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April 5, 2006 1:33 PM   Subscribe

Police abuse remains one of the most serious and divisive human rights violations in the United States. The excessive use of force by police officers, including unjustified shootings, severe beatings, fatal chokings, and rough treatment, persists because overwhelming barriers to accountability make it possible for officers who commit human rights violations to escape due punishment and often to repeat their offenses. This reporter went out to discover just how hard it would be to anonymously file a complaint report. As it turns out, he was threatened, roughed up, and even intimidated by the suggestion that he would be shot. After reporter Mike Kirsch filed this story, the retaliation was swift and one would have thought, illegal.
posted by dejah420 (67 comments total)

 
The videos are embedded into each of the news stories, or I would have linked them also.
posted by dejah420 at 1:35 PM on April 5, 2006


Great post, but alas, something of a double. Perhaps not the update, I didn't read the other thread.
posted by nevercalm at 1:40 PM on April 5, 2006


previously

but this has the followup.
posted by splatta at 1:41 PM on April 5, 2006


The update is new info.
posted by rxrfrx at 1:41 PM on April 5, 2006


Beatcha.
posted by nevercalm at 1:41 PM on April 5, 2006


(The update is really fucking scary, by the way.)
posted by nevercalm at 1:41 PM on April 5, 2006


The police department is like a crew
It does whatever it wants to do

posted by rxrfrx at 1:43 PM on April 5, 2006


I just watched it again, that first office is so out of line. It makes me so angry.
posted by splatta at 1:44 PM on April 5, 2006


I have to respectfully disagree. I work in this field and have direct, first hand experience and I see police get constantly disciplined for these matters. I have been involved personally in dozens of these cases.

In almost ever major city, an independent body has the authority to investigate allegations of abuse. False claims are part and parcel of the problem as well. I've seen a person make a claim that ever single officer in a station committed brutality, despite the fact that it was fully impossible. Nevertheless, the investigators had to go to every single officer, get statements and waste thousands of taxpayer dollars.

This is not to say that such abuses do not occur. They are unfortunately a byproduct of our violent society. But the lines as to what is justified and not justified are very blurred, especially when everything happens in five seconds or less. However, there is accountability.

I used to feel that the police got away with everything. After experiencing this first hand, I know it is not true.

Finally what happened in those police stations is wrong and it is a problem that sometimes crops up. But it is far less common than one might think--indeed the penalties are often so stiff in the police misconduct area that there is a lot of incentive for some to stop it.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:47 PM on April 5, 2006


I was trying to think of a reason why it wouldn't be such a big deal that they posted his information in that manner. Mostly, I was focusing on how this was probably done as a sort of joke and that no reasonable police officer would really think that the reporter was to be arrested or detained.

Then I remembered that the original story wasn't about reasonable police officers.

That being said, any act against this reporter is going to be seen as retaliation and will ultimately get bad press for the police department. Posting his information has, indeed, resulted in more bad press for the police department. Wisdom suggests that laying off the guy and toeing the line for at least a few months would probably be the reaction that most immediatly benefits the whole department.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:49 PM on April 5, 2006


Here[pdf] is the revised BOLO (be on the lookout) from the Broward PBA site.
posted by splatta at 1:54 PM on April 5, 2006


They might not get away with everything, but they get away with a lot My solution would be to put cameras on all officers recording at all the times they're on duity. If they're not doing anything wrong they should have nothing to fear.
posted by delmoi at 2:02 PM on April 5, 2006


WTF does the police union have to do with publicising any offenders details? Why would the union have access to that info anyway?

Isn't that a clear breach of privacy laws? Why, if it's legit, doesn't the Broward PD publish this stuff?

Crikey.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:06 PM on April 5, 2006


A journalist, you gotta be kidding me.

That's a pretty good line from that Dick Brickman fellow. Is he upset that there is a journalist that is more than car chases or handgun violence?
posted by peeedro at 2:09 PM on April 5, 2006


Here is the Broward County PBA website with the BOLO (pdf) in question.
posted by rafter at 2:12 PM on April 5, 2006


(On post, splatta beat me too it.)
posted by rafter at 2:13 PM on April 5, 2006


Along the lines of what Ironmouth said, one thing stood out for me.

There's a presentation problem here that doesn't get addressed. Namely, the reporter is not asking an honest question. The clips show the reporter indicating that he would like to complain about something specific that has already happened. The police officers logically respond with more questions. "What happened? Tell us about it."

Note that this reporter's tactic pre-loads the situation -- he's essentially saying "a crime has been committed, and I'm here to tell you about it."

Note that this is VERY different than merely asking, "If I were to complain about an officer, what is the process? Do you offer anonymous forms to fill out or must every complaint be handled in person?"

The first situation raises several questions, and it's entirely appropriate for officers to press for information right there on the spot. After all, a person is saying a crime has been committed -- perhaps even one that needs to be addressed right that very instant.

In the second case, there is no indication that any crime has been committed, and the person is merely asking about a procedural detail.

Now, the answer may still be, "no, there's no form," and maybe there should be.

But, let's not jump all over the police officers for doing their jobs -- that is, asking questions and trying to get to the bottom of it all.

I mean, think about it:

Q: A police officer just assaulted me. Can I have a form to fill out?
A: Really, what happened? Sit down and tell us about it...


Q: I'm curious about police procedures. If I wanted to complain about a police officer, what would that entail?
A: OK, here's how the process works...

posted by frogan at 2:15 PM on April 5, 2006


Q: A police officer just assaulted me. Can I have a form to fill out?
A: Really, what happened? Sit down and tell us about it...


Uh, and if the police officer is sitting in the next office?

I see nothing unreasonable about requesting to file a complaint and expecting that you will not be grilled by the officer on duty.
posted by billysumday at 2:22 PM on April 5, 2006


frogan, you've got to be kidding me. You honestly think the problem was the reporter's wording?

But, let's not jump all over the police officers for doing their jobs

I didn't go rewatch the vids (saw them when the original thread came up) but if I recall, there was a scene where multiple officers threatened the reporter while in a car and another where a cop followed the guy down the street telling him to get lost while he had his hand on his gun. Your defending these idiots is preposterous. "Doing their jobs..." ? Give me a break.
posted by dobbs at 2:23 PM on April 5, 2006


Frogan:
The clips show the reporter indicating that he would like to complain about something specific that has already happened.
From the first egregious case:
tester: Yeah, I wanted to find out how to file a complaint against an officer. I just want to find out how you do it. Do you guys have a form or something that I could take with me.
Where does he say a crime took place?
posted by notbuddha at 2:26 PM on April 5, 2006


way to pull a dios, frogan: that was last post. This post is about the retaliation, which I don't hear you justifying at all. Probably because why attack the issue at hand when you can construct a strawman that goes down much easier?

Interestingly, the BOLO doesn't contain personal information anymore... but am I the only one who noticed that if you watch the CBS4 video, they have a shot of the original BOLO that included the address of Mike Kirsch? Seems like the CBS4 team should have blurred that out...

Kudos to them for following this story doggedly. It may seem small, but this is really why journalism exists: not for puff pieces and AP filler, but for local, this-matters-to-you information and investigations that the people of that community need to know. It's a good habit for the CBS4 team to get into, and good if they are rewarded in ratings in interest by their efforts to do some kind of investigative journalism. The people are well served to know that Dick "70's Porn Star" Brickman and other active and semi-retired polic officers will abuse their power and position to retaliate against a journalist just for a news story. If they'd do that to someone with a camera, a TV station, and the might of CBS and its parent company to defend them legally... think what they'd do to someone who has none of those things?!
posted by hincandenza at 2:28 PM on April 5, 2006


Q: A police officer just assaulted me. Can I have a form to fill out?
A: Really, what happened? Sit down and tell us about it...


Since when does "I want a form to fill out and write it down" equal "sit and give me a verbal recollection of the incident"? That is the type of shit you do if you want to muddy the waters in court later. The officer you talk to there (which may not be the officer originally in question) gets on the stand and says something completely different than what you told him that day (intentionally or not). Now you're on the defensive to prove him wrong.
posted by SirOmega at 2:31 PM on April 5, 2006


There's a presentation problem here that doesn't get addressed. Namely, the reporter is not asking an honest question. The clips show the reporter indicating that he would like to complain about something specific that has already happened. The police officers logically respond with more questions. "What happened? Tell us about it."

Except that's not what happened, and that's not what the evidence shows in the videos. For example:
In the I-team’s undercover investigation, there was one incident in which our tester went in to file a complaint. After several times asking for a form, being told "you're not leaving without (sic, they mean with) a form," he was asked to leave and actually walked off the property, to the point where the officer reached for his gun, put his hand on his gun and said, "Take a step closer, and see what happens.".
You should watch the video. The cop is clearly intimidating the guy, and it is not unreasonable that it went down the way it did. The guy asks how you file a complaint, and he immediately has to identify the officer, and give his address? And when he doesn't want to give an intimidating officer his information he's asked if he's "on medication" and bullied basically at gunpoint (the cop never draws his gun.. I don't know what to call it when someone is following you with their hand on their gun, letting you know they could pull it at any time).

What's on the video is improper conduct, no matter how you slice it. And it's awful, not just because it's a human rights violation and against the law, but also because it undermines the integrity of the police department and undercuts the legitimacy of the work they do in the public eye.

And, I'm afraid it makes my cousin who is a cop less safe somehow, although I'm not exactly sure how....
posted by illovich at 2:36 PM on April 5, 2006


frogan: "After all, a person is saying a crime has been committed -- perhaps even one that needs to be addressed right that very instant."

As others have noted, you are wrong about how the question was phrased. But still, this seems extraordinarily unlikely. Not only do I find it a far-fetched scenario to begin with (a complaint that must be addressed that instant?), but give the complainant a little credit. As the victim, after all, they ought to be able to make a reasonable judgment about whether their complaint is an emergency situation. Otherwise, why not just call 911? Further, watching the video, I see no evidence whatosever that the officers are at all concerned with taking immediate action. None even go as far as to imply that, even when it's clear that the complainant is hesitant about answering their questions.

hincandenza: "way to pull a dios, frogan: that was last post. This post is about the retaliation, which I don't hear you justifying at all. Probably because why attack the issue at hand when you can construct a strawman that goes down much easier?

Ouch. He may have not watched the video very closely, but I think "straw man" is stretching it a little. He is, after all, discussing the links posted. Perhaps he just agrees the retaliation is indefensible? From his post, there's no way to tell.

Interestingly, the BOLO doesn't contain personal information anymore... but am I the only one who noticed that if you watch the CBS4 video, they have a shot of the original BOLO that included the address of Mike Kirsch? "

It was blurred out every time I noticed. About how far into the video?
posted by rafter at 2:40 PM on April 5, 2006


There's always got to be one guy defending the pigs.

Anyway, You absolutly should be able to fill out a form anonymously.
posted by delmoi at 2:40 PM on April 5, 2006


I'm sorry you guys aren't seeing what I'm seeing, and I clearly don't believe that all cops are lily-white or even friendly. And the "take one step" guy should be jailed.

But there are several instances where the anonymous reporters (there are two of them) clearly infer something real has happened, which naturally raise questions.

I replayed the tape just to make sure I wasn't crazy, and these are the relevant quotes.

Officer: "You said my officers are acting in an inappropriate manner..."

Reporter: "So you're not going to take my complaint?"

Reporter: "Oh, I know that somebody did something wrong..."

Reporter: "I just don't want to talk about it..."
posted by frogan at 2:43 PM on April 5, 2006


I don't think I'm finding anything right about this from either side of the fence....

Hopefully there was an appropriate response to the officers that acted like assholes...hopefully the "journalist" finds a way to present honest stories (that aren't slanted to show only his position)...

How about we move on from here.... I venture that further discussion will go downhill quickly and just repeat the dialog that has already taken place about this...

I call double.... the "follow up" isn't worth rehashing this
posted by HuronBob at 2:43 PM on April 5, 2006


frogan: so whats wrong with just giving them a form to fill out and then discussing it later?
posted by delmoi at 2:46 PM on April 5, 2006


I call double.... the "follow up" isn't worth rehashing this

Unpleasant topic? Police misconduct? Let's call a double and just ignore it!
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:48 PM on April 5, 2006


"But, let's not jump all over the police officers for doing their jobs"

Their jobs are to intimidate people who might complain about their abuse? Boy, my tax dollars at work.
posted by klangklangston at 2:48 PM on April 5, 2006


"Hopefully there was an appropriate response to the officers that acted like assholes...hopefully the "journalist" finds a way to present honest stories (that aren't slanted to show only his position)"

Christ, it's folks like you who give citizens a bad name. Let's lay off the scare quotes too (unless you meant them as paraphrase marks).
posted by klangklangston at 2:50 PM on April 5, 2006


I see nothing unreasonable about requesting to file a complaint and expecting that you will not be grilled by the officer on duty.

When it's a complaint about an officer then it's completely unreasonable to "be grilled by the office on duty". Issues like this demand more of a hands-off approach, if your goal is to actually handle complaints against police in a manner that encourages (real) victims to file (the appropriate) complaints.

Sure, the complaints need to be screened and any clearly bogus ones shouldn't waste more time than needed, but there needs to be a paper trail. There needs to be clear accountability and the ability to audit. If you "grill" each person coming in to make a complaint before you even allow them to put anything down on paper, you're putting up significant barriers to the complaint process and making it much more likely that anyone who was really mistreated by the police won't be comfortable coming forward.

Think about the damage this does to the public good AND to the performance of the police department -- if a citizen mistrusts the department or knows that mistreatment may not be dealt with, then they'll be much less likely to want to deal with or help the police in ANY situation and that makes the job of the police that much more difficult and thus the public loses out doubly.

On preview:
@ frogan:
Reporter: "Oh, I know that somebody did something wrong..."
Reporter: "I just don't want to talk about it..."


This is a completely valid and understandable position for a victim of any crime to be in, much less someone who has been mistreated by a police officer and is now talking to another police officer. Psychologically it makes complete sense.
posted by incongruity at 2:55 PM on April 5, 2006


frogan: so whats wrong with just giving them a form to fill out and then discussing it later?

There's nothing wrong with it. In fact, it's preferred to have a form. I never said it wasn't.

But let's use a hypothetical. Let's say there's a cop out there punching people. Let's say he's on duty right now, out in his car on patrol, looking for the next guy to punch. Let's say in the meantime, one of his victims walks in, terrified and confused, saying he wants to complain and wants a form.

Wouldn't you want to know about this bad cop as quickly as possible, so you can go out and stop him before he assaults someone else?

A cop that doesn't at the very least ask the "what happened" question is just plain ineffective at the nuts and bolts of being a cop.

I realize many have been scorched very badly by the bad cops out there. So, I'll exit the thread.
posted by frogan at 2:56 PM on April 5, 2006


The personal information in the BOLO has not been removed. If you would like to see the version that is currently linked from the Broward PBA ... here it is. (pdf)

Interestingly, it's the only BOLO they have posted. I guess there aren't many criminals to be on the look-out for around there.
posted by Orb at 2:57 PM on April 5, 2006


I take that back. The reporter's information has been removed, but there's still someone's personal info on it ... maybe one of the other guys from that organization that started this whole thing?
posted by Orb at 2:58 PM on April 5, 2006


Frogan, do you not understand why this process can and should be anonymous? What if the officer asking questions (A) is a friend of the officer you have a complaint against (B)? What if officer A reports to officer B? What if they are related? How is the person with the complaint supposed to know this? If the complainer freely gives the information then fine, but if they do not want to - it cannot be demanded of them. This seems a clear case of 'protecting your own' to me.
posted by batou_ at 2:59 PM on April 5, 2006


But let's use a hypothetical. Let's say there's a cop out there punching people. Let's say he's on duty right now, out in his car on patrol, looking for the next guy to punch. Let's say in the meantime, one of his victims walks in, terrified and confused, saying he wants to complain and wants a form.

Yes, your "Bill of Rights" is all very nice sounding. But let's use a hypothetical. Let's say there's a criminal out there punching people. Let's say he's out there right now, in his car, looking for the next guy to punch. Let's say in the mean time we arrest one of his buddies and he demands a lawyer. We can't beat the exact location out of him with a rubber hose? Woudn't you want to stop the bad guy as quickly as possible, before he assaults someone else?

Oh, I'm sorry, is that an idiotic and implausible special case that describes maybe 1 actual situation in 1,000,000,000? Your mistake.
posted by phearlez at 3:01 PM on April 5, 2006


What Orb posted: in the cbs4 video you can see that lafayette address as well, and I initially thought it was Kirsch's. It's actually this Greg Slate's. I guess it's not clear, apparently Greg Slate is another driver of the same car, license listed... or is a different BOLO altogether, as is Dorian Gibson. The PBA really needs to get get some Tufte books from the library.

I only assume they're all part of the same BOLO since the BOLO is apparently to tell the cops that they shouldn't ever pull over this car because... it's a trap! [/akbar]
posted by hincandenza at 3:16 PM on April 5, 2006


We can't beat the exact location out of him with a rubber hose? Woudn't you want to stop the bad guy as quickly as possible, before he assaults someone else?

Your name wouldn't happen to be Jack Bauer, right?
posted by qvantamon at 3:22 PM on April 5, 2006


frogan, i find it impossible to believe that anyone is that thick.

therefore, you must be trolling.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:25 PM on April 5, 2006


frogan, I appreciate your defense of the police -- and I agree with you, at least that in a world where there is only one cop that's gone wrong and we know the cop on duty is clean, then it's absolutely reasonable to start an investigation right away in order to get the bad cop off the street as quickly as possible.

But sometimes it's not clear who the good cops and bad cops are, and if you allow cops to decide who gets a form, or whether or not someone is making a valid complaint then the potential for corruption and abuse creeps in.

As John Timoney (Miami Chief of Police) himself said: "Your job is to explain how you take the complaint and make no judgement, even though you may say, this person looks like they just dropped in from Mars”
posted by illovich at 3:47 PM on April 5, 2006


Frogan , your quotes are taken out of context, and are from incidents at three different precincts. The tester(s) go in and ask for complaint forms; they never say they actually have a complaint to file. You can read the transcripts of the police encounters if you scroll down; it might help to read along while listening to the video.

Officer: "You said my officers are acting in an inappropriate manner..."
The tester didn't say the officers acted in an inappropriate manner; the officer, who by this time is antagonistic, just says that the tester said that. Not the tester's fault.

Reporter: "So you're not going to take my complaint?"
The tester asks this because the officer first said "I'm going to take the complaint" even though the tester did not say he had an actual complaint; and then "Leave. Leave." indicating he would not take the complaint which the tester never claimed he had. He is confirming that the officer does not want to take the complaint that the officer assumed he wanted to make. The officer says two contradictory things, and the tester is confirming that the officer is sticking with the second of 'em.

Reporter: "Oh, I know that somebody did something wrong..."
This is a misquote. The tester said "I feel like I know when somebody did something wrong" not that somebody did something wrong.

Reporter: "I just don't want to talk about it..."
He did not tell the officer that any incident actually occurred, and beyond this, his statement just indicates he doesn't want to talk to the officer about any incident. There's nothing wrong with this.

I'd say that even if they had claimed to have actual complaints, it would not make the testers' actions wrong; just as having law enforcement agents pretend to be underage boys and girls to entrap pedophiles is not wrong (and is, in fact, right). But here's no subterfuge on the part of the testers here - I assume because they had good training on how to handle themselves.
posted by mistersix at 3:52 PM on April 5, 2006


Seems pretty clear to me.

The police are breaking the law in those videos.
They were exposed on local TV and on the internet.
They retaliated by putting the journalist on their BOLO list.

Why is this alright? Why would anyone be defending the actions of these police officers?

This isn't about all police officers. This is about very specific police officers and they're caught on video!

Fire them. They're not fit to uphold the law.
posted by ioerror at 3:54 PM on April 5, 2006


Also, this post should be tagged with: "Accountability"

Good post dejah420.
posted by ioerror at 3:57 PM on April 5, 2006


ioerror, actually the post is about all police officers, as the first link describes an alleged general problem. The well-known situation involving the reporters is the alleged illustration of a "national problem."
posted by Ironmouth at 4:35 PM on April 5, 2006


Unfortunately, I believe that the intimidation tactics shown in the video are all too common. Some folks can try to rationalize it away, but I'm not buying it. I've seen this kind of stuff up close and personal.

Speaking of which, it's nice to see that the NYPD is exercising restraint as they keep the city safe from 75 year old half-deaf Hasids.

The story requires registration, so it is posted below for simplicity.


NY Post
April 5, 2006 -- An angry protest over the arrest of an elderly Hasidic man turned violent in Brooklyn last night, when throngs of irate residents lit fires on the street, clashed with cops and smashed the windows of a squad car.

At one point, more than 1,000 people flooded onto 16th Avenue between 45th and 48th streets in Borough Park, many pushing and shoving police.

Cops in riot gear struggled to hold back the mob as a firetruck shot water into the air to douse the many small trash fires.

The violence began at 6:30 p.m., when witnesses said neighborhood fixture Arthur Schick was leaving the bakery he used to own, Schick's, on 16th Avenue.

Schick, 75, was talking on his cellphone as he got into his car and started driving away, prompting officers to stop him, the witnesses said.

A cop asked for his license, but Schick, who's hard of hearing, couldn't understand and got out of the car, the witnesses said.

"He jumped out and before anything, they pushed him back into the car. They put him in handcuffs," said Leonard Rosenberg.

When Schick protested, two officers began using force, Rosenberg said.

"They were pushing him against the car," he said. "People were saying, 'Stop! Stop!' "

A Schick's employee, who wouldn't give her name, said the officers were "very, very rough with him. Everyone was screaming, 'He's just an old man!' "

Two passers-by, Chaim Gillig, 18, and Chaim Appel, 37, were arrested for scuffling with officers, cops said.

Gillig's mother said her son was pushed into one of the cops. "He was at the wrong place at the wrong time," she said.

Police gave a very different account of Shick's arrest.

An official said the cops were on their way to a crime scene when they got stuck behind the elderly man's car.

The driver was on his cellphone and refused to move even after the officers turned on their lights and sirens, the police official said.

When their emergency call was canceled, the officers confronted the man, who allegedly was "argumentative" and threw himself to the ground. He was charged with resisting arrest.

Schick, whose nephew Avi is an assistant to state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, according to sources, was released late last night.

"It was a horrifying and harrowing experience," said his wife.

As word of the arrest spread, hundreds of residents began lighting fires and blocking traffic. Some smashed the window of two squad cars and threw burning debris on them.

Things quieted down by 9:30 p.m. Two officers had minor injuries, cops said.

Additional reporting by Meredith Woerner and Ed Robinson

patrick.gallahue@nypost.com

posted by bim at 5:02 PM on April 5, 2006


I gotta go with ioerror. It's not all cops that do this. But in this case you have evidence. At the absolute very least, there should be an investigation.

And do these folks have a city council? Mayor? Something?
posted by Smedleyman at 5:34 PM on April 5, 2006


In my experience, a whole lotta guys I know that became cops were psycho and into getting into a position where they could be abusive with impunity. Sorry, Ironmouth, but my anecdotal experience contradicts yours. I have seen cops get away with things that would curl your toes, routinely, in relatively enlightened places. I have seen cops be abusive for no good reason other than they are in a bad mood or don't like someone's face. Thank you for the FPP. We've taken this stuff lying down for years in America, and it only gets worse with the institutionalization of the "war on terror" and "the war on drugs." Cops, by and large, get a free pass and are widely praised in pop culture for being "not by the book" kinda Dirty Harry types. The hapless commissioner who tries to make Dirty Harry obey the namby pamby PC rules of conduct comes off looking like an ass.

It's funny until the first time you're abused by the cops and have no recourse. I will say that I assume I can't trust any cop until I have a reason to think otherwise. The job they do is (partly) necessary and valuable, and there are good ones. But there are a hell of a lot of really bad ones, and it's unsurprising to me that this guy struck out in 38 out of 41 random tests of police civility, let alone honorability.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:03 PM on April 5, 2006


Fourcheesemac:

The job police officers do is necessary and valuable. The VAST majority of police officers are law-abiding people who put their lives on the line every single day to protect everyone who has commented on this thread. From work, I know dozens of police officers and officials. They have nothing to do with the institutionalization of the "war on terror" and the "war on drugs," both of which are misguided policies instituted by our leaders. If you have problems with those policies, I strongly urge you to vote Democrat. I will be.

You grossly generalize when you state that cops "by and large" get a free pass. After working on literally dozens of these types of cases, I have never seen anyone "get a free pass." Ever. In fact, the management of these departments usually are overly agressive where they should not be and not agressive where they should be in terms of police discipline.

I think it will be important to see what the departments will do to the officers accused of behaving improperly with the reporters who were looking to do a "gotcha" story. I think its highly likely that should the charges be proven, removals will be given to each and every officer.

As for the call for cameras, almost every single cop I know is for them. They help capture valuable evidence and protect the officer from the false brutality claims which are unfortunately the part and parcel of defense attorneys everywhere.

Finally, I think that crime and punishment is utterly misrepresnted by the media. "Tough on crime" types cry out for sensless penalities for minor offenses because of the misrepresentations seen in films like Dirty Harry. These films are just that, films. They are fiction and are not represntative of what really goes on out there.

I understand your disappointment in the course this nation has taken in the last six years. It is a national shame. However, it isn't the fault of those who put their lives on the line every day to protect you and I.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:32 PM on April 5, 2006


Also, those people in NY were rioting. Insert the word black and the word riot in the correct places and you will understand what I mean. Starting trash fires and smashing police squad cars is wrong. The story also fails to note what the NY Times did--that the man in question had double parked and refused to follow police orders. Regardless of whether or not the decision to put the man in handcuffs was the correct one, it is clear that a riot isn't the proper response to the situation.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:36 PM on April 5, 2006


No, no, no. Only brown people riot. People of European decent have "heated arguments". Please use appropriate terminology ala the New York Times Style Conventions. Thank you.
posted by dopeypanda at 6:50 PM on April 5, 2006


Is it a crime in Florida for Law enforcement personell to give peoples personal information out to private individuals like the PBA?
posted by Megafly at 6:55 PM on April 5, 2006


They have nothing to do with the institutionalization of the "war on terror" and the "war on drugs," ... If you have problems with those policies, I strongly urge you to vote Democrat. I will be.


Good luck with that!

Interestingly, a larger proportion of Republicans than Democrats supported legalizing the medical use of marijuana when voting in Alaska, California, Colorado, and Nevada.

We Democrats are at our worst when we try to emulate Republicans -- as we did in signing onto the "war" on drugs that has ruined so many young lives.

It was Democrats in Congress, for instance, who took the lead on mandatory minimum sentencing in the middle of the decade.

In 2000, the Clinton administration in the United States supported the initiative by committing $1.3 billion in foreign aid and up to five hundred military personnel to train local forces.

USA PATRIOT roll call.


Democrats aren’t aligning themselves with the huge majorities who oppose the war and question the “war on terror” so much as they are rehabilitating these discredited Bush initiatives.

(Hillary Clinton) is intent on out-neoconning the neocons.

Lieberman is the Democrats' Cheney.

That so many Democrats are not only willing, but also chomping at the bit to go along with the conservative frame of the "war on terror," is the main reason why Bush won in 2004.

posted by Kwantsar at 7:38 PM on April 5, 2006


Kwantsar— That's something that liberals should remember: Democrats are not necessarily your friends, and authoritarianism is something that partisanship blinds you to.
posted by klangklangston at 8:39 PM on April 5, 2006


Ironmouth -- Since you mention the NYT, let's take a look at that too.

In my estimation, a 75 year who is stopped by the police may very well become a bit befuddled. Add to that the fact that the dude may be hard of hearing and his confusion may have been ever greater.

I just can't believe that any circumstances could have existed that warranted handcuffing some tired old ultra-religious man and THROWING him into a wagon. I doubt that anyone would think that he was about to pull a gun!

As for the riot, it's unfortunate but sometimes meeting force with force is all that some people understand.

Regardless of the nature of your job, I just don't share your rosy view of things. But I appreciate you sharing your viewpoint.

April 5, 2006
Arrest Sets Off a Protest by Orthodox Jews
By JENNIFER 8. LEE

A routine traffic stop of a 75-year-old Hasidic driver in Brooklyn escalated into a protest last night by hundreds of Orthodox Jews, who surrounded a police station house, chanted "No justice no peace," lighted bonfires and set a police car afire. The driver and two other men were arrested, but no serious injuries were reported.

The police said the situation began around 6:30 p.m. when officers pulled over the man, identified by neighbors as Arthur Schick, for talking on his cellphone while driving on 16th Avenue at 47th Street in Borough Park.

The driver became uncooperative and was arrested, the police said. As he was being put into a police van, two other men tried to intervene and were also arrested.

Residents of the neighborhood said Mr. Schick is known to be deaf in one ear. Many said they suspected that he did not hear the police officers' requests for his license and registration when they first stopped his car.

Witnesses said the police were unnecessarily rough with an elderly man. "Arthur had stepped out of his car, and was pushed by police officers against the car and put in a hand-lock behind his back," said Sariel Widawsky, 49, a co-owner of Schick's bakery, formerly owned by Mr. Schick's family, who said he saw the arrest. "People saw what the police were doing to a 70-to-80-year-old man and starting screaming at police to leave him alone."

"They literally threw him down into the van," Mr. Widawsky said. "He fell on the first step. They picked him up and manhandled him into the van."

"Another witness said the police had overreacted. "For nothing — he didn't do anything — they cuffed him and took him like an animal," said Jacob Jacobvitz, 21.

The police did not comment on the accusations of use of excessive force.

As word of the arrests spread, hundreds of residents from the tight-knit Hasidic Jewish community protested in the streets.

Riot police officers were dispatched to quell the crowds, which were largely calm by 9:30 p.m. The protesters created two big bonfires by tossing cardboard into the street and setting it ablaze, and later set a police car on fire. It was removed, still smoldering, around 11 p.m.

The Hasidic population of Borough Park has sometimes had tense relations with the police. In 1999, several hundred angry residents poured onto the streets to protest the fatal police shooting of a mentally disturbed Orthodox Jewish man, Gidone Busch. Mr. Busch was fired upon at least 12 times when he threatened neighbors with a hammer. Residents said the police had used excessive force.

The driver was charged with obstructing governmental administration. He was given a desk appearance ticket and released later that night, the police said. A second man was charged with disorderly conduct, and a third with assault.

posted by bim at 8:47 PM on April 5, 2006


authoritarianism is something that partisanship blinds you to.

That's exactly what's happened to the Republicans over the pat six years.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:50 PM on April 5, 2006


But, let's not jump all over the police officers for doing their jobs -- that is, asking questions and trying to get to the bottom of it all.
I mean, think about it:
Q: I'm curious about police procedures. If I wanted to complain about a police officer, what would that entail?
A: OK, here's how the process works...
posted by frogan at 2:15 PM PST on April 5 [!]


Its been done just the way you claim. And there have been cops captured on film who didn't "A: OK, here's how the process works..."

But hey - don't let reality get in the way of belief.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:52 PM on April 5, 2006


Riots are wrong. I'm not sure what happened regarding the handcuffed gentleman, but it is morally wrong to endanger people by setting fires and attacking police cars that the community pays for.

Revolution, that's another matter. But a riot over one guy of your religious sect getting cuffed is wrong.

Is my view rosy? I don't think so. I think I'm merely pointing out that this is a complex issue which is fraught with emotion arising out of difficult circumstances. Nobody likes getting arrested, and often people take it hard. Sometimes police do engage in misconduct, and rarely, actual crime. But the post and some of the responses painted this complex tableau with a broad brush incapable of portraying the reality that is public order.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:55 PM on April 5, 2006


Ironmouth: The VAST majority of police officers are law-abiding people who put their lives on the line every single day to protect everyone who has commented on this thread

How do you know? The "vast majority" means what, 90 percent? I have had perhaps 50 to 100 encounters with cops in my life, the "vast majority" of which have entailed cops acting like hostile, arrogant, and abusive assholes. I've seen it happen to other people when they've been pulled over, arrested for demonstrating, or other non-violent offenses. I know at least 10 people I grew up with or have worked with who became cops. The "vast majority" were sociopathic personalities, to put it charitably. In short, I don't believe you. You don't say what kind of "work" you do that makes you an authority, but maybe your work keeps you in the orbit of some decent department. It's not uniform, and it's especially awful in the south.

Also, you patronize me politically. Don't tell me how to vote. Democrats have not been much better on the "war on drugs," which does indeed engage a "vast" percentage of police resources, at the local and state levels, and generates a lot of those same resources through a well known and overtly corrupt process that incentivizes abuse. A "vast" number of poor people are in prison for ridiculous, non-violent crims (especially drug crimes) and we have a policy that continues this in part because it has the support of "law enforcement" because . .. . they get a goddamn cut of the proceeds. "Terror" is starting to take on the same features as the "war on drugs, " which has continued for a few decades now, through republican AND democrat congresses and administrations. Your experience, like mine, is anecdotal evidence. You claim to have spent time working with good cops. I tell you I have never known one, and I've known a fair number of cops, and encountered more, the "vast majority" of whom were assholes at least, and abusive sociopaths at worst.

Period. I don't like cops. And I don't bend over and kiss their asses because they are "protecting me." The protection they offer is a service I pay for as a taxpayer, and a right I enjoy as a citizen. They are bound to standards of conduct they ignore with too much impunity. I have two words for you: Abner Luima. And two more: Rodney King. And two more: Amadou Diallo. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and attracts corrupt people. Cops are agents of the state. The state (the US, in this case) has become increasingly tyrannical and insensitive to the rights it is supposed to enshrine. Ergo, its agents are suspect to begin with.

Don't feed me boilerplate PBA promotional pablum about a few bad apples and how I should be humbly grateful for the protection cops offer. Like many Americans, I fear cops more than I admire them. And I'm not even black.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:03 PM on April 5, 2006


Louima. Sorry.

And more fruit pickers die in the line of duty than cops.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:04 PM on April 5, 2006


Plus, and this may sound contradictory, I think cops are paid too little. And too little education is required to be a cop. We'd have better cops if we didn't regard it as, in the main, the romanticization of the application of brute force to poor people. I grew up thinking policemen were heroes. My rose colored glasses have come off.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:06 PM on April 5, 2006


I believe the offical name for this, and IANAL, is... "abuse of power under color of authority".

that cop in the video should lose his shield, and should never be allowed to work in law enforcement in any capacity ever again.

cops that abuse their positions should not be cops. ever.
posted by cvoid at 11:31 PM on April 5, 2006


The police officer involved in the first incident went to court to try to stop the station from airing its report.

Policeabuse.org has more info on the follow-up on this story and on other allegations of police abuse.
posted by notmtwain at 6:26 AM on April 6, 2006


cops that abuse their positions should not be cops. ever.

Nice thought. But it would leave only a few cops to "protect" us.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:21 AM on April 6, 2006


Oooh, notmtwain. Good catch. That Shumanich fellow looks and acts like every guy I know who became a cop. You can tell from the video that he spends a whole lot of time practicing his intimidating look so he can scream and yell and chase honest citizens who dare question his absolute authority out of "his" police station. I hope he goes down, hard. Nice to see a judge told him to stick his request for an injunction. Typical cop BS, caught red handed he tries to suppress the evidence and silence the complainer.

Memo to self: maintain policy of never going to Florida.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:26 AM on April 6, 2006


As a lapsed Floridian I wish I could say I was all that shocked by this. Not because of the police situation itself, but because I'm not at all surprised that the oversight for the police departments would be such that they get the idea this is okay.
posted by phearlez at 10:44 AM on April 6, 2006


Here's some more followups.
posted by dejah420 at 5:25 PM on April 6, 2006


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