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Skateboarding IS a crime?
June 27, 2007 2:53 PM   Subscribe

Go skateboarding Day didn't end well for a bunch of teenagers in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Youtube Video. Unreasonable/Excessive force by the police? You decide.
posted by blaneyphoto (175 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Watching the video right now, and my first utterance of "What the fuck!?" occurred at about 2:10.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:59 PM on June 27, 2007


...for riding a skateboard?
posted by knapah at 3:03 PM on June 27, 2007


One vote for "unreasonable/excessive" right here.
posted by Neilopolis at 3:05 PM on June 27, 2007


According to this article, the police officer is now on administrative leave. Money quote: "'Unfortunately, the video shows it pretty good,' [Hot Springs Mayor Mike] Bush said."

What we can learn from this is that the unfortunate thing is not that these kids were manhandled, but that the use of force was caught on tape and exposed. Thanks Mayor!
posted by dhammond at 3:07 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Seriously crazy... The officer is on leave only after public outcry from the you tube video.
posted by orgvol at 3:09 PM on June 27, 2007


oops dhammond beat me to it...
posted by orgvol at 3:09 PM on June 27, 2007


I'm amazed by how remarkably polite and well-mannered the kids are. Just their calm behaviour and cool-headedness perfectly demonstrate what a complete and utter fuckwit that cop is. "Resisting arrest" my ass.
posted by afx237vi at 3:14 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


afx237vi, I completely agree. The kids are saying more or less what I was thinking throughout the whole video.
posted by knapah at 3:16 PM on June 27, 2007


That's truly fucked-up. I especially like how the cop started rattling off all the handy, ill-defined offenses to charge the kid with. I agree...the kids were amazingly calm. But there's a dark part of me that really wished the kids had ganged up and beat that fucker's head in with their boards.

~awaits the "when an officer attacks you out-of-the-blue, and chokes you, you let him" and the "they were clearly breaking the law" comments~
posted by Thorzdad at 3:16 PM on June 27, 2007


As 1/3 of a lawyer, I'd love to work on these kids' case.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:18 PM on June 27, 2007


when an officer attacks you out-of-the-blue, and chokes you, you let him. also, they were clearly breaking the law.

on preview, ULP!
posted by Falconetti at 3:18 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Teenagers get all kinds of stuff wrong, but they're pretty spot on when they say stuff "fuck the suburbs" and "fuck the pigs."
posted by hypocritical ross at 3:21 PM on June 27, 2007


What a dick. I hope he gets fired.
posted by Mr_Zero at 3:22 PM on June 27, 2007


This seems timely.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 3:22 PM on June 27, 2007


I bet that cop just got back from Iraq like, two days ago.
posted by billysumday at 3:23 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


err... stuff like. damn. nevermind.
posted by hypocritical ross at 3:23 PM on June 27, 2007


Clearly, they were skateboarding on his lawn.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:29 PM on June 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


I'm going to take the cop's side, because I like getting yelled at.
He's trying to detain 3 to 5 young'uns carrying skateboards which could easily be used as weapons. He's seriously outnumbered. So he's trying to control the situation, because anything else is dangerous for a cop.
When he tries to detain the next person, they start struggling and saying "wait! wait! what are you doing?" I'm sorry, but you don't get to ask that when an officer is attempting to detain you. It's not a negotiation. He needed to get control of the situation and they were resisting.
Now, could he have handled it better? Of course - way better. He's probably quite the asshole, but that doesn't mean he went outside the bounds.
posted by mrnutty at 3:32 PM on June 27, 2007


What is the camera attached to?
posted by Mr_Zero at 3:32 PM on June 27, 2007


Oh, I forgot to add:
Let the flogging begin!
posted by mrnutty at 3:33 PM on June 27, 2007


He's trying to detain 3 to 5 young'uns carrying skateboards which could easily be used as weapons.

I can't tell if you're being serious or not.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 3:33 PM on June 27, 2007


I dunno. Let's say you're a cop. How are you supposed to act when a gang of kids are resisting arrest? Smile and say please? At some point you've got to be able to physically control the person being arrested, and if they resist you then I assume you've got to work harder to control them. That can't be easy.

Granted, the cops' overall tone was way overboard, but it makes me wonder what happened prior to :01 that got the whole thing started.
posted by diastematic at 3:36 PM on June 27, 2007


Gaah, no. I was mentally commanding the kids to just shut the fuck up the whole time. There are three things you say to a cop under normal, calm situations: Yes officer, No officer, Thank you for your time officer. The picosecond things get interesting, you shut your fucking mouth. "I'm not answering anything else without my lawyer." The cop doesn't give a shit about your justifications for what you did, that you didn't do it, that he was "just riding a skateboard."

And no, I'm not blaming the victim. They have every right to be treated decently and properly by the police, the police were absolutely wrong and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, no argument. Police have a monopoly on violence. They'll get in trouble if they use it, but you're the one who's going to be violated.
posted by Skorgu at 3:36 PM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


wut mrnutty said.
posted by diastematic at 3:38 PM on June 27, 2007


I can't tell if you're being serious or not.

I'm being serious. One swing of a board at his head and he's down for the count. A la this comment.
posted by mrnutty at 3:41 PM on June 27, 2007


So, we're supposed to (as good, obedient citizens) let cops do what they want to us, hoping that they are right?

I'm all for being polite to the cops. I am, always, because I've never been the target of an obsessive jackass, which (even here in Austin( is the exception more than the rule. But if a cop steps out of line and violates the contract he and I have to be civil, he will never, ever forget me, ever. The lawsuits alone would bankrupt him, and possibly his employers.

Lawyers are a cheap shot, but goddamn do they make a great deterrent against runaway assholes.

The cop has just as much responsibility as the citizen. Perhaps more, since the cop is both armed and responsible for my safety. If he can't give me a polite response in a heated situation, his training and his mentality both are ill-suited for the task at hand, and he will pay, dearly.
posted by blixco at 3:44 PM on June 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


Please forgive me for not acknowledging equality of the sexes for a moment; watching that girl get swung around in a headlock about two min in has me hoping her father is a very unreasonable man with many ex-con friends who will do most anything for money.
posted by paxton at 3:45 PM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm being serious. One swing of a board at his head and he's down for the count.

Oh! You meant during the altercation didn't you? I took it to mean that they were walking down the street with potential weapons, and that's why he stopped them. Heh, my mistake.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 3:46 PM on June 27, 2007


The cop reminds me of Farva from Super Troopers.
posted by Mr_Zero at 3:47 PM on June 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


"See that blood on my knee? That's battery."

Funny, I thought it was blood. You know, from, like, tackling people on the sidewalk. Maybe he should have handcuffed the sidewalk.
posted by Revvy at 3:51 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


The most embarassing thing for the cop might be that he tried to chase down a 13 year old with a five step lead on him and couldn't. If for nothing else in this embarassing mess, he should be fired for that.
posted by jonson at 4:02 PM on June 27, 2007 [5 favorites]


1. is anybody keeping specific statistics on how many digg posts show up on metafilter, an with what cadence. seems to me: more and more-er.

2. the digg comments were actually more informative than what's been said here: turns out there's a ban on skateboarding in their town. (not that that warrants the guy's out-of-line overreaction, but still...)

3. erm...

4. that's it.
posted by progosk at 4:05 PM on June 27, 2007


Fox News: WAR ON SKATEBOARDERS!
posted by homodigitalis at 4:08 PM on June 27, 2007


It's only Arkies being Arkies.
posted by sourwookie at 4:10 PM on June 27, 2007


I'm going to take the cop's side, because I like getting yelled at.
He's trying to detain 3 to 5 young'uns carrying skateboards which could easily be used as weapons. He's seriously outnumbered. So he's trying to control the situation, because anything else is dangerous for a cop.
When he tries to detain the next person, they start struggling and saying "wait! wait! what are you doing?" I'm sorry, but you don't get to ask that when an officer is attempting to detain you. It's not a negotiation. He needed to get control of the situation and they were resisting.
Now, could he have handled it better? Of course - way better. He's probably quite the asshole, but that doesn't mean he went outside the bounds.


Jesus Christ. That kid getting tasered in a UCLA library must really be down your alley. Anyway, this video is too sick for me to even deal with directly without wanting to hurt somebody. All I can say is the cop reminds me of the weak brother of the gaming commission officer, the one that works for DeNiro in 'Casino'. The culmination of a total pussy leading to a greater man's downfall. From his physique and demeanor, I don't think it's a stretch to assume this guy has military background. Somebody needs to check that his brains aren't scrambled.
posted by phaedon at 4:11 PM on June 27, 2007


You know what skateboarding leads to? Yeah -- that's right.
posted by ericb at 4:12 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Four juveniles involved in the incident also face skateboarding citations and resisting arrest charges, Means said."

Yeah, send them to Gitmo ...

This is so hysterical.
posted by homodigitalis at 4:13 PM on June 27, 2007


I don't like the whole idea that you have to be remarkably polite to cops and if you aren't whatever happens is your fault. It is good advice to be polite to cops, because many cops are assholes sometimes because they have to be sometimes because they like to be. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be able to deal with a police officer as you would any other reasonable human being. Because the same way it is a good idea to be really, really polite with cops its also a good idea for a police officer to behave like a reasonable human being.
posted by I Foody at 4:13 PM on June 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


That kid getting tasered in a UCLA library must really be down your alley.

I thought of the exact same incident [previous MeFi post].
posted by ericb at 4:15 PM on June 27, 2007


Best line a cop ever told me: "The good news is you're not getting a DUI. The bad news is we're taking your car."
posted by phaedon at 4:17 PM on June 27, 2007


"So, these kids were resisting arrest and the cop overreacted and took one down?"
"Yeah, weird right?"
"Well, if he said, 'Hey, stop' and they keep going, that is technically resisting arrest."
[Internet Enters]
Internet: "OH MY FREAKING GOD PIGS ARE EVIL FIGHT THE POWER DUDE!"


"Uh, what?"
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 4:20 PM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


"The day this happened, June 21, was considered nationally as 'Go Skate Day.' In light of that, some think the teens were setting up the officers to intentionally look bad. Reporter Melissa Dunbar asked the teens about that and they said that was not the case. They also told Today’s THV they carry cameras every time they skate."*

I tells ya,' it was all a trap. A trap, I says. A trap!
posted by ericb at 4:22 PM on June 27, 2007


But if a cop steps out of line and violates the contract he and I have to be civil, he will never, ever forget me, ever. The lawsuits alone would bankrupt him, and possibly his employers...If he can't give me a polite response in a heated situation, his training and his mentality both are ill-suited for the task at hand, and he will pay, dearly.

Remind never to fail to be exceptionally polite whenever I encounter blixco. I mean, I don't want to be sued for hurting his feelings because I didn't observe the protocols of good manners even in a "heated situation".
posted by Midnight Creeper at 4:23 PM on June 27, 2007


"shut up or I'll spray you" he said
posted by hortense at 4:23 PM on June 27, 2007


I hate bullies. Really, I'd have so enjoyed seeing that foul pig being beaten into unconsciousness by an angry crowd.

The argument that "the kids might have used violence -- even though they gave no signs of it whatsoever -- therefore any violence the policeman cares to use is fine" is not only ridiculous but untrue as a matter of law (IANAL, mind you).
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:24 PM on June 27, 2007


hortense writes "'shut up or I'll spray you' he said"

Which is assault, a more serious crime than the kids were committing. I hope he gets charged and jailed.
posted by mullingitover at 4:26 PM on June 27, 2007


is anybody keeping specific statistics on how many digg posts show up on metafilter

No. I don't visit Digg -- and hadn't heard about this incident until now.
posted by ericb at 4:28 PM on June 27, 2007


Hey, Midnight Creeper...if you're a cop, you're either trained to handle a situation, or you fail to handle the situation. If you fail, I will ensure that you never fail again.
posted by blixco at 4:30 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]




is anybody keeping specific statistics on how many digg posts show up on metafilter

New MetaFilter rule: if a website, topic, etc. has previously been posted elsewhere on the web, particularly at A.WholeLottaNothing, BoingBoing, del.icio.us, Digg, MetaChat, MonkeyFilter or Slashdot, by all means do not post to MetaFilter!!!
posted by ericb at 4:33 PM on June 27, 2007


Wow, I missed the beginning of the video.

Now that I've seen it, I don't understand the debate here. A grown man was choking a child on the street in broad daylight. He happened to have a policeman's badge, but he was behaving like an escaped convict. When a police officer is behaving unlawfully and presenting a danger to the public, I don't think you're legally obligated to follow his orders.
posted by mullingitover at 4:37 PM on June 27, 2007


There are outlaws and then there are criminals. Good cops are outlaws turned inside out. Bad cops are criminals turned inside out.

Outlaws have a buoyant spirit but criminals are as heavy as depleted uranium.
posted by Huplescat at 4:40 PM on June 27, 2007 [9 favorites]


Huplescat: nicely said!
posted by blixco at 4:41 PM on June 27, 2007


for what it's worth, first-hand accounts can be gleaned from the comments by toymachine16 (who posted the original video) and RockInMalvern in the 5000+ comments to the video.
posted by progosk at 4:43 PM on June 27, 2007


Wow. Hot Springs is my hometown. There have always (well, since the 80's) been skaters kids downtown, and H.S. cops have always been dicks. This was bound to happen.

now I'll actually watch the video
posted by zardoz at 4:48 PM on June 27, 2007


Skateboarding is now a crime.
posted by Floydd at 5:01 PM on June 27, 2007


Oh, and in any situation, if you lose your temper you lose.
posted by Floydd at 5:03 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


So this guy probably suffers from micropenis, and has a self image way, way below average. Mix in some anger and a badge and he gets to vent his frustration on a bunch of punk kids. If they had been black, and athletic, then they really would have gotten the ass kicking he clearly wanted to give. There are lots of good cops, but it only takes a handful of lamers like this guy to ruin the reputation of the whole force, that and the unwritten code that all the cops will stand behind their fellow officers despite their acts of police brutality, taking of bribes etc. The ever present camera, and this one was clearly hidden or it would have been confiscated by this dufus, brings accountability. Accountability is good. Most professions have it. It is good to come to policing. I say this with family members in the job, and they are folks who would never pull crap like this.
posted by caddis at 5:13 PM on June 27, 2007


He's trying to detain 3 to 5 young'uns carrying skateboards which could easily be used as weapons. He's seriously outnumbered. So he's trying to control the situation, because anything else is dangerous for a cop.

He's not trying to control the situation, he's trying to exert dominance over a bunch of punk kids. At no point in that video does he have control. Worried about the kids using skateboards as weapons? Confiscate those first. What does he want the other kids to do- leave the area? Stick around to be arrested/cited? If the former, tell them if they don't go, they're getting ticketed/boards confiscated if they don't leave, not "interfering with an officer during his duties" or some bullshit. If the latter, secure their boards, tell them to sit against the wall, call their parents, etc... But instead he's screaming unclear commands and threatening them.

He escalated a public nuisance into a violent confrontation, and if those kids had wanted to crack his melon open with their board they could've easily done so (but the same goes for a bike lock, pogo stick, etc.. It ain't a "deadly weapon" til you use it as one).
posted by Challahtronix at 5:14 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hate the vague "You're violating city ordinance."

If I ask what crime I'm being arrested for, and you say "breaking a law," that is kinda dumb.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 5:19 PM on June 27, 2007


So this guy probably suffers from micropenis

The joke's on you, because we all know that people who suspect other's of having small penises are the ones that have the smallest penises. So there you have it.
posted by dhammond at 5:19 PM on June 27, 2007


So, is skateboarding an arrestable offense in Hot Springs (rather than a citation)? Is it worth clogging up jails over? In my town, you might get a citation for skating in the park or on the mall, but you'd really have to do something to get arrested.
posted by glycolized at 5:23 PM on June 27, 2007


The primary purpose of the police is to maintain a safety in their community. Watching this video, it looked like the officer in question was trying to make the situation worse. From the way he grabbed the kid to the way he yelled at them. I never saw him try to calm anyone down. In fact, he took a situation that was not volatile and made it far, far worse by laying hands violently on the kids, raising his voice, and not listening at all.

I have worked with kids in law enforcement situations - some violent and some not. In general, the kids take their cues from the adults. In this situation, however, I am glad that the kids did not do so. Other than the one that ran away, they remained remarkably cool headed in the face of some extraordinary circumstances.
posted by BlackRose at 5:23 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but you don't get to ask that when an officer is attempting to detain you.

If the officer hasn't told you you're being detained or under arrest, you sure as fuck do.

You know what skateboarding leads to? Yeah -- that's right.

Hitler?
posted by oaf at 5:40 PM on June 27, 2007


you will do what you're told.
you will do what you're told.
you will do what you're told.

stop thinking. stop feeling. just do what you're told.
posted by dopamine at 5:44 PM on June 27, 2007


What an evil, power-crazed chickenshit. Kids, lawyer up.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:46 PM on June 27, 2007


That cop is a rageaholic control freak, barely able to control his violence and should not be a police officer. He's a danger to society. Miracle he didn't harm the kids more when he choked them and grabbed them by the neck.

"You're violating city ordinance." What a crock. Hope he gets what's coming to him, in prison, because with rage like that, prison isn't far, er, behind.

Great the kids recorded the situation in detail.

Glad the Mayor responded to the public outrage.
posted by nickyskye at 5:46 PM on June 27, 2007


In my town, you might get a citation for skating in the park or on the mall, but you'd really have to do something to get arrested.

Like run away from a cop when he told you to stop?
posted by The World Famous at 5:47 PM on June 27, 2007


Really, I'd have so enjoyed seeing that foul pig being beaten into unconsciousness by an angry crowd.

We're missing an important piece of the puzzle here. According to one of the articles cited above, skateboarding is indeed illegal in the area in question. Let's debate that another time. But the puzzle piece we're missing is how an apparent attempt to enforce a skateboarding ordinance turned into a cop holding one of the kids down with a hand on his throat.

Did the cop attempt to verbally control the kid, and the kid attempted to flee? Maybe. Did the cop grab the kid's arm without provocation, and then the kid tried to shove the cop? Perhaps. Did the cop just tackle the kid out of the clear blue sky? Possibly.

We don't know any of this.

But regardless, we have another go-round of "fuck the pigs" on MeFi.

It'd be sadder if it weren't so damn predictable.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:51 PM on June 27, 2007


How about contacting someone in city government and telling them how you feel about this? I leave it to someone else to decide who should get the e-mails.
posted by interrobang at 5:54 PM on June 27, 2007


regardless, we have another go-round of "fuck the pigs" on MeFi.

You didn't watch the whole video, or are purposely ignoring the fact that the officer grabbed the girl without provocation, unless you consider carrying a couple of boards in your hands to be provocation.
posted by oaf at 5:56 PM on June 27, 2007


notice the part where the kid says "i got a picture of him choking the kid". that's when the cop runs after him.
posted by andywolf at 5:56 PM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


But regardless, we have another go-round of "fuck the pigs" on MeFi.

When was the previous go-round?

You make good points, but the thing is we are reacting to what has been presented to us. Will my opinion change if, for the sake of argument, it turns out all the kids threw rocks at the cop? Of course. But like I said, we're just responding to what little we know of the situation.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 5:56 PM on June 27, 2007


Cool Papa Bell writes "But the puzzle piece we're missing is how an apparent attempt to enforce a skateboarding ordinance turned into a cop holding one of the kids down with a hand on his throat."
Uh, hello, every police procedure manual I've ever read clearly states that strangulation is the preferred method of restraint when dealing with children.
posted by mullingitover at 5:57 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wait, so is this like precrime, where a cop can arrest me for resisting arrest even though I haven't resisted arrest until he tries to arrest me for resisting arrest?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:59 PM on June 27, 2007 [7 favorites]


From what the cop says at the start of the video, it seems the kid who was choked was being detained because the cop asked him to stop and he refused. But what does that matter?

The issue as I see it is this: anyone who loses his cool like this has no business whatsoever being a police officer. He needlessly escalated a minor violation of a civil ordinance against skateboarding into a violent confrontation--though he's the only one being violent it seems. He's the one who is supposed to be the professional, but the kids are handling this situation better than he is.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 6:00 PM on June 27, 2007


Wait, so is this like precrime, where a cop can arrest me for resisting arrest even though I haven't resisted arrest until he tries to arrest me for resisting arrest?

And this is before he tells you that you're under arrest for resisting arrest. He just announces that you're resisting arrest, then attempts to arrrest you, and then tells you that you're under arrest for resisiting arrest.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 6:00 PM on June 27, 2007


Metafilter: Shut up or I'll spray you!
posted by wfrgms at 6:03 PM on June 27, 2007


McCormack disputed many of the police allegations, especially his battery charge. He said he pulled on the city employee's arm after the man picked a girl off her feet in a choke-hold.

Despite the officer's misdeeds, this kid is in real trouble. If you are going to attack an officer while he is attempting to beat a suspect, you had better knock him out and get away if you would like to escape prosecution. (notice that one kid outran fatso opie, huff, puff, puff, puff) I bet the kid who attacked him for choking the girl gets it worse than officer opie, although opie stands a reasonable chance of job loss which is pretty big.
posted by caddis at 6:04 PM on June 27, 2007


That video is just appalling.

I'd have run away, too, I think, if I were the second kid. The cop is literally kneeling on their friend with his hands around the friend's neck, and when they try to calm the cop down--kids have to try to calm the cop down, for heaven's sake!--he gets all power-mad on them.

Clearly this wasn't a calm, reasonable law enforcement officer. I have a lot of respect for cops, and I wouldn't want to have to do their jobs. But this guy was upset that a bunch of kids didn't just bow down and worship him when he started telling them off, and his rage got way out of control.

If any of these kids had been over 18, this wouldn't have happened. I hope their parents have good lawyers, because if one of these kids was mine, I would be asking for that policeman to be fired for this kind of behavior. How do you think he would act in a real emergency?
posted by misha at 6:04 PM on June 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


You didn't watch the whole video, or are purposely ignoring the fact that the officer grabbed the girl without provocation

I see an incomplete video with several jump cuts, rendering the whole thing largely useless without additional information and context. I'm neither judge nor jury, so I'm not gleefully wishing mob violence on the cop.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:05 PM on June 27, 2007


I see an incomplete video with several jump cuts, rendering the whole thing largely useless without additional information and context.

The uncut video, part 1 and part 2.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 6:09 PM on June 27, 2007


When was the previous go-round?

That UCLA thread mentioned above, and just about every other MeFi thread involving police.

Uh, hello, every police procedure manual I've ever read clearly states that strangulation is the preferred method of restraint when dealing with children.

Uh, hello, the video doesn't show what happens previous to that point. You have no idea what happened.

My beef isn't the cop's action. I agree this guy likely shouldn't be allowed to provide security at a 7-11.

I'm just getting fatigued at the constant, unremitting we-lack-evidence-but-we-say-fuck-the-pigs-anyway reaction among the MeFites.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:10 PM on June 27, 2007


The uncut video, part 1 and part 2.

LOL. The "uncut" video is the one I was apparently watching, because it starts with the cop and the kid already on the ground. Don't become a lawyer, 'kay?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:11 PM on June 27, 2007


Oh, and this is already making national news.

I just have to shake my head in amazement at YouTube sometimes. Who would have known about this stupefying small town event if not for YouTube?

Good job to the kids for recording this and getting it out there. Maybe podunk shit-for-brains cops everywhere will think twice when they have to make a choice between enforcing laws and strangling kids.
posted by wfrgms at 6:14 PM on June 27, 2007


I'm just getting fatigued at the constant, unremitting we-lack-evidence-but-we-say-fuck-the-pigs-anyway reaction among the MeFite

It'd be good to provide at least a few examples of that when making such a recrimination. Shouldn't be too hard given, as you say, its constant and unremitting nature. But, I can't personally recall a single example of it.
posted by psmealey at 6:15 PM on June 27, 2007


LOL. The "uncut" video is the one I was apparently watching, because it starts with the cop and the kid already on the ground. Don't become a lawyer, 'kay?

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here, and rather than misinterpret it I figured I'd ask for some clarification.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 6:15 PM on June 27, 2007


Right or wrong, I've been practicing law for almost 15 years and I can confidently say that getting under this cop's skin at a videotaped deposition would probably be the most fun I would ever have, professionally.
posted by The Bellman at 6:17 PM on June 27, 2007 [8 favorites]


Did the cop attempt to verbally control the kid, and the kid attempted to flee? Maybe. Did the cop grab the kid's arm without provocation, and then the kid tried to shove the cop? Perhaps. Did the cop just tackle the kid out of the clear blue sky? Possibly.

how is choking someone like that even allowable? sure we don't know what led up to it. but this is a 13 year old and that's a pretty big cop. he outweighs the kid by well over 100 lbs., cops are trained to restrain people and i doubt that choking someone in that manner is part of it. if he were simply trying to restrain the kid i think he may try to go for the arms.

i've worked with and respect cops, good ones at least, it's a tough job. i just can't think of a way in which this kind of physicality is justified. with the girl he put in a headlock he resorted to violence first. this isn't necessarily about fuck the pigs, but fuck bully's.

and dude, the video is 4:20, that's totally killer bro.
posted by andywolf at 6:19 PM on June 27, 2007


Eh, fuck it. It's hot and I'm grumpy.

LOL. The "uncut" video is the one I was apparently watching,

Well there are two parts so you were only watching one part of the uncut video, but ok. What's with the "skeptic quotes" around the word uncut? It's uncut. That is to say, there are no cuts. It's the full video. In two (2) parts.

Don't become a lawyer, 'kay?

What the fuck is that supposed to mean?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 6:23 PM on June 27, 2007


interrobang writes "How about contacting someone in city government and telling them how you feel about this? I leave it to someone else to decide who should get the e-mails."

I contacted the visitor's bureau and explained that I was considering a trip to Hot Springs, but that this incident made me fearful for my family's safety there.
posted by mullingitover at 6:24 PM on June 27, 2007


The funny thing is seeing a cop, or any adult for that matter, trying to be authoritative while wearing shorts.

Meh. I had some sympathy for the cop until he chokes the girl. That's just straight up chickenshit, even moreso in Arkansas than in New York or San Francisco.

After he loses his job he'll probably go into teaching.
posted by bardic at 6:28 PM on June 27, 2007


What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

Don't know. He's clearly not one himself.
posted by oaf at 6:28 PM on June 27, 2007


If the officer hasn't told you you're being detained or under arrest, you sure as fuck do.

No, you're "under arrest" when the cop decides you're under arrest. He can just grab you out of the blue and slap the cuffs on. Or put you in a headlock and yell like a maniac. Or not. Maybe he just stands there talking with you. Doesn't have to tell you "you're under arrest", but you just might be.

The great thing is that you still have to *know* you're "under arrest", so that you don't resist it. (...as opposed to OMG, this belligerant mother-fucker has LOST IT and I need to defend myself!!) But they don't have to tell you.

Wait, so is this like precrime, where a cop can arrest me for resisting arrest even though I haven't resisted arrest until he tries to arrest me for resisting arrest?

No, the cop will say he attempted to place you under arrest and you resisted. Doesn't matter that he never told you. You were "under arrest" in his mind a split second before you starting "resisting arrest".

In my opinion, this is a bigger deal than Miranda Rights. I think a cop should have to tell you "You're under arrest" before you are, in fact, under arrest.
posted by LordSludge at 6:34 PM on June 27, 2007


Not to be a spoilsport, but when this comes to court, here's what's going to happen:

--The cop is going to lie about what happened.
--The other cop will agree with and support his version of events.
--The judge and jury will accept his version of events.
--Nothing will happen to the cop. He will serve 20 years and retire with a pension.
--The kids will get punished by the law.

This is how the law works.

"This isn't a court of Justice, son, this is a court of Law."
posted by jellicle at 6:36 PM on June 27, 2007


Oh lookie what I found*, a "police brutality" video wall!

* by which I mean "made".
posted by LordSludge at 6:36 PM on June 27, 2007


we-lack-evidence-but-we-say-fuck-the-pigs-anyway reaction among the MeFites.

Is it that we have this attitude, or that these types of situations are happening more and more or that, with the advent of video, we are seeing the worst more clearly?

In the first case, we should power down the rhetoric. In the latter two, we should absolutely increase the pressure else we deserve what we get.
posted by BlackRose at 6:38 PM on June 27, 2007


LordSludge, you're under arrest for self-linking. You actually were a couple of minutes ago, but I decided to get myself a soda before clicking "Post Comment." Your fault for not knowing.
posted by oaf at 6:40 PM on June 27, 2007


I attempted to email the police chief...

Recipient address: bsouthard@cityhs.net
Reason: Remote SMTP server has rejected address
Diagnostic code: smtp;550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable
posted by MrLint at 6:42 PM on June 27, 2007


LOL. The "uncut" video is the one I was apparently watching, because it starts with the cop and the kid already on the ground. Don't become a lawyer, 'kay?

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here, and rather than misinterpret it I figured I'd ask for some clarification.

If I may interject for Cool Papa here. He's saying that we don't have the beginning of the confrontation on tape, what led up to Sgt. Dumbass choking the kid. It just starts with that, and it's likely when the skater/cameraman arrived at the scene at hit "record". So, like most crimes, we don't know the initial cause of the incident.
posted by zardoz at 6:43 PM on June 27, 2007


jellicle is absolutely correct, unless the kids have very good expensive lawyers, in which case they'll get off scott free. Classism in action.

I'm mid-30s, white, good job, mild mannered, generally law-abiding, and *I* say police are fucked up. I can't imagine how, say, a poor young black man feels in this country. Maybe something like this.
posted by LordSludge at 6:44 PM on June 27, 2007


People's attitudes about the police have a lot to do with their socioeconomic background in conjunction with their personal experiences with the police. White, middle and upper-class people with or without experience with the police tend to view them favorably and to judge all accusations of police misconduct as biased and that the purported victims deserved it.

I say that experience factors into it, but the funny thing is that socioeconomic background strongly determines the sorts of experiences people have with the police and usually validates their prejudices. Occasionally, however, when someone from whatever class has an unfavorable experience with the police, they will often change their tune from "respect authority" to distrust.

As a white, middle-class male, all but one of my many interactions with the police have been favorable. These run the gamut from moving violations and teenage hijinks to, shall we say, much more serious situations. Even when I've been arrested for serious crimes, the police have been unusually polite, professional, and kind. (Of course, one cop said to me that he'd never arrested anyone as nice as me, or something to that effect.)

The one bad experience I've had, tellingly, was when I was at a large party in the barrio and I was the only anglo there. It was a loud and eventually violent party—there was a knife fight in the front yard—and it should be aknowledged that the police had reason to be fairly aggressive. Even so, they were extremely aggressive, didn't follow procedures for respecting anyone's rights, and such. When I mildly asked for clarification of the legal basis upon which their authority to order us to do the specific things we were being ordered to do, a cop got very much in my face and I thought he was going to hit me.

Anyway, the point is that police behavior varies widely both because individual police officers vary widely and because the police tend to act quite differently depending upon the situation they're in and how threatened they feel they are. Typically, the lower you go in socioeconomic status of a situation, the more the police will be suspicious, often are threatened, and the worst behavior will be seen.

My point here is that absolute generalizations about police behavior are wrong. My own experience and observation, including videos I've seen and eyewitness accounts of misconduct, tell me that both extreme views of the police are validated in different situations. They can be the very professional civil servants protecting public safety who rescue cats from trees and say "Sir" and "Ma'am" and such, and they can also be the hyperviolent bullies that go apeshit over nothing.

There's a lot of different reasons for this and some of it is inevitable. But a lot of it is the result of certain policy decisions in combination with socioeconomic factors and our overly violent society.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:44 PM on June 27, 2007 [8 favorites]


oaf: LordSludge, you're under arrest for self-linking. You actually were a couple of minutes ago, but I decided to get myself a soda before clicking "Post Comment." Your fault for not knowing.

::runs::
posted by LordSludge at 6:48 PM on June 27, 2007


Another brilliant policeman, oh the memories.
posted by caddis at 6:50 PM on June 27, 2007


I have a relative who's a cop, and he's a really good one.

That said, he's always kind of surprised to hear that I, a white person with no criminal record, avoid them at all costs. Best case scenario, if I'm dealing with a cop, it means I've run a red-light or was speeding. Worst case, it means I saw a horrible traffic accident, had my car fucked with and/or stolen.

Because if you have something stolen from, say, your former apartment where a window was smashed in, and you call the cops, it's really not worth it. Chances are they aren't going to find your lost property, and if they do (in the case of, let's say, a car) it'll be trashed/burned-out/stripped, what have you. They will, however, grill you with questions, ask to see identification, and take down a physical description of you, the supposed victim. Nine times out of ten, it's just not worth dealing with cops.

I guess I could think really hard and come up with some moment where a cop helped me out but really, I can buy a map if I need directions somewhere. Which isn't to say Officer Friendlies aren't out there but like taxes, they're a necessary evil. They don't see themselves that way, which I guess is necessary to get out of bed in the morning, but so be it.

/NOT ANTI-COPIST, really I'm not. They can be really interesting guys, actually, if they get into the profession for the right reasons. But it attracts some real fuckwits with raging insecurity complexes as well.
posted by bardic at 7:18 PM on June 27, 2007


My parent's house is in Hot Springs. I visit there twice a year. I was like, "oh my god! bathhouse row!"

Yeah the cop's crazy, but the skateboard kids will wear this like a badge of honor. And they got it on video! They've got proof! It doesn't get any better than that.
posted by fungible at 7:20 PM on June 27, 2007


So this guy probably suffers from micropenis

The joke's on you, because we all know that people who suspect other's of having small penises are the ones that have the smallest penises. So there you have it.
posted by dhammond at 8:19 PM on June 27 [+] [!]


naah---micropenis, micropenis!! and i don't have one at all!!!!
posted by etaoin at 7:25 PM on June 27, 2007


Ya got trouble, my friend. Right here in River City ... it begins with "S" ... "your young men will be fritterin' away their noon time, suppertime, chore time, too!"
posted by ericb at 7:28 PM on June 27, 2007


If I may interject for Cool Papa here. He's saying that we don't have the beginning of the confrontation on tape, what led up to Sgt. Dumbass choking the kid. It just starts with that, and it's likely when the skater/cameraman arrived at the scene at hit "record". So, like most crimes, we don't know the initial cause of the incident.

Exactly.

Don't become a lawyer, 'kay?
What the fuck is that supposed to mean?


You're trying to convince me of something without any evidence. I apologize for the snarkiness. But I questioned the completeness of the video, and I was pointed to an "uncut" version, and that version had the same problems as the original.

When this goes to court, and they play this tape as evidence of Sgt. Dumbass' wrongdoing, they will have a huge hurdle to overcome because it doesn't show the original incident and has a limited point of view (at one interval, the camera is on the ground, pointing at not much). So all you have is some video of Sgt. Dumbass running amok, without much context. It sure looks awful (and in truth, IS awful), but its true evidentiary weight is actually quite limited.

But that doesn't stop MeFis from going on about "fuck the pigs" as if we live in Oakland in 1972.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:35 PM on June 27, 2007


In my opinion, this is a bigger deal than Miranda Rights. I think a cop should have to tell you "You're under arrest" before you are, in fact, under arrest.

That's an interesting question, of when exactly you're under arrest; I hadn't thought the cop's intent plays any part, but perhaps it does.

One thing though, is that there are many instances where it's clearly not reasonable to expect a police officer to provide a verbal warning before committing a physical action. For example, if I pull a gun on a cop and start shooting, it's simply not reasonable to expect him to attempt to warn me of my rights before attempting to detain me (or defend himself).
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:41 PM on June 27, 2007


Coincidentally, I did a Google search on the police officer -- 'Joey Williams' -- and discovered that there is a talented Canadian skateboarder by the same name.

Skateboarder Joey Williams' videos online - 1, 2.
posted by ericb at 7:46 PM on June 27, 2007


He's trying to detain 3 to 5 young'uns carrying skateboards which could easily be used as weapons. He's seriously outnumbered. So he's trying to control the situation, because anything else is dangerous for a cop.

That's asinine.

If he wanted to "control the situation," he'd have simply called for enough backup to deal with the kids calmly.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:53 PM on June 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


When this goes to court, and they play this tape as evidence of Sgt. Dumbass' wrongdoing, they will have a huge hurdle to overcome because it doesn't show the original incident and has a limited point of view (at one interval, the camera is on the ground, pointing at not much). So all you have is some video of Sgt. Dumbass running amok, without much context. It sure looks awful (and in truth, IS awful), but its true evidentiary weight is actually quite limited.


I disagree, but it depends upon which of the kids you are talking about. The first one, the one being choked on the ground, you are right to a degree, but to a jury that choking plays big. It ain't all just the facts and this kid is like one third the cop's size so this seems excessive. However, that is why kid number three is screwed. He raced at the cop and attacked him. OK, the cop was being a huge dick right there, but you can't get away with doing that unless it is to save life or prevent injury or something, and this was just to prevent injustice. Well, it did, as it looks like the chick got away. If the tape helps anyone it would be her. If they actually charged her, the tape would show that she appeared to do nothing wrong other than challenge the cop's arrest tactics. Yes, in real life that will get you arrested more often than not, but with good video evidence, not convicted.
posted by caddis at 8:01 PM on June 27, 2007


Shit, I hadn't seen the UCLA video.

Can someone tell me just what in the fuck you're supposed to do in that situation? I mean, if an officer of the law threatens to kill someone in cold blood, you're given a pass if you decide to tackle the motherfucker. So what are you allowed to do when they're just torturing someone?

If you want to see a perfect example of the Bystander Effect in action, just watch as that mass of young, angry people sit on their collective hands while a great injustice unfolds right in front of their eyes.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:04 PM on June 27, 2007


Wow, this was more entertaining than any film so far screened in Fox's On the Lot. In a perfect world, that helmet-cam would be the one getting the $1 million movie deal with DreamWorks.
posted by jeremy b at 8:06 PM on June 27, 2007


If the tape helps anyone it would be her.

It's funny, I think she's in the worst position. ;-)

IMO, if I'm the attorney, I say she's watched the entire thing, she knows the police officer is arresting her friends, she knows the police officer is shouting things about violations of ordinances, and she knows the police officer is attempting to control people (albeit poorly). She taken this all in, and can't argue she's surprised at all, and when the cop gives her a verbal instruction (and he does, it's quick though), she tries to run anyway. She's one of the one's most clearly disobeying a verbal command.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:08 PM on June 27, 2007


And here--since no one has done so yet--is an obligatory mention of Rodney King.
posted by jeremy b at 8:08 PM on June 27, 2007


Watch the Uncut Video -- Part 1 (to which CitrusFreak12 links above).

At 00:41 a kid states: "The cop just choked him and I got a picture of it."

At 00:47 the officer states "Come here," likely directed at this kid who has made the statement ... and then starts to chase him.

I'd say that the officer was attempting to apprehend him for the fact that he had photographed the event -- and not for disobeying a city ordinance regarding skateboarding.

Watch it.
posted by ericb at 8:30 PM on June 27, 2007


Cool Papa Bell, the thing is, taking into account that the girl did all of those things, isn't there a general guideline for the police that specifies using the least amount of force possible in the given situation?

At the very least, headlocks and handcuffs and choking seem like, "excessive force" to me.
posted by misha at 8:33 PM on June 27, 2007


You're trying to convince me of something without any evidence.

You said that since the video was incomplete and contained jump cuts. I pointed you in the direction of an uncut version of the video. Exactly what am I trying to convince you of?


But I questioned the completeness of the video, and I was pointed to an "uncut" version, and that version had the same problems as the original.

Stop using the skeptic quotes around the word uncut. The video is fucking uncut. Just because it is not a video of the entire incident in question does not mean it is an edited video. The video is whole, the account which it records is not.

You are right, though, we don't know what led up to point where the video camera arrives. I'm pretty sure it was "resisting arrest" and that since the kids are being so darn calm the entire time and saying "we were just skateboarding" that nobody cracked him over the head with a lead pipe. I find the officer's behavior, especially the act of choking a 13 year old boy, hard to justify under any circumstances. The same goes for putting a girl in a strangling headlock because she "put up a fight" by running away. There is force, and then there is excessive force.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 8:41 PM on June 27, 2007


"And here--since no one has done so yet--is an obligatory mention of Rodney King."

Rodney King can't even ollie, dude.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:42 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


misha writes "At the very least, headlocks and handcuffs and choking seem like, 'excessive force' to me."

Hmmm...

Handcuffs = reasonable.
Putting a child in a headlock = potentially fatal form of restraint, arguably reckless endangerment.
Choking a child = assault and battery.
"Shut up or I'll spray you" to already restrained child = assault.

Where are the "O NOES THINK OF TEH CHILDRENS!" types when it's a policeman who is endangering the children? All over the country, as this makes the evening news, republicans' heads are exploding.
posted by mullingitover at 8:56 PM on June 27, 2007


At 00:41 a kid states: "The cop just choked him and I got a picture of it."

At 00:47 the officer states "Come here..."


What justification does the police officer have for the foot pursuit of a bystander? For what reason would he interrupt his subjugation of a 13-year-old skateboarder ("Turn over on your belly now!"), already face-prone of the sidewalk? Did someone pose a threat to him or others physically? No. It was, in my opinion, the statement made by a bystander who can be heard saying that he had photographed the officer choking "said skateboarder." This set the officer off. He, obviously, didn't realize that he was being videotaped (likely by 'helmet-cam'). He then set off to chase someone who had incriminating evidence (i.e. a photograph) aganist his errant behavior. It wasn't about enforcing an ordinance/law, but about "covering one's ass." Unfortunately (for him), Officer Joey Williams didn't realize that his actions would be exposed to a worldwide audience via the World Wide Web...and his abuse of power/authority would be exposed.
posted by ericb at 9:06 PM on June 27, 2007


Whatever happened prior to the tape is irrelevant. That cop told the girl to stop, and she did, and the cop starts choking her! Her friend reacts, and tried to calm the cop down, the cop grabs him by the neck as well. Ridiculous. I hope he enjoys handing out carts at Wal Mart.
posted by The Deej at 9:28 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


And here--since no one has done so yet--is an obligatory mention of Rodney King.

Say what you will about a change of venue to Simi Valley, but Rodney King is the classic example of how, under courtroom scrutiny, even the most egregious-appearing video will fall apart. "We all saw the tape," you say. Well, actually, you probably didn't see the high-speed chase before King arrived at Lakeview Terrace; didn't see the part before George Holliday arrived with the camera, where he was throwing guys off his back and grabbing at cop's guns; didn't see the portions of the footage that were either too blurry to make out or the section that was edited out of the television broadcast by KTLA where he stood up and started running at a cop, etc, etc.

Fuck the pigs? Sometimes, yeah. There's an interesting case going on in my hometown right now, too.

Others, not so much.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:32 PM on June 27, 2007


"Shut up or I'll spray you" to already restrained child = assault.

I'm going out on a limb here, as I'm not familiar at all with US law, but in English law (which I believe shares many features with US law) words can negate a threat. Thus, the use of the conditional means that the child could not apprehend the use of immediate unlawful force, due to the relevance of their own actions or something along those lines. Therefore, no assault. IANAL, but I does love me some Tuberville v. Savage.

Of course, it's highly likely I'm wrong, given the fact that this is in the US, not the UK, so...
posted by djgh at 9:55 PM on June 27, 2007


Doubly so since Tuberville applies to tort, and I can't remember if it's similarly applicable to the criminal law.
posted by djgh at 9:56 PM on June 27, 2007


Uhh, I'm not seeing the girl stop. I'm seeing her running away. And I'm hearing her friend, like, screaming at the cop, very close to him.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 10:00 PM on June 27, 2007


Well, then, commence with the choking!
posted by The Deej at 10:13 PM on June 27, 2007


Police are there to serve and protect. Their goals in life should be to maintain the peace, and keep their community safe. Unless someone can demonstrate that these kids off the tape were causing damages or violence against other citizens, this cop is completely out of line.
What makes your community feel more safe and peaceful? Yelling at some kids out skate boarding when they're not supposed to (which is a completely asinine law) and watching them skate away as you mumble, "damn kids." Or using physical force to assault them and shout at them like you're their abusive stepfather suffering from nicotine withdrawal?
This is not a net gain for the community so the action was wrong. Thus the officer should be punished and it should be severe. As should all abuses of power. The more power one is entrusted with the more he or she should be held accountable for any misuse of that power.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:24 PM on June 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well then, commence with the kneejerk populism! I don't have any sympathy for those kids.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 10:40 PM on June 27, 2007


As far as whether or not saying "Shut up or I'll spray you" to an already restrained child is assault or not, I dont' think that one of the purposes of mace is to get people to stop talking. Mace is for self defense, for the protection of the police officer. You don't use it against a teenager because you don't like the fact that he is asking you questions.

That said, where was that quote in the video? I'm having a hard time locating it, so I don't know if it was even said or not.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:56 PM on June 27, 2007


No kneejerk here. Unless it's a knee jerking into the groin of that cop.

I am one of the most law-and-order people you'll ever meet. Cops have a tough job, and they have to be on high alert. They know they are risking their lives, and a threat can come from the most unexpected places. They have my utmost respect.

But there's something going on there that's just not kosher, and tarnished the respect I have for law enforcement. If I came across that in person, it would take a lot of self control to not get bent out. I'd for sure video and photograph it at least, and I'd probably stay around and serve as a witness for the inevitable lawsuits.

It's true we can't tell everything from the video. But you can tell enough to know that something is wrong with how that was handled.
posted by The Deej at 11:08 PM on June 27, 2007


Good for you for actually trying to find the quote in the video. (I advise you to trust your own ears)
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 11:09 PM on June 27, 2007


The whole situation is damn non-kosher, for sure. It strikes me, though, that a lot of posters are uncritically piling-on. And forgetting a few facts.

Everyday common sense indicates that if you follow a cop down the street, several of you, carrying large pieces of wood and yelling at him, that there might be bad consequences. And it's generally known that if you run away after you've been told you're under arrest, the policeman will try to grab you. At least.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 11:23 PM on June 27, 2007


That's the problem with authority: give someone a little and they will wield it to the fullest extent of their ability.

I can't help but be reminded of the Stanford prison experiment.
posted by wsg at 11:47 PM on June 27, 2007


CitrusFreak12 writes "That said, where was that quote in the video? I'm having a hard time locating it, so I don't know if it was even said or not."

Yeah, I just watched it again. His actual quote is, while the kid is lying prostrate, "You get your hands behind that back. YOU UNDERSTAND ME!? Or I'll spray ya."

...which is completely reasonable?
posted by mullingitover at 12:43 AM on June 28, 2007


i have no idea how the legal system will work with this ... but i predict that the right thinking people of hot springs, arkansas will come up with the proper, small town way of dealing with officer joey "skateboard" williams

"hi officer skateboard, how you doin'?"

"hey, skateboard, have a donut"

whatever the outcome of this case, these kids need to make sure the name "skateboard" sticks on him

the neat thing about a town the size of hot springs is that eventually everyone knows the truth about you if you push things hard enough

this guy is NEVER going to live this down unless he leaves town ... the only question being whether he's got enough support behind him to survive everyone being up in his business and calling him skateboard

i'm from a somewhat larger, but still small city and i know how this can go
posted by pyramid termite at 1:02 AM on June 28, 2007


So, how much of a tax hike would it cost us to triple the salary of all police officers, so we could attract and keep people of higher calibre to the force, and give the boot to this kind of officer who is a danger to the community?
posted by -harlequin- at 1:36 AM on June 28, 2007


Uh, hello, every police procedure manual I've ever read clearly states that strangulation is the preferred method of restraint when dealing with children.

Er, cite please?
posted by effugas at 2:20 AM on June 28, 2007


So, how much of a tax hike would it cost us to triple the salary of all police officers, so we could attract and keep people of higher calibre to the force, and give the boot to this kind of officer who is a danger to the community?

The problem is not the kind of person who is attracted to the police force, but the system that allows police officers to get away with this kind of thing.

If this happened in the UK there would be a national outcry. The Chief Superintendent (the boss) of the police force would be expected to make a statement, and might even have to resign. Politicians would become involved.

This is because we Brits expect the police to protect us. They're members of the community (literally—the position of "constable" is a community position, like a mayor). True, sometimes this doesn't happen, but people become police in the UK to "make a difference".

In the US, people seem to become police officers because they like to wield power. Policing in the UK isn't about power. It's about enforcing the law and keeping the peace.

It's gotta be said that carrying a gun implies a lot of power. In the UK, street police don't carry a gun, and the weapons they do have are defensive rather than offensive.
posted by humblepigeon at 3:13 AM on June 28, 2007


So, how much of a tax hike...

That's where you lose people. They want great police and teachers and other public servants, but they want them for free.

I want the average police officer ($35,000 starting salary?) to be as smart and well-educated as, for example, the average college professor ($50,000 starting salary?). I don't think that's asking too much, seeing as the police officer has a complicated, stressful job and carries a gun and can kill you. So you need to come up with $15,000 more per year per officer just to match starting salaries.

There are about 100 officers in the Hot Springs police department, so the city would have to find at least 100*15,000 = 1.5 million dollars more every year to hire and retain great officers. The LAPD has 9500 officers, so Los Angeles would have to come up with at least 9500*15,000 = 142.5 million dollars more every year to hire and retain great officers. Something like that.

And still it would be easier to attract good people into other jobs because, to take one tiny thing into consideration, cops are much more likely to be hurt or killed on the job than, say, the average business manager is. So you might have to double, not necessarily triple, the average police officer's pay to attract the best and brightest in the land.
posted by pracowity at 3:39 AM on June 28, 2007


You're trying to convince me of something without any evidence.

Unless the kid being restrained shot the cop's partner before the video started rolling, I'm having trouble thinking what necessitated the choking a 13-year old. Whatever happened might or might not have been an arrestable offence, but the methods used to restrain the suspect were excessive, especially as the person being restrained was just a kid.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:22 AM on June 28, 2007


Whether or not its merely more reporting or its more incidents, there seems to be an increase of police out of control. Frankly I blame is on the attitude of 'authority without consequence' mindset of the Bush administration. I'm in charge here and I can do whatever I want.

So I have grown a strong distrust for the police.
posted by MrLint at 4:29 AM on June 28, 2007


I'm pretty pro-authority, but holy crap, none of that was necessary. I've never seen or heard of a police officer in the UK behave in such an out of control manner, especially towards the large groups of kids most of them have to deal with when the weekends roll around. If that cop wasn't armed with the capability to assault them, they probably would have had more of an opportunity to defend themselves.

I would imagine his insane behaviour stems from lack of training for situations dealing with young people, or maybe general lack of training in dealing with non-threatening (but law breaking) groups of people in a public situation. Or maybe he's just an asshole on a power trip.

Either way, dude needs some help. No one can honestly say that that was the best method of dealing with the situation.
posted by saturnine at 5:15 AM on June 28, 2007


So, how much of a tax hike...

None. Cut the defense budget by 25% to cover social programs while still spending more on defense than everyone else in the world put together. The US has 11 out of the 20 aircraft carriers in the world (with two under construction); all the world's carriers can carry 1250 planes, and the US carriers account for over 1000 of that capacity. Cutting one aircraft carrier (the USS George H.W. Bush costs $6 billion) would pay for raises for lots of cops.

posted by kirkaracha at 5:44 AM on June 28, 2007


so we could attract and keep people of higher calibre to the force

I don't think money has anything to do with it. With overtime and other benefits, cops in NYC, for example do pretty well financially. The main issue is that the job itself attracts a certain type of aggressive personality. Problems only occur when discipline breaks down, or troubled officers are not dealt with early and directly enough in their indoctrination.

I have 4 friends from high school that become cops. They all were, for lack of a better expression "ass kickers" in high school. Bascially good guys, but guys you wouldn't mess with under any circumstances. It's worth noting that they are all, as far as I can tell, exemplary officers with many years of service, but they have told some stories of things they've seen that have made me shudder.
posted by psmealey at 5:50 AM on June 28, 2007


Obviously influenced by movies starring bruce willis. But it could be improved if the kids spoke with some sort of foreign accent.
posted by nicolin at 5:51 AM on June 28, 2007


If this happened in the UK there would be a national outcry. The Chief Superintendent (the boss) of the police force would be expected to make a statement, and might even have to resign. Politicians would become involved.

Hah. Ask Jean Charles de Menezes about that. Ask the officers involved -- who are still on the force.
posted by eriko at 6:07 AM on June 28, 2007


Hah. Ask Jean Charles de Menezes about that. Ask the officers involved -- who are still on the force.

It's always easy to find exceptions to any rule, and I'm as angry about the de Menezes shooting as you (seven times?!). The guys behind the de Menezes shooting were antiterrorist police. A world away from the type of police we're likely to deal with.

Read the blogs of various coppers in the UK. These are ordinary people doing a job. They get into the job because they want to make a difference. They take their job seriously, and the responsibility (and powers) that come with it.

The whole foundation underlying the police in the UK is vastly different from that in the US. The police in the US are like an army. They "protect and serve". Can you imagine one of our coppers claiming that? He'd be laughed out of town. Our coppers keep the peace and enforce the law. It's an entirely different focus.
posted by humblepigeon at 6:47 AM on June 28, 2007


If this happened in the UK there would be a national outcry. The Chief Superintendent (the boss) of the police force would be expected to make a statement, and might even have to resign. Politicians would become involved.

At the community policing level I don't think it would even have the opportunity of happening. The police in my area respond with overwhelming numbers to even minor situations. A drunken scrap between two men outside my flat at 3am had about 8 police show up.

On foot patrol the cops move about in pairs. It doesn't surprise me as the local police seem quite unimposing so the numbers are needed for their sake but the benefit is all around. The cops here are very different from north america. I've seen some of them laugh when there wasn't even an injured person nearby.
posted by srboisvert at 6:58 AM on June 28, 2007


> I bet that cop just got back from Iraq like, two days ago.

Maybe he should go and get an appreciation for what real problems are, and put that whole skateboarding thing into perspective. Cops like this aren't cops, they're thugs. I've met real cops, and they don't need to satisfy animal desires for power and authority. This man has neither, and he knows it, which is why he attacks kids.
posted by holycola at 7:11 AM on June 28, 2007


The flaw with Rodney King being considered a total "victim" was that the guy wasn't ever an innocent law-abiding citizen like these kids. That guy is an alcoholic, repeat-offending criminal and violent domestic abuser.

I'm not sure if he skateboards too.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:54 AM on June 28, 2007


Oh, I almost forgot... Metafilter: What the fuck is that supposed to mean?
posted by miss lynnster at 7:55 AM on June 28, 2007


With overtime and other benefits, cops in NYC, for example do pretty well financially.

As they do in Boston --

Boston Police Among Highest Paid in Nation
"With high base salaries, opportunities to work lucrative construction details, and one of the nation's most generous overtime programs, Boston's rank-and-file police officers brought home $78,906 on average in 2002, and those who earned higher-education degrees made considerably more....Many detectives now receive salaries in excess of $90,000 a year."
"Average pay for Boston police patrolman, including overtime and other benefits...: $81,725 [in October 2004]"

Police Pay in Major Cities [March 2004].
posted by ericb at 8:02 AM on June 28, 2007


The flaw with Rodney King being considered a total "victim" was ... That guy is an alcoholic

Just wanted to pick you up on that. An alcoholic is somebody who suffers from a illness. Not only that but it's an illness that can be cured given the right treatment. An alcoholic isn't automatically a criminal and the two terms shouldn't be used interchangeably.

That is all.
posted by humblepigeon at 8:49 AM on June 28, 2007


With overtime and other benefits, cops in NYC, for example do pretty well financially.

I find it interesting that our American MeFi colleagues bring the argument down to being one of money.
posted by humblepigeon at 8:50 AM on June 28, 2007


simply put

OUTRUN FAT COPS.

(i was honsetly expecting Fatso to try to pop the kid he was chasing. sooo out of control, jeez, they're KIDS fer chrissake)

that is all.
posted by djrock3k at 9:09 AM on June 28, 2007


If this happened in the UK there would be a national outcry. The Chief Superintendent (the boss) of the police force would be expected to make a statement, and might even have to resign. Politicians would become involved.

No shit. Even though I've seen police do this sort of crazy violence stuff at close quarters in the US with my own eyes, I still find it genuinely hard to believe that they behave so brutally, seemingly as a matter of course.

While watching this all I could think of was my many interactions with the police when I was a skater, which were uniformly chatty and pleasant. I've even had a policemen ask for a quick go on my deck before moving us on, because he used to skate himself as a kid - we all got to laugh at a rozzer skating ineptly, he got us to move to a spot where skating was okay, no extreme violence required. (Not that the UK police are all lovely sweethearts or anything, but kicking the shit out of children does tend to be frowned upon. Unless they're black, obviously.)
posted by jack_mo at 9:11 AM on June 28, 2007


I've never had a run-in with police. I got a speeding ticket one and was sheepish because, well, I was speeding. I've also taken field trips with the kids to police stations and realized that police officers here are really under-paid. I don't assume that every police officer became a police officer because he's a megalomaniac.

I've tried to be measured in my comments because I respect the opinions of others here, but I just can't see how anyone could watch that video and NOT think that policeman's behavior is WAYYYY over the top.

No matter what the 13 year-old kid did before the video, there's just no excuse for his behavior to not only that kid but the others who are with him.
posted by misha at 10:48 AM on June 28, 2007


i've had lots of run ins with the cops that have gone from having my head pulled back by grabbing my hair to cops going out of their way to make things easier for me. the last time i got pulled over, the cop threatened to write me a ticket for speeding that wouldn't have held up in court. that cop began to look for other things to ticket me for, but rather then argue, i told him that i could fix my license plate issue on the spot, and promptly did so. my cooperation resulted in me just getting a warning, and spending 20 minutes with him by the road vs. going to court and dealing with multiple tickets. the cop actually thanked me for being so cooperative at the end.

from what i saw in the video, the cop lost control of the situation, and handled it poorly. skateboarding in the downtown area of my town is illegal, but i don't think it's an arrestable offense.
posted by lester at 11:15 AM on June 28, 2007


I find it interesting that our American MeFi colleagues bring the argument down to being one of money.

I find it interesting that you zeroed in a comment which was expressly designed to refute the original point that it was about money to make a point about other MeFites tending to reduce such arguments to matters of money.
posted by psmealey at 11:22 AM on June 28, 2007


As an aside.. Hot Springs is a great little town. Its beautifull, small and has a fantastic nationally famous documentary film festival. But really, I stay for the protection the police afford me from those little skate fuckers.
posted by hatchetjack at 12:05 PM on June 28, 2007


I know it sounds cliche, but I think the earlier note about guns might have a lot to do with it. If an officer doesn't have a gun, then the focus of his job is naturally going to be to diffuse a situation, because most of the time, if things escalate to a physical confrontation, he is not going to be dealing with kids like these, but with angry adults. So getting people to calm down and come quietly is high on the agenda.
If, instead, things can progress to guns in short order, many situations can be "solved" by taking control via ratcheting them up then to overpower via weapons. It's not even the drawing of the gun, merely that it is there means the option is there, and having that option gives that attitude, and with that attitude comes the abuse of power.
In the USA, I don't think you could de-arm a police force, so if being armed is a significant part of the problem, it makes the police culture problem that bit more intractable.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:32 PM on June 28, 2007


Metafilter: What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

::snort::
That brightened my day a little, Miss Lynnster.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:36 PM on June 28, 2007


Let me say this, ...I walk down Central Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas all the time. Touristy. Lots of old people milling around on that sidewalk. The no skateboarding rule is well known, on that street.

The cop was a dick. But the kids a partly responsible for getting themselves into this situation.
posted by thisisdrew at 3:27 PM on June 28, 2007


i was honsetly expecting Fatso to try to pop the kid he was chasing

That's what throwing your nightstick into their legs is for.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:42 PM on June 28, 2007


The first thing I thought when I saw the video was that this is a bad cop. Not bad as in crooked or corrupt, though he may be, but bad like bad at his job. If you can't defuse a situation involving kids without escalating it to violence, then you have no business being a cop. Does he go into all of his calls this way? It looks to me like he got his pride hurt, and he then decided to save it by choking some kids. Stupid and unnecessary - it opens him and his department up to lawsuits and terrible publicity. I hope the other cops in Hot Springs get better training than this guy got.
posted by rtha at 4:16 PM on June 28, 2007


Mail to the chief of police is bouncing with this message:

PERM_FAILURE: SMTP Error (state 13): 550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable

Not mailbox full, but unavailable. It's probably too much to hope that he resigned or was fired for not firing Joey Williams quick enough.
posted by hutta at 2:49 AM on June 29, 2007


ABC News: "...the grass roots Internet effort by the skaters has spawned a deluge of calls and e-mails to the department.

'We are getting so many calls that people with problems are not getting through,' [Hot Springs Police Officer Clifford] McNeely said, adding that 911 calls come in to a separate line.

...[skater Matt McCormack] had considered posting the full 10 minutes of the skating video but has since been advised by council to stop posting and save any further evidence for court."
posted by ericb at 11:54 AM on June 29, 2007


". . . has since been advised by council . . ."

Whoever at ABC doesn't know the difference between council and counsel should be kicked.
posted by The World Famous at 11:57 AM on June 29, 2007


New video shows skateboarders, suspended Hot Springs officer in pursuit
"A new video shows a suspended Hot Springs police officer sprinted after the last in line of 10 skateboarders who rolled down a city sidewalk single-file -- just before forcing the boy to the ground and apparently choking him.

The video from a downtown merchant's surveillance cameras is silent, not offering a chance to hear what the young people may have said to start Officer Joey Williams after them on June 21st.

....The surveillance video, taken by two cameras at the Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum, shows groups of no more than five people at a time walking down the sidewalk of Central Avenue. At the time stamp of 1-23 pm, a group of 10 skateboarders starts rolling past the museum at a good clip in a single-file line. Seconds later, Williams sprints past the last skater, apparently after one wearing a brown shirt.

The skater's YouTube video shows a still image of Williams on top of that skater, apparently choking him. The video shows another skater running off and Williams chasing after, leaving the youth on the sidewalk restrained in handcuffs. Later, the YouTube video shows Williams putting 2 of the skaters in a headlock and the officer can be heard threatening to use pepper spray on a skater lying on the ground if he moved.

The surveillance tape shows that a crowd gathered to watch Williams, now off-camera, talk to the skaters. A police cruiser arrives at 1-27 pm, and three minutes later, Williams walks away from the skaters alone, appearing to be trying to collect himself."
posted by ericb at 7:30 AM on June 30, 2007


Hot Springs is a resort town about 50 miles west of Little Rock.

"Stay out of Malibu!"

Also, resort? In ArchKansas?
posted by Eideteker at 8:30 AM on June 30, 2007


Internal Review Board's Decision
Spoiler: "He did nothing wrong"
posted by Crash at 4:18 AM on July 3, 2007


Internal Review Board's Decision
Spoiler: "He did nothing wrong"


Upon reflection, I agree with IAB.
posted by Snyder at 3:29 PM on July 4, 2007


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