"Its a good day for a choke hold"
June 12, 2019 9:24 AM   Subscribe

A review of the Facebook accounts of thousands of police officers across the US found one in five current officers made public posts or comments that were racist, or endorsed violence against black people, Muslims, women, and criminal defendants. Among retired officers, the figure was two in five. The database is the largest of its kind. (Buzzfeed News) (CW hate speech)
posted by The Whelk (53 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Is you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy terminally racist organization's racism?"

Actually, the struck out text could be unstruck, and it would work just as well.
posted by lalochezia at 9:45 AM on June 12 [11 favorites]


oh wow who could have possibly predicted this
posted by entropicamericana at 9:49 AM on June 12 [58 favorites]


More of a bad orchard, really.
posted by non canadian guy at 9:54 AM on June 12 [100 favorites]


This doesn't surprise me in the least, and yet it makes me so fucking angry.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:55 AM on June 12 [47 favorites]


And the reason this situation persists, of course, is that the people who have the power to fix it don't see this as a problem. Because they're part of the rotten culture that created the problem.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:57 AM on June 12 [27 favorites]


Stuff like this always leaves me conflicted. On the one hand, it’s obviously repulsive. On the other hand, I’m kind of glad when bigoted shitheel cops put it all out there and let everyone know exactly who they are. I feel like it’s a valuable counterpoint to all of those puff piece stories showing police as benevolent jokesters, which I find more distasteful. People should see what cops actually think about us.
posted by Enemy of Joy at 10:07 AM on June 12 [14 favorites]


If you see anyone on your social media, or anyone you know argue something like: "well, the percentage of cops that are racist is the same as the percentage of racists in the general population. I don't see the problem..."

counter with this:

It's bullshit for the same reason when some of my fellow catholics try to minimize pedophile priests using the same argument. If you are a priest, or a government official (cop), you are held to a higher standard. Don't like it, too bad.
posted by Groundhog Week at 10:16 AM on June 12 [57 favorites]


Groundhog Week: " "well, the percentage of cops that are racist is the same as the percentage of racists in the general population. I don't see the problem..." "

I [don't actually] wonder what the overlap is between these people and the ones who wanted that transit worker doxxed and fired because she ate a sandwich.
posted by schmod at 10:21 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


I just want to highlight two things:
public posts or comments
And, relatedly, twice as many did it once they were retired.

So 1) imagine how many still-serving cops would do the same thing in public if they weren't at least a little afraid of losing their job over it, and 2) imagine what they're all saying in private.

It's not proportional to the population, I can tell you that.
posted by Etrigan at 10:22 AM on June 12 [82 favorites]


No good cops in a racist system.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:32 AM on June 12 [16 favorites]


This is valuable data. I mean, even for those of us who aren't surprised, it's good to have the numbers to back up what we knew.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:32 AM on June 12 [11 favorites]


And, relatedly, twice as many did it once they were retired.

Coincidentally, retired police commonly volunteer for grand jury pools, from which grand juries are selected.

I’m kind of glad when bigoted shitheel cops put it all out there and let everyone know exactly who they are. I feel like it’s a valuable counterpoint to all of those puff piece stories showing police as benevolent jokesters, which I find more distasteful.

If they're not filtered out at the licensing or hiring stages, sure, but I think preventing them from being cops in the first place should be a top priority.
posted by rhizome at 10:36 AM on June 12 [21 favorites]


The unspoken data point that really stands out here is that 4 out of 5 current officers and 3 out of 5 retired officers are smart enough not to air their violent, racist opinions on social media. Just because some of them are dumb enough to publicize their asshattery doesn't mean that all of them aren't in violent biased agreement.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:39 AM on June 12 [13 favorites]


"well, the percentage of cops that are racist is the same as the percentage of racists in the general population. I don't see the problem..."

With the amount of screening police departments exercise in the hiring process--or claim they exercise--yes, the percentage of cops with these issues should be far lower than the general population. That's supposed to be the whole fucking point to all the interviews and background checks and testing and training. Bigots aren't entitled to equal representation in law enforcement.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:47 AM on June 12 [21 favorites]


Just because some of them are dumb enough to publicize their asshattery doesn't mean that all of them aren't in violent biased agreement.

I dunno that there's universal agreement versus 'just' a majority there, but I'm sure they all know what happens when they don't play ball.
posted by mordax at 10:49 AM on June 12 [6 favorites]


Moskos, who now is an associate professor in the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College, said that some of what officers say is likely hyperbole — a way of signaling to colleagues that an officer is not a coward and will have their partner’s back when a dangerous situation erupts.

Huh. This guy.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:58 AM on June 12 [5 favorites]


Dead Prez Police State
KRS-1 Sound of da Police
KRS-1 Black Cop
NWA Fuck da Police
Big L Fed up wit the Bullshit
etc.
posted by nikoniko at 11:15 AM on June 12 [11 favorites]


Coincidentally, retired police commonly volunteer for grand jury pools, from which grand juries are selected.

Wait, what?

Grand juries are volunteers?

Honestly this fucking system.
posted by Etrigan at 11:16 AM on June 12 [23 favorites]


If the whole lot of them were NOT bad apples, you'd expect to see some kind of association of LEO's speaking up to say "Hey this is wrong and bad and we don't support LEOs behaving badly."

Instead: deafening silence.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:16 AM on June 12 [37 favorites]


Moskos, who now is an associate professor in the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College, said that some of what officers say is likely hyperbole — a way of signaling to colleagues that an officer is not a coward and will have their partner’s back when a dangerous situation erupts.
Contrast:
The Plain View Project shared its research with Injustice Watch, a Chicago-based nonprofit newsroom, which discovered many officers who made offensive posts were also accused of brutality or civil rights violations. Of 328 officers in Philadelphia who posted troubling content, more than a third — 139 officers — appeared to have had one or more federal civil rights lawsuits filed against them, based on name, badge number, and other corroborating details. Of that group, a hundred ended in settlements or verdicts against them or the city.
posted by clawsoon at 11:31 AM on June 12 [16 favorites]


No good cops in a racist system.

No racist cops in a good system.
posted by The Tensor at 12:05 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


My first comment was essentially the same as the above:

1/5 is only the sample of those stupid enough to talk about it.

The smart ones, the ones that know how to hide it the "good ones" ... well they're smart we can't tell from the public posts, but we can tell by their complicity and silence what beliefs they hold.

I don't say it's easy. Coming forward when the Thin Blue Line has a parasitic hold on your brain ain't easy. I can't judge them fully. But I can judge everyone who runs things, and the pig unions.

I'd like to end with an anecdote. My dad was friends with a Deputy, deputy's kid went to school. My dad, being from Segregated Oklahoma (hes 80+ now) harbors some racist bullshit in him, though not a straight up klansman certainly a "good ol boy" in that way (in many others, not).

The most racist kid I ever had to deal with was my one-time friend, the son of that deputy. So much racist language from that fucker.

Guess who became a cop like his pappy.

That's right.
posted by symbioid at 12:15 PM on June 12 [9 favorites]


I just want to highlight two things:
public posts or comments
And, relatedly, twice as many did it once they were retired.


Warning: anecdata ahead. The neighbors on either side of us are both retired cops who spew their racist shit all over the place including social media. One reads only far right wing "news," trolls me constantly and then tells me (and our other neighbors) that I'm a humorless bitch as well as a libtard because I call him on, well, everything. His inability to determine whether something is true (e.g., he fully believes HRC killed Vince Foster and runs a pedophile ring out of a pizza joint) makes me wonder how many innocent people he sent to the slammer during his career as a detective. The other tells war stories about "testilying" about "Canadians," and "persuading" people to confess. Both claim they can intuit whether someone is a criminal based on their appearance. Needless to say, they're both armed to the teeth.

They terrify me.
posted by carmicha at 12:17 PM on June 12 [33 favorites]


Grand juries are volunteers?

At least in NYC they are not - i served on one as part of a regular jury duty summons.

Relatedly, sort of, people should really stamp out any and all jury-duty-sucks jokes and encourage their like minded friends to willingly serve, you never know when you'll have an opportunity to be a hero.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:20 PM on June 12 [22 favorites]


Sorry - not me. The cop's son. That is to say - the kid became a cop.
posted by symbioid at 12:29 PM on June 12


"That's supposed to be the whole fucking point to all the interviews and background checks" -- That's a mighty big assumption. Never take for granted the stated claims of, well... Police and the system they protect. Never assume Good Faith in this case.
posted by symbioid at 12:33 PM on June 12


symbioid, you might want to note the word "supposed" in scaryblackdeath's comment. He's describing how things should work in a just system, not how they actually do work in the unjust system that we have.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 12:48 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


"That's supposed to be the whole fucking point to all the interviews and background checks" -- That's a mighty big assumption.

Its also one that is completely undercut by the rampant prevalence of officers fired for cause being picked up by other departments or "lesser" forms of corporeal/carceral violence like prison guards and school "safety" officers.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:48 PM on June 12 [11 favorites]


It's also worth noting this is pulled from Facebook in particular. If you've ever seen what goes on in the public-visible sides of older-Internet LEO forums or subreddits, it'd bring the numbers up significantly. (I can't speak to the locked sides, of course, but much like channers, a remarkable amount of normalization happens to where people will say heinous things in public because they've forgotten not everybody is in their echo chamber & used to that density of racial slurs.)
posted by CrystalDave at 12:55 PM on June 12 [11 favorites]


I actually think the percentage of racist cops is probably higher than the percentage of racists in the general population. For exactly the same reason that the percentage of pedophile priests is probably high.

People aren't randomly assigned to their jobs -- the kind of person who wants to perpetrate violence knows exactly which institutions are going to shelter him.
posted by selfmedicating at 2:44 PM on June 12 [37 favorites]


ACAB

Your buddy from high school might be a decent guy when you hang out with him at the BBQ, but the only responsible advice you can give to Americans in 2019 (and especially Americans of color) is "Do not speak or interact with the police in any way unless you absolutely must, and have a lawyer present."

The relationship between the public and the police is completely adversarial at this point, and nothing will get better until that changes. Maybe not fearing a bullet could be coming your way if you call the cops would be a start. I dunno, just spitballing here.
posted by East14thTaco at 3:42 PM on June 12 [18 favorites]


A friend knows the chief of police in my town. We asked him about police support for Trump and he said it's basically unanimous. He's black, and said it was a real eye-opener. I got the sense it made him deeply uncomfortable.

I manage a couple of homes I own using a regular crew. They're black. Several of them have minor issues like unpaid parking tickets, etc. I've tried to help, but often when I look into the problem I find insurmountable walls.

It's like the entirety of society is lined up against them. The fees are outrageous. They can't be forgiven or negotiated. The laws are draconian and make no sense. There's nowhere to go for help. It's brutal.
posted by xammerboy at 3:57 PM on June 12 [20 favorites]


Wait, what?
Grand juries are volunteers?


Um...no. They aren’t (at least in my experience.) In general, I believe active law enforcement officers cannot serve on any type of jury. Maybe by “volunteer” they mean that retired officers have the option of being added to potential juror pools? It’s weird wording, frankly.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:04 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Cops protect and serve capital and marginalized people do not have capital. Naturally this does cause cognitive dissonance; thus persistent and aggressive racist indoctrination. How else could they justify serving their masters against their peers?
posted by pilot pirx at 4:28 PM on June 12 [9 favorites]


Wait, what?
Grand juries are volunteers?


This almost certainly varies by state, or possibly by smaller jurisdiction. Where I live, in Santa Barbara County (CA), you can volunteer to serve on a grand jury (link). From that page:

Who are Grand Jurors?

Grand Jurors are a diverse volunteer group of citizens from the five supervisorial districts.

posted by number9dream at 4:54 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Both claim they can intuit whether someone is a criminal based on their appearance.

This is an incredibly common feature of police officers, even those who aren't actively assaulting/torturing/killing suspects. Police culture (and pop culture) have convinced what frankly feels like an un-fixable number of them that their gut feeling is more important than facts, that if they "like" a guy for a crime then any evidence that contradicts that feeling must be wrong or incomplete, and they will never give up chasing their first instinct because that would involve having to admit they were wrong, and besides (they tell themselves) that guy probably did something to deserve it, so ...

I honestly don't think it's solvable without tearing the whole thing down and starting from scratch.
posted by tocts at 7:07 PM on June 12 [14 favorites]


Number9dream that is a civil grand jury which in California is a sort of people’s investigative body where a group of folks spend a fixed term studying some problem and issuing a toothless report about fixing it.

That same link mentions criminal grand juries are selected at random from the jury trial pool.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:33 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


Keep in mind that, in addition to the factors that mean that police anywhere should always be subject to an extremely high level of scrutiny (the fact that people who want to do violence will be drawn to jobs where they get to do violence, for example), white supremacist and white nationalist groups traditionally place a very high priority on getting their people into their local police force, especially into positions that make hiring or policy decisions. It might be less true of the newer alt-right types, but hate groups that are older have been actively poisoning American policing for a long time.
posted by IAmUnaware at 8:12 PM on June 12 [11 favorites]


Keep in mind that (...) white supremacist and white nationalist groups traditionally place a very high priority on getting their people into their local police force, especially into positions that make hiring or policy decisions.

Speaking of which...

FBI warned of white supremacists in law enforcement 10 years ago. Has anything changed? (PBS News Hour, Oct. 2016)
The FBI has quietly investigated white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement (The Intercept, Jan. 2017)
FBI investigated white supremacists infiltrating law enforcement agencies: Report (Salon, Jan. 2017)
posted by non canadian guy at 9:36 PM on June 12 [14 favorites]


I typed a whole thing about how even I, a cis white hetero male (albeit with mixed race kids), work in a place (with mentally ill marginalized folks) where our crisis plan explicitly states that calling the police for any violent incident is the least desirable, most potentially harmful response one could take. Which is certainly fucked, but me going to my home and having a relatively normal existence kind of trivializes the experience of the people who are targets of the fascist thugs in blue 24/7.

I will say, both of my kids understand implicitly at ages 7 and 10, that you only call the cops under very specific circumstances. We’ve also had “the talk” about how to behave when they stop you, no matter how bullshit, how unfair.

Where is the fucking shame? Generally law abiding upper middle class do gooder ex Boy Scout community leaders like me view cops not as public servants and heroes but dangerous threats. I get profiling even though I expect professionals to be able to understand why it’s wrong and how to deal with it, at least I understand the fear that someone who looks like they might be in a gang could do harm to you. But large percentages of the mainstream law abiding population that pay their salaries mistrust them — I mean, if I was a cop, I’d desperately want to win that trust back. The fact that they don’t, and in fact feel they can post this kind of shit publicly with impunity, well ...I suppose it’s just an admission that they’re in it only for the power and “serve and protect” isn’t even worth lip service.

And if I’m living my life as though I’ll never depend on the police for anything, then why exactly do we even have a police department?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:49 PM on June 12 [7 favorites]


Cop shows need to die, including otherwise great shows like Brooklyn 99...real police departments are not like this, and all cop shows are PR that covers the actual injustice and brutality that many (most?) police organizations perpetuate.
posted by maxwelton at 10:35 PM on June 12 [18 favorites]


This post really needs a content warning for the photos. I had to stop reading at the first batch of them.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:57 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Not cops, but this was posted to Reddit's" Am I the Asshole?" sub today: https://imgur.com/a/JiIa9f3
posted by anansi at 8:08 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Wasted Funds, Destroyed Property: How Sheriffs Undermined Their Successors After Losing Reelection - "Alabama sheriffs who lost reelection in 2018 personally pocketed funds and deleted public records, an investigation by AL.com and ProPublica found. Holes were drilled through government-issued smartphones and leftover rice was poured down the drain, among other things. It’s a longstanding tradition that sheriffs aren’t typically held accountable for."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:11 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]




Will Carless and Michael Corey: To protect and slur: Inside hate groups on Facebook, police officers trade racist memes, conspiracy theories and Islamophobia

They're naming and shaming in this article, and it's the first in a series.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:08 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]








> Cop shows need to die..
I have done a fair bit of pondering about how media and popular culture support, reinforce, and possibly amplify the increasingly aggressive behavior of law enforcement in the USA and I think it would indeed be healthier if we took a long, hard, and critical look at the messages about law enforcement that we are receiving from mass entertainment.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:19 AM on June 15 [6 favorites]






caddis: More than 50 Philadelphia police officers taken off streets after social media posts

A few days later, and that number has grown (or at least been clarified): 72 Philadelphia Police Officers Placed On Desk Duty Over Offensive Social Media Posts (Bobby Allyn for NPR, June 19, 2019)
The Philadelphia Police Department has pulled 72 officers off their regular duties as authorities investigate inflammatory social media posts revealed in a database that found thousands of offensive postings by current and former officers, the city's police commissioner said Wednesday.

Police officials in Philadelphia are describing the action as the largest removal of officers from the street in recent memory.

"We are equally as disgusted by many of the posts that you saw and in many cases, the rest of the nation saw," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross.

It is the latest fallout since the advocacy group The Plain View Project earlier this month released thousands of Facebook posts and comments by current and former police officers that range from racist memes, to posts celebrating violence and messages containing Islamophobic themes, among other offensive material.
From the project's website:
The project sought to compile posts, comments, and other public activity that could undermine public trust in the police and reinforce the views of critics, especially in minority communities, that the police are not there to protect them.
Best use of social media I've seen in a while.

They're also accepting donations.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:34 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


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