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ACLU sues Minnesota for police violence against the press (aclu.org)
758 points by soraminazuki 36 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 247 comments



I read through the whole complaint and it's a pretty shocking catalog of abuse of power, discretion, and force. And it only covers actions against journalists, and only in the city of Minneapolis.


It shouldn't be shocking for anyone who was paying attention. There is a good book about related issues by Radley Balco called Rise of the Warrior Cop. Published in 2013. Unlike many comments here and on other websites it's not hysterical, or hyperbolic or contaminated with self-referential post-modernist bullshit. It is a sober and factual analysis of how American police became what it is right now. It's not an easy read, but it's a must-read for anyone who wants to have a reasonable picture of the problem.

The public notion of good policing and the actual practices police departments follow have been diverging for several decades (if they ever converged). What we're seeing right now is not some inexplicable increase in bad behavior or cops deliberately targeting journalists. For modern American police this is just business as usual, except the volume of deployment is significantly higher than in the past few decades and the visibility is much higher as well.

Edit:

There is a flip side to this coin. When you have a systemic problem of this scale, you should be cautious about making simplistic (especially moral) judgements about individuals in the system. When someone's training, incentives, position in the community and even equipment nudge them towards bad actions, even decent people will routinely do bad things.


I like to think I've been paying attention - I'm a person of color who grew up with some financial privilege, I'm a quiet, introverted nerd, and it was obvious from highschool onward that police treated me much differently than my white friends. When I was 17, I got pulled over at 1am on a small unlit backroad, but the cop didn't get out of his car. He stayed in his car, told me via the megaphone to exit my vehicle, put my hands behind my head, walk backwards, put my hands on the trunk, while he frisked me, then put me in the back of the cop car and searched my vehicle, then let me go, telling me "it's a dangerous area and I shouldn't be out this late". Speeding tickets were always aggressive encounters. That stuff sticks with you.

That said, I still found the attacks on the press this week absolutely shocking. Police treating people of color differently than white people is absolutely nothing new. Attacking and arresting credentialed journalists, while they are clearly identifying themselves and broadcasting on live TV is something I never thought I'd see in America.


> Attacking and arresting credentialed journalists, while they are clearly identifying themselves and broadcasting on live TV is something I never thought I'd see in America.

You can thank your president, who labelled the press as "The enemy of the people" for that too.

Words have consequences.


That's not even "I was just following orders". Actions have consequences, too, and people are responsible for their actions.


Apparently violating the Fourth Amendment, I suppose it's not worth much in practice.


It would be worth more if there were more accessible consequences for police officers and departments who violate it.


One of the most poignant comments on police militarization I've heard seems to have come from a television show.

"There's a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state. The other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people." - Commander Adams (Battlestar Galactica)

Obviously, this doesn't directly address the militarization of the police, but it should be easy to see how it can go both ways. Outfit the police as a military unit, and they'll start acting like one. How much surplus military equipment was sold to police since the Iraq war?


> If the totalitarian conqueror conducts himself everywhere as though he were at home, by the same token he must treat his own population as though he were a foreign conqueror.

- Hannah Arendt

> This drug thing, this ain't police work. I mean, I can send any fool with a badge and a gun to a corner to jack a crew and grab vials. But policing? I mean you call something a war, and pretty soon everyone is going to be running around acting like warriors. They gonna be running around on a damn crusade, storming corners, racking up body counts. And when you at war, you need a fucking enemy. And pretty soon, damn near everybody on every corner is your fucking enemy. And soon, the neighborhood you're supposed to be policing, that's just occupied territory. You follow this? [..] Okay the point I'm making is this: Soldiering and policing, they ain't the same thing. And before we went and took the wrong turn and start up with these war games, the cop walked a beat, and he learned that post. And if there were things that happened on that post, where there be a rape, a robbery, or a shooting, he had people out there helping him, feeding him information. But every time I came to you, my DEU sergeant, for information, to find out what's going on out on them streets... all that came back was some bullshit. You had your stats, your arrests, your seizures, but don't none of that amount to shit when it comes to protecting the neighborhood now, do it?

- Howard "Bunny" Colvin in "The Wire"



Small nitpick, you mean commander Adama?


I bet that was a spellchecker or autocomplete typo.


You are correct.


> When someone's training, incentives, position in the community and even equipment nudge them towards bad actions, even decent people will routinely do bad things.

"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." -- Stainslaw Jerzy Lec

If we assume there is such thing as human free will (your quote shrinks the possibility of what we can affect with our free will), Police officers are agents who have the ability to see these environmental factors and {choose to stay officers, ignore employer-provided therapy, vote for the union leadership which negotiates their employment contract, etc.}.

We don't have as much control over our lives as we would want, but police (as individuals and as a voting bloc) have significantly more control over the lives of others than us non-police do.


Don't get me wrong, I understand police violence is a continuing problem, but that doesn't make this instance of it less shocking.

As a meta note, I've noticed that people often respond to comments saying "I'm shocked with a recent occurrence of X" with "X has always been bad and been happening for a long time" and in my opinion that response only serves to desensitize people to the bad thing.


There are a lot of different people out there who get shocked over different things.

And writing for the 10-30% of people who think that incentives matter more than innate character - we don't need people to be sensitised and spring loaded to be shocked. These growth of these problems has been a visible trend for my entire lifetime and longer if you buy arguments like those presented in, say, The Rise of the Warrior Cop.

Anyone who gets shocked by trends that have been around for that long is either very new to this, or part of the problem. The solution is less shock, more reform to promote basic principles of equality, freedom and prosperity.


The problem is that people are already desensitized. They've watched X come and go and they act shocked every time. Then they continue to push it down their list of priorities when they vote.

By next week this will be pushed out of the news. By November it will be completely forgotten, except among the minority who it directly affects and were already aware. All of the outrage you hear now will not translate into change.

So when people say "X has been bad for a long time", people need to hear that as "and this time you should remember it and do something".


I'm also tired of the "X has always been bad and been happening for a long time." While I think some people mean it to highlight how prevalent a problem is, it often comes across (or is in fact intended to be) a way to both virtue signal and put down people who are less informed.


I think the other part of this particular episode that got people more upset is the helplessness of it all. I certainly felt helpless and frustrated watching the video, even though I wasn't there.

Interaction with police is one of the rare cases where self defence doesn't cut it. In fact, defending yourself just gives more justification for law enforcement to apply more violence.

Imagine if you were George Floyd, and you knew you were going to get killed. What do you do? If you don't resist you die. If you do resist you might still die or at least be assaulted, then charged with resisting arrest and will have "deserved" the violence by resisting at the end of it.

On the bystander side too. Everyone watching knew it was wrong, but there is no good way to intervene. You either put yourself in harms way, and probably won't effect the outcome, or intervening action will be used to justify whatever violence was used, or likely both.


Off topic, but

> self-referential post-modernist bullshit

Umm, what? What contaminations exactly are you thinking about? I just can't place self-referentiality into this topic. Are you suggesting there is a comparable analysis that does include self-referential motifs? Also, why is self-referentiality or postmodernism bullshit?


Postmodernism is bullshit because it abandons any sense of rationalism and science and is used as an arm waving way of selling an agenda, often political, frequently done in a cynical attempt to seize power illegitimately. Jurgen Habermas has a thoughtful critique.


[flagged]


Still not clear what is being discussed as "self-referential". No offence, but maybe you are confused between self-referential and self-centered?


Self-referentialism can happen when a small group of authors cite one another to establish legitimacy to an idea that has no foundation in what came before. It doesn't by default mean something is bullshit, but it greatly increases the likelihood that a small group of people is able to propagate bullshit.

Think of the foundation as all human knowledge and people keep building upon that knowledge. Legitimacy is conferred when you make references to prior knowledge in your effort to establish your new idea as legitimate.

More recently, citations in the earliest papers proposing an idea have expanded such that the references are often leaf nodes, much of those leaf nodes often have no citations and end up being "like, uh, your opinion, man", but you get enough of these papers with bullshit leaf nodes referencing one another and you end up with a cluster of papers with tenuous or possible no connection to any prior work in a field. It's a cluster of papers referring to one another and look legitimate because there are citations. They may only be a few hops deep before you get to the "like, uh, your opinion, man" nodes, but no one ever looks that deep and notices.

I'll give you one such example that I personally know the origin of on Wikipedia. The person who made this edit doesn't know when they originally heard it, but they said they once heard in passing that this-is-known-as-kebab-case. When someone questioned them about it they went to the wikipedia article and casing and it wasn't mentioned, so they looked around for prior references to this casing name. They said they found one reference but it wasn't a good reference, but it was a reference and so they edited Wikipedia to make the change. They change was accepted and stuck. Within the next year or two lo-dash or possibly underscore.js came on the scene and this person convinced them to add the casing conversion function and name it kebab case because that is what was in the wikipedia article because they added it. Getting this in a major library now made it a legitimate name. At that point, the wikipedia article was updated with another reference, this time to lo-dash.

And that is the story of how self-reference was used to make kebab-case a legitimate reference in wikipedia.

https://www.npmjs.com/package/lodash.kebabcase

One example of self-referential post-modernist garbage is critical race theory. It basically started as a cluster of self-referentialism completely detached from everything else and then took on a life of its own.

Some entire post-modernist fields like grievance studies are such bullshit that things like this well orchestrated hoax was wildly successful in getting multiple papers published:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/new-sokal-...

If you've never read about the James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian hoax papers, it's super interesting.


Everybody loves talking about hoaxes in social science publications, but there is no shortage of such hoaxes in other, more "empirical" disciplines as well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scholarly_publishing_s...


No, that list does not show that. The examples from physics and chemistry, at least, are of nonsense papers being published by "predatory journals", which will publish pretty much anything as long as the author pays their fee. They aren't examples of serious journals being hoaxed.


Both the sokal paper and the first paper by the Boghossian group were published in open-access journals, of the same standard as the other fields. The only papers to be published in peer-reviewed journals are the last few by the Boghossian group, and those don't really prove that it's a problem unique to social sciences, either. The Boghossian group didn't seek to establish a control study, so we don't know if a similarly motivated group couldn't get papers published in other fields.


What makes the predatory journals relatively non-serious? What merit is there in your distinction between a "hoaxed" journal and a journal that publishes faulty papers on purpose?

Please see the "Bogdanov affair", where "serious" peer-reviewed journals accepted bogus theoretical physics works. I already linked to the relevant Wikipedia page in a nearby comment.


I agree that the Bogdanov Affair is shameful! I tend to lump that in with string theory more generally, which looks like an embarrassment to me.


>One example of self-referential post-modernist garbage is critical race theory. It basically started as a cluster of self-referentialism completely detached from everything else and then took on a life of its own.

How much CRT have you actually read? It's a pretty interesting and uniquely placed discipline of critical theory.


I'm going to hazard a guess that defining or teaching critical theory on HN is like talking to a brick wall.

I commend you for trying, though.


Some quick notes:

* You seem to conflate citation rings with self-citation and confuse the latter with self-referentialism. It is interesting to think in what way could your comment thus be considered topical...

* Citation rings are, indeed, horrible.

* "post-modernist fields like grievance studies" - WTF?

* While I, too, abhor scientific misconduct, the Lindsay, Pluckrose & Boghossian stunts/attacks were themselves unscientific and unethical to say the least. The thing most people fail to realize when exposed to these attacks on certain little-loved fields is that academia is just as people/relationship based as any other business, and maybe most of the scholarship does not contribute anything significant. What I am trying to say is that the fields the three targeted are not necessarily special. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogdanov_affair


>* "post-modernist fields like grievance studies" - WTF?

It's worth noting that the term "grievance studies" was invented by Boghossian et al. and intended to be used as nothing more than a pejorative for studies and topics of research that the authors didn't like.


Bad policing has been going on for a very long time in America, and as you say, this didn't just happen overnight. It's precisely for this reason that protests are happening.

However, the police deliberately targeting journalists who clearly identified themselves is something we haven't seen before in America. And yes, many of these cases were deliberate as you can see in the video embedded in the article. Just in a week, there were over 120 confirmed cases, many of which were live on camera. This is an attack on the free press, and takes police brutality to a whole new level.


Shocking does not mean surprising. You can be paying attention and still find things shocking. If something is no longer shocking, it means you've allowed yourself to become desensitized and accept it as an acceptable compromise of society. No one should find this kind of behavior acceptable.


Right.

For some reason, you always have a few commenters who want dismiss shocking events by saying the shocking event is not 'surprising' or that it 'has always been happening' or was in some sense 'already known'. As if that should make it less morally outrageous. I've never understood what purpose that debate was supposed to serve.


Clearly these people are not outraged. They're annoyed that we are, and the purpose of their debate is to dismiss us.


Your edit is just a long way of saying "Nuremburg Defense" which at least in the West, we've decided is wrong. Hell, soldiers are trained to kill, but even they have ROE to follow and are held accountable for bad shoots. I'm not sure why police officers always seem to get a pass.


> contaminated with self-referential post-modernist bullshit.

What do you mean by this?


I know not to beat the shit out of press. So, no not good people.


>> hysterical, or hyperbolic or contaminated with self-referential post-modernist bullshit

Edit: Please see HN comment guidelines.


> Unlike many comments here and on other websites it's not hysterical, or hyperbolic or contaminated with self-referential post-modernist bullshit.

Lobster brain claims another. I have to say that one of the most overlooked forms of anti-intellectualism in modern life is the immediate discount of anything that uses even remotely complex terminology or looks in the general direction of critical theory.


It's not anti-intellectual to reject a philosophy that is based in the rejection of the very concept of truth and reality. Post-modernism itself is anti-intellectual, as it's a philosophy that individualizes experience while dis-individualizing responsibility. It rejects both empiricism and rationalism to choose the unhappy middle between the both, elevating anecdote above experiment, emotions above rationality.

"Critical theory" isn't even a thing and barely even intersects with post-modernism, although I suppose it shares some philosophical leanings. It's just a repackaging of Marxist ideals applied to other demographic groupings besides class, and it's just as easily disproven.

Edit: Thanks to whoever downvoted me, because they had nothing worthwhile to say in response. Rejection of objective truth is a core principle of post-modernism, you can ask the post-modernists yourself if you like, they'll agree. Meanwhile speaking the truth earns you hate since the rise of post-modernism.


>"Critical theory" isn't even a thing

Weird. I wonder why there's a Wikipedia article for something that's "not even a thing"[0].

> It's just a repackaging of Marxist ideals applied to other demographic groupings besides class, and it's just as easily disproven.

Can you cite a single critical theorist who simply transposes class analysis to "other demographic groupings"? The theorists I've read actually stray pretty far from the concept of class conflict, and they do not construct, for example, "gender conflict" or "race conflict" out of the "ideals" such as class conflict. Is there any evidence for your claim at all? Or are you claiming that any analysis of conflict between demographics is simply a repackaging of class conflict?

You fail to recognize the specificity of the idea of class conflict, and why it can't be "repackaged" as an abstraction. As an abstraction, all you're left with is "societal conflict", but nobody would deny that there is some conflict in society of some kind. The concepts of economic exploitation, alienation, historical and current primitive accumulation, base and superstructure, etc. are all core to class conflict analysis, but from what I've read, few if any of these are present in the literature on race and gender.

And while we're on the topic, can you point to which "easy disproofs" you're talking about as they relate to class conflict or "other demographic" conflicts? Ironically, the same critical theorists you claim "aren't a thing" were the same ones to argue against the traditional conception of class conflict (e.g. Marcuse).

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


Post-modernism is not related marxist economic theory it is an art movement that rejects the possibilty of a unified narratve, rather than the concept of "objective truth". Embracing absurdity is not anti-intellectual per se.


From memory, it's absurdism that embraces absurdity, referring to the conflict between the human tendency for meaning attribution and the inherent lack of universal meaning. Absurdism is more comparable to existentialism and nihilism. Postmodernism has infinite truths; it values subjectivity and relativism. Truth or knowledge are whatever is pragmatic to the beholder. It can be opposed to the more traditional positivist perspective, that upholds objective truth. Something objectively true can be true or false for the postmodernist. Fields like medicine or engineering seem to stick to a neo/positivist philosophy, thankfully. Imagine building a bridge when opinions can be worth more than objective laws. Adhering to postmodernism has been convenient for politicians, e.g. to spin issues in one's favor or to adopt policy founded on "science" for hidden reasons.


Postmodernism is a stage of development after modernism not a definable philosophy of life. I would argue that strategies for dealing with uncertainty using statistics would be post modern era science and that sort of analysis is often required to comply with "objective law" which is typically defined subjectively using community standards and judgement. It sounds like what you're refering to is moral relativism.

Modernism used paradox as a concept, ie. one meaning or the other is true but both cannot be, post modern reacts against that allowing for multiple similtaneous meanings. These paradigms are are discovered in different fields at different times.


Postmodern philosophy is very much a thing, and arguably the most important part of Postmodernism. I think Derrida, Foucault, and Baudrillard would be disappointed to hear you say that there's no such thing as a defined Postmodern philosophy for life.

The philosophy is all about subverting epistemic certainty and rejecting the very concept of objectivity. Moral relativism isn't unique to Postmodernism, but it's a critical underpinning. As is the idea to reject objective truth.

You're arguing that I do not know what I'm talking about, except this was actually my field of study. I am very familiar with all aspects of Postmodernism and as I said before if you ask the Postmodernists they would agree with my assessment, although I'm sure they'd have more positive things to say than I do.


My understanding is that in different fields different things are called postmodern, and not all of them are in/about art-in-the-usual-narrower-sense-of-the-term .


Don't make posts about post-modernism or critical theory on HN. They are always, inevitably down-voted regardless of position and will earn you the ire of the mods.


I find these claims of the HN mods getting angry at people for posting certain viewpoints baffling. I've been browsing this site for a while and I've never seen that happen, and the only mod actions I've seen are against people who were deliberately trolling, flame-baiting or insulting other users. If your experience of posting about post modernism involves mods getting angry at you, it is far more likely that those posts involved those things than any kind of ideological censorship.


To me that's the more shocking part. In this day and age of everyone having a cell phone and therefore camera, these will be captured. Yet the people involved (individually and as an organization) still went ahead, and in fact often applied violent tactics against the press broadcasting live. They either don't think they're doing anything wrong or don't care as they believe (probably rightly) that there won't be any consequences. Both are disturbing.


I would say shocking part is the cockiness of the police. They are so secure in their jobs that they know that even if they kill someone on camera or rough up protected entities like journalists nothing would happen to them.

I mean, they literally have a license to murder.


I think it's a combination of a few things:

1) Institutional and culture view of policing, vs say other western countries that are more community policing based.

2) General brotherhood of law enforcement and protecting each other. There is a lack of holding each other accountable.

3) General protection afforded by law, either explicitly or implicitly via half hearted attempts at prosecution / investigation etc.

These combined gives law enforcement as an organization and individuals a sense of normalcy in what they do, and also feeling of invulnerability.

This doesn't apply to all police officers of course, and I actually believe the majority are law bidding and trying to do good in a tough environment. There are probably also a non trivial amount that gets into law enforcement to wield power over others. Law enforcement needs to be held to a higher standard, and because of the power they wield must be scrutinized much more closely.


I would add a self-selection bias for people who decide to pursue a career in policing.


Power and anonymity will yield extensive abuses. Even video recording isn’t very helpful for a sea of soldiers hiding behind face masks and shields. To control the abuse each soldier or officer in riot gear should have a badge number in block type the same size as the word POLICE on their uniform. Combine this with pervasive recording and the public can peacefully hold bad actors to account via video.


It's also bizarre because it's so stupid. Normally, police don't beat journalists because they're conscious that if you force the media to side with the protesters, it's pretty much all downhill from thereon in. Once the media has a narrative, politicians will start picking up on it for political capital, and then it's only a matter of time before low and mid-level police start getting thrown under the bus.

I'd be interested to know to what extent it is that the police have simply internalized Trump's media antipathy. Perhaps the insane self-destructiveness of his time in office is leaking...


> Normally, police don't beat journalists because they're conscious that if you force the media to side with the protesters

You also don't beat journalists simply because you don't beat people not engaged in crimes.


I think it's the other way around: the police had that narrative before Trump and Trump picked up on it (and probably studied/learned of Nixon's strategy).

The police and police wives in my family were already very cynical of journalists way back before Trump got roasted at the White House Correspondent's Dinner.

Every journo article that criticizes the work of an officer, a criminal case of the department, or any slight of the honor/reverence that Blue Liners have for the profession / individual LEOs is taken very seriously. The irony is that the journos can't publish accurate information without sources and police and their families don't/won't/can't be sources which would make their stories more accurate.

In the end, you get a media outlet either echoing the statement of the PR department of the Police or you get an investigative reporter doing the actual "checks and balances" role of the media. I just think police culture (and the legal/employment restrictions placed on officers) can't be comfortable with freedom of the press.


Thanks for the insights - I didn't realize (not an american) that the US police were so identitarian. But then, I guess that absolutely fits with american culture in general.

>can't be comfortable with freedom of the press.

I can see that - but equally, while each institution has an extreme pole it pulls towards, there are usually a few cooler heads who keep everybody grounded. Beating up journalists is an inherently self-destructive thing to do, no matter what you feel about them - ultimately, they have power, and if you beat them up, they're going to hold a grudge.

Perhaps the thing that Trump is really doing is demonstrating that, for whatever reason, normal rules no longer apply. You can build a wall in the desert. You can threaten people with real nuclear weapons on twitter. You can hit that jerk journalist who thinks he's smarter than you.

Anyhow, it's very strange. If I was in the US, I'd definitely be trying to diversify out of the country. Norms are what make a civilization. When they start getting broken from the top down, anything can happen.


This didn't started with Trump.

Do you remember the helicopters shooting at helpers in ambulances? The drones being sent to weedings? The children being shoot in beaches?

If somebody can kill Osama Bin Laden without a trial and to became an hero, and other can kill Soleimani without a trial, then other can kill Floyd also without a trial, or beat Ian Murdock, or make Aaron Swartz commit suicide...

Extrajudicial executions are the new normal, and this magic trick was being slowly deployed in front of our very eyes, for years. And anybody is in the menu. We all travel in the meat train now. All is allowed, because we accepted the new contract.


Yeah, the over-reach of executive power has been gathering pace since Bush 2, and neither Obama nor Trump have done anything about it.

Interestingly, the set of people complaining about each's actions are almost completely disjoint.


> police and their families don't/won't/can't be sources which would make their stories more accurate.

That's not true at all. Media coverage of law enforcement matters is filled with quotes, anonymous and named, from the police community. That's not less true right now.

There's nothing stopping these people from talking to the press. Like anyone with an opinion, they're happy to do it for the most part.


Yes and no.

It's true that police officers and their families do have 1st Amendment protections, but they are also governed by employment law and can be castigated by brass, fellow officers if they cause ripples which screw up a case or department morale.

> There's nothing stopping these people from talking to the press.

If you work for a company, were told that only the communications office was allowed to talk to the press about company business, the press asked you for a quote about something your company did, and you undermined the company's product/feature/initiative in a named quote, do you think your employer has the legal right to fire you for insubordination?

If it's police wives, they probably aren't allowed to have the information by department policy, so the officer who passed on that information could (and should) receive a reprimand.

With legal cases, police officers can't just go talking to press about a case because it could be used by the defense attorney to muddy the facts of the investigation or get some evidence thrown out.


[flagged]


> You are probably right except on the point that Trump "studied" Nixon. But Trump doesn't study anything.

He didn't have to crack open a book. Trump just talks with Roger Stone, who worked in the Nixon political campaign. I fully expect his current "Law and Order" rhetoric of the past week was modeled on Nixon's.


>bizarre because it's so stupid. Normally, police don't beat journalists because they're conscious that if you force the media to side with the protesters, it's pretty much all downhill from thereon in. Once the media has a narrative, politicians will start picking up on it for political capital, and then it's only a matter of time before low and mid-level police start getting thrown under the bus

This was all going on from day one of the reportedly "peaceful" protests. I've watched multiple anchors on CNN and MSNBC discuss "peaceful" protests against backdrops of live rioting/burning/looting.

The police need some degree of reformation but journalists chose a side at least as early as 2016. This is what happens when activist journalism is completely normalized. Police are humans too. You can only expect them to take so much targeted abuse before they target those who are amplifying threatening voices.

What are the common refrain on every single stream after the sun goes down? "FUCK 12". People openly threatening to murder police. All night long. These are the people journalists are defending. These are the agitators that the police have to deal with. Where are news reports of protesters throwing rocks at riot police? Multiple incidents of people throwing artillery shells (fireworks) into police crowds?

You shouldn't trust the media any more than you trust the current administration.


That's one reason I prefer live reporting and live streams to the highly curated content the news shared. The funny thing is, every single live stream I've seen (30+) features the police starting violence first. I discount the looters in this, cause thieves gonna thieve given the chance, but I haven't seen a rock thrown that wasn't in response to getting tear-gassed. Maybe cops are just used to absolute, unquestioned authority, or maybe they just have a high percentage of bullies and assholes, but after tens of hours of footage I've watched live, the cops use violence first. Which is a breach of our Constitutional right to protest. I personally swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States against all threats foreign or domestic, and breaching constitutional rights domestically makes these cops a perfect description of that threat.


https://www.youtube.com/embed/Byk2axDVNHE

These are the people you are defending.

> Where are news reports of protesters throwing rocks at riot police?

Yes, where are they? After all, you have to have this from somewhere. And after seeing the above scenes, keep in mind that this isn't two soccer teams who both have the same job. The police's job is to uphold the law, citizens don't have a job as such. They don't get paid to not break the law, they pay for the apparatus that punishes them if they break it (and let's too many cops go free when they do). The cops are armed, they get paid, they have special privileges to prevent such things, not to use them to do them.

Imagine a little child hitting an adult with all their force, and then the adult hitting back with all their force, and someone just saying "they're both being bad". Not that the cops are adults versus infants, but they do have levers and enjoy protections -- all paid for by the people they or their colleagues brutalize -- that multiply their force by many orders of magnitude.


I fully support the ACLU in these lawsuits. However, their last paragraph states "If the government refuses to hold its officers accountable for their unlawful actions, we will." But suing the state doesn't result in accountability for the officers. It punishes the taxpayers. The perpetrators of these crimes never see any fallout from them. If we want real change, police officers have to experience personal consequences for their actions.


Punishing the taxpayers is fine. At the end of the day, they’re the ones who elect the officials who hire the police chiefs.


In today's interview with Times, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said he doesn't have power to change police union contracts. So, something rotten out there. Best option for Minneapolis is to disband the police force just like Camden, NJ did. For more, check https://www.startribune.com/here-s-why-cops-can-t-be-held-ac...


>Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said he doesn't have power to change police union contracts.

At this point screw the fallout from the police union. Rip it up and renegotiate if the existing contractual obligations are too restricting. Realistically whatever recourse the union might have for breach of contract would be worth it. The most damaging action they could take would be to strike, and if they did public support would be against the police at this point and that would be a boon to appeasing the protesters. Heck, make it a PR stunt and start a campaign to get protesters to enroll in the police academy and fix the injustices they're marching for.

Either the PD gets replaced wholesale and the union can pound sand and the protesters are appeased or the union comes back to the table to come up with a reasonable deal that lets the municipality make some real changes to appease the protesters. Regardless of how they proceed serious accountability is crucial.


Speaking of elected officials...

https://theappeal.org/ice-friendly-policies-a-string-of-jail...

“Sheriff candidates must have either an advanced certificate from the state’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, or a certain combination of education and law enforcement experience. The law, enacted in 1988, was devised by a subcommittee of the California State Sheriffs’ Association. Before then, the only requirement was that a candidate be registered to vote in the county.”

Where were Deukmejian and Wilson when this was passed?


This is one of the unspoken truth of democracy.

Democracy reflect the people, if the people sucks, the democracy will also suck. This is a feature not a bug.


Good overall point, but I'd like to point out that not all taxpayers are voters, and not all voters are [significant] taxpayers. So a moderately different group of people are punished than the group that has the power to change things.


I agree it's fine, and needs to happen. Let's not pretend that it enforces any accountability on the officers involved in this suit. (Which is what the quote says. As interpret it, anyway.) It's just a tiny part of what needs to happen.


The tax payers should elect officials who will hold the police responsible. Ultimately, the police report to the Mayor, Sheriff or some other elected official who is responsible for setting the policies for officers.

Yeah, it's pretty indirect and not ideal. But it does work. My parents live in a town that dissolved their police force because police abuse caused the city to institute an income tax. This was a pretty far right town too.


There's no single elected official that has power to fix this. It's a complex web of responsibilities. Government has immense momentum. It's a herculean task for even a majority of elected officials to significantly change its direction. Many times that's exactly what we want. In this case it's working against us.

In that light, it's really amazing that your parents' town accomplished that. Instituting an income tax where there was none before is also drastic, so that must have helped a lot.


Interesting. What happened next? Did they survive with no police, or did they rebuild it from the ground up?


Police services were relegated to the township. It was rather uneventful otherwise. I'm not sure what happened to the officers, but I wouldn't be surprise if they were hired by the township that took over policing duties.


The voters are the state.

When the taxpayers are citizens with voting rights they do bear responsibility for the actions of the state they voted in.


What if they voted against the office holders in the current state? Are they still subjected to be responsible for the tyranny of the majority?


They are still responsible, as far as our laws are concerned. The government derives its power from the people, and one of those powers is the power to tax.

Not every tyrannical decision is made by the majority, and not every majority decision is tyrannical.

We make collective decisions, and we live with the consequences. Every election presents us with such a decision. Moreover, voting is not the limit. If you truly believe a particular candidate is bad, you are free to share your ideas, donate to his opponent, or perhaps even run against him yourself.


Correct, you can run opposition. However, a representative in the US is typically voted using first-past-the-post (modified for the US president). It doesn't matter whether the society accepts the winner with 99.9% or 50.0001%, the spoils remain the same.

It doesn't make sense to me that the losing bloc, which now does not have representation, is subject to the whims of the majority (that is the definition of the tyranny of the majority). A parliamentary system with proportionate representation makes more sense if "blame"for a representative is apportioned to the entire set of constituents and not the bloc that gained power.


It's like Lysander Spooner was onto something with his pamphlet "No Treason". State representatives mentioned in the brief are barely distinguishable from highway robbers. The swearing language, the lack of care for any legal basis for their actions, baseless physical attacks, like shooting harmless people with rubber bullets, the attitude, etc.


In case you agree and want to help with money:

https://action.aclu.org/give/now


And FYI, the US now allows deducting up to $300 per year of charitable donations even if you use the standard deduction. So this is the first time for many of us that charitable donations have a tax incentive.


Heads up, ACLU donations are only tax deductible if you donate to the foundation side[1].

[1] https://action.aclu.org/give/make-tax-deductible-gift-aclu-f...


Is there a way to give anonymously, such that I won't get spam from other charities who found out I gave to this one?

I don't know if the ACLU does that, but literally every other charity I've ever given to has, and I value my data more than that.


When you donate through a donor-advised fund[1], you have the option to make the donation anonymous to the recipient organization (but presumably not to financial surveillance systems and the IRS). Caveats: this only works for 501(c)(3) organizations, and DAFs often have donation minimums.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donor-advised_fund


A friend of mine has a startup around something like a DAF for everyone. https://www.charityvest.org

I don't have any association with the company other than knowing the founders. No endorsement other than that they're good folks who want to help people have an easier time giving.


I'm not sure. But you can try to find a friend who is already donating and give them the money to donate for you.

Or if you trust random internet stranger, you can Venmo/Zelle/PayPal me the money and I'll donate for you. I'm already on their list.


I don't know if there's a way for you to give anonymously or not. Knowing how charities work in general, I doubt it (though there are ideas in sibling comments for workarounds).

If there is not, please consider the sacrifice of your data as part of your donation. I hope you fairly weigh the cost of unwanted solicitations for donations showing up at your home versus the cost of unwanted police violence against citizens in their homes in Minnesota.


I do wish there was an I'm not interested in donating option for mailers or a list I could get on to say I'm not interested. One good thing about calls is at least you can get off the list, no option for that I've seen with mailer spam.


If you use gmail, you could use the real.email+somecharity@example.com strategy, then ignore emails sent to that specific extension.


Isn't this probably trivial for the maintainer of the email list to clean up?


Create a card on privacy.com. You can use any name and billing address.


For those of us here who receive stock compensation, you can donate that directly too! If the stock has long term capital gains, the tax savings can let you donate even more.

https://www.aclu.org/gifts-stock


Done, thanks! I hadn't given to them in a while.


We are well past the point of being capable of recording all police interactions with video. If every police officer was forced to record all activity with body cams (that would be made public through some process) we could scrutinize and hold every interaction accountable by the laws that already exist. That wouldn’t solve everything immediately but I think over time every action would take place as if there was public oversight.

Even during these protests we have instances of people being shot by the police and conflicted recollections from both sides of the events that took place.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/06/03/david-...

Record everything and hold everyone accountable for their own actions.


Man, this seems like such an uphill battle. I feel like unless they can show police were trying to deliberately target the press rather than just treating them like any other members of the public, they'll have that much more difficult of a time getting past qualified immunity and winning a lawsuit.


I agree with you this probably won't be easy. But the video of the CNN arrest is quite damning in my non-lawyer opinion. They had press credentials. They clearly and calmly identify themselves as press. They clearly and calmly state that they will move back to wherever the police want them. They are arrested 1 by 1 over the course of several minutes.


I know exactly how the police will be defended:

"20 minutes before the video you saw, police announced that the protest was closed and declared an unlawful assembly for the purposes of public safety. All people remaining after that warning were in violation of the law and the officers followed their instructions to clear the area."


I'm having trouble finding the clip you're talking about (the link next to CNN redirects to AP News and says "PAGE NOT FOUND" for me?), but in any case: the thing is, I don't think (though IANAL, please do correct me if this is wrong!) it legally matters one bit that they had press credentials and clearly identified themselves as such. Being a journalist, as far as I know, doesn't give you some kind of immunity to anything. My understanding is that if they get treated better, it's only because the executive does it out of respect for the press or to steer clear of the line and build a more clear-cut case. But legally, I expect they'll just be treated like any random people. I imagine police will make a case that it's not realistic to negotiate with each person on an individual basis when dealing with crowds and that they have to do things in bulk as much as possible. And if you want to win, you can't realistically argue that they shouldn't have the power to do things en masse, so the only viable remaining argument I can see is that, even with that consideration, their actions were still somehow unconstitutional. It's possible one could make such a case for some of these incidents, but if the CNN case was merely one of being "arrested" as you describe (and not e.g. getting badly injured etc.), it doesn't sound like a winning case. The legal system seems to pretty much treat a mere arrest as a no-op in many situations... treating it otherwise requires clearing a really high bar as far as I've been able to tell.


Here is the video of the CNN reporter arrest. I have included the description of the video below to help people find it:

A CNN reporter and crew have been arrested live on air while covering the Minneapolis protests over the killing of George Floyd.

Black correspondent Omar Jimenez had just shown a protester being arrested when about half a dozen white police officers surrounded him.

Mr Jimenez told the Minnesota State Patrol officers: “We can move back to where you like”, before explaining that he and his crew were members of the press, adding: “We’re getting out of your way.”

The journalist was handcuffed and led away alongside a producer and camera operator for CNN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIClA57jWmQ&t=138s

accompanying story from same publication's site:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/cnn-report...


Thanks! Yeah, so that seems potentially distasteful (and maybe with bad optics for the executive) but I just don't see what's illegal about it.


Arresting someone (restricting their movements) without probably cause that they are guilty of a crime is generally known as "false imprisonment", sticking them in a van and driving them away is generally known as "kidnapping", both are crimes.

If we believe the journalists that they were legally in the area, and the police either knew this or at least didn't have probable cause to support that they weren't legally in the area, I don't see how both of the above crimes were not committed.


But do you actually believe police didn't suspect there was a crime? The video doesn't suggest that to me at all. Like this other person wrote [1], it doesn't seem unlikely that they were ordered to disperse or something under some public safety law and refused. (Or, I guess, you could say the reporter just didn't hear it and missed the memo. Doesn't really change it from the officer's perspective though.)

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23409320


I personally find it hard to believe that the police believed they had probably cause after the journalists told them that they had been instructed to stand there by another cop.

[Edit: This argument is a lot weaker than I thought it was because it's not entirely clear that the message I claim was communicated to the police was actually successfully communicated. See the replies/video below] Specifically I certainly don't believe that the journalists actually committed a crime if they had instructions from another cop that they could stand there. Those instructions would tend to negate any general order, and even if it didn't legally negate the order it would constitute entrapment and functionally negate it anyways. As a result I don't believe the police would think they had probable cause after they heard the camera crew claim they had received that instruction (and amusingly this is regardless of whether or not the camera crew had actually received the instruction they claimed to have received - to make it false arrest/kidnapping it suffices to be a probable enough claim that the police no longer believe they have probable cause).

A secondary weaker argument is that the governors order excluded the press from the curfew so even if the police had issued an order which included the press that order was illegal as applied to the press, and as a result they had no probable cause to arrest the press. It's weaker because to show they committed a crime under this theory I suspect (without checking Minnesota's statutes) you'd have to show they were aware of the contents of the governors order.

IANAL/I am not aware of the details of Minnesota's statutes - obviously details of the statues might change the above analysis in either direction.


> I personally find it hard to believe that the police believed they had probably cause after the journalists told them that they had been instructed to stand there by another cop.

At what timestamp did the journalists tell the police officers that they had been instructed to stand there by another cop? I must've missed that part when I watched the video.


30 seconds in this clip of the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftLzQefpBvM

I remembered this as being stated too the cops much clearer than it actually was. Likely I was mixing what they said with what the CNN reporters said later on when they were replaying this clip.


Okay, yeah, this was before the timestamp the earlier link started, so I hadn't seen this bit. Looking at this segment, I can't tell if the officers heard or understood what's going on properly with their masks on and with everything else going on... and I can't really hear what the officers are saying either, so I don't know what they might've been thinking.


IANAL. I've always thought of freedom of press as the right to publish. Is it now expanded to the right to be and go where others cannot lawfully go?


The 1st amendment covers freedom of assembly as well.

> Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Press implies covering events and publishing about them. If that's not convincing enough, they spell it out in right to assemble, anyways. A press corps can assemble to cover events.


> Press implies covering events and publishing about them.

I don't think it implies that covering events has some kind of immunity. It's still subject to any general restriction on the assembly. The government can impose restrictions on the time, place, and manner of peaceful assembly, provided that constitutional safeguards are met. See https://www.loc.gov/law/help/peaceful-assembly/us.php


Beyond the first amendment is the 4th estate doctrine, origin ating from British concepts.

While less legally defensible it is much of the reason why the BBC, FCC exist, why we have camera crews embed with troops.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Estate


This is also my understanding and why I don't agree with people who consider the press a protected class that can refuse to comply when the police delcare an unlawful assembly and order everyone to leave. That doesn't mean the police can act with impunity. It just means that the press are mistaken to think they can seek legal remedy when they are arrested for failing to comply with the order to clear out.


The CNN arrest was not violent, not were they held long. The reporter later said everyone was nice, and they had orders to arrest anyone in the path of the crowd who did not immediately disperse. If there is an example of the police acting badly, or treating press differently, this is not it.


An arrest doesn't need to be violent for it to be a bad act. At that point they were surrounded and would have had to push through the police to "disperse." They repeatedly asked police officers where they should go and were met with silence, so it's not clear where they were supposed to disperse to. They were arrested without the police saying a word as to why they were arresting them.

That screams of "I'm trying to figure out a way to arrest you, but I can't think of a reason. I'm going to do it anyway." Police should not be arresting journalists (or citizens!) for no reason. Being released quickly doesn't suddenly make the original act okay. It just makes it so it doesn't get worse.


They were released quickly because the president of CNN was on the phone with the Governor of Minnesota within minutes.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/29/politics/tim-walz-minnesota-c...


Well what were they arrested for, exactly? I mean even if charges weren't filed and even if there was only the thread of violence and not actual violence, police still must have cause to arrest you, and I haven't heard an explanation that isn't very well debunked by the live video. They even ask, and nobody answers them.


Unfortunately, I don't think this comment should be voted down. I suspect it's exactly the orders police are given when the order to disperse a crowd/protest is given.


It’s downvoted because it’s arguing that because the arrest was short and not violent, it’s ok. That’s not how the law works; An unlawful arrest is an unlawful arrest.


They were not saying "it's ok". Those words are getting put into their mouth by other people. They were saying it's not an example of "police violence", which was the allegation in the lawsuit.


> getting past qualified immunity and winning a lawsuit.

There's a lot of hubub about qualified immunity these days, but it only shields individuals from individual civil responsibility, it does not shield organizations from organizational responsibility for the actions of individuals under their employ.

Chances are, parties would sue the organization anyway, as the individuals are unlikely to be able to pay significant damages.


It's the ACLU. The goal here isn't go win a case for these individual journalists, it's to get a ruling clarifying the rights of journalists in the face of police action. The holy grail, in fact, would be to get a ruling rolling back the current scope of qualified immunity.


The organization is funded by taxpayers and any awarded damages would be covered by taxpayers... so it's not a disincentive for the Police.


Even if the individual office was fiscally responsible, their money came from taxpayers too. The community ends up paying for the damage its agents do to the community.

The police forces are managed by elected officials, who are elected by taxpayers. These politicians should be held to account by voters for either their lack of leadership on police abuse of force (my preference) or their lack of fiscal responsibility in allowing police abuse of force to continue, accruing large legal bills and settlements (and increased liability insurance costs, presumably).


It's still a battle worth fighting. You can't let them have it for free, you still have to put up a fight.


I’m pretty sure the problem of police abusing their power is never going away, so long as we have policing in its current form rather than some sort of unarmed or lightly armed community helpers. The reason they are always equipped with lethal weapons and so quick to use them is that their role is mostly to protect the people who have property from the people who don’t. And in America that’s always going to have a racial element. Black people in America are mostly still used as cheap labor- human capital stock. Unless they are willing to start redistributing wealth away from the super wealthy towards the least wealthy the ruling strata will always have to use violence to maintain order. And that means journalists too.

That is why if you want to highlight who is holding the real power and address the issues of inequality, the best place to start is to attack the police directly. Because it’s something that they are structurally unable to fix without fixing a whole bunch of other stuff first, and it places the focus right in the center of where the violence is coming from. It forces a confrontation by making a demand that they cannot ignore but also cannot actually address.


> I'm pretty sure the problem of police abusing their power is never going away

The next handful of years is going to be interesting. Between civil forfeiture, marijuana decriminalization, self driving cars (and for the shorter term, coronavirus reduced driving) - police departments will be losing a significant amount of their current income streams; especially if unemployment returns back to its lows.

Everybody looks at automation in the food or retail industries; or health administration and insurance; but we have a police and prison system designed with illegal marijuana; that could shrink to 1/8th of it's size with relatively few changes in laws (drug law repeal, mandatory minimums, crime act).


> we have a police and prison system designed with illegal marijuana; that could shrink to 1/8th of it's size with relatively few changes in laws (drug law repeal, mandatory minimums, crime act)

Really?

Only about 18% of current prisoners (state and federal) are serving time for drug offenses. [1]

Of federal prisoners serving time for drug offenses, only 12% are primarily about marijuana. (54% are cocaine and 24% are meth.) [2]

Only 14% of federal offenders were subject to a mandatory minimum sentence. (About half of those were drug offenses, so this overlaps heavily with the 18% figure above.) [3]

No realistic minor changes could reduce the prison system to 1/8 of its size. 51% of prisoners are serving time for violent offenses. In fact, 14% of prisoners are serving time for homicide alone, and a similar number for rape. [4] So if you decriminalized _every_ crime except homicide and rape, and cut the sentences for homicide and rape in _half_, then the prison system would be 1/8 of its current size.

I am optimistic that the USA could eventually, in the very long term, reduce the prison system to 1/8 of its size. Fifty years ago, the prison system was 1/4 its current size. [5] Most western European countries have between 1/8 and 1/4 the US incarceration rate, and a few have below 1/8. [6] But this will require way, way, way bigger societal changes than just marijuana decriminalization or other minor tweaks.

[1] Source is https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=6846. Of the 1.274M state prisoners, 14% are serving time for drug offenses. Of the 162k federal prisoners, 47% are serving time for drug offenses.

[2] Source is https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/dofp12.pdf. Caveat: this is federal-only, and federal prison statistics are often different from state prison statistics.

[3] Source is https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-pu.... Caveat: this is federal-only, and federal prison statistics are often different from state prison statistics.

[4] Source is https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=6846 again. Of the 1.274M state prisoners, 56% are serving time for violent offenses (16% for homicide). Of the 162k federal prisoners, 8% are serving time for violent offenses (2% for homicide).

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

[6] https://www.statista.com/statistics/957501/incarceration-rat...


Being armed does not matter, unchecked power matters. I could care less if they carried ak47s as long as they used them more sparingly. Disarming the police might have more effect on how interactions happen, but is not the problem, nor a very workable solution where citizens have the right to be armed.

The police are bound by laws. Attacking them is not helpful. If the police are bad, the laws are bad, and/or not being enforced. The history of mandatory sentancing laws (funny enough brought forward by none other than Joe Biden) might as well be the soundtrack for police racism over the last 20 years.


> The police are bound by laws.

This is evidently not true.


Just earlier this month, protestors a stat over adorned rifles and threatened the governor. This time, the police are ready to teargas and beat anyone for any reason. The response doesn't seem the same. They've turned protests into riots.


Maybe the difference is the protesters being armed?


(is there a typo? What does: "protestors a stat over adorned rifles" mean)


a stat(e) over, an adjacent State.


I don’t remember them starting any fires or looting any stores either.


I don’t remember police launching tear gas into peaceful crowds back then, nor do I remember police breaking windows, assaulting press, or vandalizing storefronts then either. I wonder why police would want to discredit protests that occur in response to their murders.


These mental gymnastics are incredible, and it shows how terribly mislead legacy and social media has made people. The idea that in most of these cases the police just rolled up, started shooting tear gas into crowds for no reason, and THEN the violence began is ridiculous. There are literally hours of video of protestors antagonizing the authorities as well their fellow citizens and then devolving into looting and burning entire city blocks. Most people do not want to allow this violence and destruction to go on unchecked and there are many public opinion polls coming out to back that up.

Here in Cincinnati the daytime protests have been very well run in general and non violent. In the evenings are when the criminal elements come out and wreak havoc. Just the other night Walter Smith Randolph, a black reporter I might add, was reporting on the after dark riots and he and his crew were pummeled with glass bottles by criminals driving around in cars after curfew. If the police shut it down it will be called an escalation, and in fact it was derided by the usual suspects, but what else are they supposed to do? I seriously cannot understand the idea that the police should not carry these people off to jail.


There’s plenty of video of everything. There’s video police calmly pinning George Floyd down and slowly murdering him, even taking his pulse to make sure that he was in fact dying and they didn’t need to adjust their hold to make it more lethal. There’s also plenty of video of police riding around and tear gassing calm crowds, as well as them standing next to vandalism and suggesting tags to spray. There’s also plenty of video of them attacking journalists, who I’m sure spent hours antagonizing them into assaulting and maiming them. Given that the unrest is hitting the places with the worst police/community relations (Philadelphia has been affected while across the bridge in Camden is perfectly calm), it’s pretty obvious that police are actively trying to discredit the protesters demanding reforms to their occupation, usually by trying to bait them into violence and then refusing to enforce laws to maximize appearance of lawlessness. Hell, they even openly acknowledge it - one officer said that Floyd’s blood was in the hands of protestors who came out after his death.


Do you think tear gassing groups of peaceful protesters, as we're seeing as a daily occurrence in videos from protests across the U.S., is effective in preventing looting?


As so many of these incidents have happened over the last few days it seems like there should be a law that heightens the penalties when cops attack the press compared to the current penalties.


No thanks.

We already have tons of statutes for all sorts of assault/battery with modifiers if they are done using lethal weapons.

Police have already been demanding that "hate crime" laws (which are historically limited to who you are, not your profession or your choices) be amended for extra harsh punishment for attacks on police officers (despite many other existing statutes with similar purposes).

In the end, prosecutions of police with harsher statutes don't matter unless the conviction rate goes up. Right now, convictions of officers for actions done while in uniform are astronomically low. We need to work the other parts of the problem (gathering evidence, getting police to stand witness against other police, getting DAs to actually charge and push for convictions, firing of officers for conduct unbecoming an officer, etc).


Well a big problem not included in your post is that police officers can't face liability for violating people's rights in many cases because of qualified immunity.


Qualified immunity is qualified, not absolute.

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

"Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine in United States federal law that shields government officials from being sued for discretionary actions performed within their official capacity, unless their actions violated "clearly established" federal law or constitutional rights. Qualified immunity thus protects officials who "make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions", but does not protect "the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law"."

Is the bill of rights not "clearly established"? They've had long enough.

To me the phrasing seems clear, it's a lack of political will that's the issue. Not the law.


The standard of the Supreme Court has established for "clearly established" is very hard to meet. For most cases, there has to a prior court cases with facts that match closely with the case at hand. For example,

https://reason.com/2020/05/19/qualified-immunity-supreme-cou...

Plus, I've seen little textual basis for qualified immunity at all.


This is the kind of comment that makes reading through incredibly frustrating.

What do you _mean_ that's not included in the parent post? What else do you think the parent is saying if not exactly that?


He didn't include ending qualified immunity under the list of things he thought have to change, even though it's one of the most important. Plus, all the things he included are social changes or executive policy changes rather than a specific legal change like ending qualified immunity. There are specific efforts to end qualified immunity [1], while his suggestions amount to "we need to change culture", which is completely true but not as actionable. It could be that he meant to include ending qualified immunity, but being specific doesn't hurt.

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicksibilla/2020/06/03/new-bill... (direct source at https://twitter.com/justinamash/status/1267267244029083648)


> He didn't include ending qualified immunity under the list of things he thought have to change, even though it's one of the most important.

I didn't name check it, but if you check my post history there's a reason I didn't call for an outright repeal of QI -- I don't yet know what the effect of that would be or what measures might replace it.

I'm all for removing QI (and outlawing indemnification of LEOs in employment contracts) and replacing QI with something like professional insurance, but from my understanding the problem isn't that "QI prevents cases from being brought to court", but that DAs don't actually bring cases to court which could beat the QI standard.

Also, in my understanding, QI is simply protection against civil actions, not criminal prosecution. To repeat - I think the core problem is more that DAs don't bring the cases, not that the law is insurmountably high.


Yeah like I said, I largely agree with you, I was just tacking on QI.


"law that heightens the penalties when cops attack the press" seems to be talking about increased criminal penalties not civil liability.

Ending qualified immunity doesn't do anything to help the application of criminal penalties against police who violate the law, it only restores the civil liability for those actions.


?

Parent post did not mention qualified immunity it doesnt seem.

> Right now, convictions of officers for actions done while in uniform are astronomically low. We need to work the other parts of the problem (gathering evidence, getting police to stand witness against other police, getting DAs to actually charge and push for convictions, firing of officers for conduct unbecoming an officer, etc).

it didnt say the low rate was due to qualified immunity


To be fair, QI is a civil liability problem and I was mostly talking about the criminal trial problem.

If more police were tried in criminal cases, that would make it far easier to build evidence for a civil case which could overcome the QI standard. OJ Simpson was acquitted in the murder trial, but lost his entire wealth in the subsequent civil trial to his in-laws.


I concede that QI is a problem and should be addressed. So should contractual indemnification of officers by the department (which is a contractual way to bypass the doctrine of QI).

My list was not comprehensive.


I don't think the press should have special protections over ordinary citizens. the penalty for any unwarranted use of force should be increased to whatever you would want for journalists.


Yes!

Press is a thing people do, not a credential people have. All people should have freedom to observe and report on (to the extent they wish or do not wish to) actions of the state. Restricting that should have severe punishment.


Agreed, though be careful what you ask for. If you're not a publisher (press), you can't libel. Slander, sure. But libel, no.


IANAL, but it's my understanding that anything written and viewed by a third party is considered "published" wrt libel. so it's already trivially easy for an ordinary person to commit libel.


Press is a thing people do, not a credential people have. All people should have freedom to observe and report on (to the extent they wish or do not wish to) actions of the state. Restricting that should have severe punishment.

Social media platforms, take note!


Social media platforms should also have that right. And in fact they do:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23408093


Edit: I'm wrong. See below.

The reason they have special protection is because the constitution grants them special protection. The question of who is "the press" in this day and age where anyone can publish anything is certainly up for debate though.


> The reason they have special protection is because the constitution grants them special protection.

I'm not a lawyer, but it doesn't

> There is no precedent supporting laws that attempt to distinguish between corporations which are deemed to be exempt as media corporations and those which are not. We have consistently rejected the proposition that the institutional press has any constitutional privilege beyond that of other speakers.

Supreme court in citizen's united, internal quotation marks omitted. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf

> protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others' writings, or tried to get both sides of a story.

9th circuit in Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2014/01/17/12...


I mean I suppose the argument could be that they are afforded special protections because they are acting as press (i.e. at the protests primarily to document and report events). But the constitution protects peaceable assembly as well as the freedom of the press, so it's hard to see how this case would turn on that.


Fair enough, thanks for the info. Looks like I was wrong.


I don't really understand comments that ask for heightened penalties for [topic-du-jour]. In my mind, the justice system should not strive to be _more punitive_, but rather to be _fair_.

If we follow the logic of making punishments harsher (say, adding years of prison to a violent cop), what then do we as a society expect is supposed to happen when said cop finally attempts to reintegrate into society after doing their prison sentence? We can't keep "wishing away bad guys" as if real life was a movie that conveniently ends at a happy ending.

If anything, a revamp of the current system needs to _do away_ with special protections and other dis-equalizer factors.

For the matter of police violence specifically, I feel that the courts are not even the best medium for change. For example, why is the topic of police training largely absent in these discussions?


Which should be penalized more? Shooting a journalist for journaling, or shooting a Black person for being black?

Ranking victims by status is a dangerous game.


> Which should be penalized more? Shooting a journalist for journaling, or shooting a Black person for being black?

Both?

I don't believe anyone was asked do pick. It's a false dichotomy.


Better to enforce the current laws. That should be sufficient.


I'm not for this reactionary sort of rhetoric. Assault of a journalist shouldn't be worse than regular assault any more than assault of a cop should be worse than regular assault. Your job is not a shield. All people are equally deserving of protection, and qualifiers based on identity screw that ideal up massively.


I'd like a law that makes policing without a body camera illegal and a low felony/misdemeanor


This is a tough one. In Seattle police are directed to not use their body cams unless they are doing crime investigation stuff. The policy is designed to protect the privacy of people not under investigation or otherwise not involved in crime.

In pre-body cam days Seattle PD got caught video taping protests or demonstrations. The current policy prevents that.

Thus, Seattle cops generally have their cams turned off while dealing with demonstrations or protests.


The policy is designed to protect the privacy of people not under investigation or otherwise not involved in crime.

And conveniently, you don't know if you'll be under investigation or accused of a crime until it's too late to turn the camera on.

Sorry, that excuse doesn't fly. This concern should be addressed by controlling the custody of the footage, not by preventing it from being captured in the first place. In reality, body cameras protect good cops.


Policies like this have been adopted with support from the ACLU. Your flippantly dismissive attitude towards this view makes me think you aren't all that aware of why cities might have this policy:

https://www.aclu.org/blog/privacy-technology/surveillance-te...


(Shrug) When weighing theoretical abstract harms against everyday atrocities, I find it fairly straightforward to pick a side.

The ACLU says, "There is a long history of law enforcement compiling dossiers on peaceful activists exercising their First Amendment rights in public marches and protests, and using cameras to send an intimidating message to such protesters: “we are WATCHING YOU and will REMEMBER your presence at this event.”"

I don't remember anything like that happening, at least not recently. Do you? The FBI behaved that way towards MLK, certainly, but it didn't have anything to do with body cameras.

In any case, I haven't argued, and won't argue, that police officers, or even the department itself, should have access to the footage except when necessary to defend themselves. Ideally it would be encrypted with a key held by an oversight board with substantial civilian representation.


You could use a device with a four-hour rotating buffer of video, that burns a physical fuse when you keep a record. Failure to press the button within two hours of a serious incident could be grounds for dismissal of the supervising officer.


Very good point. I’m sure some hardware that uploads encrypted footage that’s only accessible with a warrant is technically possible - which would alleviate this concern. But that’s in a perfect world.


Lol, as if there are no public cameras, cars don't have dash cams, ATMs and stores don't have cameras, or that citizens have no expectation of privacy from one another


>The policy is designed to protect the privacy of people not under investigation or otherwise not involved in crime.

Obviously lame excuse by the PD as the delete button can do the same.


It was directive by the city, not the police.


so the city didn't trust the police to press the delete button. Not surprising really.


While I understand the sentiment, my understanding was that there is no evidence that body and actually improve outcomes even when they are actually used.


using weapons or injurious force to facilitate:

interfering with the evidence of, or the report of a crime? for the purpose of evasion of prosecution? tampering with a witness?


One thing I've never understood is how ACLU has legal standing to file many of its suits.

I'm assuming that ACLU isn't claiming to be the injured party in suits like this current one. Are they acting as attorneys for one of the alleged victims?



For anyone who doesn’t want to read the legal complaint, the named class action plaintiff (Jared Goyette) was shot in the face by the police with a “less lethal” round[0] and nearly permanently lost his eyesight[1] after he had just finished reporting on a man who had been shot in the head by the police with a “less lethal” round.[2]

[0] https://twitter.com/JaredGoyette/status/1265786797650558976

[1] https://twitter.com/JaredGoyette/status/1266115234420400129

[2] https://twitter.com/JaredGoyette/status/1265779746153078793


In this case it is a class-action lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of the journalists. The lead plaintiff is a journalist who was shot by the police while covering a protest.


Class-action lawsuits in the USA often end up being settled with little or no real action. I hope for better here but I'm not going to hold my breath on it.


When ACLU brings a lawsuit on behalf of an individual, it’s common for the government to moot the lawsuit by changing the treatment of that one person, or offering a settlement to that one person, or even deporting that person, without changing its behavior in general. A class action means the government can’t avoid the lawsuit that way.

What you’re saying is a real issue in general, but not relevant to class actions as used as a civil rights tactic by ACLU.


This is because class actions are often little more than schemes to enrich attorneys.

This is not such a case and ACLU are not such attorneys.


The suit is only asking for some money and for the Court to order the state to stop breaking the law even though the state presumably believes it is not breaking the law

It's almost entirely symbolic.


So what can anyone actually do to fix this? Protesting has no lasting effect, and contacting my senator/politicians is a joke since I'm in the political minority.


Protesting can have a lasting effect. There are small changes happening all over the country already. In my city, the mayor has requested a total overhaul of the police use of force policy within 14 days. In another city, the mayor (who doesn't control the local police for weird reasons) has called an out-of-cycle meeting of the police board to address poor behavior by officers during the protests and to change policies. Over the past couple of nights, lots of cities have changed how they deal with large protests, backing off; its too soon to know if those tactical changes will revert in a week, a year, a month, or at all.

At the federal level, there are a few bills being introduced to deal with qualified immunity or other aspects that need addressing. These may not go anywhere, but more pressure may have an effect on that. Also, hopefully next time there's a massive economic downturn, officials remember that not supporting individuals makes the whole nation a powder keg, ready to spawn riots in all 50 states.

There's also historic precedent that protesting has a lasting change.


Thanks for the good information! I hadn't read up on Qualified Immunity.

It always seems hopeless though when my prejudiced neighbors think the protestors are wrong and should be shot. These prejudiced people can be police, lawyers, and judges. Even outside the justice system they clearly perpetuate systemic issues.


> Protesting has no lasting effect, and contacting my senator/politicians is a joke since I'm in the political minority.

Have you tried either or are you assuming?


I'm just saying what it looks like to me after the last 10 years of police brutality and protests


The Civil Rights Act was passed after 6 days of protests


The protests in France in the 1790s had pretty successful long lasting effects...


I'm interested to see what comes out of all this. I am very glad I do not live in Minneapolis. I did not see a specific damages amount in the complaint, but I am assuming it will be high, especially if granted class action status. Bankrupting state and city police forces probably "feels" good to a lot of people here. But what are the second and third order effects of underfunded police departments?

In MN the Minneapolis city council wants to disband the police department entirely. This may be all talk, and I'm not sure if it's technically possible, but what happens if there is no police department? What are the second and third order effects of that? Is having no law enforcement a better outcome for the residents? My initial reaction is "no".

When confronted with videos of people rioting, looting and vandalising most respond that "it's only a few bad apples, the vast majority are peaceful". Is it not true that most cops are OK too? I'm honestly asking. Yes there are some problem cops - Chauvin obviously having a long history of issues. But are we really saying that the majority of cops are bad actors? It feels like with emotions so hot right now, people are willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I am skeptical that is the right course of action.


The problem is that the "good" police are incentivised to protect the "bad" police, and do so. You're not going to find the "good" police investigating and charging their colleagues - when it does happen, they're inevitably harassed and removed from the force - and nobody else is in a position to do so, so what you get is the "bad" police operating with impunity.

And there's effects on the wider system - courts will believe a police officer's account of what happened pretty much no matter the opposing evidence. There's no accountability when a police officer goes against the reasons they were hired, and destroys people's lives.

There's the possibility of alternative systems of protection and justice, which don't create organisations which are incentivised to protect murderers, abusers, and rapists.


If "good" police are standing by and allowing "bad" police to get away with these things, I'd argue that they are complicit in the bad behavior and not so "good" after all.


Indeed, there's a reason I put them in quotes.


As far as I understand it[1], the state and the federal government have the ability to prosecute police misconduct, and their incentives are aligned to crack down on the bad police officers.

The problem is that they are dramatically limited in the types of charges they can press against officers of the law (charges that carry big penalties, and have a very high burden of proof). This is anachronistically because we as a society have decided that officers deserve benefit of the doubt in the lack of compelling evidence. These days, many instances of misconduct are recorded, and the rules should change.

In Eric Garner's case, for example, the govt attorneys declined to press charges, because they lacked sufficient evidence that the officer was knowingly violating the rights of Eric Garner. The burden of proof for any kind of misconduct charge is currently so high, that even an egregious misconduct case like this passes by untouched.

If the attorneys general had a wider range of misconduct charges in their arsenal, they could raise the average cost of police misconduct, and it might improve the situation.

[1] recently informed by https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/pushkin-industries/deep-bac...


Actually states do not have the ability to prosecute police to the extent we would think they do. Police chiefs cannot even fire police. Investigating a police officer for wrongDoing or firing a police officer for wrongdoing must follow specific protocols in Union contracts that are put in place specifically to make holding the police accountable a bureaucratic nightmare.


I think there's a good argument to be made that the one of the most important steps to solve the US police brutality and unaccountability problem should be to declare Police Unions to be illegal.


The NYPD kidnapped and involuntarily committed a whistleblowing officer who they learned had evidence of their stop-and-frisk quotas.


Yeah, I mean it's a known thing that the NYPD is beyond help at this point. They need external help to change.

This is where the department of justice, and state-level attorneys general should be able to check and balance the system, but current laws render them unable to do so effectively.

Even during the Obama years (Eric Garner happened while Obama was POTUS), when a DoJ that wanted to do the right the thing was empowered to, these laws were a huge impediment to progress.


What do some of those systems look like? Have any been tried on a large scale? Are they effective? (Honestly asking, I am trying to imagine something other than a police force - or that looks like a police force - that can effectively deal with crime)


On a large scale, not really. It's very, very hard to change a society away from being under the control of the police. On a smaller scale - yeah. There's a lot of books on the subject of transformative justice, and various methods are practiced in many many leftist spaces. I've been involved in some of it, and it's worked from my perspective.

And simply meeting people's needs deters a lot of crime - nobody's going to wind up in a position where they're robbing a gas station if they know, from an early age, that they're going to be sheltered, well fed, and have a good life, and this isn't dependent on massive amounts of luck, and if they fuck up there's another chance.


I don't think they're advocating for disbanding the department completely (from the article):

> I don’t know yet, though several of us on the council are working on finding out, what it would take to disband the MPD and start fresh with a community-oriented, non-violent public safety and outreach capacity.

It takes a lot of investment in the community, but it works: https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/01/what-happened-to-crim...


> I am very glad I do not live in Minneapolis.

You know the protests are in all 50 states. Some of the flare-ups are due to responses to pent-up frustration from covid, but a lot are due to police riots/escalation. The rest of the protests are peaceful.

> But what are the second and third order effects of underfunded police departments?

Police departments, for many reasons, are the most over-funded [1]. NYPD went on strike and crime actually went down [2] for the month they didn't police.

The goal is not to "disband" but essentially rewrite the entire purpose of the department. Essentially put the policing function in receivership to be revived with new leadership.

[1] https://theappeal.org/spending-billions-on-policing-then-mil...

[2] https://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-proacti...


I don't think disbanding a police force means what you think it means. Take a look at https://www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/gov-c...

The goal is to wipe the slate clean and rebuild from the foundation.


From your article:

"The Camden County Police Department rehired most of the laid-off cops, along with nearly 100 other officers, but at much lower salaries and with fewer benefits than they had received from the city."

So the solution was to keep most of the cops (which I agree with) and then pay them less (which I, umm... I mean... that doesn't seem like a recipe for success but eh).

From that article it sounds like it's too early to tell if it worked. Is the new police force doing better than the old one?


You can look into a history of similar activities across the world. The process of firing and rebuilding from scratch is the only one I know that has consistently worked. The ones that come to mind other than Camden is Northern Ireland [1] and Georgia (country)[2]. I believe there were a few other cases of this in the US, but I can't remember them off the top of my head.

The Norther Ireland article specifically covers a few of the reasons why this works.

Edit: I realized that I didn't respond to your question of whether this demonstrates an improvement in Camden. Citylab seems to think so, but offers a nuanced explanation of why this may not be the case and what other factors are at play [3]

[1] https://www.sipri.org/commentary/topical-backgrounder/2019/p... [2]https://www.centreforpublicimpact.org/case-study/siezing-mom... [3] https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/01/what-happened-to-crim...


Police are some of the highly-paid government employees out there. And that's not counting overtime.


Also one of the most corrupt. I wonder if better pay disincentivises fraud and corruption?


if they managed to rehire most of the officers and some new ones on lower salaries, that sounds like their salaries were mispriced to begin with. a clear win for the taxpayers in my book.


> Is it not true that most cops are OK too? I'm honestly asking. Yes there are some problem cops - Chauvin obviously having a long history of issues. But are we really saying that the majority of cops are bad actors?

judge for yourself - the 3 randomly selected cops from Minneapolis PD were clearly aware of what was happening and were just watching as business as usual when a sadistic psychopath (just watch the video and listen to the Chauvin's tone of voice for example) was slowly and torturously executing a human being. What those 3 tell you about the cops en masse?

>a long history of issues

It is pretty typical - while many cops would usually not commit severe abuse/crimes/etc. at their own will, they would do nothing to stop, prevent, help to prosecute the "bad apples" cops. Basically it is a police union's, the Fraternal Order of Police's, version of omerta. And that makes them at least accessories to all those crimes.


If it’s only a few bad apples why are we seeing lines of cops firing tear gas at peaceful protests, running their motor vehicles in to people and hiding their badge numbers and names?


> why are we seeing lines of cops firing tear gas at peaceful protests

You mean marching down neighborhood streets and firing unprovoked at people on their own porches while yelling, "Light 'em up."


> But are we really saying that the majority of cops are bad actors?

As with the Floyd case, for every murder by police there are three officers standing by watching and doing nothing, at best.

The examples to watch are Camden NJ and the RUC -> PSNI transition.


Police behaviour and processes are systemic. They're supposed to use right strategies and target the "bad apples". They're also dependent on leadership.


I agree. The bad apples have to go. My concern is that we want to "hurt" the police rather than fix the systemic issues.

It seems that the Minneapolis police department has had excessive force issues for years. That feels like a leadership failure to me. In that case you'd look at the Chief, the union rep, the Mayor and any other folks who can change the culture but don't.


> That feels like a leadership failure to me. In that case you'd look at the Chief, the union rep, the Mayor and any other folks who can change the culture but don't.

Yeah, I agree 100%, and this is why the "few bad apples" angle falls apart. This is a widespread problem with the culture of many police departments. It's not enough to fire the murderers themselves, we also need to ask:

- Who hired them?

- Who trained them?

- Who supervised them?

- Who looked into the previous excessive force complaints and decided they weren't a problem?


Reformists have had decades to work in and the outcome is that we just see more impunity, more hardware, and more money spent on policing to the detriment of all other social services. The approach has failed dismally and it's time to take a more drastic approach.


Was thinking about looters. The police is a system that should find better solutions. It also need to police itself as you mention. It's a culture thing, so very easy to improve!


I think people are missing a few big points.

1) It's extremely difficult being a cop

2) It's extremely terrifying being a cop

3) It's extremely unpopular being a cop

It boggles me every time I hear people say cops need "stricter requirements" and "less pay" but never hear anyone volunteering to join the force and make real change. Look around, how many white knights want to be a cop?

The videos from Thursday/Friday night Minneapolis shape my framework for these riots, not the supposed abuse to protesters and reporters. IMO, given the circumstances, the cops overall have been very civil while taking an onslaught of verbal and even physical abuse. And don't get me wrong, I'm not ignoring police abuse and brutality.

https://youtu.be/cHcELsLF7cg


I think you underestimate just how wildly the police will protect their institution in defense of a perceived threat. Joining the force is not the path to change; dissenters in the ranks get punished personally and professionally in defense of the blue wall.

It's unpopular to be a cop because by and large, cops have a tremendous deal of power (compared to an average citizen) and very little keeping them in check.

With great power comes great responsibility, so the saying goes.


I couldn't imagine someone being against a police Union and also supporting civilian unions. They serve the same purpose. I also can't imagine a sane person thinking we don't need the police, unless you're also supporting a highly armed population (which, I am.)

> With great power comes great responsibility, so the saying goes.

So you acknowledge that it's difficult, terrifying, unpopular and requires great reasonability, but offer nothing for a solution. What good is your comment?

The police job is more stress than any content moderator on social media, because the police are living the content that gets moderated. They're subjected to immense violence because average citizens need protection from criminals.

Once again, do you have any decent solution or do you plan to just add to the stress of this critical and thankless job?


>I couldn't imagine someone being against a police Union and also supporting civilian unions. They serve the same purpose.

My local electrician's union doesn't have dispensation from the state to utilize lethal force on me or my family. Also, if I'm wronged by an electrician in the course of their work, I can expect a fair result from the justice system. The stakes are different.

>So you acknowledge that it's difficult, terrifying, unpopular and requires great reasonability, but offer nothing for a solution.

You never asked for a solution. Your comment stated that the solution was to join the force; I merely pointed out that your solution doesn't work. If you want to shift the goalposts and put the burden of supplying the solution on me, then I invite you to seek out and listen to some of the changes asked for by the protesters - external checks and balances like citizen review boards for PDs.

>Once again, do you have any decent solution or do you plan to just add to the stress of this critical and thankless job?

Given how vocal the Blue Lives Matter crowd is, I'd hardly call being a police officer thankless. There are plenty of people who still think/believe that cops are infallible, shining knights of justice who can do no wrong, and if they do, well, that person had it coming anyway.


Literally nobody is trying to stop the protesters. Literally nobody. I can't find anyone who doesn't agree that George was murdered. Hell, I have old seemingly racist family members who agree with that. It's the arsonist, rioters and murderers who are empowered by this new Anarchy Trojan Horse that we're trying to stop, and we will succeed. If you can't see that difference then you'll be blind during this insurrection.


Wouldn’t this just be a regular lawsuit? Why do you need the ACLU?


Because the ACLU has a professed interest in defending freedom of the press?


And a full-time staff that specializes in this sort of thing.


This...is a regular lawsuit?

This is why people donate to the ACLU. So that they can do the extensive work, pay lawyers, etc.


I feel like we should save ACLU resources for winning new freedoms or taking back lost freedoms. (Not that This isnt a noble cause. )


That's exactly what's going on here. The press has a constitutional right to report. This lawsuit alleges that the police violated that right. And not just once, but systemically.

Now they're suing to take back that lost freedom. If they don't, then what's to stop this continuing to be the norm?

I can't think of a clearer example of what the ACLU exists to do.


This is part of the larger issue of the police - in Minneapolis and a lot of other places - actively resisting efforts by the public to document police actions and provide any level of accountability through those recordings. That is a freedom that needs to be defended.


> taking back lost freedoms.

Better not to lose them in the first place, though, right?


Maybe because those people can't otherwise afford a lawyer to sue the city/state?


It’s the press though. Aren’t they owned by largest corporations in the world?


At least from the video, the press is walking into zones of active conflict between protestors and police with lots of noise and police in full riot gear. Personally, it is not super suprising to me the press gets caught in the cross fire.


I note there's no widely circulating videos or reports of journalists being assaulted by demonstrators...

I suspect there's way less "cross" in that "cross fire" than the term you're using implies.


Yes, journalists would be considered to be one of the demonstrators by both parties. They are not geared out like the riot police, so do not look similar.


At the same time, it's inconceivable that a journalist could be mistaken for a rioting, window breaking, projectile throwing looter.

Which says something important about where the riot-gear-clad police are aiming their "cross fire". (And hence why the protests are needed, and why some of the protesters become violent after a few generations of the same old same old...)


yes, i am not saying police are justified

but it isn't clear at least from the video, police are going out of their way to shut down the press, as in they have a press vendetta or want to censor

which is the impression i got was going on based on the headline and linked article

i accept i may just lack reading comprehension


Yes and we shouldn't have journalists in war zones either /s




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