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Am I being detained? Am I free to go?
January 20, 2014 12:22 AM   Subscribe

Contempt of Cop Activists range from hard-conservative gun rights types, who carry copies of the Constitution in their pockets, to left-leaning civil liberties advocates. In both cases, they triumphantly upload video trophies of their confrontations to the internet. Quite a few show "checkpoint refusals" at roadblocks erected by police looking for drunken drivers, or by federal agents hunting illegal aliens. Courts here have held that police have the right to operate such stops. But the courts have also ruled that citizens are free to remain silent, and can refuse to allow searches and ignore orders to submit to "secondary inspections" unless police detain them — which requires the higher hurdle of reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe an offence has been committed.

Videos (1) (2)
posted by modernnomad (168 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously on MeFi: (1) (2)
posted by modernnomad at 12:24 AM on January 20


I can't imagine pulling a stunt like this (trying to assert your rights to a police officer) without a video camera that was streaming to an offsite location. That the driver thought the cops would have the integrity not to destroy a physical copy of the video is more trusting than I would be.

If I were foolish enough to try to assert my rights to police officers.

I find my interactions with them go a lot more smoothly when I act in total compliance and use a cooperative tone of voice when speaking with them.
posted by el io at 1:08 AM on January 20 [6 favorites]


If you're gonna do this, do it like the second guy in the video marked 2, not the first guy. Don't make any stupid comments about this is America and did I accidentally drive into Mexico. It just pisses them off more and makes you look dumb. All you need to say is that you don't consent to any searches and ask if you're being detained and if you're free to go. No crazy ranting about FREEEEEEEEEDOOOOOMMMMM required.

The problem, of course, is that as the cops say, "You can beat the rap but you can't beat the ride." If you piss 'em off enough they can always arrest you and haul your ass to jail. Sure, you can probably get the arrest thrown out later but it really fucks up your day, requires you to hire an attorney and eat that expense, and the cop doesn't get censured in any way. And there's always the chance that either your arrest doesn't get thrown out or you get a beatdown. Odds of beatdown unfortunately likely proportional to your skin's melanin content.

Oh, and as you see from the first video, K9 drug sniffer dogs are nothing but an excuse to search any car the cops want to search. They will alert virtually every single time whether or not drugs are present. They're a complete racket and I hope someday a brave judge or two takes a stand against them.
posted by Justinian at 1:10 AM on January 20 [66 favorites]


The final paragraph in that CBC article was particularly depressing:

And while the U.S. Constitution applies to everyone on U.S. soil, Canadian visitors might want to take a more defensive approach (like don't drive your own car in certain southern states, don't carry a lot of valuables, and if you run into a checkpoint, be nice and obedient).

I hate to be all 'America is turning into a police state', but holy hell that's the sort of advice you give people when they are traveling to corrupt/unstable/dangerous countries.
posted by el io at 1:21 AM on January 20 [118 favorites]


el io, that's pretty much how I already treat visits home, and I'm a US citizen. I've seen enough of cops just deciding to grab a random person to prove a point to the crowd to do anything but keep my head down and avoid their attention whenever possible. Getting arrested in the States can be incredibly easy, and it's something that would jeopardize my visa and ability to make a living. I applaud people who are willing to fight things like this that need fighting, but I'm outright too chickenshit to do it myself.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:28 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


If I were foolish enough to try to assert my rights to police officers.

I've always held that you can look at a slogan a company uses and immediately know what they are most concerned about. For a while, Philips had "make things better" as a slogan, which tells you right away they know they are selling crap. Test this out with other slogans, and you'll see there's a lot of truth in this.

So, having said that, what does it tell you that "to serve and protect" is the slogan of most police forces?
posted by DreamerFi at 1:30 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]


To the police officers who are undoubtedly (and, with reason) frustrated and annoyed by these refusals, I say this:

Look, I know you're just trying to do your job. I also accept and stipulate up front that you, individually, and even the group of you out by the side of the road genuinely believe you are doing something good and right and reasonable. The problem arises from my inability to, right then and there, stand up or voice my objections to the people who actually made this stupid decision. I can't ask you to bring your Chief or some random city or county council member out to the roadside and let me tell them that I refuse to be searched or ask whether or not I am being detained. Like the customer service rep manning the returns desk the day after Christmas, you're the face of the organization and, like it or lump it, putting up with the general public (so long as they're not assaulting you) is part of the job. I promise to be courteous if you promise the same, and since some of your coworkers don't, I have to be cold and appear unfeeling because I don't know which straw I've drawn.

Please don't take my refusal personally. Please do take my refusal back to your chain of command and tell them what a member of the populace thinks. We will both be better for it.
posted by fireoyster at 1:32 AM on January 20 [38 favorites]


You know, people always say "Cops (and/or Border Patrol agents, etc etc) are just people" and I think these videos prove that. It's a lot like talking to Verizon or Time Warner or any other enormous company where sometimes to get something done you have to say to someone who is pulling a tough wage and just trying to get by and do their job and who is probably cool and you could hang out with and have a beer with in real life, "Look, sorry, I know this is not in your control, but I need a thing" and they say, "Hey, sorry, I can't, this is company policy" and then you say "Well, okay, but" and then a supervisor gets called and then suddenly all sorts of things that were on the books as immutable policy can be amended because they are not REALLY on the books and you sort of realize the whole system is set up to maintain power through the assumption that nobody is ever going to actually ASK.
posted by StopMakingSense at 1:35 AM on January 20 [23 favorites]


It's otherwise known as asserting your constitutional rights.

In the videos, most of those guys sound like white males. I think it's not so much an assertion of constitutional rights, but more a variant of the classic, "Sorry officer, I didn't know I couldn't do that."
posted by FJT at 1:42 AM on January 20 [15 favorites]


This is great. But

whatever the world might say about America, no other democracy takes the rule of law more seriously

i) implying democracy while still using capital punishment
ii) such acts of citizen empowerment are not an American phenomenon, and are taken just as seriously in true democracies world-wide

It is great though, power to the people.
posted by halincandenza at 1:46 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


no other democracy takes the rule of law more seriously

L.O.L. Let me roll my eyes as we all look forwards rather than back and carefully nowhere near the obligation to arrest any CIA torturers, the blanket pardon given to telecoms over domestic spying, the ongoing refusal to allow prisoners who aren't even charged to leave captivity over a decade later, the massive rates of police use of force, unwillingness to deal with prison violence, and for a bonus the de jure pardon given to Nixon and the de facto pardon given to Bush. But apart from that random selection, why yes!

In other news, Scandinavia.
posted by jaduncan at 1:54 AM on January 20 [88 favorites]


no other democracy takes the rule of law-theater more seriously.
posted by anonymisc at 2:08 AM on January 20 [37 favorites]


Humour me here, I'm just trying to work something out. Say you live in a small US city. Let's say, 200,000 - 250,000 people. You're white. Lower-middle class. How many times a year would you have an interaction with the police, in any way? How often would they have occasion to stop you, talk to you about anything? How many police cars do you think you'd see in a day?
posted by Jimbob at 2:23 AM on January 20


I've been given to understand that people who talk about money all the time do so because they don't have very much. I suspect the same thing is true about people who talk about freedom all the time.
posted by Grangousier at 2:24 AM on January 20 [15 favorites]


Law is not justice. People keep pretending.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:25 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]


my friend,
visiting detroit from australia,
interacted with an officer who insisted my friend call him 'sir'.
my friend responded:
'i'm having having a hard time believing Her Majesty has granted you a knighthood.'

you already know what happened next.
posted by compound eye at 2:28 AM on January 20 [138 favorites]


And while the U.S. Constitution applies to everyone on U.S. soil

This is a particular pet-peeve of mine. IIRC, and yes, there were a lot of Grateful Dead shows between Civics 101 and today, but I seem to recall that the U.S. Constitution delegates authorities to the Federal Government, and those authorities aren't constrained geographically in any way by the text.

In other words, shouldn't that be written as "the U.S. Constitution applies to the U.S. Government, it's officers, agents, employees, contractors.... "?
posted by mikelieman at 2:30 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


my friend,
visiting detroit from australia,


I visited Santa Barbara from Australia. I went for a walk out of my hotel at 9:30pm on a Tuesday night, when I arrived, trying to find somewhere open to buy a pack of smokes.

A police car pulled up, two cops got out and asked me what I was doing walking around.

I must have seemed like an idiot because I had a real hard time understanding the question at first. But I did manage to politely convince them that, yes, I was just going for a walk. On a public street. Looking for a convenience store.
posted by Jimbob at 2:32 AM on January 20 [44 favorites]


These videos are cool and all, but if I had to go up against real gun-toting flashlight-shining radio-squawking siren-blaring cops who practice this shit every night I would probably forget or confuse something and end up face down on the asphalt or dancing at the end of a taser wire. I would need practice with aggressive fake cops before I would be able to pull it off confidently. They should start a school for this shit. Dealing with the cops 101. And invite cops to the same classes so they would know what to expect from people and wouldn't lose their shit when someone refused to assume the usual position.
posted by pracowity at 2:33 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]


You know, people always say "Cops (and/or Border Patrol agents, etc etc) are just people" and I think these videos prove that.

They are strangers with guns, the sort of person I tend to treat with courtesy and extreme caution.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:22 AM on January 20 [21 favorites]


There is definitely a movement against police misconduct and abuse now, especially with groups like Cop Block (twitter, facebook, previously), FilmingCops (twitter), and Police the Police (twitter, facebook) publicizing individual instances, follow them if you've time.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:27 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]


This year in bad cops by Vice's Lucy Steigerwald and TheDC’s Dirty Dozen by TheDC's Robby Soave

You’re Eight Times More Likely to be Killed by a Police Officer than a Terrorist (original source).
posted by jeffburdges at 3:29 AM on January 20 [12 favorites]


my friend,
visiting detroit from australia,
interacted with an officer who insisted my friend call him 'sir'.
my friend responded:
'i'm having having a hard time believing Her Majesty has granted you a knighthood.'

you already know what happened next.


I'd like to think that he was consumed in a fire of his own awesome.
posted by jaduncan at 3:54 AM on January 20 [43 favorites]


From the first link that jeffburdges posted above:

Most Cowardly Pet Killing, in Front of Children Category: Barry Accorti of Ohio

On June 10, a North Ridgeville, Ohio, police officer responded to a call to remove five feral kittens from a yard. According to the homeowner, officer Barry Accorti told her that the cats were going to “kitty heaven,” as the shelters were full, then shot them all 15 feet from her door. Her children saw the whole thing and were naturally hysterical, and the woman was baffled that Accorti would murder cats so casually within their earshot. Though the North Ridgeville Police Department’s Facebook page was swamped by threats and complaints when the story came out, chief Mike Freeman said his officer’s “actions were appropriate.”


Isn't there some sort of certification or regulation you have to go through to euthanize animals? I mean, you can't just decide one day that you want to kill your pet off for whatever reason, it's still illegal and is considered animal abuse, isn't it? And what about the psychological state of the children after witnessing such a thing?
posted by gucci mane at 4:20 AM on January 20 [6 favorites]


I suggest the following version of the statement refusing permission to search: "My attorney has told me to never consent to a search." This tells the cop that if he keeps bothering you, at some point, a lawyer will get involved. I won't say cops are afraid of lawyers, but lawyers make things more of a hassle for them, and if they don't have a lot of reason to think you're worth that hassle, they'll probably back off. It also casts you in the position of being told by some other authority to not comply with the cops' wishes. If they are only doing the stop because their chief or city council or whoever is telling them to, they may feel you have a shared circumstance. (I'm not confident that many cops don't enjoy these things, so I don't really expect this to happen much.)
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:32 AM on January 20 [6 favorites]


And while the U.S. Constitution applies to everyone on U.S. soil

This is a particular pet-peeve of mine. IIRC, and yes, there were a lot of Grateful Dead shows between Civics 101 and today, but I seem to recall that the U.S. Constitution delegates authorities to the Federal Government, and those authorities aren't constrained geographically in any way by the text.

In other words, shouldn't that be written as "the U.S. Constitution applies to the U.S. Government, it's officers, agents, employees, contractors.... "?


Not after 1868.
posted by yclipse at 4:44 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


that's the sort of advice you give people when they are traveling to corrupt/unstable/dangerous countries.

Which is appropriate advice when traveling to the States.

Some American friends of mine were shocked that we walk the streets at night in Toronto.
posted by juiceCake at 4:49 AM on January 20 [9 favorites]


Jimbob: "Humour me here, I'm just trying to work something out. Say you live in a small US city. Let's say, 200,000 - 250,000 people. You're white. Lower-middle class. How many times a year would you have an interaction with the police, in any way? How often would they have occasion to stop you, talk to you about anything? How many police cars do you think you'd see in a day?"

I live in Minneaoplis, which is bigger than you're asking about (and you should maybe count Minneapolis and St Paul as one city). I'm a graduate student, which makes me hard to judge class-wise in that I have little income, but, like most of my peers, there was a fair bit of class privilege involved in my route to grad school. But I am white, so I at least fit that some part of the criteria.

I see cops regularly, probably most days, but not almost every day. I'm pretty sure I saw one yesterday, there was something going on in my neighborhood Saturday night.* I don't even remember Friday--either way is not remarkable enough that I'd retain the information. If I'm not downtown, I probably average a little under one car a day. Downtown probably averages a little over one car (sometimes you see none, but if there's one cop car hanging around, there'll be three). I'm not counting cop cars in obvious places, like next to the courthouse.

I couldn't tell you the last time I spoke to a cop. It was probably transit police doing ticket control on the light rail (the light rail loves doing ticket control, as long as it's not rush hour). I've always presumed my lack of interaction with the Minneapolis police is primarily the result of being white and secondarily the result of signalling just enough wealth. If I'm downtown, I'm clearly not an office worker, but people would assume I'm en route to the university (and I don't stand still). Being a person of color, especially a black man, standing still (or worse, sitting!) downtown is probably a pretty reliable way to get a cop to start talking to you, just in case you are 'lurking with intent'. (As far as I can tell, 'lurking' is mostly defined by a cop not liking the looks of you.)

*I was getting a ride home at the time. Our guess, when we found fire engines barricading the street and crime scene tape, plus a few cop cars was a shooting, but it looked like there was a bulldozer over there yesterday, so maybe a water main broke or something.
posted by hoyland at 4:51 AM on January 20


The problem, of course, is that as the cops say, "You can beat the rap but you can't beat the ride."

I have always said you don't have any Rights until a judge grants them to you. Coppers by and large can stop and search based on some fantastical reasonable suspicion. Then it is at your expense of time and money to prove them wrong.
posted by Gungho at 5:36 AM on January 20 [6 favorites]



Relative visits NYC for the first time. Goes out wandering, gets back, tells me:

"I was just walking around, and this cop said to me, 'Where you goin'? Goin' crazy?' He may have been advised to wander elsewhere, but it didn't get heavy.

After some questioning of my own, I ascertain that he had been wandering around 1 Police Plaza at like ten PM. My relative is 6'4" and like all of our tribe, is cursed with freakishly long arms a la Slenderman.

Of course, our tribe is also lily-white, which I guess why this is a light little anecdote as opposed to something rage-inducing, especially as my relative probably had weed on him.
posted by angrycat at 5:37 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


In the videos, most of those guys sound like white males. I think it's not so much an assertion of constitutional rights, but more a variant of the classic, "Sorry officer, I didn't know I couldn't do that."

What better use of white privilege?
posted by Dip Flash at 5:48 AM on January 20 [5 favorites]


Humour me here, I'm just trying to work something out. Say you live in a small US city. Let's say, 200,000 - 250,000 people. You're white. Lower-middle class. How many times a year would you have an interaction with the police, in any way? How often would they have occasion to stop you, talk to you about anything? How many police cars do you think you'd see in a day?

I live in a St. Louis suburb, official population 12K (but of course it's surrounded by other suburbs on all sides). There are ALWAYS cops in my neighborhood. It is a strange and rare day when, on leaving my house, I don't see at least two police cars together within a handful of blocks. Usually busting people for speeding in or near the school zone near my house, but there have been sobriety checkpoints a couple of times -- and Saturday when we took our guest out for breakfast, there were cops in both our neighbors' yards, obviously searching, who didn't tell us what was going on when we stopped to ask.

I often wonder how many cops and cars the city police department has if they can spare 3 regular cars, a K9 unit, and an unmarked-but-obvious interceptor for a sobriety checkpoint on a side street, or 3 cars almost every evening for a school zone on that same side street.
posted by Foosnark at 5:56 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


I often wonder how many cops and cars the city police department has if they can spare 3 regular cars, a K9 unit, and an unmarked-but-obvious interceptor for a sobriety checkpoint on a side street, or 3 cars almost every evening for a school zone on that same side street.

I have no idea what your area is like, but if you don't have a whole lot of crime, the revenue from school zone tickets is quite possibly a good use of resources.
posted by hoyland at 5:59 AM on January 20


Post-9/11, police agencies large and small in the US rode the big wave of worship for the now-holy "First Responders." But, instead of using their new-found respect as a positive, they seemed, en masse, to use it as cover for a wholesale change into some sort of imperial (and imperious) shock force. A descent into institutionalized assholishness and outright disdain for mere citizens and their silly Constitution.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:05 AM on January 20 [12 favorites]


i) implying democracy while still using capital punishment

There's nothing particularly anti-democratic about capital punishment. If the people want capital punishment, they get to have capital punishment.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:11 AM on January 20 [10 favorites]


The problem, of course, is that as the cops say, "You can beat the rap but you can't beat the ride."

This times about a million. A friend of mine (white male, late 30s, middle class) pulled something like this. He was arrested, kept overnight, then got lost in a maze of court dates, probation and all sorts of other nightmares. He missed several days of work defending himself and had to pay all kinds of money for lawyer's fees, court fees and everything else. The cop who arrested him got a ton of overtime and never failed to point that out if the cop could get him alone for a minute or to whisper to him in court.

You have the right to remain silent and refuse a search. They have the right to then go on and make your life a hell right out of Kafka. It's unreal.

I've said it a ton of times on this site...the cops are out of control in this country. On the planet as a whole, too, but in this country in particular. (This country being the US)
posted by nevercalm at 6:13 AM on January 20 [37 favorites]


gucci mane:

Most Cowardly Pet Killing, in Front of Children Category: Barry Accorti of Ohio

On June 10, a North Ridgeville, Ohio, police officer responded to a call to remove five feral kittens from a yard.


I'm from southwest OH, so I looked up North Ridgeville because I'd honestly never heard of the town before (it's way up in northeast OH). North Ridgeville's Wikipedia entry, at least at 9:22 AM EST today, appears to have been vandalized by somebody who randomly inserted the word "stripper" into various places in the text, most noticeably in the mayor's name. Either that, or they're the exotic dance capital of the upper Midwest.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:27 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


Calling people 'sir' is lots more fun if you do it in Hungarian. It's spelled 'szar'.
posted by hexatron at 6:29 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]


A camera on every cop needs to be a high priority. And don't even think of doing the shit described in the links unless you have your own cameras running.
posted by pracowity at 6:33 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


Some American friends of mine were shocked that we walk the streets at night in Toronto.

In the US, "streetwalker" is actually a criminal label.
posted by eddydamascene at 6:36 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


North Ridgeville is definitely not the exotic dance capital of the upper Midwest . . . . .

It's a suburb of Cleveland, like, the very definition of "suburb" - 95% white, median income $54,000.

Which raises the question, what the FUCK was the guy doing discharging his weapon in North friggin' Ridgeville ???!!!!??!!! It ain't exactly farm country where the nearest neighbor is a mile away.

Seriously, GoogleMap "Vista Lake Way" in satellite and/or street view. The beginning of the zombie movie where they show the hero/ine living in blissful middle-class harmony before all hell breaks loose? Yeah, that's North Ridgeville.

I mean, it sucks about the kittens and the kids having to view it, but the guy should have wound up in serious trouble for being criminally negligent with a deadly weapon.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:45 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


Some American friends of mine were shocked that we walk the streets at night in Toronto.

...dare I ask where these American friends are from? Everyone I know who lives in a pedestrian-friendly city in the US (granted, not that there are a ton) walks the streets at night because we walk the streets in the day.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:47 AM on January 20 [8 favorites]


And while the U.S. Constitution applies to everyone on U.S. soil, Canadian visitors might want to take a more defensive approach (like don't drive your own car in certain southern states, don't carry a lot of valuables, and if you run into a checkpoint, be nice and obedient).

I hate to be all 'America is turning into a police state', but holy hell that's the sort of advice you give people when they are traveling to corrupt/unstable/dangerous countries.


Mostly because the CBC article is wrong. Visitors and visa based immigrants to the United States DO NOT have full constitutional protection and I am not even sure where they would get this idea. All the police would have to do to completely fuck you over is called the Border Patrol and every single 'right' you thought you had evaporates in an instant.
posted by srboisvert at 6:53 AM on January 20 [6 favorites]


I suppose cameras on police so long as they archive the footage outside the police department's control, but it's worth linking this :

Police body worn cameras – not the panacea they are claimed to be
posted by jeffburdges at 6:54 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


It's a suburb of Cleveland, like, the very definition of "suburb"

Yeah, but it's not all rows of neat little houses. North Ridgeville is an outer-ring suburb of Cleveland, and some areas of the municipality are fairly undeveloped. I don't know exactly where the kitten incident took place, but there are definitely areas of the municipality rural enough that firing a gun outside wouldn't necessarily seem weird.
posted by jon1270 at 7:00 AM on January 20


In the videos, most of those guys sound like white males. I think it's not so much an assertion of constitutional rights, but more a variant of the classic, "Sorry officer, I didn't know I couldn't do that."
I'm a white male, and I've done (essentially) this. I can tell you for sure that the officer was pissed off and I was scared.

I don't doubt for a second that the outcome probably would have been a lot worse for me had I not been a white male. But it sure didn't seem like a game to me.
posted by Flunkie at 7:01 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]


Yeah, but it's not all rows of neat little houses. North Ridgeville is an outer-ring suburb of Cleveland, and some areas of the municipality are fairly undeveloped.

The incident took place on Vista Lake Way. GoogleMap it. Rows of neat little houses. On the north side of the street there's maybe 300 feet of nothing between the houses and their northern neighbors. On the south side there's a small patch of woods maybe 250 feet wide by 400, 500 feet long.

Not rural enough, IMO.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:13 AM on January 20


My most recent interaction with the Border Patrol didn't go quite as smoothly as I'd been led to believe by youtube videos. When I was stopped at Sierra Blanca (West Texas, on I-10) and asked "am I being detained," the answer was "yes, now pull over there and get out of the car with your hands up. If you fail to cooperate, we'll call the local sheriff's deputy to force you out of the car, and I can guarantee he's not going to be gentle." The deputy wasn't too bad, but one of the border guards really wanted to pick a fight, so he told me to stand in a certain spot, then walked up to me and yelled, "Back away! Don't come any closer!" and grabbed my right hand while pushing me in the chest. When I instinctively jerked my hand back to regain my balance, he shouted, "Stop resisting! Down on the ground!" I ended up frisked and handcuffed to a bench while they searched my car. I didn't put my video on youtube.
posted by bradf at 7:15 AM on January 20 [37 favorites]


Okay, looking at that location I've got to agree with you. That said, insofar as the fate of the kittens is concerned I'm not sure there are great options in a case like this. Capturing animals that are not even slightly acclimated to people, caging them, driving them around in scary machines and poking them with needles doesn't sound like a terribly humane way to dispatch them either.
posted by jon1270 at 7:30 AM on January 20


to serve and protect

It's funny how they always leave off who exactly they're serving and protecting.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:42 AM on January 20 [5 favorites]


I ended up frisked and handcuffed to a bench while they searched my car.

If anyone else carried out this sort of "you insulted my honor" retributive violent humiliation the ways cops do, we'd call it kidnapping and assault. Because that's what it is.
posted by crayz at 7:43 AM on January 20 [24 favorites]


"To serve and protect the interests of our employers." It would work perfectly if everybody in the force remembered who that is.
posted by hat_eater at 7:45 AM on January 20


These are the real terrorists -- the literal, actual enemies of freedom in the US. Meet a cop that's in a bad mood or doesn't like you and your life is over. All the ACLU jiu jitsu in the world is worthless against a heavily armed thug (and friends!) with a personality disorder.
posted by NiceKitty at 7:47 AM on January 20 [8 favorites]


Oh, I should mention that I'm not American and the problems with abuse of authority in police forces in my country aren't so bad - yet. But I'm watching the situation with dread.
posted by hat_eater at 7:49 AM on January 20


Bradf - are you an American citizen? If so, I'd find a state rep or congressperson to tell that to.

If you're not an American citizen, I'm not sure who you'd tell. Maybe the American embassy in your country?

I would think that goes for anyone, right? If reporting to the local police force does nothing, shouldn't we be telling our elected representatives? Many interactions like bradf's are never recorded.
posted by sio42 at 7:57 AM on January 20


Some American friends of mine were shocked that we walk the streets at night in Toronto.

You have to keep in mind that a lot of Americans are utterly convinced, thanks to their local hysterical, "if it bleeds, it leads" media, that rapists and murderous "others" are stalking our streets, just waiting for you to walk around the wrong corner.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:03 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


Sierra Blanca's right near the Mexican border, isn't it? That places the incident firmly within the special 100 mile "Constitution-lite" zone.
posted by ceribus peribus at 8:12 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


sio42 - Yes, I'm a US citizen. I filed a complaint about the specific officer with the DHS, but I don't expect anything to come of it. The ACLU has been warning about the 100 mile wide constitution-free "border zone" since 2008, and no one (in power) seems to care too much.

Also, cops won't hesitate to perjure themselves to protect a fellow officer. When I was handcuffed to the bench, the sheriff's deputy came in to play "good cop," saying stuff like "We're just doing our jobs, man. There's no need to be so difficult. You have to understand, we get all kinds of drug smugglers and illegal immigrants coming up from Mexico." When I said something about Officer Morales pushing me, he actually had the balls to say, "You were out of line and acting erratically. I saw you lunge toward him, and frankly I was concerned for his safety, my safety, and the safety of the other officers." What judge is going to believe me over half a dozen cops?
posted by bradf at 8:13 AM on January 20 [23 favorites]


>hoyland: Our guess, when we found fire engines barricading the street and crime scene tape, plus a few cop cars was a shooting, but it looked like there was a bulldozer over there yesterday, so maybe a water main broke or something.

A friend in Minneapolis reported a gas leak in his building on Saturday, they evacuated it and Centerpoint tore up the sidewalk/street to get at a gas pocket in the foundation. This could be coincidence, but I can't imagine more than one barricaded-street-and-bulldozer scenario in Minneapolis over the weekend.

Sorry, totally off topic. Carry on.
posted by Woodroar at 8:15 AM on January 20


We need more videos like bradf's scenario showing up on youtube to force out the officers in question and ideally convict some for assault, perjury, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:23 AM on January 20


What these guys (and women) are doing--it's probably the most honorable conscious use of white privilege I can think of.

However, I'm plagued with the nagging doubt that most of these people are conscious of their white privilege. Also I suspect that many of them, if not most, might be perfectly okay with seeing a non-white person with an accent be subjected to an unconstitutional search.

(Yes, I saw that at least one of the passengers obviously had an accent. However, like in most of these situations I've experienced in the past, it's always helpful to have a Privileged White Buddy when you challenge the authorities.)
posted by RedEmma at 8:50 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


Reading and watching all this stuff makes me feel really old, because I sometimes want to shake my cane-filled fist and say "when I was a kid, we were told you only had to show your papers in the Soviet Union". But really what that means is white folks now get treated by cops like everybody else got treated back then.
posted by immlass at 9:18 AM on January 20 [9 favorites]


you already know what happened next.

I don't! What happened next?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:27 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


Justinian: " Sure, you can probably get the arrest thrown out later but it really fucks up your day, requires you to hire an attorney and eat that expense, and the cop doesn't get censured in any way. And there's always the chance that either your arrest doesn't get thrown out or you get a beatdown. Odds of beatdown unfortunately likely proportional to your skin's melanin content."

And there is always the power tripping cops favourite charge of "resisting arrest" even when one is never charged for the crime they were arresting you for.

el io: "I hate to be all 'America is turning into a police state', but holy hell that's the sort of advice you give people when they are traveling to corrupt/unstable/dangerous countries."

America as a whole is a scary place to contemplate visiting. The risk of getting caught up in their Kafkaesque border and terrorism paranoia is unsettling to think about. The US is openly detaining people indefinitely without trial and intentionally torturing them while in detention.
posted by Mitheral at 9:28 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


The only time I've ever been really glad that I'm a not-too-tall pretty-feminine-reading woman (I mean, aside from personal reasons) is when I've had to deal with cops. It's been scary and paralyzing enough and I'm white, and seem middle class, and I can play the "fellow first responder" card ("Oh, how long have you been with the force? Yeah, I was a volunteer firefighter for a while, people do some crazy shit, hunh?") And all my interactions have still been gut-churning. I can't imagine how nerve-wracking and awful it must be if they see you as an actual threat.

(Of course, being female-bodied, I'm also at a higher risk for sexual assault from police officers, but I reeeeaaaaaaally hope my obvious race-and-class privilege will shield me from that, and I can continue to sit at home and be sick at the thought of everyone who doesn't have such defenses.)
posted by WidgetAlley at 9:30 AM on January 20 [6 favorites]


Humour me here, I'm just trying to work something out. Say you live in a small US city. Let's say, 200,000 - 250,000 people. You're white. Lower-middle class. How many times a year would you have an interaction with the police, in any way? How often would they have occasion to stop you, talk to you about anything? How many police cars do you think you'd see in a day?
posted by Jimbob at 4:23 AM on January 20


I'm in a larger city than that (Nashville is about 600k I think). I'm white, and I'm not sure how my class reads: my parents were upper middle class and I went to university and probably read as upper middle class when people talk to me, but my car is a piece of shit (1995, well maintained but obviously on its last legs) and if I'm not in my (business casual) work clothes I'm generally in a ratty t-shirt and jeans, so I think without interacting with me I read as lower or lower middle class when I'm in my car.

In the past four years of living here, I've talked to the police twice I think, both times traffic stops (once because my headlights actually weren't on and the other time because they "looked a little dim" which was likely an excuse to run my plates). Both times the officers were perfectly pleasant, but I was also compliant and polite and I'm 5'2" and very harmless looking. I've never been stopped walking (and I walk a lot of places, but not at night, because I'm female).

I see multiple police cars a day. My husband is a criminal defense attorney and sees a lot of unmarked cars in his work so he points them out to me so I am probably aware of a larger police presence than if I only counted police-branded cars, but even only counting them I see at least one a day, usually more. I usually see them either at the bottom of our hill looking for speeders, or on Nolensville Road (a lower income area).
posted by joannemerriam at 9:43 AM on January 20


...dare I ask where these American friends are from? Everyone I know who lives in a pedestrian-friendly city in the US (granted, not that there are a ton) walks the streets at night because we walk the streets in the day.

Philly. I am aware of course that there are cities that perfectly fine to walk in the evening in the States but there are some that are not, and it's a thing.
posted by juiceCake at 9:49 AM on January 20


>"I hate to be all 'America is turning into a police state"

That ship has sailed. We are a police state, complete with extra-legal trials and arbitrary detentions. The question is, can anything be done about it?
posted by anti social order at 9:53 AM on January 20 [7 favorites]


I have lived in Poland a couple of decades or so, I walk everywhere, and I have never been stopped. Walking is something normal people do, day and night. We even have sidewalks.
posted by pracowity at 9:57 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


I don't have a lot of dealings with cops in my day-to-day life, but I'm obviously aware of and disturbed by the way many officers interact with citizens. I've also worked in municipal government for 15 years, so I've been around cops as co-workers and members of the "team," so I've heard them talk and had a wee bit of insider knowledge of how things like traffic stops and checkpoints can go down. I'm by no means an expert on police procedures or anything.

I absolutely would not talk to a cop in any situation any more than I had to, and I absolutely despise the bullying that goes on under the guise of law enforcement. A lot of people I've talked to about this seem to think that it's easier to just go along and do what a cop wants since they can make your life miserable if you don't. That's true, I guess, but it's tantamount to saying "You might as well give that schoolyard bully your lunch money, or he's really going to beat the shit out of you. Save yourself that trouble."

In these cases, though, it is YOUR OWN GOVERNMENT who is doing the bullying and asking for things it has no right to, and that makes me seethe.

As a parent, it's very frustrating to discern when and if I should start talking to my children about things like this. It's a tall order to overcome the societal norm that cops are de facto 'good guys,' and can always be trusted. If you're a lost child, then they probably can almost always be trusted. If you're an adult, trust at your own risk.
posted by Shohn at 9:59 AM on January 20


One of the defining 'holy shit white privilege' moments for me was being the White Kid in a group of Black or Latina teens. Accused of loitering maybe once every five times we hung out (by, like, walking through a mall), all questions were always directed to me as the authority. Always let go, but told to scram. Oftentimes I was told to keep the rest of the group out of trouble.

My favorite DWB/DWH story is when a friend of mine's cousin was stopped driving a hearse (it looked a bit like an oversized black SUV). They apparently asked if they could look in the back, he allowed them, showed them the papers for the body back there, and after a few minutes of intense confusion on the policeman's part, let him go.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:01 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


I mean, I also grew up with a lot of cops as neighbors, and they straight up told us to not trust the police, do as much as they say without harming yourself, name drop when possible, and politely as for the badge number -but only if they're not already agitated.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:08 AM on January 20


Did the Australian get smacked? Hauled downtown? Told to scram à la Dave's White Friend? Was the cop nonplussed by the Australian's words?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:37 AM on January 20


Philly. I am aware of course that there are cities that perfectly fine to walk in the evening in the States but there are some that are not, and it's a thing.

...I am sitting in my house in Philly as we speak, and I walk the streets at night all the time. As do, as far as I know, most of the people I know, many of whom don't even own cars. It's a big city, and there are plenty of parts of it that I'd be careful in at night, but... yeah.

(This weekend I walked home at midnight from some friends', about a mile, which I don't even consider a long walk around here. Perfectly ordinary.)
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:43 AM on January 20


Questions here, which possibly deserve their own AskMe thread, but since they're on topic I'll ask them here for now:

I'm a mostly-law-abiding US citizen (white, upper-middle class, male), and AFAIK I don't do anything that would bring negative police attention upon myself. But, as we've seen, that's no guarantee I won't be arrested. posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:52 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


Mostly because the CBC article is wrong. Visitors and visa based immigrants to the United States DO NOT have full constitutional protection and I am not even sure where they would get this idea. All the police would have to do to completely fuck you over is called the Border Patrol and every single 'right' you thought you had evaporates in an instant.

Visa and temporary residents do most certainly have 1st, 4th, 5th and 14th amendment protections. If you're referring to "consitution free" zones even being a US citizen won't protect you from the 4th amendment workaround.
posted by Talez at 11:08 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


Your questions would all make for a great AskMe, DevilsAdvocate.
posted by Rash at 11:09 AM on January 20


Should I carry contact information for an attorney, as a matter of routine, in case I am arrested?

If you have contact with a good attorney, yes. You keep your mouth shut, call your lawyer, the lawyer tells you to keep your mouth shut while they ascertain what they have on you and advise you on how to proceed.

Do I need to contact the attorney/establish some sort of relationship when I do?

You put them on retainer. It's not weird and it's done commonly.

If I do, could that be used against me?

No.
posted by Talez at 11:12 AM on January 20


And while the U.S. Constitution applies to everyone on U.S. soil, Canadian visitors might want to take a more defensive approach (like don't drive your own car in certain southern states, don't carry a lot of valuables, and if you run into a checkpoint, be nice and obedient).


This to me is evidence of how far the US has (to be polite) changed it's border policies.

As a resident alien (albeit white) growing up in the NorthEast, I never, ever, cared about carrying the proper papers, routinely went back and forth to Canada with just a drivers, license, and generally expected to be treated as an American.
Even living in Southern California in the early part of the century, I never carried a green card and had an reasonable expectation that any questions could be cleared up with a quick computer check.

These days, though, you couldn't pay to go out in the desert without my green card, maybe a passport, and the number of an immigration lawyer.

"Homeland" security has really done a number on us.
posted by madajb at 11:13 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


Honest to goodness true story.

Last interaction I had with an Oakland cop I was walking through the Coliseum Parking lot heading towards BART. It was kickoff, I was off duty and going home. And yeah, there may have been a big lit doobie hanging from my lips.

Cruiser rolls past. Slows down. Cop looks my way.

Fuck.

Relax. Predators smell fear and will chase if you run or struggle. Yes sir, I have my MMJ card and my ID with me. I'm heading towards (but have not yet entered) the BART station and home and thought I was well away from any doors or people and...

"Is that a knife in your back pocket?"

Left hand, quickly palm the smoldering doobie. Right hand, slowly reach back, pinch knife delicately between thumb and forefinger, lift & present as if dangling a dead mouse by the tail. "Yes, officer. It's a folding blade..." and I'm about to go into how the blade is 2.24" and yes, I'm aware that Oakland Municipal regs are no folding knife longer than 2.25" (California State says 2.5" max). It's a tool sir, I just got off work...

But he cuts me off. "It needs to be in a pouch."

Inside voice: <EDDIE_IZZARD> Quoi? </EDDIE_IZZARD> (bc I've NEVER run into that before)

Outside voice: "I'll put it in my backpack right now!"

Drop the doobie out of sight behind someone's tire, make a big show of putting my knife inside my pack, and he rolls away. At which point I retrieve my doob, finish it off, and go meet Lexi downtown for a beer.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:36 AM on January 20 [7 favorites]


Police body worn cameras – not the panacea they are claimed to be

I think that's a reflection on the failings of American policing; the aspects that the cameras help the most with, UK police are already doing better than US police, so there is less for cameras to correct there.
For example, police training seems to prioritize de-escalation in the UK, and prioritize escalating to stay on top in the USA. Cameras help de-escalate, so no surprise the effects aren't as drastic. I think the USA also has a bigger problem with police routine abuse of authority than the UK (the UK consistently ranks lower in the perceived corruption index, though not immensely so), which is another area that cameras help with. Trust that you'll get a fair shake from the officer arresting you is yet another area where cameras help, and police have earned less trust in the USA than in the UK.

I think it's entirely likely that cameras are exactly the panacea they are claimed to be - when applied to a police force with deep institutional problems, such as in this country, not necessarily in some other country.
posted by anonymisc at 11:37 AM on January 20


God, there's a lot of exaggeration and hyperbole going on up in here. And if you read my first comment in this thread you know I'm in no way an apologist for authoritarianism. But if you think the USA is a police state, I maintain you've either never been to the USA or you've never been to a police state. Anyway...

How many times a year would you have an interaction with the police, in any way? How often would they have occasion to stop you, talk to you about anything? How many police cars do you think you'd see in a day?

For, as you say, a white middle class dude? 0-1, 0-1, and the last question varies so widely based on where you live it's hard to give a good answer. But as to the thrust of your question: most middle class white dudes have basically no interaction with police. I'm sure that's not the impression you get from these sorts of threads but, hey, see above about hyperbole.

Some American friends of mine were shocked that we walk the streets at night in Toronto.

This here is bullpuckey. I've lived in Toronto. And in various cities in the USA. There are at least as many people walking the streets in many or most American cities as there were in Toronto. Your friends are either from West Nowhere, Kansas and would be just as shocked that people walk the streets at night in New York or Chicago or Los Angeles or they're just, uh, kinda ignorant of how most people live.

America as a whole is a scary place to contemplate visiting.

(You're Canadian, yes?) See above, I've lived in Canada as well as the USA. If you plopped an average white dude into most of Toronto or most of a lot of American cities you would not be able to tell the difference, occasional Tim Hortons and Labatt Ice not withstanding. And Canadian customs is no bed of roses, I promise you.

Maybe they could get Rick Mercer on The Daily Show to do a bit called "Talking to Canadians" where they show Canadians with weird beliefs about America...

There are very real problems in America as there are in most places. It does no one any good to make hyperbolic claims that don't much resemble actual day-to-day reality for most Americans or visitors to America.
posted by Justinian at 11:58 AM on January 20 [6 favorites]


I am such a fucking boy scout that just *watching* those videos made me seriously anxious.

I greatly admire the courage it takes to know your rights and assert them like that.
posted by MoxieProxy at 11:59 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


But if you think the USA is a police state, I maintain you've either never been to the USA or you've never been to a police state.

I've been to both. The USA is a police state. I suspect you are somewhat shielded from this reality by class privilege.
posted by anonymisc at 12:19 PM on January 20 [13 favorites]


Although I mostly agree with the white privilege demonstrated in these videos, the one guy in the first video clearly had a Hispanic accent. And yes, going on about "is this Nazi Germany or Mexico?" seems a bit much...the guy who was just robotically saying to the female border guard "am I being detained?" Over and over until she let him go seems to be the best method.
posted by Kokopuff at 12:26 PM on January 20


I'm sure that's not the impression you get from these sorts of threads but, hey, see above about hyperbole.

Well it's not just these threads (or TV), it's other sources as well as visiting there that gave me the impression that there are a lot more police per population than where I'm from, spending a lot of time getting up in people's face. But yeah, statistics I've looked at today have confirmed that, broadly, police-per-person is actually pretty similar in the US to here.

Still don't understand why the fuck you need police officers in schools, though. And why people talk about that like it's normal.
posted by Jimbob at 12:27 PM on January 20


I suspect you are somewhat shielded from this reality by class privilege.

CHECK UR PRIVILEGE AMIRITE?
posted by Justinian at 12:33 PM on January 20


Still don't understand why the fuck you need police officers in schools, though. And why people talk about that like it's normal.

The great majority of schools do not have police officers in them. Assuming you mean a permanent presence and not, like, a one-time presentation on the Scourge of Drugs Wot Will Destroy Your Brain.
posted by Justinian at 12:35 PM on January 20


'm aware that Oakland Municipal regs are no folding knife longer than 2.25" (California State says 2.5" max).

Seriously?
My swiss army knife is longer than that. It's close to 3" if you count the non-cutting part of the blade...
posted by madajb at 12:36 PM on January 20


CHECK UR PRIVILEGE AMIRITE?

Yes. Really. It’s not true for you, but it’s true for a large number of others who just happen to look like ‘trouble’ because of race and visible class factors.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:40 PM on January 20 [5 favorites]


The great majority of schools do not have police officers in them. Assuming you mean a permanent presence and not, like, a one-time presentation on the Scourge of Drugs Wot Will Destroy Your Brain.

From 2010: "An estimated one-third of all sheriffs' offices and almost half of all municipal police departments assign nearly 17,000 sworn officers to serve in schools. Moreover, nearly half of all public schools have assigned police officers. These officers are commonly referred to as school resource officers (SROs) or education resource officers."

More on that issue from the Guardian (2012).
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:43 PM on January 20 [4 favorites]


We had a police officer in my elementary school – added after the first shooting happened on the same block as the school during school hours. I think that in high school we just had security guards to break up fights and deal with whatever weapons/contraband was brought to school, though I might be wrong.

I wouldn't be surprised if most of them were concentrated in high crime areas and colleges. Seventeen thousand doesn't sound like that much for all types of schools through the entire country.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:52 PM on January 20


Yes. Really. It’s not true for you, but it’s true for a large number of others who just happen to look like ‘trouble’ because of race and visible class factors.

I don't think you understand what a "police state" is, frankly.
posted by Justinian at 12:54 PM on January 20


I get stopped for walking, a lot, out in Gingerbread, Missouri. I'm so white I can be seen from space. I am always wearing a billowing white shirt which is only a little whiter than my skin, not exactly the most inconspicuous attire for burglary. And then these guys have the temerity to be visibly nervous when they're the ones that have closed under the twenty-one foot Tueller distance.

Walking. Christ.
posted by adipocere at 12:59 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


More on that issue from the Guardian (2012).

It appears they started putting more cops in school right after I graduated high school which accounts for the disconnect. Still, Most schools do not have cops assigned since it's fewer than half of public schools plus private schools (and there are a lot of private schools). That's probably not a"great majority" though as I said. Just the majority.
posted by Justinian at 1:01 PM on January 20


You put a gopro in the badge, and if the signal from it goes dead, the officer is suspended without pay while there's an inquest to determine the cause, and without a damned good reason, that officer is terminated from the force.

And while we're at it. A pony, too.
posted by mikelieman at 1:20 PM on January 20 [9 favorites]


to serve and protect

To serve warrants and protect property.
posted by Pudhoho at 1:34 PM on January 20


If you plopped an average white dude into most of Toronto or most of a lot of American cities you would not be able to tell the difference

Until you noticed that there weren't very many black people and almost no latinos.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:46 PM on January 20


On the other hand, where I live the police do exactly nothing, and the only way to get them to come out (if say, your house is being broken into) is to tell them that girls are fighting.
posted by orrnyereg at 1:50 PM on January 20


Until you noticed that there weren't very many black people and almost no latinos.

Latinos, yeah. But roughly half of Torontonians are non-white which is actually much higher than in most US cities.
posted by Justinian at 1:55 PM on January 20


Latinos, yeah. But roughly half of Torontonians are non-white which is actually much higher than in most US cities.

Uh. No?

Percentage non-Latino whites in NYC: 33.3%

Percentage non-Latino whites in Los Angeles: 28.5%

Percentage non-Latino whites in Chicago: 31.7%

Percentage non-Latino whites in St. Louis: 42.2%

Percentage non-Latino whites in Dallas: 28.8%

Percentage non-Latino whites in Boston: 47.0%

I can keep on going, but I'd be very surprised if mid-sized cities suddenly became super white. There are a couple of city centers that are majority non-Latino whites, but they're definitely not the norm.
posted by dinty_moore at 2:08 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


@jaduncan
fire of his own awesome.
same friend and I walked up mount fuji, he chain-smoked all the way to the top, past huddled crowds of tourists sucking down on little cans of oxygen.
an achievement equal parts disgusting, jerk and awesome.


@Pruitt-Igoe
you already know what happened next.
very soon after guns were drawn and my friend found himself face down on the ground and there was lots of shouting.
After a several of minutes ritual humiliation, someone started going through his pockets where they discovered his australian passport, at which point they got confused, on one hand my friend was a foreigner, and has a look about him that regularly provokes total strangers to cross the road to fight him, but he was a white male foreigner from an english speaking country that was fighting alongside the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, as you can surely understand, this was a dilemma, as it was not clear which if any form of brutality should be applied.

One officer eventually asked 'you on holiday?'
which my friend affirmed
(It has not been conveyed to me whether he appended 'sir' to his reply)

the officer then asked the equivalent of:
'how you liking America?'

they engaged in an increasingly casual conversation about how great America is, during which my friend slowly sat, then stood up, without police objection. They gave him some tips on local sights, wished him well and left.
posted by compound eye at 2:15 PM on January 20 [9 favorites]


I can keep on going, but I'd be very surprised if mid-sized cities suddenly became super white.

They mostly do.
posted by Justinian at 2:25 PM on January 20


You are correct, though, that Toronto is whiter than most large cities. But this is missing the forest for the trees and doesn't matter to the point, which was noticing much of a difference in day to day life. Not in appearance.
posted by Justinian at 2:27 PM on January 20


From the Guardian link posted by His thoughts were red thoughts:
Each day, hundreds of schoolchildren appear before courts in Texas charged with offences such as swearing, misbehaving on the school bus or getting in to a punch-up in the playground. Children have been arrested for possessing cigarettes, wearing "inappropriate" clothes and being late for school.

In 2010, the police gave close to 300,000 "Class C misdemeanour" tickets to children as young as six in Texas for offences in and out of school, which result in fines, community service and even prison time.
I don't know how anyone can hope to learn in that sort of environment. It's no wonder, though, that people grow up to both fear and have no respect for police officers or the justice system when they are treated like criminals at the age of six.

I'm struck by the difference in attitude between police officers on 'Cops' and on 'Highway Patrol' (Australian equivalent) or 'Motorway Patrol' (New Zealand equivalent). Acknowledging that reality TV is not reality, there's a massive difference between assuming that every person you come in contact with is a criminal and the only question is the crime they've committed (the impression I get from 'Cops') and working in the community to respond to and apply appropriate responses. One huge difference is that, in Australia and NZ, cops can be reasonably confident that someone they pull over doesn't have a gun in the car.

I wonder how peoples that advocate refusing to cooperate with these stops would view the idea that, in Australia, drivers can and regularly are stopped and required to undergo a breath test for alcohol for no reason whatsoever?
posted by dg at 3:37 PM on January 20


But roughly half of Torontonians are non-white...

Over 30% are Asian. Slightly more than 8.5% are Black and 2.8% Hispanic, so "there weren't very many black people and almost no latinos" sounds pretty accurate.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:37 PM on January 20


I wouldn't be surprised if most of them were concentrated in high crime areas and colleges. Seventeen thousand doesn't sound like that much for all types of schools through the entire country.

I went to school in an almost comically low crime area and there was a cop assigned to the junior high at least part time and to the high school. I don't know if they were there the whole day or had some other duties elsewhere. (If DARE hadn't been abandoned by then, I would have guessed he was the guy who taught DARE, but that's probably not a full-time job either.) I can think of incidents in school that would have normally resulted in police action, but not at a school that must have been 90% rich white kids (the other 10% being the non-rich kids and the non-white kids put together). I'm sure 17,000 cops is still kind of a drop in the bucket compared to the number of schools, though--California has nearly 10,000 public schools, New York City 1,700.
posted by hoyland at 3:38 PM on January 20


I wonder how peoples that advocate refusing to cooperate with these stops would view the idea that, in Australia, drivers can and regularly are stopped and required to undergo a breath test for alcohol for no reason whatsoever?

Australian cops conducting random breath testing are, in my experience, polite and professional. Furthermore, they are acting entirely within their lawful powers to conduct random breath tests, unlike the US cops in the FPP that are basically attempting to conduct unconstitutional searches - as a consequence, the question of resisting unlawful police action does not arise.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:04 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


One huge difference is that, in Australia and NZ, cops can be reasonably confident that someone they pull over doesn't have a gun in the car.

I think this has got to be a significant factor, and proof, if you need it, that an armed society isn't a safer society, but a more paranoid one. I spend a fair bit of time listening to the police scanner, in Tasmania. Police seem to check back to the radio room with every car they pull over, before they get out and approach the car. The radio room informs the police offer if the person they're about to talk to has any "warnings" on the system in regards to violence or firearms. Suffice to say, the almost never do, but the police seem to approach situations with the assumption that the person is going to be cooperative, and won't be armed, and the task of the police is to keep thing calm and deescalate, rather than exert arbitrary authority for the fun of it.
posted by Jimbob at 4:13 PM on January 20


Seriously?
My swiss army knife is longer than that. It's close to 3" if you count the non-cutting part of the blade.


It's not something anybody gets hit for directly. But piss off the wrong cop inclined to look for something to ding you with...

Up until 2003 it was required in Washington State to have a small garbage bag in the car while driving. And virtually ANY car on the road is SOMEHOW out of compliance. Tags, dim headlights, dim plate lights, bad left turn, roll a stop sign, a reason can get found to justify a traffic stop.

And until 2003, a ticket for no garbage bag in the car was Washintonian police-speak for "That's what you get for being a mouthy asshole, citizen. Have a nice day."

Or so I have been told.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:31 PM on January 20


It's interesting comparing the comments about not antagonizing police with the "[MLK] ended the terror of living as a black person, especially in the south" thread as well as some discussions about rape.

"The question is, how did Dr. King do this—and of course, he didn't do it alone. .. So what did they do?"

"They told us: Whatever you are most afraid of doing vis-a-vis white people, go do it. Go ahead down to city hall and try to register to vote, even if they say no, even if they take your name down. "

"Go ahead sit at that lunch counter. Sue the local school board. All things that most black people would have said back then, without exaggeration, were stark raving insane and would get you killed."


Just fabulous! And parallels contempt of cop relatively well.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:43 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


Toronto is crazy at 2am. Once I was up there with friends and we ended up doing box Kareoke one evening. We are having fun, when this large drunk dude stumbles into our room and crashes our party. He gets pretty mad when we keep asking him to leave. Finally he get fighty and screams at us that we can't tell him what to do, he's the mayor. We thought he was like Foursquare mayor. He got a bit fighty drunk so 5 of us surrounded him and gave him a mild beating. I mean extemely mild like a couple body blows and he's on the floor looking at our boots at which point he decided to get real sorry and appologetic. He was sobbing so much we felt some pity on this poor drunk. He's too messed up drunk, so we call a cab and pay the driver to take the "mayor to city hall." At time we thought we were hilarious. Anyway later on we come to find out it was the mayor. I am never going back to Toronto.
posted by humanfont at 5:29 PM on January 20 [21 favorites]


Furthermore, they are acting entirely within their lawful powers to conduct random breath tests, unlike the US cops in the FPP that are basically attempting to conduct unconstitutional searches - as a consequence, the question of resisting unlawful police action does not arise.
Yeah, I get that. As a Certified Cynical Old Bastard, though, I wonder how many of these people are simply jumping on the bandwagon and wanting to not be questioned for their own reasons rather than due to any real concern about constitutional rights. I also wonder how many of those people would be screaming if the police said 'OK then, the constitution prevents us from taking action about drunk drivers/illegal immigrants/drug dealers so we aren't going to bother trying any more'. My cynical side tells me that people are fine with the law being enforced with regard to other people and aren't too fussy about how, but scream about their rights when they are the target. Actually, it's not just my cynical side in that case, it's actual real life experience of working in a regulatory role that tells me this.

I spend a fair bit of time listening to the police scanner, in Tasmania. Police seem to check back to the radio room with every car they pull over, before they get out and approach the car. The radio room informs the police offer if the person they're about to talk to has any "warnings" on the system in regards to violence or firearms. Suffice to say, the almost never do, but the police seem to approach situations with the assumption that the person is going to be cooperative, and won't be armed, and the task of the police is to keep thing calm and deescalate, rather than exert arbitrary authority for the fun of it.
More and more police cars here in Qld are equipped with terminals that allow them to do this from the car before they even pull someone over, as well as checking licences, outstanding warrants etc.

Whenever a person has authority over others, the easiest path is to exert that authority to the maximum extent at all times, but this is just laziness combined with an over active-ego. The hard path is to learn when you need to act tough and don't hesitate to do so, but only do so when necessary. It's not only more effective to keep conflict to a minimum, when you do pull out the scary face, it's much more scary - when all you have is the scary face, people become immune to it and this starts a whole cycle of escalation.
posted by dg at 6:36 PM on January 20


I also wonder how many of those people would be screaming if the police said 'OK then, the constitution prevents us from taking action about drunk drivers/illegal immigrants/drug dealers so we aren't going to bother trying any more'.

They would be justified in screaming because that would be a lie.

My cynical side tells me that people are fine with the law being enforced with regard to other people and aren't too fussy about how, but scream about their rights when they are the target.

Probably. But that doesn't mean that some of the people screaming are not, in fact, having their rights violated.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:07 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


how many of these people are simply jumping on the bandwagon and wanting to not be questioned for their own reasons rather than due to any real concern about constitutional rights

I'm glad the 4th amendment doesn't say "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized, unless the people have their own reasons for not submitting to a search, other than concern for their rights with respect to this amendment."

how many of those people would be screaming if the police said 'OK then, the constitution prevents us from taking action about drunk drivers/illegal immigrants/drug dealers so we aren't going to bother trying any more'

I can't speak for anyone else, but I would be ecstatic. First, it would be refreshing to see the police (or any government agency, for that matter) show any concern whatsoever for the constitution, and second, two of those three things shouldn't be illegal in the first place.
posted by bradf at 7:08 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


A group of lawyers should travel, looking for these checkpoints and recording everything. When the cops break the law the lawyers should sue, and not settle for anything less than criminal charges brought against the police officers in question.
posted by Freen at 7:09 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]


I am sitting in my house in Philly as we speak, and I walk the streets at night all the time. As do, as far as I know, most of the people I know, many of whom don't even own cars. It's a big city, and there are plenty of parts of it that I'd be careful in at night, but... yeah.

Hence why it's a thing. People are frightened of airplanes as well. There are some in the States that are very frightened of walking the streets at night. Whether this is groundless, or statistically not really the case doesn't matter to them. But interestingly enough, they were willing to walk the streets outside their city, where apparently it isn't a thing.
posted by juiceCake at 7:59 PM on January 20


Yes, of course they're still having their rights violated and the fact that someone is committing a illegal act should never be justification for that. My point (and my observation) it's that people are often fine with others having their rights violated but not so happy when it comes to them. If rights really are that important, they should be observed no matter the cost. That's kind of the point, really. I'm not supporting the approach that it's OK to violate peoples' rights to enforce the law, simply pointing out that hypocrisy is rife in the population when it comes to rights that are supposed to be inalienable.
posted by dg at 8:02 PM on January 20


This here is bullpuckey. I've lived in Toronto.

No it's not. They were genuinely afraid. That others are not is not disputed.
posted by juiceCake at 8:02 PM on January 20


Uh, I wasn't saying that it isn't true some atypical folks were surprised people walk at night in Toronto, I was saying that it is perfectly safe to walk at night in American cities as well. Sure, there are often a few neighborhoods that isn't true but it's true in most Canadian cities as well.

I can find people afraid that fluoridated water will poison them but that anecdote only says something about the fearful person and not about the safety of drinking water.
posted by Justinian at 8:11 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


Justinian: " If you plopped an average white dude into most of Toronto or most of a lot of American cities you would not be able to tell the difference, occasional Tim Hortons and Labatt Ice not withstanding. And Canadian customs is no bed of roses, I promise you. "

Agree on Canadian customs but we don't have roving customs agents performing customs and immigration stops a 100 miles from the border.

One big thumb sticker besides retail selection is the presence of armed private security which is essentially non-existent in Canada. I realize this varies a lot in the US on a state by state basis but their isn't anywhere here where mall cops have guns. Also a lot of places where we have security guards Americans have private police forces (EG: University campuses). And no Canadian university security person carries a gun; even in the few cases where the security officers are sworn peace officers.

But all that is besides the point. America is blatantly not following the intent of its constitution and doing so in a racist way. And it is worse for someone who is traveling away from their support networks and with the threat of deportation without cause hanging over them. I've been stopped at one of the interior passport check points in Arizona and it's disconcerting as hell to have an armed officer ask me for my papers and grill me on my business in their fine country while I'm touristing around minding my own business.

I'm not holding Canada out as a beacon of enlightenment on this issue; especially considering the anti science, anti democratic twit in charge at the moment has seen some backsliding on these issues but IMO the US is an uncomfortable place to visit.
posted by Mitheral at 8:11 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]


From the ACLU - Know Your Rights When Encountering Law Enforcement (PDF)

From the NMA - Vehicle Checkpoint Rights Card (PDF)

You can find various versions of traffic stop "rights cards" on the Web, some specific to your state.
posted by zakur at 8:56 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


I've crossed US immigration thrice and Canadian immigration twice. All I know is, US immigration folks speak in this hyper-ventilated voice as if they're barking orders to a dimwit - I've had immigration thugs shout at me because I put my arm on the counter - while Canadian immigration staff speak to you like normal people do (just as immigration staff in most other countries do). One of the Canadian folks even got into a bit of a chat on handling job interviews.
posted by the cydonian at 9:10 PM on January 20 [3 favorites]


Some American friends of mine were shocked that we walk the streets at night in Toronto.

It was probably because of the polar bears. It's very dangerous in Canada. Things will eat you.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:20 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]


Yeah, we have a similar problem. The streets here are perfectly safe except for the Drop Bears.
posted by dg at 11:29 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]


Copwatch Handbook
posted by jeffburdges at 2:27 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


the cydonian: "I've crossed US immigration thrice and Canadian immigration twice. All I know is, US immigration folks speak in this hyper-ventilated voice as if they're barking orders to a dimwit - I've had immigration thugs shout at me because I put my arm on the counter - while Canadian immigration staff speak to you like normal people do (just as immigration staff in most other countries do). One of the Canadian folks even got into a bit of a chat on handling job interviews."

It's definitely harder to get into Canada than into the Schengen Zone or the UK in my experience*, but I've never had a Canadian immigration official be anything but polite or act as if every word out of my mouth was a lie, or try to catch me out, which is about par for the course entering the US. I've never had a Canadian official ask any weird, prying questions about my private life either, just one guy who seemed legitimately flummoxed that my mother, who I don't live in the same state as and don't share a surname with, was giving me a lift over the border to go to a conference.

*I expect the UK is pretty terrible depending on your passport and/or race. I don't really expect the UKBA to be shining example of an immigration agency.
posted by hoyland at 5:32 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I've experienced airport immigration in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States, which I guess isn't a great sample. In all but one country, the attitude of the officers was broadly "Welcome to the country! Just got to check some stuff, we won't take long!", while in the US the attitude was more "Right asshole, what excuse can I find screw up your day? Why are you even here, Huh?"

Nothing ever went wrong, but the usually existing act of stepping over the threshold into a new country was deliberately turned into a shitty, rude headfuck.
posted by Jimbob at 2:46 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I'll express the contrary opinion, then, and claim that in the dozen times I've gone through US Customs, it's all been fine. Not friendly, but not nasty.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:59 PM on January 21


So now Homeland Security can detain suspected movie pirates?
posted by homunculus at 6:32 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


The Techno-Militarization Of America
posted by homunculus at 6:56 PM on January 21


An employee of the theater came in and removed the guy's $2200 eye glasses (1600 for Glass + $600 for a custom frame). Wouldn't that be assault and grand theft? I'm not sure even the cops would have the right to just grab your personal property from your face, that sea pretty invasive. Also the DHS issued a press release on the matter noting that the individual volunteered for questioning and consented to a search. They did give him 4 movie passes when it was all over.
posted by humanfont at 7:01 PM on January 21


This is a very common occurrence (minus the Glass™ angle) for photographers who dare to point their lenses at anything even slightly out of the norm or appear to professional. Photograph a rail line, port or police station and have the bad luck to have someone observe you and you can get all sorts of police action. The same applies for some copyrighted buildings and public art though in that case it is usually the rent a cops that hassle you rather than DHS.

As to why it was DHS who showed up: they are in charge of copyright enforcement.
posted by Mitheral at 8:45 PM on January 21


I suspect you are somewhat shielded from this reality by class privilege.

When dealing with cops, privilege is absolutely a thing, but it tends to be more general, "Are you the type of person I think of as a criminal?"

When I was younger, we would always pay our protection money on time donate to the PBA - the Policeman's Benevolent Association. Why? Because they would give little stickers. You would put one on the back windshield of your car, and one on your front door, to ward the police away. It generally worked for minor offenses.

Now I have veteran privilege. When I get stopped by a cop, I always hand my military ID over my drivers license. Nine times out of ten, I'm asked something about the military and let go with a warning. Because, you know, we're all in it together.

In the very, very early stages of OWS - before they had become OWS, when the initial group was just camping out near City Hall, I randomly came upon them. They had been trying to catch up to someone snuck out the back way of a building for an arrest, and the cops were running them down and shoving them to the ground. I saw a little red and started screaming about police brutality and advancing on them. I was fresh out and still sporting gear, which I think saved me from the initial brunt. When I got to the point about them violating freedom that other people had died to defend, the white shirt came up and very sincerely said, "No, don't worry about these people, they're bad guys." And that's how they think. You're a bad guy or not a bad guy. If you're not a bad guy, what you're doing is just "high spirits." If you are, you can get arrested for throwing a cigarette butt on the sidewalk.
posted by corb at 5:45 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


Man Subjected To Multiple Rectal Searches And Enemas By Police Officers Receives $1.6 Million Settlement
posted by jeffburdges at 9:38 AM on January 22


*Adam Katz, a fellow Occupy Oakland activist, complying with orders to "Back up" and "Get behind the [unidentified] line" before he's arrested. This is the 2-angle version showing both the Video Adam was filming, and someone else's angle on the arrest. They addressed him by name because, as the video shows, OPD intel teams were getting images and names of people with cameras in the Plaza the night before.

Charges were (eventually) dropped.

*Scott Campbell is shot by OPD with a sub-lethal round, without provocation, while filming a line of cops in the Plaza wearing their Team Vader gear.

OPD Settled w/ Scott, as well as Kayvan Sabeghi mentioned in the second vid.

Traffic stops are one thing. Just don't get political in the streets, or all bets are off.

#FilmThePolice
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 1:54 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Jeez, quite the hatchet job on Mark Duggan by some U.K. media

Militarized Police Detain Activists en Masse at Kelly Thomas Rally
posted by jeffburdges at 3:12 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Look, they can disappear you just like that. No evidence, nothin'.
Just 'yessir, nosir' them and gtf outta there.
posted by judson at 8:07 AM on January 23


Man Says LA Cops Framed Him for Murder

The shocking and immoral behavior of the British SDS
posted by jeffburdges at 6:39 AM on January 24


Look, they can disappear you just like that. No evidence, nothin'.
Just 'yessir, nosir' them and gtf outta there.


So that's the question, really. Do you lick their boots and let the situation continue to deteriorate? Or do you behave like an equal citizen (with civil rights and all!!) and stand up for your fellow American?

What is the correct answer here???

(Posted from Belarus, former Soviet state, where cops are kind-hearted, awesome, helpful people.)
posted by NiceKitty at 9:03 AM on January 24


Amusingly, I've heard multiple warning against traveling to Belarus, especially by train, due to serious corruption in the border police, probably still nicer than the NYPD though.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:10 AM on January 24


Totally possible, though I traveled by train from Ukraine to Belarus and found them to be fine. My gf and I asked police for directions maybe a dozen times and were always treated with kindness -- none of the assholish attitude I get from American cops. I honestly don't know if I'd call the cops if I were robbed, burglarized, or assaulted in the US, as I'd just be adding to my problem.
posted by NiceKitty at 9:19 AM on January 24


I'd suggest just going directly to the police office to file a report in those situations in the U.S.. In that way, you should interact only with clerks and maybe detectives, rather than the ego-tripping hot-head steroid-abusers looking to beat or shoot someone who make up so much of the remainder of the regular force. Now cops assault people in police officers regularly too of course, but overall it appears less frequent compared to elsewhere.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:39 AM on January 24


Texas Shouldn't – BUT JUST DID – Execute a Mexican National
posted by jeffburdges at 6:56 PM on January 24


Pa. Teen, Allegedly Has Testicle Ruptured By Cop
"I blame myself," [his mother] said. "I taught my son to respect cops, not to fear them. Maybe if he was afraid, he would have run like the other boys and he would have been okay."
posted by NiceKitty at 2:20 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Man Subjected To Multiple Rectal Searches And Enemas By Police Officers Receives $1.6 Million Settlement

3 Enemas Later, Still No Drugs
posted by homunculus at 10:43 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Cop Escapes Criminal Charges For Masturbating With Pre-Teen And Calling It Sex Ed

Protesters Ask: How Can You Shoot Yourself in the Head After Being Frisked and Handcuffed?
posted by jeffburdges at 10:55 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


jefburdges: are you suggesting that people try to file complaints against the police at the police station? Searching youtube for 'police complaint form' yields a ton of videos (note: they didn't go as smoothly as the videos in the original post here).
posted by el io at 3:41 PM on January 26


No. I suggested the police station might be a safer venue for reporting crimes like robbery, assaults, etc. in response to NiceKitty. Family members, pets, etc. wind up dead entirely too frequently when people bring police into their home.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:22 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


jeffburdges & el io: Yep, got it. Thanks for clarifying. Good advice, jeffburdges.

What I still struggle with, and we haven't reached any consensus, is the question of whether to stand up for your rights (and those of all Americans) MLK style, which might get you tased or killed, or rather to just lick the boots, which only emboldens and enables thuggish behavior from police officers, but keeps the individual safe for that encounter.

Seems like there ought to be an affordable technical solution for this, like a pendant, broach, or watch that takes video on demand, streams via your smartphone to a remote website. Would be nice to have the thing turn on when you're within 20' of a police officer.

Then setup a kickstarter to distribute these to inner city minorities. Donation gets you one and sends one to NYC, for example. This shit has got to stop.
posted by NiceKitty at 5:00 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]


Guards may be responsible for half of prison sex assaults
Interesting study worth an FPP imho, but I'm too busy today.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:31 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Alabama Looked The Other Way As Prison Staff Habitually Raped Women, Demanded Sexual Favors, DOJ Finds
posted by jeffburdges at 10:53 AM on February 2


“We called for help and they killed our son”

Many watchdogs believe the police are killing more innocent Americans than ever. But here's why they can't be sure
posted by jeffburdges at 3:25 PM on February 3


St. Louis Police Officers Caught Running Possibly Politically-Motivated Background Checks On Police Board Members
posted by jeffburdges at 4:12 PM on February 3


"peace officers don’t wear masks to hide their identity from the people they are supposedly protecting"

Police Officer attacks 10 year old child, breaking child leg, for filming cops
posted by jeffburdges at 7:05 AM on February 10


"Film the police!" Run a tape for the underclass
Get the face, name, & number of the badge
They flash, we flash back.
When they act disorderly, react accordingly and capture all we see

Nightsticks, zipties, and tasers, think you're licensed for type-vicious behavior?
Make the tight fist with the video trained towards the pig
Like this
He trip, and you make him famous...

posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:18 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Trial begins for Occupy Wall Street’s Cecily McMillan, who faces 7yrs in prison after beating by NYPD left her unconscious
posted by jeffburdges at 5:58 AM on February 11


We should post about The Marshall Project when they finally launch in 'mid-2014' :

Bill Keller departs his position as editor at The Times for a nonprofit news startup The Marshall Project devoted to covering the criminal-justice system

"The U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. From spiraling costs, to controversial drug laws, to prison violence, to concerns about systemic racial bias, there is a growing bipartisan consensus that America’s criminal-justice system is in dire need of reform. As traditional media companies cut back on enterprise reporting, the Marshall Project will serve as a dynamic digital hub for information and debate on the legal and corrections systems."

via The New Public Interest Journalism by John Cassidy
posted by jeffburdges at 7:28 AM on February 11


CopBlocker discusses lack of police accountability on RT

Police Puppycide in a Tiny Idaho Town (etc)
posted by jeffburdges at 8:30 AM on February 11


Confidential Informant strikes back against ICE/DEA handler who extorted him using threat of immigration proceedings
posted by jeffburdges at 8:48 AM on February 11


Dr. Simona Tibu is Brutally Beaten During Traffic Stop by Sheriff and then Charged with Assault
posted by jeffburdges at 4:23 AM on February 12


Police Shoot, Kill 80-Year-Old Man In His Own Bed, Don't Find the Drugs They Were Looking For
posted by homunculus at 11:16 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


Good Samaritan Backfire.. or How I Ended Up in Solitary After Calling 911 for Help
posted by jeffburdges at 3:33 PM on February 13


Cops Burn Man’s Genitals with Taser in Front of His Family

Pennsylvania judge sentenced to 28 years in prison for selling teens to prisons
posted by jeffburdges at 11:40 PM on February 13


Man Tells Off Cop Like You've Never Seen!

We need more people doing this. On video.
posted by NiceKitty at 4:29 AM on February 16


http://peacefulstreets.com/

Fundraiser drive for Antonio Buehler's legal fees

Please help if you can.
posted by NiceKitty at 4:31 AM on February 16


Back-story:

The guy with the long hair saw some woman get brutally beat down at a gas station or something in front of him, and he'd heard many stories of murder and other mistreatment with this particular department. So he started a public awareness campaign where I guess these kids follow around cops, I think in Austin, videoing them.
posted by NiceKitty at 4:33 AM on February 16


Lawsuit: Clueless California Cops Beat Deaf Man For Doing Nothing
posted by homunculus at 4:13 PM on February 17


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