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Bottled-water purchase leads to night in jail for U.Va. student (timesdispatch.com)
80 points by harold 1367 days ago | hide | past | web | 43 comments | favorite

Expect to see more of this with the systematic destruction of the 4th amendment.

The U.S. domestic policing agencies have become militarized in both tactics and weaponry. There is no middle ground anymore. Either they are in full battle-rattle complete with assault vehicles, automatic weapons and drones or undercover in plainclothes. Any reasonable person in her situation would be confused and scared beyond their wits, not even considering the imprisonment aspect.

It's pretty GD scary - how are we supposed to identify the good guys?

This is why the War on Drugs is so evil -- it's being used as the foundation of this destruction.

>It's pretty GD scary - how are we supposed to identify the good guys?

The bad guys are the ones initiating aggression - it doesn't matter what uniform they wear (or non-uniform).

The 4th amendment is being destroyed because other amendments are also being weakened that would normally protect it. The 1st and 2nd amendment could easily protect this shocking situation from occurring. The 1st allows us the free speech to inform the public of what's happening. In terms of the 2nd amendment - if this woman had been carrying a pistol in her purse (which is common in the South) to protect her from being overpowered, she would have a chance to defend herself. Just one incident of a citizen defending themselves would see the immediate halting of these kinds of thuggish tactics.

"Just one incident of a citizen defending themselves would see the immediate halting of these kinds of thuggish tactics."

That turns out not to be the case with our modern "the most important thing is to get home safe" law enforcement officers who replaced old fashioned peace officers, and the prosecutors and judges who support them, for there are a lot of incidents where this has happened. Here are two particularly heinous ones where Southerners defended themselves in no-knock raids, first got killed and had drugs planted to make it look good, the other was sentenced to death, and eventually plead to manslaughter (making him a felon), the 10 year sentence was less than time served:



This is one of the greatest fears of the armed citizen; this case in Arizona is a typical example with the normal outcome, dead citizen (his rifle on safe, he hadn't even made the shoot/no shoot decision or had decided the latter), nothing happens to the cops: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose_Guerena_shooting

(Well, I suppose the most common example is puppycide, tangible in a way that most raids aren't, but that's not what you're talking about.)

I know this has been beaten to death here, but I am starting to see a disturbing trend coming out of US policing/justice system. That trend is the laying on of multiple charges when someone pisses off the authorities.

It's one thing when the federal prosecutors do it (Swartz, Brown et al) and now even low level enforcers are doing it.

Is this what I have to look forward to if I ever return to the country of my birth? I cross the road at the wrong time, the arresting officer takes a dislike to me and adds 3 extra charges to the jaywalking charge which ends up with me spending 3 years in prison because I was running late for an appointment?

I've tried to stay out of these HN NSA and other political stories, but there is one thing I've noticed as a business consultant: the attitude and beliefs of top management always end up filtering down to the rank and file employees.

Is this what is happening to the US justice system? Will you one day walk into the local DMV get into an argument and end up with 15 (technically correct) charges against you, bankrupt and in prison?

15 is an exaggeration, but yes.

For more details, including a good thesis on what drives this, an explanation for why you can have a dramatic drop in national crime rates without layoffs in what I've taken to calling the police-judicial complex, read this book, Arrest-Proof Yourself: An Ex-Cop Reveals How Easy It Is for Anyone to Get Arrested, How Even a Single Arrest Could Ruin Your Life, and What to Do If the Police Get in Your Face (http://www.amazon.com/Arrest-Proof-Yourself-Ex-Cop-Reveals-A...), and decide if you want to return to this sort of environment.

This was reified for me when I retired to the SW Missouri town I was born and raised in and an officer played a game of chicken with his vehicle and my body. From my time on the East Coast I was an experienced enough pedestrian to see that he would barely miss me and stared him down, but I'm pretty sure this was designed to get the average local to run, "crazy cop trying to kill me!", which would generate a fleeing an officer arrest statistic for him per the book.

Why do you pull a gun on an underage person buying beer? (Especially when she's not even buying beer?)

ABC agents are mainly a police force to stop college kids from drinking. They are armed like police officers, but their primary mission is a lost cause.

Good use of taxpayer dollars.

Edit: redundancy

I don't know anything about the Virginia ABC's habits, but if California's ABC had officers like this[1], it wouldn't surprise me at all to read an article about them behaving like this. They seem to see themselves as holy warriors defending society from the inevitable total breakdown that would result if people are allowed to drink.

[1] California ABC has "investigators", but from what I can tell, "street" enforcement is all done by or with local law enforcement.

how would they have known she was underage, yet not known that it was bottled water not alcohol? Why would it be appropriate in any situation to pull a weapon for a possible underage drinking charge? There is too much about this that doesn't add up - there should be an investigation.

The obvious question being - who gave these morons a gun instead of a flashlight?

The question we would ask after that is who gave those morons a flashlight instead of a nothing.

They pull you over any time you look like you might be underage. It's bullshit.

I liked Hacker News better when it was a place for sharing and discussing start-up based news.

Not to say that these other types of articles are not worthy of reading and sharing. But I can get them elsewhere.

Since "Hackers" have often have an attitude of disobedience, it's not surprising that articles related to law and abuse of power are considered news worthy.

This isn't "Startup News".

I think you misunderstand the meaning of the term "Hacker" in the context of this site. From Google:

Hacker: 1. An enthusiastic and skillful computer programmer or user. 2. A person who uses computers to gain unauthorized access to data.

It sounds to me like you are confusing the second definition with the first. This is a site for people to find the the most relevant news regarding technology and anything else that people with such interest would find intellectually stimulating. The article has nothing to do with technology but does fit into the intellectually stimulating category if people here are interested in it but do not confuse that with this being a place to discuss "disobedience" as you put it.

You can think of this site as being "Technology Enthusiast News" with startups being one of the primary focuses of discussion.

I used the definition of "hacker" the creator of this site gives: http://www.paulgraham.com/gba.html

To be fair, it used to be.

You can find endless streams of startup gossip elsewhere as well. Just saying.

Can you recommend a particular site?

Yah. That stuff should be here, don't you think?

I agree. I have no problem with the occasional political article highlighting some issue that might be of interest to the community but 60% of the stories on the front page have nothing to do with technology. This story isn't even relevant outside of Virginia.

I can sort of see the relationship to the greater security/liberties debate.

But, ultimately this is a story about a series of escalating mistakes by both sides based on assumptions they were making about the other actions.

It may be the fact that I have been in the parking lot in question, have dealt with VA ABC before, or have too many friends who are Cops. But, ultimately this reads as mistakes were made by all sides, predictable consequences, and ultimately a relatively reasonable resolution with no real relevance to the greater security/liberty debate.

Tommy from cityswig.com here - been dealing with Virginia ABC for about 2 years now, and their uncooperative behavior and insane bureaucracy essentially killed any chance we had to survive as a company. Not only that - but stories like this are the norm in Virginia. They're in constant over-reach mode.

I wish we had "https" for real life, a way to know someone really is who they say they are. Not so much personally, but more an immediately verifiable organizational identification for a person.

I always thought badges were a weird way for police to self-identify, considering a thug could make something that passes as a badge, especially in a dark in-your-face encounter like this. And you're supposed to do exactly what they say without regard to protecting yourself or fleeing, for fear of being charged with felonies (or worse). That just seems like a system that wasn't well thought out.

The article said these women called 911 to verify these guys really were cops; that to me is an extremely smart move given the amount of terror they must have been going through.

This is just wrong. No public apology? There should be a lawsuit. And the damages should come out of the paychecks and pensions of the "agents" not public funds.

Bunch of fucking amateurs. You have six plainclothes officers "on patrol" for minors in possession of alcohol. That's absurd. I go to college in a city where the cops understand that underage drinking is a thing and won't hassle you unless you're asking for it.

Would a retaliatory lawsuit be out of the question here? Much as I dislike the idea of suing police officers for doing their jobs, she should at least be able to sue the state.

I wonder what this has to do with technology or start-ups. It's a valuable read, but it belongs elsewhere.

I thought it was yet another of those articles with an inflammatory but ultimately misleading headline designed to get on Buzzfeed and Reddit. Boy, was I wrong. The story was actually worse than the headline.

Police our out of control.

At least they dropped the charges. Whatever misgivings I have about how the whole thing went down, at least they dropped the charges once things were straightened out.

She probably was, technically, guilty of eluding police and such, but I'm glad they did not go through with that. I'm sure she's not happy about spending a night in jail, but just as I give her credit for mistakes in the heat of the moment, I'll give the police the same.

I imagine it's pretty easy to be "technically, guilty of eluding police and such" when you haven't done anything wrong and half dozen people in street clothes come barreling at you screaming and jumping on the hood of your car.

Frankly, if half a dozen trained officers are so afraid to rationally approach a sorority girl who might have beer on her, then maybe these fuck-ups need to be fired. Paint the picture for me, where what they did would have provoked a rational response from the girl.

Did I mention they did this because they thought a sorority girl might have beer? Beer! Context is everything, and these people don't have it.

> I imagine it's pretty easy to be "technically, guilty of eluding police and such" when you haven't done anything wrong and half dozen people in street clothes come barreling at you screaming and jumping on the hood of your car.

Yes, but in other cases, they've turned this technical guilt into actual guilt by charging them. That's why I'm glad they didn't do that this time.

And your opinion of the "cold blooded" mistakes? That is to say planning to swarm a couple of young college kids without any clear identification that they were officials? This type of swarming is always loud confusing and chaotic. All on purpose. The goal is to overwhelm and induce a "deer in the headlights" situation in the people approached. This girl just happened to have good survival instincts and did what she could to get out of a situation that was designed to activate those instincts. At the very very very least, those officers should be punished for entrapment. I honestly think she would never have tried to get away if they had calmly approached and showed proper identification without the drama.

But hey, they are just doing their job right? If something bad happens, they as fully sentient beings can't be held responsible for their own actions, because job.

My idea of "cold blooded" mistakes are the other cases where they did something like this and then charged them. For those, I have no sympathy whatsoever--those are flatly ridiculous. I don't think this was planned or well-thought out, though, on any side, so I would not classify this as a "cold blooded" mistake by anyone.

Every case of running from the cops could be considered "entrapment" in the narrow sense that the person could not have fled from the police without being chased by them. As such, I do not find it sufficient inducement to support any such claim.

That said, I would certainly acquit anyone whose only crime was fleeing or "resisting" arrest--with no actual underlying crime, I would be highly suspicious of any account given. I am sympathetic to the idea that those are BS charges often added as padding. If there is no evidence of injury to one of the cops, I would consider any charge of "resisting" arrest to be likely BS.

But that's why I support the people who did the right thing and dropped the charges. Cops are not inherently different from anyone else: they make mistakes just like we all do. The big problem is that their screwups cost people more.

Wait, so the entire training program, which is about how to shock and stun your opponents was not thought out or planned? No wonder we spend so much on law enforcement - even their training programs are accidental transmissions of knowledge and tactics.

I do honestly appreciate your point of view though: the mental contortions you are able to go through are quite impressive!

> Wait, so the entire training program, which is about how to shock and stun your opponents was not thought out or planned?

The reasoning behind that is to reduce the risk of death or serious injury. In spite of the fright, you will note that nobody got injured in this case, frightening as it may have been.

What is your solution, exactly?

To be fair to her, these were agents who were not uniformed, who (it seems) did not sufficiently identify themselves, who surrounded the girl and her friend, who drew a firearm, who tried to break their windows. If I was in that situation I would attempt to drive off as well.

absolutely - if I had been armed I would have tried to defend myself - unless there are major parts of the story missing I can't see any justification for their actions

  Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman
  read Daly's account and said it was factually consistent.

This could've easily gone wrong. What if they had a gun in their car? A knife? A gram of pot? What if there was a minor injury to the agents?

All for a 20 year old drinking beer?

Indeed, it could have. That's why I'm glad it didn't go more wrong and that they didn't double-down on the mistakes and press charges anyway.

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