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February 26, 2006 11:31 PM   Subscribe

...you can follow a complaint (maybe). Your daily dose of outragefilter. Video courtesy of South Florida's CBS 4.
posted by Kwantsar (142 comments total)

 
(2 parts, approximately 8 minutes each)
posted by Kwantsar at 11:40 PM on February 26, 2006


totally intense. thanks for this!
posted by tsarfan at 11:52 PM on February 26, 2006


see also (video is poor)
posted by Kwantsar at 11:53 PM on February 26, 2006


via BB: the officer in the first clip who asks the tester if he's on medication and kicks him out while fingering his gun has sued to stop the station from publishing the story online and rebroadcasting it.
posted by Vidiot at 11:55 PM on February 26, 2006


He's ten flavors of dick.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:02 AM on February 27, 2006


Can someone get solid-one-love to watch these videos? S/he doesn't seem to believe police can possibly ever be abusive, intimidating, or act in an unprofessional manner.

Thugs like this Schumanich need to lose their jobs asap. Anything less only assures us of how corrupt the police department is there. I'm sure he'll get a slap on the wrist at best, however. Thin blue line and all that.

Cop killers are freedom fighters.
posted by hincandenza at 12:26 AM on February 27, 2006


I almost posted this when I found it yesterday, but in putting a series of links together to highlight the "many police officers are arrogant asshats" meme I became so depressed that I just gave up. Then I tossed the links. Oh well.

Having personally experienced the hospitality of our boys in blue on a couple of occassions, I can state with some assurance that, at least where I live, if you have a badge and a gun you can make a career out of acting like a total dickhead.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:30 AM on February 27, 2006


Cop killers are freedom fighters.

Jeeeezus. I'm not all that fond of cops myself, but that is waaaay out there.
posted by nightchrome at 12:35 AM on February 27, 2006


Is it really that far out there, nightchrome? There are far and away more "good cops" than bad, evidence of a long tail situation- a tiny minority of cops are really bad, and they disproportionately skew the impression of cops as a whole, when many are just decent people trying to do a job and make things right in their neighborhoods.

But, if they're really good cops... why do they allow the bad ones to stay in uniform? Why do they cover up for these sociopathic gang members in blue? Why does it take the Channel 4 team to find these guys, and why is it I'd bet my next paycheck that the unionized police will "stand by" these oh-so-unjustly accused men in blue... and win that bet? That any attempt at sanctions or punishment will be pushed against by the police union, and ultimately these cops will get paid administrative leave until the whole thing blows over? The thin blue line protects cops who are infinitely worse than the criminals, because not only do they commit crimes they drastically impede the ability of law enforcement to do its job at all. These "bad cops" not only commit crimes, but they remove a law enforcement officer from the street (themselves) and add a heavily armed mafioso (themselves). If some guy holds up a liquor store, the scope of his crime is the liquor store. But when you have a "bad lieutenant", you have someone whose scope of crime is the entire region.

Corrupt police organizations like the LAPD in the 80's/90's are an unwelcome and occupying army. Ergo, resisting them makes one a freedom fighter. no?
posted by hincandenza at 12:46 AM on February 27, 2006


Ergo, resisting them makes one a freedom fighter. no?

Could there be people who fight against corrupt cops in the name of freedom, and thus are "freedom fighters". Conceivable.
Does this make every two-bit crook who takes a pot-shot at an officer a "freedom fighter"?
It saddens me that I even have to ask that.
posted by nightchrome at 12:52 AM on February 27, 2006


Damn, bad punctuation strikes again. That first line is a question, obviously.
posted by nightchrome at 12:53 AM on February 27, 2006


Do note, it's not a law, but a recommendation that police stations carry written forms. That doesn't excuse the bullying, however.

I don't like how this investigative piece is skewed towards the assumption that these sargeants are playing hardball to defend their comrades in blue, when, to me, it seems to be much more about ignorance of the written-form recommendation.
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:53 AM on February 27, 2006


An interesting social experiment would be to take a city noted for police abuses (LA?) and offer everyone in it free access to a microphone that continuously transmitted a very low bitrate recording securely to two remote locations, which they could wear whenever they left the house. I'd be curious as to how quickly - and how drastically - police behavior in said city would reform after a sizeable minority began toting such a device around outdoors.
posted by Ryvar at 12:55 AM on February 27, 2006


Ryvar: That would never happen. Last I heard, it's even considered illegal in some places to record encounters with the police.
posted by nightchrome at 12:57 AM on February 27, 2006


nightchrome: I'm simply positing a hypothetical here, because the logistics alone are nigh insurmountable.
posted by Ryvar at 1:01 AM on February 27, 2006


This is potent stuff. Fortunately, potent stuff usually causes change, and maybe we'll see more forms popping up throughout the nation.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:22 AM on February 27, 2006


I saw this a couple of days ago, this is crappy journalism about a sad subject.

Yes, there are bad cops...this isn't news..... but shit reporting like this doesn't help anything.

and.. the statement "Cop killers are freedom fighters." should be removed from this thread...how idiotic. It makes all of us here at MetaFilter look bad!
posted by HuronBob at 2:05 AM on February 27, 2006


HuronBob: and.. the statement "Cop killers are freedom fighters." should be removed from this thread...how idiotic. It makes all of us here at MetaFilter look bad!

And, if you read hincadenza's other comment you can see an explanation.
And your argument that the comment makes Metafilter look bad may be true, but the words and actions of the police in the article and in the clips, which you so thoroughly critique, speak for themselves. They look worse than us, notwithstanding hincadenza's comment.
If I understand you correctly, your argument is 'shut up'; "Cop killers are freedom fighters." should be removed from this thread. This argument bears some simularity to that used by the police in the article, no?
posted by asok at 2:31 AM on February 27, 2006


Or what mr_roboto said. Domo arigato.
posted by asok at 2:33 AM on February 27, 2006


Thank you very much, Mr. Roboto
For doing the jobs that nobody wants to
posted by blacklite at 3:01 AM on February 27, 2006


Facism is so often enforced by saying "it's a free country".
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 3:19 AM on February 27, 2006


Oh yeah, and cop killing is not a good thing. By the way.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 3:19 AM on February 27, 2006


Bring back Roscoe P. Coltrane!
posted by chef_boyardee at 3:29 AM on February 27, 2006


hincandenza writes "Cop killers are freedom fighters."

Would sir like another shovel for that hole he's digging?
posted by peacay at 3:46 AM on February 27, 2006


Perhaps victims of police brutality should just move to a city with better cops.
posted by fullerine at 3:58 AM on February 27, 2006


We live in a cold, cruel, unjust world peacay. A world of tyrants and bullies, a world where might makes right and the bad rarely get punished.

We already live in the hole. No shovel needed.
posted by hincandenza at 4:05 AM on February 27, 2006


asok: "If I understand you correctly, your argument is 'shut up'"...

No, actually, my argument is: sweeping generalizations that advocate the murder of another person are probably a bad idea, serve no purpose, and put this discussion on a level even lower than the abusive cops shown in that film... and that those types of statements don't move a discussion in a direction that could actually have an impact on the behavior being discussed... and, personally, I would rather not see MetaFilter dragged into that particular swamp.

Sorry that wasn't clear to you.
posted by HuronBob at 4:08 AM on February 27, 2006


Ignore the (possibly unintentional) troll and move on. Ignore the troll and move on. Ignore the troll and move on.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:09 AM on February 27, 2006


"We live in a cold, cruel, unjust world"....

This is the sad part......and probably the perspective that causes many to throw up their hands and give up.... too many people view and react to the world through the filter of the negative aspects imposed upon them, as opposed to the positive which they could contribute to others. This isn't to say that we shouldn't work to correct the negative, we have a responsibility to do so. However our efforts should be diametrically counter to the evil we wish to dispose.

I need more coffee...or perhaps, less coffee...
posted by HuronBob at 4:19 AM on February 27, 2006


Cop killers are freedom fighters.

Ergo, resisting them makes one a freedom fighter. no?

hincandenza, you didn't say "cop resisters are freedom fighters", you said "cop killers are freedom fighters". way to pedal furiously backward, dude.
posted by quonsar at 4:24 AM on February 27, 2006


Not crappy journalism, an exposition of the facts. Fact: lots of police stations don't have complaint forms.( a phone call could have determined that, but wouldn't play as well on the 11:00 news) Fact: Police are protective of their own. (anyone ever see any cop movie or TV show?) Fact: some cops are asshats. What is interesting is that it seems through this sampling that most cops are more asshat than Officer Nicely.
posted by Gungho at 4:25 AM on February 27, 2006


most cops are more asshat than Officer Nicely

You don't get ratings with hidden videos of cops behaving nicely...
posted by sexymofo at 4:48 AM on February 27, 2006


Did you see the common "show me your ID" meme in that story? I recall (somewhat recently) a judicial decision that backed this Gestapo papers please tactic, and the pinko commies who were complaining about it were shouted down as conspiracy theorists and overreactionary.

THIS is what happens. Now the cops have an additional little trick they can pull whenever they feel like the heat's getting turned up. "Oh yeah, well let's see some ID." What in the FUCK has that got to do with asking for a form? These are the kinds of eggregious violations that we told you would happen.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:58 AM on February 27, 2006


and.. the statement "Cop killers are freedom fighters." should be removed from this thread...how idiotic. It makes all of us here at MetaFilter look bad!

I'll take your complaint under consideration once I have seen some I.P.
posted by srboisvert at 5:11 AM on February 27, 2006


Wait, wait, I got this.

So if cop killers are freedom fighters, are cops terrorists? Then the NYC Police Department was responsible for 9/11! CONSPIRACY REVAELED????!!!111!1
posted by schroedinger at 5:48 AM on February 27, 2006


“Last I heard, it's even considered illegal in some places to record encounters with the police.” - posted by nightchrome

Wow. My trigger finger just spasmed.

That said, I have worked with some outstanding police departments. Which is the thing. There are no bad cops only bad departments. If you have a well run, well ordered department with explicit regulations and good leadership - it takes maybe three men at the top to lead by example and you can have thousands following that line by rote - the abuses that can and will occcur are isolated fuckups by guys who shouldn’t be on the force anymore.
And it can be seen in the type of abuse they commit in terms of opportunity, scope, etc.

What truly pisses me off is that means there is no excuse for this kind of department. You have obviously cowardly leadership unwilling to take responsibility and if it does appear to it’s in that pseudo-authoritarian ‘they’d better not’ tone that is as phony as some thief pledging to God he didn’t steal (e.g. “Gee, If something like that exists in my department I want to know about it” vs. “What!? I’ll start an investigation immediately. In addition I’ll lay out explicit regulations concerning complaints and complaint forms - etc.”)

Regulations like that, and openness protects everyone. It protects the citizenry as well as the officers themselves. Some law enforcement departments are stuck in the 19th century. I’m astonished it wasn’t some chubby apple-stealing billy club twirling Irish cop charactature speaking on behalf of the department here “Oh, sure’n now our boys wouldna be doin tha, now run along willye befor’n I thump yer head for ya”

There really are some very professional departments out there.
They are exemplary, but they should be just one in a series of the standards.

My question is - where the hell is the Mayor and the city representatives (aldermen, trustees, what have you)?
posted by Smedleyman at 5:53 AM on February 27, 2006


Remember that school yard bully?

Yeah? He's a cop now. More correctly, a sub genus of cop, a pig. [woah! retro!]
posted by nofundy at 5:54 AM on February 27, 2006


Couple of points:

1. The article is very poorly written, with many violations of basic grammatical rules. I'm somewhat tolerant, given that it is a TV news site, not a newspaper, but still. If they're going to post text, they should be more diligent.

2. I agree with Civ_Dis that the "papers please" tactic is scary.

3. Wouldn't it be a better idea for the police department complaint forms to be available from some other municipal office -- city hall, for example? A person who has a grievance with the police shouldn't have to go to the police themselves to file a complaint.
posted by yesster at 5:56 AM on February 27, 2006


The taking of complaints about police should not be done by the police. How obvious does it have to be? Forms from the police station? Baloney. Tell another cop the problem? Double baloney.

And that tough asshole, fingering his gun, should be fired and never allowed to carry a weapon. Let him go work at Walmart, if they'll have him.
posted by Goofyy at 6:12 AM on February 27, 2006


Here is the website for the police complaint center mentioned in the story. For what its worth, they not only report on bad departments, but they mention departments that behave professionally as well. In one case they upgrade Leon County, FL after observing two deputies over a few nights and they single out Palatka, FL for praise despite getting a ticket there. Its an interesting website; worth a few minutes of your time.
posted by TedW at 6:12 AM on February 27, 2006


Oh, and this may be part of the reason so many cops are dicks.
posted by TedW at 6:15 AM on February 27, 2006


As local TV investigative reports go, this one's pretty good. It's a simple problem, exposed, that will probably have repercussions for the assholes involved.

Most of the time, local TV news drives me insane. There was once a 10-minute report on a local station here in NYC, about how the slats on the dressing room doors at Bloomingdales could, if approached at the right angle, allow you to see the naked person inside. Horrors! Or how about the one where a NJ reporter went around questioning gas station attendants about their patriotism because the flag they had out front was torn and ragged? Give that man a Peabody!
posted by fungible at 6:25 AM on February 27, 2006


"I recall (somewhat recently) a judicial decision that backed this Gestapo papers please tactic..."

If Police ask You must give your name

From the article:
"In upholding his conviction and the mandatory identity-disclosure law, the majority justices also said the law only requires that a suspect disclose his or her name, rather than requiring production of a driver's license or other document."

So you must give your name, but you still have the right to refuse ID.
posted by splatta at 6:34 AM on February 27, 2006


I agree, fungible. This is probably the best TV news reportage I've ever seen. I mean, most TV "news" doesn't deserve that label to begin with.
posted by rxrfrx at 6:45 AM on February 27, 2006



posted by matteo at 6:51 AM on February 27, 2006


I'm with hincandenza. Cops are mostly thugs whose job it is to protect the rich and maintain the status quo. People talk about what dedicated public servants they are, but I think the ridiculous amount of money that they make has more to do with why people become cops than some altruistic sense of serving the community.

Yes, yes, that's because they put in a lot of overtime. I would like to be paid overtime to sit in my car at a road repair sight and read the newspaper.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:51 AM on February 27, 2006


Cop killers are freedom fighters. - hincandenza

Add mine to the voices saying this is a bullshit statement.

There are far and away more "good cops" than bad [...]many are just decent people trying to do a job and make things right in their neighborhoods.

But you still glorify people who would choose to kill these "decent people" who are trying to "make things right in their neighborhoods".

But, if they're really good cops... why do they allow the bad ones to stay in uniform? Why do they cover up for these sociopathic gang members in blue?

You don't really think that ALL cops cover for other cops, do you? Certainly there are cops that work against this crap. There are cops that work in Internal Affairs and investigate other cops and try and have action taken against the unacceptable behaviour. There are many cops that are disgusted by the behaviour of some of their peers. But it's not like any cop can go around firing his co-workers.

That any attempt at sanctions or punishment will be pushed against by the police union,

Unions always actively defend their members. That is their job, their reason for existance. They do this even if a majority of the member don't want to help person X. Their role is to do this. Unions don't take a poll of the membership and ask "hey guys, do you want to back this guy up?". No. As soon as one of their members have action taken against them by the employer the union is involved. So the union backing them up doesn't mean that all the other members of the union personally feel that they WANT to support the guys. It's just the way unions work, their reason for existance.

Corrupt police organizations like the LAPD in the 80's/90's are an unwelcome and occupying army. Ergo, resisting them makes one a freedom fighter. no?

Not all departments are corrupt like that. And resisting corruption doesn't have to mean going around killing people. What a thoughtless, insensitive, offensive thing to say.
posted by raedyn at 6:55 AM on February 27, 2006


but I think the ridiculous amount of money that they make

Huh?

Have you ever seen a wealthy cop? I haven't.
posted by unreason at 7:02 AM on February 27, 2006


hincadenza: "We live in a cold, cruel, unjust world peacay. A world of tyrants and bullies, a world where might makes right and the bad rarely get punished."

Wow. This says far more about you than it does about the "world". Of course, injustice and tyranny is rampant -- as are the untold millions who go about their daily business with courtesy, compassion and take the time to perform a small kindness every once in awhile. It's been this way since we crawled out of the primevil ooze and it isn't changing anytime soon. People are different and some just ain't so nice. Most? I don't think so. Most people do the right thing given half a chance.

Your pessimism and angst may seem hep at the moment, but the voice of expierience tells me that it's more likely to lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy type of deal. I wish you the best. Sincerely.

"Cop killers are freedom fighters."

Listen to yourself -- I know you intended hyperbole and got called to the mat for it, but nonetheless, it's a nasty thing to say. I know more than a few families of cops who died in the line of duty who would be happy to discuss this further with you. Feel free to email for contacts.
posted by cedar at 7:11 AM on February 27, 2006


What did Mr_Roboto say, and where is it?
posted by es_de_bah at 7:57 AM on February 27, 2006


I know more than a few families of cops who died in the line of duty who would be happy to discuss this further with you.

Pizza delivery guys and commercial fishermen die in the line of duty much more frequently than police do. So let's not pretend they're bigger heroes or do a tougher job.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:58 AM on February 27, 2006


Cop killers are freedom fighters.
posted by hincandenza at 2:26 AM CST on February 27


What world do you live in? Jesus. And people get pissed off about what I say?
posted by dios at 8:02 AM on February 27, 2006


So you must give your name, but you still have the right to refuse ID.
While, perhaps, true, good luck on convincing the officer of that.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:04 AM on February 27, 2006


What world do you live in? Jesus. And people get pissed off about what I say?

It's not either/or, dios: if you'd read the rest of the thread, you'd see that a ton of people called out hincandenza for that comment. But why not go ahead and call us a bunch of cop-killing moonbats for good measure?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:05 AM on February 27, 2006


"Pizza delivery guys and commercial fishermen die in the line of duty much more frequently than police do. So let's not pretend they're bigger heroes or do a tougher job.">

Yeah, but oddly enough nobody is claiming pizza guy murderers and winches are "freedom fighters".
posted by cedar at 8:08 AM on February 27, 2006


So let's not pretend they're bigger heroes or do a tougher job.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:58 AM EST on February 27 [!]


I'm sorry, but that is among the stupidest statements I have everheard. Pizza guys go out of their way to avoid danger. Police actually deliberately put themselves in danger to protect people like you. Furthermore, the death rate isn't the only unpleasantness. They get injured, puked on, sworn at, and insulted, and all for a crappy salary. They have to see terrible injuries and abuses, and more often than not can't stop half of them. Say you hate cops if you want to. But don't insult our intelligence by saying that they don't have a difficult job.
posted by unreason at 8:08 AM on February 27, 2006


Pizza guys go out of their way to avoid danger. Police actually deliberately put themselves in danger to protect people like you.

And yet, police officers die less often.

They get injured, puked on, sworn at, and insulted, and all for a crappy salary.

Except for getting puked on, so do pizza guys, for about half what a police officer makes.

Say you hate cops if you want to. But don't insult our intelligence by saying that they don't have a difficult job.

Mmm, no, I don't hate cops. I'm just not going to act like they're all true heroes without whom we'd be living in total anarchy. They wield tremendous power and are effectively immune from prosecution; these are nice perks to add to a middle-class salary. Is their job difficult? I guess. But between the money, the immunity, the power, and the endless parade of cocksuckery from authority worshippers, they're doing pretty well for themselves.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:16 AM on February 27, 2006


alright, i didn't watch the video, just read the transcripts so obviously i have probably missed the nuances that don't come out on paper.

but, it seems like, at every police station, the police office stated that the way to start the complaint was to give it to him, and he'd help from there (whether it was by taking you to the sergeant or supervisor or whatever).

well, what if that is actually the correct formal procedure these officers are supposed to take? i didn't see where the news item said you are supposed to be able to walk in and take a complaint form out with you, by law or any other mandate (yes, he said you can in Tallahassee, but so what?)

i would agree with the commenter above who said that maybe complaints about police shouldn't be given to police, however that doesn't mean these officers are doing something that they shouldn't be doing. Moreover they may be doing exactly what they're told.
posted by poppo at 8:20 AM on February 27, 2006


They get injured, puked on, sworn at, and insulted, and all for a crappy salary. They have to see terrible injuries and abuses, and more often than not can't stop half of them. Say you hate cops if you want to. But don't insult our intelligence by saying that they don't have a difficult job.

Of course they have a difficult job. However, commerical crabbers get injured, maimed, disabled and killed AND work in one of the worst environments possible. Oh yeah, they put themselves in the line of danger on purpose.

No one calls them heros.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:22 AM on February 27, 2006


poppo...do yourself a favor and watch the videos. I think you'll answer your own questions. This isn't totally about process...it's about intimidation and attitude.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:23 AM on February 27, 2006


Commercial fishermen are heroes!
posted by brain_drain at 8:24 AM on February 27, 2006


Oh yeah, they put themselves in the line of danger on purpose.

No one calls them heros.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 11:22 AM EST on February 27 [!]


That is because they do this to catch crabs. Police often do it to save lives. I'm sorry, but if you can't see a difference between going crabbing and getting shot at by a drug dealer you've got issues.
posted by unreason at 8:25 AM on February 27, 2006


can't see a difference between going crabbing and getting shot at by a drug dealer you've got issues.

And yet, crabbers die more often.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:26 AM on February 27, 2006


That is because they do this to catch crabs. Police often do it to save lives. I'm sorry, but if you can't see a difference between going crabbing and getting shot at by a drug dealer you've got issues.

Of course I see the difference. So a hero is only someone who saves lives?

How 'bout people who put themselves in danger to allow you to maintain your standard of living?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:31 AM on February 27, 2006


I think the ridiculous amount of money that they make has more to do with why people become cops than some altruistic sense of serving the community

According to salary.com:
A typical Police Patrol Officer working in the United States earns a median base salary of $45,158, according to our analysis of data reported by corporate HR departments. Half of the people in this job earn between $37,619 and $53,272. Alternate job titles include: Cop, Police Officer.

You are either grossly misinformed or have a very different definition of "ridiculous amount of money" than I.
posted by glenwood at 8:34 AM on February 27, 2006


And yet, crabbers die more often.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:26 AM EST on February 27 [!]


And yet, you once more utterly fail to get the point.



How 'bout people who put themselves in danger to allow you to maintain your standard of living?

No. Enabling me to enjoy a crab cake sandwich is not a heroic act on par with saving a life.
posted by unreason at 8:36 AM on February 27, 2006


I'll grant you that on exceedingly rare occasion does any officer actually put himself in the line of danger on purpose. At least around here, most of the police injuries and deaths seem to be the result of unwarranted high-speed chases and standing too close to moving traffic while writing a traffic ticket.
I don't live in a high-stress urban warzone. I live in a small midwestern town. And yet, my few encounters (as well as my wife's) with law enforcement have been almost universally negative. It's almost as if being a bullying dickhead was part of the skills test.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:37 AM on February 27, 2006


And yet, you once more utterly fail to get the point.

Which is what? Police officers are paid more than many others to do a job that is comparatively quite safe. This is not heroic. You're insulting our intelligence by being completely unable to respond to this point with anything more substantive than "nuh uh."
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:40 AM on February 27, 2006


I'm trying to make some type of point about all the people who die to give us the things we take for granted and make our lives more comfortable and easy. A guy dies for a stupid crab, while constructing the building you live, or fixing the power lines that bring power to your house and no one gives it a second thought. At best it makes page 3 of the local news.

Better to die for something noble I guess.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:42 AM on February 27, 2006


Cops are intimidating white people. It's an epidemic!
posted by basilwhite at 8:47 AM on February 27, 2006


This is not heroic. You're insulting our intelligence by being completely unable to respond to this point with anything more substantive than "nuh uh."
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:40 AM EST on February 27 [!]


I have already given my reasoning above. If you choose to ignore it because of your personal prejudices that is hardly my responsibility.
posted by unreason at 8:47 AM on February 27, 2006


Getting back to the original point, my problem is not that these stations used intimidation -- that only really occured in a few of the cases -- but that so many lacked a transparent process for dealing with complaints. They all seemed to have the following process: either an angry or unhelpful officer takes you aside and demands you tell them the info, or the person at the front counter shrugs and says, just go ahead and tell me.

There was no paperwork that was enacted, no officer who was clearly in charge of the process, no explaination of how wthe process worked, and no sense that the complainents comments would be secure or even acted on. In several instances, the officers actually made it clear that they would decide whether the complaint was valid or not.

I don't think it was intended as deliberate intimidation, but, through lack of process, it became functional intimidation. I mean, how do you know that the cop at the front door isn't bestest friends with the cop who beat you in the alley, and will do anything to bury the complaint? And if you give them your ID, how do you know that they're not going to show up at your door and threaten your family?

Paranoid? It's happened, and, somebody who has already had a bad experience with a cop is likely to suspect more might be on the way.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:51 AM on February 27, 2006


Optimus Chyme: Police officers are paid more than many others to do a job that is comparatively quite safe.

You keep saying this. Compared to what? Commercial fishermen? Fine. Pizza deliverymen? Show me the data. Police work may be less dangerous than sometimes advertised, but it's certainly more dangerous than average.

unreason: Enabling me to enjoy a crab cake sandwich is not a heroic act on par with saving a life.

Why are you being so hard on the fishermen? They have difficult, dangerous jobs. You don't eat fish? You're probably right that they don't become fishermen because of heroism. But I bet no one becomes a fisherman because they crave power and authority either, unlike a lot of cops. It cuts both ways.

Police officers have hard jobs. They aren't rich, and they aren't paid poorly. Some are good, some are evil, and some are neither. This is just like any other job. Because cops have a lot of power, society must be extra vigilant about dealing with the bad ones.
posted by brain_drain at 8:53 AM on February 27, 2006


I have already given my reasoning above. If you choose to ignore it because of your personal prejudices that is hardly my responsibility.

Don't concatenate my argument with DieHipsterDie's. I don't know that guy. All you have said in response to me is "and yet, you once more utterly fail to get the point." I'm speaking of this post, in which I point out that police officers get a lot more than money to do a job that is actually very safe.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:56 AM on February 27, 2006


Optimus Chyme: But between the money, the immunity, the power, and the endless parade of cocksuckery from authority worshippers, they're doing pretty well for themselves.

Let's look at the money -- the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) database provides State Police salaries for the year 2000. Clearly there is quite a range with entry level salaries ranging from 21.3K (South Carolina) to a high of 45.6K (Alaska). I'm sure that this is more a reflection of the cost of living than anything else but places a state cop noob squarely in the lower regions of the "middle class".

Contrasted with other municipal employees such as transit workers, sanitation workers and state road workers police salaries are anything but exorbitant. There are few states that do not require, as a minimum, a two-year degree (most want four) and demand a rigorous academy stint. Hell, to move into management you'd best have a graduate degree these days. Coupled with long commutes, frequent night shifts and near constant training/education nobody goes into law enforcement to get rich.

A case could be made, at least at the state level, that the biggest problem with law enforcement is that they are underpaid and fail to attract the best and brightest because of horrendous working conditions and low pay.

As far as power goes, patrol officers are at the bottom of a quasi-military chain of command. Shit flows downhill and when you combine the rigidity of lawful oversight with the need for constant vigilance it's no wonder these guys frequently drink too much and have a hard time with relationships. Stress is a legitimate work hazard and your typical patrol officer isn't half as powerful as you might think.

To respect someone doing the best he or she can at a difficult job isn't sucking the cock of authority. Certainly there is abuse in the system but I would be hard pressed to think of any other entrenched bureaucracy that isn't just as bad -- there are always assholes who make the majority look foolish.
posted by cedar at 9:03 AM on February 27, 2006


You keep saying this. Compared to what? Commercial fishermen? Fine. Pizza deliverymen? Show me the data.

Here is me holding your hand:


posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:04 AM on February 27, 2006


Now that that's out of the way, can we stop making excuses for every goddamn thing bad cops do?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:06 AM on February 27, 2006


Whoa! Pilots are number two? Time to quash my four-year-old's dreams of what he wants to be when he grows up.
posted by fungible at 9:07 AM on February 27, 2006


It looks like they're number one, with 109 deaths per 100,000 to logging workers 85 deaths per 100,000. Winder why the graph shows them at two?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:12 AM on February 27, 2006


Looks like there were 150 cops killed in 2005.
posted by BobFrapples at 9:12 AM on February 27, 2006


The scary part?

Of those ten jobs, I've done seven for more than a year. It's a friggin' miracle I'm still alive but I think I'll be cancelling those soaring lessons in the spring.
posted by cedar at 9:13 AM on February 27, 2006


No one is making excuses for "every goddamn thing bad cops do"? But there are a number of us taking issue with the claim that cops are rich, and that killing them indiscriminately makes one a freedom fighter.
posted by raedyn at 9:19 AM on February 27, 2006


I don't want to belabor this point because it's sort of a derail, but can we just agree that (i) cops have more dangerous jobs than average, and (ii) so do numerous other professions. Even a quick survey of top-10-type lists shows police officers frequently show up on these lists.

Less dangerous than truck drivers/pilots/fishers/etc.? Yup. A "job that is actually very safe"? Nope.
posted by brain_drain at 9:20 AM on February 27, 2006


But there are a number of us taking issue with the claim that cops are rich

No one claimed that cops are rich.

and that killing them indiscriminately makes one a freedom fighter.

Only hincandenza said that, and everyone told him that was bullshit. So.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:21 AM on February 27, 2006


Oh yeah. Optimus, now that we have established there are more dangerous jobs than being a cop (did anyone ever say there wasn't?) can we get back to the money.

Also, while loggers and fisherman have it tough (not many guys in my neck of the woods with all their fingers) they have chosen to take jobs with a dangerous work environment. Some of us enjoy those jobs and don't let anyone tell you that you can't make a few bucks more than a cop longlining or running a skidder. At least your never bored.

However, it's hard to draw an analogy between a Type-A outdoorsy guy and someone who choses to deal with the worst of humanity on a daily basis. To spend your day (or night) dealing with the most troubled people in society is no picnic. I know it's hard for you to believe but most cops have made a conscious decision to serve the public rather than planning their next abuse of power. That is worthy of my respect even if it isn't as dangerous as raping the earth or defying gravity.
posted by cedar at 9:22 AM on February 27, 2006


Wow ... that's disturbing.
posted by itchylick at 9:23 AM on February 27, 2006


I don't want to give the impression I side with the conduct of most of the cops who were asked for the forms, but why is it considered mandatory to have an actual form? Of course all departments should have a formal procedure for dealing with complaints but I can't imagine there is anything special about a form. A specific detailed letter to the chief should be equivalent.
posted by JJ86 at 9:24 AM on February 27, 2006


It's actually brave journalism. Local news outlets rely heavily on the police for information about crimes, accidents, fires etc.

I guarantee you the police departments that were the subjects in this piece will now think twice before giving information to reporters or assignment editors at CBS 4 in south Florida. This reporter broke the unwritten "code".

Unfortunately, it's this sort of "partnership" between police and local news organizations that keeps most police crime from getting any real scrutiny.

To put it bluntly, it's really the reason why cops get away with so much shit.
posted by wfc123 at 9:25 AM on February 27, 2006


I'm sure that's why a Tallahassee station did the report instead of a Miami-market station, wfc123.
posted by Vidiot at 9:26 AM on February 27, 2006


This whole debate is a little disconnected. The point is that I personally would be hard pressed to argue that anyone goes into a job in commercial fishing for 'noble reasons', whatever those are. I mean, sure: maybe there are some people who go into this job to make a difference to the industry; to promote the standing of fish-products in our culinary schema. Perhaps they go to work with a warm feeling in the cockles (ha!) of their hearts, knowing that every fish they gut is making a tiny difference to what they believe in.

If this is true, I'd imagine this is probably the exception that proves the rule. Feel free to call me out on this. On the other hand, I've seen enough cop movies to have an idea that a not insignificant proportion of people may choose the career of police officer out of an ethical high-mindedness, a sense of responsibility to their community, a desire just to go out there and make a difference.
I'm only partially joking, and I think to deny that this is the case would be a little cynical, and that is the difference here: somebody who is a police officer is much more likely to have taken the job in order to save lives and make that difference, perhaps over and above another, higher-paying job. Of course, some might be doing it for the power and such, but this argument does not apply at all to fishermen. And so, Optimus Chyme, I would put forward that nobody is 'making excuses for every goddamn thing bad cops do'. Anywhere. And perhaps you are bringing some of your own 'police issues' to the table here.
posted by jrengreen at 9:29 AM on February 27, 2006


A lot of these would look fishy to me as well. It's at night, and some guy that won't tell you much of anything comes in and starts asking about how to file a complaint. Looks like in most of the cases he got the same answer - "tell me what's going on and we'll go from there." That sounds quite reasonable. Police departments get a lot of whackos filing frivolous complaints. It's quite possible that this system is in place to try and filter out the absurd complaints and focus on the real ones.
Meh. More overreactions.
posted by drstein at 9:36 AM on February 27, 2006


And perhaps you are bringing some of your own 'police issues' to the table here.

Aren't we all? Look: there are plenty of people in this very thread giving us the Abu Gharib excuse: "just a few bad apples," "most cops are great," "isolated incidents."

But they're not isolated incidents. The fact of the matter is that no matter what an officer does, other officers will cover for him at all costs. That speaks to an environment of "us versus them," the police versus non-police. Are there officers who are noble-hearted and who just want to make a difference? Sure. But I haven't personally met one yet.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:38 AM on February 27, 2006


It's quite possible that this system is in place to try and filter out the absurd complaints

That should be the job of IA, not the guy at the desk.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:38 AM on February 27, 2006


I don't think whatever cop happens to be on hand at the moment should be the one determining what complaints are absurd and what are real. There must be a formal process, or the force opens itself up to charges of squelching legitimate complains. Which, by the way, is not unheard of.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:40 AM on February 27, 2006


More overreactions.

Speaking of overreactions, how do you feel about chasing a guy out of the station, ready to draw your weapon, all because he asked for a complaint form?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:48 AM on February 27, 2006


Wait a minute! You mean a news organization is actually doing some critical investigation of the powers that be? Why, this "Florida" must be a hotbed of liberal scum! Police officers would never abuse their authority in the land of milk and honey that is America!

Oh, and Optimus Chyme wins.
posted by malaprohibita at 9:49 AM on February 27, 2006


Yep, I've had too many run-ins with bully cops to dismiss this as an isolated incident. Then again, I live in SC, which is at the bottom of the cop salary food chain.

Watch this video for a bit of harmless schadenfreude revenge:
"You get into a chase with a dirt bike and ... no good will come of it." hehe

(...although the cop in this video actually seems pretty cool and is amazingly laid-back through the entire ordeal.)
posted by LordSludge at 9:51 AM on February 27, 2006


I don't think whatever cop happens to be on hand at the moment should be the one determining what complaints are absurd and what are real. - Astro Zombie

I absolutely agree. Shouldn't this be part of Internal Affairs mandate?
posted by raedyn at 9:51 AM on February 27, 2006


Cop killers are freedom fighters.

Fuck you, hincandenza.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:03 AM on February 27, 2006


"We live in a cold, cruel, unjust world peacay. A world of tyrants and bullies, a world where might makes right and the bad rarely get punished."

In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune.

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.
posted by stenseng at 10:06 AM on February 27, 2006


Pizza guys go out of their way to avoid danger. Police actually deliberately put themselves in danger to protect people like you.

Not in my city.

I've got a friend who has reason to have regular contact with one of the very senior police officers. His biggest problem is keeping cops on the streets. According to him, they're so scared of retribution from criminals that even the slightest on-the-job incident is invariably blown up into a major industrial injury (usually involving stress, or psychological trauma) thereby allowing them to take a year or two off work while they recuperate. Many will be seeking to take early retirement, provided they can hold onto their big fat pensions.

In short, they want the money, but they don't actually want to do the job. That may well be why, when they're expected to do something that might have some small degree of risk involved, they have a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later.

A case could be made, at least at the state level, that the biggest problem with law enforcement is that they are underpaid and fail to attract the best and brightest because of horrendous working conditions and low pay.

Again, not true in the UK. The salary to qualification ratio is phenomenally good. Most of these guys would be flipping burgers at the Golden Arches if it weren't for the cops. And not only is the salary good, the pension is phenomenal. Most work twenty five years, retire on a shitload and then take an additional job.

Remember that school yard bully? Yeah? He's a cop now.


You know what? It's not just him. Remember the kid who was always getting bullied in the school yard? He's a cop too, and now he's looking for payback.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:08 AM on February 27, 2006


Can someone get solid-one-love to watch these videos? S/he doesn't seem to believe police can possibly ever be abusive, intimidating, or act in an unprofessional manner.

I never said or implied that. Thank you for your honest and impersonal contribution to this thread.
posted by solid-one-love at 10:09 AM on February 27, 2006


hey! Gotta gotta pay back!! (The big payback)
Revenge!! I'm mad (the big payback)
Got to get back! Need some get back!! Pay Back! (the big payback)
That's it!! Payback!!! Revenge!!!
I'm mad!!

Get down with my girlfriend, That ain't right!!
Hollarin' cussin', you wanna fight
Payback is a thing you gotta see
Brother do any damn thing to me

Sold me out, for chump change (yes you did!!)
Told me that they, they had it all arranged
You handed me down, and thats a fact
Now you're pumped, You gotta get ready For the big payback!! (the big
payback!!)
That's where I am, the big payback (the big payback!!)
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:11 AM on February 27, 2006


OC: Aren't we all? Look: there are plenty of people in this very thread giving us the Abu Gharib excuse: "just a few bad apples," "most cops are great," "isolated incidents.".

Your doing it again. This is another wacky analogy. The numbers alone make a difference, just compare the number of cops in the US to the number of combat (or even more specifically, that particular command) troops in Iraq.

More important is the distinction between working under a military code or the laws of the land. The risks and consequences of improper conduct are very different and it is disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

But they're not isolated incidents. The fact of the matter is that no matter what an officer does, other officers will cover for him at all costs.

As far as police complaint procedure goes, I think that these are isolated incidents. An informal phone survey of local departments (Albany, Schenectady and Colonie NY) resulted in two very clear policies, both with a public desk to request and file a form, and a call back. The call back was to invite me to a meeting intended to create a civilian oversight board.

There is also the obvious confrontational stance of the various 'correspondents'. Not more than once have a found myself remarking on the cops patience (Browards Sgt. Santiago comes to mind).
posted by cedar at 10:16 AM on February 27, 2006


optimus chyme:

But they're not isolated incidents. The fact of the matter is that no matter what an officer does, other officers will cover for him at all costs. That speaks to an environment of "us versus them," the police versus non-police.

Allow me to put the lie to that statement. I served as a corrections officer at Vancouver's max security remand centre for 2 years. Twice during those two years I heard of and/or saw an officer nail another officer for abuse of power.

I also know a VPD Acting Corporal who wrote up one of his fellow cops for a traffic infraction, although he admitted later on he mostly did it because his brother-in-blue was being an abusive dickhead.
posted by illiad at 10:22 AM on February 27, 2006


I'm sorry, but if you can't see a difference between going crabbing and getting shot at by a drug dealer you've got issues.

This is part of the disconnect in this thread: some people believe that there's a moral imperative that makes people want to go into law enforcement, the national guard, and the medical profession. Others will say yeah, they could save lives in theory, but in practice they are doing work for compensation and that's the end of it. It's just if a construction worker is successful at his employment then a building turns out well, but if a surgeon does well then more people may survive. Then there's the related issue of mortality and whether being smacked by a crane is somehow less of an honorable death than being shot while protecting a hostage.

There are outstanding police officers, there are bad ones, and there is a large majority that is in-between. The best are fair, firm yet willing to listen, and have the experience to read a situation. The worst will assume that anyone they encounter is out to get them, will badger people for confessions, and treat others without respect. On a bad day, an average police officer could easily devolve into the latter. That's when they should be off-duty relaxing, not coaxed into another shift after they've already been lied to, spat on, and disrespected. I'd much rather get pulled over at the beginning of an officer's shift than the end (well, unless he/she just wants to go home, but that's another matter). There should be strict penalties for crossing the line, but I am sadly not surprised when I hear about officers getting close to it on a regular basis.
posted by mikeh at 10:24 AM on February 27, 2006


You were put here to protect us
But who protects us from you?
Or should I say, who are you protecting?
The rich? the poor? Who?

-Boogie Down Productions

By far more important than the military in nurturing the beginnings of a fascist state are the police. The ID thing in particular really bothers me, especially considering that at least here in MA it is a crime not to provide ID to a police officer when asked, regardless of whether you are suspected of committing a crime (I believe this was a federal ruling but I don't remember or have time to investigate.)

I had an officer a year back come to a noise complaint at my old apartment, college rowdiness and all that. Got out of his cruiser swearing and threatening arrest to whoever was within earshot, entered the premises without permission or a warrant, you get the idea. Repeated polite offers to move inside and be quiet were ignored, if it hadn't been for campus cops showing up I'm sure one of us would've gone to the clink.

I really think the guy just hated college kids, which is his right until he took it to the job with him. I can't do that, and my job is a hell of a lot less important than serving and protecting the public. Anything short of a really long look at how we can reverse the trend in general will result in an ever scarier face for one of the country's most important professions.
posted by rollbiz at 10:33 AM on February 27, 2006


LordSludge: Thank you for that, I swear... I laughed, like out loud.

Now I know to always carry flares and avoid guys on dirt bikes.
posted by cedar at 10:48 AM on February 27, 2006


I guess Mr. Roboto's comment was deleted? Nothing special in itself, but apparently people agreed with him. What did he say?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:56 AM on February 27, 2006


Commercial fishermen are heroes!
posted by brain_drain at 8:24 AM PST on February 27 [!]


Yes, what with Peak Fish! making the job all the harder.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:29 AM on February 27, 2006


Relevant Gladwell article...
posted by jaronson at 11:57 AM on February 27, 2006


Also, for those who haven't been there before:

Bad Cop, No Donut

posted by rollbiz at 12:56 PM on February 27, 2006


From the article:
"In upholding his conviction and the mandatory identity-disclosure law, the majority justices also said the law only requires that a suspect disclose his or her name, rather than requiring production of a driver's license or other document."

So you must give your name, but you still have the right to refuse ID.


An interesting twist to this: if you are pulled over and have no ID (which you are apparently not required to show anyway), you can give someone else's name and identifying information (such as a SSN if you happen to know it) and that person will be brought up on your charges. Handy, isn't it? It takes a buttload of bureaucratic bullshit to undo this kind of "mistake." My point in mentioning this (other than the fact that the fiance and I are dealing with this very issue right now courtesty of his asshole brother) is that not requiring ID causes many problems as well. Not in the case of filing a complaint, obviously, but things are never as black and white as people think, and what some call "gestapo tactics" may actually serve to protect innocent people.

Until used as an intimidation tactic. What a mess. Oh, and following the link to the (poor quality) video yields this comment, which sums up my feelings pretty exactly:

I am a police officer and I fully support what you do. I've been a police officer for 8 years now and I can tell you that racial profiling and intimidation within today's law enforcement agencies is still alive and well.

I see it everyday. Officers intimidate and harass people who are typically ignorant of the law and not well educated in general. I'm a strong believer of civil rights. I irritates the hell out of me to see people get violated because of their ignorance.

I encourage you to keep doing what you're doing. I think it's time that someone is finally taking a stand against the good ol' boy law enforcement agencies that should have been exposed a long time ago.

I invite you to come on over to the city of Daytona Beach. I warn you though!!...You might have your work cut out for ya.

Good luck and stay strong and persistent


Out the bad cops so the good ones can do their job properly. A good cop will be 100% behind this, and anyone who isn't is likely part of the problem.
posted by jennaratrix at 1:41 PM on February 27, 2006


Oh man, that guy isn't kidding too. The Daytona Beach police are some of the worst assholes I've ever seen. They pretty much exist to keep nice white upscale neighborhoods nice, white, and upscale. Oh, and they've been known to use police helicopters to spot and give out traffic infractions.

I never had any problems with them being a (seemingly) nice middle class white boy, but man, I saw and heard about some sketchy shit, particularly if you don't drive a new car, or if you're a lot tanner in complexion.
posted by stenseng at 1:46 PM on February 27, 2006


wow. those first few clips got a rise out of me.
even if it was edited for supreme television viewing.
posted by Hesychia at 1:50 PM on February 27, 2006


That speaks to an environment of "us versus them," the police versus non-police.

and looking at some of the attitudes expressed here, I'm utterly mystified as to how that could happen

/sarcasm.

and hincandenza, didn't you once say that anyone who was raped in prison and then went on to kill someone was your hero, too? If I wasn't utterly convinced that you probably never leave the couch in your parents basement, I'd suggest anger management, but instead I'll just suggest a nap.
posted by jonmc at 3:33 PM on February 27, 2006


The linked video is very scary. I don't want cops (or anyone else) killed, but the cop who was playing with his gun? And the two who worked together to scare off the investigator while claiming to be nice? They ought to be fired.

(And I don't suppose I would be very, very upset if I heard that someone recognized them from that video, kicked the living shit out of them, and then asked them, "You got a complaint to make? Because I am the complaint desk.")
posted by pracowity at 3:53 PM on February 27, 2006


but the cop who was playing with his gun?

That's exactly what I was thinking, too. Playing with his gun. He had no intention of using it, he was merely trying to be a tough guy. You don't reach for your gun unless you plan on using it. That's the fucking first thing you learn. That cop needs to have his badge melted down and turned into a pistol lock.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:20 PM on February 27, 2006


This is great investigative journalism. I hope some heads roll because of this. And yes, it's scary.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:21 PM on February 27, 2006


"Cop killers are freedom fighters." I can't agree. but...as US citizens our civil rights are constantly at risk from officers who want their jobs to be easier and safer.

cops don't like

the 1st amendment : they have attempted to restrict the way they we can address them and what we can say.

the 2nd amendment: police organizations almost always oppose laws arming citizens and support many weapon bans
Look at New Orleans after Katrina.

the 3rd amendment: ok I got nothing about quartering troops

the 4th amendment: the are constantly coming up with excuses to search us. "I had to empty your pockets to make sure you didn't have a weapon"many of us don't feel very "secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures"

the 5th amendment: They demand that we identify ourselves and tell them information. In ATL there was controversy because a new policy requiring officers not to lie conflicts with their ability to scare people with untrue threats and get confessions.

the 6th how often are you pulled over and left to sit for a long time before you are "informed of the nature and cause of the accusation"

7-10, don't really relate either

but as I have shown, Police in this country regularly infringe, or try to infringe on fully half of the most important rights of all US citizens and resident aliens. If they aren't a little bit the enemy, then what else could they possibly be?
posted by Megafly at 5:25 PM on February 27, 2006


Getting back to the original point, my problem is not that these stations used intimidation -- that only really occured in a few of the cases -- but that so many lacked a transparent process for dealing with complaints. They all seemed to have the following process: either an angry or unhelpful officer takes you aside and demands you tell them the info, or the person at the front counter shrugs and says, just go ahead and tell me.

posted by Astro Zombie at 8:51 AM PST on February 27 [!]


Can I play devil's advocate for a second here and say that I think that Astro Zombie (not to pick on him or anyone else) has it exactly backwards. I'm not quite sure how having a complaint form is that much better than having to talk to a cop at the station. If you put your real name and contact information on the form, you'd still be subject to harassment, just with a time delay.

I mean, if a cop harasses you and then you file a complaint form, it will eventually get back to him, and he will likely be able to track you down. A complaint form alone isn't enough -- there needs to be an apparatus to handle them and to insulate complainers from potential police retribution.

That said, the cop who put his hand on his gun and dared the journalist to step forward (and the other cops who intimidated him in various ways) is (are) a thug (thugs) and needs (need) to lose his (their) badge(s) and gun(s), pronto. I'm not going to hold my breath, though.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 5:27 PM on February 27, 2006


jonmc: and hincandenza, didn't you once say that anyone who was raped in prison and then went on to kill someone was your hero, too? If I wasn't utterly convinced that you probably never leave the couch in your parents basement, I'd suggest anger management, but instead I'll just suggest a nap.
Ah, the ol' couch in the parents basement jab. I would expect nothing less from the great jonmc.

So yeah, jonmc- you slack-jawed hipper- than- thou- poseur- damn right, I do have anger management issues. As do you, if your posting history is any indication- we just pick different targets for our outrage. Me, I pick the injustices and tyrannies of humanity to boil my blood. You focus on the "elite" who don't play up to your common-man schtick. But we are similarly outraged, my flannel wearing friend. But unlike the cops in these videos I don't carry a gun or a badge- with all the force and authority it represents- nor do I desire to: I understand that I'd not be a good cop for that reason, I have no wish to play out some catcher in the rye fantasies. So my form of anger is mostly harmless- I'm not fondling my gun while playing Joe Pesci in Goodfellas on the streets of Miami-Dade county. My even-tempered older sister, the MSW with a lifetime of helping out the elderly and disabled; now that's someone who'd make a good cop. But not hot-headed me.


As for the rape comment: I did say that, and I stand by it. Well, only in part. Yes, I frequently engage in hyperbole, but there is a part of me that agrees with these sentiment in a sincere way: our prisons are institutions of torture and rape, wherein innocent and guilty alike are ripped apart in every way by a brutal Lord of the Flies environment. We reap what we sow, and every person we send to such unregulated for-profit hellholes will come out a vicious animal. And from a moral equation, the numbers add up: we allow these people to be tortured in the prison systems, ergo it's only fair if we pay the price for our indifference. Similarly, I don't believe that cop killers are really freedom fighters- but I do think the cheerleaders- fellating- the- football- team- in- the- back- of- the- bus mentality most people take with cops has to change. And to some extent and in some circumstances, they go far enough they are nothing more than a mafia clan in well-marked sedans.


You should understand that these are identical fears: the fear of lawlessness. US Prisons are hellholes of utter lawlessness, a predatory environment of ungodly nightmares, that we support and encourage because it satisfies our twisted psychosexual fantasies that "bad guys" will "take it up the ass". The rogue police system is similarly a fear of lawlessness: the same people on the outside as inside prisons, only with guns, and radios to call other members of their gang, and absolutely no way to resist or prevent abuse of power. It's a jungle, a mad world.


The world seems utterly crazy, and I've gone crazy with it. Looking at the way Officer "It's a free country" grits his teeth on the edge of explosion. He is a ticking time bomb who has been armed by the state and given a virtual "get out of jail free" card by the virtue of his position as a "noble police officer". Look at the cold, defensive expression on those two chiefs of police in the Part 2 of this story, how they clearly weren't even listening so much as formulating their empty rhetoric and response, reminds me that most people are utterly sociopathic liars (and that absolutely nothing will come of this investigation- it'll all be sound and fury until it dies down enough to return to business as usual). They have no concern with this, they just want to cling to their jobs, their nice lifestyles, and will do anything to hold on to that. These stories are a nuisance to them only, and they want to end the nuisance- not fix the problem. That one officer who followed the guy down the street all but daring him to make any movement so he could be shot (and if it had played out that way, I'm sure the cop would have his apologists despite the video evidence)... that guy won't lose his job. It just won't happen. I will be utterly shocked if he faces any but the most minor consequences.

It never fails to astound how evil most people are. MOST of us. There's an underlying banality of evil... it sickens. I am part of it, and horribly aware of it also. All but the kindest of us can turn in a moment into a raving lunatic, we have such a seething undercurrent of rage, all the time. We scream at people who cut us off in traffic or rant about our co-workers with all the subsurface violence and anger you'd expect of a Gacy or Bundy. It's always there, under the surface. These videos are just one in many, man, fragments of this picture. Humankind is a broken animal. It has always been this way, and the idealism of many that it can be fixed is hopeless and naive- throwing up your hands is all you can do, because everything else fails. It cannot be fixed, because it is written into our biology that we are this broken and always will be. And if you personally ever make any real strides, the crazy apes will shoot you in the head or nail you to a tree. You can't win. It's hopeless!

I don't understand how any of you can have any hope anymore. I think you're mistaken and foolishly idealistic. Things won't get better, they never have. We are in a way as lawless now as we were 5000 years ago, we just institutionalize the illusion of security. Our fragile rights are as always only at the mercy of what the physically might allow to exist.
posted by hincandenza at 5:46 PM on February 27, 2006


The world seems utterly crazy, and I've gone crazy with it.

Congratulations. You've become part of the problem. You want applause or something?
posted by jonmc at 6:06 PM on February 27, 2006


and I don't particularly care whether you were being hyperbolic. my oldest friend is a cop. consider it taken personally. Your silly little rants are aimed at actual humans, mister.
posted by jonmc at 6:09 PM on February 27, 2006


you also seem to be too dim to figure out that every time somebody lets loose with remarks like yours, somewhere a Republican is born. I'll take a million nofundys and and fold_and_mutilates over you, my friend.
posted by jonmc at 6:12 PM on February 27, 2006


and FWIW, I just returned from jury duty today. yeah, it's tedious and maybe even pointless, but I'll at least try to participate in an attempt at civilized society.
posted by jonmc at 6:14 PM on February 27, 2006


You couldn't lump that all into one post?
posted by hincandenza at 7:00 PM on February 27, 2006


Thanks for the post Kwantsar. Perhaps the most interesting part will be to see if there is any change in 6 months time.

And hincandenza, does it occur to you, after the barrage of criticism you've faced here, that frequently engag[ing] in hyperbole and then arguing to justify positions you ultimately don't reallllly hold, does nothing other than shred any vestige of credibility you might otherwise have? Please now retort with a personal attack, some rationalization of your contributions and a partial recant and reframe of your comments. Better still, change the way you engage here.
posted by peacay at 9:25 PM on February 27, 2006


my question (back on topic): why be rude? the dude just asked a form. No form? then say "no form, sorry," or something of the sort. Perhaps there were circumstances we don't know about, maybe one cop that day was served divorce papers, maybe someone close to them died, perhaps they have a family history of trauma involving forms and other paperwork... but you still don't have to be rude.

geez, I sound Emily Post.
posted by josephtate at 10:02 PM on February 27, 2006


oh, and thanks Kwantsar, for the post.
posted by josephtate at 10:03 PM on February 27, 2006


When hincandenaz wrote his copkiller remark early in this thread, I thought he might be crazy. But whatever he is, he is a brilliant writer, and his madness is understandable.
posted by iconjack at 10:11 PM on February 27, 2006


our prisons are institutions of torture and rape, wherein innocent and guilty alike are ripped apart in every way by a brutal Lord of the Flies environment. We reap what we sow, and every person we send to such unregulated for-profit hellholes will come out a vicious animal

US Prisons are hellholes of utter lawlessness, a predatory environment of ungodly nightmares

I'm guessing you've never actually been to prison, but you've seen one on TV. They're bad, but not "hellholes of utter lawlessness" bad. The biggest problem is boredom.

With Love, Your Friend,

A Vicious Animal
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:06 PM on February 27, 2006


my question (back on topic): why be rude? the dude just asked a form.

No, as the cop sees it, the dude asked for a way to cause trouble for him and his buddies, so he went into defensive mode, which for a cop is really offensive mode: puff out the chest, gun visible and ready, look for immediate infractions with which to charge the person under attack (tail lights, jaywalking, littering, loitering, public drunkenness, public nuisance, reckless driving, threatening an officer, obstructing justice -- there's always something they can find or make up, like the "weaving in and out of lanes" that the black guy supposedly did in the profiling case or the "stalking" that the cops claimed was the reason the investigators were surrounded), demand to know where they live (that's always a one-sided advantage, because we can't find out where they live, so it turns into the entire gang of armed cops vs. little you and your family in your little home), and hope to make the victim cower and apologize and slink away. End of problem -- for the cops.

That's why there has to be a form, even an anonymous form for people who are intimidated by such assholery but who see something bad done. And you should be able to fill out and drop off the form at city hall with assistance in person or at least from a handout. Having to explain a complaint about a cop to a cop is not the right way to get people to come forward.
posted by pracowity at 11:39 PM on February 27, 2006


Some of you need to consider, in these discussions here, that "It takes all kinds". Hincadenza made a shocking statement! Yea, hyperbole. Okay.

What's so shocking? How about the fact that, while extreme to the point of the ridiculous, it is, none-the-less, pointing in the right direction? That's shocking!

Some people may take just such a ridiculous remark to be shocked awake to the fact that, hey, there's a problem with police being public masters instead of public servants. If it were not so, only a comic book super villain would make such a remark.

jaronson: thanks for that link. Fascinating observations.
posted by Goofyy at 12:41 AM on February 28, 2006


The police are put in a difficult position as rule enforcers in our society. We can expect more from them than acting like bullies. Just as we can expect more from society than the infantile state it is currently in. We can work toward betterment of society if we are armed with correct information about what is wrong with it. The same applies to the police.
If I were abused by a police officer, I would not expect further abuse when I attempted to report it. What are they afraid of?

If you want to learn from one of the people who trains various forces in physical combat, you can do worse than Vince Morris. If it works for them, it could work for you.

mr_roboto said something like 'Freedom lovers fuck police' and then subsequently asked for his comment to be removed. For myself, I agreed with both his right to write such a comment hand his right to ask to have his own comment removed. Plus it was pretty funny, at the time.
posted by asok at 3:37 AM on February 28, 2006


hincandenza, we're all prone to hyperbole once in a while, and you're off the hook in my book. No more apologies, man.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:49 AM on February 28, 2006


Cheers to the group making these tapes and doing these investigations. When I was 21 years old I was pulled over in a very rural part of (a southwest) County Florida by 2 Sheriffs. A friend of mine is a US Marshall who told me exactly what to do when you get pulled over (turn car off, turn on dome light, turn stereo off and keep hands on wheel), yet when they got to the car both cops had their guns pointed at me and yelled at me to get out of the car and onto the ground, which I did immeadiatly since, well, they had guns and I have this thing of not wanting to be shot. When I asked why I was being pulled over and what was going on (I was coming home from work at a bar ~3.30am, not speeding nor having had any drinks) they started to make fun of my attitude...from there it only got worse. While one of them kept a gun pointed at me, the other proceeded to hit me repeatedly with his baton in the kidneys (I was face down on the ground per their instructions) and legs saying I should stop resisting. After (what seemed like an hour, but more like 1.5 minutes) they told me to stop crying and took off.

When I went to the local Sheriffs dept the next day, I was treated almost exactly like those videos showed...no I didnt know the cops names and I wanted to fill out a report, if you showed me pictures I could point them out etc, to which I was told I was lying and should leave the building or they would arrest me for making the story up (which last I checked isnt an arrestable offense). My lawyer even admitted there was nothing we could do since there were no marks on me and no witnesses other than the police and myself.

I am a belgian/american, so while my skin is a touch more mediterranean olive than most americans, I am still for all intents and purposes white. The only thing that made my car stand out was the Grateful Dead, Phish and other jam band stickers on the back, and that my hair went down to the middle of my back.

I have had encounters with some cool cops (like 3), but by and large, I trust none of them, nor shall I ever trust them again.

If anyone knows the contact info for the group that did this investigation, I would be most grateful for the info as I would like to help weed out the bad cops that ruin the image and trust of the entire dept.
posted by gren at 5:35 AM on February 28, 2006


http://www.policeabuse.org/
posted by peacay at 5:44 AM on February 28, 2006


Having been treated similarly by police, not for breaking the law but for looking like I might or for being in proximity to people who have, these videos tied my stomach into a sour little knot that's probably going to put me in a bitchy mood for the rest of the day. I'm still glad for the post, though.
posted by jennyb at 6:17 AM on February 28, 2006


I am a belgian/american, so while my skin is a touch more mediterranean olive than most americans...

Belgium is on the Mediterranean?

Anyway, The International Association of Chiefs of Police. But I can't find anything about recommending complaint forms.
posted by pracowity at 6:58 AM on February 28, 2006


Congratulations. You've become part of the problem. You want applause or something?
posted by jonmc at 6:06 PM PST on February 27


hey look at me i'm dismissing a thousand-word post with the same tired schtick i've been using for years i'm so above it all man
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:26 AM on February 28, 2006


While I understand Jonmc's point, I can't help but imagine this line coming from this man:



"and I don't particularly care whether you were being hyperbolic. my oldest friend is a cop. consider it taken personally. Your silly little rants are aimed at actual humans, mister."
posted by stenseng at 11:32 AM on February 28, 2006


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