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Slack Removed a Blog Post Showing How Police Use Its Tech (vice.com)
224 points by jmsflknr 37 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 273 comments



Former Slack employee here...

This blog post/case study was published a few years ago by Slack's marketing team and led to a firestorm of controversy within the company. Many employees of all backgrounds spoke up about how upset they were that Slack would use a police department as marketing. Eventually the decision was made to keep it up which certainly frustrated a lot of people. I guess now the leaders have decided it's time to take it down.

edit: in private channels for POC, which I was a part of, people were incensed at the insensitivity. At the time I felt it was a particularly stupid choice for marketing material but not necessarily a moral wrong.


Why though? Is there not a legitimate role for policing in a civil society? And if there is, don't they need to coordinate and collaborate just like any other organization?


When most people advocate for divesting, defunding, or abolishing the police, they aren't suggesting that we go without literally any law enforcement. They simply believe the current system is too broken and corrupt to be reformed and that we need to start completely over. These advocates are generally against other avenues of reforms because those reforms can give a false sense of accomplishment without addressing the underlying problem. Reform or any level of support for the current police system in the US is therefore seen as delaying that ultimate end goal of having a just law enforcement system in place.

To put it into computer terms, it is the equivalent of your computer performance degrading over time. You can try force closing programs, restarting the computer, removing programs from autorunning at startup, updating drivers, uninstalling unused programs, etc. However sometimes none of that will truly work and you will need to reinstall the OS.


What you are suggesting isn’t a reboot or a reinstall, but a rewrite.


Most people aren't advocating for that though.


That wasn't what I was intending to say so I apologize that my poor phrasing might have given that impression. I used "most people" as a modifier of the group who are advocating for divesting, defunding, or abolishing the police. While that movement is growing, it is still a minority opinion and I wasn't trying to argue otherwise. I included the "most people" phrase mainly as a disclaimer to acknowledge that there are likely some people who want to see police abolished and not replaced, however that is not a common goal.


Because there is a great deal of sentiment that the approaches used in the United States are excessively militarized, racially unjust and insufficiently transparent.

Using a problematic customer like that as a marketing highlight is just not a great idea.


What's the alternative though? Pretending that if you needed protection due to crime coming your way/your family's way... you wouldn't call 911?

I feel like this entire movement is really taking away credit from the "ok" and "good" cops. How many cops are there in America? Ok, some of them aren't perfect. They are racist/dicks/thirsty for power. Why does this mean as a citizen I should feel less safe because we want to defund police and have less cops protecting us? Because "cops aren't protecting us?" They are. Even if there were 1,000 police brutality related deaths a year (there aren't), police would still be a huge net win for society, no? Am I missing something?


> I feel like this entire movement is really taking away credit from the "ok" and "good" cops.

I feel the response to this movement shows that there are fewer good cops that anyone would have expected. They protect their own at the cost of citizens they should be protecting. They lie. They cheat. They assault and murder without consequence.

> Even if there were 1,000 police brutality related deaths a year (there aren't), police would still be a huge net win for society, no? Am I missing something?

Yes. You're missing the fact that it doesn't have to be this way. That police don't have to work entirely without consequences. They don't have to militarized. This is not required for them to do their jobs. And it can be changed.


>I feel the response to this movement shows that there are fewer good cops that anyone would have expected.

What leads you to believe this at an empirical level, though? The inciting incident of course sadly shows yet another example of detestable police and policing, and the reaction shows additional instances of cruel and overly aggressive policing (arresting and assaulting peaceful protesters and reporters in some cases), but the reaction also shows instances of officers standing with the protesters and treating them appropriately.

I don't know how many law enforcement officers in the US are fundamentally moral or not. I really have no idea if this event makes me think there are more or less of them than I thought there were before, if looking at all LEOs in the country. How can you, I, or anyone know any of the true statistics?

Since we can't, I think the most important and most practical task is to try to improve and fix the system and the systemic issues as much as possible, and to try to decrease the odds that shitty cops will be hired or promoted and increase the odds that shitty cops will be quickly identified, removed, condemned by their former peers, and, if appropriate, prosecuted.


> What leads you to believe this at an empirical level, though?

The huge number of officers that surrounded Derek Chauvin's house, for example.

https://nypost.com/2020/05/29/officers-protect-home-of-derek...

The video is actually just creepy. But that's empirical evidence that you can verify by observation of said video.

> How can you, I, or anyone know any of the true statistics?

We actually know that the US ranks as high as many 3rd world countries when looking at the murder of black people by police. Even the murder of white people is staggeringly high compared to other western countries. The statistics are there.

> Since we can't, the most important thing is to try to improve and fix the system and the systemic issues as much as possible, and to try to decrease the odds of hiring shitty cops and increase the odds that shitty cops will be quickly identified, removed, and, if appropriate, prosecuted.

I agree. That's actually what we all want. And that's not happening now.


How can you tell protecting a house from a mob is bad? Wouldn’t the neighbors have appreciated it not being ransacked and burnt?


Yes, I expect a few on duty officers to protect the house. But this goes well beyond that. How much do you want to twist the logic to make this a justifiable situation?


While police where protecting his house a police station went up in flames. I don’t care who you are, you can see there is wrong on all sides of the picture here. Why so many cops protecting the accused? Why no cops protecting their own station? Why no national guard IMMEDIATELY when it’s obvious the police have zero handle on the situation?

Because the leadership at any level could not address this so we are obviously left to destructive behavior on all sides. But that conversation doesn’t attract eyeballs.


Are you suggesting that they should instead say "Hey George, we sincerely feel bad for you, but we can't help but let the mob burn down your house, because, you know, we're at a BBQ party weekend. Also your career is entirely over. Good luck."

Honestly I'd rather be surprised if there is any street cop who do not show up.


>The huge number of officers that surrounded Derek Chauvin's house, for example.

Yes, this sort of thing is of course very troubling. But this isn't anything we don't already know: many cops will support each other almost no matter what. If you try to think from the perspective of being an officer in a police department for a moment, you can see how it becomes like any other sort of politics. America does something shitty; some other country criticizes it; lots of Americans rise to America's defense. Democrats/Republicans do something shitty; Democrats/Republicans come to the defense of their team.

People with strong group identities can be very biased and have trouble attributing bad intentions or actions to their side. Their judgment is completely clouded, and they often literally will not see or accept the same facts. (This is very evident in current politics.) Many of those cops may have genuinely and truly believed that Chauvin was not responsible for George Floyd's death, for example. (Rather than holding some malicious belief like "that black guy deserved to be killed by him".)

That doesn't defend their actions or their incorrect or shitty beliefs, but it shows how the police are probably just like a country or political party or whatever. Humans are often pretty useless when it comes to neutrally and impartially evaluating their own side/tribe. And if rumors of some police departments trying to filter out applicants who have too high of IQs are true... that would exacerbate that issue, probably. And there's probably an overrepresentation of tribalistic personality types, and people working together in risky situations often develop tighter bonds, etc.

Also, it's possible some of those cops did think Chauvin was in the wrong and deserves to be fired, convicted, and imprisoned, but were there just to prevent a mob from going to his house and killing him, and possibly were ordered to go there.

And in terms of empiricism: this is still anecdotes, not really data. Even if you assume every one of those cops is an irredeemable shitbag (which I think is highly possible; it's not really provable or disprovable, though), this is 20 - 50 cops or something. Even if for the sake of argument we say it's 100 cops in front of his house, that number is tiny compared to the number of all LEOs in the country. It doesn't necessarily give you an accurate assessment of the average police officer in every town in every state.

>We actually know that the US ranks as high as many 3rd world countries when looking at the murder of black people by police. Even the murder of white people is staggeringly high compared to other western countries. The statistics are there.

Yes, this is true. I utterly agree that the situation is completely fucked. It's just a matter of, I guess, how one should think about individual LEOs at the scale of the nation. I'm not saying this is true and have no idea if it's true or what the real numbers could be, but hypothetically if it were the case that most PDs had like 10% terrible cops and 90% good cops, it might be possible that that could be enough to cause these horrible national policing statistics. Or perhaps the same could be also true if there were some PDs with like 80% terrible cops but most PDs had under 10%, or something like that.

>I agree. That's actually what we all want. And that's not happening now.

Yes, for sure. I completely support the protests and protesters. I just think people shouldn't necessarily vilify an individual law enforcement officer without additional supporting evidence about that person, basically.


I think the Buffalo incident yesterday[0] gives us a good indication of just how rare a good cop is. Even though there were dozens of cops that witnessed it, they all lied and claimed that "During that skirmish involving protestors, one person was injured when he tripped & fell".

Then, after the cops who nearly killed the man got suspended, all 57 people on that particular team resigned "in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,"[2].

Since you want empirical results, that is 0 good cops out of the 57 people on the force. We can employ the rule of 3 to establish an upper bound good cop rate as 5.2% (95% CI).

This isn't to say that the cops are by nature bad. Rather, the institutions and norms that exist in many police departments ensure that nearly all cops become bad cops.

[0]: https://news.wbfo.org/post/graphic-video-two-buffalo-police-...

[1]: https://www.investigativepost.org/2020/06/05/police-unit-res...

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_three_(statistics)


> if you needed protection due to crime coming your way/your family's way... you wouldn't call 911?

There is a set of the population for which this is a reality. In time of need, their call for assistance gets met with presumption of guilt, leaving them worse off than if they had not called for help.

> Even if there were 1,000 police brutality related deaths a year (there aren't), police would still be a huge net win for society, no?

Yes, unless you belong to the group from which those 1,000 come from.


> What's the alternative though?

The alternative is Slack using someone else as their marketing example, and maybe taking down this blog post. Which is what they've done.

> I feel like this entire movement is really taking away credit from the "ok" and "good" cops.

Why would good, or "okay" cops have to worry about being reprimanded?

What has happened is a "bad" cop issued a no-knock warrant on an innocent woman, and then shot her to death inside of her own home, and then was UNPUNISHED.

Then a few days later, a 2nd "bad cop" stepped on the neck of an African American on the street, killing him. Without the protests, this 2nd "bad cop" wouldn't have met any charges what so ever.

I think what the people want, is a form of feedback that actually works. If we see a bad cop, then surely we should be able to get that bad cop punished without rioting. No one wants to riot to get justice... but it seems like its the only option right now.

---------

Case in point: there are unbadged, unmarked, nameless officers patrolling Washington DC right now. Surely this should not be condoned.

Or do you think that "good cops" are allowed to run around without badges, refusing to identify themselves while shooting tear gas at protesters? Because that's literally what is going on this week.

What is going on right now, is a discussion about what to do about bad cops. And sure, we'll want to protect the "good cops" and "okay cops" who protect us. But what do you expect the public to do against bad cops?


The above poster is basically saying people are using the perfect as the enemy of the good. And you are arguing the perfect is better than the good. Though perhaps you wouldn't call it that. But if your standard is no one escapes justice in a country of 300 million, that seems rather close to perfect to me.

I am certainly no fan of no-knock warrants though. There are processes than can be fixed.


I'm not asking for "perfection". I'm asking for an avenue to reprimand bad cops.

We all know bad cops exist. The problem is that we cannot get these bad cops fired or otherwise thrown out of the police force.

> I am certainly no fan of no-knock warrants though. There are processes than can be fixed.

I'm not even asking for no-knock warrants to be banned. The underlying issue is far more severe. We need JUSTICE. We need someone to accept responsibility for Briana Taylor's unnecessary death.

Who issued the no-knock warrant? Who was the Lieutenant in charge of the operation? Where is the police body cam footage? Why were the officers in plainclothes instead of their uniforms? Why is so much information seemingly missing about this botched operation?

--------

The best the family of Birana Taylor is able to do under these circumstances... is file a "Wrongful Death" claim against the police department. If they win the court case... the taxpayers of Kansas will pay for the death, while the officers who were in charge of the operation will be let onto the streets again without any real repercussions.

THAT is the problem. There's no mechanism of feedback what so ever. The "bad cops" remain on payroll, and will continue to make the same mistakes in some future case.


> What's the alternative though? Pretending that if you needed protection due to crime coming your way/your family's way... you wouldn't call 911?

Have you ever called 911 to summon the police? Do you know anyone who has? It's quite uncommon.

The average police response time is almost 10 minutes. In an emergency situation it might as well be 10 hours. In general by the time they get there, whatever was happening has already happened. Which means you have to be prepared to deal with it on your own anyway.

Most of what the police actually do is not shootouts with bank robbers. It's writing stuff down.

For example, a major function of the police time-wise is vehicle accident reports. You don't need a police officer for that, only any trustworthy official. We could give vehicle accident reports to the fire department and then have more firefighters and fewer police.

We could hire clerks to man a desk who are not police, are not issued weapons and have no authority to cite, arrest or give orders to anyone, give them responsibility for all filing of "police reports" and then have more clerks and fewer police.

We could end the war on drugs and have many fewer police.

By the time you get to the point that the police only investigate murders and such and take everything else away from them, you can get rid of 80% of them and then have 80% less of all the bad stuff associated with whatever percentage of the police are bad cops. We might even do better than that, because when there are fewer of them you can spend more resources vetting each one and pay higher salaries that attract higher quality applicants. Make a police job harder to get, better to have and easier to lose and see what it does to their behavior.


> Even if there were 1,000 police brutality related deaths a year

Actually it hovers around 1,000 a year, but even that's up for debate because reporting and data collection are questionable. For example, police departments may have been obligated to report shooting-related deaths, but not choking-related (like George Floyd). But even with the tracking we have today, it's beyond clear that at a minimum ~1,000 American's are killed every year by police.

https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/nationaltrends

> defund police and have less cops protecting us?

There is no reason our civilian police force should be armed like our federal military. It's absurd how many police departments have MRAPs, string-rays, and drones. None of this equipment is necessary for effective civilian policing.

In the U.S., police kill around 46.6 citizens per 10 million every year. Iraq is 45.1, and Iran is 36.6. Compare this to Japan (0.2), Germany (1.3), UK (0.5), France (3.8), Canada (9.7), Poland (0.5), or Australia (1.7).

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


> I feel like this entire movement is really taking away credit from the "ok" and "good" cops.

I'd really like them to step up. Where's the intervention and condemnation from the presumed silent majority of good cops in any of these incidents?

https://www.theverge.com/2020/5/31/21276044/police-violence-...

Here's a video of an old man being attacked by police in Buffalo, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/05/us/buffalo-police-shove-p... How many of the presumed silent majority walked by him as he bled on the ground? How many have stood up and said, the people who did this don't stand for what I stand for. How many cops are demanding reform and threatening to quit otherwise?

The Buffalo police initially lied about how this man was hurt, claiming he "tripped and fell", https://twitter.com/JeffRussoWKBW/status/1268712651292643334.... Where's the condemnation of that from the officers who were on the scene? And even if we presume this guy gets justice, where's justice for the presumed many people who aren't sympathetic old white dudes whose assault was captured on camera? They would have gotten away with it if it weren't for the video, and indeed they may still get away with it.

Where are the police unions in taking a stand against this kind of violence?

I dunno, like you I don't currently believe that we should entirely eliminate police from our societies. But if the silent majority of good cops we presume exists isn't willing to take a stand against what is clearly evil in their ranks, how good are their actions, really? Kneeling doesn't get you very far.


Here's a mass resignation, but in protest for officers being disciplined for shoving the old dude. https://mobile.twitter.com/GaryRidesBikes/status/12689856604...

Where are the good apples?


The alternative is to have policing focus on community service. One aspect of the role is to uphold the law, but the US takes this to a whole new level.

Here are some things that the US does that could be changed and, to an outsider in a different country, seem utterly absurd:

1. Refer to the police as 'LEO' or 'law enforcement officers', thus establishing their primary duty to 'the law' and not 'the community they're supposed to serve'

2. Protection of police from most if not all consequences of gross misconduct

3. Silly good guys vs. bad guys dichotomy where it's all to obvious that bad guys is a synonym for 'black person'

4. Dehumanising labels: referring to groups of people as 'blacks', 'whites', 'innocents', 'hispanics', etc. (this is as jarring to me as saying 'females' instead of women). Really instils an 'us v them' mentality.

5. Perpetual war mentality: war on drugs, war on this, war on that.

6. Excessive militarisation: cops with guns is one thing, cops driving tanks and armoured vehicles is another

7. Escalation to ridiculous extremes by default: in what world does a police force start a gunfight using other drivers' cars for cover, or driving a tank through a house to catch a shoplifter?

8. Constant media glorification of police brutality and breaking the rules to catch the criminal - as long as you catch the bad guy it doesn't matter

9. Private prisons and convicting people for profit

10. Things like no-knock warrants and excessive use of SWAT teams, civil asset forfeiture, etc.

11. Failure to meet basic human rights even in overnight jail

The list honestly goes on and if this is what you require to feel safe, then this safety is coming at the expense of many of your fellow Americans, most of whom pay with their lives: black people, poor people. Many countries in the world thrive without hiring a gang of armed thugs to defend their laws and treat the country as a self-contained penal colony. We have several Nordic countries in Europe that go even further to treat people who break the law as valid human beings.

Ok and good cops don't require credit for meeting the minimum expectation of a good police officer, and for as long as they don't blow the whistle they are still complicit. My own thinking is that this goes back to the US' attitude to slavery in its formative years and what you see is a deep-seated desire to use forms of slavery as a means to fulfil your own American dream. Much easier to do when your police service is an oppressive force.


>Why does this mean as a citizen I should feel less safe because we want to defund police and have less cops protecting us?

Why should your feelings trump the safety of human beings? Can you show that defunding the police will lead to less safety for you personally? Are you aware that in the event the police were defunded many of their functions would continue in an unarmed capacity?

>Even if there were 1,000 police brutality related deaths a year (there aren't), police would still be a huge net win for society, no?

You make a very specific claim here. I'd love to hear you articulate how you define a "net win". Please keep in mind that human lives have value too when crafting your response:

https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/2016...


You appear to be arguing against a point that wasn't made.


> Am I missing something?

Yes, you are. Police are the solution for mental health. Police are the solution for roving dogs. Police are the solution for kids out of school. Police are the solution for drug addiction.

The alternative is to defund the massive chunk of budgets that go to police and invest in commmunity support, from medicalised addiction treatment to educational opportunity to mental health support.

Or, we could let these problems continue to fester because people in wanton and willful ignorance embrace your false dichotomy and legislate on the assumption that anything but police with (even more) laser sights and (even more) armor played APCs is a commitment to Mad Max.


You are missing the last 300 years of foundational racism or at the very least, the last 50 years of struggling for civil rights.

American citizens are not equal, especially so in the eyes of law enforcement. If you are trying to group minorities into the protectorate under the law by saying "us", then no, American citizens cannot claim that the police protect and serve. If you say "us", then neither can you.


The police aren't enabling a civil society right now. The current policing methods in the US are barbaric to put it mildly. Some third world countries have better behaved police.


Some third world countries have better behaved citizens.


What are you trying to say? That these protestors are not well behaved?


Just because there's a legitimate role doesn't mean that it's currently being practiced ethically. If it's not being practiced ethically the argument is that you can't ethically profit from it. That's the entire issue.


No one can sell anything to any police department ethically? If I'm a plumber and the local precinct calls me to fix their toilet, I am morally obligated to refuse?


Why do people always look for hard and fast rules? If it's your business you can do what you want. No one's obligating you to do anything. In this case Slack's employees felt as though it's unethical. That's totally within their rights to do.


Moral systems based on clear and universalized principles are more intrinsically compelling than arbitrary preferences that are merely labeled "moral".

If Slack employees said they felt is was unethical to serve chocolate over vanilla ice cream, none of us would pay attention.


Yes, but there is almost no way to fully follow through on clear and universal principles. Instead of worrying about that, consider the possibility that our moral feelings are generated by a natural receptivity most of us have to the suffering of others, and that even if these feelings to not appear consistent with a universal and logical philosophical schema, I think it's more appropriate to carefully listen to the compassionate concerns of others than to try and develop ways to ignore them.

Maybe there are situations where it's justifiable to sell goods or services to a PD (if there are situations where it's justifiable to buy a smartphone or laptop, this is probably the case in my opinion) but it's still unproductive to dismiss someone who disagrees out of hand. They are probably disagreeing because they have a strong moral feeling about the practice, and it's worth respectfully listening to the reasons they have for feeling so strongly, rather than dismissing it out of hand because you don't think it's feasible to implement universally.


> it's still unproductive to dismiss someone who disagrees out of hand.

My original comment was the opposite of an out-of-hand dismissal. I thought about what he was proposing, carried it to it's logical conclusion, and showed that it was flawed. I then invited him to propose a fix. No fix has been suggested.

> I think it's more appropriate to carefully listen to the compassionate concerns of others than to try and develop ways to ignore them.

Strong, unprincipled moral feelings come to every human since they are a small child. There is good evidence that these are very biased and lead to results that are immoral upon reflection. The world is awash in people announcing their unreflected moral feelings, and these point in contradictory directions. "Listen to this particular random person's feelings....but don't challenge their validity" is not useful advice.


It's true that many moral intuitions we have end up seeming immoral when we reflect on them further, but this says as much about our difficulty with reasoning morally as it does about the supposed immorality of our moral intuitions. I think it's naive to assume that philosophical or logical approaches have a monopoly on morality. That being said, I also think it's unproductive to outright dismiss any moral appeal on the grounds that you would not be happy with implementing its conclusion. Moral philosophers writ large willingly engage with Kantian ethics that be easily interpreted to preclude contracts[0] as well as Singer who advocates for the (disabled) infanticide.[1] Even if we might disagree with a given conclusion, the ultimate object of moral discussion is moral progress, and this does not need to come in the form of final agreement on a principle to be followed in the future. It can come in the form of mutual understanding, education of onlookers, or greater theoretical development even in opposing directions. Implying that someone's conclusion (which I might add is not more extreme or inoperable in its conclusion than many offered by Marx, Kant, Aristotle, Hume, Plato, etc... it is after all only refusing to provide services to the police) is unpalatable for you and denigrating it to an arbitrary opinion is probably detrimental to all of these goals and I urge you to desist with such a tactic.

[0]: On the grounds that when you give someone something in exchange for a promise of theirs that you are using them as a means to an end. [1]: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1999/09/11/a...


You're now resorting to name-calling, so I'm going to end my involvement with this discussion.


That was absolutely not my intent, do you mind clarifying what part of my post you are referring to?


The arguments I advance aren't just wrong, they're "naive". (There is a useful non-combative useage of the word "naive" regarding ideas, but that's not how you're using it here.) When I disagree with people, I am "dismissing" and "denigrating" them.


The whole point of my post was to point out an alleged flaw in your discursive approach, but I was genuinely trying to temper my language. It's clear I didn't do a good enough job of that. For the record, I don't think a priori morality is an unreasonable belief, I just think there are other compelling theories and that if we want to talk about other moral issues we have to be willing to find common ground in spite of metaethical disputes. There are many philosophers I greatly respect whose beliefs I would also call naive.

Belittling another person is the last thing I want to do, so I'll thank you for the opportunity to improve my manners and drop the issue here, sincerely wishing you the best.


In the abstract police are necessary. In today’s America, with the police as they actually exist today, they are very much not necessary, and are a drain on public safety, social order, and personal liberty.


That doesn’t make sense. There are 300 million guns in America and plenty of crime happens every year.

It’s true crime is down from the historical highs of the 70s and 80s, but there are very much still murders and thefts that need to be investigated and punished.

The reality is if police were abolished we’d go back to the bad old days of private detective agencies being used for security. Would you rather have some sort of unholy fusion of Blackwater and the Pinkerton detective agency performing policing tasks in our country?


The argument by most seems to be not "get rid of all police and then nothing", but rather to replace it as much as possible from the ground up. Which might very well mean re-allocating resources and removing responsibilities from police, e.g. around mental health, but not getting rid all law enforcement. Phrased this way and not as a "reform" because they believe attempting to reform the existing system slowly won't work.


The bulk of crimes committed in the USA do not require traditional LEO aside from apprehensions. Investigations, evidence collection, interviews, etc can all be done by any old bureaucrat. Much like the FDA investigators and Fire Marshals don't need the authority of an LEO.

There's no need for police to be first-responders in purely medical situations. It's unfair to expect that police also take up the burden of medical care. While we are at it, it's also silly that the fire department responds to non-fire medical incidents in their big ass fire truck. Doing so compromises their abilities to handle situations where their expertise is explicitly required.

Every town in America does not need a SWAT team. Thsoe should be specialized agencies that serve a particular region and have a limited number of deployments.

If we were building a system from scratch today, people would not suggest dumping these duties on beat cops.


> Investigations, evidence collection, interviews, etc can all be done by any old bureaucrat. Much like the FDA investigators and Fire Marshals don't need the authority of an LEO.

So a police detective? I don’t really see how renaming police detectives “Investigator” or some similar name shuffling changes or resolves anything. Unless you’re suggesting farming these tasks out to the private sector. I guess towns could contract with PIs or a private detective agency, but I find it hard to believe such a privatized agency would be any better than sworn LEOs in terms of corruption, brutality, etc.

The comparison with a fire marshal is instructive; according to Wikipedia “Fire marshals may be sworn law-enforcement officers and are often experienced firefighters.” In other words, just like in the case of police detectives, it’s seen as a good thing for them to have experience and authority.

> There's no need for police to be first-responders in purely medical situations. It's unfair to expect that police also take up the burden of medical care. While we are at it, it's also silly that the fire department responds to non-fire medical incidents in their big ass fire truck. Doing so compromises their abilities to handle situations where their expertise is explicitly required.

I don’t think acting as EMTs is a big part of police calls. As you note, the FD often responds to such purely medical incidents as they are better trained and have better resources.

I agree that the use of SWAT teams for small towns should be looked at. In my opinion, these specially trained officers should be part of state police or big cities only. State police could support local PDs if needed.

In general, your post is about some types of police reform.

It doesn’t interact with the post I originally responded to, which posited that “police” are “very much not necessary” in modern America.


For many people in the US, providing the police your tech means you are implicitly supporting actions of police brutality and racism by cops.

Using it as marketing material optically looks even worse.


Honestly? No, there really isn't, at least not the way we think of policing today. The threat of state-sanctioned violence as a means of keeping the peace leads inevitably to people who will use that violence for their own means. Community policing and restorative justice are more effective in 95% of cases. More cops just leads to more intergenerational trauma, not less.


Not speaking for the US. In my country, police is heavily stressed, corrupt and understaffed which often makes them ineffective in many scenarios. If everyone (from the lowest ranked to the highest) in the department uses a tool like Slack then a lot of things will improve. At present, lowest ranked cops are not even tech literate and they can't reach to those high ranked officers due to a hierarchy.


a truly civil society requires zero policing, when uncivil elements exist then policing is required, the question should arise what is the root cause of incivility?


It's just bad optics right now. Doesn't need to make sense, just perceptions.


> Is there not a legitimate role for policing in a civil society?

Look around. Most Americans would say no to this question.

I don’t think they’ve thought through the consequences of that, but I guarantee a random poll would show most Americans want to abolish or >70% defund the police (which is effectively the same).


> Look around. Most Americans would say no to this question.

Actually random polls say the exact opposite of your guarantee.

Only 15% of Americans support cutting police funding.

https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/articles-reports/20...


> Look around. Most Americans would say no to this question.

How is it possible to conclude this? There have been polls the last few days where more than half of respondents of both parties support sending the National Guard to quash the rioting and looting, and a significant proportion of Democrat respondents think the Federal government should send the U.S. military to do the same.

If you live in a place where people broadly do not support the police as an institution, you live in an odd place.

Now, given recent events on the top of the national consciousness, there is broad concern that some very bad police tend to be protected in many police departments, but that's an entirely different opinion.


Right. It seems to me that many here are making sweeping and unsubstantiated generalizations. There are problems in policing that need to be addressed, but to extrapolate from that that police are not necessary and/or are a net decrease in safety is really a conflation of two separate issues.


> If you live in a place where people broadly do not support the police as an institution, you live in an odd place.

This could be the case. Tier 3 on the West Coast in the US. Everyone marching and protesting want the police either completely gone or heavily defunded to the point where they basically don't exist.


If you live in a place where people broadly do not support the police as an institution, you live in an odd place.

Or in a community that is majority minority where they seem to get the brunt of “a few bad cops”.


That might be the case of what's trending in the US on Twitter or in the media, but that's hardly a representative sample of the actual population.


Your comment is unfair on three counts.

One, your statistics are the reverse of reality.

Two, the people that want to defund police are not the people that want to abolish the police. Considering the LAPD budget is 1.8 billion, and the NYPD budget is 6 billion, do you think that's by definition a bad position?

Three, the minority that want to abolish the police (me, various anarchist and communist groups, some general leftist groups, alt-right libertarians), absolutely have thought out the consequences of that. Most are more on the "abolish and then reform from scratch" train, because there's evidence that this works (on mobile and can't grab right now, sorry), others are on the "abolish and then reform into an entirely different concept from what exists now train" (see: https://bostonreview.net/law-justice/derecka-purnell-what-do...), and the tiniest sliver are on the "get rid of them all and make them never come back" train.

I hope this helps clear up any confusion and/or strawmen.


Reform and abolish seem too nuanced to me in this case. You want the police to be something completely different from what it is today.

Tearing down a house and building a car with the materials doesn't make a new house.


> Tearing down a house and building a car with the materials doesn't make a new house.

Quite, you are accurately highlighting some of the differences between the various abolish/reform positions. I don't sense you challenging the supposition that simply lumping the abolish/reform groups into the same category is absurd given the above, so I'm not sure the purpose of your comment.


Where are you getting that from? Do you have polls you can point to that support the assertion that "Most Americans would say no to this question"?


A few years ago I would've thought thought that was an overreaction (assuming police were just using it as customers, and not something like surveillance). This week, I no longer feel that way.


To be fair the customer and surveilance are linked as a matter of conflict of interest in general. Not quite a concern for a single local PD but say all of NYPD or whole states would be a big enough contract to be able to exert pressure by threatening to switch to more "cooperative" providers.


The post is from 2017, which is long after Snowden era.


Honest foreigner question: are all US police that "stinky" that any association with them is now bad, or is it an overreaction? Surely there are good police departments, ones that work with the community and not against them?

But maybe I'm not seeing it from the perspective of those black employees...


The issue isn't there are good or bad cops. In any large organization there will be "bad apples" (malicious actors), that just statistically will happen. What is very important is how misconduct is handled, and how these "bad apples" are handled.

Due to the legal concept of qualified immunity, it is very difficult to sue the police for civil or criminal liability. I understand the intent of qualified immunity. The idea is that a police officer did the best they could knowing what they know, and it is very easy to look at things after the fact (hindsight is 20/20), so it makes it easier for a police officer to do their job without constant worry of lawsuit. However, it has been abused to the point that it is next to impossible to sue for criminal/civil liability.

Additionally, there is wide conception that police do not police their own (look up "blue wall of silence"), and police unions are very strong, so it is extremely difficult for an outside organization to police them.

Case in point, it is argued that if it weren't for the cell phone video of George Floyd, the police officers would not have even been charged with misconduct and would still have their jobs, much less criminal charges.

If you have an organization that has a monopoly on violence and there is not a good way to keep that in check, THIS WILL LEAD TO MASSIVE PROBLEMS.


The question is not only about how "bad apples" are handled, but also what techniques are taught, what kind of leadership is given.

If you stick cops in heavily protected gear this gives them stronger feelings.

If you have a President (who isn't directly responsible for police) cheering to be "tough" ("Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody — don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?" https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/07/28/t...) and then not have a leadership promoting other values you encourage to be like the "bad apple" not like the good apple.

If you then also often have cops alone on duty or with fixed partners, thus no rotation you have less internal checking.

If you are then also in a country where the police officers have to assume that the citizen they pulled over might be armed you certainly don't help them to relax.

The list goes on - true, most cops certainly want to be good, but there are systematic issues emporing the bad ones.


> The list goes on - true, most cops certainly want to be good, but there are systematic issues emporing the bad ones.

No, I would say that most cops will follow whatever the culture is in their organization. If the culture is rotten, then they do bad things.


Yes, the culture has an impact, but do people these days become cops to be on the "bad" side or for being the "good" cop? I hope it's still the later. But maybe I am wrong.

Important is: Culture and leadership matters. Whatever is encouraged by culture and leadership will flourish.


The other point that's often missed is the phrase last three words of the sentence "A few bad apples spoil the bunch."

Allowing the "bad apples" to remain in the "bunch" means that the entire "bunch" goes bad.

The analogy is accurate. There were a few bad officers. They were allowed to remain. Now there are now a majority of bad officers.

Without a speedy and public process to remove bad behavior, including disciplinary action, retraining, firing, and criminal charges (depending on the severity and number of offenses) the police have become corrupted from within. Until such processes are in place that corruption will never be removed.


I think you may have confused qualified immunity a bit. It has nothing to do with criminal proceedings and is only talking about civil penalties.

The reason it's such a big deal is that it can be very difficult to get prosecutors to charge a police officer that did something wrong, and then it can be difficult to get a conviction even if they are tried. In a civil trial you can win by a preponderance of the evidence. So if you go after a cop criminally, where you do a have a lot of evidence and fail, that's it, no further penalties, the cop walks. On the other hand, you probably don't want to loosen it too much or cops will be sued at every opportunity. I don't know what the right answer is, but it's not to make it nearly impossible to hold a cop civilly liable.

I mean, that's how they got OJ, he was found not guilty in the criminal trial, but was found guilty in the civil trial brought by Nicole Brown's family. So allowing cops to get avoid the civil courts is wrong.


A look into American popular culture is rather revealing in this aspect. Consider the currently running series "SWAT", which portrays the rise of a good-cop SWAT leader. That's the lead "good character" of the series, and he and his team are brutalizing suspects, some instances of which may actually be torture, commit various felonies on a "dime a dozen" basis, constantly abuse police powers, lie to superior officers, frequently recklessly endanger civilians and commit morally despicable acts like blatant entrapment and much more.

Those figures are the good cops in media. This is the popular media idea of "policing done right" in the US. While just one particular example, but if you look around in American media the "good cops" exhibit at least some of these aspects the grand majority of the time.


I remember SWAT from way back. I guess this is a reboot. Ugh.

The other show that comes to mind is "Cops" which seems to promote a deification of the police. That's guesswork because I don't have the stomach to watch it.


I remember watching Cops as documentation of police brutality before social media was rampant


The problem is a lack of accountability for the bad police.

If good police are standing by while the bad police are abusing their power, they aren’t really good police. If the bad police are walking away without repercussions or, in some cases, even retaining their taxpayer-paid pensions, we can’t trust the police force as a whole.

The job of police is to maintain order, not to protect their own.


You're absolutely right but I don't think holding someone's retirement account over their heads is a good move. Let them keep their pension for the number of years they actually did serve. Strip them of their right to serve sure, but don't go back in time and pull their paycheck.


I feel there needs to be some form of individual accountability. With a 99.87% acquittal rate, mostly due to dismissals, and an immunity from civil suits, it's currently impossible to actually punish any individual officer for wrongdoing. If they were opened up to individual civil liability, sure, we can let a jury decide how much damage they caused.


i am OK with them having the money they put in themselves prior to their abuse of power, as long as any litigation is settled from it first. However i don't think they should get a pension that includes any monies from other parties like taxes.


I would say most American citizens are fearful(or at least shy of) of the police, avoid interacting with them if possible and generally have a disdain for how they operate. Not to say they are not recognized as necessary, most just don't like their tactics and their "code" of protecting one another. Basically you never know if you are going to get a good cop or a bad one, so you just avoid them all. Likewise anyone supporting them is seem as possibly supporting their questionable use of force and other bad practices.


What the police are supposed to be is determined by local culture.

Here's a police recruitment ad from Georgia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIgt8pmh7CU

Here's one from California: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_rKA6ROAVk

(The original blog post that highlighted the difference between these is down, but here's an archive link: https://web.archive.org/web/20140209085808/http://www.theagi... . I pulled the youtube URLs because the archived page doesn't appear to work.)


I've seen videos of unjustified force by PDs in not just my hometown but my college town as well. Surely there are good police departments, but there are far too many police departments ending up in this GitHub repo that tracks police brutality https://github.com/2020PB/police-brutality


Honest native answer: it depends on which side of the political spectrum you are on. Plenty of citizens are defending the police's actions, even their current actions during the protests, as completely justified. The POTUS doesn't make his fiery speeches in a vacuum; his base completely supports that attitude.

Edit amendment: Folks, OP wasn't asking whether or not the police actions were justified or not justified. He was asking about whether association with them would be interpreted as inherently "stinky" in the future. Whether good or bad, a prospective employer's feelings about a prospective employee's work history with US law enforcement is strongly coupled to their political views. That's true for military service, its true for ICE, and now its true for local police as well.


Most police forces and sheriff departments in the US are small and go years or decades between controversy.


I suspect any police force that is sufficiently large and has militarized and "riot" gear will tend to have similar problems. I'm sure that small town police departments have much more variation in their patterns of behavior.


It was a particularly stupid decision IMO since "we partner/co-operate with US police departments" is the last thing that large companies - especially foreign ones - want to hear from an app that stores their most sensitive data.


From a pure marketing perspective, it’s a bad idea to publish things that carry heavy current negatives, making them not good “evergreen” content pieces.

In the same (corporate) sense as publishing a use case about a payday loan company or oil drilling company is a bad idea.

Maybe they will evolve and become better over time - but that doesn’t matter if the current ‘ROI’ is bad. It would be like ‘HODLing’ a falling stock hoping it will one day go up again.


Are we saying that:

(a) police are a net good, but slack is aiding/encouraging particular bad behaviors; or

(b) police are a net bad and we should just deny them anything that enables them to do their jobs; or

(c) police are a net good, but it's bad PR to associate with them


I do wish these broader debates were clearer and more nuanced. I get the strong impression that certain participants are not only deliberately trying to prevent this sort of nuance altogether. I'm not sure why anyone with a genuine interest in solving these problems would behave this way.


A lot of people are just really, really angry at this moment in time due to the long history of injustices and numerous examples in the past few days.

Nuance is real hard to do under these circumstances.


It's not so hard if the media didn't cherry pick examples for the purpose of enraging Americans. There's probably a lot to be legitimately upset about, but blacks are killed by police less frequently than victim-reported crime statistics predict. If the media gave proportional attention to white victims like Tony Timpa or Daniel Shaver, it wouldn't feel so much like police are targeting black citizens. Maybe we would be having a different conversation--"police are too brutal in general, and while they aren't targeting minorities in their fatal offenses, perhaps there is a racial disparity for lesser forms of brutality, etc". But that's a terrible headline what with its nuance and truthfulness--I would never hack it as a journalist.


I mean, media sensationalism aside, honest question from outside the US: they had decades to change something and just about nothing happened, is a nuanced conversation about this realistic?

Plus, if they wanted a nuanced conversation it would help if they didn't shoot at and abuse media representatives. One journo I follow tracks unprovoked attacks on clearly identifiable journalists, days ago when that was at about 5 incidents I might have understood the call for nuance but it's now at over 200.

Some of those are white, if that helps the odd call for nuance and both are shown in the media I tend to consume. I don't feel distribution of fatalities is a great argument. The absolute number of officer involved shootings in the US is just ridiculous for a first world country, supporting those currently visibly affected shouldn't be too hard then, it would help others as well.


> they had decades to change something and just about nothing happened, is a nuanced conversation about this realistic?

This is simply because it hasn't been a priority. It's good that this is drawing attention to the issue (assuming there aren't more important issues that aren't receiving attention as a consequence--I'm withholding judgment), but it's bad insofar as it's being portrayed as a race issue when there is apparently no racial component in police killings. I think the good outweighs the bad, but we could have it both ways.

> Plus, if they wanted a nuanced conversation it would help if they didn't shoot at and abuse media representatives.

I care very little about whether the police want more nuance or not. Americans deserve a nuanced debate, better data about police violence, a media apparatus that isn't overtly and deliberately optimizing for strife and division, etc.

> I don't feel distribution of fatalities is a great argument. The absolute number of officer involved shootings in the US is just ridiculous for a first world country, supporting those currently visibly affected shouldn't be too hard then, it would help others as well.

It sounds like you don't understand the argument :). It's not "we shouldn't do anything about police brutality because it doesn't have a strong racial component"--virtually everyone agrees that our rates of police violence are far too high (however, that doesn't mean everyone agrees that it's the most important problem). The debate (well, to the extent that this is a debate--it's highly taboo to try to understand and remedy these problems) is about the extent to which this is a racial issue--this is important because (1) it's important to our ongoing national dialogue (again, not much of a dialogue due to taboo) about race and political ideologies and (2) it determines how we go about fixing the police violence issue (if it's not a function of bias then anti-bias training won't help).


Thanks for the explanation, you're right, seems like I misread that part of your suggestion.


Yeah but it'd be even easier to just not kill so many black people for what often appears to be very little reason. The whole thing would solve itself.

If a few police started stepping on babies and killing them for sport, making sure that all the other victims of police got 'equal-time' isn't going to be winner.


woops there goes the nuance again :D


I don't get it. Do you believe that by oversimplifying the conversation you're going to actually solve problems? Do you think it's helpful? Or is the problem less worthy than venting your frustrations (and in the latter case, are the frustrations legitimate or simply a product of the aforementioned media misinformation)?


This conversation isn't going to solve the problem (but that is a cop-out).

I think the metaphor though hyperbolic was a bit germane: I too have a lot of problems with media coverage in general. But the reason why it's covered a lot more is because it's often super egregious. So it's oversimplifying to not consider the impact to the community (especially given the long historical context of racial oppression).

My frustrations are legitimate, as I'm sure are yours.

Calling it 'media misinformation' is begging the question.


> But the reason why it's covered a lot more is because it's often super egregious.

Daniel Shaver had no criminal history, he was unarmed in his own hotel room on his hands and knees begging for his life when a police officer shot him five times.

Tim Timpa was pinned to the ground with at least one officer kneeling on his back while he struggled to breath, begging police officers to get off of him, saying they were going to kill him. He begged more than 30 times over the course of 14 minutes. The police officers joked about killing him even after he was unconscious and possibly even after he had died.

Justine Damond was a 40 year old Australian-American woman who called the police to report a possible sexual assault in the alley near her home. She was unarmed and barefoot as she approached the police after they swept the alley in their squad car when they shot her in the chest.

I don't see how these killings are less egregious than those that the media do report on. Moreover, there are also patently fraudulent media reports of racism, such as the Covington Catholic affair that are designed to get the nation in a race frenzy even if it means sending an angry mob after innocent children. I don't think "concern for the community" is motivating the media. Minority communities' anxiety is the result of--not the cause for--the media's fear mongering.


> Minority communities' anxiety is the result of--not the cause for--the media's fear mongering.

I would politely exhort you to do more research on the subject and meet members of the communities involved.


I've always been amazed at how when the black community mentions something to do with race, it's always seen as if we are making up some kind of elaborate fiction solely for slandering the United States.


> I've always been amazed at how when the black community mentions something to do with race, it's always seen as if we are making up some kind of elaborate fiction solely for slandering the United States.

That wasn't my claim, and you know it. I'm happy to be wrong, I'm just trying to make sense of the contrast between the data and public opinion. I'm genuinely very sorry for any emotional distress this debate causes and I know that the distress it's very one-sided, but I don't know how we are going to make social progress apart from real dialogue (both across political lines as well as racial lines). Why malign people who are trying to understand and help?


This stuff is highly charged. Doing it over text messages just makes things harder.

I appreciate you are doing it good faith, but 400 years of blood makes for murky waters.


I understand and agree. Thanks for your patience and understanding.


I'm always doing research on this subject, including speaking with members of these communities. I agree that it's important. There's also a lot of nuance that my comment glossed over, for brevity.

EDIT: In fact, my desire for better dialog and my ongoing research are both motivated by a desire (for me personally and for our society more broadly) to better understand and fix the problem.


So you are going to use absolute numbers vs. per capita when comparing killings by police? And I love the way that you explain non-white communities being targeted as "feelings" and not a historical constant as long as the US has existed.


My numbers were population adjusted (per-capita), and there's no dichotomy between "black communities have historically been and perhaps still are targeted" and "the media is amplifying the perception of the degree to which they are targeted". Thanks for pushing for me to be more clear. I really do appreciate it.


I think the current action of work was "it's bad PR". And just that (no notion of good and bad).

My personal take is:

Police is conceptually good, but in practice can be be anything from net bad to net good. And while you can give a label per country. Differences in the same country (and state) can be huge. If many bad cases exists there is dangerous failure in the system. While for view cases is most often a human failure. Lastly it's currently net bad to be associated with police for PR, independent of wether police is net good or net bad in the US.

Tbh. If I'm not wrong then the problems in the US are much deeper and systematic then "just" degrees of police violence. I still remember that since states used or still user a KI system to decide about bail cost and possibility which had a very clear bias against black people. Not because it was made intentionally with a bias but because the data of all cases of recent years was subtly but consistently biased against black people. And there are many other things wrong. Some not specific to black people but anyone which had not much Mony. Bring them all together and you have defacto systematic discrimination.

Edit: Spelling on a phone can be hard. ;)


> Police is conceptually good, but in practice can be be anything from net bad to net good.

I hear this a lot, but I have a really hard time imagining a functioning society with no police. A society can't function (pretty much by definition) without law and order and law and order has never existed apart from some policing apparatus (at least not for anything besides the simplest of civilizations). Our police are surely suboptimal, but I don't see any sense in the idea that we would be better off with no police at all.


Yes, through if you look at the role the police plays for some minority's, especially in some authoritarian or unstable countries they might be better off with no official police and (likely biased and not very good) self mad order keeping.

Through I don't think this is the case for any democratic country.

In the end bad police is normally better for larger societies then no police at all.

But at the same time bad police can do a lot additional damage. I.e. it keeps some sources of danger in check but at the same time adds a new source of danger.

Which is, I thing, one reason why some people believe they can do without police. The other reason is the thing below:

Law and order exists just fine in small isolated (but not simple) societies without police. Especially if the society mostly contains similar minded people.

Additionally you need neither law nor order in the modern sense for a small isolated but we'll working society. A common goal, respect for other people and implicit traditions can be enough in that case.

I also can thing of at least on model for a larger society working without police through some form of self policing and self survilence but that's much more distopian than the US system as far as I can tell.


It's a witch-hunt, plain and simple. Of course the police needs reform, demilitarization, higher standards, more accountability, and better educational requirements.

How you get any of those things by demonizing the police and making it a left-vs-right political issue is beyond me.


>How you get any of those things by demonizing the police and making it a left-vs-right political issue is beyond me.

These aren't new issues, practically speaking every attempt at less radical solutions hasn't worked and there have been many. In the end, the solution will be filled with political compromise and the weaker your starting position the more compromise there will be.


Surely the amount of police violence is less today than say, the early 1900s, when outright lynching was practically sponsored by the police? You deny that there has been any progress?


Society as a whole has changed and I'd argue police have changed less than the rest of society. Given the videos from the last few days it's clear that the police see themselves as immune to consequences even in the age of social media, cell phone cameras and widespread public opposition.


Sure, I agree to that absolutely. But how you get from "the police needs radical reform" to "we don't need police, abolish them" is a mystery to me.


> "we don't need police, abolish them

I think it's important to not conflate this movement with the defund movement, which merely points at the for example 6 billion dollar NYPD budget and says "is this really necessary?"

Furthermore, the "abolish" movement comes with its own subtleties, that don't necessarily mean "all cops gone tomorrow." An easy exercise to illustrate this to yourself: you can imagine that an alt-right 2a gunsrights activist wearing milita patches, body armor, and holding a rifle, while chanting "abolish the police," has a very different idea in their head of what that means from a liberal social-democrat holding a "black lives matter" sign and chanting "abolish the police," can't you?

Here's a good article: https://bostonreview.net/law-justice/derecka-purnell-what-do...


If I want a $200k salary I don't start the negotiations at $200k, I start them at $250k knowing that I will be argued down. Likewise, the fear of a radical approach drives those in power to actually implement a productive moderate approach. If all you have is the moderate approach than those in power will implement nothing of substance.


> How you get any of those things by demonizing the police and making it a left-vs-right political issue is beyond me.

I get this vibe as well. I want to interpret this charitably, but this seems antithetical to good faith participation. It feels like these people don't actually care about police brutality--any arbitrary partisan issue would suffice. Of course, I'm sure I'm misreading the situation (even though social psychology's most replicable studies predict exactly this sort of hyper-partisanship).


To work towards a solution requires understanding the problem. Understanding problems on this scale is very hard and it's much easier to say empty phrases that please your base.


Wait what? All the things you mentioned are table stakes. Till we have those things, there's effectively no police department. We have a bunch of empowered thugs roaming around unencumbered. We absolutely have to demonize (rather bring out their true color) in order to have any reasonable possibility of change.


How can these continuous variables be table stakes? That doesn't make sense. Type error.


> How you get any of those things by demonizing the police and making it a left-vs-right political issue is beyond me.

If not this way the, how do you get it? It's been hundreds of years. The U.S. is not immune to revolutions and revolutions have changed corrupt states for a very long time.


Study other countries which have less police violence? Incorporate more community involvement? Etc.

The idea that society doesn't need some sort of police force is so hilariously naive, I am in disbelief that serious people are suggesting it. Clearly they are from an extremely privileged background and never had to deal with living in poor areas.

The police absolutely need reform, but to pretend that they're more of a threat than criminals is factually false.


I'm sure it seems very alarming that people are 'demonizing the police' if you're new to this issue -- in which case this week has woken you up to something that's been a problem for people for a very very long time. But it is not a new issue, and people's fear and pain at it is genuine.

To some segments of society (who are not criminals), the police absolutely are more of a threat than criminals. When there are people who are terrified of getting pulled over by a cop in traffic because they know it might end up with them shot, even though they are in every way a model citizen, there is a deep problem.

Also, police as we know them are only a couple hundred years old. No one is saying there doesn't need to be people who fill most of the roles police do in modern society, they are saying the structure the police embody is rotten and can be replaced with better things.

And in my experience, it's the least privileged who take the hardest line on police abolition. Most 'privileged' people have, like yours, a lukewarm "some reform would be good" perspective.


I'm not new to this issue and I haven't "been woken up". As I just said, I actually have experience living in a crime-ridden area. Of course the police are a problem but again, the facts simply don't line up to your statements. The police killed 1,098 people in 2019.

https://mappingpoliceviolence.org

Compare that to the overall murder rate (not including other crimes.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_homicid...

> To some segments of society (who are not criminals), the police absolutely are more of a threat than criminals.

So getting rid of the police will have no effect whatsoever on the amount of criminals or crime? It will simply remain the same? That, again, is extremely naive.

As usual, the predominant political news topic overrides all rational thought. One week, we have a mass shooting and call for more police and less guns. The next, the police unjustly kill someone and everyone wants to abolish them entirely.


I like how you just completely ignore the part about how no one is saying "abolish the police and replace them with absolutely nothing we love crime!" You also lump various different debates all into one and assume the people you disagree with are in alignment with each other on all of them.

But it's the other side that's had its "rational thought" overridden. These are not a good faith arguments.


I'm not really sure what you're arguing for. It seemed to be that "the police are more of a threat than criminals", which is factually untrue, even today, before any so-called abolition of the police (which is what people are calling for.)

Also, I am not "on a side" and my original comment was calling out this attempt to make it a black-and-white issue. There are more than two options.


That the police are more of a threat to criminals to specific subsets of the population is absolutely, unquestionably, factually true. There is more than enough personal attestation to the experiences of black and queer people (including those who otherwise have privilege in some ways) in the US with police to say this with confidence.

They aren't to you perhaps.

And again, when people call for abolition of the police they are not talking about leaving a complete vacuum of every function they serve in society. They are calling for dismantling police departments completely and replacing their functions in society with other, more directly capable, social systems. You may want to actually read some of what's been written on the topic instead of having a knee jerk reaction that assumes the worst.


Any statistic is true of a small subset of the population. To use your example of black people:

Killed in 2018: Black or African American 2,925

Police killed 1,098 people in 2019. (I can't find exact numbers by race)

Again, I'm not arguing that there isn't police bias against minorities, that they aren't disportionally affected, or anything like this. But the facts simply show that the police kill less people than other people do, so it seems like a stretch to say they're more of a threat.

In regards to the other point: that may be the case, but that isn't what "abolish" and "dismantle" mean. I still don't see how you avoid some amount of armed protective personnel (to deal with shootings or robberies) which are basically police.


> But the facts simply show that the police kill less people than other people do

The total number of police is a fraction of the population of the united states. Do you really not understand even the most basic math or is this argument in bad faith?


I am more afraid of a police department that has no legal accountability than I am of a criminal.


It's not a witch hunt if there's an actual problem.


B and C probably both fit - police aren't inherently a net bad, but the policing system in america produces too many bad outcomes to lend blanket support to; it's arguably unethical to profit from such a problematic body of work.


This is what I don't get: saying they are theoretically good but problematic (without necessarily saying "police are a net bad"), and then saying it's unethical to do business with them for routine products.

If there is logic there, it's very subtle and I'm not getting it. Can you elaborate or compare it to a precedent?


The logic is that you don't have to do business with organizations you don't like (outside of some very specific situations).

If you think police need reform and cause harm, then ethically you get to decide for yourself if you're ok with exchanging services with them despite the issues.


This reasoning seems much like Communism vs communism;

communism, as a concept seems fair and just. Communism in practice by Russia or China has often benefitted a few.

police, as a concept of investigating and providing justice for crimes is a good thing; American Police, however, are showing fundamental misunderstandings of the rights of citizens and have seen reduced repercussions because of things like qualified immunity, asset forfeiture, or biases.

Another example of an attorney representing the people, is a good thing; but in US law (as opposed to European law) the DA sometimes seeks a conviction EVEN IF the DA has found exculpatory evidence (and doesn't have to share that evidence with the charged or their attorney)


(d) police will never reform unless we make it impossible to do their jobs.


The more obvious lever here seems to be money.

What you are suggesting is very round-about -- somehow slack is so useful that, by denying police its use, they will see the error of their ways?

Where does this end? We could also make them wear boots that are 5 pounds each, and use cars that randomly refuse to start 10% of the time. What is the point?


Obviously it's not just slack. Every company should be shamed out of doing business with them, imo.


It is more than likely C. At least according to a comment here by a former Slack employee.


In my view, the dominant perspective currently is (b) and (c).


sure, let's frame everything in good vs bad, that's not limiting at all


Are legal bullies a net good or bad?


I don’t get it. Are we now advocating that police is overall more of a force of evil than good? Legitimate question.


Dave Chappelle had a bit that went something like this:

>Honey, did you see this? - Apparently, the Police have been beating up negroes like hotcakes!

The special he mentioned this joke was aired in 2000. I bring this up because it highlights that for some people the police haven't been a force of good for a long time, and smartphones and social media are forcing people to confront that fact. There has been many arguments that people have always been making about how the police in this country been over militarized despite have far fewer training than actual soldiers, and these weapons built for use in the middle east are being used against the poor in the US.

IMO, it's not that the police is now more overall a force of "evil", is that there always been systemically corrupt, and you have just been to well off to notice.


"Racism is not getting worse, it's getting filmed." — Will Smith


That joke doesn't support the claim that police aren't a force for good, only that they have been a force for less good for blacks. Of course no one is better off by "abolishing the police" (unless you're a fan of a global dark age).


this argument always comes up and its complete and utter bullshit. Please think about what you say for more than a half second before you say it.

Police are not that effective, society does not completely collapse in their absence, and there needs to be a cost-benefit analysis done for even things that obviously seem good. When police murder and assault people regularly, using military equipment, that's a serious cost to take into consideration.

Overpolicing has serious consequences, and the evidence suggests it actually increases crime. When NYC cops stopped proactive policing, _serious crime decreased_.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/09/nyc-cops-did-a-work-...


> This argument always comes up and its complete and utter bullshit. Please think about what you say for more than a half second before you say it.

"I'm not here in good faith" is an even shorter way of saying the same thing.


I watched a video today of a 75-year old man being shoved by police for something that I can in no way defend. He fell backwards and blood started leaking from his head while he fell unconscious. No officer even attempted to render aid.

I have watched a video of a SWAT team breaking into a man's home and murdering him point-blank because he was holding a golf club for the crime of using naturally occurring plants and chemicals. No charges filed against any officer. Even though trained for combat, apparently their life was in mortal danger.

I have been personally threatened with arrest by police numerous times for the "criminal" offense of not following their exact instruction or being in an angry disposition for extremely minor offenses. If you want me to be peaceful, why are representatives of The State negotiating with me using violence?

Yes. This is evil.


I’m sure there’s truth to it, but there are 800k police officers in the US. Are you ready to condemn the entire profession because of a handful of bad experiences?


Imagine a handcuffed, nondangerous, nonviolent person is literally murdered by strangulation by a cop, and three cops stand right there watching and do nothing and don't even appear to be fazed by what's going on.

If I was the cop watching, I would kick that asshole in the face and try to stop him. I'm sure if you asked 99% of normal people they would agree. But three cops literally watched and did nothing.

Many cops do not partake in evil, but almost every single American cop has no issue with letting the bad cops be evil. And that makes them evil too.

And these aren't a few occurrences; they have been happening frequently for decades. We only see them more often because of smartphones and people only got so mad about this occurrence because Coronavirus means everyone has too much spare time.


> every single American cop

based on what?


Because it keeps happening for generations. The supposedly not-bad-apples have declined to clean house for at least 70 of policing in the USA.

At some point, decades ago, one must assume complicity.


Imagine thinking he was not dangerous and not violent.


>Are you ready to condemn the entire profession because of a handful of bad experiences?

1, maybe 2, deaths are a "handful". Repeated, country wide, incidents is far more than a "handful".

How many people should be executed, in your opinion, before you are ready to condemn the entire institution?


It's not so much the profession that's being condemned, more the institution.


> I don’t get it. Are we now advocating that police is overall more of a force of evil than good? Legitimate question.

Police, in the abstract, are still a force for good. But it's becoming clear to more and more people that the police we actually have commit an intolerable quantity of evil acts.


If your city had a ballot initiative to defund and disband the police department, would you vote for it?

EDIT: I'm a little confused about the downvotes. If the answer is "no", then what's the problem with police using slack? Isn't it just a basic tool for communication? Is selling them radios also bad? I should also say that my answer in my city would be "no".


As someone that lives in Oakland, I don't see much of a difference in terms of quality of life between when the police were beating people or killing people at BART stations compared to the extended amount of time we've lacked a police chief and the police as a whole basically disappeared.

I'm white, so the interaction with society during the completely corrupt OPD wasn't really ever a concern for me. I expect plenty of black residents are much happier now than they were then. I don't see MORE crime now than before, and I don't expect the police to ever show up if I call.

So, disbanding the police force isn't necessarily going to equate to complete and total anarchy. Most people don't break the law because we want to exist within the social contract that's established. Police can help enforce that contract, but they're not strictly required.


I agree that police are the last line of defense rather than the first. Many places would be quite peaceful without police, though it might depend on the timeframe. Bad actors can do an awful lot of damage, and you really don't want Hobbesian traps to develop[1]. Once they do, you'll start to have very fond memories of the police.

If disbanding police forces makes it very far in the political discourse, then gun control will be dead as a concept in the U.S. Even felons (who have served their time) have some rights, and without police to protect them, it would be inhumane to deny them self-defense. It's arguably inhumane even with police.

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


It's pretty disingenuous to suggest that there's only a binary choice about how to deal with this problem. If you look at the policies of a site like Campaign Zero [1] you'll see that there's a lot of options that can help.

1 - https://www.joincampaignzero.org/


All of those measures are in place in Oakland. Still corralled protestors into a confined space and tear gassed them for over ten minutes while preventing them from running. I guess that's not on the list though.


I'm just trying to figure out why it's bad that police use slack. If we don't want police to be able to communicate, why not just disband them?

Note that I'm not suggesting we disband them. I am just trying to follow the logic.


Sure. We disband the existing police and make a new force based on Peelian principles. After all, maintaining societal peace is valuable.

This is pretty common in lots of things so it's pretty easy to understand. You have an aim you want to achieve (peace), you have a tool that does not achieve that (current police), so you discard the tool and get a new tool.


I really hope you don’t actually think the real world works this way. Police are not a ’tool’ in a vacuum, but rather a massively complex interconnected system influenced by thousands of different external forces. Changing the ’rules’ for them would do nothing.


So you say, but you have no evidence reform is impossible. Whereas nations with police forces not built like authoritarian staatspolizei have lower uses of force, violence, and abuse.

According to HN, everything is impossible. In reality? Going to space didn't have to cost a billion a launch, electric cars weren't impossible, and we can have fibre internet.

For every one of these things, the HN gestalt is that "they're a complex interconnected system influenced by thousands of different external forces". Welp, guess what. Alexander's cut the Gordian Knot. It's clear now that everything is possible and y'all are just hyper risk averse.


> So you say, but you have no evidence reform is impossible. Whereas nations with police forces not built like authoritarian staatspolizei have lower uses of force, violence, and abuse.

> According to HN, everything is impossible. In reality? Going to space didn't have to cost a billion a launch, electric cars weren't impossible, and we can have fibre internet.

Not exactly. It's more like the status quo that serves them is impossible to change because they don't want it changed.

Stereotypical HN likes space and electric cars and hates anything that may disrupt their comfortable sociopolitical station.


You're the one who needs to prove that literally the only change needed in turning America into a peaceful nation is reforming the police code. I thought you guys had - just as examples off the top of my head - nationwide gun, drug and mental health "epidemics", but I guess those are completely moot now.


> If your city had a ballot initiative to defund and disband the police department, would you vote for it?

It would depend on the specifics. I can definitely imagine a situation where the "company culture" of a department is so corrupt that replacement would be preferable to a destined-to-fail reform attempt.

Some kind of law enforcement is necessary, but no specific police organization is.


I'm not sure I've seen a single person suggesting that. People want change not an abolishment of policing as a concept.


Minneapolis city Council has a current measure to disband the police department, and do new departments to carry the duties of the police - social workers for health and wellness checks, security for events, animal handling... And to only use the armed response units when life or property is at risk and deadly force may be required.


I would.


That is what's becoming apparent right now, yes. I was more of an "a few bad apples" person until this week. But they're making it extremely clear that as a faction they have no regard for anything or anyone but their own power and bravado.


I mean "a few bad apples spoil the bunch" is the full phrase, so... I guess that's what we're all seeing.


Incidentally this is literally true. Spoiling apples release ethylene gas, a plant hormone which functions as a ripening agent, accelerating the breakdown of other nearby apples.


And even those that aren't "spoiled" (in the sense of committing atrocities themselves) still tolerate and provide cover for those who do. It's an entire culture of suck.


Touche


Yep. The police seem to be caught in us-vs-them tribalism where police are the us, and them is the citizenry that they are supposed to serve.


Yeah, and then they also manage to convince themselves (and their supporters) that they're the victims, because they do dangerous work/their colleagues get shot, and the "they" they are facing are all dangerous Jason Bourne-esque assassins...


I recently have been learning how deadly Policing is in comparison to other jobs and it came as a surprise to me: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/01/28/chart...


In reality it's an absolute dogshit job. The hours are long, there's a very real chance of PTSD or bodily harm, and they haze you worse than bootcamp. LAPD has a problem recruiting since everyone who is level headed enough to make a good cop sees it rightly as this horrible job.


They can fix some of that on their own and they choose not to.


You can fix a lot of it but at the end of the day, no one likes standing on your feet directing traffic for hours in a black uniform on a hot day, or having to pin down an aggressive drunk at 3am. LAPD functions in a lot of ways as a bouncer would, but with more risk of contracting bloodborne disease. It's just a not a very pleasant line of work no matter what you do or how you reform the system, and that's why they can't recruit.


This principle incriminates the protesters just as much.

There is widespread rationalization and support for the "few bad apples" perpetrating violence/looting/burning/rioting. There is very little condemnation. Lots of quoting MLK Jr. "rioting is the voice of the unheard" and yet MLK Jr. certainly did not practice or advocate violence.

If the protesters can't regulate their own bad apples then how can they judge police for not being able to?

Currently, this is two groups of unethical idiots fighting with each other. With each group's extremists serving to justify the other's extremists.

The outcome is easily predicted. Either the protesters take the ethical high ground or they lose.


> If the protesters can't regulate their own bad apples then how can they judge police for not being able to?

Police are hired by a system, trained on constitutional law, trained in law enforcement technique, take an oath to enforce the law (including the constitution and the public trust), are paid money for their on duty actions, and have a system of discipline and internal review.

What the protestors have in common right now is that people showed up at a place and at a time. Protestors have a right to assemble, they inherently have little right to inhibit an anarchist from protesting at the same location without breaking laws or even a holier than thou ethics. That the press have captured intentional subversion by white supremacists, boogaloos, and even police furthers this false dichotomy.


It's not a false dichotomy. It's an ethical double standard. If you don't live by your own ethics, how can you judge someone else for not living up to them as well?

Police are just people. Protesters are just people. Every one of them has to decide what they will and will not abide.

It's not a matter of protesters not being able to stop the extremists among them. They're not even trying. They don't even want to.

The problem is that most people (including here in these comments) are rationalizing the actions of these extremists, hence the misapplied MLK Jr. quote. This is an implicit endorsement.

A black police officer was killed by extremists. There is serious violence and burning by extremists. These acts are being implicitly endorsed. In the same way Trump implicitly endorses the behavior of his movement's extremists, by not vehemently denouncing it and distancing himself from it.

It doesn't require training or an oath to condemn extremists and seek to exclude them from your movement. It just requires principle.


Unless you're one of those people with interesting beliefs about George Soros, no one is hiring, training and arming the protesters.

Anyone can become a protester by showing up with a mask and a brick in a sock, while the police force is an actual organisation with rules and plans.

Your comparison is very flawed.


I choose to not care about the looters because I know that if they get caught, we won't be giving them a paid vacation then clear them of all wrongdoing.


Because one of those groups has a legal monopoly on violence, de facto power, budgets, training, and an incredibly loud political voice.


With great power comes great responsibility. The protesters, even the bad ones, don't have tanks and near-universal legal immunity.


There is very little condemnation. Lots of quoting MLK Jr. "rioting is the voice of the unheard" and yet MLK Jr. certainly did not practice or advocate violence.

And they beat him, demonized him and arrested him. More recently the President and his supporters called Kaepernick “a son of a bitch” when he was peacefully protesting and the wider society just yawned.

It’s kind of hypocritical for the country with the largest military in the world to say that violence doesn’t achieve anything. Peaceful protest and singing Kum Bah Yah didn’t work.

The US doesn’t mind collateral damage to achieve its goals as long as the damage is in a foreign country.


> This principle incriminates the protesters just as much.

Yeah but you know, one group _took oath to protect and serve_ and the other didn't.

It's like when Trump say some racist shit VS when your drunk uncle says the same thing, you can't put both sides to the same standards.

Everybody condemn rioters, but for some reasons a lot of people, including the president and many officials, manage to rationalise police brutality and if you don't see that as the obvious main issue you're most likely in the wrong.

> The outcome is easily predicted. Either the protesters take the ethical high ground or they lose.

This is the kind of thoughts I had when I was 15, I don't even know what to reply to that anymore.

______

Also, why do people keep creating new accounts to post these very poorly thought comments ? Don't you have the balls to attach your speech to your semi public internet presence or are you just trolling ?


Also, why do people keep creating new accounts to post these very poorly thought comments ? Don't you have the balls to attach your speech to your semi public internet presence or are you just trolling ?

I think it's fair for someone on the fence, or visiting the conversation from the other side, to comment on the crimes of both sides without fear of being personally insulted on HN.

We can condemn the police and hold them to the much higher bar they should be held to, and also condemn whatever looting and vandalism is occurring. "Two wrongs" etc.


>We can condemn the police and hold them to the much higher bar they should be held to, and also condemn whatever looting and vandalism is occurring. "Two wrongs" etc.

I do condemn both, but you have to remember that one caused the other and one is a matter of your country becoming an authoritarian police state, not the other.

I'd take temporary riots over permanent US style law enforcement abuse. In a perfect world I'd be happy with none of the two but were not in a perfect world.


If someone creates a new account in order to make one post based on a screamingly obvious fallacy they deserve what they get.


Just because you claim it to be false does not make it false. You could be wrong.

So what exactly does someone "deserve" for expressing a contrary opinion?


I claimed it to be fallacious, not false. Your trolling game is laughably weak.


"This is the kind of thoughts I had when I was 15, I don't even know what to reply to that anymore."

And this is the kind of insult I used until I was 12. Either address the argument or don't. Bless us lesser beings with your wisdom.

"Don't you have the balls to attach your speech to your semi public internet presence"

Pretty easy if all of your opinions are borrowed from others.

If you actually consider every issue for yourself then you're going to need to have discussions/disagreements.

And in modern "leftist" culture it's absolutely not permitted to disagree on certain issues. There is a correct way of thinking and any deviation makes you an enemy. You're either onboard wholesale for everything (making you a second class "ally" if you're out of the relevant racial/gender group) or an enemy.

I want to live in a good world as much as anyone. I have no belief in the superiority of any race or sex. I absolutely would have supported MLK Jr. and I'm fairly certain of this because my parents did and I have a lot in common with them.

And yet I find myself dismayed by the whacky thinking that has infected part of American culture. There is a new world in which racism isn't racism if it's aimed at certain racial groups and violence isn't violence if it's against police or certain racial groups. Permanently destroying people's lives is okay now too, as long as they made some kind of mistake related to a hot issue.

This stuff is insane and totally counter productive. The majority of people are too smart and good to buy into this perverted worldview. Most people are never going to come around to the worldview where it's not-so-bad to kill a police officer that is responding to a break in.

What we should hope to see is a separation process, where the extremist crazy people and ideas are abandoned.

There seems to be a hostage/hijacking situation, where the majority are being cowed/controlled by the extremists, dooming the movements to failure.

An enemy of racial equality couldn't organize better sabotage than what the people involved are seemingly doing on their own.


> Either address the argument or don't

I just did and you don't seem to have noticed. Protester never took an oath, the police and the president did, that's all there is to know, stop acting like the riots are the main issue in today's America, that's a pretty small hill to die. Do you think nation wide riots appear out of thin air? Don't you think it's a symptom of a much deeper issue? Do you think people go out everyday to get gassed and beat up for fun and giggles?

There is always a good rule of thumb to estimate on which side of the fight people are, look at the group which has nothing to lose anymore, that's most likely the one which is right.

> This stuff is insane

You know what's insane? Seeing a man being executed by the police on television. Look at the history of black Americans, they never earned anything by sitting in the corner and licking the white man boot. Riots are always a necessary evil.

The only hijacking of the situation I see is people like you trying to make the debate about "is rioting good or bad?" instead of the hundreds of other question you could ask like "why is the president calling for 'domination' of every protests", "why are we seeing hundreds of videos of people being abused by law enforcement?"

> Pretty easy if all of your opinions are borrowed from others.

Man, in what kind of world do you live if you think you have original ideas pure of any influence... Give me a break

> I absolutely would have supported MLK Jr

But what are you doing today? The opposite. It's easy to say "I would have been against slavery back in the days" yeah ok sure, most people say that, most people weren't, and of the one who were most didn't do anything

It's the usual double standard "Tiananmen Square protesters were so brave, the Arab spring revolutions were so beautiful, the end of slavery was good, &c." yet when it happens under your own nose you have officials asking for "no quarters" and send the army in the street to maim and kill

> where the extremist crazy people

Yeah these extremist crazy people asking for the end of systemic racism, police abuse and the death of unarmed people in the hands of the police, they are such vile beasts...

I don't even understand where half of your rant is trying to go, it doesn't really seem to be about the same topic as your original comment so I'll leave it at that.


One group is organized hierarchically, very well funded by the state, socially lionized to an extreme degree, invested with enormous legal powers, and provided with a vast array of paramilitary equipment including armored vehicles and helicopters.

The other is a loosely networked group of malcontents and opportunists with a relatively low regard for commercial property rights and capitalism.

It's disingenuous to equate them, and something tells me you know this and set up a throwaway account to protect your main from the entirely predictable barrage of criticism.


The ethics are the issue. If protesters were unable to stop the extremists, that would be one thing. They're unwilling and uninterested in stopping them, and that is the ethical issue.

This is exactly the same reason police officers are ethically in the wrong. They could decide that "enough is enough" and push out the "bad apples" among them. Instead, they do nothing. That is their ethical failing.

The protesters (and their supporters) are doing the exact same thing, ethically. They refuse to even attempt to push out the extremists, as evidenced by the widespread rationalization and minimization of their actions.

These are very basic ethical dilemmas. Do you or don't you call out and punish bad actors among your group?

Ancient tribes were generally okay with anyone of their tribe committing any atrocity as long as it was against a member of a foreign tribe.

Civilized people condemn and punish even members of their own tribe and do it even when the victim is a member of a foreign tribe.


A BLM co-founder is on NPR advocating to "defund the police." "It’s not possible for the entity of law enforcement to be a compassionate, caring governmental agency in black communities. That’s not the training, that’s not the institution."[0]

There's a continuum of what "defund" means, but the idealists are pushing for actual, no-hyperbole defunding and disbanding. Police cannot be made good. They believe would be easier to reduce crime some other way than authorized state violence, and the funds could be redirected to those ways.

[0] https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2020/06/03/black-lives-matte...


In response to persistent injustice by police, there are really only a few options:

(a) Get used to it.

(b) Get ready to join up. More officers who care about justice mean that it's easier to get rid of the unjust officers.

(c) Get ready to defund/disband, or at least reduce the scope of, the police department.

It doesn't shock me that (c) is being mentioned. It's probably a bluff, but might have enough credibility to change the power dynamics.


The current way that police are chosen, trained, and managed seems to have a corrosive effect on members of the police force. Option (b) with a sprinkling of (c) seems best, but it's clear the status quo in depts is not resulting in policing that is positive for the community as a whole.

One would expect that if the system were set up right, it should a) find people who would police well b) setup systems to ensure as few abuses as possible happen c) encourage the good cops to push out the bad cops.

It's pretty clear that it's more than the people themselves that are broken. The system isn't set up to result in good policing.


B) It is easier to pull someone down than it is to pull someone up


It worked for the country of Georgia. They disbanded their entire national police force, and violent crime immediately went down.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_enforcement_in_Georgia_(co...

This page says Georgia has 42k police officers.

I think the disbandment you mention was clearing out old corrupt officers and replacing them with new recruits, which is mentioned there. Not actually getting rid of the police.


They do now. Because yes, they did re-establish the police force later. But step one was completely eliminating the existing force. 100% reset.


https://old.reddit.com/r/TwoXChromosomes/comments/gwxsl0/an_...

https://old.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/gx20pi/lapd_shoots_ho...

https://old.reddit.com/r/PublicFreakout/comments/gwzrap/this...

https://old.reddit.com/r/ActualPublicFreakouts/comments/gwvk...

After seeing things like this (hell, these are some of the tamer videos I've seen in the past week), I'm not sure how anybody can seriously still support the police. Police as a concept is absolutely necessary in a civilized society. But the police that the US has? They're nothing but state-sanctioned terrorists.


I think I'm losing my mind.

https://www.investigativepost.org/2020/06/05/police-unit-res...

> “Fifty-seven [officers] resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,” said John Evans, PBA president.

> The announcement comes one day after two members were suspended without pay when a video surfaced, showing the officers pushing over a 75-year-old protestor, causing injury. The BPD Internal Affairs unit has opened an investigation into the incident.


All that imagery only proves that the cops aren't racist and they treat everyone equally.


> police is overall more of a force of evil than good?

I’ve watched journalists arrested and senior citizens bowled over and horrific horrific force used against children on TV and then seen how police chiefs and their lieutenants excuse and deny it in bare defiance of the documented truth and have concluded that, at the very least, evil forces in the police are unconstrained.

Until we see evidence of that constraint, it seems irresponsible to add force multipliers to the equation.


I don't know how you could look at the events of the past week and come to any other conclusion.


Someone can be quite concerned by police violence and brutality, but still view them as essential for a stable society. (The advocates of reforming police organizations go in this bucket)


Indeed, but they've had many years in which to deliver and have manifestly failed to do so. Reform should of course be the first recourse when you discover a problem, I don't bulldoze my house if if I discover a leaky pipe or a crack in the wall. If you know there are massive persistent problems and you keep saying 'now's not the time, let's reform this slowly and carefully' then at a certain point you're just procrastinating in hope that the problem goes away.


> Indeed, but they've had many years in which to deliver and have manifestly failed to do so

This is highly dependent on locality. I don't claim to follow broader national trends, but certainly things in the Bay Area have improved significantly in the last 2 decades.

e.g. SJPD has seen encouraging reductions in use of force over the last five years (https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/05/29/as-police-decry-georg...)


That's nice, but then why did San Jose police mount such a violent response at the demonstration last week, with one officers running around yelling things like 'let's get this motherfucker' and 'shut up bitch'? When called on to respond as a department they defaulted to gassing protesters and then citing the violent response as a post-facto justification for doing so.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/05/31/lets-get-this-motherf...


Police are suffering from a PR disaster of their own making. Every day they present more examples of why they cannot be trusted.

They seem hellbent in making sure they are the villains.



It is a recognition that their reputation is a negative and citing them is /not/ what you want to do when trying to promote your image.


If you are of a certain color, yes, they are net evil. If you care about equality in society, then it's net evil for everyone. Till systemic racism by police ends, they cannot be seen as net positive. Maybe some police departments are better than others and are a net positive but predominantly they are not.


Are you saying police should receive unconditional support and praise up until the moment where their net moral score is exactly zero?

Or can we both believe that police is net good but falls far short of how good they should be? And that they deserve to feel the heat for it.


This is not a new attitude. The black community in the US has largely felt this way for decades.


The legal system relies on police for testimonies, carrying out warrants for evidence, among other things. Because of this the legal system protects them unless the public is outrage.

Right now, police are legally allowed to bully the communities they serve. Not all police do, but the problem is normal citizens have no recourse to hold them accountable when they do. The system in place is evil for allowing such behavior to go unpunished and needs to be changed.


Coming from a country where police has been rendered completely toothless by the same policies some people in this country are trying to promote which led to literally lawless areas, I am completely against this movement that's currently for some reason trying to demonize cops.

I do not care if you're black, white, asian, gay, lesbian or anything - if you break the law, threaten a police officer, or simply ask completely irresponsibly around them, you should be punished appropriately.

What I DO agree with is perhaps greater transparency from the police. This is a problem that can be fixed. Anyone wishing to defund or even abolish the police clearly has lived a coddled life for way too long and doesn't know what happens when police can't do their jobs.

Be smart and don't let poisonous politics cloud your judgement - police are nowhere near as bad as some media would love to make you believe.


> punished appropriately

This is exactly what the protests are about, that police are using disproportionate amounts of force, and it seems to be heavily influenced by race.

If you break the law, you're entitled to a fair trial and a fair punishment. Handing someone a fake $20 bill doesn't warrant death. Hell, I've gotten caught speeding multiple times, I can't imagine that you'd argue that it's worth an execution or even a beating. I also jaywalk all the time.

And people aren't getting their opinion of the police from the media, a lot of this anti-police sentiment is spurred by firsthand videos from protestors on the ground.

Not to mention that protesting is protected by the constitution and is a cornerstone of our democracy.


it is also not the job or the prerogative of cops to punish anybody FFS.

They have a VERY special role in society where they are authorized to use violence against other citizens. This role absolutely does not include any form of punishment or beating up people because they feel like it.

Unfortunately police needs way stricter rules, monitoring and accountability than what they have today in many countries.


I think the police should protect and help the people. This often doesn't work out. At least in my country I think they could do that better if they had more funding. But from what I gather about police in the US they quite often punish people. I don't think that's okay, but I also don't think that cutting their funding would help with that.


>I am completely against this movement that's currently for some reason trying to demonize cops.

I think you could dismiss systemic police brutality against minorities a little less frivolously.


It would be interesiting to see this "cost side" of police reform. How was police rendered toothless? What did happen as a result?


Why is punishment the only way?


Post in question: https://archive.is/iCVq0

(Sorry to post twice but think this is relevant as a root level comment)


Link looks broken. Getting 403 Forbidden.


This is caused by using DNS over https


Same here. Why is it caused by DNS over https?


Because the archive.is operator returns bad results when queried by Cloudflare. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19828702


Any idea when this pissing match will be resolved?

I spend 8-12 hours online every day and have only ever seen this issue with that one website.


Have switched from Slack to discord and our team has been happy.


I've used Discord for years, and admin a small community server.

With the new video chat features, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a B2B offering soon. I certainly hope that they do so: their platform is mature, and more useful than Zoom and Slack.

Server mutes. Local volume. Push to talk. Krisp noise cancellation. Non-hostile UX. Non-threaded conversation.

In Zoom, when the presenter shares their screen, you're forced into full screen, which disrupts my note taking flow. The meeting chat's also a joke. Sure, Zoom is a useful FaceTime alternative for Enterprise, but it isn't good for collaboration. It's very self centered.

Zoom also took the interesting stance of letting FBI/Police have access to user conversations. Discord doesn't have E2E, but they did tweet a post of solidarity.

/rant


What benefits do you find that discord offers over Slack?


1.Cost 2) Real time voice chat is a game changer 3) Better User Management


The last thing any company needs right now is the media digging up an old blog post/Tweet of them praising the police, so can't blame them. I wouldn't be surprised if the post magically comes back up when things are back to normal.


After 9/11, there were a surge of recruits joining the military because they felt it was their patriotic duty.

In the wake of George Floyd et al, will people start joining the police force in an attempt to reform it from within?


Possibly somewhat ironically (and hypocritically?), the CEO seems very anti-police based on twitter:

https://twitter.com/stewart/status/1268749287615156230

https://twitter.com/stewart

Disclaimer: I am a happy user of slack and do not have an opinion on the blog post


I'm guessing the CEO is not anti-money.


Also, he probably cant legally not let police departments use it, it's publically traded.


Largely a company can choose their customers; they’re not forced to transact with anyone. There are some exceptions of course, largely based on the reasons for not transacting. Being publicly traded doesn’t really matter here directly.


I'm curious, do any kind of discrimination laws apply here?


They do, and that's what I was getting at when I used the qualifier "largely".


Why would being publicly traded keep them from choosing their customers?


I assumed that it's his/their fiduciary duty to maximize profit, and if the current excutive team doesnt do that, they will be replaced with a team that will.


Execs have wide latitude to do their jobs, and considering the current circumstances I could see them deciding that declining to take police as customers would be better for the company long term.

This would be a very defensible decision legally (not a lawyer). You're right that it could plausibly lead to some sort of shareholder rebellion, but I'd be surprised.


Here's Amazon making a similar decision: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23482406


It's possible he's had a change of heart over the last few years regarding the subject. I guess only his future actions will show his real view.


Wanting psychopathic abusive cops to be fired doesn't mean you are anti-police...


Nice to see our Elite laugh at people losing jobs because they belong to certain profession while 40 million are on Unemployment.

Great Job Slack!


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