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Botched Police Raid
April 26, 2007 3:18 PM   Subscribe


 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Yonette Sam-Buchanan said Thursday that although the officers found no drugs in Johnston's home, Smith planted three bags of marijuana in the home as part of a cover story.

And they're only gonna get 10 years.

From what I've seen of the Georgia police, I don't think this is even particularly uncommon.
posted by Malor at 3:27 PM on April 26, 2007


Assistant U.S. Attorney Yonette Sam-Buchanan said Thursday that although the officers found no drugs in Johnston's home, Smith planted three bags of marijuana in the home as part of a cover story.

This War on Drugs is spiffy, just spiffy. As far as I'm concerned planting evidence is a crime of the highest order because it undermines everything, including all the good work that the police do.

As far as police officers (FBI, etc) go, planting evidence should be among the most severely punished of all crimes.
posted by unixrat at 3:29 PM on April 26, 2007 [4 favorites]


This is the sort of stuff that is bound to happen when you allow no-knock warrants.

I agree with unixrat about the severity with which we should treat the planting of evidence.
posted by Tullius at 3:33 PM on April 26, 2007


And WHO FUCKING CARES if you have a few bags of pot in your house, anyway?!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:36 PM on April 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Indeed, planting evidence is treasonous to the badge. In a perfect world they'd lose their citizenship over this bullshit. In our world, the police union will probably back them up to the bitter end.
posted by mullingitover at 3:37 PM on April 26, 2007


Just one of the many victims of the War on Drugs.
posted by knave at 3:37 PM on April 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


As far as police officers (FBI, etc) go, planting evidence should be among the most severely punished of all crimes.

Yeah, that and shooting innocent old women to death.
posted by chlorus at 3:40 PM on April 26, 2007


Oh, and God bless Kathryn Johnson for actually shooting those motherfucking thugs, for once. May she rest in peace.
posted by chlorus at 3:48 PM on April 26, 2007


You know what I'm sick of hearing in the aftermath of bullshit like this? The cops saying that they're "sorry." What a crock of shit. All they regret is getting caught. Just where the fuck was this contrition when they were planting evidence?
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:58 PM on April 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


This happened here in Denver when officers did a "no knock" raid, and the person in the house ended up getting killed. Turned out they had the wrong address. There was some talk that the police had planted the gun on the victim, and I didn't doubt it for a second. Especially after hearing about this case. Cocsuckers.
posted by Eekacat at 4:06 PM on April 26, 2007


If only 4% of the population is sociopathic, there's still about a half a billion sociopaths running around the globe, fucking shit up for the rest of us. Sociopaths apparently enjoy positions of authority, so squads of police officers with near unlimited power are likely to have more than their fair share.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:16 PM on April 26, 2007


I gotta wonder who ratted out the plant. Must've been one of the cops, which would make this a very rare occurrence indeed.
posted by telstar at 4:20 PM on April 26, 2007


Via Lew Rockwell.com blog The New Bathtub Gin...
But super-strong marijuana is a different animal. It is more like the overall trend toward stronger alcoholic beverages, toward liquor, during prohibition. (For more on this, listen to Mark Thornton on the "Rhett Butler Effect.")
posted by acro at 4:21 PM on April 26, 2007


So, the Warrent was bogus, they found no drugs doesn't that make this a felony home invasion? Attempted Felony Robbery with Homicide? Thats Death penalty in Georgia.
posted by Megafly at 4:39 PM on April 26, 2007


...plus I say people who commit crimes under govt authority should serve triple the civilian penalty.

That's right: Execute them each three times.

ok, so I'm pissed!
posted by LordSludge at 4:51 PM on April 26, 2007


Sigh.

All these stories about high potency weed being a completely different drug are just more of the standard scaremongering we've seen in reporting on drugs for the last 100 years or so.

Disclaimer: I don't smoke weed. I have, I've enjoyed it. It never did me any harm, but at some point, I stopped enjoying the effects, and so stopped smoking without any trouble whatsoever -- despite smoking regularly for over twenty years.

Strong weed is nothing new. We've always had extraordinarily strong weed. Good African grass like Nigerian and Congolese might have been seedy and poorly manicured, making the THC content appear lower, but once you got the seeds and stems out, it could be just as strong as today's Dutch hybrids. Similarly, the Thai Stick.

All that the advances in weed cultivation techniques have done is to produce weed that is consistently higher in THC, so the user gets a more consistent product.

And just because the weed is stronger, it doesn't mean people are using greater amounts of the drug. The reason people smoke weed, rather than eating it or whatever, is because people like to titrate their doses. If you don't get what you want from ten hits, you can take twenty. But if two hits will get you there, then people will just stick to two hits. Most people don't smoke to become a dysfunctional puddle of poo on the floor -- at least, they don't once they get out of their teens.

Actually there's a fairly full discussion of this issue on Transform's website. I sometimes struggle with Transform for being overly naive and partisan, but on this particular issue, they're bang on the nail.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:02 PM on April 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Of course not Megafly. Cops are not responsible for their actions, failed intel or any serious attempt to cover up their crimes.

I was disgusted when I read this the first time around, I stand by that conviction. They were at fault. Their failure lead to the death of an innocent woman, and only getting manslaughter is kind of an insult.

I get that they the police have a tough job to do. That they are asked to accomplish things (house raids on armed suspects, etc) and that sometimes things go sideways.

I get that.

What I don't get is a no-knock warrant on an old woman, an entry failure that allows for three of them to get shot, and thus puts them into a position where they need to shoot back, and most sickeningly attempting to plant evidence to cover their asses.

Furthermore everyone who was involved in the gathering of intelligence that led to this needs to be fired for incompetence.

Come to think of that, I can apply that last sentence more broadly to the entire system that has allowed this stupid drug war to continue.
posted by quin at 5:21 PM on April 26, 2007


"Assistant U.S. Attorney Yonette Sam-Buchanan said Thursday that although the officers found no drugs in Johnston's home, Smith planted three bags of marijuana in the home as part of a cover story."

So, cops routinely carry drugs with them when they go on drug busts, or what?*

*
rhetorical question
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:37 PM on April 26, 2007


He said Johnston fired only once through her door and didn't hit any of the officers. That means the officers who were wounded likely were hit by their own colleagues, he said.

In case the illegal entry, illegal manslaughter and illegal planting of evidence didn't make it clear, you guys are fucking idiots.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:00 PM on April 26, 2007


Attempted Felony Robbery with Homicide? Thats Death penalty in Georgia.

Also bears repeating. Make examples out of the fucks. What's good for the goose...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:03 PM on April 26, 2007


Metafilter: We've always had extraordinarily strong weed
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:11 PM on April 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


What, no conspiracy charges? Aside from killing the woman, I think coverups, planting evidence, and attempting to subvert the system should carry separate, extraordinarily harsh measures.
posted by adipocere at 6:31 PM on April 26, 2007


So, the Warrent was bogus, they found no drugs doesn't that make this a felony home invasion? Attempted Felony Robbery with Homicide? Thats Death penalty in Georgia.

These cops going to the pen for killing an innocent woman. The same pen they've put several (probably equally innocent) men. Trust me, these cops are getting the death penalty one way or another.

And I must agree with the others. Planting evidence is the most despicable offense. Not only is it a crime committed to injure an innocent by those sworn to protect innocents and thwart crime. But it reveals a much, much larger problem within law enforcement. It makes a travestshamockery out of the whole dadgum system.
posted by aftermarketradio at 6:41 PM on April 26, 2007


Weed isn't any (much) stronger: what has changed is that there's more hash and oil, which skews the "average THC content" results (and deliberately so.)
posted by five fresh fish at 6:45 PM on April 26, 2007


Assistant U.S. Attorney Yonette Sam-Buchanan said Thursday that although the officers found no drugs in Johnston's home, Smith planted three bags of marijuana in the home as part of a cover story.

The case raised serious questions about no-knock warrants and whether the officers followed proper procedures.


Whether, hmm? Boy, that sure is a serious question.
posted by dreamsign at 6:58 PM on April 26, 2007


were wounded likely were hit by their own colleagues, he said.


What the fuck does 'likely' mean? They didn't find any slugs in any of these guys to run ballistics tests on?
posted by spicynuts at 7:26 PM on April 26, 2007


Thanks for the link PMD, that's an interesting group blog...
posted by acro at 7:40 PM on April 26, 2007


I sincerely doubt that a 92 year old woman is walking around in her house armed at all times. When the cops kick in somebody's door and claim they were shot at, they have to be lying.

I can't help but think this is happening more than people realize.

It fills me with sadness and rage to think that people are still being killed by police over something as harmless as pot.
posted by rougy at 7:41 PM on April 26, 2007


What my links (especially the mp3 -- economics discussion of blockade economics) point out is that the 'best stuff' is artificially kept local, rather than exported (i.e. as is the case with Washington potatoes). Transportation costs (which increase the total, and lower the relative cost of buying the 'best' is offset by the artificial inflation of law enforcment.
posted by acro at 7:46 PM on April 26, 2007


Also, the idea that the cops thought they could balance this out by planting three bags of pot says quite a bit about the War on Drugs mindset.

"Sure, we shot an 92 year old on a bogus no-knock warrant, but if we plant three bags of pot, it'll balance out."

Three bags of pot. That's what they thought could balance this. The WoD has shown us that Joe Citizen has no worth if they possess the slightest amount of DRUGZ.
posted by unixrat at 7:52 PM on April 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


From NYT: Said the US Attorney involved in the case:
“The officers charged today were not corrupt in the sense that we have seen before. They are not accused of seeking payoffs or trying to rob drug dealers or trying to protect gang members. Their goal was to arrest drug dealers and seize illegal drugs, and that’s what we want our police officers to do for our community.

But these officers pursued that goal by corrupting the justice system, because when it was hard to do their job the way the Constitution requires, they let the ends justify their means.”
The Fulton County District Attorney is reviewing at least 100 cases involving these three officers.

Not corrupt in the sense that we have seen before? Like, they killed the old lady and planted drugs in her house out of some sense of a higher purpose, not because they didn't want to get caught DOING THE SHIT THEY DO EVERY DAY?

Even when they get it right, they get it wrong.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:13 PM on April 26, 2007


Even solid-one-love can't defend these thugs.
posted by jayder at 8:38 PM on April 26, 2007


That's a bold statement.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:42 PM on April 26, 2007


I think this also serves as (yet another) argument against the people who say that we'd be better protected against street crime/killing sprees/deer COMING RIGHT AT US if more people carried firearms every day.

Three police officers versus one very old lady equals 39 shots fired by the cops, only six of which hit the very old lady. Some of the remainder, unsurprisingly, hit the cops, who might well have ended up dead too if not for their vests. I wouldn't be surprised if one of these guys managed to shoot himself.

And these are cops, with police gun training.

Regular Joes, even if they've all passed the NRA's extremely stringent basic pistol course? You're going to need 20 ambulances to clear the McDonald's where a 12-year-old waved a black water pistol around.
posted by dansdata at 8:42 PM on April 26, 2007


From NYT: Said the US Attorney involved in the case:
“The officers charged today were not corrupt in the sense that we have seen before. They are not accused of seeking payoffs or trying to rob drug dealers or trying to protect gang members. Their goal was to arrest drug dealers and seize illegal drugs, and that’s what we want our police officers to do for our community.

But these officers pursued that goal by corrupting the justice system, because when it was hard to do their job the way the Constitution requires, they let the ends justify their means.”
The Fulton County District Attorney is reviewing at least 100 cases involving these three officers.

Not corrupt in the sense that we have seen before? Like, they killed the old lady and planted drugs in her house out of some sense of a higher purpose, not because they didn't want to get caught DOING THE SHIT THEY DO EVERY DAY?

Even when they get it right, they get it wrong.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:48 PM on April 26, 2007


I'm just enough of an asshole to put up a betting pool on these guys in prison. I'm not a vindictive person, but fuck them. Seriously.

I'm not talking "lol@rape." I honestly think these guys just plain signed their own death warrant.

That said, I have no doubt this shit goes down all the time. Hooray for the War on Drugs.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:06 PM on April 26, 2007


dansdata, at the very least, it's an argument against the police qualifying as a special class of gun-totin' citizens, above the rest of us sheep.
posted by knave at 9:11 PM on April 26, 2007


No, knave, it is nothing of the sort.

If people with specialized training are unable to use weapons properly, how on earth can people without that training use them properly? You can't honestly suggest that every single person should have that training. It's beyond impractical.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:37 PM on April 26, 2007


Here is the Denver case. Seriously, it seems like there would be a better, safer way for police to conduct business. Safer for everyone involved. To me it is just lazy police work, and the desire to prove how macho they are after watching too many Rambo flicks. Thing is, when there are actual people with guns involved, like in the Columbine case, the armored, armed macho boys sat on the sidelines and let people bleed to death. Fucktards.
posted by Eekacat at 9:47 PM on April 26, 2007


give up your guns, say these maroons, so cops can more safely shoot you. riiight.
posted by bruce at 10:27 PM on April 26, 2007




Oh God. This us-vs-them frontier mentality is exactly what has your country in the position it's in now. When will you people learn that this is not how grownups behave, and that you are destroying yourselves in the process?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:30 PM on April 26, 2007


November 14, 2311, at 7:32 PM EST.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:42 PM on April 26, 2007


With respect to dansdata (a personal hero of mine) and others in this thread, it needs to be remarked on that while this is a really tragic example, it might not be the call to arms for gun control that they are looking for.

The thing is, dynamic room entry is an easy thing to get wrong. (where DRE is the art of properly taking a defended room without getting hurt.) These cops did it exactly wrong. I don't know if they shot each other or if there was a really skilled old lady with a gun who was defending her home, but if you want to talk about gun control, this is a hard one to argue.

I mean, if we accept that the cops didn't shoot one another, this is a case of Home Invasion! where an innocent civilian has to defend her home against dangerous interlopers.

On the other hand, we can admit that the cops didn't have a clue about how to deal with a dangerous situation and broke into a house with their firearms blazing. The old lady didn't have a gun and the cops shot one another. If that is the case, then we need to seriously rethink arming our police forces.

And yeah, that ain't going to happen in America any time soon.

So what is the villain here? Guns are the easy answer, but in my opinion, not the correct one. The antagonist in this story is the mind-set of America that lets this pointless War on Drugs continue. Firearms being used for Evil is a byproduct of that condition.

Guns didn't cause this problem. The drug war, combined with a really skill-less team did.
posted by quin at 10:57 PM on April 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


it might not be the call to arms for gun control that they are looking for

Oh, I'm not trying to call anybody to arms against, uh, arms. The USA's far too culturally in love with firearms, and far too saturated with them, for any general arms reduction to be practicable in the short-term political environment that currently exists. You guys just seem to love shooting each other.

Ending the drug war would, assuredly, solve a whole lot of problems, and that's a more achievable goal (which is to say, only 94% impossible) than achieving sensible gun control in the USA.

Here in Australia, we've got a drug war too, and plenty of authoritarian police door-kickers, and they've got guns, and sometimes they shoot someone who doesn't deserve it.

It generally makes headline news for days on end when they do, though. Heck, it's front page news even if they just shoot someone who shoots at them first.

This is because even the worst of the cops do not expect to find a gun in the houses they enter. And so they are not ready and willing to pump anybody full of lead. So police shootings - and "gun crimes" in general - hardly ever actually happen.

But there's no way to magically transplant the Australian/UK attitude, that a gun-owning urbanite is a fucking weirdo, to the USA, where large communities exist where a gun-owning urbanite is seen as a rugged manly patriot, or at least a regular guy.
posted by dansdata at 11:33 PM on April 26, 2007


Oh God. This us-vs-them frontier mentality is exactly what has your country in the position it's in now. When will you people learn that this is not how grownups behave, and that you are destroying yourselves in the process?

So Canada is now the peanut gallery. Fuck you and your conservative ruling party.
posted by Eekacat at 11:48 PM on April 26, 2007


Eh, Canada was always the peanut gallery. You just didn't notice.

And yeah, consevative ruling party, a return to "tough on crime" hardened response to drugs, and borrowed dirty political tactics. More in common every day.

I hear New Zealand is nice.
posted by dreamsign at 12:59 AM on April 27, 2007


give up your guns, say these maroons, so cops can more safely shoot you. riiight.

Just my $.02, but
- cop shoots you and plants gun. it happens, but I hope it's a rarity
- cop sees you with gun and shoots you. asks questions later. semi-regular occurrence, I think.

Decide your own odds but I know which one I'd choose.
posted by dreamsign at 1:01 AM on April 27, 2007


(also, situation #1 requires a dirty cop -- not a rarity perhaps but not 100% of these forces, either. situation #2 does not)
posted by dreamsign at 1:02 AM on April 27, 2007


A fellow of my acquaintance in my little Australian town was selling grass. One day a couple of cops knocked on his door, and said, "We hear you're dealing. We want you to stop." He stopped.

Not saying the Australian system is better, just that these cops have worked out a compromise between ridiculous laws and those who demand they be enforced.
posted by emf at 1:48 AM on April 27, 2007


So Canada is now the peanut gallery. Fuck you and your conservative ruling party.
posted by Eekacat at 2:48 AM on April 27


Typically American. Someone tells you a hard truth about yourself, and you respond with insults.

And FYI? I didn't vote for Harper and his bunch of hypocritical Bay Street thugs.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:28 AM on April 27, 2007




Judging from the photo of Mrs. Johnston, I believe we can add regicide to their list of crimes.
posted by Koko at 6:49 AM on April 27, 2007


rougy said: I sincerely doubt that a 92 year old woman is walking around in her house armed at all times. When the cops kick in somebody's door and claim they were shot at, they have to be lying.

I think you're on to something there, rougy. Especially considering the article said that Mrs. Johnston fired at them once, through her door. So did they break in the door and get fired on, or was Mrs. Johnston psychic and just "knew" they were on her front porch? Maybe the officers, having kicked the door in, were startled by the loud bang it made against the wall, and just opened fire everywhere. Maybe Mrs. Johnston fired a gun at some point. I'm beginning to wonder if she fired one at all.
posted by Koko at 7:15 AM on April 27, 2007


These cops going to the pen for killing an innocent woman. The same pen they've put several (probably equally innocent) men. Trust me, these cops are getting the death penalty one way or another

Horseshit. These cops will be protected and kept safe by their brother cops. These guys will live like relative kings and kept away from the general populace. It's better than even money that they get out quicker than normal, too. "Good behavior" and all that.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:40 AM on April 27, 2007


from the Reason link: The New York Times is now reporting that the officers have told federal investigators that their behavior was not out of the ordinary.

And why don't I just come out and say it. Maybe THIS will stem the tide of the ever-more strident, increasingly hopeless war on drugs.
posted by telstar at 1:39 PM on April 27, 2007


This made Dvorak
posted by telstar at 2:30 PM on April 27, 2007


Eekacat, it is attitudes like yours that have put the USA where it is today.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:43 PM on April 27, 2007


Eekacat, it is attitudes like yours that have put the USA where it is today.

Yes. Lack of worship of Canada and the ruling Conservative Party have made America what it is today.
posted by Snyder at 4:46 PM on April 27, 2007


I would be willing to bet serious money that pentafish has not voted Conservative a day in his life, Snyder.

It's the 'damn you all, I'm 'Murrican and I AM RIGHT NO MATTER WHAT' attitude, along with refusing to learn from mistakes or from other countries, along with the every more egregious head-in-the-sand policies of your federal government that has landed the USA in the quagmire of worldwide derision that it is in today.

You used to be the good guys. But you made the mistake of believing your own press.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:05 PM on April 27, 2007


Americanism is a cult.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:28 PM on April 27, 2007


dnab, Americans (and others) don't like being condescended too by anyone, told to do what the "grown-ups" do, and whatnot. Especially when American's are told their government and the electorate is fucked by a country that just went running right into the arms off the kind of right-wing authoritarianism that they say has ruined America, and especially when it's from someone like fff who thinks that some dude farting somewhere in the states is a sign of the decay and rot of America. America is sure as shit ain't perfect, and most people on metafilter know that, but cheap psuedo-analysis and lecturing from anyone is going to piss people off, and mistaking it for jingoism is a...mistake.

Americanism is a cult.

Pompous, self-righteous and ignorant douche-baggery is your cult.
posted by Snyder at 5:55 PM on April 27, 2007


...American's are told their government and the electorate is fucked by a country...

Obviously, Canada herself isn't saying anything, what I meant was citizens of a country.
posted by Snyder at 5:56 PM on April 27, 2007


Keep your eyes closed to the nightmare that's going on all around you, Snyder.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:48 PM on April 27, 2007


I'm not really sure how a minority and largely ineffectual government--which, by the way, really only got votes as a reaction to a couple of political scandals; most people didn't vote for the Tories, they voted against the Liberals (and wouldn't even consider, for the most part, voting NDP or BQ)--is indicative of 'running into the arms of authoritarianism'. But, y'know, whatever talking points make you happy.

Sometimes condescension is deserved.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:22 PM on April 27, 2007


Protests in Belgrade and Throughout Yugoslavia: primer
posted by acro at 7:44 PM on April 27, 2007


Here is a timeline of the disgusting event.

This probably goes on everyday across this country. It makes me sick.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 9:45 AM on April 28, 2007


After reading Jedi's timeline, let me see if I have this straight:

They coerced a suspect under the threat of false arrest (they planted the evidence of him dealing), he then fingers a house that they have no corroborating reason to suspect is related to drugs. They are unable to verify this intel because their regular snitch couldn't get a ride (!?) and based on this they were able to get a no-knock warrant.

Once obtained, they spent enough time on the porch making noise that the elderly woman living in the house was able to get a firearm, and when they finally entered, she didn't shoot any of them, they shot each other, as well as the innocent home owner.

Realizing they had errored on the side of excess, they planted and disposed of evidence to implicate a ninety two year old woman as a drug dealer.

Ok. Did I get all that right? Because if so, I'm really going to need for someone to explain to me why the fuck we are still involved in a drug war that would make any of this seem like a good idea.

Every single step they took was flawed. They weren't just corrupt, they were also completely incompetent.
posted by quin at 11:06 AM on April 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


errored? WTF was that? Make that erred.
posted by quin at 11:08 AM on April 28, 2007


I'm not really sure how a minority and largely ineffectual government--which, by the way, really only got votes as a reaction to a couple of political scandals; most people didn't vote for the Tories, they voted against the Liberals (and wouldn't even consider, for the most part, voting NDP or BQ)--is indicative of 'running into the arms of authoritarianism'. But, y'know, whatever talking points make you happy.


The results are the same, regardless of intentions. People had a lot of reasons for voting for Bush, especially in 2000, good and bad, but it doesn't change what happened, does it? Obviously, the differences between Harper and Bush are manifest, but it's not something to boast about either.

Sometimes condescension is deserved.

Let me know how that works for you.

Keep your eyes closed to the nightmare that's going on all around you, Snyder.

When I need the opinion of a smug, hysterical, bigot, I'll be sure to talk to you.
posted by Snyder at 1:00 PM on April 28, 2007


Bomb threat? NYC cops threaten a protestor with 30 days in "the hole" ... just because.

Gosh-darn, it's a utopia, Snyder!
posted by five fresh fish at 1:30 PM on April 28, 2007


Gosh-darn, it's a utopia, Snyder!

Well, that would have been a stinging come back, if I ever said anything even resembling that remark, but considering who's accusing me, I shouldn't be surprised that you see yourself as some valiant truth-teller lecturing blinkered idiots.

There are plenty of instances of police brutality in Canada, but most people don't go on about it because it's not representative of all of Canada, and it's condescending and hypocritical to lecture someone about abuses in someone else's country when their own is not exactly without sin. Not that you have a problem with that.

I don't automatically dismiss all criticism from non-Americans, but when it comes incessantly from someone who thinks they're some hot shit, super ethical paragon from the oh-so-holy Canada, I think maybe you should maybe do what you demand American's to do, which is clean up your own house before sticking your nose into someone else's.

So maybe you should think about where you live, instead of constantly freaking out every time a cop in the U.S. looks at someone cross-eyed, saying Americans live in a "nightmare," and demanding we have a revolution to satisfy your desire to feel morally superior to someone.
posted by Snyder at 6:11 PM on April 28, 2007


Snyder, take a look at this map.

In case you haven't been paying attention, the drug war is an insane moral abyss, with plenty of room for many other cases like this, and countless other varieties of gross injustice. This is not an isolated incident. Most Canadians want no part of it, but every time we make the tiniest step towards saner drug policy, we get howls of protest and blustering threat from the US government. We are stuck with drug policies we don't want; here in BC we are stuck with organized crime getting fat off your appetite for our bud, trading pot for guns across the border and pulling our cities into the same morass of violence, escalation and corruption. Our police are being militarised and their resources squandered, all to aid YOUR fucking war.

As we speak, Canadian troops are dying in Afghanistan, fighting for a goal that becomes all but impossible when we demand that Afghan farmers destroy the only crop that can possibly support them. Meanwhile the United States refuses to consider creating a legal diversion for opium poppies, despite a serious shortage of opiate painkillers in the developing world that could easily be filled by doing so. It's almost too predictable.

All of this is part of a pattern. Your government is intent on forcing its violent, spectacularly ineffective and morally bankrupt drug policy on the world, even if the harm in doing so vastly outweighs the alternative by any conceivable measure. As your closest neighbors, we have every right to be disgusted with the conduct of these officers, and to be disgusted with the drug war in general. We have every right to be outraged with your nation's arrogant, intolerant and violent paternalism.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:41 AM on April 29, 2007


Snyder, take a look at this map.

Eye-opening. Look at how many more reported botched police raids there in the U.S. when compared to Canada or Mexico. There's clearly a moral for the U.S. to learn here. That moral is to stop reporting police malfeasance and incompetence so clearly. Then we'll look as good as Canada or Mexico do on that map.
posted by grouse at 5:45 AM on April 29, 2007


This story should be called Reefer Madness.

So how many beers and shots of liquor do cops wind down with after their daily War on Drugs?

As we've discussed before, the decades-long "War on Drugs" serves its purpose in the same way this newer, improved scare tactic The War on Tarra does.

If the government wasn't wasting billions on all this crap they might have to give some of our money and freedoms back. And they sure as hell don't want to do that.
posted by NorthernLite at 7:10 AM on April 29, 2007


Grouse, normally I appreciate your contributions, but why do you have to deliberately misconstrue my post? My point is that this is not an isolated incident, it is part of a larger problem that has consequences for Canadians as well as Americans.

Surely you concede that just like the war on terror, the United States is the driving force behind the global war on drugs. Furthermore, I'm sure you agree that the war on drugs is the main cause for the current progressive militarisation of policing. Basically all those incidents were no-knock drug raids. It doesn't matter if Mexico or Canada has the same problem, because without American bullying on the issue, this wouldn't be an issue in Mexico or Canada. Both of us are fighting your war within our borders.

I'm pretty sure the other Canadians in this thread agree with what I'm saying. The United States has been a consistent and pernicious influence with respect to policy on drugs and crime. Fer Gawd's sake, the toady who passes for PM these days borrows his talking points from the Bush administration on the issue of crime--just like every other issue--only he's careful to phrase them a little differently.

We are right next to the US, essentially share the same culture, and are entirely dependent on trade with the US, which is 10 times our size. American policy will always have a direct influence on us. Surely we can be forgiven for having an opinion on something that impacts us as surely as it does you, especially considering we don't have the option of making our voices heard at the ballot box.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:54 AM on April 29, 2007


expletive deleted, I did not deliberately misconstrue your post. My only point is that the map proves nothing, especially if it purports to rebut Snyder's claims that police brutality is not exclusive to the U.S., since it doesn't cover incidents outside the U.S.

Anyway, if you just want to say the U.S. has a police brutality/militarization problem, I'll readily agree with that. If you want to say it has this problem and Canda does not, I'll wait until I see some evidence.

Surely you concede that just like the war on terror, the United States is the driving force behind the global war on drugs.

If "concede" implies that I would only acknowledge this grudgingly, then it's not the right word. I definitely agree though, as with many of your other points, and the points of others. It seems there is almost total agreement here that this incident is a result of failed policies that should be eliminated. The only disagreement is in response to people who want to feel superior to Americans.

Surely we can be forgiven for having an opinion on something that impacts us as surely as it does you...

I don't begrudge anyone an opinion on political issues, in their own community or elsewhere. What I and others object to is the sort of condescending, patronizing attitude exemplified by a couple of people above in this thread. That kind of attitude makes it difficult to take seriously a point that might be legitimate, because it gets lost in the noise of pointless American-bashing.

The worst part is when we are told that somehow that the people in power and bad policies are reflections on all of us Americans. But apparently this doctrine of universal national responsibility only applies to one country—the same Canadians lecturing Americans about politics they probably don't even have are quick to disclaim any responsibility for the Conservatives in power on their own soil. Or even that the Conservatives just get their worst ideas from Bush, so that all Americans are responsible not only for a U.S. government they opposed, but also Canadian government they would have opposed. It's like being in a Kafka novel.
posted by grouse at 10:02 AM on April 29, 2007


The first step in dealing with your problems is to admit you have problems.

Violence is endemic to the American culture.

That is a problem.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:38 AM on April 29, 2007


Grouse, my first post was mostly in reaction to what Snyder said. I know he didn't generalise to all Canadians, but what he said still touched a nerve. Particularly this:
So maybe you should think about where you live, instead of constantly freaking out every time a cop in the U.S. looks at someone cross-eyed, saying Americans live in a "nightmare," and demanding we have a revolution to satisfy your desire to feel morally superior to someone.
This is a blithe dismissal of the systemic abuse of rights that lead to this tradgedy. This is not a cop looking at someone "cross-eyed" whatever that means. While police brutality and corruption are certainly a problem here, it's ignorant to say that we aren't making a sincere effort to get our own house in order.

I don't expect Americans to be familiar with the Maher Arar scandal^ but this is a perfect example of Canadian efforts to clean up it's policing. The RCMP comissioner resigned over this scandal, as he should have. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration, who were the ones who actually handed him over to Syria for torture, refuse to admit any wrongdoing or even take him off their no-fly list.

I could spend hours compiling examples of how the United States imposes it's war on drugs and war on terror on us. DEA offices in Canada for one thing, or Texas State Troopers performing unconstitutional roadblocks and searches in BC as part of a "training exercise".

Every time there is serious talk in Canada of addressing the serious failures and injustices of our drug or counterterrorism policies, we get the American ambassador rebuking us and threats of "consequences" if we pursue domestic policies not to their liking. Canada is constantly portrayed by conservative media and government elites in the US as a permissive, pinko, terrorist-coddling narcostan. I live and work in a tourist town, and I see enough of American attitudes toward us to know that we are almost universally percieved as more relaxed, liberal, pinko, whatever. This isn't just government, but a broader consensus on how Canada differs from the United States.

The war drugs and war on terror are both part of an agressive American paternalism exerting a corrosive influence on our country in general, and our legal system and foreign relations in particular. We are fighting in both these wars on behalf of the US, and the collateral damage accumulating within our institutions is not negligible. What ultimately irritates me about Snyder's comments is that he somehow thinks that the onus is on Canada cleaning up it's act. Not only are we already of a mind to, but the US government and public sentiment are working in concert to hold us back.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:21 PM on April 29, 2007


Equally concerning is the blasé attitude Americans have toward the deep problems in their country.

Univeral healthcare is the standard for any civilized society. The USA lags.

Insane incarceration rate, corrupt cops, for-profit prisons, vulgar prison conditions, loss of rights post-release, death penalty... my god, you'd think the USA was a third-world dictatorship in Africa.

A collapsing education system, a news channel that presents fictionalized accounts of world-affecting events, religiousity that's as vile as any in the mid-East, and a political system that is in shambles.

Ah, fuckit, the problems are endless.

Little wonder all y'all have given up on it.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:56 PM on April 29, 2007


Grouse, my first post was mostly in reaction to what Snyder said. I know he didn't generalise to all Canadians, but what he said still touched a nerve.

[expletive deleted], for what it's worth, I was, as you note, not talking about Canadians in general, or even all Canadian posters here on this thread or Metafilter, but, specifically, fff. I don't mean to downplay or pass this case of as unique, and I was not referring to this case as a "cop looking at someone crosseyed," but other threads where fff finds any give event a excuse to declare America a hopeless wreck of a nation and exalt it's faults. It's confirmation bias. Fff is incapable, unlike you, of even admitting there might be problems in Canada.

It's not that I worry overmuch about Canada's problems, nor would I claim that there is even neccessairly a parity in problems, but if I spent all my time on, say, a Russian based message board, decrying every event of anything close to police brutality, religious oppression, corruption as evidence of Russia's inevitable collapse and making condescending statements to about their Russian's moral and intellectual inferiority, I'd rightly be considerd a bigot and a blowhard. Is Russia in difficult straits? I'd say so. But not every little bad thing that happens in Russia is evidence of such.
When 6 of 7 of fff's comments in this thread, and countless others in other threads, are either attacks on America and Americans because of a lack of proper deference to Canadian authority or straw men of American attitudes, I don't take him seriously as a commentator on police brutality or other problems facing America, but a blowhard trying to enchance his moral superiority.
posted by Snyder at 11:15 AM on April 30, 2007


I suggest that "blowhard trying to enhance his moral superiority" is somewhat less accurate than "blowhard trying to save his ass by waking you up."

You can make a direct difference to the shit the USA is pulling on the world. You have the representatives and votes and influence to make a direct difference.

All I can do is play blowhard, hoping like hell to influence you into recognizing that your country is going off the rails and needs to quickly get its act together. There are alarms going off all over the place: wake up already!
posted by five fresh fish at 2:11 PM on April 30, 2007


Here's a story that nicely parallels the FPP, in that it's also about a cop doing The Wrong Thing. Edmonton tasering.

As an exercise, consider how each of these stories informs the culture within which occurred. In what ways are the cop's actions a result of the society in which he lives, and an influence on the nature of his society in the future? Ditto the influence of law on society, society on law, and judicial outcomes on both.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:28 PM on April 30, 2007


five fresh fish: All I can do is play blowhard, hoping like hell to influence you...

If you really want to influence Americans, your personal style is obstructing your goal. I can tell you that I take the points of, say, expletive deleted, much more seriously.
posted by grouse at 2:35 PM on April 30, 2007


Different strokes for different folks.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:09 PM on April 30, 2007


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