Saturday Links/Open Thread

Saturday, March 28th, 2009
  • Another obstinate cop involved in a traffic stop: Police officer won’t let man continue on to hospital after pulling him over for expired plates, despite the fact that his mother had stopped breathing, and the hospital was less than a mile away. She died in the car.
  • I think they’re nuts, but you have to credit PETA people for their creativity.
  • Governments across the globe are secretly negotiating a pretty scary-sounding copyright treaty that according to leaked documents could criminalize peer-to-peer filesharing (as opposed to civil fines) and subject iPods and laptops to border searches for pirated material. Scarier still, the Obama administration has invoked state secrets in response to FOIA requests, claiming release the details of the treaty or the negotiations would compromise “national security.” More here and here.
  • Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) continues his stellar work on criminal justice and prison reform.
  • Daniel Larison has sensible thoughts on decriminalizing marijuana. The “drugs are horrible, but the drug war is worse” approach has never struck me as a particularly sensible approach when it comes to marijuana.
  • Dead pixel on Google Earth.
  • Here’s some good news, as a man in Washington is acquitted in a medical marijuana case. The police poisoning the family dogs during a drug raid is certainly a new one to me.
  • Here’s a trailer for the upcoming Where the Wild Things Are movie.
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    57 Responses to “Saturday Links/Open Thread”

    1. #1 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      Wild Things with James “Tony Soporano” Gandolfini doing voice-over. Nice!

      Good luck to Jim Webb. As a very old former prisoner from the really bad days of Texas prisons screamed at me as a college freshman once “YOU TREAT A MAN LIKE A DOG AND A DOG IS WHAT YOU GET. And then he gets released.”

    2. #2 |  Mike | 

      I was amused to see that Ingrid Newkirk’s will is signed by Mary Beth Sweetland, who was outed by Penn and Teller as using animal-based insulin to control her diabetes while she campaigns against medical research on animals.

    3. #3 |  Dave Krueger | 

      Regarding the first item, there was a story on CNN this morning about a cop who stopped a guy and his family for running a red light on the way to the hospital to see his wife’s dying mother. The cop held them at gunpoint until he was finished writing the ticket. A hospital security guy and a nurse even came out to plead with the cop, to no avail. The woman died while the cop was writing the ticket in the hospital parking lot.

      Not quite not as serious as the case you mention, but it was plain that the cop had zero concern for anyone but himself as he told the guy “I could really screw you over”. The chief of police issued a public apology and the guy was forced to take time off with pay (ie: vacation). He insists he did everything by the book, which may be true. But he did violate the one rule you’re not allowed to break. You can ignore the Constitution, you can ignore the law, you can ignore human decency, you can ignore ethics, but you can’t do stuff that results in a public uproar. Appearances are all that matters.

    4. #4 |  LibCop | 

      Same as I said in the comments regarding the incident here in Dallas, it’s the unreasonableness of people (like Radley Balko in this case, “obstinent cop” lol), that pushes citizens employed as peace officers even further away from the people.

      Is it to much to ask that people put themselves in the shoes of others, or is knee jerk cop hating the only way around here lol? The driver wasn’t speeding and didn’t have any flashers on (and didn’t take care of his responsibility in regards to his tags, blaming that on a cracked windshield that HE should have fixed), but all of a sudden he has an “emergency” and needs to get to the hospital.

      In my experience about 1 in 5 people who say they are trying to get to the hospital for some emergency are telling the truth, the rest are trying to get out of a ticket. If it’s an emergency, it’s better to call the fire department and let them transport whether than trying to do it yourself and putting innocents in danger by speeding (which this guy wasn’t doing, but what the guy in Dallas was).

      Of course I wasn’t there and the cop might just be an A-hole power tripper, but innocent till proven guilty (a-hole-ish) is supposed to be the American way.

      There are problems with the Law Enforcement culture in this country (I proudly count my self as a PEACE Officer, not a “Law Enforcement” Officer) and it will never change while people like you all here maintain your everything cops do is bad way of thinking. You want Law Enforcement to change, prejudiced thinking isn’t the answer

    5. #5 |  MacGregory | 

      Well said #3 Dave, as usual. I would add that if it doesn’t appear on the major networks some of our citizens may never see it.
      Since only a fraction of these type of incidents get that far, people like my mother continue to see this as an isolated incident and their blind faith in police is rationalized.
      She actually said this: “well, he did run a red light.”

    6. #6 |  ktc2 | 

      Wasn’t there an old Batman episode where Batman is racing to save Robin’s life but stops at each red light because “It’s the law”?

      Respect for the rule of law can become a frontal lobotomy.

    7. #7 |  Lucy | 

      In respect to the cop who stopped the man and his mother, and the one mentioned in the comments, I just cannot fathom the pettiness and robotic devotion to procedure that they must posses (that or just a very, cruel streak.) Are these people human?

      My mother was one of the first people I ever knew who said she didn’t like cops. And little old me just didn’t think that was right… Not that all cops are bad, I know there are some good ones. But mom always said the type of people who become cops are the type that love the power to push people around. That’s the draw of the job.

    8. #8 |  Frank | 

      The incident described in #3 has been all over ESPN because the man it happened to is an NFL athlete. It was national long before CNN decided it was news.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeQFETAVQtw

      Important safety tip for cops: If you’re going to play “I can fuck with this nigger all night and he can’t do shit about it” you might want make sure he doesn’t have the connections to make you and your department “Film At Eleven.”

      I predict this cop’s next assignment will be as a gay prostitute decoy on the Vice Squad if the department is forced to retain him.

    9. #9 |  Marty | 

      all these horrific medical marijuana stories and, it seems to me that ANY marijuana arrest is cruel and unusual punishment.

      these people lost their home, had their dogs poisoned, their names slandered, and it could’ve been much worse if the jury hadn’t stepped up and done the right thing.

      fucking cops and prosecutors playing politics with people’s lives…

    10. #10 |  Frank | 

      Correction to #7. I am now hearing that the initial complaint was not filed by the family, but by an officer in another department who was witness to the events in the hospital parking lot. Kudos to that officer who put his pee-pee on the chopping block. No one likes a snitch, especially cops.

    11. #11 |  Mikestermike | 

      Ah, Hollywood, bereft of any original ideas, continues to ramble on with the “well, comics movies do well, why not children’s books”-way of making films. If we can charge teens of kiddie porn when they take nude pictures of themselves, we should be able to charge Warner Bros. for raping my childhood.

      They surely read waaaay more into that book than was actually there. Can someone tell me where the theme of “hope” is in the book? +10 internets to anyone who can…

    12. #12 |  perlhaqr | 

      If I’m ever in the situation of taking a loved one to the hospital under emergency conditions, and a cop flips his lights on, I’ll stop, and tell him what’s happening. And at that point, he’ll have three options. He can lead me there, follow me there, or get the hell out of the way. But I’m sure as fuck not going to just sit there while someone is dying.

    13. #13 |  Mark | 

      Welcome to the anti-ACTA club. The idea that a treaty dealing with copyright and trademark infringement has national security implications is beyond absurd.

      Good sources for ACTA coverage – Ars Technica’s “Law and Disorder” blog (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/) and Michael Geist’s blog (http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/blogsection/0/125/).

      Most recent ACTA-related outrage: the list of people who are “cleared advisors” and have access to drafts. Guess what industry’s hacks are heavily involved?
      http://www.keionline.org/blogs/2009/03/13/who-are-cleared-advisors/

    14. #14 |  JBlanton | 

      That whole copyright treaty is really scary. Apparently governments and the MPAA/RIAA don’t understand that criminalizing file sharing or trying to exact enormous penalties on the average user does nothing to stop sharing. It seems strange that the RIAA forgot that the supposed “music industry ending” invention of the recordable audio tape in fact drove new innovations forward and did not, in fact, destroy the music industry (despite their warnings that people recording songs from the radio would do just that). What needs to be understood is that there are two ways to “combat” file sharing:

      1. Lower the costs of CDs. Many people are sick of buying a whole CD for the one good song on it. So either artists must produce better music (not likely) or CD cost must be brought down to encourage people to buy that CD even if they only really want one or two songs. $15 is too much for so little entertainment return. I know that downloadable music from iTunes, Amazon, and Zune marketplace has begun to counteract that, but the cost per song compared to a CD is about the same, and this shouldn’t be happening since the manufacturing costs for a digital copy are far lower than that of a CD. Therefore, the online digital costs must also be lowered. As a side note, iTunes is going to start a differential price plan; they will charge higher prices for more popular songs and lower prices for less popular songs. The problem here is that increasing the price on popular songs will only drive more people to download music through file sharing since the popular music is what most people are looking for. If a dollar a song is too much, then iTunes’s proposed $1.30-1.50 will be far too much.

      2. Do away with DRM (Digital Rights Management, a way of restricting somebody from playing a purchased song on anything other than the computer which it was purchased on). DRM only amounts to a pathetic obstacle to be overcome by anyone who is serious about overcoming it (trust me, it is very easy to remove DRM but it is frustrating to go through it for every purchased song on iTunes or even Zune marketplace). The industries should embrace this new file sharing distribution network as a great opportunity rather than something to be squashed out.

      Anybody who’s interested in file-sharing and the future of digital information should take a look at two documentaries called “Steal This Film” 1 and 2 which should be found on youtube. It’s not a high-budget film (after all, who’s going to support those horrible pirates?), but they get into the reasons why file sharing is an inevitable future and the recording and motion picture industries should learn to live with it…and perhaps find ways to benefit from it.

      And screw Obama and his administration for continuing the same bullshit we’ve been living through for so long. So where’s that so-called government “transparency” he promised? And how the fuck does a copyright treaty compromise national fucking security? (pardon my language)

    15. #15 |  Tokin42 | 

      #7 & #9:
      I know it’s hard to keep track sometimes without a scorecard but the NFL player you’re talking about was Texans running back Ryan Moats, it was his mother-in-law, and it happened in Dallas. This poor bastard was just some guy in Memphis. I was about to bet $20 bucks it was a black guy but after some quick googling I’m happy to report I would have lost that bet:
      http://www.myeyewitnessnews.com/news/local/story/Memphis-Mom-Dies-in-Car-While-Son-Gets-Traffic/t_cts-vjYEuspAnb9xNi0g.cspx?rss=59

      RE: Peta Meat

      If peta folks don’t eat meat who are they going to sucker into eating that weathered old woman? Do. Not. Want.

    16. #16 |  David | 

      #10: Not that the movie industry isn’t based firmly on follow-the-leader, but Where the Wild Things Are has been in production for ten years or more.

    17. #17 |  David | 

      Well, not production. Development (or development hell), at least.

    18. #18 |  Mikestermike | 

      #14 – I usually buy whole albums (MP3 download) for well under 10 dollars on Amazon. So, the cost is much less than $15. Are people paying 15 bucks for an MP3 album?

    19. #19 |  Radley Balko | 

      #4:

      His mother died. Did you not read that part? His friggin’ mother died from suffocation, and you put the word emergency in scare quotes? When the person the person the guy was trying to get to the hospital actually dies because the cop who pulled him over wouldn’t let him continue to the hospital, you can’t even go ahead and concede that the guy correct about it being an emergency? Or that the cop was obstinate?

      As you concede, the guy wasn’t even speeding. So your argument about putting others in danger doesn’t apply. The guy even offered to let the cop follow him and write the ticket in the hospital parking lot, which was less than a mile away.

      Sorry, but my criticizing this cop isn’t contributing to the “us vs. them” problem. Your defending him is.

    20. #20 |  Stacy | 

      #4,

      Innocent until proven guilty doesn’t mean anything when it comes to my opinion. I have little doubt that no charges will be filed against the officer. That doesnt’ mean I can’t decide, based on the evidence presented, that he’s an asshole. Your defense is almost comical. You put emergency in quotes. Seriously? If that is not an emergency, what qualifies? And you pretend that people’s ‘knee jerk cop-hating’ is the problem? Is a cop’s inability to admit that a large portion of cops are jerks not a problem. If you notice, the amount of people that distrust cops FAR exceeds the amount of people that are breaking laws. I wonder why that is?

    21. #21 |  Linda Morgan | 

      LibCop @ #4:

      “Is it to much to ask that people put themselves in the shoes of others, or is knee jerk cop hating the only way around here lol?”

      Oh Geezis H. Yougottabekiddin. If cops like the one who caused Mrs. Albes to choke to death terrified by the side of the road in view of the hospital were willing and able to “put themselves in the shoes of others,” then there’d obviously be a lot less reason for anybody to hate any cops.

      Retard.

    22. #22 |  J sub D | 

      Scarier still, the Obama administration has invoked state secrets in response to FOIA requests, claiming release the details of the treaty or the negotiations would compromise “national security.”

      How’s it feel red teamers? I’m talking to the ones who defended or remained silent while Bush, egged on by Cheney invoked state secrets justification for withholding information. Well the precedent has been set making it much harder to change now. Did you fanboys think the GOP was going to hold the White House forever?

    23. #23 |  michaelk42 | 

      If you care about copyright and how it affects you at all, I recommend reading:

      http://craphound.com/content/

      You can download it and read for free (look for download link at top.)

    24. #24 |  PersonFromPorlock | 

      #15 | Tokin42 | March 28th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

      RE: Peta Meat

      If peta folks don’t eat meat who are they going to sucker into eating that weathered old woman? Do. Not. Want.

      Well, to be fair, she did specify barbecue.

    25. #25 |  MacGregory | 

      #4 You’ve got no room to talk. People like you are the poster-children for the knee-jerk reaction. Shot any ankle-biter puppies lately? And no, I couldn’t possibly put myself in your shoes. Even on my worst day I’ve never been that much of a dumb asshole.

    26. #26 |  Bernard | 

      re: item 1.

      I have a crisp $20 note says the video footage they’re reviewing will accidentally be lost or wiped before any official investigation is possible.

    27. #27 |  Les | 

      #4, do you really think it’s negative comments that are “pushing citizens employed as peace officers even further away from the people?” It’s not the home invasions and the shooting of unarmed people with little to no consequences that pushing people away from “peace” officers? Really?

      Also, Glenn Greewald has an excellent analysis of Senator Webb’s thoughts on the criminal justice system and how he’s basically (and impressively) choosing this position over another term as Senator.

      http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/03/28/webb/index.html

    28. #28 |  LibCop | 

      ROFL, I knocked over an hornets nest of unreasonable anarchist ideologues. Nice bunch you’ve assembled here Brother Balko.

      **#25 | Les | March 28th, 2009 at 5:44 pm

      #4, do you really think it’s negative comments that are “pushing citizens employed as peace officers even further away from the people?”**

      I happen to know it is, because I have had to counsel fellow officers ,most of whom came in with the same save the world idealism most of us did, only to feel the full force feeling of betrayal that comes from NON-constructive criticism from their private citizen masters (who by the way remind you of that mastery at EVERY point by reminding you of their taxes paying your salary lol). Everyone of us with any sense (ie most of us) know full well of the people’s right to criticize their employees (us), but like bad bosses everywhere, Law Enforcement’s Boss (ie everyone) seems to be dead set to crucify us for any reason at all, or none.

      But that’s ok, just the way the world is, we’ll (most of us) hold to the oath and keep doing for you what you pay us for (and then bitch at us about doing lol).

      **#19 | Radley Balko | March 28th, 2009 at 1:59 pm

      #4:

      His mother died. Did you not read that part? His friggin’ mother died from suffocation, and you put the word emergency in scare quotes? When the person the person the guy was trying to get to the hospital actually dies because the cop who pulled him over wouldn’t let him continue to the hospital, you can’t even go ahead and concede that the guy correct about it being an emergency? Or that the cop was obstinate?

      As you concede, the guy wasn’t even speeding. So your argument about putting others in danger doesn’t apply. The guy even offered to let the cop follow him and write the ticket in the hospital parking lot, which was less than a mile away.

      Sorry, but my criticizing this cop isn’t contributing to the “us vs. them” problem. Your defending him is.**

      Sorry, but no. it would have been more believable as an emergency if he had been speeding and had put on his emergency lights instead of “trying to not attract attention” (his words). The NFL player is absolutely justified in his anger, what happened to him was injustice, because he did everything right and simply ran into an idiot in uniform.

      I’ve personally pulled over people speeding to the regional hospital (in the next town over, I work in a rural county just south of Dallas), and when i found out it was an emergency I did what should have been done, forgot about writing any BS citations. If I had the chance, i’d explain to the driver (AFTER the emergency) that it’s not smart to put others in danger trying to get someone to the hospital thats what you pay taxes for emergency services for, but that was the end of it. No harm, no foul.

      The guy in the other story did everything wrong and his loved one paid for that. It’s not the cop’s fault that sooooo many people lie about medical emergencies trying to get out of tickets (that they could probably get out of easily by just showing up in court, REAL easy to get citations dismissed in my experience having worked in 2 states, your mileage may vary of course).

      **#7 | Lucy | March 28th, 2009 at 12:54 pm
      That’s the draw of the job.**

      It is not (for most that i’ve known, though I have known a few bullies who lucked up on a cop job). I train officers, most are idealists who want to help in the beginning (I was, and by the grace of God I still am, even if a bit more realistic). The “external enemy factor” isn’t the only thing that leads to police corruption and abuse of power, but it IS a factor. As the people push you away, that opens up (in the weak willed) an opportunity for the “bad guys” (corrupt cops) to recruit so to speak. Same process that happens in gangs.

      Anyways, I know none of you are listening, but as someone who really REALLY needs (for the sake of my country) the libertarian movement to be something more than a fringe movement of bigoted cop hating reactionary jerks, I thought I’d try.

    29. #29 |  Radley Balko | 

      …but as someone who really REALLY needs (for the sake of my country) the libertarian movement to be something more than a fringe movement of bigoted cop hating reactionary jerks, I thought I’d try.

      No, you aren’t trying. You’re part of the problem.

    30. #30 |  Les | 

      I happen to know it is, because I have had to counsel fellow officers ,most of whom came in with the same save the world idealism most of us did, only to feel the full force feeling of betrayal that comes from NON-constructive criticism from their private citizen masters

      See, this doesn’t help your argument. Every week, from all over the country, there comes story after story of police officers victimizing people, not with the “full force” of criticism, but rather with the actual force of imprisonment, assault, destruction of property, etc..

      Most of the police officers who are guilty of these various forms of abuse, again, actual abuse, as opposed, to the “full force” of criticism which requires your council, most of the officers are treated with a leniency that a non-government civilian would never see for similar crimes.

      So when you complain that your fellow officers feel “betrayed” by civilian criticism, willfully ignoring the steady stream of police abuses and their resulting inappropriate, ineffective consequences, then no thinking person will take you seriously.

      And we don’t hate cops. There are a lot of fine current and ex-cops who are strong enough to acknowledge and report the abuses and incompetence which occur regularly in America’s police departments (see L.E.A.P., for example). And frequently, because their fellow officers feel the “full force” of the “BETRAYAL” from these honest cops, they are frequently disciplined more harshly than cops who abuse their power.

    31. #31 |  B | 

      I happen to know it is, because I have had to counsel fellow officers ,most of whom came in with the same save the world idealism most of us did, only to feel the full force feeling of betrayal that comes from NON-constructive criticism from their private citizen masters…

      For a group of people that can pull me (and your other “masters”) over, search me, take my cash if it’s “too much”, and shoot my dog with impunity…some of you have really thin skins when it comes to criticism.

    32. #32 |  Les | 

      I just have to add this, LibCop. You said,

      There are problems with the Law Enforcement culture in this country (I proudly count my self as a PEACE Officer, not a “Law Enforcement” Officer) and it will never change while people like you all here maintain your everything cops do is bad way of thinking.

      As if it is the citizenry’s fault that police corruption and incompetence is prevalent in America. How about this instead?

      There are problems with the Law Enforcement culture in this country and it will never change while cops like you refuse to take responsibility for your fellow officers’ actions and, instead, try to place blame on the citizens for not trusting cops, who prove, time and time again, that they don’t deserve to be trusted.

      And if you think the libertarian movement will ever be about trusting the government (again, which your fellow officers demonstrate regularly to be a foolish proposition), then you should do some more reading about the libertarian movement.

    33. #33 |  Cappy | 

      Kitsap County is in Washington State. One would be curious to see who or what public authority authorized the poisoning of the dogs.

      RCW 16.52.190
      Poisoning animals — Penalty.

      (1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person is guilty of the crime of poisoning animals if the person intentionally or knowingly poisons an animal under circumstances which do not constitute animal cruelty in the first degree.

      (2) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to euthanizing by poison an animal in a lawful and humane manner by the animal’s owner, or by a duly authorized servant or agent of the owner, or by a person acting pursuant to instructions from a duly constituted public authority.

      (3) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to the reasonable use of rodent or pest poison, insecticides, fungicides, or slug bait for their intended purposes. As used in this section, the term “rodent” includes but is not limited to Columbia ground squirrels, other ground squirrels, rats, mice, gophers, rabbits, and any other rodent designated as injurious to the agricultural interests of the state as provided in *chapter 17.16 RCW. The term “pest” as used in this section includes any pest as defined in RCW 17.21.020.
      http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=16.52.190

      Then there’s this little beauty…

      RCW 16.52.210
      Destruction of animal by law enforcement officer — Immunity from liability.

      This chapter shall not limit the right of a law enforcement officer to destroy an animal that has been seriously injured and would otherwise continue to suffer. Such action shall be undertaken with reasonable prudence and, whenever possible, in consultation with a licensed veterinarian and the owner of the animal.

      Law enforcement officers and licensed veterinarians shall be immune from civil and criminal liability for actions taken under this chapter if reasonable prudence is exercised in carrying out the provisions of this chapter.

      Unfortunately for the cops, these dogs weren’t seriously injured until after the cops poisoned them.

      Seems to me that I would be pursuing animal cruelty charges against these cops.

      I would also be suing the government for recompense of my monetary losses in defending myself at trial and being found not guilty.

    34. #34 |  Linda Morgan | 

      LibCop:

      “it would have been more believable as an emergency if he had been speeding and had put on his emergency lights instead of “trying to not attract attention”

      More believable than having a gasping 83-year-old woman tethered to an oxygen tank in the back seat?

      “The guy in the other story did everything wrong and his loved one paid for that.”

      You’re really a cop?

      “I train officers”

      Well having moral cripples as trainers would explain a lot of law enforcement malfeasance, but I find it hard to believe you’re a cop.

    35. #35 |  JS | 

      The trouble is the hypocritical double standard in this country. From Greenwald’s article “Comparing the US to Russia and Argentine-

      “The treatment in our justice system of ordinary citizens (“a nation of jailers”) and our elites (immunity from lawbreaking) could not be more disparate. We have (and are continuing to solidify) exactly the state of affairs that political science literature and the American government itself have long self-righteously warned other countries is the prime enabler for tyrannical rot: a two-tiered system of justice which exempts the country’s elites from accountability. I’ve previously cited this 1998 essay in Foreign Affairs entitled “The Rule of Law Revival,” by Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, because it so perfectly expresses long-standing Western lectures to the “developing world” about the need for a robust rule of law for a nation’s ruling elite class:
      LEGAL BEDROCK
      THE RULE of law can be defined as a system in which the laws are public knowledge, are clear in meaning, and apply equally to everyone. They enshrine and uphold the political and civil liberties that have gained status as universal human rights over the last half-century. . . . Perhaps most important, the government is embedded in a comprehensive legal framework, its officials accept that the law will be applied to their own conduct, and the government seeks to be law-abiding. . . .
      The primary obstacles to such reform are not technical or financial, but political and human. Rule-of-law reform will succeed only if it gets at the fundamental problem of leaders who refuse to be ruled by the law. Respect for the law will not easily take root in systems rife with corruption and cynicism, since entrenched elites cede their traditional impunity and vested interests only under great pressure.”

    36. #36 |  Cappy | 

      In regards to the cop detaining the guy and the mother dying.

      1. Hospital less than a mile away.

      Guess what. I ain’t stopping for no blue lights.

      Or.

      If I do stop, the cop pulls that shit, the cop has two options as I’m pulling away.

      1. Shoot me.
      2. Follow me to the hospital and arrest me.

    37. #37 |  Linda Morgan | 

      1. Shoot me.

      The awful thing, in this day and age, is that we really have to consider that Mr. Bluelight might. Even with someone dying in the back seat.

      If a cop, merely because he wants ample time to harangue someone about an expired license sticker, may require a dying person to wait for an ambulance to come and take her the last couple thousand feet to a hospital, then anything but anything goes.

    38. #38 |  Cappy | 

      But ya know Linda.

      Here’s the funny thing about this.

      Guy wasn’t speeding.

      Only because the state didn’t get their revenue this guy was harassed and harangued by the officer.

      Yeah, it was about revenue.

      So, um, the question is.

      Was the cop really acting as public servant?

      Or as the equivalent of the enforcer of an organized criminal syndicate with the same amount of common sense and decency.

      T’is all about the benjamins.

    39. #39 |  Human Head | 

      Re: Copyright Treaty

      Here are some folks that evidently aren’t affected by the State Secrets BS:

      http://www.keionline.org/blogs/2009/03/13/who-are-cleared-advisors/

    40. #40 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

      and please Libcop, feel free to give up on the libertarian movement. We don’t want or need you.

    41. #41 |  LibCop | 

      **# #32 | Les | March 28th, 2009 at 7:17 pm
      As if it is the citizenry’s fault that police corruption and incompetence is prevalent in America.

      Yes it is, almost 100%.

      The citizenry elects drug warrior politicians. The citizenry elected politicians who said they would lock up everyone who had anything to do with drugs (thus our incarceration rate). The citizenry (or rather, the part of it named “Media”) glorifys bad cop behavior in movies and on TV (sending the message that being a cop is cool, rather than sending the message it should ie being a cop is a major responsibility) THEN DRAWS IT’S COPS FROM THE SAME SOCIETY and THEN complains about the cops they created lol.

      The funny (and sad) thing is that you guys are displaying the same us/them mentality you love to complain about. No progress can be made in an environment of hypocrisy. Society needs to “man up” and admit that it’s let some things (like the drug war, and the SWAT mission creep) happen, then find constructive ways to deal with it, rather than the needless and juvenile OMG screeching that is displayed on this blog every time someone mentions the word cop.

      What dismays me is that the same lack of personal responsibility that has led to the current state of affairs is displayed here. You can sum up half of what I read on this blogs as “it’s all the cops fault” lol.

    42. #42 |  LibCop | 

      #40 | paranoiastrksdp | March 28th, 2009 at 9:28 pm

      and please Libcop, feel free to give up on the libertarian movement. We don’t want or need you.

      That’s more than sad, i could throw insults to but that’s stupid.

      This country NEEDS liberty minded folks to keep it honest, to remind people of the proper balance between society and the individual (ie a “balance” strongly slanted towards the individual).

      I understand y’all come here to blow off steam among like minded folks (from the safety of your keyboards lol), but if you (meaning the movement) approached the situation the right way, you wouldn’t NEED to vent so much in my opinion. The piss poor performance of liberty minded politicians (who turn people off with the same unreasonable radicalness that’s displayed here, and at REASON) in every election in recent memory should tell you folks something. The movement’s failure to gain traction is almost a crime against our country, and yes, that’s our fault.

      Think about it once you stop frothing at the mouth at everything.

    43. #43 |  Les | 

      LibCop,

      My fault that you missed the point of my saying “as if it’s the citizens’ fault.” You wrote:

      There are problems with the Law Enforcement culture in this country (I proudly count my self as a PEACE Officer, not a “Law Enforcement” Officer) and it will never change while people like you all here maintain your everything cops do is bad way of thinking.

      And I should have been clearer that you’re placing more blame on criticizing cops than you are on the bad cops, themselves. As if the criticism of cops is a bigger problem than cops abusing their power and/or ignoring other cops who abuse their power.

      You talk a lot about “manning up” and “personal responsibility,” and yet you have yet to concede that there is a reason why cops aren’t trusted. You haven’t been man enough or taken personal responsibility enough to recognize the crimes and injustices committed by cops every day in this country.

      No bad cop works in a vacuum. They are enabled by other cops who, out of fear or loyalty or a combination of both, ignore and/or justify criminal behavior by police. There are times when good cops (yes, despite your disingenuous claims that people here are always against cops) take action against bad ones. But that is not the norm.

      Even if drugs are legalized, until every cop “mans up” and takes responsibility for his actions and his department, there will always be police abuse. Your attitude, the blaming of criticism of cops instead of the abuses, themselves, hinders progress in this area.

      Now, you can dismiss all this as “frothing.” You can blame the people who complain about cops or fail to create a viable libertarian movement (which, at its core, is about the constant distrust of government and its agents; a distrust explicitly written into the Constitution) It’s certainly easier than seriously examining the role individual police have to play in decreasing the instances of police abuse and/or incompetence.

    44. #44 |  JS | 

      Libcop-”The citizenry elects drug warrior politicians. The citizenry elected politicians who said they would lock up everyone who had anything to do with drugs (thus our incarceration rate).”

      This is true and we’re as frustrated about this as you are. We have gutless politicians who will never hold bad cops accountable for fear of being seen as anti law and order. The mainstream media won’t report on police abuses unless there’s some really really good footage. So yea I agree with you that it’s the people’s fault but how can we change this unless we give you some constructive criticism? For the most part y’all have your asses kissed by a large part of the public and police abuse begins with the incredible arrogance that so many of our police routinely show towards the rest of us. I believe they got this way by insulating themselves from legitimate criticism and that’s not healthy for y’all or us.

    45. #45 |  Linda Morgan | 

      Cappy: “T’is all about the benjamins.”

      Aye, and for cops like Officer UnNamed there in Memphis, the power.

    46. #46 |  Terrorific | 

      @Libcop

      You grossly overestimate the kind of power the citizenry have over politics and, through the system, law enforcement. The police are basically a well-organized protection racket: You pay for it whether you want it or not, and if you don’t want to pay they send the police to throw you in jail!

      Lovely.

    47. #47 |  anarch | 

      Society needs to “man up”

      Beg to differ, Officer.

      “Society” needs to, and can do, nothing, because “Society” is an abstractum, and is therefore incapable of needing to do, or doing, anything.

      Because only individuals exist, only individuals can, and therefore only individuals may need to, do anything at all.

      Plus, you should be pulled over for abusing lols. It makes you sound like you’re high.

    48. #48 |  Bernard | 

      Libcop,

      Ny your statements so far it appears that ‘the people’ are 100% responsible for actions (the election of politicians) which, individually, they have a vanishingly small responsibility for while cops are 0% responsible for their own actions.

      I guess it’s my fault that your outlook on this is so screwed up, and for that I apologise.

    49. #49 |  Bernard | 

      Ny? By

    50. #50 |  Maus | 

      LibCop: Why am I unsurprised that you find the law flexible or consider yourself a medical expert? In your own scenario you would pull someone over for a — as you put it — “BS” citation. Thereafter, in your expert medical opinion, you thought there was a valid health issue you would then escort them to the hospital. And then forget about the “BS” citation for a violation of law that was the cause for pulling them over in the first place?

      Cops ignoring or bending the law when it suits them is the problem in the first place.

      Balko: I am surprised you agree with LibCop that law enforcement should ignore the law and bend the rules. Just. This. Once. Would you still claim that it’s not law-breaking when there’s an inconvenient medical issue at play if the driver simply shot the officer in the face and continued to drive to the hospital? It’s not a question that you’re ok with that concept on principle. We’re just haggling about the price.

      The guy already knew he was taking a legal risk. It was his choice to put the old lady in such danger. It was his choice to stop for the officer. It was his choice not to just keep on driving as Cappy recommended. But the guy chose to break the law.

      Disagree with the law and the manner in which stops are handled if you like. But it’s the height of comedy to ask that the police stop acting like they’re above the law and then ask them to act above the law.

    51. #51 |  Jesse | 

      @ Maus-

      Officers of the law have discretion… ie, they do not HAVE to write a ticket or enforce every law. It is called judgement and situational methodology. This is what we expect cops to have. They are not acting above the law if they choose to escort someone to the hospital, they are doing their job.

      BTW, no one is asking for him to not get a ticket for the expired tag anyway. Just get him to the hospital first. Your argument doesn’t hold water.

    52. #52 |  Chris | 

      Well, Maus, then the real question — it’s ultimately the only pertinent question — is about the propriety of vehicle “registration” in the first place.

    53. #53 |  Chris | 

      BTW, no one is asking for him to not get a ticket for the expired tag anyway.

      I am.

    54. #54 |  Lucy | 

      Maus, it’s absurd to come to this blog and act like Balko is defending following the law as some inherent good. See: libertarianism.

      A cop, like an other human being, should have the sense to be able to not be a robot for procedure and fucking forget about expired tags when a person’s life is in danger! Life > car citation. ANYONE can figure that out, and being “above the law” or not has nothing to do with it.

    55. #55 |  LibCop | 

      **@Libcop

      You grossly overestimate the kind of power the citizenry have over politics and, through the system, law enforcement. The police are basically a well-organized protection racket: You pay for it whether you want it or not, and if you don’t want to pay they send the police to throw you in jail!

      Lovely.**

      No I’m not. The highest rank a human can attain in this country is called “Citizen”, just because people don’t use it (or worse, fall for the “old okey-doke” from the two mainstream statist political parties) is NOT Law Enforcement’s fault, in the same way that that the Military didn’t invade Iraq of it’s own volition (some of them may have WANTED to, in the same way some law enforcement officials are the anti-drug prohibitionists).

      If the sovereign citizen’s of a Republic are responsible for it’s actions, then no one is, we don’t have the King of England to blame for our problems anymore lol. WE (all) allow this stuff to happen (which is why I wrote the name “Ron Paul” on my ballot in the last election, for all the good it does) What I don’t do is blame the little guy (the cops). You guys get mad when cops go after the little guy (ie the guy selling a little harmless Herb), but in your own way, you do the same thing.

      **#50 | Maus | March 29th, 2009 at 5:02 am

      LibCop: Why am I unsurprised that you find the law flexible or consider yourself a medical expert? In your own scenario you would pull someone over for a — as you put it — “BS” citation. Thereafter, in your expert medical opinion, you thought there was a valid health issue you would then escort them to the hospital. And then forget about the “BS” citation for a violation of law that was the cause for pulling them over in the first place?

      Cops ignoring or bending the law when it suits them is the problem in the first place.

      Balko: I am surprised you agree with LibCop that law enforcement should ignore the law and bend the rules. Just. This. Once. Would you still claim that it’s not law-breaking when there’s an inconvenient medical issue at play if the driver simply shot the officer in the face and continued to drive to the hospital? It’s not a question that you’re ok with that concept on principle. We’re just haggling about the price.

      The guy already knew he was taking a legal risk. It was his choice to put the old lady in such danger. It was his choice to stop for the officer. It was his choice not to just keep on driving as Cappy recommended. But the guy chose to break the law.

      Disagree with the law and the manner in which stops are handled if you like. But it’s the height of comedy to ask that the police stop acting like they’re above the law and then ask them to act above the law.
      **

      This is totally wrong. The way the law works, is if it’s a Felony the law says a Peace officer SHALL arrest, where as with a misdemeanor, the law says we MAY arrest. The law gives us discretion in cases of minor offenses.

      writing a citation for someone breaking a minor law that the law says I don’t have to when the person has a real and just cause for doing so (like a medical emergency) would be a BS citation in mt opinion. It wouldn’t be BS if there was no emergency and someone was just playing a role trying to get out of it (meaning they were putting the public at risk by speeding for no reason at all).

      it’s not being “above the law” to use a little common sense, and some kind of hyper-legalistic interpretation of the law doesn’t serve the interests of either public safety or the Rule of Law.

      Of course I’m a cop, so no matter what I say I’m automatically wrong among the fine denizens of this blog :) .

    56. #56 |  anarch | 

      The highest rank a human can attain in this country is called “Citizen”

      Again, Officer, begging to differ: The highest rank a human can attain, in this country and anywhere else short of the Kingdom of Heaven, is “Human Being.”

      LOL.

    57. #57 |  Michael | 

      Well, the lady died in the back seat of a car, suffocating, from complications of her COPD. If a doctor is that negligent, he gets sued for malpractice! I can’t believe that anyone thinks it is best to blame her son for this death! It is arrogance at its max!

      We need cops who don’t think they are medical experts, as well! If they want to be able to judge that, they need to go the extra years to medical school!

      He should have allowed the guy to get his mother to the ER! It was just, absolutely, stupid behavior, on the cop’s part. And, the son was kind to the cop, saying she likely would have died anyway! She may not have died, if treated properly at the ER. If an ER doc told the son that, he was just trying to make the son feel less guilty about the fact that his mother died in the back of his car. Even though, the ultimate cause was an arrogant cop’s fatal error in judgment! This means this type of stop is like a drug raid…. “a life and death situation”!

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