Join 3,440 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Sometimes bad cops do get punished
December 16, 2008 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Police Officer Seen on Tape Shoving a Bicyclist Is Indicted - Update to the widely viewed video of a NYC police officer shoving a critical mass rider off of his bicycle, reported on MeFi here.
posted by caddis (228 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's too bad that literally the only time police officers are charged with anything is when there is high-definition video evidence from multiple angles.

Without the video Mr. Long would be in prison right now and Officer Pogan would have gotten a medal.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:14 AM on December 16, 2008 [30 favorites]


Ok, that's one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:26 AM on December 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I think the critical mass folks can be abrasive, not-helping-really militant wankers, but that body-check still really pissed me off. Good to see the stupid dick who did it getting his just desserts.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:27 AM on December 16, 2008 [10 favorites]


Good.
posted by MarshallPoe at 8:27 AM on December 16, 2008


That popping sound you hear is the police-state apologists head exploding from the following paradox:

Horn the first: The police are always right.
Horn the second: A conviction always means you are guilty and wrong and evil and smelly.

Countdown to the Theory of Bad Apples in 5...4...
posted by DU at 8:27 AM on December 16, 2008 [9 favorites]


I hate to see one bad cop give the whole force a black eye. Most NYC cops are saints who never do anything wrong.
posted by RussHy at 8:29 AM on December 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


Remember, indicted does not mean convicted and convicted does not mean 'punished'. I suspect it will be a long while until anything really comes of this.
posted by Science! at 8:30 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


What Happy Dave said.
posted by fixedgear at 8:33 AM on December 16, 2008


I have to wonder who's paying for the cop's lawyer? Is it the city or police union, or is he expected to pay out of pocket?

And then, I'll ask this (largely rhetorical) question - the guy he knocked off his bike - did he get a city- or union-funded lawyer before the charges were dropped against him?
posted by deadmessenger at 8:33 AM on December 16, 2008


I'm relatively new to this place, and it's always interesting to see how law enforcement rates in each group.
posted by Hachijuhachi at 8:39 AM on December 16, 2008


The police union is probably paying for the cop's lawyer, and, as it was a criminal complaint, the bike rider would have been entitled to a court-appointed lawyer at no cost.

That having been said, the rider's lawyer is also my lawyer, and this is the kind of case a lawyer can make a name on. I've heard a bit about the case, and don't be surprised if more indictments happen. The cop was new to the force, and had help filling out the false report documents.
posted by crickets at 8:41 AM on December 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


I was doing Critical Mass last year with the University of Maine and had to stop to fix my bike, and was riding on the shoulder to catch up when one of those ultra-sized Dodge Rams came up beside me and forced me off down an embankment.

In retrospect, they were my neighbors and they could have had an accident happen to their truck. It's a shame it didn't occur to me at the time.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:43 AM on December 16, 2008


It's too bad that literally the only time police officers are charged with anything is when there is high-definition video evidence from multiple angles.

Well, thank goodness for the recent abundance of affordable high-definition video evidence, huh? A couplet:

However thick Lady Justice may be,
here's to accountability!
posted by nosila at 8:45 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hachijuhachi: I am strongly pro-law enforcement. I think the video is a little suspect without audio.

A little.

While it's possible he recognized the rider, possible he had ordered the guy to stop (without hand-motion?) and the swerving qualifies as an attempt to flee, the officer certainly seems like a not-so-nice dude from the video.

I wonder what will come of the trial. I hope we get updates.
posted by jock@law at 8:46 AM on December 16, 2008


When I was a kid, I got pushed off my bike a lot, I was just a little guy. Nobody was ever indicted, it never made the newspaper, and, there's no video because we didn't have cell phones in 1955 (although, I did make this little flip book that showed my head hitting the ground and spattering blood all over the place, I think I could still find that).

One of the kids that pushed me off my bike became the prosecuting attorney for a good sized Midwestern town.

Prosecuting attorneys, therefore, are all evil.
posted by HuronBob at 8:48 AM on December 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


Addendum: I'm an idiot. I had mute on. Yeah this officer should almost definitely not be on the force.

But I'm still strongly pro-law enforcement.
posted by jock@law at 8:49 AM on December 16, 2008


Dunkadunc, it's a real shame about all the extra air in their tires, and the woeful lack of limberger cheese in the radiator.
posted by notsnot at 8:49 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hachi ju hachi? You sound like a robot, and that scares me. Discussions of police and robots make me think of Robocop or Terminator, and neither ended well.

dunkadunc - I'm glad you didn't. I'd like to think respect breeds respect. Maybe knock on their door and tell them you were injured when they didn't notice a bicyclist. A punctured tire or gouged door would only anger them, and that would get fixed. Hopefully talking to them would make them aware of bikers. Hopefully.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:51 AM on December 16, 2008


I am also strongly pro-law enforcement. But "law enforcement" is an activity, not a group of people. We are a nation of laws, not men.
posted by DU at 8:52 AM on December 16, 2008 [26 favorites]


Back in the day when I was riding my bike to work. I was hit by a cab in plain view of a police cruiser. I was just bumped and not seriously hurt. The cab took off as I picked myself and my bike up out of the street. The police officer pulled over and I asked them if they were going to go after the cab? One officer replied that he hadn't really seen anything and the other officer said that it looked like I ran into the cab. They cruised away from me while my mind adjusted to what had just happened. If my jaw was detachable, it would have fallen off.
posted by doctorschlock at 8:54 AM on December 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I am strongly pro-law enforcement. I think the video is a little suspect without audio.
posted by jock@law at 8:46 AM on December 16


{sigh} It's too bad that literally the only time police officers are charged with anything is when there is high-definition video evidence from multiple angles, along with professional surround-sound audio taken with three or more boom mics, along with transcripts from a professional secretary well-versed in shorthand and at least two court reporters, who must all witness the incident using their cybernetically-augmented eyes and ears.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:55 AM on December 16, 2008 [8 favorites]


I don't care how pro-law enforcement you want to be, there is nothing a "little suspect" about the video, audioless or not. The police officer was in the middle of the street, the crowds of bikers going wide wide around both of them. Officer Pogan begins to separate from his co-officer walking left in the frame, looking DIRECTLY at the biker he would shoulder check in a moment.

He makes no hand motion to slow or stop, there is no obvious reason why he goes after this particular biker, and at least from the video we can't see him saying anything.

The biker swerves further to frame-left in an attempt to avoid hitting the police officer. The officer walks a bit faster.

The officer lowers his shoulder, plants it in the biker's chest and sends him flying to the ground.

The biker was moving at, I would estimate, 15-20 mph? The officer then goes back to the station and invents a story about the biker's actions. Despite the fact that it happened in TIMES SQUARE where the entire 4 block radius is covered in people that just watched you hipcheck a guy off of a bike.

Forget assault, the officer should get attempt murder, and there is NOTHING suspect about the video.
posted by Inkoate at 8:56 AM on December 16, 2008 [8 favorites]


Man, I had never seen that video before. WTF? If people end up behaving better because someone MIGHT be filming them, then I'm all for it. I'd like to think people would treat others with respect and fairness just because that's how society would work, but maybe some need the fear of being caught on film.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:58 AM on December 16, 2008


I think attempted murder is a little strong, but assault for sure. The swerving to get out of his way looks very obvious.
posted by josher71 at 8:58 AM on December 16, 2008


I think attempted murder is a little strong

Yeah, I was probably being a little hyperbolic there, but man that makes me angry.
posted by Inkoate at 9:02 AM on December 16, 2008


Inkoate: Please learn to read. You'll save everyone a lot of time and stress.

Optimus Chyme: That's not the only time. Lots of prosecutions happen against police officers for excessive force, for violent crimes, for corruption, and for things totally unrelated to their jobs. I'm glad to say I've been involved in one of those prosecutions. (We won and the officer is now no longer an officer and sits in prison.)
posted by jock@law at 9:03 AM on December 16, 2008


Inkoate: It was more than a little strong, and it's hypocritical of you to rail against the police for misusing the criminal justice system to suit their anger... and then suggest that the prosecutor misuse the criminal justice system to suit your anger.
posted by jock@law at 9:05 AM on December 16, 2008


Hm... What should I learn to read? I also watched the video with mute on and came to precisely the opposite reaction you did.
posted by Inkoate at 9:06 AM on December 16, 2008


OK, now I just read the full news story and it got me even more riled. Those are some pretty crappy steps the cop took to cover up his bad knucklehead impulse.

For his punishment they should make a ride a bike to work for a year or two. A little girls bike.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:07 AM on December 16, 2008


Um, I wasn't making a charging suggestion to a prosecutor re: attempt murder. I was posting on an internet forum with no repercussions for anyone.

The officer, on the other hand WAS making a charging suggestion to a prosecutor. A fabricated one, it turns out.

I don't find the two analogous.
posted by Inkoate at 9:08 AM on December 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


Inkoate, how about reading the part where I realized I'd been an idiot and withdrew what I said about it having no audio? I very clearly indicated that the video was suspect because there was no audio. Since I realized I was wrong about the source of my conclusion (the audio), what on God's good earth would make you think I would persist in the conclusions I drew from that source? Your comment was, at best, disingenuous.
posted by jock@law at 9:11 AM on December 16, 2008


That's great, jock. But you know as well as I do that the standard for convicting an officer of anything is a million times higher than that of the average citizen, and a billion times higher than that of a black male.

When the defendant is an LEO, "beyond a reasonable doubt" means he confessed, or there is video, or two truckloads of physical evidence. When the defendant is an average citizen, some planted or faked evidence will suffice. When the defendant is black, the officer's say-so is enough. Don't pretend that your involvement in one prosecution has anything to do with the endemic, unstoppable, and growing corruption and lawlessness of the police in every city in America.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:13 AM on December 16, 2008 [16 favorites]


Inkoate you said the officer should get attempted murder. If that's not advocacy, I don't know what is. The fact that your particular opinion is impotent hypocrisy doesn't change the fact that it's hypocrisy.
posted by jock@law at 9:13 AM on December 16, 2008


I know you withdrew, but I said:
there is nothing a "little suspect" about the video, audioless or not
because I believe that watching the video without audio (as you and I both did at first) still clearly showed the inappropriate actions of the police officer, that's all. I didn't think adding audio added anything to my conclusion.
posted by Inkoate at 9:15 AM on December 16, 2008


i saw we punish this cop by making him post here for life - or would that be cruel and unusual punishment?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:15 AM on December 16, 2008


Mr. Long was obstructing vehicular traffic as he rode southbound on Seventh Avenue

...the fuck? How can a moving vehicle obstruct vehicular traffic?
posted by giraffe at 9:16 AM on December 16, 2008


Optimus Chyme: C'mon now. Did you have to say something that overreaching? I respect your intelligence and level-headedness, so please don't throw it all away. Every city in America?

Police misconduct may be a problem in many places. It may even be a problem most places. It might even be a big problem most places. But that kind of hyperbole is nothing but anti-establishment eff-the-man police-hating.

The prosecution in my case had no confession or video or much physical evidence. The evidence was all circumstantial, and the conviction was based largely on the chair counsel's skilled use of timelines and other graphical aids to illustrate exactly how long the officer had been at the scene of the crime, alone, unaccounted-for, with his cell phone turned off, immediately before the crime had been committed.
posted by jock@law at 9:19 AM on December 16, 2008


No! It should be attempted murder!

That is exactly what would have been charged if the roles were reversed and the officer was hit. Tell me different.
posted by Elim at 9:20 AM on December 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


For his punishment they should make a ride a bike to work for a year or two. A little girls bike.
I used to think cops should have to wear pink feather boas, until I realized we'd just have a bunch of pissed-off feather-boa-wearing cops.

filthy light thief: It was very clearly malicous swerving. There's a certain kind of college-aged male who doesn't give a crap about running over tree hugging bicyclists- the same kids who go on to be cops or army and post on LGF.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:20 AM on December 16, 2008


I'm relatively new to this place, and it's always interesting to see how law enforcement rates in each group.

Can't speak for all, but I know I'm pro law enforcement.

Didn't see any law enforcement happening in that video, though.
posted by rokusan at 9:20 AM on December 16, 2008 [10 favorites]


you know, support our troops and all that. (biker was a vet - gets better and better, doesn't it?)
posted by eatdonuts at 9:21 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


jock@law writes "Addendum: I'm an idiot. I had mute on. Yeah this officer should almost definitely not be on the force. But I'm still strongly pro-law enforcement."

Perhaps this will serve to warn you of your prejudices and bias the next time you try to "impartially" judge a situation.
posted by orthogonality at 9:21 AM on December 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Hachi ju hachi?

Just curious, but why the emphasis on "ju" (ten)? Though the username is (*cough*) "88".

posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:22 AM on December 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Hachi ju hachi?

Meh. He can spell it however he wants, since it's the wrong alphabet anyway.

(Personally, I would have gone for "Mobile Devastator" as a nickname, though.)
posted by rokusan at 9:23 AM on December 16, 2008


Did you have to say something that overreaching?

You're right, and like every person I have particular biases based on my experiences with the police. I have yet to live in a neighborhood where their presence is welcomed, I have yet to live in a neighborhood where they are not seen as an antagonist, I have yet to live in a neighborhood where they do not treat the residents like criminals they just haven't caught yet.

After the time a police officer smashed my car window when he was refused an illegal search, I figured I'd start making assumptions about them the same way they do about me.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:24 AM on December 16, 2008 [27 favorites]


Though the username is (*cough*) "88".

I chose to ignore your phlegmatic insinuation out of politeness* and looked for innocuous ones.

Another: he could be a simple Japanese piano player!

* Early New Year's resolution?
posted by rokusan at 9:25 AM on December 16, 2008


Just curious, but why the emphasis on "ju" (ten)? Though the username is (*cough*) "88".
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:22 AM on December 16


He's referring to this, I believe.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:26 AM on December 16, 2008


I used to think cops should have to wear pink feather boas, until I realized we'd just have a bunch of pissed-off feather-boa-wearing cops.

GET OUT OF MY NIGHTMARES.
posted by rokusan at 9:26 AM on December 16, 2008


I chose to ignore your phlegmatic insinuation out of politeness* and looked for innocuous ones.

I thank you. And I am a little sniffly.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:28 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Optimus Chyme: After the time a police officer smashed my car window when he was refused an illegal search...

Did you get any recourse after the fact?
posted by dunkadunc at 9:28 AM on December 16, 2008


Did you get any recourse after the fact?
posted by dunkadunc at 9:28 AM on December 16


lol
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:33 AM on December 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Throw the book at him.




On second thought, throw a bike at him.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:37 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have yet to live in a neighborhood where their presence is welcomed, I have yet to live in a neighborhood where they are not seen as an antagonist, I have yet to live in a neighborhood where they do not treat the residents like criminals they just haven't caught yet.

Many of the cops I've interacted with are black and Latin men and women who live in the neighborhoods they patrol.
posted by The Straightener at 9:37 AM on December 16, 2008


Critical mass is obnoxious, and I don't sympathize with them in the slightest. However, this is obvious police brutality, and should be prosecuted to the furthest extent of the law.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:42 AM on December 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


I have biases, too. However, in the masturbatorily hypothetical situation of a no-audio video of an action whose lawfulness depends on the state of mind of the police officer, knowing the words (if any) said beforehand is objectively important.

Omitting something objectively important to a conclusion, yet purporting to conclude anyway, is objectively suspect.

I stand by the hypothetical application of the principle I poorly articulated.
posted by jock@law at 9:43 AM on December 16, 2008


Well, at least he was saved from the terrible secret of space.

I'm strongly pro-law enforcement - which is why I’m glad to see this law breaking vicious thug will go to jail.

Y’know, after all the arguments on this and other topics, you’d think folks’d get the ‘All/some’ concept on blanket assertions, the straw man stuff, etc. etc- irrespective of the subject matter. I guess not.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:50 AM on December 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


an action whose lawfulness depends on the state of mind of the police officer

His lips don't move and he made no gesture. Unless you are positing telepathy, I don't see how his "state of mind" is relevant. He did not emit any information in the visible band to communicate that state of mind.
posted by DU at 9:53 AM on December 16, 2008


In a similar vein, does anyone know what ultimately happened to Officer Rivieri, the Baltimore cop who didn't get the proper respect from some skateboarders? I've found articles stating that the incident was "under investigation," but nothing conclusive.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:53 AM on December 16, 2008


lawfulness depends on the state of mind of the police officer

Pretty sure it doesn't.
posted by regicide is good for you at 9:56 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


How about little girls bikes AND Hello Kitty armbands for maximum humiliation?
posted by elizardbits at 9:59 AM on December 16, 2008


It's not just what the cop did on the street. It's how he then lied about what he did on the street. The cop attacked the bicyclist. The cop stepped purposely in front of a bicyclist who was trying to go around him. The cop did not fall. The cop, a former high school football player, gave a forearm block to the bicyclist and probably scraped his arm a little in the process, as you would if you attacked someone riding by on a bike. And then the cop lied about it all, despite the many witnesses, because he figured being a cop would protect him from punishment for his wrongdoing. That cop needs to lose his job.
posted by pracowity at 10:03 AM on December 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


In a similar vein, does anyone know what ultimately happened to Officer Rivieri, the Baltimore cop who didn't get the proper respect from some skateboarders?

He is still relieved from street duty, and a judge recently allowed the teen to move forward with his lawsuit against the officer.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:13 AM on December 16, 2008


"lawfulness depends on the state of mind of the police officer"

To bad citizens don't get that privilage.
posted by aapep at 10:16 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have yet to live in a neighborhood where their presence is welcomed, I have yet to live in a neighborhood where they are not seen as an antagonist, I have yet to live in a neighborhood where they do not treat the residents like criminals they just haven't caught yet.
That's interesting. I have yet to live in a neighborhood where the police aren't welcomed by the community. And I've lived in London, New York City, the suburbs of Baltimore and Washington, DC, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The single negative run-in I've had with a police officer was when a Boulder policeman yelled at me in 1998 for jaywalking across Pearl Street.

There are bad cops. Hell, in Oakland, there's a strong case to be made that it's a bad department. But that doesn't mean all cops are even bad, or even most cops.
posted by scrump at 10:16 AM on December 16, 2008


Here are some things I try to keep in mind about LEO:

- They have weapons, usually several, and are trained to use their bodies as weapons.
- They tend to be (although obviously not all) large and male; hence strong.
- They general have other LEO around or nearby.
- They can arrest you for just about anything if they so choose. It may not stick, but you're still arrested

This means:

- They can kill you fairly easily
- They can, even unarmed, overpower you fairly easily
- They already do - or quickly will - outnumber you if a "situation" develops.
- They can at the least seriously inconvenience and humiliate you.

I don't know about youzeguys, but I tend to give critters fitting that description a wide fucking berth. A trained and tamed lion is still a lion.
posted by digitalprimate at 10:20 AM on December 16, 2008 [12 favorites]


I'm strongly pro-law enforcement - which is why I’m glad to see this law breaking vicious thug will go to jail.

I find it interesting that there's no seemingly non-snarky way to say this on MeFi, but that is an admirable attitude.

It's not just what the cop did on the street. It's how he then lied about what he did on the street.

Damn straight. This seems to be a missing element in many conversations about officers who break the law, where the whole emphasis is on the (often lack of-) seriousness of the infraction, not the incredible risk to society posed by lightly punishing cops who try to then cover it up. That should be punished more severely than nearly anything else a cop can do -- "nearly" including, of course, assault. By that point, we're already pretty far to the end of the spectrum of abuse of power (not at the end, but near).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:21 AM on December 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'm not anti-police at all (I almost applied for the NYPD) and I can't stand Critical Mass and their ilk. That said, this guy was waaaay out of line. IIRC, he'd only been on the force a few months. Sounds like he shouldn't have been accepted in the first place. I've been to numerous protests in this city, both as an observer and a participant, and most of the time the cops merely stand off to the edges looking impassive, unless someone gets out of line. This guy must have been looking for a fight.
posted by jonmc at 10:27 AM on December 16, 2008


A lot of the questions here seem to hinge on "no audio."

What audio would make that cop's actions okay?

Seriously.
posted by gregvr at 10:30 AM on December 16, 2008


jock@law: Would you want the same standard of proof if the officer claimed someone was resisting arrest? Well, you can clearly see him running away but there is no audio of the officer telling him to stop I guess we can't convict him. Somehow I doubt it.
posted by Tashtego at 10:30 AM on December 16, 2008


jock@law:

Unlike the other people posting here, I would describe myself as anti-law-enforcement in that I have no faith whatsoever in American law enforcement officers. I've lived in many different major cities, and have visited every state and major city you'd care to name in the United States - the poor behavior of, and constant injustices perpetrated by men in uniform under the guise of 'law enforcement' has been consistent throughout.

The standards they are held to vs the standards caucasian citizens are held to vs the standards minority citizens are held to has resulted in completely valid mistrust of LEOs by the rest of us. Because of the authority our legal system imbues them with, LEOs ought to be burdened with a higher requirement for proof, not less, and viewed with more suspicion. Even a cursory examination of the Stanford Prison Experiment makes this patently obvious.

I strongly believe there are very few officers that, were all their actions while on-duty recorded and publicly viewable, would escape jailtime in an impartial court of law. This is a cancer eating at the heart of America, and the cause (whether directly or indirectly) of a substantial portion of our current social ills.
posted by Ryvar at 10:32 AM on December 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


There are a few people here who qualify their comments by saying "I am strongly pro law enforcement". What does this mean? There are laws and cops have the job of enforcing those laws. The idea of being strongly supportive of this societal function strikes me as pretty odd. I mean, how many people say "I am strongly pro-healthcare professionals."
posted by ob at 10:34 AM on December 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


I have yet to live in a neighborhood where the police aren't welcomed by the community.

Well, some segment of the community, I'm sure. Maybe a large one. But one of the first things I'm interested about every new town I move to is how the local police are viewed, and it really does vary. Sometimes as a result of very infrequent but very high-profile "bad apple" events, but more often the result of a gradual wearing down (or conversely, building up) of public trust.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:34 AM on December 16, 2008


ob: it's my way of prefacing my criticism of this officer by saying that I'm not a knee-jerk cop hater.
posted by jonmc at 10:36 AM on December 16, 2008


I stand by the hypothetical application of the principle I poorly articulated.

Thanks for clearing that up.
posted by Floydd at 10:39 AM on December 16, 2008


jock@law is getting a raw deal here, guys. He screwed up and very quickly confessed his screw-up. Understandably, some folks are reading his initial comment and VROOOMing to the comment box.

Cut him a little slack.
posted by DWRoelands at 10:40 AM on December 16, 2008


I wonder what the charge would be if someone did that to a cop riding on bicycle? I think it would likely be accompanied by a swift round of "beaten to an inch of your life" as well.
posted by Freen at 10:41 AM on December 16, 2008


But that doesn't mean all cops are even bad, or even most cops.

I think few would dispute this. But the thing is, for many of us, especially us ethnic males, it only takes one encounter with one of the relatively few bad cops to really, really, fuck up our lives. And the perception among minorities in particular is that the justice system will use a very, very light touch when punishing officers for things it would drop the goddamn hammer on civilians for.

I still shiver when I think about the cop who pulled a friend of mine and me over (supposedly for having a muffler that wasn't working; in reality for being black in a white upper middle class Fort Lauderdale neighborhood) and "joked" that he wished he'd found some drugs on us so he could beat us up.

On the other hand, the few times I've interacted with courteous, professional police officers, I've always walked away feeling better about my community and my country.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:45 AM on December 16, 2008


That popping sound you hear is the police-state apologists head exploding from the following paradox:

Horn the first: The police are always right.
Horn the second: A conviction always means you are guilty and wrong and evil and smelly.

Countdown to the Theory of Bad Apples in 5...4...


The key ingredient to healthy anarchist thought is government enforcement of a peacable society.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:48 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not a knee-jerk cop hater; my opinion is carefully considered.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:51 AM on December 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


The cyclist could have easily been killed as a result of the officer's actions. I don't see what's wrong with attempted murder at all. Certainly if I ran into someone with my car at that speed I could be charged with it, and I don't think lamp posts any less forgiving than my front bumper.

There's also an element here that law enforcement agents should be punished much more severely when they do the same act of violence as an ordinary citizen. I can fight back against the random guy in a bar who sucker-punches me, but if I fight back against a cop I'm liable to get killed without repercussions. When you grant select individuals unequal power, you have to balance that power with stronger punishment and regulation.
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:51 AM on December 16, 2008 [18 favorites]


That's not the only time. Lots of prosecutions happen against police officers for excessive force, for violent crimes, for corruption, and for things totally unrelated to their jobs. I'm glad to say I've been involved in one of those prosecutions. (We won and the officer is now no longer an officer and sits in prison.)

These are facts. I have represented officers who were later indicted for their misconduct, plead guilty to serious misconduct and are serving many years in prison for violent felonies.

Who caught them? Internal affairs. They take their job seriously and protect you and I from persons who shouldn't be enforcing the law.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:54 AM on December 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Omitting something objectively important to a conclusion, yet purporting to conclude anyway, is objectively suspect.
"As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know."

Donald Rumsfeld, Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing
posted by ericb at 10:54 AM on December 16, 2008


seanmpuckett, I never said you were. I was responding to ob.
posted by jonmc at 10:54 AM on December 16, 2008


I strongly believe there are very few officers that, were all their actions while on-duty recorded and publicly viewable, would escape jailtime in an impartial court of law.

I strongly believe there are very few people that, were all their actions recorded and publicly viewable, would escape jailtime in an impartial court of law.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:55 AM on December 16, 2008 [11 favorites]


I think the police officer should also be made to legally go by his Hobbit name: Hob Sandydowns.

Just because.
posted by papercake at 10:57 AM on December 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's too bad that literally the only time police officers are charged with anything is when there is high-definition video evidence from multiple angles.

Really, literally the only time police officers are charged with anything is when there is high-definition video evidence from multiple angles?

Because, in the dozens of police misconduct cases in which I have represented clients, not a single case where wrongdoing was proven, was based on "high-definition video evidence."

Rather, the only time I've seen high-definition video in an actual case I worked, not something somebody read about on MeFi, the officers were cleared in a shooting, where a suspect they were trying to help suddenly attempted to shoot them for no reason.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:59 AM on December 16, 2008


It's actually pretty sad that a lousy indictment is so noteworthy, but at least it's something. It's worth noting that almost every city where Critical Mass has had a sustained presence has seen these kinds of abuses by police and it seems to me that there's eventually a climax and a synthesis that leads to less head bashing all around. That has certainly been my experience in Portland and I'm aware of similar timelines in SF and elsewhere.

That seems like the signature of productive civil disobedience to me. I have trouble imagining any other similar movement in history where there weren't people boohoo'ing it because it was inconveniencing them. I'm just saying, I appreciate that there's been a pretty civil discussion of CM on MeFi today, but if you think this incident is important and it gives you a little better glimpse about systematic injustice and the dangers of being a bicyclist, then please consider that this is not a one-off, but actually the exact reason why (IMO and many others' opinions) CM exists.
posted by Skwirl at 11:03 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


The cyclist could have easily been killed as a result of the officer's actions.

Yep. His injuries could have been worse, if he were to have taken a header onto the curb.
"One cyclist, Craig Radhuber, 54, said he was a few feet behind Mr. Long, whom he said he did not know. He said Officer Pogan 'body-slammed this kid off the bicycle so hard that he went from the lane to the curb.'...Bill DiPaola, a director of Time’s Up, told the Times he arrived just after Long went down. 'He got up and was dazed. They put their knees on top of his head and were smashing him into a phone booth.' Long, who was not wearing a helmet, was bruised but not hospitalized, and spent 26 hours in jail."
posted by ericb at 11:04 AM on December 16, 2008


That popping sound you hear is the police-state apologists head exploding from the following paradox:

Horn the first: The police are always right.
Horn the second: A conviction always means you are guilty and wrong and evil and smelly.

Countdown to the Theory of Bad Apples in 5...4...


That popping sound you hear is the irrational law-enforcement hater's head exploding from the following paradox:

Horn the first: The police are always wrong.
Horn the second: A conviction never means you are guilty and wrong and evil and smelly.

Countdown to the Theory of This One Instance doesn't count and the thousands of persons with actual experience in this field don't know anything and aren't working defending the thousands of police officers who actually do get in trouble all of the time.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:05 AM on December 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


But that doesn't mean all cops are even bad, or even most cops.

I think few would dispute this.


I would. And I'm not a cop hater.
If one cop assaults an innocent citizen, that's one bad cop.
If the other cops at the scene witness it and do/say nothing, that's a few more.
If the cops back at the station support him, or make no attempt to straighten him out, they're bad too.
If he gets charged for it, and the entire force (or the vast majority) supports him, they're all bad.

Allowing this behavior to be the accepted norm in policing, even if only a small few actively perpetrate it, is the fault of every LEO that doesn't act to stop it.
posted by rocket88 at 11:06 AM on December 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Also, people who literally believe we live in a police state are simply insane. Study five minutes of history to learn it is the opposite.

There is simply nothing more irrational than the entitlement fantasies of the American White Middle Class.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:06 AM on December 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


I am also pro-law and um.... well the officer shoulder rammed the dude off the bike. Clean cut case of assault if you ask me. The officer should be arrest for assault and then arrested for obstruction of justice and falsifying legal documents as well. While we are at it, charge him with one count of aggravated jerk-offism. However all of the comments about police officers are all bad, they are out to get you, and they never get prosecuted stuff... please. I went through the academy (would have been a cop too but I torn up my knee running). Anyways while I was at the academy I learned that yeah officers are jerks, hard-asses, and can be down right mean. They need to be. I also learned what good cops think of bad cops. If a cop is corrupt or violent prick, they get rid of him and send him to jail if needed. For every 99 good cops there is 1 bad one. Now that 99 are not going to be the nicest, compassionate people but they need to be hard to survive the job. You deal with the shit of society with please and thank you, then see how far that would get you.

One thing a lot of people never see is the good that police officers do. They only see the crap that the media will print. I'm sure all of you have been out on a weekend and made it home safely right? No drunk driver crashed into you right? There you go. Yeah I know that is fairly weak but you get the point. They do tons of good for the community so don't let this one asshole erase all of those good deeds.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 11:09 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


“This seems to be a missing element in many conversations about officers who break the law, where the whole emphasis is on the (often lack of-) seriousness of the infraction, not the incredible risk to society posed by lightly punishing cops who try to then cover it up.”

Which, I think, is what the generalize cop-hate aids. I do think police should be held to a higher standard. I also agree police officers should be penalized more harshly if found guilty since they are not only supposed to be upholders of the law and are violating that trust, but also are very visible members of the community.

Embracing officers generally and giving accolades to those who support the law, and do not cover up misconduct and especially law breaking for their fellow officers would greatly diminish the “us” vs. “them” mentality.
Which is a natural human response. If somebody is a despicable human being, but they’ve got your back, you’re going to favor that person over the individual who may be reputable, but will drop you whenever it’s expedient.

Simply put - incentivise the sytem toward protection for those who uphold the law rather than cover their, or someone else’s, ass. As it is now, there’s no percentage in taking on your fellow officers whether they’re wrong or right or indifferent.

And I don’t believe in bad apples. I believe in bad barrels. Different departments are run differently. On occasion you do have a whack-job and there’s not a whole lot even a well run department can do if one slips through. But if you start seeing complaints mount up and other excesses - start laying out fines up the chain of command. That would lay that out pretty quickly and show this kind of behavior as the betrayal of other law abiding officers that it is.
Jail time is fine, but it’s not enough.
Policing is a team effort, therefore penalize them as a team (unless information/arrest is gotten by means of internal investigation of course).
posted by Smedleyman at 11:10 AM on December 16, 2008


I strongly believe there are very few people that, were all their actions recorded and publicly viewable, would escape jailtime in an impartial court of law.

Which to me indicates there are severe problems with the law.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:10 AM on December 16, 2008


"Shove" doesn't really capture what he did to that guy.
posted by diogenes at 11:12 AM on December 16, 2008


Allowing this behavior to be the accepted norm in policing, even if only a small few actively perpetrate it, is the fault of every LEO that doesn't act to stop it.

Luckily, this isn't the accepted norm in policing.

There are entire legal treatises about police misconduct and the law surrounding them, such as Police Misconduct, Law and Litigation.

Thousands of lawyers across the country do this work daily. I am one of them. Every major city not only has an internal affairs department that is kept busy daily, but also has a police misconduct agency independent of the police force. They also investigate thousands upon thousands of complaints every day. People are constantly suing the police for the violations of their rights in this country. Every day. From my experience as a lawyer defending these cases, it is safe to say that there is likely at least 10,000 of these suits filed every year. Most of the law being used by Guantanomo detainees and other people swept up in the "war on terror" is from case law from police misconduct cases.

People need to acquaint themselves with the facts before acting on their prejudices.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:13 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was responding to ob.
posted by jonmc at 10:54 AM on December 16


And fair enough with that response. I guess that I just don't get why one needs to qualify this, but then I'm a limey ex-pat and there's still quite a few things that I don't think I'll ever really get about the US.
posted by ob at 11:15 AM on December 16, 2008


Which to me indicates there are severe problems with the law.


That's your job as a citizen to fix.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:17 AM on December 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


...the fuck? How can a moving vehicle obstruct vehicular traffic?

A rider swerving to and fro, riding slower than posted traffic speeds?
posted by sharksandwich at 11:18 AM on December 16, 2008


A rider swerving to and fro, riding slower than posted traffic speeds?

Those traffic speeds are limits, not minimums.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:24 AM on December 16, 2008


Good to hear from you, Ironmouth.

One thing I'd like to know more about, if you don't mind commenting on it, is the line between administrative actions against an abusive cop and criminal charges, like assault. My understanding is that civil liability occurs when a cop has clearly stepped outside of their legitimate authority (not always easy to determine). What about criminal liability? I think one of the common perceptions of the public -- right or wrong -- is that administrative measures are taken far too often where criminal consequences are deserved -- and would be automatic for any member of the general public.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:25 AM on December 16, 2008


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
It's hardly a new problem. Some people are good. Some people are dicks. Jobs where you have power over other tend to attract people who want to use that power for good, as well as people who want to use that power for themselves. I have a scar on my hand where a Missouri Highway Patrolman that was dating a girl I worked with, decided to see if you could really cause frostbite with a can of compressed air. I can only imagine what horrors he inflicted on "troublemakers" during a routine traffic stop.

I've also had positive LEO experiences.
I've had completely surreal LEO experiences that left me stunned and looking for the hidden cameras.
posted by nomisxid at 11:27 AM on December 16, 2008


I don't know about youzeguys, but I tend to give critters fitting that description a wide fucking berth. A trained and tamed lion is still a lion.

Generally this is how law enforcement works. They certainly don't hand out cups of tea and hope that everybody "plays nice."
posted by Ironmouth at 11:28 AM on December 16, 2008


I don't know about youzeguys, but I tend to give critters fitting that description a wide fucking berth. A trained and tamed lion is still a lion.

Is it better for the prince to be loved or feared?
posted by jason's_planet at 11:30 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth, if I remember your history correctly, your practice is centered on defending cops, right? Have you ever had to prosecute one? Have you ever been on the other side of the table?

There is simply nothing more irrational than the entitlement fantasies of the American White Middle Class.

While there are white middle-class people who fear/loathe the police, I think you'll find that the vast majority who feel that way are neither white nor middle-class. Frankly, for all your intellect, I have no idea what you're even trying to say with that one.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:39 AM on December 16, 2008


Those traffic speeds are limits, not minimums.

Regardless, riding slowly in front of traffic is impeding it.
posted by sharksandwich at 11:40 AM on December 16, 2008


One thing I'd like to know more about, if you don't mind commenting on it, is the line between administrative actions against an abusive cop and criminal charges, like assault. My understanding is that civil liability occurs when a cop has clearly stepped outside of their legitimate authority (not always easy to determine). What about criminal liability? I think one of the common perceptions of the public -- right or wrong -- is that administrative measures are taken far too often where criminal consequences are deserved -- and would be automatic for any member of the general public.

Well, there are three fora in which police misconduct is addressed. The first is the Administrative. This involves job-related punishment, suspensions, removals, letters of reprimand and the like. Many cases aren't related to interactions with the public, but failure to follow procedures, misuse of government equipment and personal interactions between officers and civilian employees. Private conduct is also involved. Unlike most people's jobs, a police officer is generally considered always on duty. In the jurisdiction where I work, it is a firing offense to be publically intoxicated, ever. Indeed, if you got drunk in your own home and they called you into work for an emergency, you'd likely be fired.

The procedure involves the job accusing the officer of misconduct and then an opportunity to reply by the officer. Appeals to the justice system or an arbitrator can occur.

There are also use of force boards that usually review every firearm discharge. These boards can recommend discipline, but they are generally making sure that all weapons discharges are happening according to procedure. Officers are repeatedly trained in this procedure, and the level of the training is usually an issue in excessive force cases.

Next is criminal liability. Thousands of officers and very many of my clients have had their cases referred to the prosecutors. Without fail, a prosecutor will review every single case of a firearm being used to effect against a person. The vast majority of these result in no criminal action. But officers will get referred to the district attorney for a variety of things. I suspect there are more than 100,000 referrals a year to the prosecutors across the U.S. If the case could go criminal, no administrative action will occur before the prosecutor passes on the case, because no investigatory interview can be conducted when the officer can invoke the Fifth Amendment. After any case has been declined by the prosecutor, the officer is required to answer any and all questions, under oath, or he or she will be fired, no exceptions. You can't say you aren't going to answer, because failure to answer is grounds for immediate termination. And they will fire you.

Finally, civil courts come into play when a citizen who feels they have been wronged by a police officer brings an action against the officer and the government. The suit is really against the government because that's where the money is. The cop usually doesn't really have any money. These cases center around the immunity from suit that the government and its agents posses. Under our system of laws, the government is immune from being sued. Only in limited cases is this immunity lifted. You can't sue Obama for doing something you don't like, and you can't just sue the city. However, Congress, in its wisdom, passed a law 42 U.S.C. 1983, which waives that immunity if a constitutional violation is committed by a state or locality's agent doing their job. When that immunity gets waived is the crux of the argument. Put simply, the rule is that if an officer violates a constitutional right of a subject without having a reasonable belief that his actions were in accordance with the constitutional rights of the plaintiff, then no immunity will lie and the officer and the city may be sued. This test goes for any government or government employee, not just law enforcement. The Supreme Court extended this principle to federal government employees in the wonderfully named Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).

Now, to answer your question, if there is any question of potential criminal acts, the prosecutor is going to make the call on whether or not to go forward. Just like any other crime, he or she has to look at the ability of his office to secure a conviction with the resources he or she has. That means that some cases get dropped, just like for your average "I got caught with mary jane" defendants. If that happens, the case is usually sent for administrative processing.

Another issue is that people don't realize that the "he-said-she-said" effect works against police officers as well. Criminals with long experience in the justice system will accuse every officer involved in their processing of misconduct. I saw a minor arrestee accuse every officer in the station of misconduct. Internal Affairs had to open a file on everyone on duty in the station at the time and interview each and every one of them. This is how the system works.

Lets also be clear. IA investigators are cops and they want to get arrests like every other cop does. They will push, cut corners, and make mistakes all the time. When you get them on the stand they will slant facts against your client the way every witness with an interest in any case will do.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:54 AM on December 16, 2008 [10 favorites]


What audio would make that cop's actions okay?

"Hey, that looks my old football buddy, he'll get a kick out of this!"
posted by rokusan at 11:57 AM on December 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Good job, guys! You won Critical Mass! Time to find a new game.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:00 PM on December 16, 2008


While there are white middle-class people who fear/loathe the police, I think you'll find that the vast majority who feel that way are neither white nor middle-class. Frankly, for all your intellect, I have no idea what you're even trying to say with that one.

Two things. First, Ryvar based the alleged healthy mistrust of all citizens, including himself, towards the police on the fact that minorities had been persecuted by the police. So I clicked on his profile, and needless to say, I didn't see a picture of Malcom X. I saw a white video-game designer.

Plus that crap about the "police-state apologists." We don't live in a police state and only white entitlement gone amok could produce such a ridiculous statement. Before this I got a masters degree in modern German history. I have a bit of knowlege about the creation of police states and this, my friends, isn't one of them.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:02 PM on December 16, 2008


Ironmouth, if I remember your history correctly, your practice is centered on defending cops, right? Have you ever had to prosecute one? Have you ever been on the other side of the table?

Well, I've worked to place blame on other officers before. But frankly, the fact that I defend cops rather than go after them is basically irrelevant. I know the procedure and I know how the system works and do these cases all of the time. In other words, my information comes from personal experience with dozens of these cases. Do some officers committ the infractions they are accused of? Yes. Usually I fight those on how big the penalty should be.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:06 PM on December 16, 2008


Someone should invent some sort of Car-ticle Mass where people in automobiles take over the roads and bike lanes and show total disregard for cyclists and pedestrians. We could try to have only one person per car so we can get as many cars on the road as possible. As it got more popular we could add lanes and build more roads so more and more people can participate. I bet if we did something like this it would be so awesome we'd do it every day, all around the world.
posted by snofoam at 12:08 PM on December 16, 2008 [16 favorites]


Jobs where you have power over other tend to attract people who want to use that power for good, as well as people who want to use that power for themselves.

Unfortunately, it seems like policing in America is set up to provide disincentives and influences making it hard to "use that power for good." Hypothetically, if I were to become a police officer with this goal, among other things, I'd just end up in trouble for not meeting my ticket quota. While there should be speeding and other road safety laws and officers patrolling the highways for safety, sitting in hiding places waiting to catch people going 70 in a 60 is not "using that power for good." It's a protection racket. They're hiding to catch speeders which indicates the goal is for people to speed and then to get that money, not to prevent speeding. And it must suck to be that poor bastard who's caught speeding when a cop needs to meet quota and ends up getting an extra special inspection for any other trivial technical violation their vehicle may present.

(Yes, ticket quotas exist. How universally? I dunno, but they definitely exist. You just won't get any public admission that the practice exists under that name or at all.)

This is an example of a more general problem - police departments and government in general should not be using legal punishments as a revenue stream. Ticket quotas and asset forfeiture incentivize writing tickets and taking assets rather than working for the good of the community, and set the community against the police. If the police department needs more money, suck it up and raise taxes. I'm not necessarily discounting the usefulness of property taking as a deterrent or punishment, but I'd argue for something like putting all such incomes into a big pot for equal distribution to the entire country or maybe just fucking burning it all so no one gets it.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:11 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


No! It should be attempted murder!

That is exactly what would have been charged if the roles were reversed and the officer was hit. Tell me different.


You apparently possess the ability to see clearly the certain outcome of a hypothetical case based on a few facts you read in the New York Times and no familiarity with either criminal law, police procedure, or a single page of the file of the case. May I suggest betting on the winners at Churchill Downs based on your gut feelings upon reading the racing form. I'm certain you'll quickly become a millionaire.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:12 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Every major city not only has an internal affairs department that is kept busy daily, but also has a police misconduct agency independent of the police force. They also investigate thousands upon thousands of complaints every day.

Chicago's IPRA has been plainly dysfunctional for a long time (continuing back to before the name change). Last I saw Anthony Abbate has still not had a trial. I'm glad that there are people watching the watchers; I just don't trust that they've done a very good job.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:12 PM on December 16, 2008


Unfortunately, it seems like policing in America is set up to provide disincentives and influences making it hard to "use that power for good." Hypothetically, if I were to become a police officer with this goal, among other things, I'd just end up in trouble for not meeting my ticket quota.

This, based on your years of experience as a police officer? Of knowing a police officer? Of watching Law and Order? Please, enlighten us fools as to the actual evidence supporting your claim.

police departments and government in general should not be using legal punishments as a revenue stream.

Perhaps we should punish building code and pollution violators with decapitation, a hand cut off? Weeks in jail?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:15 PM on December 16, 2008


posted by gregvr What audio would make that cop's actions okay?

I Get Knocked Down by Chumbawumba, or "This . . . is . . . SPARTAAAAAA!"
posted by mattdidthat at 12:15 PM on December 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Plus that crap about the "police-state apologists." We don't live in a police state...

Welcome to Strawman, population: you.
posted by DU at 12:17 PM on December 16, 2008


Chicago's IPRA has been plainly dysfunctional for a long time (continuing back to before the name change).

I suggest you contact your Alderman, or better yet, your ward committeeman to complain. That will do much more good than anything you can do here.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:18 PM on December 16, 2008


The lying filth always come out for the cop threads. There's no lower nor more despicable form of life than those who work to protect cops from the consequences of their actions.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:20 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Welcome to Strawman, population: you.

That popping sound you hear is the police-state apologists

That was your comment DU. If you did not mean to say that there was a police state, what exactly did you mean? Those are your words, not mine. Did you mean to state that we have a police state?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:20 PM on December 16, 2008


Here in Ontario we have a separate entity, the SIU, to investigate all cases where citizens are killed, injured, or sexually assaulted and there is police involvement.
Most cops hate the SIU. They cooperate with their investigations only because they are required to, and only to the minimum extent they can get away with. They collude together to "get their stories straight" beforehand. They show up in numbers to rally support for their "brothers" if they appear in court.
Does this sound like a group who are dedicated to justice and the rule of law?
posted by rocket88 at 12:25 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


The lying filth always come out for the cop threads. There's no lower nor more despicable form of life than those who work to protect cops from the consequences of their actions.

Really? So, it is your belief, that, unlike every other person in our country, that police who are under investigation should not have access to counsel? Because the system only works when we all have equal access to representation.

If you believe I have lied, Pope Guilty, please point out to me where the "lie" is.

I'll leave it to the others to judge whether or not I am "lying filth" because I disagree with you and whether or not there is a "lower nor more despicable form of life" than me.

But I will point out that your name-calling isn't going to convince anyone of the rightness of your opinions, nor your actual level of information on the subject.

I await your answer.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:26 PM on December 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


I love how people think you have to have turned into Nazi Germany before any discussion of a police state is valid. Maybe we aren't a police state. But warrentless wiretaps, the PATRIOT act, Guantanamo, and the suspension of Habeus Corpus, all at the whim of the Chief Executive, show that if we are not a police state, it is not for lack of trying.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:28 PM on December 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


Really? So, it is your belief, that, unlike every other person in our country, that police who are under investigation should not have access to counsel? Because the system only works when we all have equal access to representation.

The police have a large get-out-of-jail system comprised primarily of other cops; even the "good cops" will cheerfully lie, cheat, and steal to protect their buddies. That you are a part of this network invalidates your worth as a human being and makes every word that flows from your keyboard impossible to take seriously as a source of information.

Your lying is in the form of trying to make it sound as if the police are subject to some kind of rigorous oversight or that somehow the system that is in place to hold cops accountable works. The only reason whatsoever that this cop facing consequences is notable is because, by and large, the cops don't face consequences. Your "who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes" routine is dishonest and despicable, and the job you do is damaging to society and should disqualify you for anything but jail time.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:33 PM on December 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


I love how people think you have to have turned into Nazi Germany before any discussion of a police state is valid.

My second area of specialization was Soviet history. So it isn't just the Nazis. But where should the line be drawn?

Becasue in my opinon, we are nowhere near a police state. Nowhere.

I disagree with the current administration on warrentless wiretaps, some of the PATRIOT ACT (had to write a paper on it in law school), and Guantanamo and the suspension of Habeus Corpus for persons seized overseas by the government.

However, you and I have not had our Habeus Corpus rights suspended. So we are not in a police state. I am not certain that the question had been reached re: Habeus Corpus for persons seized in a foreign land. I do think we should give them that protection anyway, for it reaffirms our own freedoms. But we are still nowhere near a police state.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:35 PM on December 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


However, you and I have not had our Habeus Corpus rights suspended.

Only because you haven't been accused of anything. Jose Padilla is an American citizen who was arrested inside the United States.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:38 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


either I hadn't seen Ironmouth shitting up cop threads or I'd forgotten about them.

Disagreement = "shitting up"?
posted by jason's_planet at 12:38 PM on December 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


“ ‘Chicago's IPRA has been plainly dysfunctional for a long time...’

‘I suggest you contact your Alderman, or better yet, your ward committeeman to complain. That will do much more good than anything you can do here.’ ”

AHA HA HA HA HA HA! HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAA!
*slaps knee*
HE HE HE HEEE HE HE HEE!
HA HA HA HAAA...Ooooh.
*wipes tears*

yeah, *snicker* alderman. we could go through channels. *snort*
Oh, man. *sniff* You’re, uh, you’re not from Chicago are you?

Seriously tho, I agree this is the best course of action - typically.
Out here, usually, you have to bring in the feds. Play one agency off another. Find some political muscle, stuff like that. You’re not going to get anywhere with an alderman unless you’ve got some juice. Well, most aldermen.
For the most part we don’t want nobody that nobody sent.
As it is, there are some community groups making inroads. And the papers love police corruption. The new top guy seems to be...well....trying anyway.
So I agree there are ways to hold folks accountable. And some work.
Right now though in Chicago that’s a hard road.
And Cook County - the sherriffs, et.al. - is a big morass.
On the upside the collar ‘burbs don’t play ball.
Some schmuck Chicago cop just got arrested for (dig this) impersonating an officer. Out of his jurisdiction, harrassing someone else’s citizenry. Doesn’t go over well.

So it can be cleaned up. It’s just an Augean stable size task that the usual shovels or even back-hoes and dump trucks aren’t going to fix.
But we’ve got the AG and some other folks who will, eventually, run a river through there. Da Mare is one of the big holdups. The Chicago police union, their money, support, et.al. have been a big political bargaining chip. So - bit different out here, but that’s the same as everything.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:40 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Perhaps we should punish building code and pollution violators with decapitation, a hand cut off? Weeks in jail?

Your strawmen are pretty funny. The suggestion was that fines / confiscations not go to the police department specifically. My checks go to the Dept. of Revenue; I assume that's general funds. Placing a financial incentive for the department to lie for additional fines and confiscations is bad policy.

I suggest you contact your Alderman, or better yet, your ward committeeman to complain. That will do much more good than anything you can do here.

I don't know why you think these are mutually exclusive. I have complained to my alderman, and I've sent a compliment to IPRA for a job well done for an officer. I'm also talking to you while I wait on my tea to heat up. It's amazing.

How well the democratic process works here is another delightful discussion.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:41 PM on December 16, 2008


Again, my point is not that we are a police state, but that we have engaged in some behavior consistent with that of of a police state, which I find worrisome. But it cannot be discussed in terms of the bad precedent it sets if we disallow any discussion of police states by claiming that we're not the Soviet Union or Nazis, so anyone who wants to even bring up the subject must be some middle class white person with an exaggerated sense of entitlement.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:46 PM on December 16, 2008


having been on many nyc crit mass rides, i can say this is definitely not that out of place for the delightful NYPD. once we even had them chase something like 50 riders in HELICOPTERS around the city. if that isn't the most embarrassing, hilarious indictment of police priorities, i'd love to hear another one from one of the police brutality defenders we've got op-edding today.
posted by yonation at 12:48 PM on December 16, 2008


The suggestion was that fines / confiscations not go to the police department specifically.

I understand. Fines usually do not go to the police department. They do not in the City of Chicago, where my father is an Administrative Judge hearing building and pollution cases.

Where I think you are right is in the police obtaining funds from seizures. Our leaders need to decide that. Also the forfiture laws are totally out of whack.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:51 PM on December 16, 2008


oh and also: jonmc and others: why the fuck do you have to say that you can't stand critical mass riders and nevertheless think it's brutality? as if it normally is OK to be physically violent against CM riders, but this one stepped over the line?
posted by yonation at 12:51 PM on December 16, 2008


I feel that using the word police state to describe the U.S. does a real disservice to those actually living in them.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:52 PM on December 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


either I hadn't seen Ironmouth shitting up cop threads or I'd forgotten about them.

The only person shitting up this thread is your ignorance, and your rich-kid "anarchist" crap.
posted by Snyder at 12:52 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


another one from one of the police brutality defenders we've got op-edding today.

You going to magic one up? Because they only exist in your self-important little mind.
posted by Snyder at 12:53 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Synder's post was made by a machine made out of recycled strawmen, right? why is it the only people in the whole thread who mentioned anarchism were the rightwingers? Paging LGF...
posted by yonation at 12:53 PM on December 16, 2008


I feel that using the word police state to describe the U.S. does a real disservice to those actually living in them.

And I feel that not addressing the fact that our Chief Executive Officer had instituted his whims as law, and that there are people right now serving time without due process, cannot be discussed without referencing how similar that is to the behavior of a Chief Executive Officer in a police state.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:55 PM on December 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


This, based on your years of experience as a police officer? Of knowing a police officer? Of watching Law and Order? Please, enlighten us fools as to the actual evidence supporting your claim.

Personal accounts from police officers, second hand accounts (and by second hand I mean ONLY second hand, as in people I trust very much telling me about their cop friends and relatives having to meet quota), news reports, and Just Fucking Googling It convince me of the existence of ticket quotas. Later tonight I might check quick to see if I can find some peer-reviewed papers, if that's not enough.

Perhaps we should punish building code and pollution violators with decapitation, a hand cut off? Weeks in jail?

1. Read entire comment.
2. Then respond.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:56 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Must be my "recycled strawmen" were originally yours, or can't you fathom someone calling bullshit on you without them being some right-wing boogeyman.

Or, find a police brutality defender in this thread. It should be easy, right?
posted by Snyder at 12:58 PM on December 16, 2008


I'm with digitalprimate. I don't hate cops so much as regard them as Extremely Bad News and the sort of thing best avoided at all costs. I've had interactions with cops which have ranged from neutral (someone simply doing an unpleasant job in as efficient a manner as possible) to bizarrely hostile and threatening. None that were in any way pleasant or uplifting, that I can think of.

Part of it's probably that I have serious trouble imagining what motivates someone to do such a clearly unpleasant and dangerous job. And part of that is the sense that in not all cases is the motivation simply "make some money and catch a good pension after 20 years" or "To Protect and To Serve." And the knowlege that whatever their motivation, any cop you face is heavily armed and trained to regard just about anything as a threat and respond with maximum allowable force.

So a police officer is basically a frightening armed person, incomprehensible and yet largely exempt from any standards of behavior I might normally be accustomed to or expect from other people. And I'm a privileged white middle class male who practically radiates meek harmlessness and high social class and lack of criminal intent of any sort. So if the police want to be seen as in any way not basically scary, they're doing a piss-poor job. The sort of poor job that really makes you think that being seen as scary is their goal. Overall, they seem to be perfectly happy to accept fear in place of respect.
posted by rusty at 12:59 PM on December 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


The police have a large get-out-of-jail system comprised primarily of other cops; even the "good cops" will cheerfully lie, cheat, and steal to protect their buddies. That you are a part of this network invalidates your worth as a human being and makes every word that flows from your keyboard impossible to take seriously as a source of information.

Your lying is in the form of trying to make it sound as if the police are subject to some kind of rigorous oversight or that somehow the system that is in place to hold cops accountable works.


Let me help you with your fact-free rages. Please read this 91 page report from the police oversight body of a major city. Or here, the archived annual reports of the police oversight board from a city I work in. I know these cases because I've worked them. You know nothing about them, yet you accuse me of lying without a single shred of evidence. Why? Becasue you have no evidence. If you did, you'd produce it.

I advise everyone to read over these reports and to become informed about the subject they are so passionate about.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:01 PM on December 16, 2008


So a police officer is basically a frightening armed person, incomprehensible and yet largely exempt from any standards of behavior I might normally be accustomed to or expect from other people. And I'm a privileged white middle class male who practically radiates meek harmlessness and high social class and lack of criminal intent of any sort.

I don't mean this as an attack, but may I ask, knowing you find police incomprehensible, how are you so certain of how others perceive you?
posted by Snyder at 1:01 PM on December 16, 2008


(incidentally Ironmouth - that’s not to refute any argument, more a jest about the vast level of corruption in this town)

“the job you do is damaging to society and should disqualify you for anything but jail time”

Yeah, those defense attorneys wasting people’s time defending all those guilty people.
Damaging to society? Like what, we shouldn’t have a system in place to determine guilt or innocence? Or people to police cops? Or cops in the first place?
How are you going to put him in jail then?
That comment is completely inexplicable.

“I feel that using the word police state to describe the U.S. does a real disservice to those actually living in them.”

Well, yeah it’s hyperbole, but it’s purposeful.
If I thought we were in an actual police state, I doubt I’d be using only harsh language and hyperbole to make a point about disliking the direction the country was going in.
The general idea is to shame folks by the analogy. More a “you don’t want us to be like them, do you?”
I think our foreign policy decisions of late do more of a disservice to folks living in actual police states. Which, I think, is part of the analogy.
I mean, yeah, it’s over the top to say “You’re like Hitler!” but y’know, a pre-emptive war policy is one of those big red flag sort of deals.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:02 PM on December 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


"People need to acquaint themselves with the facts before acting on their prejudices."

Thanks Mr Lawyer. I think I'll go by my real life experience rather than your facts.

Even as a 45 year old, white, law-abiding computer programmer, my experience has been that cops are tank-brained, ham-fisted thugs who don't care about me at all and rely on their authority rather than intelligence.

I can only imagine how bad it must be for minorities unlucky enough to just be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If there are 10,000 cases a year, and law enforcement is as bad as I've seen in my 45 years, then we need to bump that up to 100,000 cases.
posted by aapep at 1:04 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


aapep: but you're not a cop OR a lawyer defending cops... how can you possibly have an opinion on them!?
posted by yonation at 1:11 PM on December 16, 2008


Thanks Mr Lawyer. I think I'll go by my real life experience rather than your facts.

And people wonder why Bush got a second term.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:12 PM on December 16, 2008 [9 favorites]


Even as a 45 year old, white, law-abiding computer programmer, my experience has been that cops are tank-brained, ham-fisted thugs who don't care about me at all and rely on their authority rather than intelligence.

Huh, that's interesting. Because in my experience, white computer programmers are smug know-it-alls who vastly overinflate their intelligence and believe their computer skills gives them expertise in virtually anything they desire.
posted by Snyder at 1:12 PM on December 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


Also, could somebody find this? I remember seeing a comment here a few years back by someone who volunteered to work at a police oversight board and was shocked to find a high number of frivolous complaints.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:13 PM on December 16, 2008


Synder's post was made by a machine made out of recycled strawmen, right? why is it the only people in the whole thread who mentioned anarchism were the rightwingers?

Uh, I'm a labor lawyer who also does employment discrimination. If you want to argue with me fine, but I brought up anarchism because I dislike it intensely and I know one of the persons who is arguing with me is an anarchist.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:16 PM on December 16, 2008


After going through this whole thread I feel very fortunate that my life taken a path that allows me to have a pleasant and supportive view of the police. Via the media I've seen some incredible bastards with badges, but from my personal experiences and those of most of the people I interact with, those bastards are the exception to the rule. My experiences lead me to believe most of the police do an admirable job and are worthy of the gratitude that people like myself have for them.

And I'm not saying that to belittle those who have had bad experiences with the police on single instances or even as a whole relationship. As I've said, the environment I've lived my entire life in does not put me at odds with the police in any way other than the occasional traffic violation. And the few times I've needed them, they've been there and served the way I think the job was envisioned.

There's a lot of power with the position, and some fuckwits can't handle power and shouldn't be put in command of that power. Which is why I support the heat that gets put on as many of those loose cannons as possible. But I still have to think of them as the exception, not the rule. Hopefully my life never takes a turn that causes me to readdress that opinion.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:17 PM on December 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yes, ticket quotas exist. How universally? I dunno, but they definitely exist. You just won't get any public admission that the practice exists under that name or at all.

If there's no admission of police ticket quotas, then boy, things sure have changed in the past twenty or thirty years. In my hometown(s), police forces not only unblushingly used ticket quotas, but the department at least briefly offered prizes to officers with the highest ticket counts (I seem to recall the prizes included vacations to warm places of the desirable kind, but its been so long I can't definitively say what they were). When the local media broke the story, the department defended the practice with the standard L&O arguments about improved policing efforts and such. I think the department may have dropped the prizes shortly thereafter due to public outcry, but I'm not even sure about that.

Ticket quotas definitely existed in the heartland of the good ol' USA in the not-too-distant past, and I find it very hard to believe that they have gone away since then, though police departments may claim otherwise.
posted by mdevore at 1:17 PM on December 16, 2008


In New Orleans, last week, a police officer was arrested after getting out of his car in front of a house and started beating and kicking a teenager in the teenager's own front yard. Come to find out, he told the kid "this is what you get for picking on my kid." The cop's kid was in the marked cruiser smiling the whole time. Protect and serve? Ha!
posted by winks007 at 1:17 PM on December 16, 2008


Your "who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes" routine is dishonest and despicable, and the job you do is damaging to society and should disqualify you for anything but jail time.

This is way out of line.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:25 PM on December 16, 2008 [11 favorites]


Ironmouth is so good at defending cops, he should get paid for it.

Oh wait.
posted by defenestration at 1:26 PM on December 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Only because you haven't been accused of anything. Jose Padilla is an American citizen who was arrested inside the United States.

Padilla got his Habeus Corpus in the Second Circuit. The Supreme Court then reversed on two technical grounds and remanded for refiling based on the wrong named party and on filing the case in the wrong jurisdiction. Again, check for facts before saying stuff. It will help you out in the future too.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:30 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


As I sit here reading this, I'm struck by something; bad cops can be likened to Islamic terrorists.

It is plainly clear from the sheer numbers involved, that most cops are not bad, just like most followers of Islam are perfectly decent people, both are just living their day to day lives, just like everyone else. But a very incendiary minority among their numbers can take an action that taints their entire culture.

This would be bad enough if it happened once, but over the years you see it happen again and again, albeit as a statistically insignificant representation of total populations, but that doesn't matter. We see officers harm someone, and all cops are bad, we see a suicide bomber kill himself in the name of Allah, and all Muslims become suspect.

People who regularly interact with cops can see that this false image is not really accurate, just as people who involve themselves in Islamic culture know that very few of its adherents would ever consider a path of violence, but for many Americans, they don't get these inside looks and the common perception is the "true" one, and even worse, it's one that seems to regularly get updated with fresh examples.

This revelation to me really doesn't help to solve the problem at all, it's just something I had never really considered before.
posted by quin at 1:30 PM on December 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


That you are a part of this network invalidates your worth as a human being and makes every word that flows from your keyboard impossible to take seriously as a source of information.

IM and J@L were discussing rationally(ish) -- it's crap like this that does a lot more to "shit up" a thread than rational discussion. Knock it the fuck off.
posted by waraw at 1:31 PM on December 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


The lying filth always come out for the cop threads. There's no lower nor more despicable form of life than those who work to protect cops from the consequences of their actions.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:20 PM on December 16 [+] [!]


Wow, not cool. It's a direct attack on another mefite, not an attack on their argument, but a personal attack. We don't do that around here.
posted by caddis at 1:32 PM on December 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Does this thread have a pause button?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:35 PM on December 16, 2008


Man! This thread is awesome - pop, zing, snap - I love watchin' you guys fight. Ironmouth is like, single-handedly putting a world of ruin on basically everyone here. It's like a basement full of hippies and a penthouse cigar bar spontaneously merged and I'm witnessing the ensuing verbal carnage.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:35 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


oh and also: jonmc and others: why the fuck do you have to say that you can't stand critical mass riders and nevertheless think it's brutality? as if it normally is OK to be physically violent against CM riders, but this one stepped over the line?

Ummm, what? I siad that I don't like Critical mass because I don't. Also, to make the point that I'm not a reflexive sympahizer with them. How you managed to conflate that into condoning violence against them, I'm not sure.
posted by jonmc at 1:35 PM on December 16, 2008


These law enforcement threads always go so well. Just like CM threads. Oh, wait, it's the perfect storm.
posted by fixedgear at 1:37 PM on December 16, 2008


Well, Re: all the above:
A. Take it to metatalk.
B. what’s the disagreement here? If cops didn’t have a system of oversight, why would they have to lie to circumvent it?

Someone’s personal experience/opinion doesn’t invalidate the existence of a system of oversight.
But the fact that such a system exists doesn’t mean it’s flawless.

Beyond that - I know it’s an emotional issue, but damn there are some bizarre leaps in thought here akin to arguing whether Slayer could waste Metallica or not.

In nearly any other subject matter these arguments would be seen as the facile tripe they are. Certain issues though, everyone has to bring their pet demons and air them out like “oh, well, we’re talking ‘cops’ so I can say a cop hit my dog once and so all cops are evil and suck.”

Who the hell makes that kind of leap and generalization in reasoned - or attempted anyway - discourse?

This cop hit a guy without provocation. He is getting punished. And he should be. And hard. And such things should occur more often and more visibly.
Did I miss where the argument was all cops are great vs. all cops suck?

Seems to me some folks are just positing that fable to trot out some other agenda or vent or get their ya ya’s out or some other damned thing. I don’t know, I can’t figure it out.
But why the hell is everything cast in absolute terms in these types of things when for the most part it’s not tolerated elsewhere?
Or am I just a cop-hating anarchist? Or a police brutality defending thug?

Jesus fucking Christ get ahold of yourselves. If you’re that pissed off don’t get mad, organize and do something about it and make someone pay for being corrupt. (Set up a sting on the police. We just had a post on something like that.)

It’s been working out here (despite the enormity of the task).

As it is, do Critical Mass’ methods incite this?
Were police told they could have free reign in dealing violently with the bike riders?
You think maybe developers have a problem with Critical Mass?
Lot of more interesting things to talk about than: cops - good? cops: bad?
posted by Smedleyman at 1:40 PM on December 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


In New Orleans, last week, a police officer was arrested ...

NOPD officer accused of beating Metairie man
"'For like a good two to three minutes he's just hitting me on the head,' said [Steven] Fayia. 'That's when he busted my teeth, my jaw swollen, I got a bruise here, kept hitting my on the side.' ...Sergeant Justin Vitrano was the NOPD officer accused in the attack...Darrel Fayia said he asked Vitrano to stay at the scene until Jefferson Parish Sheriff's deputies arrived. However, he said the officer drove off anyway, but not before offering an explanation...."All he told me is that your son was picking on my son," said Darrel Fayia....'His son was just sitting in the car smiling in the passenger seat...' ...Vitrano was issued a misdemeanor summons for simple battery."
posted by ericb at 1:43 PM on December 16, 2008


As I sit here reading this, I'm struck by something; bad cops can be likened to Islamic terrorists.

It is plainly clear from the sheer numbers involved, that most cops are not bad, just like most followers of Islam are perfectly decent people, both are just living their day to day lives, just like everyone else. But a very incendiary minority among their numbers can take an action that taints their entire culture.


This is a tremendous insight. And it is exactly what I'm trying to fight against--a few bad actors do spoil things more than they should.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:44 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Padilla got his Habeus Corpus in the Second Circuit. The Supreme Court then reversed on two technical grounds and remanded for refiling based on the wrong named party and on filing the case in the wrong jurisdiction. Again, check for facts before saying stuff. It will help you out in the future too.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:30 PM on December 16


First of all, no citizen, no matter how much of a dirtbag, should even be forced to petition for it. That's fucking ridiculous. Second, because of the government's attempts to deny habeas, it took five years for him to get an actual trial. Five years.

You say that this is no big deal, that because eventually he had his day in court, it's not a police state? Not even close? How would you feel if one of your clients was held for five years without a trial?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:45 PM on December 16, 2008


Smedleyman: thank you.
posted by defenestration at 1:47 PM on December 16, 2008


posted by Slack-a-gogo Does this thread have a pause button?

No, but as it tries to steer around you, shove it as hard as you can. The thread will crash to a halt and unless someone catches it all on video, plenty of people will back you up when you claim the thread ran into you--Critical Mass threads always take up too much space on the front page and make life miserable for peaceful, law-abiding FPPs.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:49 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


@IM
[quote]
Padilla got his Habeus Corpus in the Second Circuit. The Supreme Court then reversed on two technical grounds and remanded for refiling based on the wrong named party and on filing the case in the wrong jurisdiction. Again, check for facts before saying stuff. It will help you out in the future too.
[/quote]

The fact is Padilla doesn't have habeas corpus. You should follow your own advice.
posted by Darkbird at 1:50 PM on December 16, 2008


I'm slightly confused. Is this officer being punished for attacking a rider without provocation, filling out false reports, or both? It appears he's in more hot water for the report thing and that seems wrong to me, especially after watching him take down the poor guy on the bike.
posted by FunkyHelix at 1:58 PM on December 16, 2008


@IM
[quote]
Padilla got his Habeus Corpus in the Second Circuit. The Supreme Court then reversed on two technical grounds and remanded for refiling based on the wrong named party and on filing the case in the wrong jurisdiction. Again, check for facts before saying stuff. It will help you out in the future too.
[/quote]

The fact is Padilla doesn't have habeas corpus. You should follow your own advice.


The only appeals court to rule on the matter held he did, then his case was dismissed. Since he has subsequently been tried and convicted on at least one count, the original Habeus proceeding became moot. One could argue that he "never got Habeus Corpus" but that would be unrealistic. SCOTUS left untouched the Second Circuit's assertion that he was entitled to habeus corpus.

He got a trial and wasn't tried by a military commission but an everyday federal district court, which was the whole purpose of the Habeus petition in the first place.

I opposed the original denial of Habeus, but the fact of the matter is that we don't live in a police state.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:01 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


First of all, no citizen, no matter how much of a dirtbag, should even be forced to petition for it.

Huh? In order to get it, you MUST petition for it. There is no Habeus Corpus without a petition. Are you sure you really know what it is?
posted by Ironmouth at 2:03 PM on December 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Does this thread have a pause button?

I'd settle for a self-righteousness slider.
posted by rokusan at 2:08 PM on December 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Optimus Chyme, Darkbird: You guys should really read something about habeas corpus. It's ALWAYS something petitioned for, and Jose Padilla was granted habeas.
posted by jock@law at 2:08 PM on December 16, 2008


It doesn't matter if the points become moot or not, he doesn't/didn't/wouldn't have it anyway.


As pointed out by my colleagues, the Constitution generally affords
all persons detained by the government the right to be charged and
tried in a criminal proceeding for suspected wrongdoing, and it pro-
hibits the government from subjecting individuals arrested inside the
United States to military detention unless they fall within certain nar-
row exceptions. See United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 755
(1987) ("In our society liberty is the norm, and detention prior to trial
or without trial is the carefully limited exception."). The detention of
enemy combatants during military hostilities, however, is such an
exception. If properly designated an enemy combatant pursuant to
legal authority of the President, such persons may be detained without
charge or criminal proceedings "for the duration of the relevant hostil-
ities." Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507, 519-521 (2004).


http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinion.pdf/067427A.P.pdf (July 15, 2008)

And since there is no clear definition what police state stands for, it is your opinion vs someone's else opinion.
posted by Darkbird at 2:08 PM on December 16, 2008


jock@law:

It was granted and then overturned, it was never decided afterwards .
posted by Darkbird at 2:11 PM on December 16, 2008


I'm slightly confused. Is this officer being punished for attacking a rider without provocation, filling out false reports, or both? It appears he's in more hot water for the report thing and that seems wrong to me, especially after watching him take down the poor guy on the bike.

Yes, his biggest crime was filing a false police report. You know the old adage, it's not the crime but the cover-up that gets you. First, the evidence is pretty clear from the video that the police report is false making that an easier case for the prosecutor. On the assault charge the officer can allege that the cyclist refused his orders to stop or whatever making proof of assault harder. Finally, falsifying a police report by an officer is a much bigger blow to the criminal justice system than excessive force or even outright assault. It goes to the integrity of the system.
posted by caddis at 2:12 PM on December 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Pirates vs. Global Temperatures

er, wrong site. sorry 'bout that.
posted by jquinby at 2:15 PM on December 16, 2008


a few bad actors do spoil things more than they should.

But the thing is that the bad cops "spoiling" things is really them killing people or seriously injuring them or wrongly depriving them of liberty. Phrasing it that way, I think, whitewashes a lot of the purely evil things these "actors" are doing. And then, more often than not, when they do get caught, a blue circle closes ranks around them, and people argue that we need to give them the benefit of the doubt far beyond what we'd extend to a normal citizen; frequently we're told we should realize how hard the cops have it and just STFU about it.

I don't think you or some others here realize just how dimly cops are viewed by minorities and with what justification. My friends, family and I back in Ft. Lauderdale were all well aware that in an encounter with the police away from a substantial number of witnesses, fuck the Constitution and Bill of Rights: as a minority male you didn't have the rights granted in any document, you had whatever rights the man with the badge and the gun was willing to extend to you at that moment.

Things like the Diallo case, the Sean Bell case, and things friends of mine who walked a different path than I did told me about have me holding the belief that any police officer of any ethnicity can walk up to me on the street and murder me in cold blood, and all he would need to do to have that protective circle of both fellow cops and concerned citizens close around him is claim that he felt threatened because I appeared to be reaching for a weapon.

There'd be a rush of "You weren't there, you can't judge him; cops are in dire danger nearly every moment of their waking lives and this lord_wolf fellow didn't respond to verbal commands, etc." comments from certain quarters. There would be no such comments from those same quarters were I to shoot an average citizen and make the same claim of feeling threatened.

And that sucks. My wife would be without a husband, my daughter without a father. I'm widely perceived as a pretty upright guy, with no criminal record. But a great many decent people would speculate that I must have done something, something, that at least in part excuses me being shot...because cops have really difficult jobs. The most that might be said is that it's a tragedy, but then there'd be a bunch of hooey about how "we have to heal and move on." Meanwhile, I'm cold and in the ground.

So I can understand why people get so worked up about incidents like this and other such events that lead to FPPs. Bad cops aren't just unprofessional inconveniences, the way, say, bad home renovation contractors are. Bad cops have the potential to cause a degree of harm that is absolutely frightening. I appreciate what folks such as Ironmouth are doing, but people should get worked up about these issues (though the ad hominems, I agree, are unnecessary.)
posted by lord_wolf at 2:18 PM on December 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


lucky for us, next time they'll be able to take bikers out with machine guns instead of just plain old brutality.
posted by yonation at 2:25 PM on December 16, 2008


It was granted and then overturned

Exactly wrong. I'm guessing your a lawyer based on your access to PACER. You should know better. There were several questions decided by the Second Circuit in the Padilla case. Four of them included (1) the correct named party; (2) whether or not Padilla's lawyer had the ability to file as his next good friend; (3) whether venue was proper; and (4) whether Padilla was entitled to Habeus Corpus as a matter of law.

The Second Circuit found that the party was correct (Rumsfeld), that the lawyer could be the next good friend to file, that venue was proper, and that Padilla was entitled to Habeus. SCOTUS dismissed the petition, ruling that (1) the named party should have been the commander of the South Carolina brig where he was held, not Rumsfeld; and (2) the venue was improper and that the case should have been filed in Federal District Court in South Carolina. They did not reach question (4).

From the synopsis: Held:

1. Because this Court answers the jurisdictional question in the negative, it does not reach the question whether the President has authority to detain Padilla militarily. P. 1.

2. The Southern District lacks jurisdiction over Padilla's habeas petition. Pp. 5-23.

In other words, reversed on other grounds.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:28 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Got called away there for a bit but thanks for the informative answer, Ironmouth. That was exactly what I was looking for.

And personally, I think Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents is a shit hot name.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:33 PM on December 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


akin to arguing whether Slayer could waste Metallica or not.

There's no debate there as far as I'm concerned (he said cryptically).
posted by ob at 2:34 PM on December 16, 2008


lord_wolf you may think you are an OK guy but you seem to have a slightly different opinion to me so I must conclude that you are a lying scumbag and should be put in jail.

Did anyone else think that skater kid almost deserved a beatdown for calling that cop dude? Not legally, but just, I mean holy shit kid do you see the emasculating little car that fat angry Pigtown fucker was driving? Kid's lucky the asshole didn't drop him in the Bay and give him Hepatitis! Don't talk shit to bike or scooter cops, they do not care if they get suspended they will blast you just to feel like a man again even for a split second.

Ironmouth: I agree that hyperbole isn't helpful, but if you look at history as much as you say you do you should know there are only two kinds of societies: one where people waste all their time complaining about how the police are a bunch of dicks, and one where they can't.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:39 PM on December 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Here in Ontario we have a separate entity, the SIU, to investigate all cases where citizens are killed, injured, or sexually assaulted and there is police involvement.
Most cops hate the SIU. They cooperate with their investigations only because they are required to, and only to the minimum extent they can get away with. They collude together to "get their stories straight" beforehand. They show up in numbers to rally support for their "brothers" if they appear in court.
Does this sound like a group who are dedicated to justice and the rule of law?


I understand your point, Rocket88, but frankly, I think this is to some extent the way it should be. There is no way that the Special Investigations Unit should have a buddy-buddy relationship with the rank and file. It should be antagonistic. They should, in the parlance of our times, "not be there to make friends". That the rank and file reciprocate by attempting to obstruct the SIU is not cool, but I take comfort in it as a sign of the correct type of relationship between those two bodies.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:40 PM on December 16, 2008


Ironmouth is like, single-handedly putting a world of ruin on basically everyone here. It's like a basement full of hippies and a penthouse cigar bar spontaneously merged and I'm witnessing the ensuing verbal carnage.


I don't think I could take out Slayer.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:41 PM on December 16, 2008


Metallica AJFA > Slayer > All other Metallica > My new band: "Six Unknown Named Agents"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:41 PM on December 16, 2008


I don't approve of the cop's actions unless the guy was riding a fixie.
posted by found missing at 2:46 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metallica AJFA > Slayer > All other Metallica

quin's amendment : [All Metallica prior to and including AJFA > Slayer > All other subsequent Metallica (not counting the re-release of Garage Days)] = Megadeth <>

posted by quin at 2:59 PM on December 16, 2008


So the existence of drug dealers proves the triumph of capitalism over socialism, the indictment of this police officer proves the triumph of socialism over socialism and we would all be better off if, instead of riding bikes, we all drove slightly more fuel efficient gas guzzlers?
posted by snofoam at 3:00 PM on December 16, 2008


Hmmm... it looks like there might be a Slayer vs Metallica fight somewhere on the horizon...
posted by ob at 3:11 PM on December 16, 2008


There are unknown named agents
and there are unknown unnamed agents...

posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:26 PM on December 16, 2008


As an anarchist, I call bullshit. This one is getting really old.

You're right, it is getting old. Anarchism, as a philosophy, has worthwhile, or at least credible aspects. It's a shame that Pope Guilty is acting like the stereotypical "Fuck you cops suck anyone who disagrees with me is a worthless idiot human who deserves to go to jail or be physically assaulted ANARCHY" entitled ignorant "anarchist," and it's a shame you endorse it. It's mushy headed, "us vs. them" demonize the "enemy" thinking (kind of like you're cops and army comment, gee, army guys like the victim in this case?). You both claim to be anarchists, yet your words seem more like those of Objectivists.
posted by Snyder at 3:34 PM on December 16, 2008


It is plainly clear from the sheer numbers involved, that most cops are not bad, just like most followers of Islam are perfectly decent people, both are just living their day to day lives, just like everyone else. But a very incendiary minority among their numbers can take an action that taints their entire culture.

Yeah but it's an issue of proportion and magnitude. If there's one Muslim in 10 million willing to fly a plane into a building, that's terrible. But I can't count the number of people, of all faiths, that I have met and, as far as I know, none of them have blown themselves up.

On the other hand, I have dealt with, at most, 20 or so law enforcement officers (including border patrol / customs agents) in my entire lifetime. I would say 3-4 of them were assholes on a level that I have never seen in any other profession. The rest were, as you say, totally normal human beings who were willing to interact with me in a rational manner. That's not a good ratio. There are rude people everywhere, but I can't think of another class of people with so high a proportion of complete, unforgivable dicks who are, worse, in a position to lord their authority over us. I understand it's a stressful, thankless job. But my experience is not unique. Is there anyone reading this who's never met a police officer who acted like a top 5 asshole? Anyone reading this who has no idea what I'm even talking about? There's an attitude and a presentation among certain police officers that is not societally appropriate, and unfortunately most of their crap is un-punishable. It's simply not worth speaking up about abusive language over a parking ticket (on the part of the officer). That shit happens all the time, and it's why you see people in threads about police spout off the way they do. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to not be a privileged white guy having to deal with law enforcement (and on a far more regular basis).

Are there insolent IT guys, and prickish celebrities, and smarmy bosses? Yes, but when you laugh at them, nothing happens. When you laugh at a cop with anger management problems, your situation escalates, and you can wind up incarcerated. So we all collectively grit our teeth and pretend their behavior is acceptable, when it's not. I'm glad there are systems set up to protect police officers from abusive legal proceedings, but this really is a two way street. All of this anger against law enforcement officers isn't being invented out of thin air. It's real, and it's problematic.
posted by one_bean at 3:59 PM on December 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


[few comments removed - Note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.]
posted by jessamyn at 4:16 PM on December 16, 2008


“but people should get worked up about these issues”

Yes, they should. They should also, y’know, do something tangible about it.
Justice, like liberty, is something you make.

However righteous one’s intent, however laudible one’s words, what good will they do you if you don’t act on them?”

Far as I’m concerned most angry talk is looking for an excuse to fail.
I mean, we’re eyebrow deep in corruption out here. 90% of the impediment is people lacking the will to follow through, get engaged, all that.

Hell, I make Charleton Heston look like Dennis Kucinich, why do you think I was so gung-ho Obama?
He makes people step up and get involved. That alone is priceless. I’d’ve voted for him if he was running as a communist.
If folks get mad enough, maybe they’ll stand up, get involved sure. But a lot of that is just dismissive and acrimonious. Anger is often a luxury and a reflex to not have to deal with something.
Think about it, ever stub your toe? Really pisses you off doesn’t it? For a while. Then you move on.

Not saying that’s what’s going on here, I’m not questioning anyone’s commitment. I don’t know any of you personally. Just making a general observation.

Something more is needed to take root. Rage, maybe. Fury. Or if we’re defining anger differently - whatever the feeling is for not simply shouting “I don’t have to take this shit” but going and acting to make sure of it.

Really, the time to remind the police that they work for you isn’t at a traffic stop, but at an appropriations meeting, oversight committee - pretty much every *other* opportunity in public that you can.

I mean, you see this stuff, hear about it, we can all see the writing on the wall. We just think it’s addressed to someone else.
It’s just us man. If you’re not doing something about something you feel passionate about, no one is going to do it for you.

It’s absurd to contest this ‘cops - bad/good’ point.

So, cops are assholes, huh. Yeah. Quite a pickle there. They’re all a big bucket of cocks. Yep. It certainly is a problem. Glad we settled that.

Well, see ya.
*turns on t.v.*

Reminds me of the Richard Pryor routine where (in character) he pukes at a bank and the bank guard (an asshole!) demands he cleans it up. And he refuses. So the bank guard pulls his gun and says he’ll shoot him if he doesn’t clean it up. So he says “well, who’s going to clean up the blood?”

Buck’s gotta stop somewhere man. This shit’s all retread.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:20 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Snyder: knowing you find police incomprehensible, how are you so certain of how others perceive you?

I guess I don't. Are you saying that police are terrified of me too? I can see that being possible, especially given my own observation about training for and assuming imminent attack at all times.

Do you think this is an ok state of things, then? And do you mean to imply that it's mainly my fault, for being so conspicuously unarmed and cooperative?
posted by rusty at 5:24 PM on December 16, 2008


This thread exemplifies why cops need to be held to not only the same standard, but a higher standard, than the rest of the population. They should be the moral and ethical elite of society, for their actions are taken as representative of the government which grants them the power no one else holds, and in this, they represent the government, the people, in a way few public servants do.

For example, as about a 14 year old kid, I was milling around on Halloween night in the small town I grew up in. Someone threw an egg at a cop car that drove by. Harmless enough. Superficially, the fact that the cop came into the crowd, picked out three of us, none of whom had thrown the egg, and had us come down to the station to wash the car off was also harmless enough. But the fact is, I did not throw the egg, and the cop told me to my face that he had seen me throw the egg. A laughably small matter, yet one that has coloured my perception of the police in the 30 odd years since -- that this cop lied freely and smoothly and shamelessly and I had no reason to think that any of them were any different. So the price of that car-wash was a good citizen's distrust and skepticism of law enforcement for life.
posted by Rumple at 5:33 PM on December 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Think about it, ever stub your toe? Really pisses you off doesn’t it? For a while. Then you move on.

Yeah, and if somebody posted something about how we finally got some revenge on those damn toe-stubbing devices, people would be happy. And express anger at all those toe-stubbing things. And apparently other people would come on in and cry, "HOW DARE YOU ACCUSE THINGS THAT HURT YOUR TOE AS BAD?" Unfortunately, there's very little to be done about the whole business. You want to hold public hearings about stubbed toes? It's not worth it. That doesn't mean I have to like it. Funny bones, either.
posted by one_bean at 5:36 PM on December 16, 2008


Is there anyone reading this who's never met a police officer who acted like a top 5 asshole? Anyone reading this who has no idea what I'm even talking about?

I've never met a police officer who acted like an asshole. My worst experience with police has been when my friend got ticketed for jaywalking while drunk. What a bastard! But I guess at least he managed to write out the ticket neatly and hand it to her without finding something to give the twenty odd drunk girls surrounding them and laughing. The random breath tests, tickets for speeding, customs officials, all the rest of them - they were perfectly nice guys. I have never even come up against the possibility of violence from a police officer.

Of course, I'm white, female, law-abiding, and was only five when I left the US.
posted by jacalata at 5:38 PM on December 16, 2008


Are you saying that police are terrified of me too?

No, probably not, beyond what you've already mentioned (a bit exaggeratedly) regarding their training. What I mean is is that they're motivations for their demeanor might not be obvious (i.e., them trying for matter-of-factness, coming across as dismissive, combined with the psychological effects of policework,) especially considering that you find motives for policework incomprehensible, but what you perceive as your obvious harmlessness and law-abiding nature may not be very obvious.

Do you think this is an ok state of things, then? And do you mean to imply that it's mainly my fault, for being so conspicuously unarmed and cooperative?

No, I don't think it's ok, and I meant what I said about not attacking you. I think, quite often, there is an us vs. them mentality between cops and citizens, and militant attitudes or a desire to frighten and intimidate intentionally do exist, sometimes, on the part of the cops. Sometimes the reasons for this are justified or understandable, sometimes they are not, or even counterproductive or dangerous.

I just caution that one of the aspects of privilege (that you recognize you have) is the difficulty in seeing yourself as others, outside of your culture, may see you.
posted by Snyder at 5:43 PM on December 16, 2008


On the one hand, I'm opposed to police abuse. On the other hand, I like it when bad things happen to Critical Mass participants.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:14 PM on December 16, 2008


Oh, sweet delicious irony; I am listening to The Strokes right now.

I said every night she just can't stop saying:

New York city cops, New York city cops, New York city cops, they ain't too smart
posted by mr dodo at 6:16 PM on December 16, 2008


If the police department needs more money, suck it up and raise taxes. I'm not necessarily discounting the usefulness of property taking as a deterrent or punishment, but I'd argue for something like putting all such incomes into a big pot for equal distribution to the entire country or maybe just fucking burning it all so no one gets it.

That moolah goes in the middle until you land ride on Free Parking.
posted by bonaldi at 6:49 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Think about it, what type of personality wants to be a police officer? You have to have a bit of a chip on your shoulder, a big ego and maybe a bit of a death wish to think law enforcement is cool.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 7:21 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, people who literally believe we live in a police state are simply insane. Study five minutes of history to learn it is the opposite.

We're figuratively dying in a police state?
posted by mr_roboto at 7:34 PM on December 16, 2008


Think about it, what type of personality wants to be a police officer? You have to have a bit of a chip on your shoulder, a big ego and maybe a bit of a death wish to think law enforcement is cool.

How facile. You can pathologize anything if you want.
posted by Snyder at 7:51 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


So the price of that car-wash was a good citizen's distrust and skepticism of law enforcement for life.

Honestly? I think that cop did you a favour, then. A skepticism of law enforcement is, at the very least, necessary for a healthy democracy. There are far, far worse ways to earn it, and they're the ones you usually get later in life. Be glad you started early.
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:06 PM on December 16, 2008


Can you imagine how awesome Metallica could have been if Dave Mustaine hadn't been an alcoholic?
posted by adamdschneider at 9:31 PM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


The key ingredient to healthy anarchist thought is government enforcement of a peacable society.

And any liberal can be cured by a good mugging, right?

Also, This is Not a Police State.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:50 PM on December 16, 2008


i haven't talked with a cop for about 4 years - some police state
posted by pyramid termite at 1:04 AM on December 17, 2008


Critical mass + NYPD = Critical impact.
posted by markkraft at 1:30 AM on December 17, 2008


.First, Ryvar based the alleged healthy mistrust of all citizens, including himself, towards the police on the fact that minorities had been persecuted by the police. So I clicked on his profile, and needless to say, I didn't see a picture of Malcom X. I saw a white video-game designer..

Which is entirely the point - I'm exactly the type of person who benefits the most from current behavioral norms and routine prejudices within the law enforcement community. I'm a white citizen whose every act could honestly be videotaped without finding a single crime other than speeding on the highway.

If even I feel this way about American law enforcement, what does that tell you?

In 2000, shortly after the WTO rights, I watched 30-40 anti-globalization protesters march down the sidewalk of the central avenue in Seattle's gay/hippie district (Capital Hill) while chanting and carrying signs. They were surrounded on all sides by over a hundred cops in fucking riot gear. Naked jack-booted thuggery three blocks from where I lived.

According to the local section of every media outlet I could get my hands on the next day, not fifteen minutes after I passed by those same cops were witnessed teargassing a group of people walking the opposite direction of the protest on the *opposite side of the street* while minding their own business. People were pinned down on the sidewalk, handcuffed, 'physically remonstrated with', and arrested, with onlookers in abundance.

Not one of the officers involved suffered any consequences. The Seattle law enforcement community 'rallied around them'.

Fuck that. There is no excuse to "be hard" in that situation, nor were they dealing with society's lowest elements. The law enforcement officers responsible ought to have been rallied against by their department and seen years in jail for their actions. Our standards for proof and enforcement are tilted in the opposite direction necessary to foster a society which values the rule of law and respects those who uphold it.

The current situation is, as I've said, a cancer eating at the heart of America.
posted by Ryvar at 2:00 AM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


The key ingredient to healthy anarchist thought is government enforcement of a peacable society.

This reflects a total failure of causality.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:12 AM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I should probably stop now, but there's more:

During that time following the WTO riots, there were other protests that I saw. A larger one I walked through in the plaza outside the mall on Broadway - again, over a hundred cops in riot gear, at least four of which were videotaping the protesters (and myself, just trying to pass through to get to the movie theater) for later identification.

Ironmouth, you flippantly respond to valid complaints about the way the system is structured with "that's your job as a citizen to fix." These people were doing their damnedest to accomplish exactly that the only way they knew how and were being blatantly intimidated and mistreated by Seattle's law enforcement in response.

Fuck that.

If I were to be perfectly honest, though, this isn't what really bothers me. My partner at the time, who was with me when I passed by the protest I posted about above, had a medical condition she was born with - her shoulders were internally malformed during fetal development such that a major vein was constricted whenever her hands or arms swung behind the plane of her torso. Pull her arm behind her even slightly and it will immediately begin to swell up with trapped blood. Earlier in her life this had caused internal bleeding and scars on the veins in her shoulder - she lived (and lives) in perpetual danger of dying from a random cerebral embolism as a result, with *greatly* elevated chances of this occuring if one of her arms is held behind her for any length of time. I used to wake up in panic when I found her asleep with one arm swollen from lying in a bad position.

Standard police takedown of protesters - which I've witnessed firsthand despite never having participated in a protest - involves pinning the protester facedown by kneeling on their back while holding one arm in a joint lock behind the back. The other arm is handcuffed and it ends with the protester lying facedown with both arms handcuffed behind their back. The slightest amount of struggling will get you your face smashed against the sidewalk for your trouble (again, I've witnessed this and the sheer disregard with which it happens), plus a bullshit 'resisting arrest' charge.

After I read about the teargassing of innocent people passing by the protest I wrote about above, I started thinking - fifteen minutes earlier and that would have been us. I could have easily have wound up watching the most important person in my universe die slowly on the ground in front of me because of some trigger-happy asshole wanting to vent their lingering anger over the WTO riots. I probably would have struggled while trying to scream a plea about a medical reality far too complicated to receive the slightest attention, and been mildly brutalized for my trouble.

The feeling of helplessness about the larger situation and how close it came to touching me has never left me. Eight years and a divorce later I still get enraged every time I think about it. I will never stop being angry about what I witnessed, and I will never trust American law enforcement or the system behind it.
posted by Ryvar at 3:23 AM on December 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


One of my good friends is a policeman, and he is lovely.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 6:47 AM on December 17, 2008


I know a teacher, and he rocks.
posted by regicide is good for you at 7:05 AM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


i know a guy who rides a fixie, and he deserves to be knocked off his bike.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:23 AM on December 17, 2008


Do some officers committ the infractions they are accused of? Yes. Usually I fight those on how big the penalty should be.

And the rest of the time, you help guilty officers to get off scott-free?
posted by goethean at 10:37 AM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


goethean, you'd prefer that we have an ex-ante determination of guilt, and that those determined "guilty" by the judge/establishment/local media/whatever not get to have legal representation?

You foaming-at-the-mouth police-hating hippies need to chill the heck out.

Any discussion board where I'm on the conservative end of the spectrum is truly, truly in bizzaro world.
posted by jock@law at 11:42 AM on December 17, 2008


And the rest of the time, you help guilty officers to get off scott-free?

You do know how the legal system works, right?
posted by the other side at 1:06 PM on December 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


“I will never stop being angry about what I witnessed, and I will never trust American law enforcement or the system behind it.”

I still think this cop body-checking this guy on the bike was out of line.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:41 PM on December 17, 2008


Maybe metafilter should keep a thread open perpetually for this stuff.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:56 PM on December 18, 2008


Puppycide
posted by homunculus at 4:49 PM on December 23, 2008


Marijuana so old it disintegrated on contact?

They must have looked hard for that stuff. Even the homeowner probably didn't know it was there- if it even was pot in the first place.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:09 PM on December 23, 2008


Police use excessive force, ER docs say
posted by homunculus at 7:08 PM on December 27, 2008


« Older One hundred years ago today (12/16/08), Maria de l...  |  Martian maps... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments