Skip

I see her dark eyes glowing, she was only twelve
February 10, 2009 6:41 AM   Subscribe

Back in 2006 on her parent's property in Galveston, a girl went outside to switch on a tripped breaker. She was wearing tight shorts. She was 12-years-old. Dymond Milburn got the living daylights beaten out of her and was hospitalized by 3 plain-clothes policemen on the mistaken pretense that she was a hooker. "You're a prostitute. You're coming with me." The final arguments of the trial were heard yesterday and it was declared a mistrial. The Milburns have launched a Federal suit against the officers.
posted by RockCorpse (238 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nobody should ever be charged with assaulting an officer or resisting arrest when they are dealing with plain-clothes police who do not take the time to clearly identify themselves, and with something more than just a shout of "stop, police!".

Fucking pigs.
posted by Dysk at 6:46 AM on February 10, 2009 [32 favorites]


Obligatory: Yes, a 12 year old girl was beaten by the police on her own property...but if there's no sound recording, we don't know if it was warranted.
posted by DU at 6:51 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the commenter on the first blog post says it best: "Stay classy, Galveston."
posted by pineapple at 6:54 AM on February 10, 2009


I bet she was asking for it. Somehow. They always are these, er, type of people.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:57 AM on February 10, 2009


Good. Now let's hope the cops end up paying for their vulgar and stupid actions.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:57 AM on February 10, 2009


Hmm, when I read "the trial" I assumed you were talking about the trial of the officers. It didn't occour to me that it was the trial of the girl. That's insane.

So what we should be telling our kids is: Don't go anywhere with strangers, unless they say they're cops, even if they're dressed in plain clothes?
posted by delmoi at 6:57 AM on February 10, 2009 [20 favorites]


Another detail in the second link:

Some detractors of Dymond are likening her case to that of Tawana Brawley, the fifteen-year-old African American woman who, in 1987, claimed that six white men, including some police officers, raped her. Internet commenters claim that Dymond is a liar because she exaggerated her age on some social networking sites.


Never, never miss an opportunity to impugn a girl or woman who has been assaulted -- or miss any opportunity to make a tortuous analogy to an incident 20 years ago that has absolutely nothing in common with the case at hand -- in order to construct a baseless and cheap typology in your earnestness to maintain your belief that a) the cops are always the good guys, and b) any girl or woman who gets assaulted is either lying or did something to deserve it.

Oh yeah- particularly if they are black.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 7:00 AM on February 10, 2009 [60 favorites]


I thought this bit was kind of important:

"Griffin, in Monday morning’s closing arguments, repeatedly told jurors police shouldn’t have mistaken his client, who is black, for three white women.

'They clearly had probable cause to search for three white prostitutes,' Griffin said.

'But when they didn’t find probable cause, they didn’t have the right to detain everyone in the area.'"
posted by HopperFan at 7:02 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow, and it's the first comment on this post...

"Fucking pigs."

Generalized comments like this are useless.

Over my way too many years I've experienced many, many encounters with law enforcement.. some bad, and some good... But, the majority of my experience has been positive. The same goes with my experience with bartenders, cab drivers, doctors, teachers, you name it... people are people some bad, some good... condemning a profession with comments like that only exposes your own ignorance.

Brother Dysk, I suspect that if every encounter you've had with the police has been so bad that this is your knee jerk response, the problem might be you....

But..it looks like it's time for yet another metafilter "police" post.... personally, I'm a bit bored with them and will avoid the rest of this one..

carry on... and I know you will...
posted by HuronBob at 7:03 AM on February 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Man, I can't imagine how traumatic something like this must be for a 12 year old. Not only only are you assaulted but it turns out that not only is "the system" not going to provide any help, they're going to lie about you and try to get you thrown in jail. Fucked up.
posted by delmoi at 7:03 AM on February 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


The link to Jezebel refers to "a blogger known as The Agitator." You'd think Radley Balko would get a little more respect than that. He's always trying to draw attention to civil rights abuses like this one.
posted by bardic at 7:06 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Over my way too many years I've experienced many, many encounters with law enforcement..
This isn't about you.
posted by Sailormom at 7:07 AM on February 10, 2009 [51 favorites]


Generalized comments like this are useless.

Over my way too many years I've experienced many, many encounters with law enforcement.. some bad, and some good...
The problem isn't the that there are "a few bad apples" it's that whenever a story like this comes out, the system is always out there trying to protect said bad apples from any consequences. The fact that there is no punishment, and often times the 'victim' is charged with "resisting arrest" indicates that this type of behavior is considered completely acceptable for police. By the DAs and by other police.

You can't just say "Well some cops are good, some cops are bad." they need to be 100% good and bad cops need to be removed as quickly as possible, instead they are protected.
posted by delmoi at 7:07 AM on February 10, 2009 [86 favorites]


people are people some bad, some good... condemning a profession with comments like that only exposes your own ignorance.

Generalized comments like this are useless.
posted by clavdivs at 7:08 AM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Has that first link been hacked? Here's a cut-and-paste from about halfway down:
The police went to the wrong house, two blocks away from the area of the reported illegal activity, Milburn's attorney, Anthony Griffin, tells Hair Balls."
Just asking.
posted by nax at 7:09 AM on February 10, 2009


Griffin in Monday morning’s closing arguments repeatedly told jurors police shouldn’t have mistaken his client, who is black, for three white women.

“They clearly had probable cause to search for three white prostitutes,” Griffin said.


It's insane that this went as far as it did. Doesn't give much hope that the cops will be watched any more closely.

What's even more fucked up is that it wasn't an acquittal, it was a mistrial. A deadlocked jury. Someone was holding out that this girl and her father should be prosecuted for assaulting the officer.
posted by desuetude at 7:09 AM on February 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Huronbob, are you white?
posted by notsnot at 7:11 AM on February 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Outragefilter
posted by LarryC at 7:12 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn. I came in here to claim that cops are good people and "an understandable mistake" or "a few bad apples" do not indicate anything about the vast majority of good, hardworking police men and women who served so bravely on 9/11, and then gather the lulz.

But I see HuronBob beat me to it.
posted by rusty at 7:13 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Regardless of how you feel about law enforcement officers in general, these three particular men are pigs. Racist, sexist, abusive pigs. Fucking pigs.
posted by explosion at 7:13 AM on February 10, 2009 [11 favorites]


To be fair, the cops were investigating a complaint about 3 white prostitutes. You can understand the confusion and bruised egos they had to defend when OHFUCK, WE GOT A PRE-PUBESCENT BLACK GIRL. Those must have been some shorts. And circuit breaker.
posted by RockCorpse at 7:13 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, at least this young kid learned a very important lesson. Distrust and a near hatred of authoritarian figures, and especially the police, has been ingrained in myself and many other people since we were young. I can't help but think that this is a good thing.
posted by fuq at 7:15 AM on February 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Dammit. When me and my buddies try to manhandle 12 year old girls into our van because they look like prostitutes, why are we the ones who always get arrested? No fair.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:16 AM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


In their defense, most people who don't work in law enforcement are unaware that it has become quite common practice for a troika of Caucasian streetwalkers to disguise themselves as a solitary, small African-American girl. You civilians just don't understand how hard it is on the streets.
posted by adipocere at 7:18 AM on February 10, 2009 [36 favorites]


HuronBob, do you agree with the commenters on the news article which say they're pretty sure the girl deserved it because she yelled that she "hated the police"?
posted by Spatch at 7:20 AM on February 10, 2009


Damn. I came in here to claim that cops are good people and "an understandable mistake" or "a few bad apples" do not indicate anything about the vast majority of good, hardworking police men and women who served so bravely on 9/11, and then gather the lulz.

Far be it for me to deprive a man of his lulz, so here goes.

This isn't just a case of three "bad apples", it's the official position of the city of Galveston that what these officers did was totally appropriate and that the girl's attempt to escape constitutes a crime! that is the official position of the entire city.
posted by delmoi at 7:24 AM on February 10, 2009 [39 favorites]


Griffin in Monday morning’s closing arguments repeatedly told jurors police shouldn’t have mistaken his client, who is black, for three white women.

Well, you know, women all look the same.
posted by QIbHom at 7:26 AM on February 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


explosion: Regardless of how you feel about law enforcement officers in general, these three particular men are pigs. Racist, sexist, abusive pigs. Fucking pigs.

Also, every member of the system who defended them, helped them, or failed to act against them. With the exception of their attorneys, perhaps, because that's their job.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:26 AM on February 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Well, if she didn't mistrust, fear, and hate the police before this I'll bet she does now. Yet another victory for the heroic police! They were able to assault a 12 year old girl, charge *HER* with trying to fight back against the scary and unidentified people attacking her, *AND* let a large number of right wing racist bloggers vent their pathological hatred of black people and women!

Under Bush that'd be Presidential Medal of Freedom level screwing up.

So, to the police apologists out there, WTF should people do when they're assaulted by random strangers?

It isn't that people fear, mistrust, and hate the police because they're irrational doodyheads, its because of the taserings, the shootings, the beatings, the assault on innocent 12 year old girls. And, always, the blue wall of silence that protects even the worst, most criminal, most evil thugs in uniform, to the maximum extent possible.

If good cops existed they'd arrest bad cops. Since that doesn't happen there is no such thing as a good cop; QED. The culture of silence and protectionism in all police forces in America is apparently sufficiently corrupting that no good intentioned person can actually retain even a semblance of humanity or compassion for non-cops once they've been in the police force for long.

The worst part is that the police in this instance aren't being charged with squat, they beat a 12 year old girl sufficiently that she needed to be hospitalized, and they're not even getting the slap on the wrist "suspended with pay" nonsense. The victim of a violent attack by police officers, however, is being tried and may well be put in prison for the crime of being black and seen by cops.
posted by sotonohito at 7:29 AM on February 10, 2009 [31 favorites]


Wow. Okay, so before clicking the links I assumed that the outrage was over the mistrial being declared in the prosecution of the officers for beating the shit out of a child. But it was actually the girl on trial for assaulting an officer? Jesus fucking Christ.

I'm glad the girl wasn't convicted but I'm furious that it wasn't the cops facing jail time.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:30 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's an understandable mistake, really. I once mistook a female neighbor of mine for the entire roster of the Los Angeles Sparks.
posted by Bromius at 7:30 AM on February 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


the system is always out there trying to protect said bad apples from any consequences

Generalized comments etc.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:31 AM on February 10, 2009


All generalizations are false.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:35 AM on February 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


Generalized comments etc.

Useless response, etc.
posted by Narual at 7:38 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


"HuronBob, do you agree with the commenters on the news article which say they're pretty sure the girl deserved it because she yelled that she "hated the police"?"

did you not read my comment??? 'cuz I'm sure I made no indication in it as to how I felt about this particular incident (although it appears everyone wants to assume I did, but I expected that).

My comment was about our tendency to condemn every, single police officer with the blanket comment "Fucking pigs". That statement isn't any different than any other negative slur against a race, profession, ethnic group, country, etc.

It may be that these cops, and those protecting them, deserve that title, I never said they didn't.

But... hey, if you folks would rather believe that every cop in the world is a bad person, not much I can do to change your mind.

and, NOW I'm going to avoid this thread, I lied before!
posted by HuronBob at 7:40 AM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Generalized comments etc.

Oh spare me. In the vast majority of cases, at least the ones I've heard about. Do you have some statistics to share or are you just going to get all epistemological about the fallacy of induction, or whatever. Because that would be even more useless.
posted by delmoi at 7:41 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can only assume that the decision to arrest the girl for assault three weeks later was because the city knew it was facing a lawsuit from the family which it would almost certainly lose. They must have hoped that arresting the girl would intimidate the family into giving up, or at least muddy the waters.
posted by ook at 7:41 AM on February 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


"Over my way too many years I've experienced many, many encounters with law enforcement.. some bad, and some good... But, the majority of my experience has been positive"

The good cops need to cross the thin blue line and be good citizens, too. Even the good cops protect the bad ones under the pretense of camaraderie.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:41 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


to join the chorus of "wtf pigs," from the first link:

"One of the men covered her mouth. Two of the men beat her about the face and throat."

and this would have been okay if she was an actual prostitute? it seems only the extreme nature of this particular instance that made it news. when these guys inevitably get back to policing the street, they'll probably have learned "don't beat up 12 year old girls," but not "don't beat suspects."

also, from the comments in same link:

" It's vital to remember that false arrest is a crime just as much as assault. It is the duty of the citizen to resist false arrest, even to the point of killing hte arresting officer

Runyan v. State, 57 Ind. 80; Miller v. State, 74 Ind. 1"

um, really? this is an interesting legal argument. My next parking ticket will be contested more... strenously.
posted by ScotchRox at 7:41 AM on February 10, 2009 [13 favorites]


Nobody should ever be charged with assaulting an officer or resisting arrest when they are dealing with plain-clothes police who do not take the time to clearly identify themselves, and with something more than just a shout of "stop, police!".

Fucking pigs.
posted by Brother Dysk at 6:46 AM on February 10 [4 favorites +] [!]

3-6 men walk up to me and say "you are coming with us!" Screw that! They better ID themselves as officers first. Or I should have the right to demand a uniformed Officer show up immediately. Anymore it is too easy to buy a fake badge. Something they might want to look into. But then as soon as we put this into effect there will be 1000's of guilty assholes trying to use that loophole to their advantage. How about we skip it and stop looking at isolated incidents like this one and quit using them to generalize a whole profession of good people as how did you say it? "Fucking Pigs?"

As for your second comment. I'm sorry I am not letting this one slip by. I have plenty of police officers in my family. All of them are excellent officers and won't dream of doing this. By saying Fucking Pigs all I can think of is someone grouping them with these retards that did this. The media has a way of taking the .001% of the policing force in the world that engage in this type of behavior and making it seem like all police officers are this bad. Statements like this don't help. As for the "I bet your white" comment above, I agree white people have it easier when it comes to police than minorities. It is a social typecast and I am sorry for this. However the whole fucking pigs attitude does not help anything. As easy as it is for a minority to group all police officers as authority abusing pigs... it is just as easy for them to group all minorities as probably criminals. How to solve this? Well if police officers started being super duper nice to everyone they would end up being shot at by the actual criminals. So law abiding minorities should be the bigger person and start being more respectful to officers. I'm not saying give them hugs and kisses but be more respectful in your attitude and don't raise your children to sit there and listen to what they say but think in the back of their head thinkthat they are all fucking pigs.

Lastly, as PC as this site is.... if I were to say something like "Fucking random racial slur" I would be hung, maybe banned, and have a full mailbox of hate mail calling me everything under the sun. How is it that this doesn't happen when someone says "Fucking Pigs?" I hope that one day you are in serious trouble and guess who comes to save your sorry ass? The fucking pigs. On that day if you need any ranch, ketchup, or any other sauce to help you choke down your words... PM me. I'll gladly send you a bottle. Jerk!
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:43 AM on February 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


But... hey, if you folks would rather believe that every cop in the world is a bad person, not much I can do to change your mind.

Again, the question isn't "are all cops bad?" the question is: "why do supposedly good cops stick up for the ones you call bad?" It's "Why is this girl being charged with resisting arrest?" "why are bad cops permitted to keep their jobs and be protected?"

And furthermore, a cop who is nice 99% of the time and then goes and beats up a 12 year old black girl is not a "good cop" even though you might have had a pleasant, professional experience with them
posted by delmoi at 7:44 AM on February 10, 2009 [20 favorites]


As for the topic at hand.... These officers are terrible and should have their badges stripped from them. They should and will be held accountable for their actions and sent to jail.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:44 AM on February 10, 2009


if I were to say something like "Fucking random racial slur" I would be hung, maybe banned, and have a full mailbox of hate mail calling me everything under the sun. How is it that this doesn't happen when someone says "Fucking Pigs?"

People aren't born cops, you know.
posted by delmoi at 7:45 AM on February 10, 2009 [23 favorites]


You really have to wonder -- the plains clothes cops thought she was a prostitute, the cover her mouth, beat her, and attempt to drag her into their unmarked van.

Were the cops planing "to teach a lesson" by raping a prostitute?
posted by orthogonality at 7:49 AM on February 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


They should and will be held accountable for their actions and sent to jail.

They should be, but will not be held accountable: "The city has investigated the matter and found that the conduct of the police officers was appropriate under the circumstances"
posted by ook at 7:51 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


An idea, that could be applied equally to all positions of governmental power: Any agent of governmental authority found to be clearly overstepping and abusing their granted powers is put in front of an independent tribunal, and if found guilty they are summarily executed. That way, the bad apples get eliminated, all of HuronBob and Mastercheddaar's supernice cops have long lives and excellent careers ahead of them, and all the rest think twice before kidnapping and beating children! Now who could have a problem with that plan?
posted by FatherDagon at 7:55 AM on February 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


"But... hey, if you folks would rather believe that every cop in the world is a bad person, not much I can do to change your mind."

There are several cops in my own family. I love them, but I don't expect them to speak out against abuses in their department, because that's something you just don't do. Sad, but true, and I'm not going to ruin our family get-togethers by harping on it, but even the good cops keep quiet when bad cops abuse their power.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:59 AM on February 10, 2009 [5 favorites]



They should be, but will not be held accountable: "The city has investigated the matter and found that the conduct of the police officers was appropriate under the circumstances"
posted by ook at 7:51 AM on February 10 [+] [!]

That is not right then. The state or the Feds need to investigate this. They violated her rights and these police officers are not good cops.


if I were to say something like "Fucking random racial slur" I would be hung, maybe banned, and have a full mailbox of hate mail calling me everything under the sun. How is it that this doesn't happen when someone says "Fucking Pigs?"


People aren't born cops, you know.
posted by delmoi at 7:45 AM on February 10 [+] [!]

So that makes it right then?
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:59 AM on February 10, 2009


if police officers started being super duper nice to everyone they would end up being shot at by the actual criminals.

You'd be 25% more awesome if you spelled "Mastercheddaar" with four "a"s instead of only three.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:00 AM on February 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


"As for your second comment. I'm sorry I am not letting this one slip by. I have plenty of police officers in my family. All of them are excellent officers and won't dream of doing this."

Really? And do they speak up when a fellow officer abuses his/her authority? Do they work to keep their own department clean? Because that's something very rare, indeed.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:00 AM on February 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Speaking up against your fellow officers is generally not a great idea if you need them to watch your back. You've seen that movie, right?
posted by RockCorpse at 8:08 AM on February 10, 2009


Ok obviously I am playing devil's advocate but I am not backing down from any of you. Good officers should not be grouped with these obvious asshole corrupt officers. Do not generalize a whole profession of good men and women over a small % of power abusing ones.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:14 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


"if I were to say something like "Fucking random racial slur" I would be hung, maybe banned, and have a full mailbox of hate mail calling me everything under the sun. How is it that this doesn't happen when someone says "Fucking Pigs?"

Come on - would you really class a racial slur in the same league as saying "fucking parking wardens" or "fucking TV commentators."

Yes, it's disrespectful to honest police officers to class them all as pigs, but it's hardly the crime of the century. And as has been pointed out above, the chain of events that has led to an innocent 12 year old girl being tried for resisting four men bundling her into a van off her own property has to involve several layers of police making awful decisions in order to defend what is clearly indefensible.

On that basis, crass generalisations about the behaviour of the police, while unjustified if you take them to refer to every policeman everywhere, are at least understandable here.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:14 AM on February 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


So, in your universe its possible to be a "good cop" and perpetuate the blue wall of silence? How many bad cops have they arrested? How often have they testified against their fellow officers, or brought evidence of crimes or abuses by their fellow officers to the media, the courts, or even internal affairs?

It is not possible to be a "good cop" and simultaneously participate, even in the passive sense of staying silent, in any coverup or protection of any abuse or crime by police. If your relatives in uniform haven't been working actively against the bad cops then guess what? They're bad cops too.

I say again: there is no such thing as a good cop. Every one of them is culpable at the very least in participating in a conspiracy of silence.

I won't say "fucking pigs", not after my intemperate outburst in the thread about Johannes Mehserle, simply because its an ineffective tactic. But its how I feel, and how a great many people feel. Not because they're bad people, or irrationally hate the police, but because the police, even the so-called "good cops", protect some really evil thugs. Because of that no one has any idea if the police officer they're dealing with is a semi-decent human being, or if they're a psychopath secure in the knowledge that he can fuck you up with impunity. Since the "good cops" won't do anything about the bad cops, the only rational behavior is to assume that all cops are bad cops.

posted by sotonohito at 8:19 AM on February 10, 2009 [45 favorites]


Nax: Hair Balls is the blog of the Houston Press, which is the local "alternative media" paper (owned by New Times, IIRC). Apparently they do some news coverage there too.
posted by immlass at 8:19 AM on February 10, 2009


So what we should be telling our kids is: Don't go anywhere with strangers, unlessespecially if they say they're cops, even if they're dressed in plain clothes?
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:19 AM on February 10, 2009


Do not generalize a whole profession of good men and women over a small % of power abusing ones.

The only people here I see generalizing the whole profession are the ones defending the cops against this supposed generalization. All the way up to the first "fucking pigs" comment, which was clearly about these specific fucking pigs, the anger here is directed at these particular officers and the system protecting them from accountability.
posted by ook at 8:21 AM on February 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Any 12-year-old attacked by three men and told that she's a prostitute is going to scream and yell for Daddy and hit back and do whatever she can. She's scared to death.

Hell, I would do this now and I'm twice that age. Don't they train kids to basically do exactly what she did when a stranger tries to abduct you -- grab for an ear, poke at an eye, yell "fire" and run away? I'd like to ask the court how she could have handled the situation better.
posted by giraffe at 8:23 AM on February 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Yes, a 12 year old girl was beaten by the police on her own property...but if there's no sound recording, we don't know if it was warranted.

DU, exactly WHAT IN THE HOLY NAME OF J. EDGAR HOOVER would you say WOULD warrant the beating of a TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:26 AM on February 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


I see that sotonohito spoiled my premise while I was typing. Thanks a lot, sotonohito.
posted by ook at 8:26 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


But... hey, if you folks would rather believe that every cop in the world is a bad person, not much I can do to change your mind.

How about you start drumming-up the news stories about good cops arresting/outing/prosecuting bad cops, in order to change our minds? I mean the ones that do it independently, before media attention forces them to act.

If the number of good cops is so much larger than the number of bad ones, it seems to me it would be a simple matter to kick them out. But, apparently, something else is at work. Silence and capitulation.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:31 AM on February 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Nobody should ever be charged with assaulting an officer or resisting arrest when they are dealing with plain-clothes police

Not only is this a pretty good principle that ought to be enshrined and underlined in law, we might also want to consider the general question of whether or not a 12 year old girl can actually assault three combat-trained grown men.
posted by namespan at 8:34 AM on February 10, 2009 [13 favorites]


"It's unfortunate that sometimes police officers have to use force against people who are using force against them."

I like the logic behind this. Unprovoked assault and attempted abduction onto a civilian is completely ignored, but then it's okay to completely beat the living daylight out of said civilian when they attempt to fight back. Where is the circuit shortage that makes the city oblivious to the fact that the force used against said officers is retaliatory?

What's going to happen when the same girl is kidnapped off her property by legitimately malicious (hah) people who are out to get a ransom from her parents, or to rape her, or to do some other deed? Will this experience teach her not to fight so her father isn't arrested for obstruction of justice and assault on a peace officer?

Will the city of Galveston then say that she deserved it, because she didn't struggle enough?

I'm having a really hard time wrapping my head around the reality of the situation. I know it happened. I know there are systems that are fucked up enough that a twelve-year old on her own property could get this kind of treatment from law enforcement.

They're not even contesting the fact that they attacked her! They just said that it was morally okay to attack her. As brought up above, even if she had been the prostitute, would it be "appropriate conduct" to attack them?

I can't believe the case got far enough to try Dymond for assault after it became clear that it was a mistake. What, did the three officers suffer such emotional damage that they felt the need to prosecute a minor for their mistake? Somehow it wouldn't surprise me too much if they ended up trying to try her for prostitution, and it bothers me that I can even conceive of that scenario.

All the rhetoric in this thread about good cops or bad cops - the fact is that the justice system failed in this regard. Whether your dad is an awesome cop or whether your neighbour had a really shitty experience with a bad cop seems totally irrelevant in context. All parts of the system failed something horribly here, and though most of the culpability lies with the three douchebags who did this to a girl, defending them doesn't make the city or the PD any more innocent and righteous.
posted by Phire at 8:34 AM on February 10, 2009 [23 favorites]


Good officers should not be grouped with these obvious asshole corrupt officers. Do not generalize a whole profession of good men and women over a small % of power abusing ones.

Most assuredly they should not. A good cop being one who not only refuses to take part in activities of illicit/illegal nature, but actively works to correct abuses of power and prevent bad officers from continuing to work the department in a corrupt fashion. Of course, I can't recall an officer EVER blowing the whistle on his own department, but I'm sure a good cop must be out there somewhere, right? Statistically speaking, at least.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:35 AM on February 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


These discussions always get tied up in the question of how many cops are good cops. The truth is, it doesn't matter. Maybe there was only one bad cop in the town where I grew up. But he broke my little brother's arm, while he was cuffed, for making a sarcastic comment. Now my little brother will never call the cops if something is going wrong. He has no reason to trust them, because even though the doctor hired by the city reported that the injuries were clearly the result of his arm being forced up behind his back, the cop's story that he fell was believed.

And there are many, many communities in this country who have similar experiences. It only takes one incident. One bad cop, as long as they face no consequences, can poison a neighborhood against the police as a whole. After that happens, every interaction there becomes adversarial. People don't call, don't talk. Even good cops are affected by the tension. And then some cop overreacts under the stress, does something excessive, and the cycle continues.
posted by Nothing at 8:39 AM on February 10, 2009 [33 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos DU was mocking some apologist commentary from the Johannes Mehserle thread, not making a serious claim that anything justified the assault on Ms. Milburn.
posted by sotonohito at 8:47 AM on February 10, 2009


Here is what I don't understand: Why was it a deadlocked jury? How is it not justifiable to fight like hell when three unknown men are apparently kidnapping you from your own yard? How is that not an acquittal?
posted by *s at 8:53 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here is what I don't understand: Why was it a deadlocked jury? How is it not justifiable to fight like hell when three unknown men are apparently kidnapping you from your own yard? How is that not an acquittal?

Because there will always be a portion of the population who believe anyone with a badge should be deferred-to and given all benefit of doubt, if not outright believed no matter what. Period. Oh, and it's Texas.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:07 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, my point was not only wtf, Galveston juror(s), but also wtf, presiding judge, for not granting a motion to acquit.

I realize it's easy to say, oh it's Texas, but Galveston is generally more liberal than the rest of Texas and for other demographic and historical reasons is not really representative of the rest of the state.

Her attorney is an interesting character with a history of fighting the power.
posted by *s at 9:22 AM on February 10, 2009


Here is what I don't understand: Why was it a deadlocked jury? How is it not justifiable to fight like hell when three unknown men are apparently kidnapping you from your own yard? How is that not an acquittal?

*s and Thorzdad, did you read any of the links? There was testimony from both police and civilian witnesses* that the police were wearing clothing marked "Police," displayed badges, and identified themselves as police officers. And that the girl responded by yelling, "Fuck you, I hate the police." Individual jurors may or may not have credited that testimony, but your question presupposes that it was undisputed that they were "three unknown men . . . apparently kidnapping" Milburn, and that is not the case.


* None of the linked articles gives a coherent account of the prosecution's case or recounts the actual testimony. The only description of what any prosecution witnesses said is in the account of the first trial (which ended in a mistrial after a police witness made reference to Milburn's father not liking the officer because he had told him to stop sellling dope out of his house). There, a neighbor testified that the police were "marked" and that they identified themselves as police.
posted by Dolukhanova at 9:22 AM on February 10, 2009


There was testimony from both police and civilian witnesses* that the police were wearing clothing marked "Police," displayed badges, and identified themselves as police officers. And that the girl responded by yelling, "Fuck you, I hate the police."

So as you can see, the police were entirely justified in covering her mouth and beating her so violently that she required hospitalization.
posted by turaho at 9:27 AM on February 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Speaking up against your fellow officers is generally not a great idea if you need them to watch your back.

Which is another way of saying that police are chronically incapable of policing their own ranks, and that real and serious outside checks on their power are necessary.
posted by namespan at 9:28 AM on February 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


Thorzdad That, yes, but we can't forget two other important facts: she was female and therefore the prosecution could paint her as a slut who had it coming, and she was black and therefore dangerous in the eyes of racists.

The constant emphasis on her clothing in all the reporting is, I think, quite likely reflective of the prosecution's line of argument. She was a dumb black slut wearing slutty clothes so naturally the good and honorable police officers assumed she was one of the prostitutes they wanted to arrest. And, anyway, isn't is scary that big black men might attack our noble and upstanding police officers in the pursuit of keeping our streets safe from black sluts wearing slutty clothes?

I'll also bet the judge kept instructing the jury to consider only if the letter of the law was broken, and to ignore the part where the case was about a scared young girl who was hospitalized due to the savage beating administered by the police when she was defending herself against three fully grown men she most likely thought were rapists.

Dolukhanova wrote And that the girl responded by yelling, "Fuck you, I hate the police."

Thanks for giving me a great example of how easy it is to get people to assume the evil black slut had it coming.
posted by sotonohito at 9:28 AM on February 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Dolukhanova: I did read the links -- I was looking at it from the perspective of her intent. And from the perspective of prosecuting a twelve-year-old girl for defending herself from being wrongfully snatched from her own front yard. The jury or the judge should have put a stop to that, regardless of who was wearing what or what she yelled. Period.
posted by *s at 9:28 AM on February 10, 2009


even the good cops keep quiet when bad cops abuse their power.

Then they're not good cops.
posted by emjaybee at 9:32 AM on February 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


So law abiding minorities should be the bigger person and start being more respectful to officers. I'm not saying give them hugs and kisses but be more respectful in your attitude and don't raise your children to sit there and listen to what they say but think in the back of their head thinkthat they are all fucking pigs.

Wait, seriously? Racism just happens, right, and it's unfortunate, but really people of color should just sit down and shut up about it.

You know that same logic was used to defend slavery, jim crow, etc. ..

That is so unbelievably wack.
posted by lunit at 9:33 AM on February 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Both the daughter and the father were arrested for assaulting a peace officer. "The father basically attacked police officers as they were trying to take the daughter into custody after she ran off."

That's lovely. Who wouldn't try to stop the guys that are kidnapping his daughter and throwing her into a blue van? I sure would have. But the police would not have grabbed my daughter from our front steps, because she is white. Cops treat every black person like a criminal. If you are black, you are presumed guilty. I believe that the cops in this case didn't know that the girl was 12, because they just saw a nigger, not a young girl.

I've known a lot of cops, and many of them are hateful racist rage junkies. Most of the cops I have known personally are alcoholics. And, while the outrages of city cops usually generate more publicity, it seems to me that the smaller the town, the more small-minded, racist, and bullying the cops are.
posted by Mister_A at 9:36 AM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


My brain can't even process this. She's twelve years old.

Twelve. A girl.

Three grown men assaulted her. The fact that they were police is absolutely irrelevant. There is no excuse for assaulting a twelve year old girl.

I shudder to think what the police in Galveston do to the actual prostitutes in the area.

I think I'm going to write a few letters now.
posted by jnaps at 9:37 AM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Over my way too many years I've experienced many, many encounters with law enforcement.. some bad, and some good... But, the majority of my experience has been positive. The same goes with my experience with bartenders, cab drivers, doctors, teachers, you name it... people are people some bad, some good... condemning a profession with comments like that only exposes your own ignorance.

etc...

This is true. I've encountered adn personally known good, helpful cops who sincerely want to protect and serve, and the opposite. However, I can't possibly trust or respect anyone who thinks that they have the right to control other people.

Now, I realize that pigs cops police are (probably) necessary, and at any rate not going away, but it takes a special kind of arrogance and, well, piggishness to seek a position of physical and moral power.
posted by cmoj at 9:41 AM on February 10, 2009


Hi all. I'm trying to get in touch with the family's lawyer to see if there's any way I can send this poor kid a little present. Flowers or books or something. If I had the means I would start a scholarship fund. Let me know if you want to join me.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 9:45 AM on February 10, 2009 [13 favorites]


"However, I can't possibly trust or respect anyone who thinks that they have the right to control other people."

hmmm.. :) thanks for this opportunity...

guess this rules out your trust and respect for:
Parents, Teachers, Legislators, Judges, Military Personnel, The President (Commander in Chief), I could go on, but you get the point...
posted by HuronBob at 9:56 AM on February 10, 2009


"Three grown men assaulted her. The fact that they were police is absolutely irrelevant. There is no excuse for assaulting a twelve year old girl."

I agree 100% with this statement....
posted by HuronBob at 9:57 AM on February 10, 2009


Dolukhanova: "There, a neighbor testified that the police were "marked" and that they identified themselves as police."

I don't see why the fact that they identified themselves as police has such a big impact in this case. They certainly didn't behave like law enforcement officers sworn to protect and uphold that which is right. Were I a twelve-year-old confronted with three grown men who are beating me and trying to pull me into a van and calling me a prostitute, I certainly wouldn't put much faith in their claim that they were the good guys, really!

After all, they certainly ignored the fact that she wasn't a prostitute, didn't they? Or are you saying that the police has no better judgment in gauging a stressful situation than what you would expect a twelve-year old to exhibit?
posted by Phire at 9:59 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


New Professionalism Roundup
posted by homunculus at 10:03 AM on February 10, 2009


I also find it incredibly heartbreaking that there hasn't been more media coverage of this debacle.
posted by RockCorpse at 10:03 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have plenty of police officers in my family. All of them are excellent officers and won't dream of doing this.

Interesting. That is your take on your family members who are cops.

Mine is more along the lines of all those priests who were wonderful conduits for God's love. Whose loved ones could never have dreamed of them being anything less than comparable in purity to the driven snow. Until they were caught with the altar boy's goods in their mouth.
posted by notreally at 10:04 AM on February 10, 2009


Parents, Teachers, Legislators, Judges, Military Personnel, The President (Commander in Chief), I could go on, but you get the point...

Parents get a biological pass, but other than that you are correct. I fail to see your point.
posted by cmoj at 10:08 AM on February 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


I don't understand the MeFi total hatred for police officers. Doctors fuck up, lawyers fuck up, the military fucks up, postal workers fuck up, the people who make your McChicken fuck up and nobody lambasts them across the board.

Police officers are people too. A lot of them would throw themselves into the line of fire to protect their communities. Yes, the system is screwed up. But you cannot call every police officer a 'fucking pig'.

For people who claim to be free-thinking and independent, your zombie-like I HATE COPS mentality is sickening.
posted by riane at 10:09 AM on February 10, 2009


im not condoning the actions of the officers, because it seems they were to aggressive from the start, but it seems that the officers identified themselves, she was verbally abusive and then she ran. what are officers supposed to do in that circumstance? it sure looks like the actions of someone who is guilty of something.
posted by splyn at 10:10 AM on February 10, 2009


I'm not sure that it will help, but it made me feel better. I'm sure that citizens from Galveston would be taken more seriously, but at least this way they'll know that people are paying attention.

You can tell the City of Galveston what you think of their condoning child abuse here.
posted by jnaps at 10:11 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


riane: "I don't understand the MeFi total hatred for police officers. Doctors fuck up, lawyers fuck up, the military fucks up, postal workers fuck up, the people who make your McChicken fuck up and nobody lambasts them across the board."

When doctors screw up, they are sued for malpractice, they lose their license, they're put on probation by the hospital. When lawyers screw up, they are disbarred. When the people who make your McChicken screw up, they're most likely fired thanks to the fast turnover homogeneous unskilled labour nature of the fast food market.

You're not going to see a hospital say "Oh, the doctor accidentally gave you the wrong drug, but we think that's okay. In fact, we're going to sue YOU for being mad that he screwed up".

I don't think the hate here is for individual cops. But the system doesn't function too perfectly, right now.
posted by Phire at 10:17 AM on February 10, 2009 [16 favorites]


it sure looks like the actions of someone who is guilty of something.

Perhaps, but that's no basis for beating the shit out of someone.
posted by RockCorpse at 10:18 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


riane said: "I don't understand the MeFi total hatred for police officers. Doctors fuck up, lawyers fuck up, the military fucks up, postal workers fuck up, the people who make your McChicken fuck up and nobody lambasts them across the board. Police officers are people too. A lot of them would throw themselves into the line of fire to protect their communities. Yes, the system is screwed up. But you cannot call every police officer a 'fucking pig'.

You totally had me, to this point. I was thinking maybe even a +1 for this (the McChicken line, she was funny). Then you had to go and spoil it with:

>> "For people who claim to be free-thinking and independent, your zombie-like I HATE COPS mentality is sickening."

Because (hang on to your hat for this one) using ill-conceived generalizations to bash people for making ill-conceived generalizations renders you moot.

Not all of MeFi wants to be lumped in under that "people who claim to be free-thinking and independent" flag, with its implicit "...you smug self-congratulatory tossers." We don't all hate cops. And we aren't all zombie-like sheeple. So maybe next time, try the PotCallingKettleBlackFilter before hitting "Post Comment."
posted by pineapple at 10:23 AM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


riane, if the mefi attitude was the only thing that sickens you about this story, you'd not be much of a human being. Talk about pot-and-kettle.
posted by nomisxid at 10:25 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, so can someone explain what this federal suit will bring? Is it just a federal suit against the officers, or against Galveston? How can one file a federal suit against an individual?
posted by frecklefaerie at 10:27 AM on February 10, 2009


it sure looks like the actions of someone who is guilty of something.

And yet was guilty of nothing at all. Three cops, with no relevant warrant, grab a twelve-year old girl who is outside her own home doing exactly what her mother asked her to do. The fact that the twelve-year old child freaked out and responded in a way somewhat short of the ideal doesn't make any difference whatsoever. The police had no business even stepping onto that property and talking to her, much less detaining her. "You wouldn't have run if you weren't guilty" only makes sense if (1) the "you" in question is a mature adult and can reason like one and (2) innocent people never have anything to fear from the police. Neither is the true in this case.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:28 AM on February 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


"Parents get a biological pass, but other than that you are correct. I fail to see your point."

That doesn't surprise me..
posted by HuronBob at 10:38 AM on February 10, 2009


it sure looks like the actions of someone who is guilty of something.

Yeah, guilty of fear that she'll be attacked, whether these men were really cops or lying about their status.

Oh, wait, she was totally fucking right.
posted by desuetude at 10:43 AM on February 10, 2009


yes riane all MeFite's hate all cops, and since you are MeFite you hate all cops.

OR more reasonably some MeFites as in any large group have a minor to severe distrust of police depending on their experiences. And some MeFite's will reflexively defend Israel Palestine Republicans NAMBLA cops. It's a mixed group.

As far as the people going after these cops, I don't think you'll find most of those people giving a free pass to Doctors, Lawyers or Military personnel either.

All that said, these are bad cops a.k.a. pigs. Fuck them, fuck pigs. They sully the good name and profession of being a police officer. Any one who claims to be a "good cop" should be out to nail the "bad cops" to the fucking wall.

The greater the amount of authority you are given over the people, the greater the scrutiny your actions should receive and the greater the punishment should you abuse you power
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:49 AM on February 10, 2009


The fact that the twelve-year old child freaked out and responded in a way somewhat short of the ideal...

No, she didn't. She did exactly what any parent, teacher, or ironically, off-duty cop who came to school for Stranger Danger lectures would have told her to do. Called for help, fought, attempted to run away.

Criminals pose as cops all the time; fake badges are easy to get. Three guys attacking you out of nowhere, even if they say "police!" aren't acting like cops are supposed to act--you know, wearing uniforms, walking up and showing a badge slowly, asking you questions instead of grabbing you and pulling you towards a van. If you tried, you could not come up with a more stereotypical assualt scenario from a crime show.

I want to know many things about this incident, and I hope to god she gets her day in court with a good lawyer grilling these pieces of shit on the stand: like, regardless of who they thought she was, what exactly is SOP for arresting prostitutes...do they always grab them and beat them? Were they going to rape her, too? That would be my assumption if it happened to me, or I saw it happen on the street.

Anyone who dares to stand up for these guys, who thinks there is the smallest fragment of proper police procedure in what they did, is delusional and/or sympathetic to the idea that it's ok to beat up and imprison innocent people if you've got a badge.
posted by emjaybee at 10:52 AM on February 10, 2009 [23 favorites]


That doesn't surprise me..

Your dismissive attitude doesn't surprise me. Sorry, though. I did see your point, but in favor of snark failed to indicate that you failed to make your point.

A teacher's job is to teach. Discipline is secondary, and I'm sure we've all had the kinds of teachers who actually are in it for the power. I think we'd agree that those teachers were not only the worst at teaching, but assholes.

Military personnel (ignoring current political situations) in my experience (military family) mostly join up due to lack of options. Few, though some, join just to kill people, and those who do are assholes and not really doing their job.

The job of police, legislators, and judges, and to a lesser the POTUS is, in essence, to tell people what they can and can't do. This is called arrogance. This is uncool. This makes you an asshole.
posted by cmoj at 11:00 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


“Wow, and it's the first comment on this post...
"Fucking pigs."
Generalized comments like this are useless.”

Given the premise that it’s generalized, I agree. However, THESE officers...no, they’re worse.
I’ll add given it’s the position of the city of Galveston and the people of the city that these ... individuals ... acted appropriately, I’d have to say I’d rather enjoy taking a flamethrower to some of the finer downtown areas.

“So, to the police apologists out there, WTF should people do when they're assaulted by random strangers?”

Open fire. Welcome to why I support the 2nd amendment.

“If good cops existed they'd arrest bad cops. Since that doesn't happen there is no such thing as a good cop; QED”

Yeah, see, when I say I’d like to blowtorch these motherfuckers, it’s hyperbole. It’s metaphor for how I feel about this and hopefully it’s pretty clear I’m not going to go out and actually harm anyone. Proactively anyway.

Comments like these are so generalized and vast as to be stupid and is predicated on complete ignorance of reality.
e.g. If ONE bad cop is arrested by internal affairs or halted by other law enforcement agents your entire premise crashes.
Examples of such a thing occuring abound. Ergo - this is wrong. And there are internal affairs departments. Etc. etc.

“How about you start drumming-up the news stories about good cops arresting/outing/prosecuting bad cops, in order to change our minds?”

Oh c’mon.
Even a cursory search turns up a number of recent examples.
This particular argument has been done to death. There’s no legitimate or cogent argument to be made for all cops everywhere being culpable for everything every other cop does or has ever done. It’s a gross misunderstanding of the powers any given police officer has.
One can’t argue on the one hand that good cops are responsible for busting all the bad cops but then argue cops have too much power and need to have checks - oh, but they’re all bad anyway.

I mean - ok, let’s say all cops are bad and the system is evil. Ok, then what’s the move? Who directs traffic, covers accidents, and stops domestic violence in the meantime?
The system can be broken without every human being connected with it being evil.
This whole ‘all are x’ thinking is stupid when applied to any group of humans sorted by any type. Hell, not even all Nazis are evil (Schindler, offhand).


To be absolutely clear on this: these “all cops” statements taken not literally, but instead as a metaphor or (hyperbolic) symbol for a generalized feeing e.g. - ‘don’t trust the police’ or some such - I strongly agree.

Hell, I advocate shooting them if they’re doing something criminal or something that endangers you or your child. Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

But the hyperbole gets in the way of a rational discussion of the particular incident or solutions or methods of dealing with police in general, etc.
I have not, as yet, seen one link to a ‘know your rights’ type website or how to report on police misconduct, etc. etc.
(I’ve placed them previously in threads like this).
Just a lot of hurf durfing police sux, etc.
Well, treat it like the hazard it is and offer solutions.
It’s not somebody else’s problem and it doesn’t matter, ultimately, who’s fault it is.
The objective is to prevent failures such as this from occuring in general and in our own lives in specific.
Something like this pisses everyone off.
Howzabout getting educated or educating others so it stops happening? Like any other tragedy. Look for methods of prevention. This blame shit is old and boring and totally unconvincing to anyone out of adolescence or who’s dealt with law enforcement in any way beyond recieving a citation.

“um, really? this is an interesting legal argument. My next parking ticket will be contested more... strenously.”

If the cop in question starts sticking his nightstick up your ass if you’re 10 minutes over the meter limit, yeah, I’d say you’d be within your rights to resist with every means at your disposal.

The difference being - I’m not putting that responsibility on anyone else’s shoulders. You gotta get your own back.
Even if you’re right and all cops really are evil (in some bizarro brainwashing Illuminati controlled by the boy sprouts conspiracy deal) that’s STILL where responsibility to fix it lay.
Waste of time trying to push the ‘good’ cops into doing it for you no matter who’s right or wrong (or even if such discretely drawn states exist in broader matters such as these).

On the specifics here, I agree with Phire, et.al: “All parts of the system failed something horribly here, and though most of the culpability lies with the three douchebags who did this to a girl, defending them doesn't make the city or the PD any more innocent and righteous.”

The weird thing, this being Texas, you’d think the jury would be a little more serious about the whole property rights thing even if there was a racist thing going on.
Plus she’s a 12 year old girl. (I’d consider anyone like that to be well within my power much less if I had two men backing me up. There’s absolutely no excuse to harm her in any way. Even if she was armed. I can’t take a blade or a pistol from a 12 year old I should be sitting behind a desk with a rubber gun.)
Unconscionable. I don’t know how these guys can live with themselves.


“When doctors screw up, they are sued for malpractice, they lose their license, they're put on probation by the hospital. When lawyers screw up, they are disbarred. When the people who make your McChicken screw up, they're most likely fired thanks to the fast turnover homogeneous unskilled labour nature of the fast food market.”

Unless they’re covered up by the AMA, or their pharmaceutical companies which are more focused on treatment and pushing pills than prevention which actually saves lives.
Unless they’re management and looking up waitresses skirts.
Uh...you’re defending lawyers as a class? Seriously?

“You're not going to see a hospital say "Oh, the doctor accidentally gave you the wrong drug, but we think that's okay. In fact, we're going to sue YOU for being mad that he screwed up".”

No, but they’ll sueelderly brain damaged patients for tresspass. They’ll charge you more than a loanshark on your bill. And these people who are supposed to be caring and compassionate will dump parapalegics in the street. Can I say all hospital workers are scumbags now?

I get the hate. I do. And hell, I’m saying fire back - literally - in the immediate sense. But in the larger sense, in the sense of prevention which is a lot more useful and less life threatening -plenty of ways to get involved, know your rights, help other folks. Some good stuff on that here (scholarship fund, et.al.)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:01 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


riane wrote I don't understand the MeFi total hatred for police officers. Doctors fuck up, lawyers fuck up, the military fucks up, postal workers fuck up, the people who make your McChicken fuck up and nobody lambasts them across the board.

Police officers are people too. A lot of them would throw themselves into the line of fire to protect their communities. Yes, the system is screwed up. But you cannot call every police officer a 'fucking pig'.


You seem to be ignoring the fact that there's a big difference between a few people fucking up, and a system designed to empower bullies, keep them anonymous if at all possible, and protect them from any consequences of their bullying.

My dislike of cops in general stems from one single fact: even the "good cops" help (by their silence if nothing else) protect the evil bullies.

If the medical profession had a significant percentage of doctors who bullied their patients, and every other doctor in existence helped protect the abusive doctors, I'd be against the medical profession in general too.

This isn't about a few cops who fucked up. This is about cops being abusive, bullying, evil, thugs and the entire city government not only condoning their actions but trying to bring charges against a young girl who attempted to defend herself.

The anger against the police isn't the result of any single event, any fuck up, but rather against the fact that the police routinely torture citizens with tasers, sometimes apparently just for shits and grins, that the police murder suspects, and that the entire system is geared to protect the police no matter what.

What we see in this case is no different than we saw in the case of Johannes Mehserle. The police, as an organization, are out to protect their own, even when their own are obviously unfit to wear the uniform, when their own are obviously vicious thugs. If any "good cops" existed they'd speak out against the bad ones, they'd arrest the bad ones, they'd go to the judges if IA wouldn't listen, and to the press if the judges wouldn't listen. The answer is, there are no good cops. Every single cop out there sees their first, most important, duty as the protection of other cops. The nicest, most friendly, most helpful, cop in the universe may, at absolute best, try to get his fellow officers to not beat you too much; but never will he report his fellow officers for beating you. There are no good cops, not because all cops are intrinsically evil, but because the system is designed to corrupt them.

The day the cops put as much effort into cleaning up their corruption that they put into the War on Drugs, then I'll admit that a good cop might exist.
posted by sotonohito at 11:03 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think there's a difference between hating all cops and the bitterness and disappointment one feels when one realizes that he or she cannot trust the people he or she has been told will serve and protect the community.

Until proven otherwise, every cop is trying to invade my privacy or get me to waive my rights or get me to admit that I was at fault for something I wasn't at fault for. It's just safer to continue on that way.
posted by giraffe at 11:08 AM on February 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


For some people in this thread, this is the only time when a union closing ranks around someone who should by all rights be disciplined is anything other than a beautiful expression of workers' rights.
posted by oaf at 11:20 AM on February 10, 2009


"However, I can't possibly trust or respect anyone who thinks that they have the right to control other people."

hmmm.. :) thanks for this opportunity...

guess this rules out your trust and respect for:
Parents, Teachers, Legislators, Judges, Military Personnel, The President (Commander in Chief), I could go on, but you get the point...


Just who on your list has the right to control other people? This is the problem, right here. There's a huge difference between giving people permission to use force in service of the public good and giving them the right to control other people. The fact that so many, even here, have a difficult time telling the two apart is frightening. And even more frightening is the fact that they often consider themselves "free thinkers."
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:22 AM on February 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Until proven otherwise, every cop is trying to invade my privacy or get me to waive my rights or get me to admit that I was at fault for something I wasn't at fault for. It's just safer to continue on that way.

Words to live by, although I'd add a clause along the lines of "or may want an excuse to shoot me". Which is to say, always remember to keep your hands in plain sight and don't make any sudden movements.
posted by aramaic at 11:24 AM on February 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


it sure looks like the actions of someone who is guilty of something.

It sure looks like the actions of a 12 year old girl who is being threatened by three grown men when she has done nothing wrong.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:24 AM on February 10, 2009


define your terms....

right=A legal or moral entitlement.

A parent has a moral entitlement (and, a legal entitlement) to control a child.

A teacher has a legal entitlement to control the behavior of those in the classroom.

A military person has a legal entitlement to control those he/she commands.

etc

if you want to discuss how/where those entitlements came from, that's fine, but the reality is they exist.
posted by HuronBob at 11:31 AM on February 10, 2009


To all the concerned people worrying about the shocking disdain for law enforcement personnel evinced in this thread:

You're probably familiar with the terms "probable cause" and you most likely have heard of the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution that prohibits unlawful search and seizure. You've seen suspects on TV cop shows politely cuffed and trundled into police cars (mind your head!) and read their rights. You may have family, friends, and neighbors who work in law enforcement, and they're probably kind and decent people. You may have had a policeman let you off with a warning when you were clearly speeding, or a highway patrolman assist you when you were stranded on the roadside.

You think there's a system in place to deal with bad cops, and that the entire process has been implemented to make sure that innocent people have their rights protected.

You are naive.

Police officers are first and foremost instruments for the expression of civil authority. They are, simply, tools. Tools are both bad and good. A hammer can build a shed or a bludgeon a head, depending on the hand that wields it.

Police officers have been used to bust unions, shoot peaceful protesters, enforce segregation, and attack schoolchildren with dogs and fire hoses. Police officers manufacture testimony, plant evidence, harass witnesses, and lie on the stand. Police officers routinely use their authority to extort, rob, and intimidate people -- usually poor people, usually people of color, usually the people who most need their protection and are least able afford adequate legal representation.

Is this the fault of the cops or the system? Both. The system as it stands is designed to make sure the working poor stays cowed, intimidated, or imprisoned. The cops who buy into that system are meatheads with a hard-on for power. The good ones, and there are some (there have to be, just by the law of averages), are outnumbered and marginalized.

We've spent the last thirty or so years handing the police bigger guns and more of them, cool toys like tanks and helicopters, and encouraging them to spend their time driving around in patrol cars instead of actually walking beats and getting to know the people they're allegedly protecting. At the same time, we've weakened the rights of the citizens by gutting the 4th amendment, passing three-strike laws, and putting in place an asset forfeiture system that gives local law enforcement a big financial incentive to bust down as many doors as they can.

The cops are not your friends. They are not on your side. They are not there to help.

They are there to fuck your shit up.

There is absolutely no reason to trust any cop ever.

EVER.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:32 AM on February 10, 2009 [58 favorites]


“If the medical profession had a significant percentage of doctors who bullied their patients...”
Lol wut?
Oh, those HMOs are great. Top notch. No bullying going on there. Yeah, if there’s one system that’s really got its shit together, it’s health care in the U.S.
*WTF!? face*
C’mon, man. I know what you’re saying and viscerally I’m with you, treating the police as adversarial in any given encounter (as giraffe sez) is reasonable, but I can’t follow you into absolutes. There’s no rational way out of that.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:32 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mastercheddaar: "As for your second comment. I'm sorry I am not letting this one slip by. I have plenty of police officers in my family. All of them are excellent officers and won't dream of doing this.

Hmm... Well, taking various research results in mass psychology and peer-pressure, I have a feeling that while you may *think* they wouldn't dream of doing this (and they proably don't dream of it) When push comes to shove, and pressure is placed on them, I'm guessing they just might be more apt to fall in line. Especially considering the mentality that justifies authoritarian social order in the first place. I'm not saying they will for a fact, but I'm saying you should be skeptical of someone wanting to be good, and their actual ability to stand up when the time comes.

And you know? This includes all of us here. I'm not gonna pretend that we're all so much better than them. But I'd hope that certain cultural attitudes in anti-authoritarians engenders a certain way of thinking that would make them less likely to engage in such practices. I don't know for certain. I think it would be interesting to repeat some of these classic experiments in control psychology and contrast with a persons sense of anti-authority traits and whether they consider them selves on the left or right, etc...

As for the "I bet your white" comment above, I agree white people have it easier when it comes to police than minorities. It is a social typecast and I am sorry for this. However the whole fucking pigs attitude does not help anything.

It's not a "social typecast" It's called privilege.


How to solve this? Well if police officers started being super duper nice to everyone they would end up being shot at by the actual criminals. So law abiding minorities should be the bigger person and start being more respectful to officers. I'm not saying give them hugs and kisses but be more respectful in your attitude and don't raise your children to sit there and listen to what they say but think in the back of their head thinkthat they are all fucking pigs.


So... Cops can't be super nice to everyone, but minorities need to be nice to cops? "Don't anger the big bully, son! He shouldn't be a dick, but it's not *his* fault if you get your ass kicked by him." What?

And also... Don't teach them to be nice, but then be resentful in the back of their mind? So you want them to sublimate their own feelings in order to bow and eventually lick the ass of authority? Because that'll save them an ass beating later?

And isn't that sort of thinking what gets us INTO this mess in the first place? Subjugate yourself and your sense of right and wrong so as not to offend the "good guys"? Groupthink there, homes...
posted by symbioid at 11:38 AM on February 10, 2009


BitterOldPunk: I agree with you on every level, but I can't help but chuckle at the eponysteria. Sorry.

Smedleyman: "“Oh, those HMOs are great. Top notch. No bullying going on there. Yeah, if there’s one system that’s really got its shit together, it’s health care in the U.S. "

I don't know, if there's one redeeming feature of the health care system, it's that at least they know what they're doing is despicable and don't try to pretend that they have the moral high ground, but rather try to parade it as being best for the patient, no?
posted by Phire at 11:40 AM on February 10, 2009


I've known a few LO's and some were good and some were bad, the problem is, the good ones knew who the bad ones were and did nothing to stop them.

Well....for future reference, my back yard is not a GOOD place for plainclothes cops to creep around.
posted by winks007 at 11:40 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't mess with Texas.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:47 AM on February 10, 2009


jnaps: Three grown men assaulted her. The fact that they were police is absolutely irrelevant. There is no excuse for assaulting a twelve year old girl.

While I agree with the sentiment, I think you're making a false binary here between "it's bad because they've abused their power as cops" or "it's bad because they assaulted a 12 year old girl." It's not either or, it's both/and. It is already mind-bogglingly outrageous that these men did this to a twelve-year-old girl on her own property, but it's even more horrifying that they did while on duty as police officers; it is one of the only professions allowed the use of deadly force, and thus is held to a different (higher) standard of restraint, respect, and care.

It's like an outrage sundae with a liberal coating of hate fudge.

This was awful already as a bare assault, but the fact that it was perpetrated by an institution charged with the motto "to serve and protect" just adds an extra layer of WTF.
posted by LMGM at 11:55 AM on February 10, 2009


Insert Texan outrage at another of BP's "Texas sucks" drive-bys.
posted by pineapple at 11:59 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


An effective police force must maintain the integrity born of trust and belief with the people it serves.

The difference between civil society and social chaos is much smaller than most of us think. Add a little fear, mistrust and uncertainty to society and the fabric that holds our mighty western democracies together dissolves like cheap instant coffee.

The difference between civilisation and the Hobbesian state of nature is perception and to maintain this important perception police forces must present a united front.

It maybe smoke and mirrors, and occasionally unjust, but things would be a hell of a lot worse without the perception of a united and cohesive police force.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 12:04 PM on February 10, 2009


Well shit, this is about the worst thing I ever heard. WTF America?!?!?
posted by kaspen at 12:10 PM on February 10, 2009


She did exactly what any parent, teacher, or ironically, off-duty cop who came to school for Stranger Danger lectures would have told her to do. Called for help, fought, attempted to run away.

When I said her response was somewhat short of ideal, I was mainly thinking of the report that she yelled "F--- you. I hate the police." Not what I would consider ideal, by a long shot, but again, not even this slimmest shadow of a pretense of an excuse for what followed.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:12 PM on February 10, 2009



The difference between civilisation and the Hobbesian state of nature is perception and to maintain this important perception police forces must present a united front.

It maybe smoke and mirrors, and occasionally unjust, but things would be a hell of a lot worse without the perception of a united and cohesive police force.
Philosophical masturbation.
posted by delmoi at 12:28 PM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


define your terms....

right=A legal or moral entitlement.

A parent has a moral entitlement (and, a legal entitlement) to control a child.

A teacher has a legal entitlement to control the behavior of those in the classroom.

A military person has a legal entitlement to control those he/she commands.

etc



Define: control.

A parent has a legal responsibility to protect a child, if reasonable control is necessary to protect a child, then it is allowed.

A teacher is required, as a responsibility of their employment, to teach a child. They often mistake this as a mandate to control children, but that's a larger issue in itself.

An officer in the military is responsible for the behavior and safety of those under their command. Those under an officer's command are obligated to obey reasonable orders from their commanding officer.

None of these people have a mandate ordering them to control anyone. I find it alarming that, in your book, protection=control, authority=control, education=control. Sadly, you are probably not in the minority.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:40 PM on February 10, 2009


This is Texas. Thank god she didn't have a half-dozen vibrators with her or else it would have been a federal offense. Right now I'm thinking this girl and her family wish the Feds were involved.

There's no way to justify or rationalize this. No way. It is much like the BART shooting of a few weeks back. Anyone who tries to justify or rationalize it comes off looking like a buffoon.

This is one of those situations where the department and the city need to just say "yep, they fucked up, they're no longer cops, and they DA is going to press charges". I don't see what the city and department have to gain by backing these obvious criminals.

And that's what these particular cops are, criminals. Pure and simple.

There are no circumstances, short of her having a loaded gun aimed at one of the cops, that could ever justify this. Ever.

Ever.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:51 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Philosophical masturbation.

Wank it maybe but it's not philosophical delmoi. I spent a few years working PR in a large police force and learnt through experience the importance of perception.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 1:01 PM on February 10, 2009


So sorry to hear this news..Best luck to the family in their federal suit.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 1:12 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wank it maybe but it's not philosophical delmoi. I spent a few years working PR in a large police force and learnt through experience the importance of perception.

I guess you don't understand what "philosophical" actually means, because it certainly isn't "disconnected from real world experience", but if this is something that you picked up while actually defending scumbag cops then all I can say is that you're a part of the problem, and you're just rationalizing your behavior.
posted by delmoi at 1:16 PM on February 10, 2009


The media has a way of taking the .001% of the policing force in the world that engage in this type of behavior and making it seem like all police officers are this bad.

Why the heck aren't the 99.999% of the rest of the police police upset enough to vociferously condemn these guys then?
posted by juv3nal at 1:22 PM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


....it was declared a mistrial.

QUELLE FUCKING SURPRISE!
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:10 PM on February 10, 2009


delmoi you got me - hands up, very clever. I am part of the problem with policing in Texas. Dick.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 2:11 PM on February 10, 2009


Also, what kind of a limp-dicked police force does this town have when they need three grown men to subdue a 12 year old girl?
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:13 PM on February 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Add a little fear, mistrust and uncertainty to society and the fabric that holds our mighty western democracies together dissolves like cheap instant coffee.

Isn't that *exactly* what's at stake here? Our ability to trust the police and the institutions that support them?
posted by puckish at 2:15 PM on February 10, 2009


Samuel Farrow wrote The difference between civil society and social chaos is much smaller than most of us think. Add a little fear, mistrust and uncertainty to society and the fabric that holds our mighty western democracies together dissolves like cheap instant coffee.

The difference between civilisation and the Hobbesian state of nature is perception and to maintain this important perception police forces must present a united front.


Wow. I mean, wow. In the first paragraph I quoted you seem to understand the problem. When the police act like just another gang, when they abuse their power, it produces fear, mistrust, and uncertainty which does indeed produce problems in society.

But then your second paragraph makes my head explode. Its *NECESSARY* for the police to maintain the blue wall of silence in order, somehow, by some bizarre leap of faith, prevent fear, mistrust, etc.

'Cuz, yeah, nothing quashes fear, mistrust, and uncertainty like the police viciously beating a 12 year old girl then stonewalling and protecting the thugs in uniform who actually perpetuated the beating. Yup, people might have been mistrustful if the police had actually done something about the fact that psychopaths are in uniform and assaulting our children, but since they maintained solidarity and presented a united front I'm sure that no one is at all fearful, mistrustful, or uncertain.

W.T.F.? Are you actually insane, or do you just not pay attention to the stuff you type?

You were, at least, correct about one thing. I'm no longer even slightly uncertain about where I stand WRT the police: they are not my friends, they will try to harm me if given the slightest opportunity, and in the event that a police officer harms me I can expect nothing but contempt and efforts to further harm me from the other police, and the judges.
posted by sotonohito at 2:30 PM on February 10, 2009


More sadness in America, brought to you today by random police force going berserk. Ah, the charms of the early 21st century. Civilisation, advancement, education, technology. Hooray!
posted by buzzman at 2:41 PM on February 10, 2009


Smedleyman I want to agree with you, but I can't. I do think its all cops, not literally but close enough. There may very well be a handful of cops who do the right thing, statistically its quite likely. But I'd be surprised if they lasted long, the police like all gangs are quite efficient at ejecting those who don't toe the line. Too many reports to IA and a cop will find themselves out one way or another.

As far as this specific case goes, the city of Galveston and the Galveston police department have, by their prosecution of Ms. Milburn amply demonstrated that they consider the conduct of the police in question to be perfectly appropriate, indeed conduct that other police should emulate. Therefore to argue that "all police in Galveston" are evil thugs would seem to be perfectly correct given the officially endorsed code of conduct that this case reveals.

I think the real problem is simply that, despite the outrage seen here and a few other places, in general our society wants this. America has a perverse love of totalitarianism. When the police are given tasers most of America laughs at the agonized screams of the victims. When the police savagely beat suspects most of America thinks its a good thing, because the Liberal Courts are too lenient. If most of America were truly convinced that we need police reform it would happen, perhaps not quickly but there would be a steady drumbeat of progress, politicians could gain votes by promising police reform, etc.

Therefore, I think it is productive to advertise this as "all police" and, more important, as "it could happen to you!" If most of America can convince itself that its only the other people (those lazy/black/whatever bastards) who are getting abused by the police, and that its only a few bad apples anyway, then they will not be motivated to do what is necessary to change the system.

From my point of view what is true, and what is necessary propaganda, dovetail quite nicely. All police [1], *ARE* corrupt, *DO* cover up for those who actively abuse the public, and are, in general thugs running on a dangerous power trip. Perhaps a complementary message of "those few, brave, good cops are driven out by the thugs" would be beneficial, I'm not sure; it may simply weaken the main message. But the truth, as evidenced by the behavior of the police in the latest high profile cases, is ugly and needs to be relentlessly driven into the collective head of Joe Average: the cops are out of control, and are turning into just another gang.

The cases you mention, I think, can be dismissed as merely the result of a cop who can't be protected being offered up as a scapegoat. If the police can protect one of their own, they will; in the event that the evidence is too great, too public, they will parade his prosecution as evidence that they police their own.

[1] Less a few insignificant exceptions
posted by sotonohito at 2:48 PM on February 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


"So... Cops can't be super nice to everyone, but minorities need to be nice to cops? 'Don't anger the big bully, son! He shouldn't be a dick, but it's not *his* fault if you get your ass kicked by him.' What? "

Well, yes.

That was the advice that generations of black parents gave their kids: drop your eyes, say "yes sir" and don't talk back whenever a white man talks to you. Because it may not be right or fair, but if a white man thinks you're sassing him, or even not showing him enough deference, he can kill you with impunity. Better you sacrifice your dignity than your life.

Sure, some white men may be great folks -- but there's no way to tell the good whites from the bad whites when you run into one. And even the good whites won't testify against another white man, for jacking up a black man.

The advice black kids got for dealing with Jim Crow is precisely the only safe advice for all of us, black or white, to give to our kids about dealing with cops: drop your dignity, drop to the ground, and kiss the cops' asses, or they can drop you in your tracks.

And that, riane, is why so many of us hate cops. Because whenever we encounter one, we risk having to chose between our dignity and our life.
posted by orthogonality at 2:49 PM on February 10, 2009 [39 favorites]


drop your dignity, drop to the ground, and kiss the cops' asses, or they can drop you in your tracks.

Over the winter holidays, I visited my inlaws in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. One evening we went out to dinner, and as we were leaving the restaurant, a couple of uniformed cops walked in. I immediately felt the familiar emotions of shame, fear, and disgust, and I averted my eyes as I walked past them. I wondered what I'll tell my daughter when she's old enough to recognize this change in my normal confident and easygoing behavior that occurs when I encounter LEOS.

My inlaws and wife didn't notice my reaction, and they all smiled and spoke very warmly and cordially to the cops as they walked past the two officers. But when we got outside, they rocked my world by saying things like "You have to smile and be nice to them..." "Yeah, if you want to avoid trouble you'd better be friendly to them."

Man, if upper middle class white folks in Texas think they have to be fawning and servile toward cops, what the hell hope do the rest of us have?
posted by lord_wolf at 3:02 PM on February 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


The advice black kids got for dealing with Jim Crow is precisely the only safe advice for all of us, black or white, to give to our kids about dealing with cops: drop your dignity, drop to the ground, and kiss the cops' asses, or they can drop you in your tracks.


Wow ortho, nicely said. This is pretty much how I was raised regarded the police. You explained much better than I how I feel about the police and how I feel around them. I hope a lot of people in this thread take heed of what you said. Props.
posted by fuq at 3:03 PM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Some people will defend the police for anything, and this proves it. Until it's you getting the shit beaten out of you for no reason and quickly finding out that every aspect of the system isn't going to help you, but instead actively harm you further. The police are your enemy. They are the street-level violent enforcers of the state's power. They exist to serve the system and protect power. They are the same mindless bullies that tormented you on the playground, except now they're grown up and can not only beat or even kill you and get away with it, but be widely praised by people who think "well, you must have deserved it". They're your enemy, and I hope it doesn't take something like this happening to you for you to figure it out.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:08 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've only skimmed this thread, but I wanted to mention: I was living in Galveston in 2006, when the incident first happened. The guy who did renovations and painting on our house lived a block or two away from where this happened. I can picture it.... Knowing the setting, knowing typical Galvestonians, knowing the police, knowing the justice system -- the one that let Bobby Durst off -- I'm not surprised by anything.

I pity Galveston, as much as I miss it. Not even Quanell X is helping them out.
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:10 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


While you guys have been bitching - the retrial was today
posted by fistynuts at 3:26 PM on February 10, 2009


After reading this, I called some friends. We had all planned to go to Galveston later this year to see a theatre production there. We've all decided to cancel our plans, and have canceled our reservations at the beach hotel we booked.

When the manager asked why we had such a large cancellation, I referenced this case. I've called and left a message for the theatre manager and told him that we won't be needing our reserved tickets, and to offer them up for general sale. I may have to pay a fee, but I'll be damned if I'm spending money in Galveston again.

I've also written (emailed via their webform, but also will be sending a USPS letter) to the mayor and the city council and told them that I've canceled our event, and that with our cancellation means there will be the taxes on 20 rooms at a 4 star hotel, 40+ tickets, plus all of the money that a large group of women can spend in 3 days that won't be going into their coffers. And not only that, all of us will be telling everyone we know *WHY* we're not going, including sending a note to the production company and touring group we were going to see. I'm going to ask the touring group to consider canceling the show and doing it somewhere else like Houston. (As much as I despise Houston.)

Does this one group of spenders really make a difference? I don't know. But Galveston will never see another dollar from my wallet...not in tourism dollars, not in property rentals, not in referential recommendations...nothing, until Dymond Milburn has gotten an apology and enough money to put her through law school, so she can stop this from happening to anyone else.

Shame, Galveston. Shame!
posted by dejah420 at 3:28 PM on February 10, 2009 [58 favorites]


Police chiefs should really look at how defending pieces of shit like this cop hurts the police force in the long run. People distrust the police, think they're all in a cabal out to protect themselves from crimes they commit on the job. Not true for most cops, but it doesn't matter--you defend and protect just one scumbag cop, and it taints the whole department, and American cops in general.

Chiefs, make an example of shitheads like this. You'll be glad for it later.

Oh, and this makes me so angry I could spit nails.
posted by zardoz at 3:33 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


until Dymond Milburn has gotten an apology and enough money to put her through law school, so she can stop this from happening to anyone else.

Nice response, dejah420, but all the law school in the world isn't going to stop assholes from becoming cops.
posted by telstar at 3:39 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


"And even the good whites won't testify against another white man, for jacking up a black man."

What? Do you mean black/white relations in general during the Jim Crow years, but now applicable to the relationship with police officers?
posted by HopperFan at 3:47 PM on February 10, 2009


...in gauging a stressful situation...

I know confronting 12 year old girls is pretty stressful; even when I have a few other grown men with me; even when they are carrying guns and are trained in subduing violent people. When I was considering whether the accusations leveled here against these officers were warranted, I forgot how much danger and stress they were dealing with in this situation. I see where it could be difficult. My bad.

Can we please put the blah-blah-officers-jobs-are-stressful-blah-blah arguments into the 'laughable' category in this case?
posted by Avelwood at 3:51 PM on February 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Yes to both HopperFan.
posted by orthogonality at 3:58 PM on February 10, 2009




Yes to both HopperFan.
posted by orthogonality at 3:58 PM on February 10


Thanks!
posted by HopperFan at 4:05 PM on February 10, 2009


There are several cops in my own family. I love them, but I don't expect them to speak out against abuses in their department, because that's something you just don't do.

And that's why the cops in your family are "Bad Cops", too.

Once they 'retire' all the truly "Bad Cops", THEN they will have earned our respect.
posted by mikelieman at 4:06 PM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hey, if a man face down with his arms behind his back is a threatening position, GOD KNOWS how dangerous a 12 year old girl is, especially if she's running away.
posted by yeloson at 4:07 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Gotta watch for them retreating labradors, too.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:16 PM on February 10, 2009


so what's the deal with that BART murder? Anything new there?
posted by empath at 4:34 PM on February 10, 2009


He's out on bail.
posted by fixedgear at 4:48 PM on February 10, 2009


How did Galveston not riot over this?

Seriously?
posted by klangklangston at 5:12 PM on February 10, 2009


How did Galveston not riot over this?

Seriously?


They saw what the cops do to a 12 year old girl and probably wondered what might happen to them too if they actually broke the law.
posted by David Fleming at 5:41 PM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


If good cops existed they'd arrest bad cops. Since that doesn't happen there is no such thing as a good cop; QED.

Ontario police arrest some police.

It probably helps that we have ombudsmen who speak out against bad things.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:47 PM on February 10, 2009


dejah420, you rule!


As an aside, I always thought "fucking pigs" referred specifically to the corrupt, power-abusing, asshole cops, and not the ones who are better.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:21 PM on February 10, 2009


Galveston has had a number of cases of police misconduct or questionable conduct -- how about this one. As for rioting, I'd say that people are still pretty distracted with other issues like, say, trying to get back into their homes after the hurricane.

Worth noting, the population of the Island is probably only 2/3 of what it was before Ike, down to some forty-odd thousand. That's close to twenty thousand displaced, including many of the poorer residents who might be more affected by police misconduct and also more likely to protest. The jury pool for the trial & mistrials is drawn from a county of well over three-hundred thousand.

For local reaction to the case, you could look at this discussion thread on the Galveston County Daily News. There's no shortage of dissent, although I think that most people are still more focused on the trials of daily life post-Ike.
posted by Robert Angelo at 6:26 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The comments on jury intimidation in that thread are pretty enlightening.
posted by puckish at 6:43 PM on February 10, 2009


What a SWAT team did to Cheye Calvo's family may seem extreme. But decades into America's war on drugs, it's business as usual.
Narcotics investigators for the Prince George's police had apparently left that white box on his front step, then sent SWAT officers from the Sheriff's Office to retrieve it. The box contained marijuana.

Officers from the two county law enforcement agencies had apparently been parked watching his house all day. Yet they had apparently done so little investigatory work -- they hadn't even taken 30 seconds to Google Cheye -- that they didn't know they were launching a paramilitary attack on an elected official's home until after they'd broken down the door and shot the dogs.

Cheye was particularly disturbed when he discovered that narcotics investigators seemed to have known that criminals had been mailing drugs addressed to innocent people, in hopes of intercepting the packages before the addressees claimed them.

Yet, here he was, hands bound behind him, trying to convince county police that he and Trinity were not drug lords.
WTF, USA?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:43 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


And it's not like, say, Canada has terrific police force. The fucking pigs killed a guy in the Vancouver International Airport a few months ago. He'd been without food or water for something like twelve hours, so no doubt his blood sugar levels were crazy low. Little wonder he was acting strangely. Instead of talking him down, though, they immediately whipped out the tasers and over-electrocuted him dead. Pigs.

But we're having a public inquiry into it. Witnesses are now speaking freely. We're getting a much more clear understanding of what went on. And in all likelihood, there will be changes. Our nation is questioning whether cops should have tasers at all; promises are being made about training; and Taser International [spit] was found to have been sending dangerously miscalibrated weapons.

It'll probably be a long time before the RCMP pull another Dziekanski.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:52 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Narcotics investigators for the Prince George's police had apparently left that white box on his front step, then sent SWAT officers from the Sheriff's Office to retrieve it.

That's got to be a misprint, right?

(I'm assuming, based on the rest of the article)
posted by puckish at 6:55 PM on February 10, 2009


That's got to be a misprint, right?

Unfortunately, no. The box also was the only piece of "evidence" removed from the scene.
posted by orrnyereg at 7:13 PM on February 10, 2009


An effective police force must maintain the integrity born of trust and belief with the people it serves.

This is exactly right. That's one reason why these criminal police who commit assault and battery are doing more damage than someone else would by committing the same crime: because as if hurting that girl wasn't bad enough, they're also hurting the trust that civilized society is based on.

The difference between civil society and social chaos is much smaller than most of us think. Add a little fear, mistrust and uncertainty to society and the fabric that holds our mighty western democracies together dissolves like cheap instant coffee.

This is a little overblown. Have you seen how much fear, mistrust, and uncertainty has been added to our mighty western democracies over the past few centuries? The social fabric still seems to be holding together. Police who get away with brutality have provoked some demonstrations and some all-out riots in the relatively recent past, but nothing to destroy civilization.

The difference between civilisation and the Hobbesian state of nature is perception and to maintain this important perception police forces must present a united front.

And despite this half-digested wad of greasy nonsense, police who don't let criminals with badges get away with beating up little girls aren't going to destroy civilization either. You think it's a good idea to maintain the perception that a well-armed group of people have more loyalty to each other than to any sense of law, justice, or mercy? Are you insane? That's not civilization, that's the modus operandi of every barbarian conqueror in history! We're a civilization only insofar as we act to secure for everyone the equal protection of law, while subjecting every lawbreaker to equal due process and punishment. That should be the core definition of the word "police"! We've already got groups that primarily act to secure protection for themselves and punishment for outsiders; those are just called "gangs".
posted by roystgnr at 7:16 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it should say that box was *delivered* (by someone who then intended to pick it up) -- and then *intercepted* by narcotics officers. Otherwise, the rest of the article makes no sense.

Not really a question for this thread, though...
posted by puckish at 7:27 PM on February 10, 2009


The same goes with my experience with bartenders, cab drivers, doctors, teachers

...none of whom are allowed to shoot me.
posted by moss at 8:12 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The cops intercepted the shipment of marijuana while it was in transit. Then an undercover cop posing as a deliveryman took it to the mayor's house.
posted by ryanrs at 9:08 PM on February 10, 2009


I think it should say that box was *delivered* (by someone who then intended to pick it up) -- and then *intercepted* by narcotics officers. Otherwise, the rest of the article makes no sense.

No, the police's attention was brought to the box by drug-sniffing dogs in a mail-sorting center, and the police delivered it.

Drug dealers must have just mailed it, expecting the postal service to deliver it to the doorstep and planning to intercept it before the homeowners brought it inside, but then the police caught it and delivered it themselves, and then watched the house until someone brought it in.
posted by chinston at 9:14 PM on February 10, 2009


Got it - chain of events, corrected!

(thanks ryan / chinston)
posted by puckish at 9:26 PM on February 10, 2009


At the risk of being "frothy," it's not just cops who are pigs: a 12-yr old was forced to take a pregnancy test to sate a school counsellor's curiousity.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:34 PM on February 10, 2009


You can tell I'm surfing reddit: in East Texas, the cops are highway robbers.

Is there no checks and balances system?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Holy crap: The Richland County (S.C.) Sheriff’s Department has acquired an armored personnel carrier complete with a turret-mounted .50-caliber belt-fed machine gun.

Yes, that's what every police department needs: weapons of war. To be used against its own citizens.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:47 PM on February 10, 2009


Jesus fucking tapdancing christ.

Can we fucking please shut the drug war down now. This is out of control.
posted by empath at 9:59 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]



Can we fucking please shut the drug war down now. This is out of control.


Would it surprise you to learn that many folks have been saying this for a goddamn half century? So, what keeps it going? You tell me.
posted by telstar at 10:16 PM on February 10, 2009


A lack of public accountability systems? Too much power given to the local level, allowing the batshitinsane shitheads to gain the upper hand (see: small towns all over North America, many schoolboards, and all condo associations)? Overwhelming fear and paranoia? Power Seeks Power?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:03 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why oh why can't real cops be as cool as Bunk and McNulty?
posted by bwg at 11:08 PM on February 10, 2009


So, let me get this straight: An innocent 12 year old girl was beaten* by police badly enough to be hospitalized, but it would be bad and wrong of us to type the words 'fucking pigs' on a website.

Nice.

*among other atrocities, who knows what would have happened if she actually was a prostitute.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:29 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


And now, a musical interlude!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:21 AM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


After reading this, I called some friends. We had all planned to go to Galveston later this year to see a theatre production there. We've all decided to cancel our plans, and have canceled our reservations at the beach hotel we booked.
Galveston was basically trashed last year by Hurricane Ike. I actually have a friend who moved there like a month before it hit. She actually really liked it, but after the hurricane, after she was able to get back she basically said it was a shithole. All the places are closed, or destroyed, crazy people wander around. A co-worker of hers actually got carjacked and then the person felt guilty and apologized, apparently they were off their meds. Yeah. She moved to Huston but still works there, so it's not really that relevant.
posted by delmoi at 12:30 AM on February 11, 2009


Texas Penal Code Chapter 9, Subchapter C, Section 9.31:

(c) The use of force to resist an arrest or search is justified: (1) if, before the actor offers any resistance, the peace officer (or person acting at his direction) uses or attempts to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search; and (2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the peace officer's (or other person's) use or attempted use of greater force than necessary.
posted by AceRock at 5:17 AM on February 11, 2009


telstar wrote re: the War on (some) Drugs Would it surprise you to learn that many folks have been saying this for a goddamn half century? So, what keeps it going? You tell me.

What keeps it going? The fact that while some people want it ended, the majority want it continued and expanded, that's what. It isn't as if this is happening in a vacuum, or that there's a group of politicians just perpetuating it for grins and giggles.

The War on (some) Drugs continues, and is expanded, because the majority of Americans want it to. Polling shows that most Americans think the War on Drugs is failing, but don't want to end it.

Back in 1931 Franklin P. Adams wrote a poem about Prohibition that applies here:
Prohibition is an awful flop.
We like it.
It can't stop what it's meant to stop.
We like it.
It's left a trail of graft and slime,
It won't prohibit worth a dime,
It's filled our land with vice and crime.
Nevertheless, we're for it.
And that's pretty much what we're looking at today. The overwhelming majority of Americans (75% - 80% depending on the poll) agrees that the War on Drugs is a failure. Around 21% support legalizing marijuana, and the percentage who supports legalizing anything else is all but nonexistent.

All a politician has to do to drum up votes is spew some "git tuff" crap about drugs, promise to escalate the War on Drugs, promise to eliminate more freedom, give the police a looser leash, and that politician will be rewarded with votes.

We have the War on Drugs because We The People want it. The only way to end it is to change what We The People want.
posted by sotonohito at 6:14 AM on February 11, 2009


bwg wrote Why oh why can't real cops be as cool as Bunk and McNulty?

Lessee, that'd be the same McNulty who was often fully aware of abusive behavior (torture even) by his fellow officers yet never did anything about it? The McNulty who, in season one, watched silently while the department covered up after Prez blinded a random kid from the projects? That McNulty?

The Wire was a great show, but it didn't show any "good cops". McNulty was part of the blue wall of silence, same as all the rest and therefore a bad cop by definition. I think you're seeing a variant on the unreliable narrator. McNulty is definitely better than many cops, and he's presented as the (anti?) hero of the series. More important he's portrayed as a rebel, an outcast, but he's not; not really. He went up against the brass, but he wouldn't break the blue wall of silence. McNulty saw himself as a rebel, but its a false rebellion, he's not a reliable source for info about himself and that was (I think) one of the better parts of the show. The writing, the direction, were sufficiently complex that you couldn't take what was presented at face value. McNulty saw himself as a rebel, the other cops saw him as a rebel, but at core he was a conformist and the director and writer showed that, but not with big flashing neon signs.

For him, like for cops in real life, the primary mission, the overriding imperative, is to protect other cops from facing the consequences of abusing civilians. Its such an ingrained behavior that its seen as natural, unchangable, even the "rebels" conform in that aspect.

So, yeah. McNulty and Bunk were cool characters in a great show. But not so much what I'd like real life cops to be like. I'd like real life cops to break the code of silence.
posted by sotonohito at 6:35 AM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


How did Galveston not riot over this?

Seriously?


Because, in urban America, this is a typical, unexceptional interaction between the police and the (usually black or Latino) poor.
posted by QIbHom at 7:44 AM on February 11, 2009


I haven't read all the comments, but from glancing at them, I'm glad I haven't. Looks like the usual histrionics.

But because I was asked:

Hey, so can someone explain what this federal suit will bring? Is it just a federal suit against the officers, or against Galveston? How can one file a federal suit against an individual?
posted by frecklefaerie at 12:27 PM on February 10


I'm completely unfamiliar with any facts in this case, so I'll just speak generally.

The initial problem when dealing with suing the state/government in civil courts is that government has immunity. Tracing back through the common law to the times of Merry Ol' England, the government is like the crown and is immune from the law. So as a general proposition, you can't sue the sovereign. Likewise, those acting as governmental officers performing state functions are given the same immunity as the government. However, both at the state level and the federal level, there are exceptions, or waivers of immunity, which allow the state/government to be sued in certain instances.

There are a number of causes of action or claims that can be made under federal law when officers abuse their power.

There is a claim under 42 USC § 1983 which is a claim of deprivation of civil rights. Under a 1983 claim, one can sue the City of Galveston police department and the officers themselves who are acting "under the color of law." Basically, they are an agent of the state, so their actions can be imputed to the state. This is the most common claim against police malfeasance.

There are also claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act for actions against the federal government on a limited number of grounds. Incidentally, at the state level, most states have similar tort claims acts that waive immunity. In Texas, it is located at Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 101.001 et seq. If anyone attempts to sue the State or its officers in Texas courts, then there are a number of hoops and presentment issues which make it difficult.

Another claim that can be asserted under the federal common law is a Bivens claim, which is a claim against federal officers for violations of the Fourth Amendment. There is no state law Bivens claim in Texas. So if you are dealing with state officers, then your option remains a 1983 claim.

So when the issue is police malfeasance, there are claims that can be asserted in federal courts. And the claim can be against the officers themselves or, more likely, the government (the officers aren't likely to be able to pay the judgment).

Hope that answers your question.
posted by dios at 8:24 AM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I walked away from this thread yesterday and returned to the same BS. Dont trust cops ever! DURRR.... Mastercheddaar your family when push comes to shove will be a bunch of bullies DUURR....

I wanted to be a police officer and follow in my Grandpa's footsteps. (I screwed up my knee and couldn't pass the Physical part.) While he was alive he told me everything he knew about police work. Not just the laws but how to treat people in general. He said always treat people with kindness until they give you a reason not to. He also said never take anything for free. The only money you earn is your paycheck. He also said Fuck corrupt cops, never cover for them. They made their bed, let them rot in it. While in the police academy everyone who knew my grandpa would say he was one of the best. People who weren't with the police department said the same thing. He was one of the best. Did he probably have a few enemies? Sure but I promise that he never did anything illegal. He passed this mentality down to everyone in my family that became a police officer. Not a one of them would dare dishonor his good name let alone let him down by doing something illegal or turning a blind eye to something this wrong.

Are their bad cops? Yeah there are. Do they deserve to rot in prison for their crimes? Yes they do. It is a slap in the face of any honest police officer for them not to. Do some honest cops feel compelled to cover for dishonor ones? Yeah some do, because when push comes to shove they are usually the only people that have their backs.

For those that said Fuck these pigs... I agree with you. The cops in this article are pieces of shit.

For those that said fuck pigs... never trust cops in general.... My grandpa was a good cop and the majority of police officers I have met are good cops and do not deserve to be put in the same category as the corrupt POSs that did this.

Lastly, seeing all of the hatred for police it makes me realize how horrible of a job it really is. You are charged with doing one of the most important tasks in the USA. Everyone wants you to do this job. Yet no one wants you to do this job to them. You have to put up with the shit of society and see some horrifying things as well. Also the pay sucks, the hours are terrible and at any given moment you can be shot and killed. Oh yeah and you have to have the thickest skin in the world to survive the "WE HATE YOU FUCKING PIG.... NO ONE SHOULD TRUST YOU EVER!!!?!!!1" crap. It is obvious I am just spinning tires here with some of you. I just wanted the police officers on Mefi to know I got their backs.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:26 AM on February 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Space Kitty said: "So, let me get this straight: An innocent 12 year old girl was beaten* by police badly enough to be hospitalized, but it would be bad and wrong of us to type the words 'fucking pigs' on a website."

Yes. It's a concept that is known in much of the free-thinking world as "not sinking to the lowest common denominator."

I realize that when we are all angry and outraged and the lizard brain kicks in, we just want to spew atrocities, but profanity is the linguistic crutch of the inarticulate. I expect better at MetaFilter.

From another perspective: how long has this thread already been derailed over the "fucking pigs" comment? Has that truly been enlightening or helpful?

If I wanted to read outraged kneejerk profane generalizations, I'd go to [$YOUR FAVORITE LOWBROW COMMUNITY BLOG SUCKS].
posted by pineapple at 8:39 AM on February 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I didn't have absolute plans of the sort dejah420 did, but this case has decided me against weekending in Galveston this summer when I need a break. I've enjoyed the home tour and Dickens on the Strand in the past, but no more. Unfortunately, the thing most likely to change police brutality in Galveston is the idea that it's bad for business/tourism, not the merits of the situation.

While we're on the subject of Galveston and "criminals", remember that Galveston's jail wasn't evacuated during Hurricane Ike because of "security concerns". This was at a time when the island's residents were warned to leave or die. You have to wonder how many of the people who lived through that were picked up on pretexts as flimsy as the one they used for Dymond Milburn.
posted by immlass at 8:44 AM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Richland County (S.C.) Sheriff’s Department has acquired an armored personnel carrier complete with a turret-mounted .50-caliber belt-fed machine gun.

That's to keep us safe from Michael Phelps.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:18 AM on February 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Mastercheddaar How many bad cops did your grandfather blow in to IA? How often did he testify against his fellow officers? When IA ignored his reports, how often did your grandfather go directly to the DA or a judge? If that failed, how often did your grandfather go to the press to let the public know about the bad cops? How many bad cops did he manage to oust from the force? I'm guessing the answer to every question is "zero".

Any cop will see, in the day to day execution of their duties, their fellows abusing the public. A failure to blow the whistle, to alert everyone to that abuse, and to do one's utmost to get the bad cop ejected from the force is covering for them. Silence == covering. Silence == bad cop.

People don't have the police for doing their jobs. People hate the police for the torture, the false arrests, the confiscation of goods (that'd be "theft" except that its legal), the killings. If the police didn't protect the ones who are rampaging thugs the public wouldn't dislike the police. People hate the police because when any cop, anywhere, any time, does bad there are always dozens of other police there to blame the victim, to assert that the bad cop wasn't really bad, and to treat the bad cop with kid gloves.

Hell, the city of Galveston paid good money to bring charges against a 12 year old girl who had the temerity not to be kidnapped (and possibly raped because the cops thought she was just a dirty nigger whore who deserved it), and the Galveston police department has stood firmly behind those police.

People hate the police because they know that you, and every other cop and every other police apologist, "has their back", that's the *PROBLEM*. Having the back of the police is a bad thing because it invariably means protecting the bad ones, and that turns the "good" ones bad too. What isn't to hate? The bad cops run wild, torturing, beating, killing, and the "good cops" stand by silently because god forbid they shouldn't have their back...

The only good cop is one who has been thrown off the force for bringing too many reports to IA.
posted by sotonohito at 9:19 AM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


How many Galveston police officers have resigned in protest, or even publically condemned the actions of their evil brethren? Guess what, its zero. As they always, invariably, do the police have stood firm against justice, against the people, and in defense of the worst scum in their ranks.

And you wonder why people hate the police?
posted by sotonohito at 9:21 AM on February 11, 2009


Back in 1931 Franklin P. Adams wrote a poem about Prohibition that applies here...

sotonohito, I can actually even offer some context for the poem, which may make this even MORE relevant. Adams' poem was a reaction to the published opinions of a federal board which had gathered to study Prohibition. What the report showed is that each INDIVIDUAL member stated that he personally felt that Prohibition had been a mistake -- but the group's COLLECTIVE response was that it should, nevertheless, be retained. Which strikes me as similar -- everyone seeing it's not working, but no one wants to be the fall guy who openly says "we should kill this."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 AM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I haven't read all the comments, but from glancing at them, I'm glad I haven't. Looks like the usual histrionics.

Yeah, it's amazing how touchy people get about a 12-year-old girl getting beaten to hospitalization by a group of grown men, who then decide to take her to court for not being more submissive to her beating. Typical thin-skinned liberal bawfest, isn't it?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:27 AM on February 11, 2009 [8 favorites]


Yeah, it's amazing how touchy people get about a 12-year-old girl getting beaten to hospitalization by a group of grown men, who then decide to take her to court for not being more submissive to her beating.

As I said, histrionics. Taking as gospel a blog post's representation of the facts that relies almost exclusively on one side's attorneys representation, exaggerating even those facts, and then extrapolating into a generalized indictment of police in general. And calls for rioting in the street, etc.

Have fun with that. I'll be looking forward to reading what happens in the federal case, because if any of this supposed story is true, there is a good chance of proving the case and justice will be done.
posted by dios at 9:43 AM on February 11, 2009


I'll be looking forward to reading what happens in the federal case, because if any of this supposed story is true, there is a good chance of proving the case and justice will be done.

Not even the police are denying they beat this girl, but you are?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:55 AM on February 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


In other words, there are other links in the post. You might want to read them.

People get upset about things like this, and they rightly should. The cops don't deny the beating they gave this girl; they just contend it was perfectly appropriate.

People getting angry about the people sworn to protect us beating our own children isn't "histrionics", nor is condescending dismissal being rational.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:01 AM on February 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Look, I'm not going to play your game. No where did I say anything of the sort, so I'd appreciate you not trying to misappropriate my words in an attempt to make me a strawman for you to swing at. You've already made enough of one already, so go back to bashing that.
posted by dios at 10:03 AM on February 11, 2009


My game? What the hell are you talking about? No one forced you to drop some smug nonsense about "histrionics". I was pointing out a fact of the story. You choosing to deny it exists changes nothing.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:05 AM on February 11, 2009


As sometime who lived in Galveston several years and still maintains a healthy love/hate relationship with the Island, I'm saddened by those who intend to boycott Galveston because of this case. Galveston has always been a sort of miniature New Orleans, complete with corruption, social ills, good people and bad, slumminess and beauty. Like New Orleans, it's struggling to recover from a horrible natural disaster. And if you go there, you will still find both good folk and bad ones.

I fear for the Island more because of the 3000+ laid off from UTMB, and from the closure of most of the medical facilities there. I fear because of the close to 20,000 people who are displaced and have not been able to return. I fear because half of the public housing and much of the affordable (read $300/month flop-house apartments) are gone, and will likely not be replaced.

When I lived there, we had a low-rent apartment building next door. I saw the police there many times, including the time we called them when a man pulled a knife on his wife in the parking lot. She later told us he was "bipolar". UTMB was the main public/charity hospital for all of Southeast Texas; now most of it is closed and may not re-open.

The problems with the police and the justice system are not unique to Galveston. Look at that BART case, look at numerous cases in New York: Amadou Diallo, which had the police aquitted of murder, a lawsuit, and a settlement comes to mind. The situation on the Island is in flux. This year are mayoral and city council elections, and some of the civic leaders will be ousted due to term limits.

I'm not saying that this case isn't awful. It sounds nuts to me. Putting it in perspective, I would like to see an equal amount of emotion and passion devoted to rebuilding and reforming Galveston.
posted by Robert Angelo at 10:13 AM on February 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


but profanity is the linguistic crutch of the inarticulate.

Fuck that noise.

Scolding people for not matching one's cold-fish detachment in the face of extreme provocation is also a low-brow activity, generally classified in the category "poseur."
posted by Coyote Crossing at 10:42 AM on February 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow, Pineapple that was condescending.

My comment was an attempt to re-rail the conversation by pointing out that maybe, just maybe! the police weren't the injured party here.

But if you and the rest of the free-thinking world think that the use of profanity here is sinking to the lowest-common denominator I'd like to suggest that perhaps you're missing the point.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:43 AM on February 11, 2009


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing, could you point me to your source for the statement that "not even the police are denying they beat this girl"? I seem to have missed it
(not being sarcastic, by the way -- I genuinely don't know whether I just missed it so I would appreciate it if you could tell me where you got that information)
posted by Dolukhanova at 10:58 AM on February 11, 2009


Dolukhanova wrote And that the girl responded by yelling, "Fuck you, I hate the police."

Thanks for giving me a great example of how easy it is to get people to assume the evil black slut had it coming.


Sotonohito, I'm sorry that you were unable to understand what I wrote. I was responding to a poster who expressed his inability to understand how any juror could do otherwise than acquit when the girl had merely fought back against three unknown men who appeared to be kidnapping her. My point was that the articles/blog posts linked in the OP essentially only reported the allegations made in the girl's lawsuit and by her criminal defense attorney, but that even the limited account of the prosecution's case provided indicated that there was testimony that, if credited, entitled the jury to conclude that the officers identified themselves as police officers and that the girl recognized them to be police officers. In that regard, it is relevant that there was testimony that she said, "Fuck you, I hate the police," since that statement (again, if credited), indicated that she knew she was dealing with the police.
posted by Dolukhanova at 11:07 AM on February 11, 2009


could you point me to your source for the statement that "not even the police are denying they beat this girl"? I seem to have missed it

There's no denial from the police in any of the news stories that force was used against this girl. In fact, the statement from the police is in part:
"It's unfortunate that sometimes police officers have to use force against people who are using force against them. And the evidence will show that both these folks violated the law and forcefully resisted arrest."
The matter of contention seems to be whether or not this girl fought back (her attorney says she had both hands gripping a tree at the time) and whether or not the police acted appropriately, which I imagine will be covered in the federal trial.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:16 AM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


No one forced you to drop some smug nonsense about "histrionics".

That's his shtick, you know. He's very good at it.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:41 AM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe, but I still flew off the handle, and I apologize.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:45 AM on February 11, 2009


Dolukhanova wrote Sotonohito, I'm sorry that you were unable to understand what I wrote.

I had no difficulty understanding what you wrote. You wrote a statement explaining how, in your view, it'd be possible to see how the little girl had a good beating coming to her, not to mention a lengthy term in prison. Which, I think rather proved my point.

It doesn't matter if she knew they were police or not, the fact remains that three fully grown men administered such a savage beating to a 12 year old girl that she had to be hospitalized, and that the city of Galveston wanted to send *HER* to prison.

I'm of the position that there is no justifiable reason, at all, for three police officers to hospitalize a 12 year old girl who was unarmed and therefore no threat to them. You take the position that a reasonable person, apparently on the grounds that she was a foul mouthed slut, had it coming and that its good that three police beat a 12 year old girl so severely that she wound up in the hospital for two weeks. And, of course, that the beating alone wasn't sufficient. That she also needed to be taught never, ever, to try to defend herself and so therefore deserved a long stay in prison.

I say there's no justification for what they did either in beating her or in charging her, you say that mouthing off to the police fully justifies not only the beating but the effort to put her in prison. I think you, and the juror who was desperately trying to put Ms. Milburn into prison are vile scum. I can't fathom what sort of evil a person has to embrace to consider that mouthing off to a cop merits a savage beating followed by prison and a felony record. I'm assuming racism and sexism are deeply involved.
posted by sotonohito at 12:34 PM on February 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


Coyote Crossing said: "Scolding people for not matching one's cold-fish detachment in the face of extreme provocation is also a low-brow activity, generally classified in the category "poseur.""

I didn't scold anyone. I shared my opinion that Space Kitty was contributing to the derail by focusing on the "fucking pigs" comment here, rather than the actual topic of this thread: the police brutality in Galveston.

Am I understanding you correctly, Coyote Crossing, that reading a blog post on the internet is what passes for "extreme provocation" in your world... and the fact that I am able to restrain myself from ejaculating a bunch of irrelevant or inflammatory swearing all over the keyboard equals "cold fish detachment"? That, because I'm not jumping on a bandwagon of reactionary explosive anger at all police everywhere, it clearly indicates that I am detached and can't possibly think that what happened to Dymond Milburn is a travesty? That's a fascinating attitude.

Space Kitty said: "My comment was an attempt to re-rail the conversation by pointing out that maybe, just maybe! the police weren't the injured party here."

Well, from where I see it, you failed. You might consider in the future that "re-railing" is usually more successful when it's not a drive-by toss of fuel onto the fire -- especially one that implies that Faction A = "Right On, Man! Truth to Power!" and Faction B = a bunch of deluded fools who Don't Get It. Your tone wasn't one of helpful suggestion... it was one of self-righteous superiority. That's usually not a recipe for improving the discourse (which is what you're now claiming to have been doing), but instead, the formula for cheap snarky one-liners.
posted by pineapple at 12:54 PM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Am I understanding you correctly, Coyote Crossing, that reading a blog post on the internet is what passes for "extreme provocation" in your world...

In that I recognize that some blog posts on the internet describe horrific things that have happened to real people, despite certain people's frustrating ability to treat them as though they're television shows suitable for detached hipster snarkanalysis? I suppose so.

That, because I'm not jumping on a bandwagon of reactionary explosive anger at all police everywhere, it clearly indicates that I am detached and can't possibly think that what happened to Dymond Milburn is a travesty?

You're the one spending time clucking your condescending tongue over people's expressions of anger. In between propping up straw men, that is.
posted by Coyote Crossing at 1:17 PM on February 11, 2009


"(HMO's) don't try to pretend that they have the moral high ground, but rather try to parade it as being best for the patient, no?"

Wha? Y'know, I'm about 3/4 tongue in cheek here. Everyone rags on all lawyers, (What do you call 1,000 lawyers buried alive? A good start) etc. But it's not - or at least I'm not - serious about it.
Plenty of wiggle room in my comments for a lot of variety in perspective on this.
If you're seriously trying to posit HMOs don't have a pretense that what they're doing is best for the patient, then what the hell are their lobbiests doing? I mean, it's denying reality in favor of trying to make a point on cops.
By the same criteria here "no good cops" there are "no good doctors." I'm wrong? Where are all the doctors fixing the system? Fighting the pharmaceutical companies? Etc.
(Yes, I'm parroting a similar argument for irony's sake)

I'm just asking for some consensual intellectual honesty here.
By no means am I defending the system of law enforcement in the U.S. Hell, the war on drugs alone is a tremendous clusterfuck.

"Therefore to argue that "all police in Galveston" are evil thugs would seem to be perfectly correct given the officially endorsed code of conduct that this case reveals."

I disagree. To argue that as metaphor - sure, no problem.
But not everyone on the force would beat up a 12 year old girl nor be party to it nor remain silent about it. And what, some traffic cop has the juice to do anything about it after the fact?
That particular thing aside, were I a member of the police force in Galveston, I'd likely resign or do whatever it took to rectify this. I do, however, think it's possible to work for something good out of a bad situation.
Hell, it's easy being a good guy when things are smooth.
As it is, typically just being honest and a good example tends to weed out bad behavior around you. Not that I shine like a beacon in a dark world, but I have had men ask me "you wouldn't think less of me if I 'x'?"
It's not that hard to figure out right from wrong most of the time. Typically it's fear or desire getting in the way of that thinking.

"...The cases you mention, I think, can be dismissed as merely the result of a cop who can't be protected being offered up as a scapegoat."

Those were random cases chosen by what I dug up from google. How you can make that assessment I have no idea. Again - intellectual dishonesty, that is, any disparity with reality no matter how seemingly good - or actually good - the cause, eventually leads to failure and sabotages what it is you're working for.

Always tell the truth, and the full truth. As it is, there are a great many truthful and valid criticisms to be levied at the system of law enforcement in the U.S. that doesn't blame Johnny onthe Beat. Change the system and suddenly, what, all cops are good guys? Or merely bullies in waiting?

Everyone has that particular human failing Lord Acton mentions. It's not just Joe Cop. We do design political and other power systems to prevent abuse at the whims of one guy or a group of people. As it is, the engineering is failing here.

It's as silly to argue a redesign of the system by saying all throttle valves are evil as it is to blame the human elements. People can be guarded against. Overseen. Etc.

Even if the police do everything you mention - it's not at their own service. Someone is benefitting here. But it's not the beat cop. Again, don't confuse the part for the machine. Or the design of the machine and the people who benefit from its output.
Just need a redesigned machine, that's all.

Hell, if it really is a "all cops are evil" problem then we have a whole segment of human society that is inherently evil and brutal no matter what job they're in. What do we do with them then? Round them up and put them into camps?

Again - just putting it back into rational order. If it's a trait inherent in 'cops' then it's a trait inherent in a segment of humanity. Playground bullies. What have you. We know where that thinking gets us.
I'm not a lawyer, civil rights guy, anything like that, so I can't speak to those things. Pretty sure I know right from wrong most cases. This seems pretty damned wrong. I don't have the whole thing, but ok - lot of givens here.

All that aside - the larger problem is never the individuals. Never. Be it Jews or Nazis. Be it cops or coke dealers. Minds can be changed. Behavior can be altered. Even one really nasty bad guy or a whole group of them can be just taken out if that's the real problem. It almost never is.
I have dealt with execution of policy and it never fails to amaze me that some of the most sophisticated thinkers around, doctors, computer folks, professors - can never seem to grasp how iterations in policy can change a conceptual framework in a broad swath of society.
They can jump from mindset to mindset - they can think this way or that about a problem or situation, put on any number of hats in the abstract.

But when it comes to human classification and differences in how one conceives things it's like I'm doing a magic trick when minds change because they always think it's "those people" who are the problem.
Whomever they are. Cops. Troops. Muslims. Catholics. Extremists. Whomever. But you change the policy, the system or the method of policy execution - suddenly wow - those people aren't so bad. Gee Smed, it must be because you're such a bad ass they were so afraid of you and got into line.
Uh huh. Gimme enough bullets and I can solve anything, right?
But I have to kick someone in Washington in the ass to get a shovel, which fixes 1,000 different problems in 10 minutes with no bloodshed.

The better, more efficient, more transparent your system is the more obvious a failure is and the more quickly it can be remedied because the cause of the failure will be clear. Keep blaming the bit that fails and you'll keep throwing money and rage at the problem forever.

Hell, I say something like that about Iraq and the method of dealing with people everyone recognizes the sagacity. Yeah, damn right, it's about maintaining contact with people and organizing a system for accountability for authority, etc.
I say the same thing about cops and I'm an apologist.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:45 PM on February 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


jesus, can we all just shut the fuck up?

please?
posted by puckish at 1:47 PM on February 11, 2009


Hey, does anyone here like pancakes? I love pancakes. Mmmmm, pancakes.
posted by Space Kitty at 3:15 PM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't believe you just said that about pancakes.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:21 PM on February 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I find the fact that you wrote about pancakes and failed to mention waffles troubling - you obviously have a deep-seated prejudice against textured breakfast food.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:35 PM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll tell you one thing, it's true
You can't find justice, it'll find you
posted by Sailormom at 3:41 PM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fucking waffles.
posted by pineapple at 4:06 PM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


meanwhile, back in California...
posted by sloe at 4:27 PM on February 11, 2009


It's important to remember this authority and power that LEO's possess is a loan. A loan from civil society. Anytime there is even a hint of abuse this power must be withdrawn. Immediately.

The idea that society is just one or two missed meals away from chaos is largely a myth. Very rarely can you find anywhere in histoy where social chaos, from the ground up, has lead to the collapse of social order.

Far more frequently one can find that the most mild abuses of power escalates. In fact history shows us that social order is far more threatened by the misused machinery of "lawful" Authority than by the supposed spontaneous criminal anarchy of the masses. By dissolving the trust and integrity of institutions it's the abuse of authority that causes social chaos.

I'm gonna repeat what I have said in other threads of the same nature. I know lots of cops. I train with cops. I have relatives that are cops. My brother is a parole officer. I am privy to what cops talk about with thier own. Shit they would never say in front of you. Much of it makes me feel a great deal of sympathy for them and much of it shocks and disgusts me to my core. A great deal that determines a "good" cop from bad "cop" is the immediate culture surrounding the individual. Most of the cops I know are "good" as in the come from a fairly good culture of cops here in Seattle. But there is this line.

You have certain personality types that are attracted to law enforcement. Some do have an overwhelming need to see justice and to protect. Some are bullies, macho losers, and jock-riders that like the idea of being in authority and having iron strapped on their hips.

The nature of the job entrenches a siege mentality eventually on all comers who stick it out long enough. It just cannot be repeated enough: As a cop deal with the worst that humanity has to offer every day. Even victims become objects of pathos.

There is not a human being alive that won't draw line between US and THEM when you see society filtered through scum every single day. Everybody else on one side. Cops on the other. And so begins the problem when you give a group with divided allegiance and the power to kill.

And guess what? When that happens for long enough with out push back from society the bullies will ALWAYS win. Ask any cop. The bullies and ass kissers will be the political ones. And it politics it's the simple idea that sells: Get tough on crime. We need more SWAT tanks and machine guns. Be AFRAID.

Unfortunately it will be the assholes that will set the culture if a society lets them. And the culture will drive out the good ones. A distillation will happen and all you have are REALLY bad ones until the system breaks down.

The only intelligent position is to be very distrustful of the system of authority, never loan it any more power that it really needs, but remember to be compassionate to the individual that serves it because inevitably they will be a victim too and you might need them on your side.
posted by tkchrist at 4:36 PM on February 11, 2009 [25 favorites]


Police lay assault charges against police. A couple or three officers beat the shit out of some guy. The police have laid charges against those officers.

More often than not, Canadian cops can do lousy shit and get away with it. But not always.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:39 PM on February 11, 2009


Of course, how can you fix the system when the judges are corrupt to the point of pure evil?
Youngsters were brought before judges without a lawyer, given hearings that lasted only a minute or two, and then sent off to juvenile prison for months for minor offenses. …two Pennsylvania judges have been charged with taking millions of dollars in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:13 PM on February 11, 2009


Super thread everyone. A+ would skim again.
posted by fuq at 7:18 PM on February 11, 2009


I'll be looking forward to reading what happens in the federal case, because if any of this supposed story is true, there is a good chance of proving the case and justice will be done.

Meh...I imagine you won't read the links in that future posting either.
posted by RockCorpse at 3:32 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I watched a Starsky and Hutch on cable a bit ago. They were muscling some mob guy, I believe it was the big fat hairy guy who wound up selling Pringles potato chips playing a mafia heavy. Anyway, they show up at the guy’s place or whatever and say they want to see the boss guy. He says, smartmouth “Youse guys godda warrant?”
So Starsky and Hutch look at each other. Hutch chuckles and says “ ‘Warrant’ ” and they slug the guy a few times and walk on in. Then they start threatening the supposed mob boss (who is sitting alone in the place except for some floozies) and pushing him around. Strangely, they don’t beat on him. They tell him - TELL HIM - he’s under surveillance and that they’re gonna get him.
I think this is how most folks think cops operate.
But again, no harm in treating police encounters as adversarial. Hell, it’s an adversarial justice system.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:42 AM on February 12, 2009


I think it kind of a shame that every thread about a controversy surrounding the police becomes a refenrendum on police in general rather than the incident at hand.
posted by jonmc at 2:33 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread needs levity (slightly nsfw)

(the preceding link has nothing whatsoever to do with law enforcement or anything else in this thread, well maybe pancakes)
posted by caddis at 2:37 PM on February 12, 2009


We've already got groups that primarily act to secure protection for themselves and punishment for outsiders; those are just called "gangs".
posted by roystgnr at 7:16 PM on February 10


The only difference between "police officer" and "gang member" is P.R.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:41 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]




caddis said: "This thread needs levity (slightly nsfw) (the preceding link has nothing whatsoever to do with law enforcement or anything else in this thread, well maybe pancakes)"


Flagged for thread modding.



I kid.



Flagged for noise.


No, no, really - I kid.
posted by pineapple at 4:55 PM on February 12, 2009


Hell, yah!
"The RCMP's revised CEW policy underscores that there are risks associated with the deployment of the device and emphasizes that those risks include the risk of death, particularly for acutely agitated individuals," Elliott told the committee.

Under the amended policy, an officer is only permitted to use a stun gun if he or she is in physical danger or the public is in danger.

It means Mounties can no longer shock people who are simply "actively resistant" to officers' orders, the commissioner said.
A step in the right direction. Now let's get more training in place, so that our cops can use their words instead of their weapons.

I note the revised policy would still have killed Dziekanski. But at least it'll cut back on a number of other bad behaviours our cops have been showing this past couple years.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:41 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fuck. That's my hometown.

It's a sick, sad, small little island. This story doesn't even scratch the surface of this miserable little "tropical paradise." But it does remind me that I am one of the lucky few who got out.
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:39 PM on February 12, 2009


Galveston
posted by telstar at 9:56 PM on February 12, 2009


Galveston

Galveston, oh Galveston,
I still hear your sea waves crashing
While I watch the batons flashing
I clean my gun and beat up kids in Galveston
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:30 AM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


And the only thing worse than having to grow up there is having to listen to that godawful song every time someone mentions the place!
posted by greekphilosophy at 6:31 AM on February 13, 2009


“...refenrendum on police in general rather than the incident at hand.”
I agree. Local police departments vary widely from region to region. Some are astonishingly corrupt. Some are amazingly forthright.
To be fair - there are conversations to be had on policing in general though. And there are serious and addressable flaws in law enforcement in the U.S. specifically and resistance to authority in general. A good discussion would be details on the whys and wherefores and how to resist and correct recalcitrant authority. All that on top of discussions of individual officers, their mistakes, their outright abuse of their authority, etc. etc. etc.

Unfortunately it devolves into this “all cops suck” morass without entertaining a remedy, in the slightest degree. Or even in the most radical. Hell, I thought “Open fire” was a pretty damning indictment. Apparently not.
Not unless one agrees ‘all cops suck’ and drowns the thread in anecdote.
I mean - my niece comes in and says the cops beat the hell out of her and raped her I’m not going to say “Yeah, that’s because all cops suck. You should have known that.”
I’m going to - given I don’t lose it and hunt them down and kill them - research everything I possibly can on how to get justice from that. Ask people for help, ask organizations, etc. etc. etc.
Same deal here. I’d’ve liked to get a more in-depth look at this, not have to have done the work myself.

I’m reminded of the debate with Zappa and what’s-his-head (Lofton?) from the Wash. Times. Lofton asks Zappa what he tells kids who, apparently in the 80s, were going through a massive epidemic of incest, suicide and satanic worship as spurred on by lyrics from rock music.
Anyway, Zappa (who’s a conservative - which, really, shows you by the Lofton and Novak knuckeheads using the term how much it’s been co-opted) says he tells kids to go out and vote, get involved, run for political office.
Lofton takes umbrage. Go out and vote? he yells, “these kids don’t know the meaning of life!”
Zappa of course smirks since he doesn’t believe his ears.
Sometimes the God’s eye view gets in the way of actually addressing the problem.
Everything takes incriments. It’s all baby steps.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:47 PM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can I just point out that I never stated that I think the police are pigs? I said that the three officers in question are a bunch of fucking pigs, just as they are a bunch of fucking dogs, arseholes, and so on.

I can refer to somebody as a bastard or bitch without equating the slur to all men or women, respectively. And "pig" isn't even unique to police - it's just a general insult.
posted by Dysk at 9:03 AM on February 17, 2009






Imagine the kind of shit they do when there are no cameras.
posted by empath at 3:26 PM on February 28, 2009


Recent Galveston news: gay bashing and dead women in abandoned houses. God I can't wait to visit home...
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:04 AM on March 4, 2009


« Older 1234567890   |   Déja vu ? Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post