Wheel turning round and round
April 7, 2015 4:29 PM   Subscribe

A South Carolina police officer shot at an unarmed, fleeing 50-year-old Walter Scott 8 times on Saturday, killing him. Officer Michael Slager claimed that Scott wrestled his taser away and he "felt threatened". But this time there was video of the incident, and Slager has been charged with Murder.

The New York times posted video of the shooting. "Mr. Scott was struck five times — three in the back, one in the upper buttocks and one in the ear — with at least one bullet entering his heart." After the shooting, Slager appears to pick up his taser from where he initially stood, bring it over to Walter Scott's body, and drop it next to Scott. Previously. Previously. Previously. Previously.
posted by cashman (748 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
 
God fucking dammit, America.
posted by sciatrix at 4:31 PM on April 7, 2015 [50 favorites]


Scott was black. Slager is white.

Why was I not remotely surprised to read this?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:35 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think I know how this will play out: DA will fumble the case, Grand Jury will agree to drop the case, Slager gets acquitted. There's a faint chance that he might not be allowed back on the police force, but that's the most we can expect to see. Same as it ever was.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 4:37 PM on April 7, 2015 [20 favorites]


I know it's CYA bullshit, but I can't imagine how anyone could claim, with a straight face, to be afraid of someone who is actively running away from you. Except that, you know, black men are scary no matter what they do.

I just watched the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt episode where Titus discovers that he has an easier time walking around NYC dressed up as a werewolf than he does when he walks around as a black man. It's sad that that's more of an observation than it is a joke.

This story is all kind of suck, but I hope it starts the pendulum swinging the other way, and I hope murder charges become the standard response to cops who kill unarmed citizens. (In typing that, I realized that I should be typing "I hope these shootings stop," but that doesn't even seem like a realistic wish until it becomes standard practice for cops to face consequences when they murder people.)
posted by mudpuppie at 4:38 PM on April 7, 2015 [40 favorites]


Ugly ugly ugly. At least there's a court case.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:38 PM on April 7, 2015


Disgusting.

Thank god for the omnipresence of smartphones because otherwise this officer would probably go free. Hell he still will probably go free but this way maybe justice will actually happen for the victim.
posted by vuron at 4:39 PM on April 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


Mandatory. Body. Cameras. For all law enforcement personnel.

It really needs to be a law. Like yesterday, already.

Even when the video exists, there's no guarantee of justice. But without one, you can damn well bet the citizen is going to get screwed.
posted by darkstar at 4:40 PM on April 7, 2015 [54 favorites]


Goddamn. Just......I don't know.
posted by triage_lazarus at 4:40 PM on April 7, 2015


The bravest fucking man in the world is the one who stood his ground to film a Southern white cop shooting a black man.
posted by delfin at 4:42 PM on April 7, 2015 [387 favorites]


Previously. Previously. Previously. Previously.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:43 PM on April 7, 2015 [97 favorites]


amen delfin.



.
posted by meta87 at 4:44 PM on April 7, 2015


Surprised the officer didn't immediately demand the camera as evidence and then destroy it. He seemed to look directly at the camera operator.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:44 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I hope the other cop that watch Slager plant evidence gets in trouble too, as well as the "witnesses" who saw the "struggle".
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:44 PM on April 7, 2015 [17 favorites]


Jesus. Shooting a man in the back and planting a weapon is the sort of thing that should only be done by characters in James Ellroy novels. I'm against the death penalty, but I hope the DA has the balls to at least put it on the table. That video was just awful.
posted by dortmunder at 4:45 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think I know how this will play out: DA will fumble the case, Grand Jury will agree to drop the case, Slager gets acquitted.

I hope not. This feels like it could be a match thrown into kindling.

Seems like forcing cops to wear cameras would take care of nine tenths of this bullshit. If nothing else, it would turn the old saw about 'if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to worry about' on its ear.
posted by Mooski at 4:45 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


FILM
THE
POLICE
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:46 PM on April 7, 2015 [57 favorites]


Body cameras don't really work when a large number of Americans believe that it's ok to kill a "black thug" when they refuse to comply with orders or even obey orders too slowly.

Body cameras are a technological solution to a social problem and are, as such, broken out of the box.
posted by Avenger at 4:51 PM on April 7, 2015 [64 favorites]


I wish I could believe that video will be enough, but goddammit, I thought that about the Rodney King beating video more than twenty years ago.
posted by skybluepink at 4:53 PM on April 7, 2015 [19 favorites]


Body cameras are a technological solution to a social problem and are, as such, broken out of the box.

Respectfully disagree. Do you think this guy would be charged with murder if there weren't a video of him dropping the taser beside his victim?
posted by Mooski at 4:53 PM on April 7, 2015 [48 favorites]


Oh no, you're right. He'll be charged with murder on account of the video, for sure.

He'll likely be acquitted on account of the black guy "being disrespectful to the police officer" and "creating a threatening environment for the officer" or something, and that is something technology is not going to fix.
posted by Avenger at 4:55 PM on April 7, 2015 [26 favorites]


Mandatory. Body. Cameras. For all law enforcement personnel.

Only if the police don't control the footage, don't have access to it, and can't turn the cameras off. And not wearing the camera is a major crime including immediate firing. Otherwise they'll just "lose" the incriminating footage every time. It's already happening that way.
posted by gerryblog at 4:55 PM on April 7, 2015 [82 favorites]


Eh, I'd prefer we didn't get into a long discussion about the effectiveness of body cams. The answer will always be that they would help some, but not enough. The real solution has to be social change.
posted by DrMew at 4:56 PM on April 7, 2015 [33 favorites]


Body cameras don't really work when a large number of Americans believe that it's ok to kill a "black thug" when they refuse to comply with orders or even obey orders too slowly.

Body cameras are a technological solution to a social problem and are, as such, broken out of the box.


True or false: body cameras decrease police brutality.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:56 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


I hope the other cop that watch Slager plant evidence gets in trouble too

It's just "professional courtesy". Standard operating procedure.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:57 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes there is an underlying social issue at work but if you can solve 90% of the expression of that social issue through a technological solution that's way way better than letting the police continue to violate the rights of citizens over and over.

This isn't even a body camera but it has already caused what would likely be a routine investigation of a deadly force shooting into a murder investigation. If that threat is in place for all cops at all times you can be assured that way more cops will err on the side of caution rather than just shooting ever black person that cops a tude.
posted by vuron at 4:58 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Wonder how often evidence gets planted that's not caught on camera.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:58 PM on April 7, 2015 [20 favorites]


By the way, if someone wants to post their favorite (read: most valid and approachable) infographic regarding a third party, average citizen's rights with respect to filming police interactions, up to and including events that might end up being murder cases, that would be fine and dandy with me.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:00 PM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


if you can solve 90% of the expression of that social issue through a technological solution

Do you think that the police being able to film everything they see is really a solution that is going to bring about more justice for the average citizen? I think it's far more likely they'll be able to slow-mo until they find a crime, when they want to find one.
posted by corb at 5:01 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


But this time there was video

There was video of Eric Garner's murder too.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:02 PM on April 7, 2015 [79 favorites]


Well, here's the thing that stuck me (beyond the horrific act itself). He dropped the taser next to the shot and cuffed man in the presence of another cop. No hesitation at all, it didn't seem like there was even a shadow of a doubt in his mind that this other cop wouldn't back his story.
I mean, I know that the corruption is systemic but to see it played out so blatantly is mind boggling.
posted by newpotato at 5:02 PM on April 7, 2015 [114 favorites]


.
posted by allthinky at 5:02 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the only faint spark of hope I have is based on that taser drop. Still, so faint.
posted by skybluepink at 5:04 PM on April 7, 2015


Corb- The panopticon is pretty much in place already. I just figure might as well take advantage of the panopticon to watch the actions of the watchmen.
posted by vuron at 5:04 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


FILM
THE
POLICE


At least, until it becomes illegal to do so.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 5:05 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Filming (whether via body cams or citizen surveillance of police) is not going to 'solve' the issue but it's currently doing a heck of a lot to make the issue more visible, which is (already) a huge part of what is needed to get at the larger social changes we so desperately need. cf Vietnam war, fire hoses on demonstrators in Birmingham.
posted by wemayfreeze at 5:07 PM on April 7, 2015 [23 favorites]


The fucking theatre of the cop ordering the dying man to put his hands behind his back.
posted by allthinky at 5:08 PM on April 7, 2015 [49 favorites]


I am stuck on the thought that "put your hands behind your back" are the last words that Walter Scott heard.
posted by prefpara at 5:11 PM on April 7, 2015 [34 favorites]


True or false: body cameras decrease police brutality.

True. IIRC (and I think there only been one peer-reviewed study so far), incidents where an officer pulls their gun are down ~75% and shootings down ~90% vs. not wearing a camera. So yeah, mandatory. Immediately. Footage banked elsewhere.
posted by sexyrobot at 5:18 PM on April 7, 2015 [20 favorites]


I cannot reccomend enough the reading of Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. It speaks to what is happening right now.
Rankine's lyrics don't look like poems. They're more like parables. They zoom in on micro-dynamics, speech acts, misunderstandings. In Rankine's world, a child can be knocked down on the subway by what she calls a person who has never seen anyone who is not a reflection of himself. Rankine's meditations go wide to Serena Williams, Trayvon Martin, Judith Butler. But they also sink down, and they trace how the odd force that is race also emerges as grief, as longing, as trauma. via: [NPR Books]
Excerpt:
You and your partner go to see the film The House We Live In. You ask a friend to pick up your child from school. On your way home your phone rings. Your neighbor tells you he is standing at his window watching a menacing black guy casing both your homes. The guy is walking back and forth talking to himself and seems disturbed.

You tell your neighbor that your friend, whom he has met, is babysitting. He says, no, it's not him. He's met your friend and this isn't that nice young man. Anyway, he wants you to know, he's called the police.

Your partner calls your friend and asks him if there's a guy walking back and forth in front of your home. Your friend says that if anyone were outside he would see him because he is standing outside. You hear the sirens through the speakerphone.
I'm angry but I also find myself turning to words as a form of solace. If you feel like you have no words, maybe this book can find some for you during this troubled time.

.
posted by Fizz at 5:20 PM on April 7, 2015 [24 favorites]


That camera man is a serious hero. You can hear how freaked out he is but he stays there and keeps filming. I'm not sure that I'd have the guts to not break and run considering he's within range of someone who just shot someone else in cold blood.
posted by octothorpe at 5:21 PM on April 7, 2015 [110 favorites]


Body cameras are a technological solution to a social problem and are, as such, broken out of the box.

As an IT guy I hear this a lot but usually from other IT people who don't want to address some problem so they over simplify it as a social or behavioral problem. And they are assuming that solutions like this only work if they are all encompassing and bullet proof. Almost like they just don't want to add any work to their existing load. A social problem in its own right
posted by aydeejones at 5:30 PM on April 7, 2015 [56 favorites]


I think Slager will be indicted. South Carolina has indicted 3 cops in the past 6 months for shooting unarmed black men. Which is both good and bad news, for obvious reasons.
posted by justkevin at 5:31 PM on April 7, 2015 [16 favorites]


I can't agree more about the cameraperson. I think that person deserves an official commendation of some kind. I want to give that person a hug. I want to thank them personally. If they ever decide to not be anonymous, I hope the community there honors them.
posted by cashman at 5:34 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


The bravest fucking man in the world is the one who stood his ground to film a Southern white cop shooting a black man.

fucking seriously. meanwhile the kid who filmed eric garner's murder here in nyc is being fed rat poison in rikers.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:34 PM on April 7, 2015 [27 favorites]


The callousness of the abrupt taser dump and expected complicity in falsifying evidence is the IRL "just sprinkle some crack on him and let's get out of here" joke from David Chapelle turned to 11 and horrifyingly real
posted by aydeejones at 5:35 PM on April 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


meanwhile the kid who filmed eric garner's murder here in nyc is being fed rat poison in rikers.

The police may not know who actually took the video. The OP says the video was provided to the family, who in turn provided it to the police.

Considering he did stop for a moment, I suspect the videographer had a plan which involved the cops being slowed enough by the fence for him to duck into some nearby place where he'd be fairly hard to follow. Obviously he was very concerned that his activities might be noticed, but OTOH it seems the cops probably thought he didn't matter.
posted by localroger at 5:38 PM on April 7, 2015


And I didn't mean to be a dick about the social problem thing but I've heard it so many times as a way of saying "no" that it rankled me. The confidence that it would not help is probably overblown but I get the cynicism because cynicism doesn't really apply for much longer when it's a largely realistic expectation...certainly there would need to be lots of technical layers of auditing and compliance because cameras are gonna get mysteriously turned off or mufflecovered. And I can imagine someone saying "you can't stop cops from mufflecovering" when the answer to stopping it is just another problem to solve within realistic parameters. Auditing and reporting and yeah ultimately disincentivizing the culture of corruption with extreme prejudice.
posted by aydeejones at 5:39 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


People saying that technology can't fix a social problem are taking too small a view. The big change produced by cameras becoming common is that, largely for the first time that I've been alive to witness, there's widespread recognition that the problem even exists. Yes, there are still going to be [too many] more cases where an officer is acquitted by a jury loyal to the badge rather than the law, but now we're seeing even mainstream politicians talk about that as a failure of justice or something which should lead to legal changes. In the past that kind of rhetoric was the domain of people who'd been immediately affected and a small number of activists; the difference has been publicly-available video and the ability to circulate evidence and commentary in near real-time.

Technology won't solve this problem but it can convince a majority of voters that it needs solving.
posted by adamsc at 5:44 PM on April 7, 2015 [66 favorites]


I think Slager will be indicted.

The NY Times article says he's been "charged with murder"; what's the difference between that and an indictment?
posted by mr_roboto at 5:46 PM on April 7, 2015


Disarm the police. beat cops at least, if they are in danger they can call for armed back-up or swat.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:47 PM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


"Charged with" means they're going to try to indict him, but it has to go before a judge or grand jury before he is actually indicted.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:48 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Indictment is an official finding that there is enough evidence against a charged person for them to stand trial.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:48 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Maybe mount cameras on the ends of the guns...
posted by Rat Spatula at 5:48 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


The callousness of the abrupt taser dump and expected complicity in falsifying evidence is the IRL "just sprinkle some crack on him and let's get out of here" joke from David Chapelle turned to 11 and horrifyingly real

Black comedians and musicians have talked about these incidents for years. The intro of Tupac's 'Soulja's Revenge', the intro to some of Ice-T's work, KRS, the Geto Boys, and so on. Some of the intros have samples of Richard Pryor's comedy from the early 70's with the same thing. It is upsetting.
posted by cashman at 5:50 PM on April 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


There should be a reward fund for people like the camera operator.
posted by fings at 5:51 PM on April 7, 2015 [16 favorites]


Police reports say that officers performed CPR and delivered first aid to Mr. Scott. The video shows that for several minutes after the shooting, Mr. Scott remained face down with his hands cuffed behind his back. A second officer arrives, puts on blue medical gloves and attends to Mr. Scott, but is not shown performing CPR. As sirens wail in the background, a third officer later arrives, apparently with a medical kit, but also not seen performing CPR.
Who you gonna trust ? These hard working honest professional cops or your stinkin' lyin' eyes ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:52 PM on April 7, 2015 [63 favorites]


That cold motherf**cker. I oppose the death penalty on principle, but that principle is sorely tested when murder is committed in cold blood on camera by an agent of the state and proves he was lying and covering up his deed in the most cinematically cynical way imaginable.

If there is no murder conviction, with major league jail time, out of this, god help this fucking country.

The cameraperson is a goddamn hero. But African Americans shouldn't need heroes to get justice. Nor really any of us. Because make no mistake this is a racist killing, straight up no chaser, but the attitude of impunity and casual sadism it exposes leaves no American safe.
posted by spitbull at 5:55 PM on April 7, 2015 [54 favorites]


I don't know, but I think the worm has turned and this asshole is going to serve some time for this straight up cold-blooded murder.
posted by Abon Sapi at 5:57 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Cameras might not solve everything, but the evidence shows they help, a lot. That's ... really enough argument there.
posted by kafziel at 5:58 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Do cops get a form letter of some sort telling them what to say when they shoot an unarmed person? It's always "feared for my life" and "reached for his waistband" or whatever. If I were on a jury and a cop feared for his life because the unarmed suspect reached for his waistband, well, god have mercy on you officer because I would not.
posted by Justinian at 5:58 PM on April 7, 2015 [20 favorites]


You know, short of being caught on camera (which I hope these things increasingly will be), it's not hard for a cop to plant a taser on the scene. But if you think about all those cases where cops (allegedly!) plant drugs on someone...it seems like a stop and frisk policy would go a long way towards ending that.
posted by uosuaq at 6:00 PM on April 7, 2015


Those are the magic words, Justinian. "Feared for my life" is vague enough to always be believable against the monstrous blackness every african american man is presumed to carry. I pray this officer gets convicted though.
posted by cashman at 6:01 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Disarm the police. beat cops at least, if they are in danger they can call for armed back-up or swat.

Absolutely. Also, every killing by a police officer (even in unambiguously "justified" cases) should result in an automatic manslaughter conviction at minimum. If the situation's so dire that the officer is willing to pull out a gun to deal with it, it had better be so bad that the officer is willing to go to jail.

it seems like a stop and frisk policy would go a long way towards ending that.

I don't get it. You mean we should be able to stop and frisk random cops, to make sure they don't have any drugs to plant on us when they stop us later?
posted by busted_crayons at 6:06 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm actually surprised this guy got charged. It's clearly the video. Because there was another case in the news that the Washington Post (I believe?) has been running stories on where an unarmed dude with his hands raised was shot by a cop who then immediately tells the other cops he was upset because he had a fight with his girlfriend. The other four or five cops on the scene all say there was no reason to shoot the guy and he didn't reach for anything and still no charges were filed!

So, yeah, no video = no charges, even if your actions are so egregious that the other cops throw you under the bus.

I sometimes wonder if David Brin had it right in Earth and the solution is that every person be cammed up at all times.
posted by Justinian at 6:06 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I know I shouldn't read the comments, and yet I do. Unsurprisingly, right on top is someone saying it's such a tragedy, but it may have been avoided if the victim had just listened to the police officer -- because obviously, the responsibility for keeping the situation from spiraling out of control lies with the unarmed civilian, not the armed government official.

What the fuck is wrong with people?
posted by tocts at 6:06 PM on April 7, 2015 [25 favorites]


"Charged with" means they're going to try to indict him, but it has to go before a judge or grand jury before he is actually indicted.

and murder is premeditated... this might be a case of headlines going overboard. It's sickening, but murder may not be on the table.
posted by Benway at 6:07 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna have to disagree pretty strongly with you there, busted_crayons. Police Officers should have the same right to self defense as anyone else. The problem right now isn't that they have the right to defend themselves, its that they apparently have the right to shoot unarmed people with impunity unless there is video.
posted by Justinian at 6:07 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Traffic stop.
posted by phaedon at 6:08 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


I could get on board with every shooting which ends in a death requiring a trial prosecuted by an independent agency and not the regular DA though.
posted by Justinian at 6:08 PM on April 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


and murder is premeditated...

First degree murder is premeditated. Just up and shooting a guy to death on purpose is still totally murder.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:10 PM on April 7, 2015 [23 favorites]


Benway, premeditated may have specific meanings in a South Carolina legal context that are slightly or massively different from the way you or I use the term. I'm not a lawyer, but I have had a lawyer tell me this.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:11 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean somebody in law enforcement should be empowered to stop and frisk random cops, and lead a drug-sniffing dog around their vehicles, yes.
posted by uosuaq at 6:13 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Police Officers should have the same right to self defense as anyone else.

Why? It's not like anyone forced them to be cops. They volunteered to accept (in principle) a higher level of occupational risk in order to protect the public. (Not that it's actually as high-risk an occupation as it is frequently made out to be.)

I mean somebody in law enforcement should be empowered to stop and frisk random cops, and lead a drug-sniffing dog around their vehicles, yes.

I'm down with this, except it should be someone out of law enforcement doing it; otherwise it's a joke.
posted by busted_crayons at 6:14 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Why? Because it's their constitutional right. It's a fundamental right inherent to all human beings.
posted by Justinian at 6:15 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


“White privilege is being outraged by this rather than being terrified.”

(Seen on Twitter during one of the all too many previous incidents of this sort)
posted by acb at 6:17 PM on April 7, 2015 [65 favorites]


Well, it has to be somebody *in* law enforcement, because it's a matter of law enforcement. But it should be state or (if it's constitutional) federal agents, so local corruption would have less chance to interfere.
posted by uosuaq at 6:19 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why? Because it's their constitutional right. It's a fundamental right inherent to all human beings.

People voluntarily give up rights all the time. I waived my copyright to something just the other day, for example. It seems straightforward to me that someone volunteering to protect the public should, while on duty, be required to put the safety of the public before their own. If that's unappealing, they don't have to sign up for that job.
posted by busted_crayons at 6:20 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Copyright, despite the name, isn't actually a right, it's a privilege granted for a limited (HAH) period of time. You generally can't sign away your fundamental rights, of which copyright is not one.
posted by Justinian at 6:21 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


right on top is someone saying it's such a tragedy, but it may have been avoided if the victim had just listened to the police officer

I don't understand how people can see this shit happen over and over again and not come to the conclusion that running or fighting are the only sane options, same as when you're accosted by any other armed menace. And I'm a forty year old white guy.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 6:22 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Hah, yes, uosuaq, it's true that, if these inspections were legally-sanctioned, whoever did them would be in law enforcement as a matter of definition. I was thinking some kind of civilian organization authorized by a court to police the police.
posted by busted_crayons at 6:22 PM on April 7, 2015


Moments after the struggle, Officer Slager reported on his radio: “Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser,” according to police reports.

There's that, too.
posted by phaedon at 6:23 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


That shit was premeditated in the most vernacular sense of the term. That cop spent many years becoming a racist killer, and he is trained to think before pulling his trigger even if does face a credible threat. He had plenty of time in that video to contemplate his decision and no reason to be in fear.
posted by spitbull at 6:24 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


People voluntarily give up rights all the time.

That some of our rights are inalienable is in fact a central tenet of the Constitution.
posted by shmegegge at 6:24 PM on April 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


First degree murder is premeditated. Just up and shooting a guy to death on purpose is still totally murder.

It's fucking premeditated as soon as a cop sees a black person.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:25 PM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


You generally can't sign away your fundamental rights, of which copyright is not one.

I don't have the right to give up my rights? Other people can claim the authority to deprive me of my fundamental rights, so it's pretty fucked up if I can't give them up voluntarily.

The legal system deprives certain people of fundamental rights all the time -- prison is an example. There's no reason why the legal system shouldn't abridge the rights of its agents if that's in the public interest, especially since those agents have that status voluntarily.
posted by busted_crayons at 6:25 PM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Exactly. The right to life is inalienable and one cannot sign it away, even if one is a cop.
posted by Justinian at 6:25 PM on April 7, 2015


I don't have the right to give up my rights?

No. This is pretty settled law.
posted by Justinian at 6:26 PM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


(see: indentured servitude)
posted by Justinian at 6:26 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Exactly. The right to life is inalienable and one cannot sign it away, even if one is a cop.

So I have no right to suicide but the state has, in some cases, the right to kill me, should a court authorize it?
posted by busted_crayons at 6:27 PM on April 7, 2015


On body cameras:

OK so I was at a conference a few months back for insurers of municipalities and police forces etc. For anyone that doesn't know, most states will have some kind of insurance pool where cities throw money together into a pot and create a sort of quasi-governmental insurance company that they are all part owners of. I was one of the few non-Americans at this thing, the rest were Americans.

Anyways long story short: the insurers of American cities are all for body cameras. They want them and pressure is going to come from them to get them put on officers. From an insurance perspective, they see a benefit from this -- because frankly most of the time a camera is going to record an incident and they feel it's going to cut down on bullshit claims (there are a lot more of these than you'd think and it can cost a lot to go through the litigation process fighting them). It is also going to capture incidents like these, which is the far better part of the whole deal for the general public.

It's only a matter of time until cameras are on police in the US. It's going to happen. Whether it changes anything is another, more depressing question.
posted by Hoopo at 6:27 PM on April 7, 2015 [58 favorites]


The video evidence is all too damning. There's no jury in the world that wouldn't see this as cut and dry. The Brown/Wilson killing had enough ambiguity that it would never have resulted in Wilson's conviction; of course, he was never indicted which is an outrage in and of itself.

But this video...there's no wiggle room. And he's already been charged with murder, already. Best case: the Justice Department does an investigation on this city's cops as well. I would not be surprised if it mirrored the crap going on on Ferguson (as well as, you know, every town in the country).
posted by zardoz at 6:27 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


No. This is pretty settled law.

I was unaware we were having a legal discussion, not an ethical one. If that's the case, that's boring and I'm out.

Since we were speculating about how things should be done, I don't know what existing law has to do with things.
posted by busted_crayons at 6:28 PM on April 7, 2015


So I have no right to suicide but the state has, in some cases, the right to kill me, should a court authorize it?

Man, if you want to argue that the state shouldn't use the death penalty, you're in strong and good company on that one.

But still, you cannot give up several really basic rights, even if you're a cop.

You can try to argue your way out of it, but at this point you're just kind of making shit up and being argumentative.
posted by shmegegge at 6:28 PM on April 7, 2015 [13 favorites]


There's no jury in the world that wouldn't see this as cut and dry.

You are a much more optimistic person than I am.
posted by Justinian at 6:29 PM on April 7, 2015 [18 favorites]


They should have the trial in a neutral venue, like Japan.
posted by Renoroc at 6:32 PM on April 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


Japan's conviction rate exceeds 99%. Great if you're looking for a conviction, not so good if you're looking for actual justice.
posted by Justinian at 6:33 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think Renoroc was looking for both, maybe.
posted by uosuaq at 6:34 PM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


But still, you cannot give up several really basic rights, even if you're a cop.

Do you mean legally? If so, fine, but this question seems anything but settled, from an ethical perspective. I'm not sure what the point is of talking only about what's legally possible, since MeFi is not court.

If not, what do you mean by "you cannot give up several really basic rights"? Which are those rights, what would giving them up entail, and what's stopping one from doing that?

More to the point, it's not clear that the automatic-jail-time-on-shooting-someone counts as a violation of a police officer's right to self-defence. After all, in such a (hypothetical) scenario, they were not actually prevented from defending themself (nobody stopped them from shooting their assailant), they merely had to face consequences, after the fact, befitting the extra seriousness with which they are supposed to take the safety of the public.
posted by busted_crayons at 6:38 PM on April 7, 2015


Sure you can sign away a copyright in advance (as work for hire) or after the fact as your property.

This ain't about property rights.
posted by spitbull at 6:39 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


busted_crayons: Since it can't happen, what's the difference if it would be ethical or not? I mean, I'm all for pie in the sky thought experiments I'm just not sure this is the time.
posted by Justinian at 6:41 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do you mean legally? If so, fine, but this question seems anything but settled, from an ethical perspective. I'm not sure what the point is of talking only about what's legally possible, since MeFi is not court.

I think Justinian was using the phrase "settled law" colloquially, not literally -- the example of indentured servitude was brought up to point out a case where society determined that you cannot be made to just sign your life away to another person. The obvious parallel would be that a police officer couldn't be made to sign away the basic human right to self defense. Copyright, despite the name, is not an inalienable right and really has no place in the discussion.
posted by axiom at 6:42 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


A conviction for this crime would be actual justice for once.
posted by Renoroc at 6:48 PM on April 7, 2015


Since it can't happen, what's the difference if it would be ethical or not? I mean, I'm all for pie in the sky thought experiments I'm just not sure this is the time.

Okay, I'll put my fucking "." and leave it to the legal system -- whose agents routinely murder people and rarely face meaningful justice -- to sort this horrific clusterfuck out, like it did so well with all the other horrific clusterfucks.

The obvious parallel would be that a police officer couldn't be made to sign away the basic human right to self defense. Copyright, despite the name, is not an inalienable right

Do you mean "couldn't be made" or "can't be made under existing law" or what? I certainly agree that copyright is not an "inalienable right". Why are certain rights so inalienable that the only entity that may deprive people of those rights is the state (not even those people themselves)?

To be clear, a legal answer to that question doesn't engage adequately with "why?". The whole point of a discussion about how things should be different is that what "society determined" hitherto is incorrect in some way, so answers that depend on what "society determined" are non-answers.
posted by busted_crayons at 6:49 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I saw on Twitter that the victim was pulled over for having a busted taillight, but that SC only requires one working taillight? Is that correct?
posted by nevercalm at 6:49 PM on April 7, 2015


This isn't a legal or ethical question of whether or not cops should be able to defend themselves, it is a question of whether or not this cop was defending himself.

This issue is put to bed in the New York TImes article, where in the Supreme Court case Tennessee vs. Garner (1985), "an officer may use deadly force against a fleeing suspect only when there is probable cause that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”
posted by phaedon at 6:49 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


This isn't a question of whether or not cops should be able to defend themselves, it is a question of whether or not this cop was defending himself, or for that matter, others.

That's just a factual question. Obviously nobody is being defended; watch the video. It portrays a sadistic murder, a failure to render aid to a grievously injured person, and a cynical lie (the planted weapon). The Supreme Court is completely irrelevant, too: whatever that cop's behaviour is called legally, his neighbours should not tolerate it, even were a hypothetical court to justify that behaviour somehow.
posted by busted_crayons at 6:53 PM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Walter Scott. This undated photo shows Walter "Lamar" Scott who was shot and killed by a police officer on April 4, 2015 in North Charleston, S.C. [abc]
posted by cashman at 6:55 PM on April 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


I saw references to military service based on the picture, but I didn't see any official reports of it, so I didn't include that. Obviously Walter is in military dress though.

.
posted by cashman at 6:56 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


From the ACLU:

Know Your Rights: Photographers

Unfortunately, there is a widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs from public places, and harassing, detaining and arresting those who fail to comply.

Your rights as a photographer:

-When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view.
- When you are on private property, the property owner may set rules about the taking of photograph
- Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photographs or video without a warrant.
- Police may not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances.
- Police officers may legitimately order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations.
- Note that the right to photograph does not give you a right to break any other laws.


If stopped for photography, the right question to ask is, "am I free to go?" If the officer says no, then you are being detained, something that under the law an officer cannot do without reasonable suspicion that you have or are about to commit a crime or are in the process of doing so. Until you ask to leave, your being stopped is considered voluntary under the law and is legal.
..............................
With regards to videotaping, there is an important legal distinction between a visual photographic record (fully protected) and the audio portion of a videotape, which some states have tried to regulate under state wiretapping laws.


State-by-state laws on recording audio

Tape recording laws at a glance

7 Rules For Recording The Police

Filming and Photographing Police

Texas Rep Proposes Bill To Make Filming The Police Illegal For Everyone But MSM
posted by triggerfinger at 6:58 PM on April 7, 2015 [110 favorites]


Absolutely. Also, every killing by a police officer (even in unambiguously "justified" cases) should result in an automatic manslaughter conviction at minimum. If the situation's so dire that the officer is willing to pull out a gun to deal with it, it had better be so bad that the officer is willing to go to jail.

The Supreme Court is completely irrelevant, too: whatever that cop's behaviour is called legally, his neighbours should not tolerate it, even were a hypothetical court to justify that behaviour somehow.

Thanks for making this a great conversation.
posted by phaedon at 7:01 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]




The video evidence is all too damning. There's no jury in the world that wouldn't see this as cut and dry

I wish I believed that.
posted by bq at 7:07 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Please tell me there is not yet a fundraiser for the cop.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:09 PM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


The Mayor's press conference from earlier. I think I mentioned it in one of the Oscar Grant threads, that it goes a long way to me when officials treat these cases with the respect they deserve. When they appear genuinely sad at the events. When they say things like the mayor said - "our officer" - not acting like he's not a part of their force. The mayor also says they are there for the family, their prayers are with the family.

Unlike in Michael Brown's killing, the officer's name was out there almost immediately, even if he did have a bullshit story to sell. I hope they continue to show they care, continue to treat Mr. Scott's killing as if it was one of their own family members.
posted by cashman at 7:11 PM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


Please tell me there is not yet a fundraiser for the cop.

You know there will be. But I hope it isn't posted here. I hope the fundraiser is for the camera person.
posted by cashman at 7:12 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Jesus. Pumped 8 fucking shots into that poor guy like he was hunting a deer. He had better do time, otherwise Ferguson will pale in comparison. And rightfully so.
posted by repoman at 7:12 PM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I saw on Twitter that the victim was pulled over for having a busted taillight, but that SC only requires one working taillight? Is that correct?

IANL, but here is the statute
posted by gwint at 7:17 PM on April 7, 2015




It might be time to discuss the idea of disarming American police forces.
posted by Mick at 7:26 PM on April 7, 2015 [40 favorites]


The cop on the right in the Mayor's press conference video sure looks nervous/uncomfortable.
posted by Rumple at 7:28 PM on April 7, 2015


Maybe the tech solution slowly becomes a social one as everyone learns to roll their eyes every time this happens and the cop has to say "My camera must have malfunctioned..."
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:29 PM on April 7, 2015


What's going to be especially galling is the spin of "This terrible man absolutely deserves to be convicted of murder in this horrible, isolated incident that is in no way a reflection of larger systemic issues within police forces across the country and has absolutely nothing to do with race" which I am sure is already starting as we speak.
posted by StopMakingSense at 7:30 PM on April 7, 2015 [18 favorites]


A week or so ago, a pair of cop cars had pulled over a young black man in my neighborhood and the first thought that popped into my head was, "Do I need to film this in case they murder this guy?"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:31 PM on April 7, 2015 [23 favorites]


DirtyOldTown, the answer to that is always yes.
posted by Catblack at 7:33 PM on April 7, 2015 [88 favorites]


.
posted by evilDoug at 7:34 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


DirtyOldTown, yes. Seconded.
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:35 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's going to be especially galling is the spin of "This terrible man absolutely deserves to be convicted of murder in this horrible, isolated incident that is in no way a reflection of larger systemic issues within police forces across the country and has absolutely nothing to do with race" which I am sure is already starting as we speak.

Heck, as long as murderous cowardly individuals like this one keep getting charged as the paradigm shifts then I'm fine with the whole "larger" conversation not getting as much play as it might seem to need.
posted by Abon Sapi at 7:42 PM on April 7, 2015


I have an idea for social change: we can change our society into one where the social and legal norms require the police to wear a camera.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 7:45 PM on April 7, 2015


I have an idea for social change: we can change our society into one where the social and legal norms require the police to wear a camera.

How about.. you can't arrest someone unless you're filming it?
posted by phaedon at 7:49 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Phaedon: How about.. you can't arrest someone unless you're filming it?

I'd give you about 24 hours between the day that law got approved and someone getting shot point blank before the officer even attempted to arrest them, because they were "too dangerous to arrest via standard procedure."
posted by Ashen at 7:56 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


sociopathic motherfuckers should not be permitted to be peace officers.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:02 PM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


I am willing to allow that there are times when a police officer may need to use deadly force. I think they're rare, and any should be investigated very carefully. However, it is never okay for an officer to plant evidence, lie about what happened, or otherwise contrive to cover up their own misconduct. We really need to have zero tolerance for that. If somehow the murder charge doesn't stick, the other bullshit should hit him just as hard.
posted by aubilenon at 8:03 PM on April 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


Eric Garner was being hassled about selling cigarettes. Mike Brown was killed because he was walking in the middle of the street and didn't get on the sidewalk when police told him to. Now, Walter Scott was shot in the back as ran away after a traffic stop.

The police really do need to be reigned in.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:14 PM on April 7, 2015 [40 favorites]


It's been 241 days since August 9th. Which makes it 238 days since Thorzdad wrote, “Note to the good cops: Do something, goddammit.”

Given the events of the last almost eight months, I can't imagine why anyone would accept any statement made by a police officer, under oath or no, at face value. Tick-tock, good cops.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:17 PM on April 7, 2015 [28 favorites]


You forgot Levar Jones, who was killed for complying with an officer's request too quickly.
posted by justkevin at 8:20 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Eric Garner was being hassled about selling cigarettes. Mike Brown was killed because he was walking in the middle of the street and didn't get on the sidewalk when police told him to. Now, Walter Scott was shot in the back as ran away after a traffic stop.

This is what's been going through my mind for awhile. None of these guys were arch-criminals killed in the midst of some major crime. These were petty incidents that should have ended with Desk Appearnce Tickets or even less. It's disheartening. I'd comment more but i have shit to deal with.
posted by jonmc at 8:27 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


You forgot Levar Jones, who was killed for complying with an officer's request too quickly.

I just asked by wife what she thought of "the video of another cop shooting an unarmed black guy" and she replied with "which one?" So I had to explain which one I was specifically talking about it.

Fucking hell.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:28 PM on April 7, 2015 [21 favorites]




As far as systemic issues go, systems are brought against people by those who act on them; taking them out of power is fighting the system. It's the physical implementation of the demand that this won't be tolerated. This shit is so bald-faced and sickening, and for that reason I am glad to see more communities pushing back against the cops. It looks like it will unfortunately have to keep happening for a long time to come.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:34 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sadly, if that officer gets anything less than life in prison, I think North Charleston is going to burn.
posted by Ratio at 8:44 PM on April 7, 2015


“Note to the good cops: Do something, goddammit.”

Is the officer present when Slager planted the taser, who apparently remained silent about it, being charged or disciplined in any way? Or is it that he told the other officers or his boss and the public silence persisted until the video came out?
posted by Drinky Die at 8:53 PM on April 7, 2015 [19 favorites]


This is the first time in the past year or so that my acquaintance who is 100% always on the side of the police (even in the Tamir Rice case) admitted a police shooting was unjustified. Thank god for smartphones and people brave enough to use them.
posted by sallybrown at 8:58 PM on April 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


Film The Police?

That's a nice idea. But I'll stick with the original definition for that acronym.

Fuck Tha Police

Opposite coast from me, but I think I'll cut some time out for protesting out there if the situation warrants it.

The police are NEVER your friend.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 8:59 PM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


sociopathic motherfuckers should not be permitted to be peace officers.

Uncle Henry thinks he's a chicken. We'd take him to a doctor, but we need the eggs.
posted by PMdixon at 9:06 PM on April 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


And the hit parade keeps coming: NJ cops let dog maul man to death.


I am reminded of Django Unchained. D'Artagnan, mother@#^s!
posted by LeRoienJaune at 9:33 PM on April 7, 2015


If they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear, right?

Cops should be all over this body cam/taser cam/pistol cam/dash cam thing, to document the 100% of the time they shoot in self-defense. Into fleeing people. Or fleeing cars. Or at dogs.

Meantime, to help them out, we should all make sure to get this crap on citizen-controlled cameras, so the Protect and Serve crowd is protected, and you know, served?

Police militarization, embedded racism, and a sanction-free environment for encouraged misbehavior has been a hot button issue with me for a decade or more, and I am outraged by the daily stream of dead citizens resulting from police action in the USA. I am disgusted by this carnage, but grateful that the issue is finally getting traction, albeit on the graves of mostly young black men. My earnest hope is that these horrid deaths are fertilizer for a final solution to police violence here.

Demilitarization,
Real teeth in the sanctions for illegal actions,
Shoot-back laws,
Complete camera coverage of police applications of force/violence,
Outside special prosecutors instead of DA's investigating their own agents,
Retirement of SWAT teams used for routine work,
And end to the war on drugs used by black people,
Racial balance on police forces,
National registry of police violence,
National records to document repeat police killers,


and as much as anything else, an end to glorifying police work by the law and order crowd and Hollywood. How about a Clean Harry character for a change?

It's a voluntary job. Safer ones are available. Danger is no excuse for routine homicide.

If you want the job, you probably should not have it.

If you're not up to the task of being a cop, be a soldier. Get a gun fix where people shoot back at you. There is no shortage of USA wars to choose from... we've always got one or two going.

This crap has got to stop.
posted by FauxScot at 9:44 PM on April 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


And the hit parade keeps coming: NJ cops let dog maul man to death.
-
Even the police chief in Vineland calls what happened a tragedy, and the prosecutor's office is asking for the public's help as it tries to figure out what exactly happened when officers confronted the man on Tuesday.

Are we really to the point where a police chief thinking a suspect dying in custody is a tragedy is so noteworthy it requires an, "Even this guy...if you can believe it!"
posted by Drinky Die at 9:45 PM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


At least on the west coast, this story lead the NBC Nightly News.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:47 PM on April 7, 2015


.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:54 PM on April 7, 2015


Cold blooded murder. Nice to see the New York Times post the video. The image of Officer Slager standing over Walter Scott, watching him die is just chilling. It's one hell of a post-racist society we live in.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:01 PM on April 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


watching him die is just chilling.

Truly. Imagine spending your last dying moments on this Earth being told to put your hands behind your back, and getting handcuffed with your face in the grass, while the officer that just shot you runs off to find the evidence that he's going to plant on you to justify your murder, instead of helping you out.

What a fucking travesty.
posted by phaedon at 10:15 PM on April 7, 2015 [27 favorites]


Truly. Imagine spending your last dying moments on this Earth being told to put your hands behind your back, and getting handcuffed with your face in the grass, while the officer that just shot you runs off to find the evidence that he's going to plant on you to justify your murder, instead of helping you out.

That's what I was thinking when I watched the video too: Walter saw the cop planting evidence. He probably died thinking the cop would get away with killing him.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:21 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's what I was thinking when I watched the video too: Walter saw the cop planting evidence. He probably died thinking the cop would get away with killing him.

I'm sure he would have thought that regardless of whether he saw the evidence being planted.
posted by IAmUnaware at 11:22 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Incidents like this, in any police department, should immediately suspend the charter of that department, with the feds taking it over. All officers suspended without pay while the feds investigate the slipshod, craptastic, undoubtedly racist and corrupt environment which allows cops like this to thrive.

In addition, the municipality whose cops these are forfeit all legal fines, ticket revenue, etc. for two years from the date of the incident.

Hit the racist fuckwads in the pocketbook, it's probably one of the few things they understand.
posted by maxwelton at 11:35 PM on April 7, 2015 [21 favorites]


(This assumes the feds would be any better, not necessarily a given.)
posted by maxwelton at 11:36 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


This story is actually front page news here in Norway as well, for at least the three first news providers I checked (major newspaper Aftenposten, state broadcaster NRK and major tabloid Dagbladet). I actually had a conversation with my parents about institutional racism in America when I was visiting them last weekend. I think recent coverage about Ferguson especially has chipped away at the impression that racism in America ended with the repeal of Jim Crow, or at least when Obama was elected.
posted by Harald74 at 11:37 PM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


This, and the recent Kenyan school massacre; will be forgotten in a week. Now; if somebody had mulched a dozen kittens in a blender; and put it on youtube; the whole planet would have freaked out, demanding immediate justice and retaliation; and some strange permanent sense of action would occur. Welcome to bizarro world 2015.
posted by buzzman at 12:03 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


At least on the west coast, this story lead the NBC Nightly News.

For at least the past 12 hours it has been the lead of the every-30-minutes news summary on BBC World News, also.
posted by hippybear at 12:35 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sadly, if that officer gets anything less than life in prison, I think North Charleston is going to burn.

Sadly? The sad part is how often this happens. US cops killed more people in March 2015 than UK cops have killed in 115 years. Even allowing for differences in population, that's staggering.

Sad will be the inevitable right-wing punditry, the inevitable hung jury, the inevitable funding campaign for this waste of space shitbag in a uniform.

Saddest is the family that has a hole in it now.

Potential/probable riots in Charleston don't even fucking register on the sadness scale.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:41 AM on April 8, 2015 [27 favorites]


I think it's important to fight every one of these out-of-control police incidents individually; the one way that's guaranteed to make more of them happen is for people to become complacent and let them "be forgotten in a week." This particular one is going to get some attention and I hope this cop spends many years in prison.

What I'd like to know is more about this officer. How long has he been a police officer? How many times has he relocated due to problems? Is he ex military - or ex combat military? Has he been charged with domestic violence in the past?

The police departments keep that type of information to themselves as much as they can due to "privacy" issues, but they have no problem digging up any dirt they can on the person the cop killed - no matter how old or irrelevant the material - and getting it into the headlines. Something needs to be done about exposing the dirt on the dirty cop also - at least once he's indicted.

We have a very, very serious problem with our police in this country and we'd better get busy and do something or we're going to wake up one day and wonder what happened to our "liberty and freedom"; people of color are ahead of the rest of us, but this can go all directions if it isn't reined in: Obviously, LGBTQ people are next in line, but then comes killing for religious reasons, killing the homeless and poor, all ethnicities other than blue-eyed Caucasians, the developmentally or physically disabled, those with mental illness, activists of all kinds, and so on. Of course, there's overlap between all those groups - lives are being taken from all of them right now, but the emphasis right at this moment is on black people. I never thought I'd be praising cell phones, but I am damn glad everyone has one and more and more people are stepping up to film these abuses. Thank you to everyone who has and will do so.

I don't think it does much good to just sum everything up with an "well, it figures - this whole planet is fucked up" statement - that's walking dangerously close to complacent dismissal of the issue as just another part of the daily news for my liking, but that's just my opinion.
posted by aryma at 12:54 AM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "US cops killed more people in March 2015 than UK cops have killed in 115 years."
That article was based on a Wikipedia list of UK police killings that had some suspicious holes in the record. Also no numbers from Northern Ireland.
posted by brokkr at 1:44 AM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering: “Sadly? The sad part is how often this happens. US cops killed more people in March 2015 than UK cops have killed in 115 years. Even allowing for differences in population, that's staggering. ”
I, of course, don't disagree that there are too many killings by police in the U.S. — I mean, there have been 12 since Walter Scott on the 4th for Christ's sake — but the source for that 'more than 20th century Britain' figure appears to be a Daily Kos diary that uses an incomplete list on Wikipedia as its basis. According to Inquest, who have data going back only to 1990 readily available on their website, there have been 55 police shootings in England and Wales. However, an addition 994 persons died while in police custody.

Still, just comparing just 2013 and 2014, Killed By Police has 1,876 persons for the U.S. while Inquest has 57 persons for England and Wales.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:50 AM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


I hasten to add, there were an additional 459 persons killed during pursuit or in a traffic accidents involving police in England and Wales, for a total 1,508 deaths since 1990. I included the pursuit and traffic accident figures in the 2013-2014 comparison above.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:55 AM on April 8, 2015


How about a Clean Harry character for a change?

Nick Angel in Hot Fuzz. Mind the swan.
posted by SPrintF at 2:03 AM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


National registry of police violence,

"You can't manage what you don't measure" is like Management 101, right?
posted by mikelieman at 2:37 AM on April 8, 2015 [13 favorites]


“White South Carolina policeman charged with murdering black man,” Harriet McLeod, Reuters, 08 April 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 2:40 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


“White South Carolina policeman charged with murdering black man,” Harriet McLeod, Reuters, 08 April 2015

North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers appeared to be fighting tears as he described his feelings watching the video.

It's good that the Police Chief is emotional over the death of a black man after being shot in the back and then handcuffed by a white police officer. That shows sensitivity to racial issues. Maybe progress can be made after all.

"I think that all of these police officers on this force, men and women, are like my children," he told reporters. "So you tell me how a father would react."

Wut?
posted by hippybear at 2:57 AM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


Picking the numbers and sources apart is an exercise in futility - there are always other sources for other numbers and other ways of looking at the problem depending on who's doing the looking and what they want to see.

The important part is this: Can anyone possibly deny that the number of killings and beatings of unarmed and/or nonthreatening American citizens by police officers is escalating at an alarming rate, with the focus of the abuse directed at black persons at this time?

That is what's important, as I see it - nitpicking the numbers only weakens the point and helps it fade into the background.

And I'd add to your point, hippybear - where did the "brotherhood" business get twisted into "It's US against THEM"? Who's keeping the tension up? Where's the fear that drives the knee-jerk, shoot-and-ask-later attitude coming from? Are there memos, seminars, training across departments, constant incoming feed of "threats" or material indicating that all cops are in imminent danger of being killed by black people? Because it's coming from somewhere - it's not normal for the great majority of police officers all over the country to be wound so tight that they're ready to kill at the drop of a hat. We need to find the source and expose it.

I'm off to bed, and because I live in a place that's "sheltered" now more than places I've lived before, I probably won't be awakened to the sounds of doors being broken in and the shouting of SWAT commands in my apartment or next door; at least, for now, it seems like a good bet. May you all sleep as well tonight.
posted by aryma at 3:23 AM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Can anyone possibly deny that the number of killings and beatings of unarmed and/or nonthreatening American citizens by police officers is escalating at an alarming rate, with the focus of the abuse directed at black persons at this time?

Actually I'd guess the only thing that's escalated is the number of times these incidents have been filmed.
posted by the bricabrac man at 3:37 AM on April 8, 2015 [46 favorites]


It's interesting that America will test the shit out of how kids are doing in school, to the point that education suffers, but can't be bothered to track police killings. In fact, there's active resistance to the idea.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:50 AM on April 8, 2015 [43 favorites]


Relevant to some of the UK stats floating around in here.

Nearly a thousand people have died in custody in the UK since 1990. According to a recent report 509 of them have been black or minority ethnic or from refugee or migrant groups. None of those deaths have led to the successful prosecution of a police officer, prison officer or other custody related worker. The report concludes that:

•a large proportion of these deaths have involved undue force and many more a culpable lack of care;
•despite critical narrative verdicts warning of dangerous procedures and the proliferation of guidelines, lessons are not being learnt; people die in similar ways year on year;
•although inquest juries have delivered verdicts of unlawful killing in at least twelve cases, no one has been convicted for their part in these deaths over the two and a half decades of the research;
•privatisation and sub-contracting of custodial, health and other services compounds concerns and makes it harder to call agencies to account.

Guardian summary here.
posted by biffa at 5:01 AM on April 8, 2015 [13 favorites]


From the NYT article:

Officer Slager served in the Coast Guard before joining the force five years ago, his lawyer said. The police chief of North Charleston did not return repeated calls. Because police departments are not required to release data on how often officers use force, it was not immediately clear how often police shootings occurred in North Charleston, a working-class community adjacent to the tourist destination of Charleston.

Mr. Scott had been arrested about 10 times, mostly for failing to pay child support or show up for court hearings, according to The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston. He was arrested in 1987 on an assault and battery charge and convicted in 1991 of possession of a bludgeon, the newspaper reported. Mr. Scott’s brother, Anthony, said he believed Mr. Scott had fled from the police on Saturday because he owed child support.


As Andrea Grimes pointed out on Twitter: murderous white cop gets a service bio. Murdered black man gets a rap sheet.

I'm embarrassed and horrified that I read that section of the article and the distinction never occurred to me.
posted by shiu mai baby at 5:10 AM on April 8, 2015 [81 favorites]


It's not worldwide news because a white cop shot a black dude. The man bites dog part is that the cop is getting charged with mmmmmm-urder for it.
posted by localroger at 5:12 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


y'all,
a note for copwatchers:
it occurs to me that what's different about this video, for Walter Scott, compared to all the other videos of white officers killing unarmed black men,

is that someone got the 'ham sandwich' on video.

( the gun plant, in NOPD slang. )

to be coldly objective: it seems that, for legal action in our current legal system, documenting the actual murder matters slightly less than documenting the cover up.

caveat: i haven t seen the video, probably won t look at it for a while
posted by eustatic at 5:21 AM on April 8, 2015


I've seen some people on Twitter argue the video shows Scott trying to get the taser before he runs away, so I suspect that will be the police's defense on the shooting. What will be harder to justify is why the officer moved the taser after Scott had been shot. I could imagine the officer getting acquitted of the shooting, but he tampered with a crime scene and it was caught on video. I can't imagine there not being consequences for that, but I am prepared to be disappointed.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:26 AM on April 8, 2015


I have no doubt this officer will be indicted and convicted of some crime. And I have no doubt everyone involved will pat themselves on the back that they've solved all that unfortunate cop-shooting business, so when the next incident happens we can all say, well, at least we know we don't have to change anything we're doing because the system works.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:27 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Walter Scott was a Navy vet.

Will we hear outrage over the killing of a veteran here? If he were white, the word "veteran" would be in the headlines.
posted by spitbull at 5:33 AM on April 8, 2015 [62 favorites]


I think I know how this will play out: DA will fumble the case, Grand Jury will agree to drop the case, Slager gets acquitted.

You forgot the rest: residents show up for candlelight vigil in front of police station, get teargassed, thrown in jail.
posted by marxchivist at 5:34 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


And "after a careful investigation, DOJ has determined there is no basis for federal hate crime prosecution, sorry! Kthxbai!"
posted by spitbull at 5:35 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Will we hear outrage over the killing of a veteran here? If he were white, the word "veteran" would be in the headlines.

Fox News currently describing him as a "motorist" now for some reason. I guess the fact he drove a car is important somehow?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:36 AM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Mayor Summey thanked the bystander who came forward with the video, and said Officer Slager made a "bad decision." "When you’re wrong, you’re wrong," Summey said. "If you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision."

(Here)

Or die by it, you callous moron.
posted by spitbull at 5:37 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


the next item in the playbook is the slandering of Walter Scott.

can his relations sue for libel and slander?

for Walter Scott and for the next times, are there preemptive steps we can take against that, like making sure we counter in the media when it happens, or maybe litigation against racist media outlets?
posted by eustatic at 5:38 AM on April 8, 2015


If you're a cop, and stopping someone for something innocuous like a broken taillight, and they take off running, do you have to chase them? Assuming they're not waving a gun around or anything else that suggests they're off to hurt people, couldn't you just wait until they come back? You have their car, how far could they possibly go?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:38 AM on April 8, 2015 [24 favorites]


He dropped the taser next to the shot and cuffed man in the presence of another cop. No hesitation at all, it didn't seem like there was even a shadow of a doubt in his mind that this other cop wouldn't back his story.

It's pretty clear there wasn't. Which is why the other officers who supported Slager's phony testimony should be charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice as well.

You know, like they do to mobsters.
posted by Gelatin at 5:38 AM on April 8, 2015 [38 favorites]


ThePinkSuperhero, nope, they don't have to chase. In some departments, they're not allowed to chase for traffic. And they don't even have to wait for them to return. They can just tow the car and file an evading charge.
posted by 1066 at 5:58 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


How impressive is Walter Scott's brother Anthony, by the way, in that family press conference? Maybe he will become the voice of the movement against police murders. We could do a lot worse, and how anyone stays that composed, forceful, and broad visioned when their brother has just been murdered and they have just watched it is beyond me.
posted by spitbull at 6:10 AM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Shit shit shit I wasn't ready to see that video. Poor man, he must have died terrified.
posted by Tarumba at 6:20 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's interesting that America will test the shit out of how kids are doing in school, to the point that education suffers, but can't be bothered to track police killings. In fact, there's active resistance to the idea.

That phenomenon happens all the time, and yes, of course it's often when one side knows the data won't be favorable to their position. For example, the NRA has also been instrumental in preventing the CDC from tracking gun related deaths.

Fox News currently describing him as a "motorist" now for some reason.

My immediate reaction was that it was to invoke the memory of Rodney King, about whom there was no small amount of "he had it coming" opinion.
posted by Gelatin at 6:24 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


You generally can't sign away your fundamental rights, of which copyright is not one.

Of course you can. A plea of guilty is fundamentally the waiving of the right to a trial by jury. You have the right to be silent, but you can choose to waive that right and testify. There are many other examples.

You are also incorrect that copyright is a privilege. It is a right -- a limited lifetime right, but it is an absolute right. Unless you explicitly waive it by declaration, working for hire, or outright sale, any copyrightable work you create is automatically protected under copyright law with all rights assigned to you until you further assign them. Period. No paperwork is needed, no registry is required.

Unless you take the perfectly defensible view that all "rights" are in fact privileges granted by the government, which seems to me to be a much more accurate way of looking at the actual implementations.
posted by eriko at 6:25 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


@ShaunKing - Just learned that Officer Michael Slager had multiple complaints of police brutality in North Charleston before he murdered #WalterScott
posted by nadawi at 6:29 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


the next item in the playbook is the slandering of Walter Scott.

can his relations sue for libel and slander?


You can't slander the dead.
posted by MikeMc at 6:31 AM on April 8, 2015


You can't slander the dead.

And libel involves printing a deliberate, malicious, damaging falsehood, which is a relatively difficult legal standard to prove. If memory serves me correctly, it's much harder to prove libel in the US than, for example, the UK.
posted by Gelatin at 6:35 AM on April 8, 2015


Yeah, printing stuff about Walter Scott's arrest record is irrelevant and contemptible, but it's not libel because it's true.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:38 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wasn't ready to see that video.

Same here when I was watching MSNBC yesterday. They pretty much aired it without much warning, including Scott falling. This is definitely a shift from how these videos were handled before, and I think it speaks to the anger that everyone outside of law enforcement is feeling about police violence.
posted by Abon Sapi at 6:40 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


For the record and mostly for informational purposes, I'm explaining the format of the post. I put the video beneath the fold. It is troubling and disturbing. When I linked it, I intentionally linked the words 'video of the shooting' so there was no mistaking what you're clicking. Even then it goes to the article and not directly to the video, and you still have to click again to see the video. I also included the description of the shots that killed Walter, so that it was clear what the video was depicting. I say all this because I want to be clear that I thought the video was important enough to make a post, but I don't want anyone to think it was just a callous posting on my part or that I didn't think the video was disturbing or that it didn't depict the end of the life of a human being. R.I.P. Walter Scott.
posted by cashman at 6:47 AM on April 8, 2015 [33 favorites]


There is a GoFundMe for the murderer now. Of course.
posted by Artw at 6:49 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


All the cop shows I used to see as a kid showed the cops actually chasing people down if they ran. In reality they let their bullets do the chasing. It's sickening, lazy cowardice.
posted by GrapeApiary at 6:49 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


From ob1quixote's Reuters link: "Meanwhile, the person who filmed the video is speaking with investigators and will come forward publicly "at some point." And the person is a "young person", so I am wondering how young they are.
posted by cashman at 6:50 AM on April 8, 2015




Just for illustration, I know something of the details of one of the 'died in custody' incidents in the UK last year. A young mentally ill and violent chap was banged up on remand, and due to a chain of events didn't get the right meds when he was moved to a new prison. He killed himself in his cell.

Deaths in custody in England automatically trigger a coroner's court with a jury, which produces a finding of fact. There were a number of failures across the prison and medical staff involved, but in the end it was mostly a mix of appropriate records not being transferred properly and the right people not being involved in the right way (he should have been on suicide watch anyway, but that didn't apparently get through either). If there was a major culprit, it was a malfunctioning (read: badly specified and incompetently implemented) IT system.

This is typical; the prison service, especially the prison medical service, is an orphan which nobody wants to take responsibility for. Politically, if you try and fix it you get called out in the tabloids for wasting money making life too easy for criminals; if you let it be, you're responsible for a whole slew of avoidable human misery for inmates and staff alike but there'll be no political comeback. We have an election coming up: the fact that hundreds or thousands of vulnerable people are dying at the hands of the State will not be mentioned.

The people who die are just as dead as if they were shot by a cop. No video camera will help.
posted by Devonian at 6:55 AM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Just yesterday, a white policer officer from North Augusta was charged with with a felony (discharging a gun into an occupied vehicle) after shooting a black man to death through the man’s car door when he was in his driveway.

Sigh...

State Rep. Joe Neal, a Democrat, said the charge is a sad commentary on local politics, saying the prosecutor has charged Craven with what he can to "bring some sort of justice out of this."

In August, a prosecutor sought to charge Craven with voluntary manslaughter, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Instead, the grand jury indicted him for misconduct in office.

posted by Artw at 6:59 AM on April 8, 2015


"The City of North Charleston will hold a press conference on the murder of #WalterScott at 1:00 pm. Live stream here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfxzruwZPw4" (North Charleston's Twitter account announcement)
posted by cashman at 7:04 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Re: GoFundMe, I wish at least one (and preferably ALL) of those sites would have the guts to say "you can't use our service to fundraise for police officers accused of shooting people, or pizza makers who don't like gay people."

Yes, I realize it can't and won't happen but I can dream, right?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:08 AM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


Sometimes I torture myself by reading the comments in the Daily Mail on a story such as this. There are always a high number of Right Wing Authoritarians acting as apologists for those in power, despite the evidence right in front of their faces. Not so much on this one - although there are some, whose best effort seems to be 'well, he was running away - must have done something wrong'. Maybe this is in itself an indicator that the bastards have gone too far this time. Maybe.
posted by Myeral at 7:14 AM on April 8, 2015


Re: GoFundMe, I wish at least one (and preferably ALL) of those sites would have the guts to say "you can't use our service to fundraise for police officers accused of shooting people, or pizza makers who don't like gay people."

The arguments against that are probably of the kind where if you start discriminating one way you'll be asked to describing the other, yadda yadda yadda... I don't know.

That they exist is useful in a way because it lets us know how deeply fucked up people are.
posted by Artw at 7:14 AM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


How Police Training Contributes to Avoidable Deaths

Article lays it on a bit thick with "it's not racism, it's training!", but the violent and paranoid nature of US police does seem to be something that is drummed into them and that is indeed part of the systematic problem.
posted by Artw at 7:20 AM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]




I'm going to call it now, acquitted of murder, convicted of filing false police report. Paperwork is more important than black lives.
posted by zinc saucier at 7:27 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Much emphasis on how this is an isolated incident if he does do time.
posted by Artw at 7:29 AM on April 8, 2015


I don't think that the apparent planting of evidence is what catapulted the video to worldwide attention (besides, I suspect the defense will claim he retrieved the taser to secure the scene and prevent bystanders from stealing it*). It's the calm demeanor of the officer as he fires eight shots, strolls over to Scott and shouts at him, and then stands over him chatting with other officers as he dies. That's why even the most rah-rah supporters of Law And Order are taken aback. It's the behavior of a monster, not a human being.



*although I can't imagine any bystander foolish enough to try that after having seen the shooting
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:38 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]




From roomthreeseventeen's link:

Slager “felt threatened and reached for his department-issued firearm and fired his weapon,” his attorney said in a statement on Sunday. “I believe once the community hears all the facts of this shooting, they’ll have a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding this investigation.”

Yep, we sure do.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:44 AM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


i had written a longer comment but i decided all i needed to say was how absolutely terrifying it is that this happened in broad daylight.

just like mike brown.
just like eric garner.
just like all the other names i can't remember right now because there are so many.

broad. daylight.
posted by sio42 at 8:00 AM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


The description of White privilege as the difference between outrage and terror is spot on.
posted by OmieWise at 8:04 AM on April 8, 2015 [31 favorites]


>It's the behavior of a monster, not a human being.

Not to quibble, but my issue with framing it that way is that killings more or less like this one apparently happen all the time. And a whole bunch of people casually lied to protect this guy before the video surfaced. Are they all monsters? Arguably, but it's hard to call it an aberration when it's just the way we conduct business in these here parts. It seems like lots of people will behave this way if it's acceptable to the institutions they have to answer to.

The question is, how do we change our institutions so that they stop employing monsters in this capacity, and so that they stop protecting the monsters when they do something monstrous?
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:32 AM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


the monster/human thing is the "he's a good person/has a good heart/not racist in his heart" issue - which is to say, i don't give a goodgoddamn what people are like in their heart if their hands keep doing shitty fucked up things. and yes, humans are capable of monstrous things - humans and monsters, one in the same from where i'm sitting.
posted by nadawi at 8:36 AM on April 8, 2015 [22 favorites]


If you're a cop, and stopping someone for something innocuous like a broken taillight, and they take off running, do you have to chase them? Assuming they're not waving a gun around or anything else that suggests they're off to hurt people, couldn't you just wait until they come back? You have their car, how far could they possibly go?

This would be far too rational, and also doesn't let you be a macho badass LAWGIVER, I AM THE LAW PUNK.
posted by odinsdream at 9:06 AM on April 8, 2015




Thank god for smartphones and people brave enough to use them.

It sucks that we're in a place where someone even has to say that.
posted by marxchivist at 9:18 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I know it's been said already but the thing that galls/scares me most is that without this video evidence the linked alternate-reality article is what would have been promulgated. Not only should Slager to serious time, officer #2 needs to go down for complicity. I can't/won't watch the video but it sounds like #3 should also go down.

Film Tha Police indeed. It's the only conceivable way to overturn the presumption of truth that society (incorrectly) affords LEOs.
posted by Fezboy! at 9:27 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Of course you can. A plea of guilty is fundamentally the waiving of the right to a trial by jury. You have the right to be silent, but you can choose to waive that right and testify. There are many other examples.

Those aren't examples of signing away one's rights, though. The person in those examples is exercising a right. The next time they're charged with a crime, or placed under arrest, they still have the rights, and they can choose to exercise them differently if they like.

To sign away your rights would be to say, "I no longer have the right to [a jury trial | remain silent | own property | vote], now and forever more". It's to say that the decision is no longer that person's to make.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:31 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thinkprogress link:
A study by The State found “[p]olice in South Carolina have fired their weapons at 209 suspects in the past five years” but none were convicted. “We ruled all the shootings were justified – and we looked at dozens and dozens of them,” one former prosecutor told The State.
I am sure the 210th will be entirely different. The previous exonerations were all just justified and definitely not an indicator of institutional rot.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:33 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


this whole rights argument was about disarming the police. i'm not sure i agree with that as a goal, but to say that cops armed to teeth is an inalienable human right ignores countries where they seem to manage cops without guns just fine. i know this goes back to an argument about american citizens being heavily armed, which is not one i'm trying to kick off - just, it is possible to discuss disarming the cops (or at least taking away their militarization toys) without overly involved lectures about inalienable rights.
posted by nadawi at 9:36 AM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


There should be a reward fund for people like the camera operator.

That's the great thing about the internet. Make a Kickstarter and there is.
posted by corb at 9:39 AM on April 8, 2015


but to say that cops armed to teeth is an inalienable human right ignores countries where they seem to manage cops without guns just fine.

Not to mention other countries with militarized police forces that are hardly shining examples of the kind of free society many people would like to think the United States represents.
posted by Gelatin at 9:42 AM on April 8, 2015


On a related note, there is a rumor that Officer Slager may now be nominated for a Hugo Award.

"My taser teleported from my hands to his hands to by my feet to by his body?" THAT's some serious science fiction creativity.
posted by delfin at 9:49 AM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Speaking from total gun ignorance: Is there a compelling reason why police shouldn't be made to use non-lethal (rubber or plastic) bullets only?
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:51 AM on April 8, 2015


> The video evidence is all too damning. There's no jury in the world that wouldn't see this as cut and dry.

In Philly a few years back, a cop flat-out decked a woman in a crowd following the Puerto Rican day parade. It was caught on video.

The cop claimed that the woman threw something at him, or he thought she did -- a beer bottle or water, the story changed a few times. Alternately, she might be spraying silly string (there was a lot of that), emptying her water bottle, or just waving her arms and yelling. That's not clear from the video. What is clear from the video is how he punched her in the face hard enough to knock her flat on the ground.

He was acquitted, and eventually reinstated to the PD with full back pay. The judge claimed the video "didn't tell the whole story."
posted by desuetude at 9:55 AM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


For starters non lethal weapons tend to get used more often because they're "non-lethal"

The objective of LEOs needs to be de-escalation of conflict scenarios not increased leeway to use force because it's safer.
posted by cmfletcher at 9:57 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


The North Charleston "press conference on the murder of Walter Scott" should be starting soon. Live stream via YouTube.
posted by cashman at 9:57 AM on April 8, 2015


Is there a compelling reason why police shouldn't be made to use non-lethal (rubber or plastic) bullets only?

Rubber or plastic bullets are less lethal, but not non-lethal. (Unfortunately, as in the case of Eric Garner, it's also possible for police to kill without a gun at all.)

But if memory serves me correctly, the compelling reason is that sometimes police have to intervene to save someone else's life. If someone's life is in immediate danger and rubber bullets fail to subdue the attacker, an innocent life could be lost.

None of which justifies Scott's killing, but those are the reasons as I understand them.
posted by Gelatin at 9:58 AM on April 8, 2015


I am very interested in what the second cop on the scene will say at the trial. He'll have to admit that he saw Slager drop that taser near Scott. But did he see Slager pick it up from where it was originally?
posted by King Sky Prawn at 9:59 AM on April 8, 2015


Regarding rubber bullets, there's also the fact that the US is never going to completely take metal bullets away from the cops, and having a "lethal" gun and a "non-lethal" gun strapped on would just result in more of this sort of goofiness.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 10:02 AM on April 8, 2015


The Press Conference has begun. Mayor R. Keith Summey is talking about Walter Scott's family, calling them wonderful, and saying "we're there to support them".
posted by cashman at 10:03 AM on April 8, 2015


He'll have to admit that he saw Slager drop that taser near Scott.

"On the advice of counsel, I invoke the Fifth Amendment." or "I don't recall."

Take your pick.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:03 AM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Summey said they have ordered an additional hundred thousand body cameras to make sure every single officer has one. He keeps getting interrupted by applause, but he is staying sober in the moment, calling it a "horrible tragedy".
posted by cashman at 10:04 AM on April 8, 2015


Dept received a grant to purchase 101 body cameras, they are on order, and they have ordered an additional 150 so that every officer on the street will have one.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:04 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Summey keeps commending the family, saying they are a wonderful, outstanding family. Saying they are suffering, but he was shocked with how welcoming they were to him. He asked for prayers for the family and said to give them the utmost respect. The police will give them an escort during the funeral. Says law enforcement and the city will not do any interviews with national media until after the burial.
posted by cashman at 10:06 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hand in hand with mandatory police body cams, there absolutely has to be pushback from the US DoJ (hell, POTUS himself) to prevent intimidation of citizens who are recording the police.
posted by Abon Sapi at 10:07 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks for also reporting the news conference, a fiendish thingy.
posted by cashman at 10:07 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


"On the advice of counsel, I invoke the Fifth Amendment."

I'd almost prefer that, as it'd likely mean the other officer was up on obstruction of justice charges for the coverup of the original phony report.

"I don't recall."

That's the real question, isn't it? It'll be a matter of the legendary police solidarity on the one hand and obviously participating in the public whitewash of a dirty shoot on the other. I, too, am interested to see which it'll be.
posted by Gelatin at 10:09 AM on April 8, 2015


Chief Eddie Driggins is speaking, and like the Mayor before him, he's asking for prayers and respect to the family, and referring to Walter Scott's family like they are his own family. His demeanor is appropriate.

(this is a great thing to see because so many people get it wrong in this regard, and they don't think we notice, but we do)

"No justice-No peace" chants came after Driggins spoke.
posted by cashman at 10:10 AM on April 8, 2015


Police Chief: "I think that all of these police officers on this force, men and women, are like my children," he told reporters. "So you tell me how a father would react."

HippyBear: Wut?

I know the father of someone who stabbed someone and was subsequently charged and convicted of attempted murder. So I know that how a father reacts seems to be more or less how this chief appears to have reacted -- extreme grief, shame, sadness at the wasted life, a sense of betrayal, embarrassment, wondering if he's somehow to blame. I think those are appropriate ways for the chief to feel also, even if seeming to call the cops his "children" seems a little weird.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:10 AM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Other points made by the mayor
They will not do national interviews until after burial services.
Slager was fired but his wife is pregnant. They will be continuing health coverage for her until after the child is born.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:10 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


As questions are coming for the police chief and his repeated replies are saying he doesn't know or doesn't have answers, it's getting testy. And the mayor continually refers to the press conference ending. It's tense now.
posted by cashman at 10:14 AM on April 8, 2015


Not to mention other countries with militarized police forces that are hardly shining examples of the kind of free society many people would like to think the United States represents.

Most western European countries have armed police, and many have gendamerie/carabinieri that explicitly and intentionally occupy a place between "normal police" and "military." The reason that American police kill lots of people and German or French police don't isn't that the German and French cops are unarmed.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:18 AM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Mayor reclaimed the podium when police chief Driggins couldn't answer (saying I don't know, etc) questions, and some members of the audience are chanting his name, wanting him to answer questions and speak. The Mayor said since SLED has taken over the investigation, they are the ones that have information.
posted by cashman at 10:20 AM on April 8, 2015


My mom said she thinks slager would commit suicide before the trial because jail will be bad for a cop.

I said yeah right, what trial. And even if they convict it won't be murder.

She says well the video is pretty obvious.

I said so was garners.

Sigh.
posted by sio42 at 10:20 AM on April 8, 2015


Reporter asks: given what happened, are you now looking at this officer's other arrests?

They are considering it.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:21 AM on April 8, 2015


There's a dude who wore a Washington NFL team shirt to the press conference about the police murder of a man. That is just incredibly inappropriate. The news conference is over. There was basically no substantive information given about the incident itself that is surprising.
posted by cashman at 10:22 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not every officer is CPR certified???? WTF? Are you kidding me? How is that possible? How are you allowed to be a cop without CPR certification?

I think that's pretty damn surprising.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:23 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


About the incident itself. That's general information about their force.
posted by cashman at 10:24 AM on April 8, 2015


yeah - that is really damn surprising.
posted by nadawi at 10:25 AM on April 8, 2015


i'm not weighing in on what the press conference covered - just saying i would have assumed all cops were required to be trained in cpr. just another example of "to protect and serve" being a marketing slogan instead of a mission statement.
posted by nadawi at 10:26 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder what it's like to learn your spouse is a racist psychopath.

I agree that we totally have to have a mandate from the top that filming the police is not only OK, but welcome. And I wish I knew what we could do about the vast majority of popular news media, all of which leans right-wing and lets that slant their stories in ways that actively encourage the citizens of this country to think that most "perps" had it coming (and that taxes are too high, and government is awful, and...).

I love watching "Castle" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" but am considering whether I can ethically do so. One part of the cop problem is that our entertainment media portrays cops as funny, likeable, fair heroes, always on the side of what's right. I do not believe that is anything but bizarro-universe US cops at this point.
posted by maxwelton at 10:27 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's a dude who wore a Washington NFL team shirt to the press conference about the police murder of a man. That is just incredibly inappropriate.

In many parts of the South, wearing a coach-style sports shirt (not a jersey, but what a coach would wear on the sidelines) is considered semi-dressy for men. It seemed pretty bizarre to me not being from there, but it is fairly standard in many places that coach shirt=fanciness of shirt and tie.

It was pretty upsetting to see the mayor bristling at people shouting questions and acting like they were being rude. At one point he said something about how he would respect them but they had to show him respect too. SHUT UP SHUT UP.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:28 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]




Having spent a good amount of time in the south, I'm going to disagree, but it's ultimately neither here nor there.

Back to the actual story, when they held this news conference, I thought we would get more details of the incident. Maybe a breakdown of what occurred, from start to finish, as the city understands it. They turned things over to SLED now, but they've had the case since Saturday, and you know darn well they have details they could share.

Perhaps it is the poor excuse we have for media these days, that I didn't hear a single question that wasn't basic and designed to get at anything that would be telling. It also brought me back to those press conferences from Ferguson, and the later evidence releases that slandered Michael Brown.

There is a whole chunk of information we don't have. When Slager stopped Scott, what did he know about him? Had he seen him already (seen what he looked like) and then pulled him over, or did he pull the car over before having seen him? What happened to make Scott run from his vehicle? Wasn't there a passenger? Who is that, and what did they tell police? Did Scott run immediately when stopped? Did the officer get his license and then head back to his cruiser when Scott ran?

That's what I mean by we didn't learn anything substantive. There is a lot of interaction that isn't on video, and that, just like Ferguson, might be leaked out in a way that looks favorable to Slager (purposefully). But none of this was asked during the press conference and while I appreciate the solemn tone the Mayor and Police Chief took, they have an awful lot of information they did not offer up.
posted by cashman at 10:41 AM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


jay smooth discusses walter scott, filming police, and the music service tidal

Is there any company working on a Spotify-like "Copify" app and service, that would automatically copy live video footage from phones to, say, off-shore servers for safekeeping?
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:44 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


our entertainment media portrays cops as funny, likeable, fair heroes, always on the side of what's right

The most realistic current portrayal of US police on TV is arguably the unhinged Batman-adaptation Gotham, which is a thought too terrible/depressing to long contemplate.
posted by nicebookrack at 10:46 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


even if seeming to call the cops his "children" seems a little weird.

That part is not a weird part - it's kind of normal for that kind of hierarchical family-type structure, like how soldiers call their COs 'the old man' and talk about the first sergeant like he's their dad. If you're going to have a tight knit family structure, everybody has to have roles.
posted by corb at 10:46 AM on April 8, 2015


when they held this news conference, I thought we would get more details of the incident.

If they plan to charge Slager with a serious crime, I could well imagine they'd want to avoid tainting the prospective jury pool. (I was amazed that some of the jury pool in the Boston marathon bomber trial declared they believed him to be guilty but were seated anyway after promising they would keep an open mind -- since the defense admitted he did it, the point may be moot, but I'd imagine they handed the defense some kind of grounds for appeal there...)
posted by Gelatin at 10:48 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there any company working on a Spotify-like "Copify" app and service, that would automatically copy live video footage from phones to, say, off-shore servers for safekeeping?

This already exists.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:50 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is there any company working on a Spotify-like "Copify" app and service

How popular do you think playlists of this material would be?

that would automatically copy live video footage from phones to, say, off-shore servers for safekeeping?

Not sure exactly about off-shore (or even the requirement for that, or even the wisdom of that given the NSA's theoretical mandate to focus their digital trawler net on traffic that moves out of the US but not within)... but Dropbox is pretty good at hoovering up photos and video from mobile devices.
posted by hippybear at 10:51 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


With Michael Brown, those details were shared. We were told by the chief of police how the officer came upon Michael, what the officer knew, and when, what call he was responding to, etc.
posted by cashman at 10:52 AM on April 8, 2015


(I was amazed that some of the jury pool in the Boston marathon bomber trial declared they believed him to be guilty but were seated anyway after promising they would keep an open mind -- since the defense admitted he did it, the point may be moot, but I'd imagine they handed the defense some kind of grounds for appeal there...)

This is a total derail, but the defense team in the Boston Marathon Bomber case is not trying to evade a guilty verdict. They haven't even mounted a defense geared toward that. The point of that entire legal defense is to keep the death penalty from being applied during sentencing. This recent FPP has an excellent article about the lawyer heading the team.)

posted by hippybear at 10:56 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


David Aylor, the attorney responsible for saying, “I believe once the community hears all the facts of this shooting, they’ll have a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding this investigation,” has removed himself as Officer Slager's counsel.
I think that there's been a release of information that was not public information at the time, or not discovered at the time at least to any knowledge of mine or anyone else publicly— at least the video. I can't comment on the specifics of what I think the video says. I'm not going to analyze the video, but again ... the video came out and within the hours of the video coming out, I withdrew my representation of the client.
posted by gladly at 11:00 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]




GoFundMe told them to Go Elsewhere
posted by ersatzkat at 11:03 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Now it's up to Indiegogo to do the proper thing and drop theirs.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:17 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Here's the full Daily Beast interview with Slager's ex-lawyer, David Aylor.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:22 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


With Michael Brown, those details were shared. We were told by the chief of police how the officer came upon Michael, what the officer knew, and when, what call he was responding to, etc.

Not till way too late and after they'd launched their smear campaign to paint Brown as dangerous.

Which it seems this department has learned from. It will be interesting to see how much remorse is real and leads to change, and how much is window dressing. And of course whether this cop is even indicted, much less convicted.
posted by emjaybee at 11:25 AM on April 8, 2015


Which it seems this department has learned from

Not really, though. They didn't seem to be clarifying anything until the video showed up.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:26 AM on April 8, 2015


If it were literally anyone but a police officer on trial for murder, I can't imagine that any fundraiser site would touch them with a ten-foot pole.

The cops enjoy a level of privilege that even the whitest, straightest, malest of us can only imagine.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 11:29 AM on April 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


They didn't seem to be clarifying anything until the video showed up.

I'm willing to keep an open mind about the motivations of the department. The department would be within its rights to accept the report of the three officers present at the scene in the absence of conflicting evidence. That's why, if the other officers supported Slager's initial phony report, they must be investigated and disciplined harshly if they willingly participated in a cover up.

It seems a good sign that this department does not appear to be circling its wagons around the shooter as the evidence that contradicts his story has emerged.
posted by Gelatin at 11:32 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]




If it were literally anyone but a police officer on trial for murder, I can't imagine that any fundraiser site would touch them with a ten-foot pole.

Well, that's the stuff that keeps poor defendants in jail, at least. I mean, I understand that this situation is a bad one, but encouraging fundraisers not to support legal defense funds fucks other people besides police.
posted by corb at 11:35 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean, I understand that this situation is a bad one, but encouraging fundraisers not to support legal defense funds fucks other people besides police.

Nobody's doing that, and you know it.
posted by OmieWise at 11:38 AM on April 8, 2015 [22 favorites]




National treasure Charles Pierce:
So let us not have any explanation containing the phrase "isolated incident." Let us have no talk of "split-second decisions" or the "heat of the moment." What we see in the video is Slager's almost instantaneous response to what he's done. Drop a weapon. Concoct a story. Rely on your brother officers and ginned-up public opinion to mount your defense. Rely on the fact that you're a white man with a badge and the person you killed was clearly neither one. In everything we see on the video, Michael Slager was following...procedure.
posted by Gelatin at 11:45 AM on April 8, 2015 [44 favorites]


If it were literally anyone but a police officer on trial for murder, I can't imagine that any fundraiser site would touch them with a ten-foot pole.

Not today, corb. Not today.

A foundational principle (literally) of our society and its justice system is EVERY one is entitled to a competent legal defense at trial.

No less a figure than John Adams defended the soldiers involved in the Boston massacre. Which has some relevance to this case.

My feelings on the situation-have a fair, equitable trial and then hang the man (or at least lock him away for the rest of his life).

There really isn't any doubt about his actions, but having a fair and equitable trial isn't about him, its about us and preserving our system of justice (and in this particular case, restoring it).
posted by bartonlong at 11:49 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


EVERY one is entitled to a competent legal defense at trial.

Isn't this man guaranteed a competent legal defense by virtue of the fact that the killing happened while performing his supposed duties of office?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:51 AM on April 8, 2015


A foundational principle (literally) of our society and its justice system is EVERY one is entitled to a competent legal defense at trial.

A defence that his union will pay for. As we saw with Wilson, this fundraising campaign is naked racism, and has nothing whatsoFUCKINGever to do with people who actually need help paying their legal bills.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:53 AM on April 8, 2015 [36 favorites]


a whole bunch of people casually lied to protect this guy before the video surfaced. Are they all monsters?

Well, yes. I wasn't saying that there's a shortage of monsters, but that one has been caught on video. The officers who saw the shooting and backed him up anyway are just as monstrous.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:55 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


A foundational principle (literally) of our society and its justice system is EVERY one is entitled to a competent legal defense at trial.

No less a figure than John Adams defended the soldiers involved in the Boston massacre. Which has some relevance to this case.


Indeed, hewing to that principle was precisely his point.

(It's sad and ironic, of course, that part of his defense was that the soldiers were set upon by a mob of " negroes, and molattoes, Irish teagues".)
posted by Gelatin at 11:57 AM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


A foundational principle (literally) of our society and its justice system is EVERY one is entitled to a competent legal defense at trial.

And because of this foundational principle, the courts will provide a defense lawyer for you for free if you can't afford to pay for one yourself. Which means, there is no need to have fundraisers to defray "legal costs" unless you're looking to surpass the standard legal defense team.

And I wonder why you'd want to do that, hmmm?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:00 PM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


> but having a fair and equitable trial isn't about him,

No one is saying he doesn't deserve legal counsel. Sneering at the private fundraising shit that happens around incidents like this is not advocating for no legal counsel. Sneering at people who donate to those fundraising efforts is not advocating against access to counsel. Insisting that anyone going "Man, these fundraisers are odious bullshit!" must be against providing legal counsel to those facing criminal charges is disingenuous at best.
posted by rtha at 12:05 PM on April 8, 2015 [21 favorites]


And I wonder why you'd want to do that, hmmm?

Perhaps because you wouldn't want your court-appointed lawyer to sleep during your trial.

I agree that this crowdfunding effort is far less about justice than tribalism, but sadly, the existence of court-appointed attorneys doesn't at all guarantee the accused receives an adequate defense, and I'd rather we not infer one is guilty because one wishes to retain the best legal counsel possible.
posted by Gelatin at 12:06 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Perhaps because you wouldn't want your court-appointed lawyer to sleep during your trial.

Police officers do not have court appointed lawyers.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:08 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


The union attorney is not a court appointed attorney.
posted by sio42 at 12:08 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, it seems disingenous to say (as the crowd-funding setter-upper says) "Ofc Michael Slager deserves a competent defense no matter what the court of popular opinion says about his actions." given that there's no indication this person has ever given a thought to the many many other people accused of serious crimes who do not get a competent defense. If you're concern is that everyone deserves a competent defense, wouldn't it make more sense to set this up for someone least likely to get such a defense rather than most likely?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:10 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's possible to both criticize racist crowdfunding and advocate for better representation for those unable to afford top dollar defense counsel (not to mention that Slager will not be one of those least fortunate when it comes to representation).
posted by audi alteram partem at 12:10 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Police officers do not have court appointed lawyers.

But the comment was that the existence of free public defenders "means, there is no need to have fundraisers to defray "legal costs" unless you're looking to surpass the standard legal defense team," and more, implied that doing so implies one is guilty.

I very often agree with EmpressCallipygos, but I disagree with those points.
posted by Gelatin at 12:12 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, I really feel for slager's wife. Ugh. It's a very complex feeling but I feel a lot of compassion for her. Assuming she is as stunned as I would hope.

If she thinks he's right then I'm sad a child will be raised in that family.

And i wonder why I drink. This is a lot to process for me as a very far away bystander I can't imagine being close to it on either side. My circuits would overload for sure.
posted by sio42 at 12:13 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you're concern is that everyone deserves a competent defense, wouldn't it make more sense to set this up for someone least likely to get such a defense rather than most likely?

Or better yet, support politicians who would ensure that one's local public defender office is adequately funded with tax revenue.
posted by Gelatin at 12:15 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


there is no need to have fundraisers to defray "legal costs" unless you're looking to surpass the standard legal defense team," and more, implied that doing so implies one is guilty.

I took that comment to mean that you'd want more than the standard legal team because everyone recognizes that the "standard legal defense" offerings are so terrible.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:16 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah yes I see the convo now.

I agree that the police should not need legal defense fundraisers as they get better than a court appointed overworked attorney.

We should all have competent legal representation.
posted by sio42 at 12:17 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is all a steaming pile anyway, because this particular murderer is going to get the advantage of much, much better lawyers than most shitstains who shoot people in cold blood.

His union will provide him with a more than competent and zealous defence, if this ever even reaches trial. Fundraisers for cops like this, or for that wretched pizza place in Indiana, have exactly not one thing at all to do with legal fees and everything to do with "yeah, you stuck it to that uppity nonwhite/cis/het person."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:20 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Courage of Bystanders Who Press Record.

Note to whoever called this, that the RCMP officer in the opening story was convicted of perjury but no mention of manslaughter.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:22 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you think being treated like regular people who have lost their jobs or commit crimes in America is going to make these peoples lives suck unacceptably then I would suggest givening them specifically better treatment is not the greatest solution.
posted by Artw at 12:29 PM on April 8, 2015


I'm sorry, I don't understand your comment or who it was directed to. Are you saying that cops should not have union lawyers? That's fine if you are, just not following what you meant
posted by sio42 at 12:32 PM on April 8, 2015


Speaking of the cameraperson, I am just so intrigued. There are some parts of the video where it just seems like the cameraperson is invisible to the police. There are a couple of glances in that direction, but they are few and far between. There are times where I would have run for my life, but the cameraperson gets closer, even putting the camera over the fence at one point. And it's such a well done video - showing the officer running back to get the taser, then capturing it as he drops it by Walter's body. And it just keeps going. I don't know if I could film the police shoot someone in the back 5 times and keep on filming as they fail to render aid. I watched the video again today to just focus on the officer, and I got nauseous. I am very interested in hearing how this person was brave enough to keep filming. But perhaps in some kind of weird twist, seeing someone run for their life and get gunned down, maybe the person felt like keeping on recording was a life saving thing to do.
posted by cashman at 12:32 PM on April 8, 2015 [19 favorites]


Perhaps this hero (protip: heroes are people who stand up against injustice) was using that whatchamacallit app that automatically uploads, and figured even if the cops went after them, justice would be served? Cold comfort in that situation; I like to think I'd do the same, and I know I'd probably be too busy wetting myself and running to do so.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:36 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


His union will provide him with a more than competent and zealous defence, if this ever even reaches trial.

It wasn't that long ago that I'd have scoffed, "Of course his case will go to trial; he was caught on video shooting a fleeing suspect in the back!"

After all, while the verdict in the Rodney King trial may have been a horrible miscarriage of justice, the accused officers at least stood trial.

It's terrible that the events of only the past year or so should have changed my opinion on whether an accused officer will even stand trial so thoroughly.
posted by Gelatin at 12:36 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, predictions:

Grand jury: majority white, and if they indict, the trial jury will be all- or majority-white too.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:39 PM on April 8, 2015


A defence that his union will pay for.

Would a union really pay for his defense? They would definitely fight him being fired, because they fight all terminations. But legal issues are usually your own problem.
posted by smackfu at 12:39 PM on April 8, 2015


Grand jury: majority white, and if they indict, the trial jury will be all- or majority-white too.

There are a lot of sane white people who can tell when a man is being murdered on video. Not enough, but some.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:41 PM on April 8, 2015


(But I admit I don't have much familiarity with police unions in particular, so they may do things differently.)
posted by smackfu at 12:41 PM on April 8, 2015


Good question smackfu

I personally was making assumptions so hopefully someone can enlighten us. You could very well be correct there's no union lawyer for this.
posted by sio42 at 12:44 PM on April 8, 2015


There are some parts of the video where it just seems like the cameraperson is invisible to the police. There are a couple of glances in that direction, but they are few and far between.

There are a number of times in the video where the lens is partially covered by the camera operator's fingers and the angle changes; my initial impression was that the operator may have been trying to conceal the fact that he or she was recording. Regardless, it's well that they did.
posted by Gelatin at 12:45 PM on April 8, 2015


I realize that for many many reasons this will never happen and is not practical and would have as many drawbacks as advantages, but the thought has crossed my mind that, especially when the police don't, maybe regular citizens should wear bodycams.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:46 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


For the record:

I was thinking of the free legal defense offered to everyone when I was countering the "offering everyone a competent legal defense is a foundational right". I was reading that as an assertion that everyone accused of a crime has to pay for their own lawyer, which simply isn't the case.

Moreover, mentioning cases where that court-appointed legal defense lawyers were less than competent does a disservice to the court-appointed lawyers who actually do just fine. There are plenty of incompetent paid lawyers too - "court appointed lawyer" doesn't always mean "incompetent lawyer". So that is simply a red herring.

And all of this is moot because, as has been pointed out, his union is likely also going to offer legal counsel. Which is all the more reason why there is no need for a kickstarter or Indigogo or whatever.

However, I must admit that there is also no evidence that he even started the kickstarter himself - more likely it was some random bystander who wanted to do something to show their support for him and thought "I know, let's start a fund for his legal costs because lawyers have gotta be expensive".

But the implication that someone in the officer's position needs to start a kickstarter becuase otherwise they won't have legal counsel at all is ludicrous.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:46 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]




“Broken Taillight Policing,” Jamelle Bouie, Slate, 8 April 2015
When cops stop black drivers for minor traffic violations, it’s often a pretext for something more sinister.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:47 PM on April 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


I should correct that to state it's not the union but the PBA if he's a member. I don't think I've ever met a cop who wasn't though.
posted by cmfletcher at 12:49 PM on April 8, 2015


My spouse and I were stopped about six years ago for a broken tail light. We were driving his father's car back and forth to the hospital after his father had a stroke. We could not have located the car's registration, had we been asked for it. However, the cop who pulled us over escorted us to an art store where we bought tape to cover up the broken light until it could be replaced. I shudder to think how much our white privilege helped us get out of that situation safely and without a ticket.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:50 PM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Pulling them over for a broken taillight is probably done after the cop ran the plates on his in-car computer (while driving and swerving all over because they're usually shitty drivers regardless of their "training") and didn't get any hits for outstanding warrants. Fishermen gotta fish.
posted by Abon Sapi at 12:50 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't surprise me if the camera operator was very young, say 12 or something. It might explain their apparent "invisibility" to the cops. Young people sometimes exhibit a degree of courage stemming from not really fully appreciating the gravity of what they are witnessing or doing.
posted by Rumple at 12:51 PM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


Holy crap I hadn't thought of that and that is yet another scary facet this story could take on if it was a kid who saw this.
posted by sio42 at 12:54 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Charles M. Blow: In South Carolina, Shot in the Back as He Ran: But even the phrase “bad decision” seems to diminish the severity of what has happened. A life has been taken. And, if the video shows what it appears to show, there may have been some attempts by the officer to “misrepresent the truth,” a phrase that one could also argue may diminish the severity of what is alleged to have happened.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:57 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes, an early report described the camera person as a "young person", so it's been evident it is likely someone in their teens. I have my guesses about how they appear, but really I'm just interested in seeing them and praising them for a courageous act.
posted by cashman at 1:10 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also, I really feel for slager's wife. Ugh. It's a very complex feeling but I feel a lot of compassion for her. Assuming she is as stunned as I would hope.

If she thinks he's right then I'm sad a child will be raised in that family.


my cousin's husband is a racist cop. my cousin is smart, funny, talented, sweet - the kind of person that everyone close to her would be sure to say, "she's a good person with a good heart!" except, i have no doubt that she's just as racist as her husband. slager's wife might not have guessed that he'd straight up murder a guy for being black, but she likely know what sort of man she married and as such, she likely agrees with the broad strokes.
posted by nadawi at 1:13 PM on April 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


Asked once above, but why **would** he run from the police where the only fear was over child support subpoenas he's faced often before? More likely that the cop told him to run, as one of the NYT comments noted. Why is even his brother assuming he chose to run, and would there be any close-in audio of the exchange?
posted by mmiddle at 1:16 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is There Hope For Survivors Of The Drug Wars?
Donte kept showing up. He took a fatherhood class. He applied for jobs and trained for extra certifications: forklift-driving, learning how to wax and buff floors. He brought the mothers of both his children to the graduation for the fatherhood course and everyone was impressed to see the three of them together, getting along. But while Donte had interviews, he had no offers by December 17, the deadline by which he had to pay $400 toward his child support or risk a year in jail.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:25 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]




10 Predictions about Police Body Cameras

tl; dr - it will help, but, depressingly, will not solve the problem and add a few new ones (copcams? a source of data for the growing panopticon). No, the solution is to be brave and bold, like this citizen, and hit record.
posted by eclectist at 1:33 PM on April 8, 2015


We had a local issue a few weeks ago where an NYPD officer was recorded verbally assaulting an Uber driver for basically no reason. It made the local evening news and the officer has been relieved of his badge and gun, I believe. The entire thing was recorded by the Uber passenger. Citizen cameras are important.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:36 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Do you guys remember the movie Strange Days? I thought it was pretty far fetched at the time. Now, who knows.
posted by Justinian at 1:39 PM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Lawyers Release "Bombshell" Video of Fatal Police-Involved Shooting of Lavall Hall in Miami Gardens

Miami Gardens police chief arrested last week on suspicion of soliciting prostitution
posted by phaedon at 2:03 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]




As to why he would run there are some pretty good reasons to not want to get arrested. I'm not saying that is why he ran, I find it more likely that he could tell that Slager wanted to hurt him. I think he ran out of fear, but I wouldn't blame him even if he ran just to avoid arrest.
posted by domo at 2:32 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


The link for the shooting of Lavall Hall led me to the video of Dallas police shooting James Harrison last summer, and it's just so, so disgusting and depressing.
posted by cashman at 2:44 PM on April 8, 2015


What times do we live in when a satirical "newspaper" and a satirical "news show" do the best job at promulgating accurate information? I wanted to laugh, roomthreeseventeen, but that Onion article is a real gut punch.
posted by Fezboy! at 3:05 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


What times do we live in when a satirical "newspaper" and a satirical "news show" do the best job at promulgating accurate information?

I agree, and this began to hit me in the thread about Trevor Noah taking over the Daily Show. It's sad when you legitimately count on these parody journalism outlets for hard hitting news and information that you know the actual media will steer clear of, mishandle, underquestion, or underreport.
posted by cashman at 3:15 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Slager responds: “Everyone is 10-4, except for the suspect. ... Gunshot wound, it looks like, to the chest, to the right side.
This might seem like a lie - to you regular human scum, but the reality is that Police are trained to see things you do not see, and cannot comprehend. This is but one way in which the Police are superior in every way to you.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:19 PM on April 8, 2015


@chrislhayes - We'll have an extended interview w the man who shot the video of Walter Scott's death tonight at 8pm on @allinwithchris
posted by nadawi at 3:33 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Witness who recorded the deadly police shooting of #WalterScott speaks to @LesterHoltNBC. Airs tonight.

There is a picture of the young man who recorded the video, at the link. Looks like he's between 16-19? Should be airing shortly on NBC I'd guess.
posted by cashman at 3:34 PM on April 8, 2015


I don't have cable so I appreciate any running commentary from the interview.
posted by sio42 at 3:37 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


NBC has started its story, and just showed the cameraman. Looks around 19-20 to me but I'm just guessing. I swear I want to hug that guy. I can't wait to hear what he says.
posted by cashman at 3:37 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


They are interviewing Walter Scott's parents. His mom is crying and it's heartbreaking.
posted by cashman at 3:39 PM on April 8, 2015


I don't have cable so I appreciate any running commentary from the interview.

The video will probably be available shortly. It was a brief interview. Not sure how to spell his first name correctly, but his last name is Santana. He seems like he speaks multiple languages. He was walking to work when he came across Scott and Slager, and they were scuffling, but Santana said Slager had control. He said Slager was tasering Scott, and Santana believes Scott ran to get away from being tasered. Santana also said that Mr. Scott didn't deserve to die like that.
posted by cashman at 3:46 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


NBC News also reported that there is dashcam video that shows some of the initial interaction, and that it will be released, possibly as early as tomorrow.

So basically, get ready for the narrative to shift.
posted by cashman at 3:48 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


So basically, get ready for the narrative to shift.

I'm still trying to figure out, no matter what happens in the initial moments of the interaction, anyone can try justify shooting an unarmed, fleeing individual in the back. What we're dealing with here is the very antithesis of the noble gunslinger mindset that underpins the view of cops as always being the good guys.

Not saying that it won't happen, but I can't imagine the mental gymnastics that we are about to see.
posted by nubs at 3:56 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Some notes: dude is going to have a lot more Facebook friends soon, since he didn't lock his profile down. Someone should have suggested he do that. Really. But I guess fearlessness is part of this dude's mo. Also, I hope the Scott family attorney isn't depended on to do anything major. He seems like an amateur, sadly. I suppose at this point I can only hope that Crump doesn't drive up from Florida and try to get involved.

I thought they'd have more of Santana's interview, but I guess that'll be on MSNBC later.
posted by cashman at 3:58 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm still trying to figure out, no matter what happens in the initial moments of the interaction, anyone can try justify shooting an unarmed, fleeing individual in the back.

He was black. For a horrifying number of people--including this murderous scum--that's the only justification needed.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:02 PM on April 8, 2015


no matter what happens in the initial moments of the interaction, anyone can try justify shooting an unarmed, fleeing individual in the back.

Well I would think it can't be completely compelling, since law enforcement went ahead and quickly put him in jail and said they were charging him with murder. But since Scott ultimately ends up running, any move, anything he has in his hands, anything will be taken as a justification. And especially if he says anything that isn't "I love Bunnies and Easter!"

With regard to Santana, I wonder what his job is? I just still marvel at how invisible he seemed.
posted by cashman at 4:05 PM on April 8, 2015


Santana has a Twitter account as well, and the more I learn about him, the more it just seems like he is a brave guy who wasn't going to let this happen without documenting it. Looking the way he does, and being that close to an officer murdering a citizen, the Mayor would do well to commend Santana in the next press conference.
posted by cashman at 4:09 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whatever his job is, the day Santana posts a GoFundMe, I suspect we can come up with enough to make him a full time journalist for quite some time, and cover his tuition anywhere he wants to go to college.

I'm in for serious change. I'm in awe of his courage.
posted by spitbull at 4:11 PM on April 8, 2015 [19 favorites]


Countdown to character assassination of Santana starts now.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:14 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


There's a little article about the interview on NBC's site now. I didn't see any video up yet.
posted by cashman at 4:19 PM on April 8, 2015


Here's the full Daily Beast interview with Slager's ex-lawyer, David Aylor.

Having read that, I suspect the lawyer withdrew because Slager blatantly lied to him:
I can't specifically state what is the reason why or what isn't the reason why I'm no longer his lawyer. All I can say is that the same day of the discovery of the video that was disclosed publicly, I withdrew as counsel immediately. Whatever factors people want to take from that and conclusions they want to make, they have the right to do that.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:23 PM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Whatever his job is, the day Santana posts a GoFundMe, I suspect we can come up with enough to make him a full time journalist for quite some time, and cover his tuition anywhere he wants to go to college.

Hell, why not start one ourselves?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:27 PM on April 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


NBC News also reported that there is dashcam video that shows some of the initial interaction, and that it will be released, possibly as early as tomorrow.

So basically, get ready for the narrative to shift.


Might take a few days to condense the footage down to a handful of the most suggestive frames.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:30 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I will contribute to any fundraiser for the cameraman.
posted by sio42 at 4:35 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


cashman: “Witness who recorded the deadly police shooting of #WalterScott speaks to @LesterHoltNBC. Airs tonight.”
“Anger Boils Over in North Charleston After Walter Scott Shooting” [Caution: Graphic Video], NBC News, 09 April 2015

“Witness Who Recorded Walter Scott Shooting Speaks Out,” Id.

The full episode will presumably be available after it airs on the west coast.


P.S. Gabe Gutierrez, that's not "the anger [boiling] over." That's a peaceful, respectful, and appropriate protest. C'mon, man.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:42 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now that proceedings against Officer Slager seem to be underway, I very much would like to know if there is any possibility of official disciplinary action or (more appropriately, I suspect) criminal charges against any of the other responding officers. Can it be proved that any of the officers on the scene knowingly corroborated Slager's story in an effort to cover up a murder? If so, are they not potentially accessories after the fact?

These events are tragic on multiple levels simultaneously, but the aspect which most consistently fills me with despair is the not just indifference but oftentimes active participation of other officers. I cannot even begin to fathom what goes through their heads when they are asked to help conceal an unlawful killing but it happens -- over and over again, apparently -- and I, at least, cannot remember the last time the evidence that convicted a shooter in a case like this came from his fellow officers. More than anything else, I think that points at the sickness in the system.

One can hope that if they won't do the right thing out of respect for the law or for their profession that they might at least think twice if realistically faced with the possibility of being convicted as an accessory. But is there even a speck of political will towards pursuing that?
posted by Nerd of the North at 5:11 PM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'll post it when it comes up, but Santana's extended interview on All In is a helluva story. He thought about deleting the video and leaving town until he read the police report online and saw that they were lying.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:12 PM on April 8, 2015 [25 favorites]


I sure as hell couldn't blame if he had, given what has happened to other witnesses, but I'm glad he didn't. And yeah, if someone finds a reliable donation fund for him, I'd like to kick in, as well as for Walter Scott's family.
posted by tavella at 5:24 PM on April 8, 2015


One more thing about what Santana said while I wait for the video to get posted. Craig Melvin asks him if there's anything he wants to say, was there anything he hadn't asked. Santana says he's from the Dominican Republic and admires the United States. People across the Americas look up to the U.S. It's not good for them to see the U.S. act this way.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:25 PM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


“It is the Injustice of Moments that Poisons our Entire Justice System,” Goldie Taylor, Blue Nation Review, 08 April 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 5:28 PM on April 8, 2015


Holy crap that quote about how it's not good for people to see America this way is just... Wow. I'm so glad he said that. People need to hear that. If it only changes a few minds, I'm cool with that. I know that die hard muricans won't want to hear that for most part.
posted by sio42 at 5:51 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


while i would totally throw money at a fund for santana, i don't think we should start it. it will hopefully be started by someone with some connection to him who can touch base to make sure the attention isn't too much, make sure the money gets to him, etc. i think our hearts are in the right place, but we're too removed to do this for him.
posted by nadawi at 5:53 PM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]




Oh I just learned he's a barber? If he stays in North Charleston, I'm going to try to get my hair cut by this guy. It would be nice if half the town lined up for cuts. Off to check my schedule. If anybody learns of anything like this (some coverage of him giving haircuts and such), please memail me links. Thanks!
posted by cashman at 6:10 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


An NPR story I was listening to before work made a reference to the fact that there is a distinct class divide in Charleston with the way the town is situated. North vs South? I forget if this is right or not. The one being very much a destination for upper class leisure and the other more working class.

Can anyone who is from Charleston speak to this or provide some further insight? How is the police force in the one or the other? What about local government and/or political representation?

I realize I'm throwing a bunch of questions all at once.
posted by Fizz at 6:18 PM on April 8, 2015


North Charleston is what a conservative person might call "urban." Charleston proper is where you think about the riverfront and tourists and architecture.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 6:43 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just still marvel at how invisible he seemed.

Police (or anyone) can get pretty focused when killing. In the Ferguson grand jury testimony Dorian Johnson became invisible while standing within a few feet of Michael Brown as Darren Wilson's focus shrank. Johnson was sure he would be pounced upon while frozen in fear behind a car as Wilson went by in shooting pursuit. Johnson even ran a detour back to his apartment to swap shirts before returning to the scene but he wasn't being sought or even noticed once Wilson had set his sights on Brown. I figure it is a similar situation here where the murder appears functioning, but he is in a tiny bubble.
posted by phoque at 7:00 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


These cops do know that Judge Dredd is not the basis for how they should be keeping the peace, right?
posted by qcubed at 8:00 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just watched the interview with Santana. Wow, is he impressive.
posted by spitbull at 8:01 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Interview with Santana just floored me. A young, Dominican Republic immigrant who had the courage to not only make this video but also come forward publicly in today's climate towards poc. Especially in the South. This young man is what every American should strive to emulate. My children are going to know about him, his moral code and bravery. Wow.
posted by pearlybob at 8:15 PM on April 8, 2015 [20 favorites]


“The Police Are America's Terrorists,” Greg Howard, Deadspin The Concourse, 8 April 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 8:37 PM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Agreed that Santana is impressive.

It's a given he will be called as a witness. In that respect it's unfortunate he did not definitely see the tazer being planted. He saw the cop go back for it, but didn't see the actual plant -- "only on the video" he said. I hope that's not going to be a crack the defence is going to try to wedge open....
posted by Rumple at 8:43 PM on April 8, 2015




Fuuuck
posted by Abon Sapi at 8:57 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Police unions are the worst.
posted by Artw at 8:59 PM on April 8, 2015


So according to the article jeffburdges posted, Orta who filmed the killing of Eric Garner is in jail where he is not eating because he is justifiably afraid of being poisoned because the family can't afford the 16K bail. That sounds like a indie-go-go that would be worthwhile and make a concrete , tangible improvement in someone's life, both in the short term (get out of jail, eat) and in the long term since once the bail money is returned he could use it to improve his and his family's lives.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:18 PM on April 8, 2015 [18 favorites]


And come to think of it, if Orta is the target of the rat poison, getting him out of jail would also improve the health of all the other prisoners in the jail who are being collaterally poisoned.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:22 PM on April 8, 2015




Yeah, how'bout a kickstarter for Orta's defense fund? Or a documentary on police unions and police violence?
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:36 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Already done, although they're still seeking money for lawyers. A comment asked for people to attend his next court date too. Ramsey Orta appears less sympathetic than say Feidin Santana, due to prior convictions, probably reduced his support.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:36 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


> An NPR story I was listening to before work made a reference to the fact that there is a distinct class divide in Charleston with the way the town is situated. North vs South? I forget if this is right or not. The one being very much a destination for upper class leisure and the other more working class.

I'm not from Charleston but I've been there. North Charleston is actually a separate city; it's about half black and half white, more of a factory/mill town, and unsurprisingly quite a bit less wealthy than Charleston. It's "the wrong side of the tracks," as it were.
posted by desuetude at 10:10 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]




Golden Eternity: “A different kind of protest at North Charleston City Hall
That's fantastic. Of course, the other thing that's different is the cops didn't show up with attack dogs to "control" it.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:37 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]




fyi; for me that protest link popped up all kinds of annoying browser warning shit, had to force-quit Chrome.
posted by odinsdream at 8:01 AM on April 9, 2015




I see today that the initial report by SLED indicates that none of the dashcams on responding vehicles appears to have captured all if the incident.

Kinda reinforces the idea that the bodycams need to be configured in a way that prevents them from being turned off and/or tampering with them should be grounds for immediate and severe disciplinary actions.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:15 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I’ll never understand the blindness in how some individuals perceive the social contract.
In Chicago the police are having a hard time with pensions. Years ago the city made a contract where police officers pay about 9% of their salary into a fund for retirement and benefits.
Now the city and fund managers are saying “yeah, we’re going to cut that back.” Which is a blatant and egregious violation of contract.
But … so?
Where's the indigation come from after blatently violating suspects rights? Wasn't there a social contract there as well?
And now, the politicians who everyone counted on looking the other way over unfairness are ... *gasp!* looking the other way when things get unfair.

Why the hell doya think no one trusts a traitor, even when they're service has been invaluable?

I’ve heard a few cops bitch about teachers getting paid too much and how taxes are too high and it blows my mind.

Like they’re not going to get a mechanic who says “yeah, I repaired your brakes. It’ll cost double what I first quoted you. Take it or crash.” Or a doctor who leaves a clamp in one of your organs and says “meh, fuckit. Go sue my malpractice.”

What was in Slager’s mind as the “win” here? Or the other cops on the scene for that matter?
That they’re somehow the only group gaming the system (again, to what end? Just murder black folks?) and that justifies the means? Like no one else is going to short them?

And now, any good cop anywhere is going to have someone fight them or run from them. Someone who’s anywhere near on the fence is going to be leery and figure it’s ok to shoot at a cop because hell, they’re shooting at people first anyway.

This is not just bad in and of itself, it’s bad for everyone. Get enough counterfeit money into circulation people figure ‘what the hell’ and start printing their own too. Then everybody starves.

Evil is not only evil it’s (capital S ) Stupid.

I mean really, really, really, really stupid. So stupid I can’t fathom in the slightest what was going on in Slager’s head. And I’ve been at both ends... just mind boggling.

As far as videotaping the police goes, I’ve always considered it a duty. Clearly it’s a first amendment right. But I would argue it’s additionally constitutionally protected as the 2nd Amendment and for the exact same reasons – it limits the government’s power and supports the citizen’s rights to self-defense. A camera is easily the best defense against a governments encroachment on rights.

The social problems not withstanding. Even if they were made illegal, they could not be made unfeasible. It is simply a thing that is not within the power of the government to stop.
People can, with little technical know how, have cameras that upload to a cloud or third party. And indeed harassment and privacy issues (in the case of a rape, domestic or DUI, etc) can be avoided with police body cameras on all the time by having a neutral third party (someone from the judiciary) have control over the footage.

But in any case, any “no videorecording the police” laws are going to go in my immediate shitcan for stupid laws I don’t follow.

What’s weird is how re-spun this story has been since Slager was arrested. The vibe is that the epidemic of police shootings is only perception because there are so many cameras, and if there really were that many, all the cameras would catch a lot more.
Yeah.

Hey remember when G. Gordon Liddy was telling people to shoot cops in the groin because their other parts were protected by body armor?

What really bugs me is HOW analogous to the 2nd amendment paranoid fantasies of individuals taking on the government with small arms the 1st amendment has actually become.

Except in this case the asymmetry is not in firepower but in information.
The ONLY way to get actual news is from small/indy papers or individuals.

That’s what’s terrifying. All things being equal I can take a cop. I can take a good sized squad of cops. Bit of preparation I could shut down a decent sized city with a few buddies.
What I can’t do with any amount of training or firepower is change how the news goes into an immediate spin cycle in cooperation with the authorities to relieve all accountability for police actions.
“the dead man fought with an officer over his Taser before deadly force was employed.”
and
Slager “felt threatened and reached for his department-issued firearm and fired his weapon,
is vastly different than what the video shows.

Hell, it’s the pro-wrasslin’ version. Plus the “face” standing in front of Old Glory. Officer “kind to his mother” Slager.

And all the “turned into a physical altercation” and “police and witnesses say” – the ubiquitous “unnamed witness”?
Why do they keep getting away with that in the news? I don't know a high school student who can turn in an uncited report saying "sources say." That's great Timmy, but you get an 'F'

What’s broken is journalistic skepticism and the incestuous relationship between government authority and media outlets.

But, as with cameras, that’s an easy fix. There’s twitter, there’s hundreds of ways to get actual news. What’s chilling is that without this video though, there’s no other side of the story. Without the video, this would have been the story of record.
And granted the system worked in this case charging Slager with murder, but only because of the video.
That's the point. It's not the system that's broken it's that there is an entire apparatus in place used to suborn the system and avert the process.
People have to at least sort of believe it works. So when it's laid out in the open, it looks like it does.
Of course, that's only when it's out in the open.

So, yeah, put video cameras on the police, yes.

But arm yourselves (with cameras) too.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:55 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]






I see today that the initial report by SLED indicates that none of the dashcams on responding vehicles appears to have captured all if the incident.

I bow to no one here in my disgust over police and prosecutorial misconduct, but dashcams can fail to pick up the entire incident just because of which ways the cars are pointed.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:13 AM on April 9, 2015


Ain't just people "near the fence", Smedleyman. When Should You Shoot a Cop was written by a middle class white dude. Also : Myths and Misconceptions About Indiana's New Self-Defense Law
posted by jeffburdges at 9:30 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


What’s broken is journalistic skepticism and the incestuous relationship between government authority and media outlets.

....Not just the media. There's also certain factions of the court of public opinion.

I'm bracing myself right now, because - a couple weeks after each time something happened with the Mike Brown shooting and the aftermath, and a couple weeks after Eric Garner's death, my uncle would share some "yay cops" twaddle on Facebook; something along the lines of "let's fill the social media with GOOD images of cops to counter the bad press our brave policemen are getting recently" blah blah blah fishcakes. And I just KNOW that a couple weeks from now, as this thing escalates, he's going to be doing the same thing, and I'm just not sure that I"m going to be able to restrain myself from snapping and telling him off this time that "POINTING OUT THE BAD COPS DOES NOT MEAN YOU HATE ALL COPS FOR THE LOVE OF LITTLE FISHES".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:53 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


If the narrative shifts to somehow suggest that Walter Scott shouldn't have run away because of course you get shot if you run away, I will lose my damn mind. Because didn't we all watch Cops at some point? Literally at any point in our lives, have we not all been channel surfing and happened upon Cops, or watched it while lying bleary and home sick on our couches, or at the very least watched something that was a parody of it? And when suspects run away on Cops, do they get shot in the back? No, a cop fucking runs after them to tackle them into submission or whatever. Which is what Slager could have done in this case, because Scott was not a goddamn Olympic sprinter. He wasn't going that fast. If Slager wanted to take the guy in, all he had to do was run after him.

I guess he was just in fear for his life though. Because someone running the fuck away from you is so dangerous. I just--every time, I think "surely this," and every time I get proven wrong, and I'm so sick of it. But I watched that interview with Feidin Santana, and I was just full of a desperate gratitude for Santana's bravery in bearing witness and I hope so much that bravery will see some corresponding justice.
posted by yasaman at 10:03 AM on April 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


In fact, there is an good way to influence the news cycle, Smedleyman. Subscribe to resources like CopBlock (fb, tw), Free Thought Project FilmingCops, You fb/PoliceOfficersRapingKids, Vice's Bad Cop Blotter, etc. and to journalists who cover police brutality, like Cassandra Fairbanks, Lucy Steigerwald, etc. And retweet, etc. stories that're likely to influence your friends, family, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:11 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jeffburdges, I'm just afraid that retweeting things like that or posting links to things on facebook would make people like my uncle that much more likely to double down on the "YOU'RE GIVING COPS A BAD NAME I NEED TO EVEN THE BALANCE" stuff.

I mean, I don't know what else to do, but I'm definitely afraid that approach would backfire.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:15 AM on April 9, 2015


Dave Couper [twitter], the former Chief of Police in Madison, Wis. (notably during eras of campus protest), has a blog called Improving Police. He has highlighted a departmental message sent by the chief of the Eureka, Cal. police department in his post This Chief Gets It.

EPD, let’s be different…
The preservation of human life is the paramount consideration in every action we take. EPD will go the extra mile to reduce the chances of us having to use lethal force. The organizational philosophy is to slow things down and use time, talk and tactics to resolve potentially lethal encounters. It is not always possible but it must be our objective.


The message goes on to encourage less-lethal options, community involvement, self-accountability and peer accountability, and ends with a paean to officer safety, and this epigrammatic appeal:

Let EPD lead the way to a civil community through calculated action done for the right reasons. Let’s call it ‘Use of Force Integrity.'

In case you doubt whether a cop can lead this, he has tweeted "Enough is enough! If I was back in uniform there would be a mourning band on my badge in memory for those who have murdered by police."
posted by dhartung at 10:24 AM on April 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


There is no need to reach everyone, EmpressCallipygos, much less reach them simultaneously or with any particular story. Just ignore/delete the "doubling down" comment since they're not worth the effort to reply to. Attitudes can shift eventually though.

NY Cops Used ‘Stingray’ Spy Tool 46 Times Without Warrant
posted by jeffburdges at 10:53 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Time magazine's new cover shows why the latest police shooting of an unarmed black man is different" (BusinessInsider)
posted by cashman at 11:27 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


How to destroy a black life: A step-by-step guide
posted by dirigibleman at 12:57 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I am so tired of writing about this kind of murder, this kind of injustice. Words feel utterly useless. I recognize the luxury of such exhaustion.
posted by donnagirl at 1:24 PM on April 9, 2015


It's not the system that's broken it's that there is an entire apparatus in place used to suborn the system and avert the process.

smedleyman, i was really with you 100% until you said this - the apparatus IS the system - in spite of all the high-minded propaganda we hear from the government, nothing's being suborned - the system, the process was designed to work the way it has been working
posted by pyramid termite at 1:25 PM on April 9, 2015


"let's fill the social media with GOOD images of cops to counter the bad press our brave policemen are getting recently"

That's the thing there are only GOOD cops. Anyone shooting people down in cold blood is just a criminal PRETENDING to be a cop.

The people who should be most aggressive about this are police officers.
Imagine if someone at your work took a big crap on someones desk and asked you to cover for him.
'Hey man, be cool. Crapping on desks is just what we gotta do. And you're not with us if we don't cover each other for it.'

Well, y'know I thought we were a toothpaste company and we made toothpas...
No man! We crap on desks! That's what we do. The toothpaste thing is just a day to day. We gotta crap on desks, doncha see?

Why?
"Why!?"

Certainly some toothpaste has to get made. Otherwise people would notice there's no toothpaste anywhere. But the desk crapping has to be made to look like a part of, yet unacknowleged part, of the toothpaste making process.
'Oh, sure, some of 'em crap on desks. But look at all the toothpaste that gets made'
It's not the same thing at all. It's not any kind of system at all. It's just a bizarre doublethink that creates this world where some desks might have turds on them, but it's to be expected what with all the toothpaste that needs to get made. Plenty of toothpaste makers work hard. Look at all the good toothpaste makers vs. a few bad desk crappers.

Not even vaguely related, except that the feces gets planted on workstations at the toothpaste factory.
Make the metaphor real, and it gets even weirder. Because who would stand for human feces anywhere near where they work? It spreads disease. We all know the dangers. And yet, it's exactly the same thing, socially, as covering up a crime as a cop.

I remember reading somewhere about an official taking a bribe from a livestock processing plant to pour offal - against EPA regs - into his towns drinking water.
Think about that.
How much money would it take to bribe you to sicken and perhaps infect and kill yourself?
(maybe you're dumb enough to think "well, I'll just drink bottled water" and have no conception of communicability, but still ... )

And yet, you have one cop ignoring the plainly wrong shoot here. I know the environment is ingrained. But any genuine thought process should be that including you in a criminal conspiracy without some prior notification is going to endanger your livelyhood, possibly your freedom and potentially poison the reputation and endanger the lives of other police officers everywhere, ESPECIALLY given current events.

There is far too much tolerance for people who pretend to be police officers by actual police officers. Because this ain't policing.

Reminds me of a P.K. Dick novel really. Second Variety. Get some people dressed in white coats, 'yeah, I'm a doctor. sure'
No one would stand for that. But there's this weird thing in policing, probably because it's so political, that we stand for these chameleons.

Re: "Myths and Misconceptions About Indiana's New Self-Defense Law" same sorta deal. Wrangling about the details without regard of the context forced by drug enforcement.
I don't accept the initial premise of drug enforcement as a necessity.
So too, I don't accept the premise that everyone wearing a uniform is a police officer.

Something is what something does. Start breaking the law, you're a criminal, start looking the other way and supporting others who break the law - well, you're a gangster now. Gangsters are loyal too, they just don't wear badges to pretend to justify it. But it's the exact same psychology.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:36 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's the thing there are only GOOD cops. Anyone shooting people down in cold blood is just a criminal PRETENDING to be a cop.

If that were true, we'd see the cops out there on the streets, in the media, protesting very loudly against this instead of banding together in coverups and organizing union members like happened in New York after the Garner and Gurley killings.

At this point, denying that those are the cops is just No True Scotsman.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 1:52 PM on April 9, 2015 [7 favorites]




South Carolina Cop Kills Himself After Hours Long Standoff with SWAT

There are conjectures that this killing relates to the Walter Scott case, maybe this cop wanted to implicate other officers, maybe he was about to be charged himself, etc
posted by jeffburdges at 2:54 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would put "domestic dispute" as reported in that article as much more likely than the conjecture.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:31 PM on April 9, 2015


I saw some comments on the local news site.
One person is saying why do we always have to dredge up these isolated incidents from other states? (despite us having our own cop murder recently)

Another person replies when do a series of isolated incidents become a pattern?


Yep.
posted by sio42 at 3:44 PM on April 9, 2015




orta, the man who shot the garner video, posted bail but the office of the district attorney who is running for congress has halted his release.
posted by nadawi at 4:08 PM on April 9, 2015


Dashcam shows initial traffic stop. [CNN]

Looks pretty much like nothing. Guy didn't want to end up in Jail for debts, so he ran. They had his license. Like his relative said - you know where he lives, where he works, et cetera. He was obviously looking to run away the whole time. Now we sit and wait for what story gets concocted to try to danger Scott up in the time between the two videos.

And the cop was listening to bluesy Everlast? Can we add some kind of misdemeanor on top of anything else he gets convicted of?
posted by cashman at 4:29 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also note that even though Walter obviously wants to get away so he doesn't get put in jail for unpaid debts, he is 50 and pretty slow. Even with adrenaline pumping. Walter is running with jeans and a polo and a hat on, on top of it. And notice that even with all that, he still closes the car door behind him. (In other words, he's not some hardened criminal, he's still doing courteous things we all do) This is just ridiculous. This cop can't just walk free.
posted by cashman at 4:36 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Here's an AP article that's nominally about the dashcam but which goes into a bit more depth than most other articles I've seen: Police cruiser video shows moments before fatal shooting.

A couple of parts that are unsurprising, but at least are getting mentioned in an article:
There is almost nothing in Slager's police personnel file to suggest that his bosses considered him a rogue officer capable of murdering a man during a traffic stop. In the community he served, however, people say this reflects what's wrong with policing today: Officers nearly always get the last word when citizens complain.

"We've had through the years numerous similar complaints, and they all seem to be taken lightly and dismissed without any obvious investigation," the Rev. Joseph Darby, vice president of the Charleston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Thursday.
and
Slager's file includes a single excessive use-of-force complaint, from 2013: A man said Slager used his stun gun against him without reason. But Slager was exonerated and the case closed, even though witnesses told The Associated Press that investigators never followed up with them. Police say they are now looking at that case again amid questions by the man Tased and eyewitnesses who said authorities never questioned them about it.
posted by Lexica at 4:48 PM on April 9, 2015


cashman, I still don't see a situation necessitating the use of lethal force, but I do see an uncontained situation spiraling out of control in large part due to Scott's actions. Unsearched, fleeing suspect, failed attempt to subdue. Cops have to make judgment calls in the field, and uncooperative suspects go a long way in justifying poor judgment. Respectfully submitted.
posted by phaedon at 4:54 PM on April 9, 2015


Cops have to make judgment calls in the field

Shooting a fleeing suspect, if you do not have probable cause believe he poses a serious threat to anyone, is not a valid judgment call. It has been explicitly illegal for over three decades.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:00 PM on April 9, 2015 [17 favorites]


And the cop was listening to bluesy Everlast? Can we add some kind of misdemeanor on top of anything else he gets convicted of?

Holy shit, the song isn't just Everlast it was What it's Like. I knew when I heard these lyrics at 2:30 in the CNN video linked above.

There was a big gun fight, Max lost his head

He pulled out his Chrome .45, talked some shit, and wound up dead

And now his wife and his kids are caught in the midst of all of his pain

Not exactly a breakdown of what was to come but the fact that the cop was listening to it at all just at that moment does register on my creepy scale.

posted by RolandOfEld at 5:02 PM on April 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Unsearched, fleeing suspect, failed attempt to subdue. Cops have to make judgment calls in the field

In what universe does this lead to a "judgment call" of firing your gun eight times into the back of the guy running away from you?

Oh, right.
posted by tzikeh at 5:02 PM on April 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


I got pulled over when a break light went out once. Here is the entire interaction:

Officer: Hey, I just wanted to let you know you have a light out. If I see you again and it isn't fixed I'm going to give you a ticket.
Me: Okay, thanks Officer, I'll replace it as soon as I can.
Officer: Okay, drive safe.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:04 PM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


So, he has the guys license, so he knows the guy is 50. He's seen the guy, so he knows he's overweight. He sees the guy trying to get away. It's 9:30 am. Scott has a head start, yet the cop runs him down fairly quickly. He likely tried to taser Walter, especially considering the previous complaint, and all the information we have mentions nothing else about anything except lies. We see Walter still trying to run away from the cop once we pick back up on another video. Everything we have says Walter was running, and poorly. There is just no reason whatsoever that a fat 50 year old in jeans and a polo, unarmed and not dangerous, should have been shot at period. Much less shot at once. Then shot at again. Then again. Then again. Then again. Then again. Then again. Then again.
posted by cashman at 5:06 PM on April 9, 2015 [22 favorites]


Of course cops have to use judgment calls in the field. I've argued the legal and moral ambiguities in these kinds of situations before here on Metafilter, including in the Michael Brown case, but shooting an unarmed man in the back as he slowly trundles away from you and then planting your taser on him has nothing to do with that.

The officer deserves a fair trial. Maybe there will be some magic evidence we haven't seen yet which will change my view of what happened. It would have to be incredible evidence though because right now I'd convict him of a whole slew of things. Including some kind of murder with special circumstances charge if I didn't believe the death penalty was a barbaric relic which should be eliminated immediately and never brought back.
posted by Justinian at 5:14 PM on April 9, 2015


( the special circumstance being some kind of murder under color of authority deal. Which should be a thing if it is not already. You should get extra harsh punishment not extra lenient punishment if you murder someone as an on duty police officer.)
posted by Justinian at 5:16 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


The fact that he got put in jail so quickly and they pretty swiftly announced that he's been charged with murder says to me that there is likely no such magic tale or explanation.
posted by cashman at 5:27 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


the penalty for running is not, or rather should not be, murder. there's no respectful way to suggest otherwise.
posted by nadawi at 5:32 PM on April 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


In what universe does this lead to a "judgment call" of firing your gun eight times into the back of the guy running away from you?

I'm not saying Slager isn't a freak, but Scott resisted arrest and could have been armed. That's all the police officer has to say. We've seen people shot for a lot less. I'm not condoning it, I'm pointing it out. It makes a difference to me that this was a normal traffic stop and Slager didn't initially do anything illegal or immoral to aggravate Scott into fleeing.

Maybe the way people are pulled over in their cars, and the culture surrounding that, has to change entirely.
posted by phaedon at 5:41 PM on April 9, 2015


I saw left and right brake lights light twice, I saw a left turn signal blink. What exactly was broken?
posted by klarck at 5:48 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


it didn't seem to make a difference to the police department that fired him and charged him. just because we've seen people shot for a lot less doesn't make them or walter scott responsible for their own murders.
posted by nadawi at 5:52 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder if one or more of the other cops on the scene caved and gave evidence against Slager once the video came out. I can't help but cynically suspect Slager would not have been arrested so quickly if the other cops were still firmly behind him. "Who're you gonna trust, your lying eyes or the thin blue line?"
posted by nicebookrack at 5:58 PM on April 9, 2015


Maybe. I mean, his lawyer dropped him almost immediately after the video came out, so I suspect a lot of people feel like suckers for backing up Slager's initial story.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:06 PM on April 9, 2015


Well duh anybody could be armed. I could be packing right here in front of my monitor with a 9mm under my bathrobe. You don't get to call in a drone strike because you think that though, just likey you don't get to shoot a fleeing person in the back. Armed or not they're not posing a threat to you if they're pointed away from you and trucking. And unless you positively see that he's armed and waving it around and threatening others, you don't get to use the potential threat to others as an excuse either.

I suspect a lawyer saw this situation as the lost cause it is and advised the PD early on to throw Slager under the bus. A lot of time with the law it's the details, not the actual visceral horribleness, that make the case, and in this case the details all point to magnetic North and the fig leaves are the size of pollen grains. The most sensible thing for the city and PD to do is mea culpa and settle as quickly as possible.
posted by localroger at 6:14 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I saw left and right brake lights light twice, I saw a left turn signal blink. What exactly was broken?

It was his third brake light, apparently. The one in the back windshield.
posted by cashman at 6:55 PM on April 9, 2015


The third brake light isn't legally required, though - in fact only one brake light needs to be working to comply with South Carolina law (according to this opinion). So if that's the basis for the traffic stop, it was an illegal stop from the very beginning.

Not that the illegal stop is on the same plane with the shooting that followed, of course, it's just making me even angrier that the officer shouldn't even have been talking to Scott to begin with.
posted by heisenberg at 7:57 PM on April 9, 2015


could have been armed

With a boomerang!
posted by Artw at 8:13 PM on April 9, 2015


It wouldn't be illegal to just stop him to let him know the light was out, that was why I added my anecdote about this earlier. He shouldn't have even asked for the license and registration in that case though. He could have even known the light wasn't required and was fishing for something else to hassle him about.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:52 PM on April 9, 2015






So, he has the guys license, so he knows the guy is 50. He's seen the guy, so he knows he's

...black, and therefore shooting him is unlikely to end up with even a slap on the wrist.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:20 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


It wouldn't be illegal to just stop him to let him know the light was out

It wouldn't be illegal for a cop to pull up alongside you and say "hey buddy, it's not against the law or anything, but I thought you'd want to know that one of your brake lights is out." But it most certainly is illegal for a cop to pull you over without reasonable suspicion that you've broken the law. When a police officer makes a traffic stop, the driver of the car is seized within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment and that seizure must be supported by reasonable suspicion.
posted by heisenberg at 11:39 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


San Bernardino County Sheriff deputies provide additional insight into police behavior when they think no one is looking.

Holy fucking goddamn fucking fuck. Dear San Berdoo Sheriff: this video is not "disturbing." The Billy Squier "Rock Me Tonight" video is disturbing. This video, like the Walter Scott murder video, is a horrific, terrifying, despair-inducing nightmare of savagery. They pretty much kill that man (could he possibly survive that much brain trauma?) in frenzied glee and then fist-bump each other. And it's all just business as usual.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:11 AM on April 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


The family is right, they thought it was a cop chopper so they felt totally free to try and beat a man to death. A group of them. With zero, ZERO hesitation. Tell me again where the good cops are.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:10 AM on April 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


There are no good cops.

Every single cop has to turn a blind eye to this behavior in their departments--and it seems to be everywhere. The "good cops" are guilty by association; they are complicit in the crimes they turn a blind eye to. Ergo they are not "good", unless you view murdering the people they swore to protect as "good" (in which case I don't give a shit what you think).

"Just following orders" or "the thin blue line" are empty excuses that actively promulgate this terrorism.

I've always been fond of that Everlast song, but I can't even...how can someone listen to it--a song specifically about having empathy for those you might dismiss as unworthy of it, those who circumstance has led to places they would rather not be--and then get out of their car and murder a stranger in cold blood?

Maybe officer racist asshole thinks the characters uttering "get a job, you fucking slob", "killer, sinner, whore", and "it crumbles that way" are the heroes of the song. Gah.

The shedding-of-light on these incidents has emboldened the badged-psychopaths. Why wouldn't it? There has been no fallout from any of them, no consequences, and, indeed, the public support for murdering cops and apathy from the top underline that it's A-OK to gun down citizens if they happen to be brown-of-skin. Hell, the victim's family oft times made to apologize to the cops.

What the fuck, America.
posted by maxwelton at 2:45 AM on April 10, 2015 [11 favorites]


It was referenced earlier I believe, but you can add this to the pile: body cam footage shows police shooting mentally ill black man to death for holding a small screwdriver.

The cops, of course, claim he lunged at them, and that they feared for their lives.
posted by tocts at 4:14 AM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Cops have to make judgment calls in the field, and uncooperative suspects go a long way in justifying poor judgment. Respectfully submitted.
posted by phaedon


More like judgment, juryment, and executionerment calls, amirite?

Heck of a judgment call to gun down an unarmed man by backshooting him at 30 yards and widening with 8 shots. I wouldn't want to live in your community if that looks anything like "judgment" and not "murder" to you.

Supposedly cops are trained to make such calls based on perception of threat. Where in this scenario is the slightest indication Scott represented a threat in flight?

Anyway I hope a real judge make a judgment call here and gives Slager thirty years with no parole or a needle in his fucking arm. Seriously, I've decided I'm ok with that.

I know it won't happen but I'd like to see how white America will respond if it does. They'd kill a black man for doing the same thing to a white cop. Justice is justice.

Every time you watch that video, does your blood not run cold at the cruelty of it? How does the color blue blind so many people?
posted by spitbull at 5:12 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


How does the color blue black blind so many people?

FTFY
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 5:28 AM on April 10, 2015


poor judgement is eating more nutella in one sitting than you know you should and then feeling queasy for a bit. or staying up all night to watch the entirety of True Detective despite having to work the next day.

shooting an nonviolent person who is running away from you in the back EIGHT TIMES is psychotic. ESPECIALLY when you are a trained officer of the law who should goddman fucking well know how to goddamn fucking handle themselves in a time of crisis.
posted by sio42 at 5:39 AM on April 10, 2015 [17 favorites]


I wonder if one or more of the other cops on the scene caved and gave evidence against Slager once the video came out.

I wonder if -- I hope that -- some official is having serious discussions with the other two officers present using words like "conspiracy," "obstruction of justice," "accessory after the fact" and most importantly "jail time," and at least one of the officers is giving evidence to save his own sorry hide. If so, said officer should still suffer some consequences for participating in the culture of corruption that is so-called "police solidarity" and, at the very least, lose his job.

I mean, his lawyer dropped him almost immediately after the video came out, so I suspect a lot of people feel like suckers for backing up Slager's initial story.

Someone linked upthread to what the lawyer had to say about that:
I can't specifically state what is the reason why or what isn't the reason why I'm no longer his lawyer. All I can say is that the same day of the discovery of the video that was disclosed publicly, I withdrew as counsel immediately. Whatever factors people want to take from that and conclusions they want to make, they have the right to do that.

If only a lot of people would draw the proper conclusion about feeling like suckers. But cognitive dissonance is a powerful force that seems to have an especially firm grip on conservatives.
posted by Gelatin at 5:40 AM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've always been fond of that Everlast song, but I can't even

If you watch the Slager's dashcam video, that is the song that is playing as he pulls Scott over.

It's funny - I don't feel compelled to record my interactions with my attorney, my doctor, my electrician, or my barista. Yet, I must record my interactions with the police, because if you prick a cop, doth not a lying liar who lies bleed ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:25 AM on April 10, 2015




holy crap, he told the officers at the scene that he had recorded it and they still wrote up the fictional report.
posted by nadawi at 6:56 AM on April 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


From what I understand, Santana didn't tell officers at the scene. He walked into the police department later.
posted by cashman at 7:00 AM on April 10, 2015


He's probably not wrong. He certainly did the right thing leaking the video rather than turning it over to people who would probably have deleted it.
posted by Artw at 7:03 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


This answers some questions that I've had since I saw the video. Based on my extensive viewing of old Law and Order episodes Slager's story was pretty iffy without the video. He shot Scott in the back from a good distance away. I assume ballistic evidence would confirm this and contradict Slager's story. Who knows whether SLED would have pursued the evidence without the video but it looks to me that even without the video it should have obvious that Slager was lying. Maybe SLED is just trying to make themselves look good after the appearance of the video or maybe not.
posted by rdr at 7:08 AM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]




From what I understand, Santana didn't tell officers at the scene. He walked into the police department later.

From jeffburdges' link:

[Santana] said that even when he first told officers on the scene that he recorded the incident, he had the impression that he would be killed if he waited around.

“I’ve seen that movie before” he said last night in an interview with NBC News.

So when the officers told him to “wait right here” and they left to get other law enforcement officers, he took off and leaked the video through less formal channels.

posted by rory at 7:38 AM on April 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


Slager's story was pretty iffy without the video. He shot Scott in the back from a good distance away. I assume ballistic evidence would confirm this and contradict Slager's story.

Slager's quick invocation of the "I feared for my life" mantra strikes me as resulting from his belief that saying those magic words would trump the evidence that he shot a fleeing suspect in the back. After all, Eric Garner's killing was caught on video and the coroner classified it a homicide, yet that phrase seems to have shielded his killers from prosecution, so who's to say that in the absence of the video said belief was unfounded?
posted by Gelatin at 8:09 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks for that correction. In watching the interview I must have gotten confused. Thank god he left the scene with the video, or he might actually be dead.
posted by cashman at 8:13 AM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]




I didn't realize Santana had done a bunch of other interviews. I see some with NBC for the Today show, with the BBC, and another. Is there somewhere else on mefi this is getting discussed? Or is it just fatiguing.
posted by cashman at 8:48 AM on April 10, 2015


i never turn on broadcast tv (not said to be an asshole! i just only get 5 good channels), so i'm just seeing what is coming across twitter and the like. i've also found it strange how little people seem to be talking about santana specifically, and the case in general. maybe it's because the cop is already arrested? maybe it's fatigue? but, yeah - i've noticed.
posted by nadawi at 8:53 AM on April 10, 2015


No protests, no coverage.
posted by Artw at 9:07 AM on April 10, 2015


Here is a list of relevant indie-go-go campaigns. Sadly, there's not much money in any. I found none on GoFundMe. Any thoughts on choosing between these?

There are two indiegogo campaigns for Santana.
1: Currently $79 of $40K goal. 30 days left.
2 $0/$10K 60 days left
3 $15 120 days left
4: $0/ 60 days left

For Walter Scott's family and Santana:
2: $65/850K 59 days

For Walter Scott's family:
1 $390/25K 59 days left
2 $235/10K 30 days left
3 0/$5K 30 days left
4 0/$25K 15 days left
5 0/$10K 30 days
6 $42/$200K 30 days
7 0/$5K 30 days
80/5K 60 days
9 $1557/100K 59 days
10
0/$10K 30 days
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:10 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seems like a lot of police departments and officers are happy to talk about how aggressive policing and broken-windows policing are the most effective ways to drop crime levels. I propose that they practice on themselves what they preach to others, because if it's really just a matter of a few bad cops, it shouldn't take long to root them out like this, right?
posted by rtha at 9:13 AM on April 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


If someone I can verify is in Santana's camp starts one, I'm in. "I'll get it to him" doesn't work for me if Santana doesn't even know the person.
posted by cashman at 9:14 AM on April 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I cannot believe the sheer balls Santana had to go up to cops on the scene and day he recorded it. Christ almighty.

I'm a privileged white chick and I'd be running and or continuing to hide after seeing this.

I hope he is always with people for his own safety.
posted by sio42 at 9:14 AM on April 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


There were quite a few cops involved in jumping Thabo Sefolosha, so if the Atlanta PD cannot prove there was an altercation earlier in the evening, then we can safely assume an officer aware of his interviews spotted him in the club, and called for backup to get revenge. Also Thabo Sefolosha is Swiss btw, not the stereotypical aggressive "jock" upbringing.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:15 AM on April 10, 2015




do you mean NYPD, jeffburdges? or am i missing something?
the incident happened in manhattan unless there was yet another incident with the dude in atlanta. which i woudln't doubt. sigh.
posted by sio42 at 10:11 AM on April 10, 2015




Yes, I meant NYPD obviously. Oops!
posted by jeffburdges at 11:12 AM on April 10, 2015


Whew. Glad there is not another incident.


Roomthreeseventeen: that article is amazing. Learning you can't always trust authority figures is hard and a lesson many adults haven't learned. I'm glad he brought that into the classroom.
posted by sio42 at 11:49 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]






It may not have been the wisest idea for me to have just listened to the John Legend/Common performance of "Glory" from they Oscars at work just now and expected to have maintained my composure.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:25 PM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've been mulling over policing by consent and the Peelian Principles this morning. I guess they never really took hold in the U.S. Still, I think a lot more departments should understand them. Especially, “To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.”

Police, and indeed the entire edifice of the judiciary, are in danger of having the public turn their backs on them and cease to recognize their lawful authority. The consequences of that… suffice it to say that if the police think they're in a war now, they will be very unhappy if they manage to actually have the public turn on them.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:47 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't definitely state it yet, but this may be the official indiegogo for Feidin Santana, put up by his lawyer Todd Rutherford. The link came from this twitter account, which I alluded to previously and seems like it's his, and looking at it, it seems right to me. I am holding off donating until we get official word though. Or if someone can help find some definitive link between the page and Feidin or his Lawyer's official channels, that would be great.
posted by cashman at 12:53 PM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


If nothing else, spelunking around Indiegogo for confirmation about that lead me to discover that their fund for Slager has been yoinked.

Meanwhile, there are three funds people have set up for Scott's family.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:59 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]




“White America's Silence on Police Brutality Is Consent,” Donovan X. Ramsey, Gawker, 10 April 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 2:08 PM on April 10, 2015 [4 favorites]




goddamn that nypd video - "if you don't like it you can sue." these fucking assholes.
posted by nadawi at 2:12 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


jeffburdges: “Police In Pasadena Charge Organizer of BlackLivesMatter With Terrorism
This stinks to high heaven, but "terrorist threats" is not the same as "terrorism."
posted by ob1quixote at 2:24 PM on April 10, 2015


South Carolina Police Shooting Seen as Crime Strategy Gone Awry

"Rhonda Smith, who runs a bail bonds agency, spoke of twice writing bonds for black defendants arrested for not having horns on their bicycles."
posted by jeffburdges at 2:27 PM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


oh for fuck's sake, who the fuck arrests someone for not having a horn on their bicycle?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:53 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Begins with an R...
posted by Artw at 2:56 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


ramsey orta, the man to recorded eric garner's murder, should be released tonight.
posted by nadawi at 3:41 PM on April 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Regarding the issue of white silence, this shirt is available for purchase until April 13.

Disclaimer, if needed: I have zero connection with the people behind this project beyond having bought one of the shirts.
posted by Lexica at 3:43 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Robbers? Police organize theft, extortion, etc. Asset forfeiture? 76% of Ferguson has outstanding arrest warrants?

Why do you think the DEA and SS ran the Silk Road investigation as scam to steal BTC? Maybe because DEA agents pocket any drug money they can in most investigations?

Detroit Cops Accused of Stealing, Extortion, Drug Dealing
posted by jeffburdges at 4:00 PM on April 10, 2015




This is what happens when you call the cops. (graphic violence)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:54 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Juxtaposition
posted by cashman at 5:31 PM on April 10, 2015 [9 favorites]








“Walter Scott dogged by system that "criminalizes" debt,” Lauren Sausser, The Post and Courier, 11 April 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 2:45 PM on April 11, 2015


“Walter Scott dogged by system that "criminalizes" debt,”

Someone who says they're related to Walter commented on that article:
"This is the headline that the Post and Courier decides to publish as their frontpage story on the day my cousin is getting buried? A salacious headline like this? Are you all serious? I know you all need to sell papers, but really? And to think my mother worked for you all for 30 years....incredible."
posted by cashman at 4:33 PM on April 11, 2015




So my understanding of how child support enforcement works in California, which is obviously not South Carolina, is that you have to work pretty hard to get tossed in jail for failure to pay child support. Also, when you lose your job or something happens that changes your income you can to go to court and get your payment adjusted. It's a hassle and everyone in the system assumes you're lying because most of the people they run into are liars but it is doable. I'm wary of the agenda of the Post and Courier article linked upthread.
posted by rdr at 4:57 PM on April 11, 2015


For the record, the article I linked above was first published last night, 10 April. I put 11 April because I read it this afternoon. I regret the error.

I do agree it was insensitive to publish it using Scott's name in the headline, especially so close to his funeral. However, I'm not sure what the agenda would be other than exposing the draconian child support rules in South Carolina. The article says the support enforcement supervisor for Berkeley County, where North Charleston is, said there are currently 1,103 active warrants for failure to pay child support in a county of just under 195,000 people. That seems like a lot to me. Especially since people in jail can't earn any money to pay for child support.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:32 PM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Shot, then mocked as he lay dying. Tulsa, OK. RIP Eric Harris.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:05 PM on April 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


As if the ineptitude of the officers in the case wasn’t enough, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Capt. Billy McKelvey claimed the arresting officers were not aware Harris had been shot, despite the gunshot noise and Bates’ admission as seen on the video.

Good cops? Hello? Are you there? "Fuck your breath" would be a much more accurate motto than "Protect and serve."
posted by Drinky Die at 10:09 PM on April 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Suspect fleeing on a horse is beaten savagely by nearly a dozen police officers while he lays on the ground with his hands behind his back..

Do they not hear the news helicopter hovering overhead or do they just not care?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:39 PM on April 11, 2015


They think it is the police chopper, which will of course not care if they blatantly break the law.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:40 PM on April 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah. That makes sense. So they're violent and stupid.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:52 PM on April 11, 2015


Metafilter: They're violent and stupid.
posted by localroger at 5:42 AM on April 12, 2015


Ah. That makes sense. So they're violent and stupid.

More likely violent and not particularly skilled at identifying individual aircraft. I mean, thinking that it's A-OK for the police helicopter to see them beat a surrendering suspect is probably correct.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:35 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


At this point, can we have every defense attorney in the country just laugh at police officers 'testimony' when they're on the stand and point out all these cases of police flat out lying and acting in bad-faith as evidence of their inability to be trusted?

It's not like they can argue otherwise, is it? And if the "Good Cops" don't like it, well, they can clean up their own ranks and earn our respect back, I think, fairly easily.
posted by mikelieman at 7:19 AM on April 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


my god the eric harris murder is horrific. what the fuck is a volunteer cop program? why the fuck is a 73 yr old involved in it? why are we letting wealthy dudes buy themselves into being police? how does a guy who can't tell a gun from a taser get to carry either? why was a 73yr old volunteer part of an undercover operation involving gun sales? why didn't the cops render aid? if it was "accidental" why did they need to pump up a whole tale of how scared they were? why does the tulsa world spend so much time blaming harris for his own murder if it was "accidental"? fuck this whole entire thing.
posted by nadawi at 7:33 AM on April 12, 2015 [17 favorites]






rdr - what's the agenda of the post and courier piece? it seems like, from what they say, that in south carolina it's pretty easy to get thrown in jail for child support. we saw that in ferguson it was pretty easy to get thrown in jail for traffic tickets. and in ferguson, they'd throw you in jail and then forget about you for a few days and in the mean time you'd lose your job and ability to pay and then they wouldn't let make you payment arrangements - it was all or nothing. and when you couldn't pay they'd round you up and back to debtor's prison it was. it's not like that where i live, but it was (and is) a problem in a ferguson. perhaps the jailing of child support debtors is a problem in south carolina, unlike where you are from.

perhaps someone who is more familiar with south carolina's policing and jailing of those behind on child support payments can provide some more info?
posted by sio42 at 10:35 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


What do I think the Post and Courier’s article agenda is?

First, Scott was murdered. Why he ran is irrelevant. He presented no threat to the police officer and it is horrendous watching someone murder another human being just because they can.

The Post and Courier wove Scott’s murder up with an attack on South Carolina’s child support enforcement. For all I know South Carolina has a bunch of cracker judges that can’t wait to throw black men in jail for missing one payment or perhaps they just have one and Mr. Scott was unlucky enough to run into him. That’s possible but it would be an aberration. The point of child support enforcement is to get parents to pay for the expense of raising children.

Raising children is an expensive and time consuming process. The state, as in the government, should be more supportive of parents but it isn’t so the burden falls on the parents of children. A broken child support system, only around 60% of child support owed gets paid, means that the burden mostly falls on mothers. Combine deadbeat dads with gender pay inequities and you get a recipe for perpetuating poverty.

There’s been some change in the past few decades. Men didn’t have to worry about skipping out on their families twenty years ago. Now there’s a minor risk that it will cost them something. So who’d be on the other side of this issue? There might be people concerned about the inflexibility of child support enforcement. If you lose a job and you can’t or don’t know how to adjust your enforcement order you can end up screwed. However, this is America so there’s not many people standing up for the rights of poor people caught up in the system. The political juice from fighting child support enforcement comes from reinforcing patriarchy. Threatening women with economic ruin if they divorce buttresses the mess that is the traditional nuclear family.

My reading of Scott’s history is that he lost the best job he’d had in his life when he was jailed for child support. The solution would have been to avoid the situation in the first place by paying the child support that was due.

Upthread someone compared his jailing with the revenue generating law enforcement in Ferguson. The two situations are different. Ferguson made money off piling penalties on top of fines and then using jail as a weapon to force people to pay. South Carolina didn’t make money by putting Scott in jail. If the childrens’ mother went on welfare, then putting Scott in jail likely cost South Carolina money. A more significant difference is qualitative. In Ferguson the money went to supporting a corrupt city government. In Mr. Scott’s case, the money would have gone to raising his own children.
posted by rdr at 1:11 AM on April 13, 2015


i think the paper was super wrong for telling their story in that way. but there is a thing that can happen when you combine welfare and child support where the state gets paid - mom goes on welfare, saying because of lack of child support she needs the help. state gives welfare and goes after the dad for child support. if support is higher than what they're giving the mom, the state keeps it. if mom goes off welfare to get the higher amount, the state is suddenly disinterested in helping her collect the support.

also, jailing black men isn't always about making money (although our for profit prison system seeks to change that), it's about control, it's about an extension of slavery, it's about creating a lower class of citizens who can't have all the benefits of a free society. this is a much longer conversation that would be a derail here, though.
posted by nadawi at 6:24 AM on April 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


“If that were true, we'd see the cops out there on the streets, in the media, protesting very loudly against this instead of banding together in coverups…”

Yes, it is not true, that’s the point. There are police officers who try to enforce the law judiciously and there are deep systemic flaws preventing the genuine pursuit of law enforcement therefore there are people attempting to uphold the law fairly and there are people who are pretending to do so under the guise of the theater system we have in place.

If a paramedic comes to your house and tries to save your life, that’s a paramedic.
If a “paramedic” comes to your house and stands around while you have a heart attack and die then bills you for services, I think we can safely say that person is not a paramedic no matter what uniform they have or what pretense to authority or certification, etc. that they have.

“At this point, denying that those are the cops is just No True Scotsman.”

In this case can we stipulate that genuine law enforcement practices exist and that there are actual criminals who are apprehended by actual law enforcement officers?

Can we stipulate this happens at least some of the time?
If it happens even once, then there is at least one act of genuine policing. If someone is being robbed and a police officer stops that person from being robbed, then that police officer is actually doing what police officers are supposed to do.

If a person guns down black men because they’re racist while wearing a police uniform, can we stipulate that this is not what the generally agreed upon concept of policing is about?
Therefore that/those persons are NOT police officers. No matter how many of them there are.

This is not to deny the reality of racism. Quite the contrary. It is to deny the validity of authority as soon as something other than policing is going on.

If I hire a wedding photographer and the guy I hire comes in and starts throwing hunks of sod and garbage around, I’m going to say he’s not a real wedding photographer – no matter how many pictures he might take otherwise, no matter how many people say “yeah, he’s a photographer” or how many other photographers stand up for him, no matter what the appeal to authority. His right to claim he’s a photographer is gone as soon as he deviates from expected parameters.

And it’s those parameters which makes someone law enforcement. What constitutes a Scotsman can be completely arbitrary. What constitutes a police officer is authority derived from the will of the people and in accordance with law and oversight by elected officials and the judiciary. Once a police officer deviates from those parameters they’re not a police officer. They – and anyone else supporting them – are engaging in a masquerade, they are engaging in a pretense.

Consider Joe Arpaio. He’s an elected sheriff. He is not, by any standard, a legitimate law enforcement officer. He was, apparently, elected. But beyond that, he’s been found guilty of a number of crimes not the least of which is engaging in extra-judicial punishment. For example, making prisoners wear pink underwear to humiliate them.
Regardless of all the other issues there, it’s not his job to punish prisoners. That’s the job of the courts. The courts sentence someone to “x” years in prison, not to “x” years in prison, plus wearing pink underwear or eating rancid meat, etc.

What he’s done and has been doing is unconstitutional. And yet he’s considered just “controversial” because of the nature of the system and how power works (or doesn’t).
Frankly, someone should just kill him. Unfortunately, he took that initiative upon himself and faked an assassination attempt on his own life.

In any event, there are a number of cases pending against him, which shows that the justice system - at the very least – exists and has some genuine adherents interested in law.

Subjective considerations – whether Arpaio is a True Scotsman in the sense that No True Sherriff would be “soft” on criminals – is something entirely different.
Manifest violations of the constitution, encroachment on judicial authority, etc, are clear regulations.

There’s a good scene (from a no-so good movie) in “Mad Dog and Glory,” where two different cops try to deal with another cop who is beating his girlfriend. One cop (DeNiro) hears the violence going on and knocks on the door and tells the guy to lay off, but does it so half heartedly and doesn't follow up - to me this is a sort of metaphor for how things are in policing, there might be some protest, but there's no real juice behind it, so it gets ignored.
David Caruso does it a little differently.
Not that I think literally threatening violence is the answer (sometimes it is, but very, very, very rarely) but that there needs to be this understanding that just because you look like me or we're in proximity or wear the same clothes, that doesn't make you like me. The only thing that makes someone like me is their adherence to the same principles.

The money quote there is, the abuser says “I’m on the job” and Caruso says “You ain’t on my fucking job.”
Says it all.

If more police officers realized that guys like that are the enemy, that they are NOT like them, that they are NOT on the same job, there would be less abuse.
But for some reason wearing the uniform became the standard instead of who’s inside the uniform and what wearing it is supposed to stand for.
But a lot of people take things stupidly literally. Plenty of folks get put out of kilter when they discover I love everything the U.S. flag stands for but I’m ok with flag burning. (Bu…bu..but – the flag!)

Yeah. The colors aren’t the ideals. It’s inversion of no true Scotsman. Wearing a uniform doesn’t make you a police officer any more than wearing a flag makes you an American.
That is outside the good cop/bad cop dichotomy. I’m saying there is no ideal cop that is the best member of the set of cops. I’m saying anything outside the set of “performs “x” expectations” is not a member of the set of cops.

It’s as basic as engineering. Form follows function.

In this case, in the case of failures, abuse, outright murder as the FPP appears to be, the process is dictating how police operate instead of the goal. So there’s a failure to adapt. Indeed, the lack of observation of failure – the lack of oversight and until now the lack of cameras which have forced some openness – is what has led to inflexibility and repletion of the same stupid abuses.

The failure of any tool or strategy has always made people imagine a better model and forced improvements.

In this case the failures have long been cloaked which has forced a division between the intended model and the reality.

A bridge design that keeps collapsing is not a bridge. Sure we can hack together some 2x4s and put up a sign saying trucks can drive over it, but it’s not a fallacious argument to say it’s not an f’ing bridge man.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:26 AM on April 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Smedleyman : If a paramedic comes to your house and tries to save your life, that’s a paramedic.
If a “paramedic” comes to your house and stands around while you have a heart attack and die then bills you for services, I think we can safely say that person is not a paramedic no matter what uniform they have or what pretense to authority or certification, etc. that they have.


and

If a person guns down black men because they’re racist while wearing a police uniform, can we stipulate that this is not what the generally agreed upon concept of policing is about?
Therefore that/those persons are NOT police officers. No matter how many of them there are.


Please do advise: what phrasing should I use when I call 911 to ensure that I get an actual paramedic, not just somebody who's employed by a paramedic company and wearing a paramedic uniform and driving an ambulance and representing themself as a paramedic and accepted by onlookers as a paramedic but who will nonetheless stand around and watch me die?

What are the magic words to get the dispatcher to send a real police officer, not somebody who's successfully made it through the police academy and has been sworn in as an officer and is now drawing a paycheck from the police department and wearing full police uniform including bulletproof vest and firearm and is driving a police car and responding to calls on the police radio but is somehow still NOT a police officer?

Knowing those magic words and phrasings would make life a lot easier, at least in cases where I'm the one calling 911. Not sure how much good it would do in cases where the "NOT police officers" are shooting people in the back from a distance or beating them unconscious after chasing them.

So please, do advise: how is an average person supposed to be able to tell the difference between a police officer and NOT a police officer? Between a paramedic and NOT a paramedic?
posted by Lexica at 10:41 AM on April 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


So please, do advise: how is an average person supposed to be able to tell the difference between a police officer and NOT a police officer? Between a paramedic and NOT a paramedic?

I think the point is that, with the system as corrupted as it currently is by paramilitarism and latent (and blatant) racism and other forms of profiling, any interaction you have with a police officer seems like you're rolling the dice as to whether you get one that actually is working to uphold the oath or one that has taken on the uniform in order to fulfill some sort of power dream or is serving their own agenda.

YOU DON'T KNOW.

And that is the scary point, and that is the beginning of where our reforms should come in. Because right now, if you're not a white male in the US (and in some cases even if you are), those flashing lights behind you or those uniforms approaching you... you don't know what kind of fraternal indoctrination they have undergone, or what kind of personal grudge they were hoping to settle when they took on the badge.

If you're lucky, you'll get one of the ones who is all business and who sees the occupation as a high risk form of employment, not as a calling.
posted by hippybear at 11:04 AM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


> He is not, by any standard, a legitimate law enforcement officer.

Sorry, but this is bullshit. By the standards that matter, he is legitimate, and that is a problem. Those standards include things like him getting elected, him being obeyed, him being congratulated repeatedly by other elected officials, him having power over many people who are paid to carry guns and enforce the law, him being given authority over how to treat inmates. He didn't get these by magic: he was given them by voters and legislators, and therefore he operates with legitimacy.
posted by rtha at 11:12 AM on April 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


Please do advise:

Well...

On preview: yeah, what hippybear said.

You don't know. (part of why I'm for the 2nd amendment) What has to be done is a process change. Part of that is acknowleging that there is no good cops/bad cops division. Only cops and someone pretending to be a cop.

Saying someone is a bad cop still acknowleges their pretense to authority. That is, they're still "a cop."
They're not.

How to determine that at this point is, yeah, a crapshoot. But you can't change it by only looking for the idealized model of a cop, but rather starting with a goal oriented system.

Actually, allow me to redefine those terms because "process oriented" and "goal oriented" mean some different things in different fields.

Policing is bureaucratically oriented to follow procedure and positional authority rather than the law and statutory authority. (So in that sense it's process oriented for terms of argument)
Oh, on paper the latter is pre-eminent. But y'know, Serpico was 100% right and proper in what he was doing and got his ass handed to him. Adrian Schoolcraft (link on MeFi around here somewhere) too. Same deal.

Schoolcraft's experience in particular is instructive as it wasn't so much corruption he was fighting but the quota system which is a symptom of the bureaucratic process being the authority.
Even where quotas don't exist, it's still numbers driven. Change that and you change the culture of policing.

So, you want advice? A good book on the subject (The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation) concerns how managment and numbers drive gaming the system and CYA policy making by politicians.

It's simply not possible to build a machine to make, say, chairs and expect couches to come out of it by saying a chair is a 'bad' couch.
(TL;DR: My thesis - A chair is not a bad couch)
But that's the narrative. People believe a bad cop, a lawbreaking, power abusing, muderous pretender, is still a cop*.
Until that changes 911 is a joke in yo town.

*Of course, some people are more interested in throwing rhetorical stones and fighting "the man" and any form of authority rather than seeking an actual solution and accepting responsibility *as* authority. Losing doesn't make anyone noble anymore than winning makes someone right


He didn't get these by magic: he was given them by voters and legislators, and therefore he operates with legitimacy.


*pushes Godwin button*
posted by Smedleyman at 12:05 PM on April 13, 2015


He is not, by any standard, a legitimate law enforcement officer.

Do you really imagine that if you went up to an undisputably bad cop and punched them in the face that you could say to the judge "Actually, he wasn't really a peace officer" and the charge of assaulting a police officer would be dismissed?

Being a police officer is defined by holding a particular, usually paid, position in some state-run law enforcement body. Being a good cop might require some other things, but anyone who holds such a position is by definition a law enforcement officer.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:07 PM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


> *pushes Godwin button*

What does this mean? Are you implying that I've invoked Godwin, rather than disagreed with your definition of "legitimate"?
posted by rtha at 12:09 PM on April 13, 2015


Do you really imagine that if you went up to an undisputably bad cop and punched them in the face that you could say to the judge "Actually, he wasn't really a peace officer" and the charge of assaulting a police officer would be dismissed?

Yes, I'm going to marry a carrot.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:09 PM on April 13, 2015


I have no idea what that means.

I think the Godwin remark was supposed to mean that Hitler was elected so you're saying that Hitler really *was* Chancellor of Germany, which obviously he wasn't because he was bad.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:19 PM on April 13, 2015


He's saying that your argument is as outlandish as the argument that legalizing gay marriage will lead to legalizing carrot marriage, which I don't agree with. He's also writing 1000-word No True Scotsmen and arguing that Arpaio and Hitler have equally subverted the democratic processes by which they came to power, so this discussion is unlikely to go anywhere useful.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:25 PM on April 13, 2015


He's saying that your argument is as outlandish as the argument that legalizing gay marriage will lead to legalizing carrot marriage,

Yeah, that's what I'm saying. It's all about gay marriage and how much I hate it. Thanks for telling me what I mean.

If only I had a penguin..

What does this mean?

Hitler was legitimately installed in power (by the July 1932 elections which established the Nazis in the Reichstag as the ruling party; from this power base Hitler was appointed Chancellor in January of 1933 and was extremely popular)

The general consensus for legitimate rule (at least in the west) has been popular sovereighty derived by consent of the governed, free elections - and Hitler meets these two criteria as does Joe Arpaio, and legally binding (that is the government and its representatives are legally bound to follow) citizens' rights.

Both of them fail the third.

There were many people, some of them hard core Nazis, but many legalists, judges and the like, who objected to Hitler's authority purely on those grounds.
The film "Conspiracy" has a nice take on that. Everyone at the table at Wannsee were almost pure evil (some exceptions were very evil, merely less so than most of the others)
And their objections are on those grounds, that is, the government must have some binding restrictions to it otherwise all law is subjective and ad hoc.

Arpaio (and Hitler) fit squarely into that category, regardless of the (im)morality of their actions.

Additionally, although the pressure on judges and others is not as intense as it was under the Nazis regime, charisma still carries a lot of political weight and opposing it has political consequences.
So there are still, with law makers, law enforces and judges, personal and ethical dilemmas in opposing Arpaio (and, obviously, with Hitler).

The debate, to my mind, is one between whether the justice system failed (as it did under Nazism) and the system can be (and is) subverted, or whether such failures are intentional features of the system.
I'm arguing the former.

Many of the opposition, semantic arguments aside, appear to be arguing the latter.
Clarify if I'm wrong.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:38 PM on April 13, 2015


Yeah, that's what I'm saying. It's all about gay marriage and how much I hate it. Thanks for telling me what I mean.

lol dude, that's not what I said

what did you mean by "Yes, I'm going to marry a carrot," then
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:41 PM on April 13, 2015


Tulsa police shooting: DA weighs charges against 'pay to play cop'
Bates, a wealthy insurance executive in the Oklahoma city, was named the department’s reserve deputy of the year in 2011. He worked for the Tulsa police department for a year in the mid-1960s and is one of 130 volunteer reserves in the sheriff’s department, according to Tulsa World, which said he had donated equipment as well as $2,500 to the re-election campaign for sheriff Stanley Glanz in 2012.

Glanz, 72, told Tulsa World he had not given his friend and fishing companion special treatment and that the sheriff’s office once had an 81-year-old deputy. Bates simply “made an error”, Glanz said. “How many errors are made in an operating room every week?”
By insurance salesmen paying for the privilege to perform surgery? My guess would be zero.

I can't even.
posted by zakur at 12:52 PM on April 13, 2015 [15 favorites]


if we ignore dumb arguments that don't make any sense except for in tedious philosophical discussions of what is is, then they can't derail the thread. just a thought...
posted by nadawi at 1:01 PM on April 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Mistakes can happen, he should obviously lose his job and face some criminal charges. But I'm almost more scared by "Fuck your breath!" from the other officer. He might be an even greater threat to public safety than the incompetent killer, in the long run.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:03 PM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]




My mistake. Check the 'penguin' link. Old Simpsons bit.
Look, I know I'm writing long but I'm using as much shorthand as I can. Someone doesn't want to google or misses the reference point, I have to unpack it.
Well, not have to but ...

BTW:
Conspiracy

(Around 8:50-ish)
Wilhelm Stuckart was a judge and provides a strong (albeit devoid of morality) argument against genocide. One that supports the rule of law (despite being a horrible bastard otherwise).

And ultimately fails, because there were two, unrelated but linked systems in Nazi Germany. One was the normal judicial system where y'know a guy steals a car or something and the police nab him. The other was the completely arbitrary system where someone in power can call someone a Jew (or not if you're Albert Goring).

but anyone who holds such a position is by definition a law enforcement officer.

Y'know, it's semantic gainsaying there devoid of any context from my argument, but I'll try - take the American Flag (as I referenced above), it's a floating signifier. Subject to interpretation by a given person. So too the 'cop' thing. But taking command of the language is part of the process of redefinition to address the problem.

To take your point brutally literally, I would unheasitatingly kill an undisputable criminal wearing a police uniform under certain circumstances. Actually I'd probably get away with it. But my universal expectation would be *something* be done about an undisputably 'bad cop.' I mean, again, wildly different meanings attached to 'undisputably bad' but to my mind a guy in a cop uniform is trying to rape a little girl or something, yeah, my expectations are someone stops it. I'm there I shoot him.

In terms of legitmate authority and violence, is it more violent to shoot that guy or more violent to stand there and watch a brutal rape?

I think moral resistance is legitimate. And more legitimate than simply wearing a badge.

then they can't derail the thread. just a thought.

yeah, god forbid we transform the discourse.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:08 PM on April 13, 2015


[Smedleyman, whatever your intentions, you are kind of digging in here in a way that's actually getting pretty disruptive and I'd appreciate it if you could cool it at this point.]
posted by cortex at 1:14 PM on April 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


bates - the volunteer killer cop - has been charged with manslaughter in the 2nd degree . no news on if mr. "fuck your breath" is going to be reprimanded in any way.
posted by nadawi at 1:15 PM on April 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


too much coffee mebbe
posted by Smedleyman at 1:55 PM on April 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Probably not enough, try a few more and this time add bourbon.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:57 PM on April 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


"'To alcohol! The cause of... and solution to... all of life's problems'"
posted by mikelieman at 2:26 PM on April 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


what the fuck is a volunteer cop program?

Tulsa police shooting: DA weighs charges against 'pay to play cop'

holy shit y'all read that link. or don't read it, i'm not sure.
Volunteer police officers are commonplace throughout the US, even in major cities, as cash-strapped departments supplement work by full-time employees.

...The Los Angeles County sheriff’s department pays around 850 reserves $1 per year. New York’s auxiliary police officers number about 4,500.

...Last December a reserve deputy constable was arrested after a road rage incident in Houston that saw a woman shot in the head*.

...Oakley, Michigan, hit legal and insurance trouble after accusations that its police department was being funded by donors who paid more than $1,000 each to become reserve cops, resulting in a village of 300 people having more than 100 officers.
*spoiler: grazed, she lived!
posted by twist my arm at 3:41 PM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Appalled as I am by the very idea of these "reserve cops", aren't there tremendous public liability issues in having untrained amateurs on your force? Sounds like a tort lawyers' wet dream.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:07 PM on April 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


what the fuck is a volunteer cop program?

Tulsa police shooting: DA weighs charges against 'pay to play cop'


I have no idea if it is in this case or not, but something a lot of people who do this (donate, become reserve deputy) is to get the legal right to carry a concealed gun anywhere they want to, and to have access to NFA items that it is no longer legal for non police or military to have (new full auto guns, cheap suppressors, short barreled shotguns and rifles) and to get access to the police gun ranges and some other items (standard capacity magazines, non neutered military style guns, etc).

In states like OK with relatively few gun restrictions it probably isn't (as a) big deal but in states like California (a high gun control state) it is the ONLY way to get a hold of a lot of these types of guns.
posted by bartonlong at 4:56 PM on April 13, 2015


Ok, one more time, since I’m past embarrassing myself as a boor and just before the thorazine kicks in and they seal me away with the rest of the omega level threat doomsday weapons. (Sight is already getting blurry)
One of the things I do very, very well is bring force response to threats or potential threats against enemies or potential enemies of the United States. This takes a variety of forms. And the enemies vary, widely, but within certain latitudes.
Criminals, on the other hand, are somewhat foreign to me. I understand, intellectually their motives, but I am not nine steps ahead of them the way I am with someone who wants to hurt people based on ideology or politics.
Makes me a lousy cop really. Always been told by strategists “Special don’t mean Better.”
The basic bread and butter work. The Bruce Lee: “I don’t fear a man who has practiced 10,000 styles of kicks. I fear a man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
The inverse is also true.
There are some circumstances where Slager engaging like that after that kind of an encounter is perfectly valid.
Those circumstances are called War.
We have militarized our police to the point that, again, they’re police in name only. What they actually are, are soldiers engaging in a kind of slow motion racio-economic war.
And given they’re in a war against the citizenry, and given, if the other side is fighting you, you’re in a war even if you don’t want to fight, they’re not cops.
They’re an army of occupation.

*downs burbon* mmm. Screw this healthy living shit.
...wait, no, don't close the blast doors, I've got nothing to do in my free time noooo!
posted by Smedleyman at 5:34 PM on April 13, 2015


I have no idea if it is in this case or not, but something a lot of people who do this (donate, become reserve deputy) is to get the legal right to carry a concealed gun anywhere they want to, and to have access to NFA items that it is no longer legal for non police or military to have (new full auto guns, cheap suppressors, short barreled shotguns and rifles) and to get access to the police gun ranges and some other items (standard capacity magazines, non neutered military style guns, etc).

I'm actually pretty surprised to hear this, and I know that's saying a lot with our shitty gun laws in the U.S.

Are you saying that even active, full-time police can buy weapons for personal use that are not available to regular citizens? And that this extends to people who can somehow be vaguely classified as police? That seems to make no sense.
posted by odinsdream at 6:40 PM on April 13, 2015


Not just guns. Body armor, suppressors, and other stuff, too.

In Virginia, you don't even need to be affiliated with a police or sheriff department.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:04 PM on April 13, 2015 [3 favorites]




I donno if SCOPs are so bad really honestly. Yes, SCOPs come from a right-wing authoritarian moneyed leisure class, institutionalizing classism, racism, sexism, etc., but..

There is little need for policing in the first place, so government becoming used to not paying for it, might benefit us. Arguably policing should become a purely volunteer activity anyways, after we institute a basic income. Any money asshat spends on being a SCOP, including lost wages, means money not going to elect authoritarian politicians. I suppose they make the police union into just a political party, but that's potentially less powerful actually. I donno if SCOPs would man the barricades when faced with really serious nonviolent, or violent, protest either. It's progress if all the cops run home to guard their own houses, thus allowing protestors access business interests.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:24 PM on April 13, 2015


It's progress if all the cops run home to guard their own houses, thus allowing protestors access business interests.

I want to get this comment right. This is the best I can give it:

Your idea is fucking stupid. I get that you hate the police. It's part of your pattern here. But this idea - that the community should create a body that refuses to enforce the law if it does not suit the body's interests? Asinine.

The first place to go near me is Maw's (Not A White Woman's) Grocery. That's the furthest from protection and really isolated. Second is probably the Spinx station, since it's run by minorities even though it's just down the street from the (apparently defunct) PD. After that, I might get to see the flames from the places various 'not-from-here' people work in (this place has a surprising affection for 'not-from-here' food), and I guess maybe after that it'll move straight to the places those same minorities live ('cheap' land right off all the major roads, y'know).

Who will burn the Wal-Mart, Bi-Lo, Ingles, Publix [giant concrete structures all]? Rite-Aid, CVS, Walgreen's? McDonald's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Domino's, Wendy's, Chik-fil-a, KFC, and Hardy's? All the houses of the minority people they employ?

That last one is a trick. FYI. I know what would happen if the police around here just decided to play turtle. 'Access to business interests' my ass - you're talking gilded invitations to commit abuses the police could never imagine.
posted by timfinnie at 8:34 PM on April 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Personally, I think Smedleyman's "not a police officer" meme could be useful rhetoric for lobbying for police reform. It preserves the respect for and appreciation of real police officers protecting and serving the communities we live in, while demanding something be done to address abusive police departments and/or individual police officers and volunteers who have joined the police force for the wrong reasons and are causing more harm than good in the communities they are supposed to be serving and tarnishing the law enforcement profession in the process.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:49 PM on April 13, 2015


There is little need for policing in the first place, so government becoming used to not paying for it, might benefit us

Policing is one of the fundamental and defining characteristics of a civilized society. The only guy I've personally conversed with before who argued otherwise was an extreme anarcho-capitalist. But I don't think you guys have much else in common politics wise. I still don't think he ever came up with a convincing way that these non-governmental entities were going to stop the 2nd SS Das Reich panzer division, as I used to ask him.
posted by Justinian at 9:28 PM on April 13, 2015




i'm against the death penalty in all cases, so i guess i'm not upset by that - but if we're going to have a death penalty, one of the aggregating circumstances should include a cop murdering someone and then attempting to cover it up. they are given extraordinary leeway, and the penalties for acting outside the law while being shielded from it due to a badge should be extreme.
posted by nadawi at 7:10 AM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Policing is one of the fundamental and defining characteristics of a civilized society.

Maybe, but this is an interesting read: The Police Were Created to Control Working Class and Poor People, Not ‘Serve and Protect’
posted by caddis at 7:25 AM on April 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


> It preserves the respect for and appreciation of real police officers protecting and serving the communities we live in, while demanding something be done to address abusive police departments and/or individual police officers and volunteers who have joined the police force for the wrong reasons and are causing more harm than good in the communities they are supposed to be serving and tarnishing the law enforcement profession in the process.

Then the "real cops," the good ones, should be publicly speaking out against the actions of "not worthy of the badge" bad cops.

I'm sorry, but the good cops are complicit. They're complicit as long as loyalty trumps integrity.
posted by desuetude at 10:56 AM on April 14, 2015 [11 favorites]






Are you saying that even active, full-time police can buy weapons for personal use that are not available to regular citizens? And that this extends to people who can somehow be vaguely classified as police? That seems to make no sense.

YES. Most of the gun control measures seen in the last 50 years have a clause in them that exempts all active military, active and (usually) retired police officers. Yes, RETIRED, police. Retired military doesn't count. They really are better then you and me.

In 1986 an amendment was attached to the Firearm owners protection bill that outlawed any NEW automatic firearms being added to the NFA (National firearms Act) registary which is the only way for a US citizen to own a gun capable of being fired in a full automatic mode. Suppressors and short barrelled weapons are also controlled by the NFA but those registries are still open (and most countries with very strict gun control/registration regimes not only allow but encourage and sometimes require suppressor use). BTW the ONLY murder committed using a legally owned NFA machinegun was by a reserve sheriff's deputy in Texas.

The weapon (and other controlled items) are technically the property of the police department but to order them all you need is a signed letter from the police/sheriff's department to the manufacturer/importer (and they can own imported weapons NOT LEGAL for the us citizen due to the sporting clause of 1968 GCA such as AK's and such and all kinds of ammunition like real armor piercing ammo-such as the 5.7x28 FN round). To make you anymore aghast in most new gun control laws proposed since the Newton massacre they also include military contractors such as blackwater in the exempt list.

It is very much an army of occupation and they want you unarmed.
posted by bartonlong at 7:13 PM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]




Incredibly, the police in that case actually no-shit for reals argue that the officer who intentionally ran over the suspect "probably saved his [the suspect's] life".

Like that seriously came out of their goddamn mouths.
posted by odinsdream at 7:52 PM on April 14, 2015


Well, the alternative would be dumping two mags into him, so.
posted by kafziel at 7:54 PM on April 14, 2015


Um, the guy had robbed a 7-11, set fire to a church, stolen a car, stolen a rifle, was acting erratically, pointed the rifle at an officer and himself, shot at least once into the air and was heading toward a populated area. I'd say yeah, running him down did save his life.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:20 PM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


“This Week In Law Enforcement,” Charles P. Pierce, Esquire Politics Blog, 13 April 2015
One suggestion: give all the "reserve deputies" who are over 70-years-old a gold fking watch and send them to the fking dogtrack. Jesus.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:10 PM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Um, the guy had robbed a 7-11, set fire to a church, stolen a car, stolen a rifle, was acting erratically, pointed the rifle at an officer and himself, shot at least once into the air and was heading toward a populated area. I'd say yeah, running him down did save his life.

And possibly the lives of others, yeah. In that case, based on the information that is out there, that may have been the only thing to do. He had to be stopped.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:22 AM on April 15, 2015


So we can add "good guy with a car" to the list of things that can stop a bad guy with a gun.
posted by Etrigan at 4:54 AM on April 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, not really seeing how the police plowing a guy down with their car at a high speed was an appropriate course of action unless there was immediate danger (be immediate, I mean likely to happen in the next three seconds) that needed to be stopped, immediately. In the video, it looked like the guy was walking down the street, with no people anywhere in sight. Yeah, he was holding a gun to his head, but I'm guessing that police are trained in how to deescalate situations like this without resorting to fucking plowing people down with your car. Because there's no way that can ever go wrong.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:32 AM on April 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


He had to be stopped.

As if this is somehow a justification for completely unreasonable, unplanned, unorthodox use of force. I don't care if it's fucking Hitler walking down the street with a goddamn flame thrower, you don't run people over with cars. For fuck's sake, there's a reason we have plans and training about how to escalate. Absolutely it's safer for a cop to run suspects over from the safety of his car.
posted by odinsdream at 9:47 AM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


For instance, the cop already on the scene who was following him slowly, and somehow managing to not run the guy down.
posted by kafziel at 9:49 AM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


and somehow managing to not run the guy down.

Or stop him from approaching civilians in the middle of his armed violent crime spree. Guy had to be stopped.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:57 AM on April 15, 2015


triggerfinger: “Yeah, not really seeing how the police plowing a guy down with their car at a high speed was an appropriate course of action unless there was immediate danger (be immediate, I mean likely to happen in the next three seconds) that needed to be stopped, immediately.”
I think both are true.

The guy was a menace. At the beginning of the video, he shoots his pistol into the air. So it's clear the weapon isn't a toy, not loaded, or otherwise not a real threat.

However, hitting him with a car is absolutely an application of lethal force and should be treated as such. That he lived, and almost certainly would have been shot and killed had police confronted him in a more conventional manner, is beside the point. It was an unnecessarily dangerous maneuver that shouldn't be condoned.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:19 PM on April 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ta-Nehisi Coates on The Myth of Police Reform:

Police officers fight crime. Police officers are neither case-workers, nor teachers, nor mental-health professionals, nor drug counselors. One of the great hallmarks of the past forty years of American domestic policy is a broad disinterest in that difference. The problem of restoring police authority is not really a problem of police authority, but a problem of democratic authority. It is what happens when you decide to solve all your problems with a hammer. To ask, at this late date, why the police seem to have lost their minds is to ask why our hammers are so bad at installing air-conditioners. More it is to ignore the state of the house all around us. A reform that begins with the officer on the beat is not reform at all. It's avoidance. It's a continuance of the American preference for considering the actions of bad individuals, as opposed to the function and intention of systems.
posted by bardophile at 12:20 PM on April 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


I disagree, any reform that makes officers on the beat ineffective at preventing protest will address wider concerns.

Interesting case that maybe deserves it's own thread :
The FBI informant who mounted a sting operation against the FBI
posted by jeffburdges at 12:37 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I saw more of the video on the news tonight, and it's a rifle, not a pistol. My mistake.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:59 PM on April 15, 2015




I love that in these topics one of the first things that comes to my mind when links are posted, is rap songs from years and years ago.

Many people are waking up to the idea that "the police department are like a crew that does whatever they want to do." KRS said it in 1988 in "Illegal Business". The general population is now beginning to realize that citizens need protecting from the police themselves. KRS in 1989 - "Who Protects Us from You?" The police originated from slave catching patrols? KRS in 1993 - "Sound of Da Police."
posted by cashman at 7:13 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yup, except even KRS, etc. never saw the full extent to which police power corrupts :

Pittsburgh PA Schools allowed cop to take 21 boys from class and rape them in closet (via)
posted by jeffburdges at 8:17 AM on April 16, 2015




There isn't a paragraph in that article that isn't disturbing.

Additionally, Sheriff Stanley Glanz told a Tulsa radio station this week that Bates had been certified to use three weapons, including a revolver he fired at Harris. However, Glanz said the Sheriff’s Office has not been able to find the paperwork on those certifications.

The sheriff’s deputy that certified Bates has moved on to work for the Secret Service, Glanz said during the radio interview.

posted by Drinky Die at 8:48 AM on April 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


suspect-ramming cop was in a previous settled lawsuit ($20k) while working for the nypd:
the plaintiff said he was with his wife and four kids in Manhattan when he parked and got out of his car, KVOA reported. The plaintiff claimed that at that point, Rapieko approached him, pointed his gun and ordered him back into the car. According to KVOA, the suit alleged that Rapiejko threatened to shoot, handcuffed the plaintiff and choked him.

Rapiejko's defense team denied the allegations but acknowledged Rapieko had pointed a gun and ordered the plaintiff back into his car.
Supervisors told to falsify reserve deputy's training records
At least three of reserve deputy Robert Bates’ supervisors were transferred after refusing to sign off on his state-required training, multiple sources speaking on condition of anonymity told the World.

...

Bates was Glanz’s 2012 re-election campaign manager and also was named reserve deputy of the year in 2011.

He has purchased five automobiles for the task force. Bates and other task force members drive the vehicles, which the Sheriff’s Office equipped with lights and other police equipment.
posted by twist my arm at 9:19 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Sexual misconduct is the second highest of all complaints nationwide against police officers, representing 9.3 percent in 2010, according to an draft study."
via Cop raped child while other officers watched, other officers not charged.

It's maybe just that most rappers are adult males then that we don't have too many rap songs about police rape?
posted by jeffburdges at 7:34 AM on April 17, 2015


Aaaand the pushback begins:

As police body cameras catch on, a debate surfaces: Who gets to watch?

Officials in more than a dozen states — as well as the District — have proposed restricting access or completely withholding the footage from the public, citing concerns over privacy and the time and cost of blurring images that identify victims, witnesses or bystanders caught in front of the lens.

Although there are real privacy issues, DC police are making the most ridiculous claim: that blurring faces is a manual process.

There are 30 frames per second, and officials say a seemingly simple task of obscuring a face or a license plate number requires manual adjustments in each frame. Blurring three images in a 10-minute video requires making 54,000 separate changes.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:10 AM on April 18, 2015


Why would any video of anything in public need redaction?
posted by mikelieman at 7:36 AM on April 18, 2015


Why would any video of anything in public need redaction?

Presumably not all the video would take place in public. Police do enter homes and businesses and such. Also, why does Google Streetview blur faces and license plates numbers even though that's all public? Because sometimes people (i.e. bystanders) don't want the whole world to know where they were at X time. Further, even the accused may have a right to not be identified (think young offenders). Victims of some sorts of crimes (sexual assault) cannot be identified by law. Maybe the video includes an under-cover cop who should not be outed.

Lots of reasons.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:04 AM on April 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Even in private you wouldn't necessarily need to redact. Leave it up to the property owner on if it should be redacted or released to the public at all.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:29 AM on April 18, 2015


Victims of some sorts of crimes (sexual assault) cannot be identified by law.

What law are you referring to?
posted by andoatnp at 11:23 AM on April 18, 2015


Leave it up to the property owner on if it should be redacted or released to the public at all.

Yeah, that's reasonable, and some departments are choosing that option.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:22 PM on April 18, 2015


What law are you referring to?

Rape shield laws commonly include such provisions. e.g. . Often this also means it's illegal to identify the accused since it would constitute identifying information about the victim. So when people are accused of assuaulting relatives,that's why you often see"The defendant is accused or assaulting his 8 year old niece" but they don't (can't) name the defendant, since the defendant would probably only have one 8 year old niece, this would identify her.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:50 PM on April 18, 2015


Rape shield laws commonly include such provisions. e.g. .

That's a Canadian example, and we've been discussing policy in the USA. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about America:
Identification of alleged rape victims by media outlets
As a matter of courtesy, most newspapers and broadcast media in the United States do not disclose the name of an alleged rape victim during the trial, and if the alleged rapist is convicted, most will continue to not identify the victim. If the case is dropped or the alleged rapist is acquitted, most media will no longer shield the name of the alleged victim. This practice was probably related to laws in some states which made it a crime to publicly reveal the name of the victim in a rape case. When such laws were challenged in court, they were routinely struck down as unconstitutional. [emphasis mine]
posted by andoatnp at 2:07 PM on April 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nothing a "PUBLIC SERVANT" does is "Private" Period. If they don't like 100% Surveillance, there's the door, have a nice career somewhere else.

Here's the thing. At this point, The Police don't deserve the benefit of the doubt. Fact is, they lie. All the time. And since we're not seeing news stories of "Bad Cops" being forced out, or having accidents or any other indication they've cleaned themselves up, it's in The Public Interest to ensure they're monitored 100% of the time, so that they don't have the opportunity to either break the law or be an accessory after the fact.
posted by mikelieman at 2:52 PM on April 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Because sometimes people (i.e. bystanders) don't want the whole world to know where they were at X time

So, if this is the case, where is the provision for ensuring data from traffic cameras is scrubbed? Oh, we don't get privacy rights but The Police do? That's a failure right there.
posted by mikelieman at 2:54 PM on April 18, 2015


Just stream it all live or semi-live over the internet. Anytime cops need to give a victim privacy then they should radio in to file a redaction request. Ideally, all redaction requests should be electronically voided anytime police deactivate a weapon's safety, including nonleathal weapons like tasers, unbuttoning a baton, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:44 PM on April 18, 2015


So, if this is the case, where is the provision for ensuring data from traffic cameras is scrubbed? Oh, we don't get privacy rights but The Police do? That's a failure right there.

The police aren't the ones getting privacy. It's bystanders and defendents who typically get their faces blurred, not the cops. And when I've seen traffic type cameras etc. shown on the news, I have seen bystanders faces and license plate numbers blurred. And as I already mentioned Google Streetview blurs this kind of info in its pictures. I think this was due to pressure from various governments, also.

Thanks for the info on rape shield in the US andoatnp. I'm surprised though that states wouldn't re-write their laws to pass muster. Also, I'm surprised that media would just go ahead and start publishing names if the accused wasn't convicted.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:59 PM on April 18, 2015


See, the potential that someone would be uncomfortable being recorded by a cop performing their duty is trumped by the fact that police can't be trusted to be honest. I'm more concerned about the REAL risk of extrajudicial assassination by a police officer then hypothetical discomfort.
posted by mikelieman at 6:06 PM on April 18, 2015


Nothing a "PUBLIC SERVANT" does is "Private" Period.

This is kind of ridiculous since it's impossible to make this true without violating the privacy of just about everyone else. So every interview with a person applying for food stamps should be public? Strip searches conducted by prison workers, livestreamed? Grades assigned by a public university professor? The public library worker should post the books they checked out to you to a database to download?

Even where you don't literally mean "this should be data on the web site" (i.e. the library checkouts), having every moment of a public librarians day be publicly available (i.e. recorded and video available without blurring) has exactly this effect: A video of the librarians day would show you and the book you are checking out.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:06 PM on April 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is kind of riduculous since it's impossible to make this true without violating the privacy of just about everyone else.

Either you're in public with no expectation of privacy, or you're interacting with a police officer -- in which case you have no expectation of privacy. Again, the REAL risk of being killed by a cop outweighs the hypothetical discomfort.
posted by mikelieman at 6:07 PM on April 18, 2015


And it's not the same. There isn't a proven risk of being killed by a librarian, who will then lie.
posted by mikelieman at 6:08 PM on April 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


See, the potential that someone would be uncomfortable being recorded by a cop performing their duty is trumped by the fact that police can't be trusted to be honest. I'm more concerned about the REAL risk of extrajudicial assassination by a police officer then hypothetical discomfort.

The issue I was responding to wasn't whether police should wear bodycams, but somebody said above that there was no reason that anything (faces, license plates) should be blurred before the video is made public. Yes, bodycams absoluately. But video just live streamed with no blurring? Released with no blurring? Someone (perhaps other than the cops) should give this a little thought first.

And my second comment was again a response to the idea that EVERYTHING that EVERY public servant does should be public. That's a much stronger (and more ridiculous statement) than saying police should wear body cams. I agree that police should wear body cams. I don't agree that if you are a public servant your every action should be available for viewing by any old person who decides they want to see it.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:11 PM on April 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


And it's not the same. There isn't a proven risk of being killed by a librarian, who will then lie.

Right. I think you're not reading what I'm responding to and you're not reading what I'm saying about it. I haven't said anything in opposition to recording police actions.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:12 PM on April 18, 2015


And it's not the same. There isn't a proven risk of being killed by a libraria

You clearly don't live in Nightvale.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:31 PM on April 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The moment you give someone discretion in redacting the video, it WILL be exploited. The way to manage that risk is transparency and openness. Given their documented acts, and the lack of cleaning up their own mess, I don't trust ANYONE with a badge to perform their duties in good-faith. Err on the side of keeping cops honest.
posted by mikelieman at 6:39 PM on April 18, 2015


How about a third party, who are not the police, tasked with the maintenance of the body camera video database? In order to protect the privacy of bystanders and the accused, but also to prevent tampering by law enforcement? I mean surely there must be some room between "stream it all uncut!" and "let's let the cops be in charge of evidence that can be used against them".
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:58 PM on April 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The moment you give someone discretion in redacting the video, it WILL be exploited. The way to manage that risk is transparency and openness. Given their documented acts, and the lack of cleaning up their own mess, I don't trust ANYONE with a badge to perform their duties in good-faith. Err on the side of keeping cops honest.

Ok, but if you're the victim of a newsworthy crime who goes running to a cop, you'd better be comfortable having the fallout from the worst moment of your life on heavy rotation on CNN.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:07 PM on April 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ok, but if you're the victim of a newsworthy crime who goes running to a cop, you'd better be comfortable having the fallout from the worst moment of your life on heavy rotation on CNN.

That would be pretty embarrassing. Gonna have to cogitate on that a while, figure out how many lives of black kids would be worth avoiding that embarrassment.
posted by kafziel at 7:12 PM on April 18, 2015


That would be pretty embarrassing. Gonna have to cogitate on that a while, figure out how many lives of black kids would be worth avoiding that embarrassment.

Gosh, if only there were some middle ground between not having body cams and releasing full unredacted video to anyone who requests it...
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:20 PM on April 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Gosh, if only there were some middle ground between not having body cams and releasing full unredacted video to anyone who requests it...

There is, but it has an increased risk of tampering. The real question is, "How much do you trust people who have proven themselves untrustworthy to not tamper with the evidence of police wrongdoing?" Given that every so-called-good-cop allows the "Bad Cops" to stay on the force, we can assume that the video WILL be tampered with.

So we can't trust them to not fuck with the video. Other than Full and Transparent Disclosure, how do we find, prosecute, and throw in jail for the rest of their lives the "Bad Cops?"
posted by mikelieman at 7:31 PM on April 18, 2015


Well, you know, it's not like the squad cars have VCRs in them. The video data could go straight from the camera to the aforementioned third party, switching off the cam triggers an alarm, etc. Logistically not that complicated. It would just take the will to do it.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:35 PM on April 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's no reason the person reviewing the video before release A) Has to be a cop or B) Has to have any real discretion. That is, there could be simple "everyone but the cops gets face blurred" criteria that aren't discretion but still protect people.

Releasing all video thoughtlessly can also cost lives:

1. I'm an abusive spouse whose spouse has just left him. Set up something to scrape the bodycam and/or dashcam streams for cops who investigage domestic violence. I probably don't even need any technical skills to do this, since as soon as these videos were streaming 24/7, there will be web sites designed to facilitate search/scraping etc. Eventually the camera shows the cops interviewing my spouse. Rewind the video to watch the cops route to the victim = Get location of shelter and spouse.

2. Mafia informant being interviewed by cops. Well, now I guess I know who snitched. And the dashcam video to show me the safehouse where the informant is being housed. Really, this goes for pretty much any witness against a violent criminal who cares more about getting off than about others' lives.

3. Worried the police might be on to you? Watch the swat team approach in real time! Know exactly when they're coming and when they are. Hell, why wait for them to leave the station: There are 12 cops in the meeting planning the bust, so why not watch bodycam video from that meeting?

4. Planning on attacking a soft target? Find out either ahead of time or in real time what kinds of security are set up.

5. Police investigating your serial killings? Keep up to date with the investigation. Adjust your MO as necessary and leave the country at just the right moment.

Are these as common as people shot by cops. Not sure. The first is likely pretty common. Others much less so. But good news! We don't have to choose which risk we prefer. You can have bodycams AND not have every pixel of video automatically available to anyone who wants it. AND you don't even need to put the "good cops" in charge of selecting pixels. AND whoever is doing the selecting can have clear guidelines to choose from. Maybe you can even have unredacted video viewed by the press (with publication ban on redacted details). The press could appeal to the courts if material is being redacted/blurred inappropriately.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:50 PM on April 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


There is nothing worse than a Bad Cop. They destroy the integrity of the criminal justice system, and sabotage every investigation enumerated above. Every instance listed above is worse because of the bad apples spoiling the whole barrel.


1. I'm an abusive spouse who pays a cop for the location of my victim.

2. Mafia informant id released by corrupt cop who is paid for the information.

3. Worried the police might be on to you? Pay a corrupt cop to give you inside information!

4. Planning on attacking a soft target? Pay a corrupt cop for your intel!

5. Police investigating your serial killings? Keep up to date with the investigation. Hire a Bad Cop to report on the progress!


Don't want the risks of 24/7 cop cams? All the police need to do is clean up their mess. When Bad Cops aren't tolerated, we won't need them.
posted by mikelieman at 8:10 PM on April 18, 2015


Don't want the risks of 24/7 cop cams? All the police need to do is clean up their mess. When Bad Cops aren't tolerated, we won't need them.

Mikelieman, it seems like you're being deliberately obtuse. Where in this discussion has anyone said they don't want 24/7 bodycams on cops?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:26 PM on April 18, 2015


Well, if they're going to be effective, they need to work around the active sabotage of the police. Giving them any opportunity to game the system will result in a gamed system.

I feel that I'm not being obtuse, but rather that people are giving police -- wrongly -- credit for being generally honest when everything we see confirms the exact opposite. Police are in the habit of killing people, lying about it, planting evidence, and there are NO GOOD COPS TO STOP THEM.

That's the starting point. Anything that doesn't acknowledge the basic dishonesty and corruption of the entire police force is doomed to fail.
posted by mikelieman at 4:38 AM on April 19, 2015


But this is probably why you seem obtuse: literally no one in this part of the discussion is giving the cops any quarter. That's why the third party idea was brought up - specifically because the cops cannot be trusted. The only caveat being added is that innocent civilians have their privacy protected. But there are ways of doing that while still extending zero trust towards the police. You are railing against a strawman.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:23 AM on April 19, 2015 [4 favorites]




Yeah, I think "Third Parties" play into the cop's hands. Why would a third-party give a damn about actually holding cops accountable?

Again, the solution is simple. Any cop who thinks they're a "Good Cop" needs to just ensure that every "Bad Cop" they know retires next week. Absent that, none of them can be trusted worth a damn.
posted by mikelieman at 7:56 AM on April 19, 2015


You do know a third party can be pretty much anyone, right? The courts, the DA, some entirely new agency? You cannot say with such absolute terms that you know for a fact our unknown third party would play into a cop's hands and not care. That's just silly.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:47 AM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's maybe just that most rappers are adult males then that we don't have too many rap songs about police rape?

I can immediately [NSFW audio, Trigger Warning]think of one. Paris. The beginning of the song depicts it. And in the lyrics he references the officer's name, and force. An officer with the last name "Riley" who worked for the Oakland Police Department. In the song he says someone he knows named Nina was raped twice by this officer.

Song was released in 1992.
posted by cashman at 9:36 AM on April 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, there's at least one good cop:

US Police Officer refuses to shoot killing suspect charging towards him
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:50 AM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Freddie Gray dies a week after he was arrested by Baltimore Police.
Four bicycle officers tried to stop Gray about 9 a.m. on April 12 in the 1600 block of W. North Ave. for an alleged violation that police have not disclosed. He ran, police said, and the officers caught him and restrained him on the ground while awaiting backup.

According to a police timeline he was fine when he was loaded into a van to be taken to the district station, but was injured by the time he got out. He suffered a broken vertebra and an injured voice box, his family said.
posted by gladly at 2:25 PM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]




"Who needs six police for 740 people?" That Missouri town didn't have a police force, it had a shakedown gang and the gig was up.
posted by localroger at 6:52 PM on April 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Student Mae League took this video on her way to class, and as far as I can tell, saved a homeless man from being shot.
posted by odinsdream at 7:11 PM on April 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is this the place to bring up the Rekia Boyd trial? Because what the actual fuck.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:06 PM on April 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Servin had been charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless conduct and reckless discharge of a firearm — but Porter, in issuing his verdict, said Servin’s conduct was “beyond reckless” in the March 2012 shooting of Rekia Boyd. Therefore, “it would be improper to allow the trial to continue given the total failure” to prove recklessness, which was key to all three charges. “The evidence does not support the charges on which the defendant is being tried.”

The officer’s decision to discharge his firearm, Porter said, “was an intentional act.”
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:33 PM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow. So given that police get "self defence" as a freebie on all murder charges it's basically impossible to try the guy?
posted by Artw at 4:34 PM on April 20, 2015


Peachy: O’Brien said he believes double jeopardy applies and his client cannot be retried for the death of Boyd.
posted by Artw at 4:37 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can someone with legal credentials who is not my lawyer explain the "intentional act" thing here? To the laymen it reads like, "Yes he was driving 120 MPH at night in the fog but he was doing that intentionally, so it couldn't be reckless driving."
posted by Drinky Die at 7:05 PM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


The quotation that Elementary Penguin uses doesn't make tons of sense, to my somewhat-trained eyes. But at least as I look at the linked article, it also doesn't have that quotation? So I'm not sure what's going on.

Presumably: the prosecution should have charged with some form of harsher crime - beyond involuntary manslaughter. Because involuntary manslaughter requires recklessness. And it's not reckless to deliberately shoot at someone (pedantically, I would tend to agree with that statement. Legally, it depends on how you define "reckless" and whether you incorporate "intentionally" into it.), and so that particular charge can't really be made out, even if a higher one could have been.

It feels like it's poor drafting of the criminal statutes and poor charging. They probably should have charged intentional manslaughter (whatever it's called there), something like non-premeditated intentional shooting at him which caused his death, and in the alternative, involuntary manslaughter, which is non-premeditated, non-intentional, reckless shooting. And then probably in the alternative, some form of accidental killing charge if it exists, which is non-premeditated, non-intentional, non-reckless, but negligent. I'm unsure exactly how to phrase it off-hand. But on the other hand, a law on the books defining reckless should make clear that it includes intentional in some way, to avoid exactly this problem - where a higher charge is not really warranted but the facts to fit the categories that well.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:27 PM on April 20, 2015


I suspect it means "fuck you, little people, the law isn't here to protect you."
posted by Artw at 7:30 PM on April 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


They probably should have charged intentional manslaughter (whatever it's called there), something like non-premeditated intentional shooting at him which caused his death

This case was about him killing someone he wasn't aiming at. It seems to be saying the fact that he intentionally aimed at anyone at all was some sort of determining factor in this circumstance.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:44 PM on April 20, 2015


Servin had been charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless conduct and reckless discharge of a firearm — but Porter, in issuing his verdict, said Servin’s conduct was “beyond reckless” in the March 2012 shooting of Rekia Boyd. Therefore, “it would be improper to allow the trial to continue given the total failure” to prove recklessness, which was key to all three charges. “The evidence does not support the charges on which the defendant is being tried.”

So essentially, according to this judge, a person who's been undercharged can't be convicted and jeopardy attaches. I assume every criminal charged with assault where aggravated assault would be more appropriate is also getting a directed verdict in this court room?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:45 PM on April 20, 2015


That verdict is some bullshit. Cops aren't supposed to point and fire their weapons at people willy-nilly because to do so would be reckless. If he intentionally flaunted that rule, the cop was being intentionally reckless. There's no Get Out of Jail Free card for being "beyond reckless." It's not The Price is Right.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:03 PM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think there's a difference between a "more appropriate" charge and a charge which is incompatible with the facts. As far as I'm concerned here the screwup was the prosecutor who was unwilling to charge a cop with straight up murder.
posted by Justinian at 8:03 PM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Like that would work.
posted by Artw at 9:16 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


The quotation that Elementary Penguin uses doesn't make tons of sense, to my somewhat-trained eyes. But at least as I look at the linked article, it also doesn't have that quotation? So I'm not sure what's going on.

I copy-pasted that quote directly from the article, but the article at the link has been significantly updated since I posted that. Sorry!
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:46 PM on April 20, 2015


This article has the quote more or less.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:58 PM on April 20, 2015


What happened does seem odd, though. I'm not sure I've ever heard of it happening in such a fashion. Isn't there a much earlier point in the trial when the judge should have made his concerns clear? It's not like his position is that the state failed to prove its case, it is that the charge they brought doesn't fit what they claim occurred. But everyone knew what the state's theory of the case was before they presented the evidence...

I dunno, this is weird.
posted by Justinian at 10:22 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


It becomes a lot less weird when you construct it as a judge wanting to make sure a murderous cop got off and being afraid the jury might do the unusual and convict him.
posted by tavella at 10:54 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


... that's not how mens rea works you piece of shit.
posted by kafziel at 11:44 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


(for the record, I refer to that disgusting excuse for a judge, not anyone here)
posted by kafziel at 12:16 AM on April 21, 2015


Unfucking real. I swear that "I feared for my life" defense needs a revamp, because it's just a blanket excuse for police to do anything they want. It's not even new, it's just after case after case, it's just getting to the point of ridiculousness.
posted by cashman at 6:55 AM on April 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


the costume cop who shot and killed Eric Harris gets to go on a "previously planned" vacation to the Bahamas per the judge.

i cannot believe this.

someone who was playing cop and shot and killed someone because he didn't know his gun from his taser is allowed to leave the fucking country? wtf.

i can't even anymore.
posted by sio42 at 9:36 AM on April 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well it's not like he is going to be punished; I saw him on The Today Show with his family being interviewed by Matt Lauer, and all this has been really hard on him already.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:51 AM on April 21, 2015


I swear that "I feared for my life" defense needs a revamp, because it's just a blanket excuse for police to do anything they want. It's not even new, it's just after case after case, it's just getting to the point of ridiculousness.

Yeah, there seem to be an awful lot of scairdy-cats joining the police forces - and the military (a similar defense was used by some servicemen who attacked a bunch of civilians in Iraq). Can we start screening for basic courage?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:07 AM on April 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


was it a south park episode or one of the movies where the hunters are able to shoot endangered animals as long as they were in imminent danger?

all they have to say is "it was comin' right for us!"

and then i think the boys catch on and start using it as an excuse for everything.
posted by sio42 at 10:13 AM on April 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, 10 more pages, sorry. just got back from the gym.

Re: the Servin case

It was political. In Chicagoland, in Cook County, pretty much everything is negotiable. It’s why the river still runs backwards.

CC prosecutor Alvarez needs the support of the voting block that includes the police unions. But she needs black church leaders votes too. So she charged Servin, but she went easy on the charges with the Solomon “split the baby” idea.
No murder charge, but "we" protect "the community" from "bad cops" so vote for us sort of thing. (The reverse being "we" the "good cops" protect "hard working people")

As it sat when charges were filed, it looked to be a jury trial, and realistic odds are (out here) juries don’t convict cops for 1st degree murder. Just how it is. So you go with the lesser charge (in her/their mind) and expect the courts to play ball.

Of course, it took a year to go to trial in the first place …

Anyway, the courts didn’t take the spirit of the Solomon thing and went ahead and literally split the baby here the City had already ponied up 4 ½ million for Servin’s acts (settlement for wrongful death), so why not cut him loose? (in his/their mind)
The judge himself aside. I mean you can see how pissed off he is.

Now, devoid of context, you read (properly, from most news articles) that basically Officer Servin gets angry that some kids are making noise near his house in Douglas Park. He gets his non-service revolver (something I’d put in all caps, but I’ll leave the emphasis to the professional media since I’m making the point of their framing) and goes off to gittim.

Officer Servin, rightly confronts them. But they smart mouth the Officer (perhaps), someone reaches for their cell phone to call (who? The police? NnnI don’t think so, but again, all caps otherwise, but…) and, overreacting, shoots at them.

From there the narrative diverges. He either was firing recklessly over his shoulder or, if you’ve ever fired a pistol from the drivers seat position, used the crook of his hand to aim.
The result seems to be a mix of both sloppy and precise shooting. He hits the cell phone user productively (er, relative to stopping a shooter not, y’know, preventing a call) but kills a young lady.
(My suspicion being the training took hold shooting the kid with the cell but his own emotions and not actually intending to kill anyone causes him to fire wide (shooting the girl) and high.)
Tangent - yes, firearms do, in fact, kill people. They’re not just scary noisemakers as Servin seemed to want to do here. But I believe any competent firearms instructor may have mentioned to Servin at some point that they can be, in fact, lethal.
By mentioned of course I mean relentlessly drilled over and over surpassing the point of message fatigue into something you wake up repeating when you have to pee in the middle of the night.
Buuut maybe he was a problem child who couldn’t pay attention in class.

Coulda been the booze too. Hn.

Anyway, IN CONTEXT it’s a DIFFERENT STORY (see, I can do all caps now)
Then, and right now, the Black Disciples and Gangster Disciples were/are having a bit of a fracas over real estate and like any good entrepreneurs, they’re pretty aggressive towards completion.

More fun has been added by various wholesalers - cartels from out of town – which has turned it into … well, if you’ve ever ridden the bumper cars, except with people shooting at you. Like that.

And there’s the poverty = homicide thing

And then there’s the race thing.

Not as a thing. 'Cos it was understated in the press. But as a practical social response. Walk around Chicago at night. If you’re white you get a lot of homeless folks asking for money. If you’re black, you get a lot of white guys rolling up on you asking if you can sell them drugs. (In Servin’s case white looking)

So words were bound to be had. B/c the (mistaken) premises are – a bunch of loud kids on drugs vs. some out of town cracker looking to buy commenting on your behavior in your own neighborhood.

Mistaken, but that’s the probable set up.

Now, absent a video, we only have witness testimony as to what was actually said. But most people – some of mefi excluded – believe that police officers won’t use police powers wantonly. They won’t shoot someone lightly.

Where the line starts to blur – apart from where I’ve stated far above –but particularly notible here - is where the uniform comes off.

Any reasonable person, particularly an off duty cop, knows to call 911 if there’s a disturbance. An emergency - yeah, maybe you call and then go yourself. But here, not so much.
And to be fair, by some accounts Servin called 911.

But either way he didn’t wait for a uniformed response.
So either he called 911 and didn’t want to wait or he didn’t call 911 and went out by himself, the upshot is the same.

So...

If the charge is involuntary manslaughter and Servin is a police officer then, as the judge said:“The evidence does not support the charges on which the defendant is being tried.”

If Servin’s conduct was reckless, then he was reckless as a police officer.

But he wasn’t reckless as a police officer and police officers don’t commit involuntary manslaughter.
It's their job to initiate contact after a report is called in.
It’s their job to roll up on people and tell them to quiet down.
It’s their job to suspect anyone standing on a corner late at night in certain neighborhoods – particularly with a gang war going on – is possibly armed and possibly dealing drugs.
It’s their job to shoot at someone reaching into their pockets or making quick movements with their hands to grab an object.
That is, in fact, a reasonable scenario for a uniformed police unit.

Servin was not, in fact, a uniformed police unit and he intitiated contact.
He was in a private car, with an unregistered gun (ahmana repeat this a bunch), possibly drunk, almost certainly stupid with sleep/anger.

Even though he wasn't in uniform/on duty - because it was political - prosecutors EQUATED THE CHARGE with him being a POLICE OFFICER.

If a police cruiser had rolled up to that group, I think the outcome would have been different. Probably anyway. I doubt uniformed police are often visibly drunk and initiate contact.Tough to sell a partner on that.
At the very least the group would not have immediately suspected Servin wanted to buy drugs or was from outside the neighborhood.

But Alvarez/CC prosecutors wanted to both go easy on the police and not risk pissing off a lot of political allies AND do something – or appear to do something – about police accountability.

So Servin wasn’t a drunken hotheaded asshole who grabbed an unregistered weapon and shot up a bunch of kids and killed a young girl.
Servin was represented as a police officer by the prosecution.
The unstated pretext therefore is he rightfully initiated contact, however wrongly it turned out.

Buddhy dint.
In the real world though the shooting had nothing to do with him being a cop and everything to do with him as a private citizen. He wasn’t – and shouldn’t have been – acting in his capacity as a police officer after more than a few beers at 1 am in the morning. He certainly shouldn’t have been carrying a gun, much less a non-service firearm – MUCH LESS a disposable unregistered weapon which speaks volumes about his intent prior to the incident and about whether he’s acting in – and whether he himself thinks he’s acting in - his official capacity or not.

Can we stipulate there’s some difference between a uniformed police officer in a squad car investigating a disturbance and a dangerously addled maniac with an illegal firearm who killed a 22 year old girl because someone else was making noise?

Apparently prosecutors won't.

The prosecution didn’t have to prove Servin failed as a police officer, all they had to prove was he murdered a woman, but they chose to take on that additional burden for political reasons.

And the defense did what they were gonna do: 'He's a cop. Cops initiate contact. If it goes wrong, well, they shouldn'ta "X" when a cop was there.'

And it was all bullshit and the judge knew it and he wasn’t going to play ball and did everything but outright say it was a political farce. It was, in that sense, righteous. I mean, yeah it looks egregious but, well … you’re not from Chicago.
He's a smart man. He knew it would piss people off. And, legalism aside, I'd guess that was his intent. Playing ball - going along with a trial bound to lose or result in a wrist slap at best, may have been in his mind a worse travesty over this girl's death and putting her family through that charade than infuriating people which may motivate them to change the system and hopefully save future lives.

We'll see.
But whatever the case, if Servin were charged with murder and prosecuted with the focus on the real world result – justice for a young girl needlessly killed by a drunk, angry man with an illegal firearm – he’d be starting the rest of his life in jail right now.

But because he’s a “crooked cop” (or “hero cop” but “cop” either way) for the symbolic purposes of opposing political forces, he gets to walk. Sweet.

(Ever wonder why I’m a solid Conservative but I’m to the left of an anti-gun, Democratic Latina and I’d vote Barney Frank for president?)

Welcome to Chicago.


TL;DR:

Re: Ta-Nehisi Coates

“More it is to ignore the state of the house all around us. A reform that begins with the officer on the beat is not reform at all. It's avoidance. It's a continuance of the American preference for considering the actions of bad individuals, as opposed to the function and intention of systems.”


Big Money quote. I’ve said it. He says it. More people need to say it.
It bears repeating and repeating.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:29 AM on April 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


a similar defense was used by some servicemen who attacked a bunch of civilians in Iraq

that was civilian blackwater contractors, wasn't it? so basically war cops.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:30 AM on April 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Elbows have crooks...yeah. man, that edit feature time just whizzes by if you have my parakeet level attention span.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:45 AM on April 21, 2015




The video "is being reviewed"! No doubt by top men. Top. Men.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:08 AM on April 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


"Nosy neighbors"

Really, TDB? The best kind of neighbors.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:27 AM on April 21, 2015


The pathetic thing is, I'll bet that even as he's clumsily charging down and assaulting an unarmed woman he outweighs by 150 pounds, this meathead envisions himself as a real-life Raylan Givens, bravely putting himself in harm's way to neutralize a deadly threat.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:33 AM on April 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Judge slams Oakland for losing police arbitration cases, orders progress by September
OAKLAND -- The federal judge overseeing the Oakland Police Department's reform efforts slammed city officials on Monday for failing to hold disciplined officers accountable, and he gave the city a September deadline to show progress.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson said Thursday's report from a court-appointed investigator into the city's history of having its punishments against officers overturned later by outside arbitrators was disappointing, but also "shocking."

"It is difficult to reach any conclusion other than that the City has been indifferent, at best, to whether its disciplinary decisions are upheld at arbitration," Henderson wrote in a court filing.

Henderson ordered the report last year after the city lost its ninth arbitration case in a row. The final straw was in August, when Officer Robert Roche, who had been fired for tossing a tear-gas canister at protesters during a 2011 Occupy Oakland demonstration, had his termination overturned on appeal.

The judge's investigator found the city consistently failed to prepare its attorneys for the hearings, often assigning lawyers at the last minute. Lawyers for the officers' unions, on the other hand, spent months preparing detailed defenses in support of their clients.
posted by rtha at 11:44 AM on April 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Horse pursuit suspect beaten by deputies agrees to 650,000 dollar settlement.

Seems like a good use of taxpayer money.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:47 PM on April 21, 2015


His arrest and beat down was less than 2 weeks ago, and the county already settled with him for $650,000? He deserved every penny and I hope he fully recovers from his injuries, but holy fuck I've seen stories about black women getting shot to death and nothing happens. Their families get nothing. Little black girls get shot to death by police.

And nothing happens.
posted by cashman at 8:05 PM on April 21, 2015 [7 favorites]




The Baltimore Chop @ThBaltimoreChop · 1h 1 hour ago
Hi Rest of America. Here is your Wire Season 6. Enjoy, fuckers.
posted by josher71 at 10:08 AM on April 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Link above in the tweet by controversial Baltimore blogger, BaltimoreChop. So it's not mystery meat: It's a really well done Atlantic piece about the Baltimore police.
posted by josher71 at 10:10 AM on April 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've been reading some about the case where the judge found the cop not guilty of recklessness because deliberately shooting someone isn't reckless. Analysis seems to be that the judge screwed the pooch. So y'all are correct.
posted by Justinian at 12:29 PM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]




So what can get done about all of this? Presidential Commission kind of thing? Federalization/increased Federal Oversight? Imposed structural changes regarding Police behaviour and consequences? Instructions to local DAs etc? I'm not from the States but it sure seems like a consistent pattern of shitty policing which nonetheless is highly fragmented into many small jurisdictions and controlled at a local level.
posted by Rumple at 1:15 PM on April 22, 2015


Everything is fucked forever, I suspect is the actual answer.

Electing less idiots might help, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
posted by Artw at 3:24 PM on April 22, 2015


I thing Police Violence should be a "FEDERAL ISSUE", with the FBI having jurisdiction and indeed, a mandate to investigate so that a formal grand jury can decide whether to charge or not.

EVERY.

SINGLE.

TIME.

A

COP

HURTS

SOMEONE.
posted by mikelieman at 4:43 PM on April 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


So what can get done about all of this? Presidential Commission kind of thing? Federalization/increased Federal Oversight? Imposed structural changes regarding Police behaviour and consequences?
I hope the trend of the DOJ investigating continues. Long term, every incident of deadly force should have a mandatory outside review – even in easily-defensible situations, I think the knowledge that you'd have to justify your actions would be great for encouraging officers to think about de-escalation as the default option rather than cowboying-up with the SWAT team.
posted by adamsc at 4:50 PM on April 22, 2015


Teenage Students Forced to Strip and “Shake” Their Breasts in School Drug Search


My initial response to this is, "If my daughters were in this situation, I hope they would remember how cops planted the taser on the man they killed after shooting him in the back, and that all cops lie, and that if given an instruction like this under color of law, that they are in fact being unlawfully detained, sexually assaulted, and should immediately use whatever means necessary to remove the threat to her life and safety, including lethal force if needed.

Then I though about how it would play out if a woman killed a rapist cop fighting off his attack, and that they would pretty much send her to death row, that is if she survived the beating she got "falling down the stairs" on the way into booking...
posted by mikelieman at 2:29 AM on April 23, 2015








Long term, every incident of deadly force should have a mandatory outside review – even in easily-defensible situations

We have that in Ontario. It's called the Special Investigations Unit. Civilian, mandatory investigation of serious injury, death, or sexual assault when police are involved.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:56 AM on April 23, 2015




"GD is a high-energy guy, always turned to max. Happy or sad he’s bouncing off walls and jumping up and down and down and up, spitting emotions out like spoiled milk.

A few days ago I caught him during one of the sadder moments. Some of the people on the corner were quiet while others vented about how racist the Baltimore police department is, and GD slugged the street lamp like he was training for a prizefight.

“Yo them bitch ass cops! Scared ass cowards,” he bawled, kicking the same pole he’d been banging. “Freddie Black is gone. Man, he was a good dude!”

His sister and I walked over to console him, and he slang elbows at us, fell to his knees and asked god why."
posted by josher71 at 1:08 PM on April 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Another thing I think of with Freddie Gray - as with some other cases in the last few years - is the escalation of supposed weapon dangers. How many people, usually minority men, are arrested or considered violent because of possessing a penknife or similar small, relatively harmless 'weapon' not generally used as an actual weapon?

I can't remember who said that the point of some laws was to criminalize everyone such that anyone can be arrested for any reason. But I think of it a lot when these things come up. The problem is not just the brutality, it's the whole thing.
posted by corb at 1:16 PM on April 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


At least Gray got the charges dropped! Jesus Christ.
posted by josher71 at 1:20 PM on April 23, 2015




It's kinda weird how when there are, say, three shark attacks in the same week anywhere in the world, the American mainstream news media starts wondering about the prevalence of shark attacks and asking experts what people can do to keep themselves safe from sharks.

And it's kinda weird how when there's even the faintest suggestion of a possibility of, say, welfare fraud or voter fraud, Republicans start talking about how we need to overhaul entire systems and make it as difficult as possible for people to vote or receive economic help from the government.

But what's even weirder is that given the continuing evidence of all sorts of problems with police departments around the country, the media aren't wondering about the prevalence of issues with police departments and bringing on experts to advise viewers how to keep themselves safe from police, and Republicans aren't talking about an overhaul of the entire law enforcement system and making it more difficult for people to become police officers.

Yep, weird.
posted by lord_wolf at 4:02 PM on April 23, 2015 [21 favorites]


With all of these shootings in the news people need to be aware that we are at a very high risk of copycat crimes.
posted by Golden Eternity at 4:08 PM on April 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


Unpaid Interns with Guns (Jan 2014)
posted by jeffburdges at 8:57 PM on April 23, 2015








that salon article josher71 linked to is short, sad, and uses some dark humor pretty damn effectively...

And then I leave them with some rules to follow, things we as black people need to know when dealing with cops or being stopped by law enforcement in general.

1) Police officers are like mice — they are more scared of you than you are of them, so don’t startle or they will shoot. Things that startle them include speaking loud, being black, moving your hands, and running. If you move your hands or run, they could kill you.

posted by sio42 at 6:30 AM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Vacationing Swedish cops show NYPD how to subdue suspects without hurting them.

“I can’t breathe,” [one suspect] screams, as he rises occasionally from the floor but is unable to escape.

“Take it easy,” one officer repeatedly tells him. “Sir, calm down, OK? Everything is going to be OK.”

The man eventually calms down, and he admits to the officers that he’s not injured after they ask.
[emphasis added]

So, let me make sure I understand something here: when a suspect claims that he can't breathe, it actually is possible to respond to him like he's a human being under distress instead of saying "Fuck your breath" or continuing to choke him or refusing to render aid?

Mind blown!
posted by lord_wolf at 9:11 AM on April 24, 2015 [13 favorites]


shaun king - "Tulsa journalists Ziva Branstetter and Dylan Goforth just released a report that spells the beginning of the end for Sheriff Stanley Glanz and the Tulsa Sheriff's Office. The corruption and cronyism are deep and cost Eric Harris his life."
posted by nadawi at 12:14 PM on April 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


Imho, we need a new FPP on protest against police brutality, maybe lead with :

California Union to Shut Down Ports to Protest Police Brutality (fb)

Police Brutality Protest Begins March From Staten Island to Washington D.C.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:46 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


You just linked them here! That seems good enough to me.
posted by Justinian at 7:20 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just seems quite different, but maybe more info will develop shortly.
Unions to Mobilize on May Day Against Racist Police Killings
posted by jeffburdges at 9:07 PM on April 24, 2015






Interesting "Live by the sword. Die by the sword." situation :

Police Are Shooting More Suspects Than Ever, But Now 56% More Cops Are Being Shot

"According to data recently released by the FBI, violent crime has plummeted in the United States. That drop, however, has two major exceptions: police violence against citizens has increased drastically, as has the number of people who have turned the gun on cops."
posted by jeffburdges at 1:54 PM on April 25, 2015








Are there live links to what's going on in Baltimore? A friend just posted this on fb

Cbs live Baltimore
posted by sio42 at 5:57 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]




Damn, that's infuriating. The segment of the credit industry that preys on he weakest members of society deserve a special hell.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:07 PM on April 26, 2015 [2 favorites]




Are there live links to what's going on in Baltimore?

Baltimore City Paper has a lot of incredible coverage on this. Police attacked one of their press photogs, J.M. Giordano, which was recorded on video.

My hometown is exploding and I'm on the other side of the ocean. All I can say is, growing up there the racial divide is palpable, its very city planning is designed around it. Now the community is pushing back again, and the same racial violence that reaches back to the Pratt St. Riots and beyond is happening again. And I really want, just once, for Baltimore to just tear down its police force to its foundations and start from 0, before we burn a chunk of our city to the ground again.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:04 PM on April 26, 2015 [3 favorites]






The protests in Baltimore are getting pretty violent looks like. Lots of scenes of looting. The cops are claiming 7 officers are injured but that could mean anything from actual injuries to, more likely (I assume), a widdle boo boo where somebody tripped and skinned his knee.
posted by Justinian at 1:49 PM on April 27, 2015


So the Baltimore PD is getting the camera-ready riot they've been deliberately inciting for the last 48 hours (shutting down mass transit? WTF) from people they've been brutalizing for generations. I'm shocked. No doubt the fact that these are children they're gassing and spraying will only be mentioned in passing, although I expect the Wingnut Noise Machine has the "enormous violent thugs" narrative ready to go already.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:07 PM on April 27, 2015


I agree with the first part of that but I'm not seeing a lot of children in the video I'm watching.
posted by Justinian at 2:14 PM on April 27, 2015


Children live in the city, BPD is notoriously scattershot in their response, as they are now, ergo children are being gassed. Regardless of whatever selection of videos are showing you.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:20 PM on April 27, 2015


Eh, I'm watching the live coverage and frankly there is almost no police presence at all, much less a gassing happy one.
posted by Justinian at 2:37 PM on April 27, 2015


I mean, the newscasters are all talking about how shocking the lack of police presence is and saying how the city of Baltimore is going to have a hard time explaining why the police are not present. Really, they're nowhere in the area.
posted by Justinian at 2:39 PM on April 27, 2015




Reports are now that more than 1000 officers from the surrounding areas and state troopers are being brought in.
posted by Justinian at 3:06 PM on April 27, 2015


Really, they're nowhere in the area.

Not what I'm hearing from friends in Baltimore.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:16 PM on April 27, 2015


Well, clearly there are cops in Baltimore, but they're not where the rioting is happening. The news is showing wide angle shots and there aren't any cops.
posted by Justinian at 3:21 PM on April 27, 2015


For example there is a small line of cops outside Camden Yards.
posted by Justinian at 3:22 PM on April 27, 2015




@baynardwoods is where there are cops and protesters (around North and Penn, still, I think).
posted by rtha at 3:27 PM on April 27, 2015


Yeah now a line of cops in riot gear is starting to advance towards the riots.
posted by Justinian at 3:28 PM on April 27, 2015


Daniel Dale - Washington Correspondent for the Toronto Star - is live tweeting from the streets.
posted by nubs at 3:29 PM on April 27, 2015




The Baltimore situation would probably make a good FPP, if someone cares to do it... most aren't likely to catch the discussion down here...
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:33 PM on April 27, 2015


So this is actually really personal to me - a soldier of mine was actually once killed by an off duty Baltimore police officer. The soldier was black and defending himself and his friends when he was shot in the chest multiple times. And I'm feeling so many feels I don't know exactly what to say, but what I do want to say is that Baltimore has been spoiling for a justified riot for a long time. The police run through there like a gang and no reform has ever been enough.
posted by corb at 3:37 PM on April 27, 2015


Yeah, it's time (to post a new thread on Freddie Gray). If anybody needs clarification, information, or links, memail me. Gotta run for a bit, but will be back shortly.
posted by cashman at 3:38 PM on April 27, 2015


live coverage here
posted by pyramid termite at 3:38 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ok, now it looks like the gas and pepper spray has come out.
posted by Justinian at 3:44 PM on April 27, 2015


Voices Of The Freddie Gray Protest: Part 1

Seven police officers injured in violent clash near Mondawmin Mall
The incident stemmed from a flier that circulated widely among city school students via social media about a “purge” to take place at 3 p.m., starting at Mondawmin Mall and ending downtown. Such memes have been known to circulate regularly among city school students, based on the film "The Purge," about what would happen if all laws were suspended.
Various videos of protest
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:45 PM on April 27, 2015


There was some question about whether or not there were children present at the protest. I just saw some close-up photos on the news. Some of the protesters looked to me to be no older than middle-school age.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:04 PM on April 27, 2015




Some dancing going on...

Dancing Protestor Moons Baltimore Riot Cops Live on CNN
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:17 PM on April 27, 2015


There was some question about whether or not there were children present at the protest. I just saw some close-up photos on the news. Some of the protesters looked to me to be no older than middle-school age.

I'm sure kids that age get beaten by cops enough that they'd feel a vested interest in protesting.
posted by mikelieman at 4:20 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:16pm EDT: Maryland governor declares state of emergency over Baltimore violence.
posted by cashman at 4:26 PM on April 27, 2015


So, shit's fucked up. Baltimore Mefi out.
posted by josher71 at 4:28 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are you ok, josher71? Are you down by Camden Yards?
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:29 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


NPR has been reporting a lot of violence. Cop car overturned and 8 officers injured with one unresponsive. No info on injured protesters that I heard.
posted by futz at 4:30 PM on April 27, 2015


No, I work down there at a bar but it was closed early. My house is about a mile from where you see most of footage. All good here, and thanks for asking!
posted by josher71 at 4:38 PM on April 27, 2015




And this.
posted by josher71 at 4:40 PM on April 27, 2015


Glad you're out of there for now. Stay safe (and same to any other Baltimore Mefites).
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:40 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


maybe someone can start a new thread so baltimore mefites and others concerned with the going ons can chime in and collect links, etc?
posted by nadawi at 4:41 PM on April 27, 2015


The Mayor of Baltimore should be speaking in the next few minutes. People have lost their damn minds. Recall though, that Freddie's family called for no protests today. These are opportunists. There's some major looting going on. I was trying to avoid making the next thread because I made this one.
posted by cashman at 4:42 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


These are opportunists

That's one way of looking at it. The issue is that the police, who are supposed to be the center of Law and Order, are in effect a lawless gang themselves. As long as the officer says they were afraid, they get away with murder.

That needs to change. How? I don't know. My first instinct, which would never fly is, "Fire Everyone", so the "Good Cops" won't be intimidated into lawlessness by the "Bad Cops", who they are currently powerless to stop.

Looting a 7-11? Shit, I don't understand why the entire city isn't in flames.
posted by mikelieman at 4:46 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Recall though, that Freddie's family called for no protests today.

It doesn't necessarily follow that no protesting should happen.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:49 PM on April 27, 2015




Aren't you in Baltimore too, LobsterMitten? Keep your carapace down and stay chill.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:52 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Performance for the crowd
posted by jeffburdges at 4:56 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm way outside the city, but thanks for the concern. We do have a number of Mefites in town but josher71's the person who I happened to remember works down there. Not sure if anybody else lives in the area where things are happening right now.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:56 PM on April 27, 2015


The city is starting to be in flames. There's a car on fire. People are looting cvs, the mall, 7-11. Earlier rocks and bricks were thrown at police at the mall. Since then the police moved away from the mall and the mall closed. And so now a good number of people went back to the mall and just started taking things.

Some black community leaders pleaded for the crowds of kids to just go home. That there would be a meeting tomorrow. Those same community leaders are right now, leading a group of men through the streets, trying to stop the situation. Many of them are wearing "300" shirts, which is part of the 300 man marches that go on periodically to call for an end to violence in the black community.

They're praying and clapping. It's an amazing scene, and in stark contrast to the kids running in and grabbing things. Straight up pulling cars up to the mall, loading up trunks with clothes.

It's great to see, but I can't help but think that these are old tactics for a generation past. This new generation, what some of the community leaders have said is currently "lost", is leaderless, spread out, without a way to reliably reach them. But at least it occupies the cameras and shows that it isn't everyone.

It doesn't necessarily follow that no protesting should happen.

His funeral was today. The report comes out this Friday, or at least gets turned over to the State. Violent acts right now are not helping a darn thing, and these people's actions are clearly not in line with the peaceful movement that wants justice. No, this was something that was somehow arranged through IG today, almost like a flash mob, and since 3pm, has gone on. To be honest, this is the culmination of just having a bleak outlook on life from living in a crap situation while there is milk and honey everywhere you look.

The Mayor is speaking starting now.
posted by cashman at 4:57 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I actually think considering the length of this one and that it is about a different situation, another thread about Baltimore would be worth making.
posted by Fizz at 4:57 PM on April 27, 2015


City-wide curfew instituted. 10pm-5am, for one week and extended as necessary.
The mayor has called for the National Guard to come, as soon as they are available.
posted by cashman at 4:59 PM on April 27, 2015


Violent acts right now are not helping a darn thing, and these people's actions are clearly not in line with the peaceful movement that wants justice.

I believe that ship has sailed, and we're at the point where the failure to reform the police and their essential lawlessness has resulted in the breakdown of society. It can't get better until there aren't any "Bad Cops" serving on the force. The only person who can stop a "Bad Cop" is a "Good Cop".

Balls in their court. Always has been. When the "Good Cops" aren't terrified of the "Bad Cops", then we won't have rioting in the streets.
posted by mikelieman at 5:03 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Even if one granted that peaceful protest has failed there is a stark difference between violent protest and looting free stuff. In the same way that there is a difference between, say, a principled boycott of a corporation you despise and torrenting Game of Thrones to watch free stuff.
posted by Justinian at 5:07 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Councilman Brandon Scott is calling for every man and woman to go out and step up and take control and get in between the people causing problems, and stop them. He said as soon as the press conference is over, he is going out there himself.

When the "Good Cops" aren't terrified of the "Bad Cops", then we won't have rioting in the streets.

I'm telling you - this was a different group of people. This wasn't people upset over the situation and letting out their frustration by rioting and looting. The message that was on IG referenced "the purge". There are a number of people protesting police brutality and anticipating the findings of the report, and the people I saw had none of the tenor of that. They are mostly kids, just with nothing on the horizon, trying to take advantage of the situation. This wasn't even a protest, it was a flash mob. It wasn't really related to Freddie Gray.
posted by cashman at 5:10 PM on April 27, 2015


Even if one granted that peaceful protest has failed there is a stark difference between violent protest and looting free stuff.

All bets are off when society falls. I think if people are so frustrated by the lawlessness of the police, and no-one cares to actually fix the problem, why bother respecting property rights?
posted by mikelieman at 5:11 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Morality?
posted by Justinian at 5:16 PM on April 27, 2015


Seriously, the community played by the rules, did what they were supposed to do, played nice and all that with a peaceful protest, and still got attacked by rednecks and police alike. What are they supposed to do, hold a goddamned bake sale and pass around a petition? This is what happens when you push sane people to the limit. It's a logical response to state terror.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:17 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


do we live in a moral country? - a fish rots from the head down
posted by pyramid termite at 5:18 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


But there will still be a never-ending stream of lecturing from others on how the oppressed are supposed to respond to oppression, I guess, it just gets so tedious.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:19 PM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is that directed at me?
posted by cashman at 5:20 PM on April 27, 2015


Not at all, cashman, just speaking in generalities.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:21 PM on April 27, 2015


I just posted a new thread.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:26 PM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Thank you Noisy Pink Bubbles.
posted by cashman at 5:29 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


You're welcome. It's always difficult to know how to frame these things, and I haven't been following this issue as long as other people in this thread have, I'm sure. Hopefully people think the post is fair.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:32 PM on April 27, 2015


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