a police officer on a busy highway.

You can close down municipalities or live in places where there are no police. Then other people kill you for acting like a jerk. Beaten to death by the nurses or blasted apart by oncoming traffic.

So much better.


On the one hand, cops shouldn’t get to kill unlawfully and say “I was doing my job.”

On the other hand, if an Amazon engineer checks in a bug and AWS goes down and a hospital loses its medical records and people die, we hold Amazon liable, not the engineer.


Well yeah there is a difference between killing another human being in the first person vs indirectly through corporate processes.


No one should be depending on an internet connection or external server to keep people alive and there is no way amazon would somehow be responsible for a nonsense design like this, if it ever did happen.


What should it tell you about the two systems if the former continues to happen often with no real improvements while the latter happens rarely if ever and is immediately rectified?


90% of this comment section is reddit-level "amerikkka bad". I can't believe this entire thread hasn't been culled yet.


My sister is a DA so I hear the other side of this. Police are people and they can get scared, angry, and make mistakes.

Deaths at the hands of police are always horrible but an important message that is not broadcast clearly enough in every community is... NEVER RESIST ARREST!

Never! When a police officer instructs you to do something just do it. If you disagree with the order there is a mechanism to voice that disagreement called the court.

If you defy a police directive they will use rapidly escalating force to make you comply that can endanger your life.

This used to be pretty well understood and I think we need better public communication about this. We also need to make sure the courts are more accomodating to underprivileged communities because if people don't believe the courts are fair then disputes are going to get settled in the street with violence.

EDIT: On the other side I believe if a police officer contributes to the death of someone in the line of duty they need to surrender their badge, even if they played by the rules. If the other person loses their life you should at least lose your job. That kind of incentive might discourage some of the cowboy culture on their side that's not helping here.


> My sister is a DA so I hear the other side of this. Police are people and they can get scared, angry, and make mistakes.

Except unlike people in other professions, when police get scared, angry, and make mistakes, other people die. In other sectors, where courts, politicians and the public haven't been brain-washed by the never-ending chorus of 'officer safety', people with that kind of power are held to a commensurate level of accountability. That's the central issue, which you're attempting to side-step.

> Deaths at the hands of police are always horrible but an important message that is not broadcast clearly enough in every community is... NEVER RESIST ARREST!

Aside from a clear victim-blaming bias, even casual observation rules this out as a panacea. Far from it.


"Except unlike people in other professions, when police get scared, angry, and make mistakes, other people die."

Fair point, hence the edit.


How can I train myself so that I will not resist arrest while I am delusional and dying of covid-19 in hospital?

(The case discussed in the article was of someone delusional while in the final stages of pneumonia.)


Except quite some cases do not involve resisting arrest. Take all those swatting cases for example. Good honest people don’t deal with cops on a daily basis, or at all; so when cops suddenly show up with guns drawn while shouting commands (sometimes indistinguishably), they get utterly confused and panic, and naturally may not be able to comply with anything. And it doesn’t matter whether you actually pose a threat; as long as you might be perceived to pose a threat (or maybe not even that), you could end up dead. Holding a phone in your hand? “Looks like a gun to me” — bam, you’re a goner. Can’t see your hands? Bam.

During the decade I lived in the States, I often wonder if I would be the next random guy to fall victim to cops. (That, and random mass shootings. Things totally out of my control.) Simply not a fear I ever had to deal with everywhere else I’ve lived or traveled.


Yes, as a matter of personal survival: never resist arrest.

As a matter of conscious and principal though, passively resisting arrest should never lead to your execution. Acknowledging it’s not the case and thereby personally making sure to comply with the police does not make it “right” for this to be the norm.


Like you I also come from a third-world country and this sort of thing is also the advice there.

Now I live in a much better country and I no longer have to fear the police. Quite a change.

There is no way why this has to be the way it is. If you are afraid of the police, it is the police's fault. Time to start arresting them and cleaning up.


There is something enlightening and deeply inspiring about how protesters in Ecuador were able to detain the police themselves and order them to unequip their riot gear. Among the crowd they were presented as equal to the protesters. Many riot police are portrayed as faceless monsters hiding behind riot masks and advanced military equipment.

It had never occurred to me that the people can win and detain the police, not the other way around.


This is the silent understanding that most police departments operate under and produce optics to insulate against. They know its a 100:1 ratio at best and if everyone in town decided no more police all at once, there's not a whole lot the local sheriff could do about it without ramping directly into a regional revolution.

This is why the police departments in America parade around in armored vehicles and use absurdly overpowered weapons for regular duty. The intent is to keep everyone thinking that the police are incomprehensibly overpowering and could never be approached in a direct conflict. The reality is that it wouldn't take much to wrest back control and they know it. The 2nd amendment is your best friend if you are an American. You should NEVER have to use it, but it's like your copy of the police having an M1A1 tank at the local precinct.

Just like you have to worry that the SWAT team might arbitrarily come into your house and end your life, they should have to worry that maybe one day everyone in town is going to get tired of their shit and band together to put an end to it all.


And it's worked and happened in the past: https://www.npr.org/2015/09/23/442801731/director-chronicles...


I fully agree and this documentary illustrates your point well. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/american-patriot-ins...


I agree some of them are bad hence my edit. The problem is two sided and we should address problems on both sides.


You seem to have a very simplistic view of police, I almost envy you for it. None of what you're saying needs to be a reality. None of it is necessary.

  > Police are people and they can get scared, angry, and make mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes - that doesn't excuse anyone from paying for those mistakes. Some of these mistakes cost lives. Regular folks go to jail. The police in the US, in general, doesn't. Those who do are the exception. Usually - suspension, investigation, acquitted.

  > When a police officer instructs you to do something just do it.
What do you think happens when 'the police' shouts conflicting instructions? The answer is: you get shot [0]

What if the police instructs you to do something illegal?

What if the police sexually assaults you? [1]

  > If you disagree with the order there is a mechanism to voice that disagreement called the court.
So what you're saying is that if you disagree with a decision the police officer makes in a split second, you should spend the next several years of your life in the court system?

When (not if) the police illegally seizes your property, it's OK for you to spend the next few years in the court system to get that property back to be able to return to normal life, right? [2]

  > they will use rapidly escalating force to make you comply that can endanger your life
Why? Is that necessary? The police in other developed countries, for example the UK, is overall orders of magnitude more civilized and respectful than the US police.

  > This used to be pretty well understood
No, what used to be well understood is that the police is there to serve and protect. Serve and protect. The police is not there to intimidate citizens. The police is not there to beat you into obedience. The police is not there to escalate the situation until it results in you losing your life.

  > I think we need better public communication about this.
It's not the public that needs to be better educated on how to handle themselves around the police. It's the police that needs to be better educated on how to handle people.

  >  We also need to make sure the courts are more accomodating to underprivileged communities because if people don't believe the courts are fair then disputes are going to get settled in the street with violence
Did you even read the article you're commenting on?

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ooa7wOKHhg

[1] https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/19/us/police-sexual-assaults-mar...

[2] https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-news/john-oliver-amplifie...


There are more than enough people who want to be police, we can set a very high bar and fire those who don't perform. Police should be de-escalating in all circumstances, they should move slowly and not fire until fire upon. Soldiers have stricter rules of engagement than police.




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