Response to Patterico and Jack Dunphy

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

The LAPD officer who writes under the pseudonym Jack Dunphy and blogger and prosecutor Patterico have each put up posts taking issue with my Reason colleague Brian Doherty’s and my criticism of one of Dunphy’s posts at National Review Online. Doherty and I both summarized Dunphy’s post to say that Dunphy believes the lesson from the Henry Louis Gates affair is that anyone who asserts his constitutional rights when confronted by a cop risks being shot. Patterico and Dunphy both say Doherty and I misread Dunphy.

If Dunphy didn’t intend for that to be the point of the post, he should retract it. Because it’s difficult to interpret it any other way. Here is the meat of Dunphy’s post:

And now we are told, in a further attempt at damage control, that the Gates arrest can serve to educate all those mouth-breathing cops out there who may yet stumble into an unpleasant encounter with some other Ivy Leaguer. It’s our hope, said Gibbs, invoking that insufferable locution that one hopes will soon fade from common usage, that the Gates arrest can be “part of a teachable moment.”

So, since the president is keen on offering instruction, here is what I would advise he teach his Ivy League pals, and anyone else who may find himself unexpectedly confronted by a police officer: You may be as pure as the driven snow itself, but you have no idea what horrible crime that police officer might suspect you of committing. You may be tooling along on a Sunday drive in your 1932 Hupmobile when, quite unknown to you, someone else in a 1932 Hupmobile knocks off the nearby Piggly Wiggly. A passing police officer sees you and, asking himself how many 1932 Hupmobiles can there be around here, pulls you over. At that moment I can assure you the officer is not all that concerned with trying not to offend you. He is instead concerned with protecting his mortal hide from having holes placed in it where God did not intend. And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.

When the officer has satisfied himself that it was not you and your Hupmobile that were involved in the Piggly Wiggly heist, he owes you an explanation for the stop and an apology for the inconvenience, but if you’re running your mouth about your rights and your history of oppression and what have you, you’re likely to get neither.

Emphasis mine. Patterico and Dunphy argue that Dunphy’s “lesson” here applies only to the specifics of his hypothetical—that the only time he meant to imply that you risk getting shot for asserting your rights is in the limited circumstance that an officer is looking for an armed, dangerous felon, and you happen to fit the very specific description of said felon given to police. I can’t speak for Doherty, but I stand by my original characterization of Dunphy’s post, for several reasons.

First, if this was Dunphy’s point, it’s unclear why he would invoke it in response to the Gates case, where there was no armed robbery, no getaway car, and no specific description of any unusual characteristics. Either he meant for his “lesson” to be applied more broadly, or his entire post was a red herring.

Second, as emphasized in the excerpt above (a portion that Patterico neglected to include in his post*) Dunphy explicitly sets up the hypothetical by stating that its lesson should be taken to heart by “anyone else who may find himself unexpectedly confronted by a police officer.” In other words, not just people driving 1932 Hupmobiles.

Third, Dunphy was responding negatively to the idea that the “teachable moment” in all of this ought to be for the police to be more cognizant of our rights, and not make rash arrests or employ racial profiling (we now know of course that the latter most likely didn’t play a role in the Gates arrest). Dunphy’s counter to that sentiment clearly seems to be that if there’s a lesson in the Gates arrest, it isn’t for cops, it’s for everyone else, and the lesson is to avoid “running your mouth about your rights and your history of oppression” when you’ve been confronted by a police officer. Again, to say that Dunphy only intended for that lesson to apply in the very limited scenario in his hypothetical would completely ignore the hypothetical’s setup, as well as the national discussion that inspired him to put it up in the first place.

Fourth, even within Dunphy’s hypothetical, the innocent driver of the Hupmobile has no idea why he has been pulled over. He doesn’t know about the armed robbery, or that the getaway car resembles his own car. This is precisely Dunphy’s point. He’s arguing that you can’t possibly know what’s going on in a police officer’s head when he stops you or confronts you. You can’t know what circumstances led him to stop you. So you’d best just shut up and submit, even he asks you to do something that you aren’t obligated to do under the Constitution. Dunphy’s using his unlikely hypothetical to plant the threat that any noncompliance with an officer’s demands may end with him shooting you. Put another way, because you can’t possibly know the reasons why the officer has stopped you, giving lip about your rights may well endanger your life.

Finally, I’d add that I, Doherty, and L.A. Times editor Paul Thornton (also mentioned in Patterico’s post) were hardly the only ones who interpreted Dunphy’s post this way. Dunphy wrote something rash and provocative (and, frankly, pretty outrageous). He now wants to retreat to a very narrow interpretation of his hypothetical to attack the people who called him on it. The problem for Dunphy is that such an interpretation really makes no sense given the context in which he wrote it.

(*Note: Patterico insists he included this portion of Dunphy’s post in his initial post.)

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123 Responses to “Response to Patterico and Jack Dunphy”

  1. #1 |  Big Texan | 

    Go get em Radley! I wish I were as eloquent as you are about it, but I guess if I was I would be writing the blog and you’d be reading me.

  2. #2 |  dsmallwood | 

    wow, you liberty minded folks are very thorough. no wonder nobody pays any attention to you.

    plus, you didn’t mention Michael Jackson.

  3. #3 |  Franklin | 

    I was hoping you’d respond to this. Note too Patterico’s childish jab at you in the comments section. One commenter wrote, referring to you, Doherty, and Thornton:

    Why don’t you just note that they are dishonest lying crapweasels?

    Patterico responded:

    I think Doherty and Thornton are good guys . . .

    All class, that Patrick Frey. It’s like he’s genetically incapable of writing your name without attaching a personal insult.

    It’s funny how much you get under his skin.

  4. #4 |  Chris in AL | 

    “that the only time he meant to imply that you risk getting shot for asserting your rights is in the limited circumstance that an officer is looking for an armed, dangerous felon, and you happen to fit the very specific description of said felon given to police.”

    What a farse. If cops hand even the slightest idea of what ‘armed’ or ‘dangerous’ even meant, Kathryn Johnston, Isaac Singletary, Sal Culosi, and hundreds of other people (and dogs) would still be alive today.

  5. #5 |  Nick T | 

    Damn, Radley. I’ve never used the word pwned or really even know what it means. But I think I just read one.

    I still just don’t get this debate. It’s fine to give advice that you should be cooperative with police. But to criticize folks for asserting their rights is clearly, logically an attack on those rights. One simply can’t say “oh man the 4th Amendment is so great and so important…. but seriously you should probably never assert your 4th Amendment rights or you’ll be acting like a giant douche and you’ll deserve whatever consequences are visited upon you.”

  6. #6 |  Reggie Hubbard | 

    I liked that he called you a “radical libertarian.”

    I want to know what the hell a radical libertarian is.

  7. #7 |  Radley Balko | 

    wow, you liberty minded folks are very thorough. no wonder nobody pays any attention to you.

    First time I’ve been criticized for being too thorough. I’ll take that as a backhanded insult.

  8. #8 |  capo | 

    my dad is a retired cop, so I’ve known lots of them over the years. I realize I’m generalizing here somewhat, but…

    It seems like Police work used to attract real “family man” kind of guys who were generally nice to everyone. They werent in it to be bullys, they were in it to provide for their families and maybe make a small difference in the community.

    Nowadays it seems like the only people attracted to Police work are guys that just want to strap a pistol to their belt and taze anything that gets in their way.

    How did that happen anyway?

  9. #9 |  TomMil | 

    you mean,”backhanded compliment”? Please more attention to detail ;-)

  10. #10 |  Reggie Hubbard | 

    No… backhanded insult is right. It’s a complement disguised an insult.. as opposed to a backhanded compliment which is an insult disguised as a compliment… but now we’re getting pedantic.

  11. #11 |  Michael Pack | 

    It’s clear to me that this guy should not carry a gun,or a badge to go with it.If you can’t act rude in your own house then the game is over.

  12. #12 |  SJE | 

    Dunphy is a coward. The sort of cowardice you usually see from bullies, who act tough and mean, until they are confronted with someone who is actually willing to call them on it and cannot be cowed. Sounds a lot like the police: tough enough to kill labradors and old people, not strong enough to face a civilian review board (poor flowers)

  13. #13 |  Dave W. | 

    1. 911 gets a call where a witness reports something that she thinks may or may not be a breaking and entering. To be more specific, the caller doesn’t think a B&E is going on, but another witness (who is not calling for some reason) is more suspicious of what is being observed at Gates’ front door.

    2. At this point, 911 doesn’t have information that would, in and of itself, provide probable cause to enter Gates home. Of course, what is supposed to happen is that dispatch is supposed to provide an officer with full info about the suspected B&E, including both reasons to be suspicious (one lady thinks a B&E is happening) and reasons NOT to be suspicious (another lady thinks it is just innocent behavior). Then what is supposed to happen is that the officer is supposed to investigate outside the home and see whether probable cause develops based on his further observations. There are many ways he might do this. He might talk to the witness who met him at the scene and find out more specifically why she thinks there was a B&E and not just a homeowner going in. He might check the outside of the house for visible damage to the door and broken windows. He might try to watch the perimeter of the house until backup arrives. He might ring the doorbell and see if the person answers the door acts like the homeowner or does not act like the homeowner. All the while the officer should be: (i) trying to collect enough info to find probable cause; and, at the same time (ii) trying to find enough info to drop the suspicion that a B&E has taken place.

    3. Item #2 says what is supposed to happen. Sadly, there is a police plot and it is not what happens.

    4. Instead what happens is this:

    – dispatch selectively gives reponding officer info it has supporting probable case

    – dispatch selectively withholds from officer information it has negating probable cause (caller has doubts about B&E, caller sees the “suspects” bringing luggage INTO the house)

    – selectively informed responding officer gets to scene and encounters the witness (not the caller) who suspects B&E has taken place

    – officer declines to ask her why she thinks a B&E happened, he just has her go away. does she think a B&E happened mostly because the suspects are black? Maybe (we still don’t know!), but the responding officer does not want to know this at the scene. He wants to shield himself from any info that might make it more clear that he needs to stay out the house. So he doesn’t talk to the witness.

    – officer doesn’t look for visible damage to the door. Why? Probably because there is none. It was just a sticky door. But the officer does not want to know this. It might cut against his prerogative (such as it is) to enter the house. So he shields himself from these potential “bad” facts.

    – officer encounters person at the door who (we can be pretty sure) indicates in some fashion that he has every right to be in the house. Does officer give the man a chance to prove he belongs in the house? No. Instead, he wants the man to come out so that he can cuff him and run around inside his house.

    – man refuses to come out (as is his lawful right). Normally disobedience to an LEO’s request made in course of an investigation is obstruction, but there seems to be a special rule (thank goodness!) that police cannot order you out of your house. Officer is momentarily frustrated in his quest for a freebie search.

    – the frustration is only momentary. Officer decides that the “suspect’s” refusal to come out on the porch and be cuffed while the officer runs around inside looking for contraband is a form of “unco-operativeness” that further supports the entry. There is some risk to going forward with the freebie search at this point, because there might be an exclusionary rule hearing or a 1983 suit later, but officer has faith that the carefully selected info he has is enough to support his cherished freebie search. He has faith that any exclusionary rule hearing will be a joke (because they always are). The remaining residual risk of a 1983 suit is a risk he decides to take. He is going to go in.

    – But why not wait for backup? Isn’t the situation a dangerous one to handle alone, especially when there is no indication of hostages? Couldn’t backup secure the perimeter while the man gets his id. If it turns out the man really isn’t coming back with id, isn’t it safer and more secure to handle that eventuality with backup, rather than without? You might think that, unless you are a policeman. If you are a policeman then you understand that waiting for backup and securing the perimeter PUTS THE FREEBIE SEARCH IN JEOPARDY. There is a good chance the “suspect” will in fact show up at the door with good id while waiting for backup. That would kill the freebie search, and this a good policeman cannot allow to happen.

    5. So the officer enters. The “suspect” has id. To put it in cop jargon: uh oh, spaghettios! And now the “suspect” wants to file a complaint. Double Uh oh spaghettios.

    6. The responding officer gets an idea. He will continue to escalate the situation. Hopefully the homeowner will push him or touch him or at least move his cane in a “threatening” manner.

    7. Instead the suspect keeps his harangue verbal and does nothing that can be considered as an assault, not even under the loose standards of the popo-friendly court system, well stocked with its ex-prosecutor judges. The officer thinks: “C’mon, c’mon, Mr. Black Homeowner, move that cane. Here, look, another policeman (Figueroa?) is coming into your house. Here, look, I am calling for even more policemen on my radio. You need to get angrier. here I am refusing to give you my badge number or id. Take a swing. Take a swing. TAKE A SWING! C’mon. I REALLY need to pre-empt that complaint, especially since my entry was kind of dicey. Just make your move. My taser finger is soooo itchy now.” Then, as the purely verbal harangue continues, the officer thinks: “Triple uh oh spahettios!”

    8. You know what happens next. Advantage Crowley!

    And that, in a nutshell is the plot.

  14. #14 |  SJE | 

    Also, I think dsmallwood is making a compliment, not snark…as suggested by the “Michael Jackson” comment.

    In a sense he is right about thoroughness and people not listening to libertarians. Well reasoned, well thought out arguments take time to read. Especially when they challenge prior thinking (like don’t talk back to the police). Most people do not have the attention span beyond the 30 sec news story.

  15. #15 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Let me sum up the generic law enforcement attitude toward those annoying citizens who complain about them.

    “Every encounter we have with the public could, potentially, be a deadly encounter. We therefore must preemptively treat everyone as if they pose exactly that kind of threat. While your Constitutional rights are really cool things in theory, they mean nothing against my fear of getting killed and your whining about it isn’t going to change my mind about that.”

    The fact that the cops are often (if not usually) themselves the agent that introduces violence and escalates the rhetoric is apparently not a factor here. Since they have a dangerous job, anything can be justified and we’re just supposed to sit there and shut the fuck up.

    The cop’s job was done when he determined that Gates lived in that house. Any potential danger had disappeared at that point. The arrest was simply punishment for Gates’s backtalk and now they’re trying to talk their way out of it when everyone knows that’s what happened because cops have established a long history of using arrest as a means to dole out punishment for backtalk.

  16. #16 |  la Rana | 

    …..waiting for Dunphy’s appendange, “Brad,” from the last post on this…..

  17. #17 |  AJP | 

    Wow. I hope Officer Dunphy and Patterico packed lunches this morning, because they just got taken to school.

  18. #18 |  Gary | 

    It’s unbelievable to imply that if you inquire about your constitutional rights you could get shot. Here’s how it works, as far as I know:

    1) A cop can arrest you for something if he has probable cause to believe you have committed a crime. The proof for “probable cause” is less than that required to prove something “beyond a reasonable doubt” which is the standard for a conviction. As long as the cop has probable cause to think you committed a crime, his arrest of you is legal. Therefore, using Dunphy’s example, the cop can pull over the car legally and proceed with an arrest if he finds nothing that dispels his probable cause.

    2) If you believe you are being arrested for something you didn’t do, you CAN choose to try and dispel the officer’s probable cause. If you successfully provide information to dispel the probable cause, you can no longer be lawfully arrested. Using Dunphy’s example, the driver can try to convince the officer that he’s not really the guy. He doesn’t HAVE to, but he can. If the officer had no probable cause to begin with (which is NOT the cause in Dunphy’s example), he can’t legally arrest you regardless of how you respond.

    3) You CAN also, if you so choose, quite lawfully refuse to provide information that the officer requests. In doing so, you are doing nothing wrong. However, as long as the officer had probable cause to believe that you committed a crime PRIOR to pulling you over he can still arrest you because despite your lawful actions in refusing to provide information and asserting your constitutional rights, the officer still has preexisting probable cause. So using Dunphy’s example, if the driver refused to cooperate, the officer could arrest him not BECAUSE of his refusal to cooperate but because of the preexisting probable cause.

    The fact that the officer has probable cause and the fact that you have a legal right to refuse to provide certain information DO NOT CONTRADICT. Officers can’t arrest people JUST BECAUSE they refused to cooperate. The officer must have probable cause you committed a crime and if your legal refusal to cooperate fails to dispel the probable cause you can be arrested. In such a situation, NEITHER you OR the officer are doing anything wrong. You are working within the system to solve a misunderstanding.

    Nowhere in this system can you (legally) get arrested SPECIFICALLY FOR asserting your constitutional rights, let alone can you GET SHOT for it.

    Sometimes there are misunderstandings that need to be cleared up, and we have a legal system for that. That’s why the burden for making an arrest is less than the burden of obtaining a conviction for a crime. The officer has probable cause, you assert your constitutional rights, you get arrested anyway, then later our legal system discovers you aren’t the guy the officer was looking for and so you don’t get charged for anything. I am not saying this is ALWAYS how it works, I am saying this is how it is supposed to work.

  19. #19 |  LibCop | 

    “my dad is a retired cop, so I’ve known lots of them over the years. I realize I’m generalizing here somewhat, but…

    It seems like Police work used to attract real “family man” kind of guys who were generally nice to everyone. They werent in it to be bullys, they were in it to provide for their families and maybe make a small difference in the community.

    Nowadays it seems like the only people attracted to Police work are guys that just want to strap a pistol to their belt and taze anything that gets in their way.

    How did that happen anyway?”

    Some people (including some older cops i know) think this way, but its wrong, it’s the “Sheriff Andy” fallacy. The idea that Law enforcement was all nice and courteous and pleasant in the past, but aren’t now.

    The opposite is true. A southern sherriff in the Andy Griffith age was more likley to string you up than wave at you. People who complain about cops now should have been around in the age before Miranda (ie not that long ago), before Cases like Tenesse V Garner and Graham V Conner changed what was legal for cops to do (“stop or ill shoot was the rule before 1985), before the establishment of police standards boards in the 1970s (prior to that all you needed to be a cop was some good old boy sheriff or chief tossing yo a badge and a gun, no reading of the constitution required) ect ect.

    The differance between now and back then is that everything is televised, making it seem as if things are happening more often and the past was all gentle. It’s simpyl not true.

  20. #20 |  Dave | 

    Mr. Balko wrote:
    “employ racial profiling (we now know of course that the latter most likely didn’t play a role in the Gates arrest).”

    How did you reach that conclusion? The only facts in evidence that I’ve seen are 1) the police dispatcher raised the question of race, and 2) the arresting officer teaches some sort of lesson about racial profiling to other police officers.

    The Cambridge police are racist to the core. I’ve seen it first hand; the first question out of Cambridge cop’s mouth when someone reports anything at all is “Was he a black guy?” The dispatcher’s behavior is consistent with this attitude.

    The fact that the arresting officer teaches about racial profiling does NOT mean he doesn’t use racial profiling. It can just as easily mean that he teaches other officers how to disguise their racist behavior so that it will pass police-friendly court scrutiny.

  21. #21 |  Daniel | 

    Those mouth-breathing cops shouldn’t try to argue with people who can think for themselves. Guns and tasers don’t work over the internet.

  22. #22 |  PW | 

    Dunphy’s original post on Gates is analogous to the conservatives who responded to 9/11 with “nuke mecca.” Both stated something patently absurd and offensive, perhaps without realizing just how offensive it was. When called on it the natural response for each is to backtrack and blame the person who called them out.

  23. #23 |  Andrew S. | 

    The comments and the badgelicking over at Patterico make me want to cry. Seriously.

    Words mean things. It’s true. And when you wedge Gates into that hypothetical, you’re trying to get a point across. So to deny it later is ridiculous.

  24. #24 |  M in Harlem | 

    A terrible analogy on their part. They’re trying to paint the picture of the meaty young buck of a cop — with his high racial morals, great intellect, marvelous instincts and all — as in some dire threat of life and limb. That hyperbolic dribble wasn’t reported from any source.

    This was about control. Pure and simple.

    These guys believe no cop shall be inconvenienced by any Constitutional right before their own common sense has an opportunity to kick in. They are preaching the “he was asking for it” philosophy of policing to their choir

  25. #25 |  Zargon | 

    #18
    It’s unbelievable to imply that if you inquire about your constitutional rights you could get shot.

    Well, the cops have already demonstrated that they’ll shoot you for any number of infractions, such as holding a coke, reaching for your ID when requested, or being startled when stormtroopers break into your bedroom.

    I find it entirely believable we could add inquiring about or asserting some rights you think (wish) you have to the list of capital crimes.

  26. #26 |  Anon | 

    #5 Nick T: Damn, Radley. I’ve never used the word pwned or really even know what it means. But I think I just read one.

    It’s videogame jargon that has somehow found it’s way mainstream. Let’s say you’re in a shooter game. Enemy player has a shotgun that will kill you instantly in one blast from within 5 feet away. You have a small machinegun that takes 10 seconds of continual fire to kill him. You take him out at point blank range, he misses you with the shotgun four times during the battle.

    You severely out-played him. You owned him.

    Due to the fact that when you’re typing, you’re not playing, people tend to type fast. “owned” often wound up mistyped as “pwned”.

    I’ve actually heard people say “poned” out loud.

    Also I agree with your sentiment, and especially #21 as well.

  27. #27 |  Mattocracy | 

    LibCop,

    You’re probably right about cops not being nice guys back in the day, especially in the south. Police conduct is probably the same now as it was in the past, we just have the means record and discuss it now.

    But to add to your comments, I think another reason things seem so much worse now is that there are so many more laws that are aggressively enforced. That, and we also live in the day where cops carry Glock 22’s instead of S&W revolvers, and carry M-4’s in their squad cars. All because they need protection from so many more criminals that exist thanks to our government criminalizing a multitude of nonviolent, victimless activities.

  28. #28 |  Mattocracy | 

    And the whole “Our Job is Dangerous” thing is bullshit. If cops can encounter any number of violent things in the course of a day, so can I. I walk to my car where I could mugged. I sleep in a house that a burglar could break into. I go to the grocery store where a deranged killer might go on a rampage. But I can’t mistreat the general public like a cop and use this irrational fear as an excuse to act like a total dick.

  29. #29 |  Gary | 

    A cop’s job IS dangerous (less so than some jobs, more so than most jobs). It’s just not an excuse to violate people’s constitutional rights.

    If I’m a doctor I can’t booze up before surgery because “my job is stressful”.

    If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

  30. #30 |  joe | 

    Dunphy represent a department of brutal liars at war with the public. When I last was in LA, strolling down Holloywood Blvd., snapping pics of stars on the sidewalk, a motorcycle cop pulled up to me saying I’d jaywalked. I’m from Seattle, and I NEVER jaywalk. The light started blinking when I was several yards into the street, and I told the cop so. He just said “No it didn’t”. He and I both knew what was what. I watched him do the same thing to a lady not ten minutes later, her vainly trying to reason with him, him shaking his head. LA cops are liars, and they’re crooks, and they will kill you. And they don’t need to be chasing a felon either.

  31. #31 |  aw2pp | 

    #20 Dave wrote:

    “Mr. Balko wrote:
    “employ racial profiling (we now know of course that the latter most likely didn’t play a role in the Gates arrest).”

    How did you reach that conclusion? The only facts in evidence that I’ve seen are 1) the police dispatcher raised the question of race, and 2) the arresting officer teaches some sort of lesson about racial profiling to other police officers.”

    My understanding of the facts is that, although the dispatcher brought up the question of race, this information was not communicated to the officer.

  32. #32 |  SJE | 

    Gary #29: WORD!

    Cops are very well paid for their jobs. There are many other jobs that are more dangerous and/or more stressful.

  33. #33 |  InMd | 

    I think Mattocracy makes good points. Back in the day the police probably weren’t any nicer but even just a few decades ago the War on Drugs wasn’t enforced in quite the same militant means that it is now. Sure there was prohibition but from what I understand about the chronology of SWAT teams and the like you didn’t have the whole storm troopers coming through the windows at 4 AM over a few ounces of pot stuff the way we do now. At least back then people could shrug off police authoritarianism by saying “Well at least he was accused of something horrible” whereas now on the war footing you see it against people accused of petty drug crimes as well as the ongoing proliferation of new, tiny offenses. Not that any of that makes what happened then (and particularly is happening now) any more acceptable but I think thats part of where the illusion comes from. Lately it seems like middle class white people in the suburbs are close to as likely as anyone else to end up in a crazy botched raid situation or or be arrested for no reason and that is where the difference lies.

  34. #34 |  MacGregory | 

    “I can assure you the officer is not all that concerned with trying not to offend you. He is instead concerned with protecting his mortal hide from having holes placed in it where God did not intend. ”

    Well thats completely ass-backward.

    “Officer, I can assure you that I am not at all concerned with trying to offend you. What I am concerned with is keeping you from placing holes in my mortal hide.”

    And god doesn’t have shit to do with it either.

  35. #35 |  Cackalacka | 

    Christ, that Patterico fella is a prosecutor?

    Is it OK for me to state that his mentality (to say nothing of his assessment of what justice is) makes him completely unfit for his particular position of power? (or any position for that matter.)

    Is that an acceptable thing to say on a blog that promotes a free-exchange of ideas?

  36. #36 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Save for SWAT issues, I also don’t believe that police have become “worse” (to use a word to generally describe all the specific behaviors that we discuss here) over the years. The difference is widespread use of cameras, cell phones, and the internet to disseminate the information about this abuse.

    Remember that Andy Taylor was a fictional representation of the best that one could expect from a small-town sheriff. There probably were people like him. There were also people like the sheriff of Neshoba County, MS, during the 60’s when the Mississippi Burning murders took place.

    It’s difficult now for us to really confront what’s been going on for hundreds of years and is ingrained in police culture. But we’re going to have to.

  37. #37 |  MM | 

    Oh good. Frey and his commenters are involved. The Patterico word parsing style of argument is always about as fun as watching mud bubble.

    I did like how (according to them) it was “very telling” that Radley had not responded to Patterico’s post within 20 minutes of it being published.

  38. #38 |  The Angry Optimist | 

    Police are objectively much worse than they used to be, but it’s because of the systemic issue of de facto federalization of all the nation’s LEOs under the Controlled Substances Act.

  39. #39 |  scott | 

    I am not a career counselor, but… if the Constitution and those who exercise their rights guaranteed by it cause you to fear for your safety while on the job, then perhaps it’s time to consider a new career.

  40. #40 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “I can assure you the officer is not all that concerned with trying not to offend you. He is instead concerned with protecting his mortal hide from having holes placed in it where God did not intend. And you, if in asserting your constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure fail to do as the officer asks, run the risk of having such holes placed in your own.”

    I hate this kind of authoritarian bullshit.

    The Bill of Rights were created to prevent excessive government
    intrusion, not as an impetus for trigger-happy cops to
    fire on civilians. How did everyting get turned upside down.

  41. #41 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    oops “was created”

  42. #42 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #26 Anon

    You severely out-played him. You owned him.

    Due to the fact that when you’re typing, you’re not playing, people tend to type fast. “owned” often wound up mistyped as “pwned”.

    Well said. Gamers take that for granted, but I suspect a lot of other people haven’t a clue where it came from.

  43. #43 |  BamBam | 

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/31302.html

    Cop is heard on video saying he will falsify a police report for fellow cop to cover up his mistake.

  44. #44 |  BamBam | 

    Should have added that you will not believe the lie they come up with. The lies are on par with what a 4 year old would say, and these grown “men” know their lie is that bad, but they don’t care because they know the system will side with them, usually using the logic of “well cop X believed it to be true, so that’s good enough for us – as for you Citizen Nothing, off to the gulag with you!”

  45. #45 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #27 Mattocracy

    LibCop,

    You’re probably right about cops not being nice guys back in the day, especially in the south. Police conduct is probably the same now as it was in the past, we just have the means record and discuss it now.

    My thoughts exactly. It’s not that the media are intentionally highlighting in more now. It’s that cops are getting caught on video more often now making police misbehavior more difficult to ignore.

    I don’t dispute that there may be more rules dictating how cops behave, but that hasn’t eliminated the problem of police misconduct. And saying it used to be worse is small consolation to those who are victimized by cops now.

  46. #46 |  JS | 

    Rights that you theoretically have but realistically can’t assert are not rights at all and the whole “We live in a free country” or “Our brave men and women in uniform are over there dying for our freedom” is a farce. People need to wake up. The constitution doesn’t mean anything and we live in a police state.

  47. #47 |  Wavemancali | 

    #20

    Yesterday, Radley posted a link to the 911 call and dispatch radio recordings.

    The dispatcher asked if the suspects were white, black or hispanic. (apparently asians don’t commit crimes) and the caller said that the one person she saw looked hispanic. This is the information that was relayed to Crowley. I don’t see the problem with this. Physical description from an eye witness isn’t what I consider racial profiling.

    Now what caught my eye was Crowley’s report, which is also linked to on the same page.

    I have a hard time believing that Ms. Whalen’s description of events changed so drastically (specifically paragraph 3 of his narrative) between the 911 call and Crowley’s arrival on scene.

    I’d really like a real time audio link. The audio provided has to be compressed.

  48. #48 |  BamBam | 

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090729/ap_on_re_us/us_harvard_scholar_caller

    Cambridge police Commissioner Robert Haas acknowledged that the police report contains a reference to race, but said the report is merely a summary of events. The arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, has said his information on the race of the suspects came during a brief encounter with Whalen outside Gates’ house; she contradicted that Thursday, saying she made no such description.

    Wow, the cop lied. Between that, the “acoustics” BS lie, the “lure the guy outside to arrest him on BS charge”, there are several other obvious LIES.

  49. #49 |  BamBam | 

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,535263,00.html

    Beluga whales have more common sense and compassion than cops. Sorry, it’s off topic but Radley pisses me off so much with his excellent work that I have to post something that made me smile. Beluga whales are very smart.

  50. #50 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Also you can’t discount the fact that more and more lawyers
    are out there who thrive on this. Go down to Palm beach Florida,
    around Boca,
    you can’t even walk down the street without being
    detained and interrogated (the a-holes arrested me and lost my passport…I had to call the State Dept on them) and the corporate media and lawyers are complicit.

  51. #51 |  Matt D | 

    The only thing I would say is that we should all be very cognizant of the fact that these guys are law enforcement. Anyone can take any position they like on an issue and it usually doesn’t amount to much, but the view of our rights espoused by these two is a view that you can be sure is enforced daily.

  52. #52 |  anarch | 

    the Gates case, where there was no armed robbery, no getaway car

    No? By what means do Cambridge Police Officers travel?

  53. #53 |  JS | 

    BamBam “Radley pisses me off so much with his excellent work that I have to post something that made me smile. Beluga whales are very smart.”

    lol that was a funny comment and a great story about the whale.

  54. #54 |  The Angry Optimist | 

    JS – if we lived in an actual police state, you would be whisked off to a camp by now. Pray that you never experience that kind of totalitarianism – your lack of perspective is silly. That does not mean that I am not worried, but overstating your case gets you dismissed as a loon.

  55. #55 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    For what it’s worth, I tend to agree with JS.
    Ever been to Japan, Sweden, Canada?
    Those are real Peace Officers. When’s the last time
    you saw a professor of international renown arrested for copping an attitude in these countries? These kooks with badges in the USA
    beat people up just for kicks. Or tase them.
    Something fundamentally different from promoting “Peace.”
    That approaches the level of a police state.
    No?

  56. #56 |  Tsu Dho Nihm | 

    The Angry Optimist,
    Defining a “police state” as so oppressive that any criticism gets one tossed into an education camp or somesuch institution is no less of an overstatement.

    You seem to have the mentality that this is meant to combat.

  57. #57 |  SJE | 

    Yizmo: of course, one additional factor is that the cops in those countries are less likely to encounter people with guns, and so they may be less fearful of their lives. At the same time, they are less likely themselves to be armed, and could expect a good head butting if they went too far.

    Another factor: Americans are far too deferential to authority.
    My father, in Australia, was pulled over by an armed traffic cop who proceeded to give him a lecture about this and that. My father interrupted him and said “if you are going to write me a ticket, do so, but spare me the lecture” The officer let him go.

  58. #58 |  JS | 

    The Angry Optimist “JS – if we lived in an actual police state, you would be whisked off to a camp by now.”

    So because I wasn’t put in jail today we don’t live in a police state? The majority of people in the old Soviet Union or Nazi Germany could make the same claim. “I didn’t get thrown in the concentration camp so we don’t live in a police state.” Actually either we live under a rule of law with rights that apply to everyone or the authorities can totally ignore the law and take away your freedom anytime they want to-in which case we live in a police state.

  59. #59 |  The Angry Optimist | 

    JS – by that logic, we always lived in a police state.

    From the Sedition Acts, to the Cherokee, to American expansionism through war, through the Draft Riots, through Prohibition, through Japanese internment camps…

    Like I said, that does not mean that I am not worried. But you do not live in a police state, your protestations that you do not being evidence, mind.

  60. #60 |  Phil | 

    I just want to lay this out there: If I ever find myself driving a 1932 Hupmobile(or a Packard for that matter) and get stopped by the police, I will not only do whatever they say, but I will smile and shine their shoes.

  61. #61 |  JS | 

    I see what you’re saying but those things were exceptions to the general rule of law weren’t they? I mean, generally the police in this country couldn’t just beat people and take away their freedoms for nothing. Nulla poena sulla lege I think is the Latin legal phrase-no penalty without a law. Nowdays its different. Disorderly conduct? Or one they like to use around here in Texas-Disobeying a lawful order. Since when do the police have the power to arbitrarily order you about? It must be a fairly recent development. We have 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prisoners-more than the “evil” Libya, or Russia or Cuba or Communist China. So yea, it may be hard to pinpoint when but at some point we became a police state. Maybe not as bad a Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union but certainly headed more in that direction then in the direction of being a free country ever again.

  62. #62 |  RP | 

    I have a longtime friend who is a police officer. I did a ride-along with him once a few years ago.

    Scariest night of my life. Seriously.

    I rode along as he responded to three different shootings. At another point in the evening he pulled a car over for speeding and with no lights. He called for backup (I thought he was nuts; why does someone need backup for a traffic stop?), and sure enough, the car sped away and tried to hit him as he approached the car. Turned out there were suspected gang members in the car, two with felony warrants, and they weren’t anxious to go to jail.

    My friend is a very nice guy away from work. On duty, he is pretty paranoid and he does approach his job as if nearly everyone is a potential threat until proven otherwise.

    It’s sad, frankly.

    By his estimation, more than 3/4 of the troubling, potentially violent criminals he encounters are involved in the drug trade in some capacity.

    Are there bad cops? Absolutely. However, it is my firm belief that our draconian drug policies put even the good cops in an impossible situation. When contraband creates such an extensive (and dangerous) culture of drugs and violence, it’s understandable (not acceptable, but understandable) that cops would come to view people as potential criminals first, and actual people second.

    None of which excuses Dunphy’s column. I just get a little uncomfortable when some folks here are prepared to paint cops as anything other than people.

    I suspect that a lot of people on this board would start exhibiting the very same behaviors they moan about if they had to enforce the laws the way our police officers have to.

    Change the laws and you’ll see a big difference in the way the police behave.

  63. #63 |  Phil | 

    Also, I’d add that we don’t live in a police state we don’t believe ourselves to be. And are offended when the police abuse there powers. We are free because we believe ourselves to be.

  64. #64 |  Brent Allen | 

    If a cop reasonably thinks you’re an armed robber, and tells you to put your hands in the air — and you don’t, and reach for your wallet instead, you may get shot. Sorry. That’s reality.
    Comment by Patterico — 7/28/2009 @ 9:12 pm

    Patterico responds to his own post. Am I the only one who finds this comment disturbing?

  65. #65 |  Matthew Yglesias » National Review Wants Cops to Kill Civilians | 

    [...] Ta-Nehisi Coates and Radley Balko, National Review offers us the appalling views of one LAPD officer: So, since the president is keen [...]

  66. #66 |  JS | 

    More evidence that we live in a police state-check out Radley’s latest blog post about the blogger that went to jail for publishing information the police didn’t want her to. Apparently she broke no law yet she still lost her freedom (or what passes for freedom in America)

  67. #67 |  Taktix | 

    Every word written by Patterico and Dunphy is dripping for disdain for what they see as “civilians,” namely, anyone who is not a cop.

    Since we’re the ones being shot at rather than the ones doing the shooting, we simply don’t understand. Those fools are lost. Out only hope is to keep reminding our children what these bastards really are, so that hopefully they’ll show some skepticism when presented with the party line of “LEOs are always right, and have always been right.”

    Thanks for keeping them honest Radley!

  68. #68 |  Police Taser Use: Cost-Benefit Analysis | 

    [...] Radley Balko points to this positively frightening post by a pseudonymous LAPD officer at NRO. So, since the [...]

  69. #69 |  Sam | 

    Off topic, but on the topic of police…This story is precisely how I’ve been saying one should serve a potentially dangerous warrant, as opposed to diving in guns blazing:

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/07/29/north.carolina.terrorism.wife/index.html

    (the story is written in a sympathetic “they lied to me!” manner. I’m saying that’s precisely what they should do)

  70. #70 |  Taktix | 

    Wow, the admin on that cop website keeps deleting my posts. Not that it surprises me that they believe strongly in censorship, telling as it is…

  71. #71 |  JS | 

    Taktix “Wow, the admin on that cop website keeps deleting my posts. Not that it surprises me that they believe strongly in censorship, telling as it is…”

    Yea when you are constantly having your butt kissed by a fearful and cringing public and constantly told what a true hero you are then its really hard and nerve grating to hear someone who isn’t slobberingly deferential.

  72. #72 |  Kristen | 

    RP, you’re absolutely right….cops ARE people. And for that reason should not automatically be trusted. I don’t trust any stranger I see on the street. I wouldn’t ask a stranger to, say, look after my purse while I I use a port-a-potty. Why would I, and why should I, trust a random police officer? He or she is just a random stranger to me. A more dangerous one, though, because he or she carries a gun.

  73. #73 |  auggie | 

    “He is instead concerned with protecting his mortal hide from having holes placed in it where God did not intend.” If your too scared to do the job right don’t do it. I was pulled over last week because my van fit the description of a van doing robberies. I had a bunch of tools with me and no drivers licsense at 1am. The cop was super cool even though he thought I was his suspect because his computer wasn’t showing anything under my name. I called a friend and they vouched for me and came and got me and the van. The cop apoligized and made sure I knew why he did everything he did. It takes patience and courage to be a cop. If you don’t have those attributes find another line of work. I’m sick of our PDs being job programs for dumb jocks who can’t do anything else.

  74. #74 |  Mister DNA | 

    I’ve got nothing to add other than it’s a crying shame what’s happened to The National Review. Growing up, my family only subscribed to two magazines: The National Review and National Lampoon. Lampoon started to suck in the mid/late-80s, and The National Review started sucking not long after that, but the signal-to-noise ration wasn’t that bad. Since 9/11 the magazine has been intolerable. For every occasional stand on principle they show (most of their editors had the decency to denounce Dinesh D’Souza’s last book) there’s 50 instances of them shitting on conservative principles so they can hate on Scary Brown People.

  75. #75 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Status Check 2009

    You, the human individual, have the freedom to do anything you want, including commit murder.

    The State has the right to do whatever it wants to punish you for exercising your freedom, including violate your “Constitutional” or natural rights.

    After the dust settles, if you, the human individual, are still alive, you may try to have your case heard in a court to see if the State agrees that your “Constitutional” or natural rights were violated and what “remedy” might be taken in the future.

    Freedom and limitation of the State are a discovery process. There are no absolutes.

    Such is the status quo in 2009.

  76. #76 |  BamBam | 

    The argument of “this is reality” is a dishonest argument. What it really means is “shut up and be subservient”. Just because something is the current reality doesn’t make it right, nor does it mean it should always be reality. Amazing how some people are so intellectually dishonest and (to borrow an overused phrase) morally bankrupt that “this is reality” is their best argument, with no supporting logic or validation or thought.

  77. #77 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Not sure if that comment was directed at me BamBam, but I meant nothing other than to sum up the present UNJUST situation, which just happens to be REAL.

    I always try to be as polite as possible to police officers because they can so easily end my life. I am pragmatic in that regard. I hold my nose as I do it, but sometimes in life you have to do what you have to do. I simply value my life above my “dignity,” or what have you.

    The idiot teenager I used to be behaved differently and provoked police officers. I’m lucky to be alive today. I now have two dependent children, so that means I am even more likely to yield to a person who has legal “authority” to use a gun.

  78. #78 |  Tyler | 

    For what it’s worth, I tend to agree with JS.
    Ever been to Japan, Sweden, Canada?
    Those are real Peace Officers. When’s the last time
    you saw a professor of international renown arrested for copping an attitude in these countries? These kooks with badges in the USA
    beat people up just for kicks. Or tase them.

    Yeah, I can’t speak for Japan or Sweden. Canada? We’ve got our own issues: see this video and then read the Braidwood Inquiry page on Wiki.

  79. #79 |  BamBam | 

    Nonono Cynical my statement was geared towards the comment quoted in #64. Sorry, I should have stated that. You are exactly right in #75.

    For your reading pleasure: Chicago cops may have new policy of firing at fleeing vehicles for ?

    http://www.wbbm780.com/New-rules–when-cops-can-shoot-at-fleeing-vehicles/4897101

  80. #80 |  joev | 

    the posts from TexasC are a scream–i think he’s gonna need a new pair of kneepads after that servicing marathon.

  81. #81 |  Peter Ramins | 

    Radley, you missed one of the most important refutations of his argument – one I already pointed out in the comments on your original post about Dunphy’s Hupmobile treatise:

    Both the innocent Hupmobile driver and the alleged robber Hupmobile driver are to be afforded these rights in question.

    Proper execution of a policeman’s duties, in line with and constrained by the constitutional rights guaranteed to everyone he interacts with boost the civilian’s safety, the officer’s safety, and should it come down to it, the strength of the case the state will have against a suspected criminal.

    If Officer Angsty McJumpthegun rams the Hupmobile off the road, advances in a crouch to the driver’s side door with weapon drawn and trained, breaks the window, and forcibly yanks the driver out… and it later turns out that indeed this was the person wanted in connection with the robbery of a grocery store… The DA won’t be very happy with the arrest.

    Honestly, Dunphy could have written something like “The next time you’re in an ‘interview’ room being beaten by a phonebook, just think – the officer doing the ‘interview’ doesn’t know if you’re guilty or innocent, but it *could be a guilty person in your seat*, and the ends justify the means.”

    No, Mr. Dunphy. Do your JOB, correctly, and legally. There is no gray area here.

  82. #82 |  supercat | 

    For your reading pleasure: Chicago cops may have new policy of firing at fleeing vehicles for ?

    If the cops would have authority to shoot at someone fleeing on foot, they should not lose that authority merely because the person boards a vehicle. On the other hand, the authority to shoot at fleeing persons, regardless of conveyance, should be tightly curtailed.

  83. #83 |  supercat | 

    You may be as pure as the driven snow itself, but you have no idea what horrible crime that police officer might suspect you of committing.

    The logical solution for that would be for the police to say what horrible crime you are suspected of committing, and why they think you committed it. Police are required to have articulable suspicion to legitimately stop people. That would imply that to legitimately stop someone, a cop must be able to articulate a basis for suspicion. That doesn’t imply that cops always act legitimately, of course, nor that cops who act illegitimately will be held accountable. There’s an overriding illegitimate rule that says that cops are free to violate the Constitution if a court can be persuaded to let them.

    Note that having cops articulate their basis for suspicion may help them catch real crooks even when they’ve stopped the wrong person. For example, if the cops tell the motorist that someone who robbed a bank the day before was observed riding a 1932 Hupmobile, and if the motorist had just bought the car, the motorist may be able to help the cops catch the person from whom he bought the car. Of course, if the cops’ goal is to catch someone they can prosecute, as opposed to the person who actually committed the robbery, such information may not be ‘helpful’ to them. But if the cops want to catch the actual robber, being able to use such information quickly may be of great benefit.

  84. #84 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    *serenades Dunphy and Patterico with the world’s tiniest violin*

  85. #85 |  BamBam | 

    Tagging omitted some of my text. I meant to say “firing at fleeing vehicles for (does it really matter the reason, they do what they want anyway)”.

    Firing at fleeing people, no matter the mode of transport, is an escalation of violence that places other people in mortal danger. Most of the time the situation will play out in a populated area, and unless a fleeing person is placing other lives in IMMEDIATE danger and thus it becomes more necessary to stop the bad guy NOW, shooting at them should not be an option. The article stated the city of Chicago, which is most definitely a highly populated city. Further, if the boundaries of policy are loosened, then it is highly likely that said boundaries will be pushed by the 4 year old child deductive reasoning of police (as proven time and again by their statements in reports) until the boundaries are further loosened — rinse, repeat, End Game=no boundaries.

  86. #86 |  BamBam | 

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090728_america_the_great_police_state/

    Gore Vidal on the rise of the police state.

  87. #87 |  dsmallwood | 

    its true. i was trying to be complimentary in a cool, in-the-know sort of way. clearly it didn’t work. i thought the internet was rife with sarcastic people. how come nobody gets me?

    any, SJE summed it up better than i did. Radley’s presentation is spot on. its dispassionate, its factual, its reasoned and its logical. and that typically gets you nowhere. its why Dobbs gets better ratings than Stossel.

    you need to yell “its an abuse of power” followed by “think about the children”. but its a waste anyway. why reason with the mindless horde?

  88. #88 |  anarch | 

    JS # 61, the nice maxim is “Nulla poena sine lege”; Sulla was the name of a Roman statesperson.

  89. #89 |  MDGuy | 

    #62 | RP | July 29th, 2009 at 3:06 pm
    Change the laws and you’ll see a big difference in the way the police behave.

    RP I completely agree with your analysis. Unfortunately for people who would like to see the laws change, they face an uphill battle far more difficult than your average legislation. On top of the police and prison industry thriving on the status quo and extremely motivated hold on to it, we have a drug czar (yes, Obama dropped the czar label; change in name only, not function) who has virtually unlimited funds at his disposal and a direct mandate from Congress to defeat attempts to change drug laws. The government is supressing free speach, not through “disappearing people” or other such methods (yet), but simply by creating a never-ending strean of white noise, obfuscation, extreme hyperbole and sensational emotional appeals. Not to mention controlling broadcasters through the tax code.

  90. #90 |  Caby Smith | 

    Hi Cynical in CA…

    Good post, and I agree… however, I think you said two things that need modification: First, you mention that we (the public) have the freedom to do anything, including murder. Correct. But then you mention the State has the “right” to do the same. I think you meant to say that the state has the same “freedom” we do… not the right. Second: you state that “Freedom and limitation of the State are a discovery process. There are no absolutes.” I think this is contrary to your point in that there are “absolutes” (for the most part), it’s just that in the heat of the moment, neither “we” nor the “state” are bright enough, and in some cases, moral enough to make the right decisions. After we screw up, it’s then up to the courts to decide which one of us has acted outside the “absolutes” of the law. Your point, I assume, is that we are all human, and for that reason we should all be a little more polite, considerate, and knowledgable about the law so we don’t all shoot each other.

  91. #91 |  lew | 

    Many people have noticed that “Jack Dunphy” seems to be a loose cannon and the public would probably be better served if he were confined to a desk job and out of harms way.

    One wonders about an assistant DA approving of Dunphy’s post, though. I wonder what kind of job the LA district attorney’s office does in protecting citizens from rogue cops. Might be an interesting subject for an intrepid journalist.

  92. #92 |  ceanf | 

    the job of a police officer is not protect themselves at all costs. rather it is to protect others at all cost, even if that cost happens to be their own life. so, to me, this bull shit about officers doing anything to protect their own hide, towards someone who as far as they know is completely innocent, is fucking bunk. anyone not ready to risk their lives to protect the innocent, and more specifically, anyone not ready to assume every person they encounter as innocent until they demonstrate themselves to be a criminal, shout not be a police officer.

    burn, radley burn. way to break sown this douch’s own argument before his ignorant eyes.

  93. #93 |  Brad | 

    #16 la Rana

    “…..waiting for Dunphy’s appendange, “Brad,” from the last post on this…..”

    Yes, you really are stupid enough to cling to that illusion. You don’t disappoint.

    Radley Balko,

    You on the other hand do disappoint me. I had hoped that you might back off the Dunphy mischaracterization because it was something that might have been written in anger. Instead you double down.

    Is the absurd Yglesias headline linked at #65 “National Review Wants Cops to Kill Civilians” what you intended? Because that is what you are now defending.

    Is obstinate refusal to report accurately what someone else wrote your new policy? Has your previous reporting on police abuses been tainted by the same problem?

    You are starting to lose me, and I doubt I am the only one. If you only care about the approval of crapweasels like “la Rana”, that might end up the only kind audience you are left with.

  94. #94 |  Patterico | 

    “Second, as emphasized in the excerpt above (a portion that Patterico neglected to include in his post)”

    No, I didn’t. Correction please.

  95. #95 |  Patterico | 

    “I did like how (according to them) it was “very telling” that Radley had not responded to Patterico’s post within 20 minutes of it being published.”

    That’s a knock on Steve Verdon; you just didn’t get the joke. Explanation here.

  96. #96 |  Peter Ramins | 

    #92 | ceanf

    “the job of a police officer is not protect themselves at all costs. rather it is to protect others at all cost, even if that cost happens to be their own life.”

    That is totally incorrect. There are several court rulings that specifically absolve the police of a ‘responsibility’ to protect the public at large. The job of the police, ostensibly, is to enforce the laws on the books. They are *reactive*, not *preemptive*.

    Now if you have hoodlums with guns in your home and you call the police and they get there before any harm comes to your family, hooray. If they forget to come or decide not to come and a you or family member dies or is crippled / beaten, you have no recourse at all. If you sue the police for not showing up, you’ll lose.

  97. #97 |  ASPECTRATIO | 

    Good grief, Dunphy, Blockbuster Video called. They want that copy of “Magnum Force” you’ve been using for inspiration returned.

  98. #98 |  Alex | 

    Brad, you are not the only one.

    You have to be either an idiot or a liar to not understand who Dunphy was referring to with the Constitutional rights thing. Every stoner whose seen one episode of Cops understands this. Whatever Balko is, between this, the Ashton Lundeby thing (lol), the LAT terrorist airplane passenger, etc. Balko has now thoroughly convinced me that his opinion is not worth serious consideration. This is a real shame because some of his reporting, namely Cory Maye and “Dr.” Hayne, is just excellent and deserving of even more widespread attention than it’s rightfully gained. However, as it stands, what used to be one of my favorite bloggers has now left me pondering whether my longest standing magazine subscription is really worthwhile. It’s really fucking sick. I blame the Kos-like karma thing.

    Also, I should note, I really (really really) don’t like that Jack Dunphy guy. But that’s no reason to support an either idiotic or malicious distortion of his article.

  99. #99 |  angulimala | 

    Dunphy is a disgrace. End of story.

  100. #100 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Today everyone gathers at the White House for a cold one in an effort to “deescalate” (their word, not mine) the situation. So, in effect, Obama is going to step in and do what the fucking cop should have done right from the beginning if he had been able to control his ego driven sense of self importance, letting his mission become one of punishing Gates for his obvious lack of deference to the Deities in Blue.

    This morning I was thinking that this incident may have, at least, brought attention to the problem of cop’s arresting people for “contempt of cop”, but that’s not really what all the hoopla is about, is it? The big uproar isn’t about this cop’s behavior nearly as much as it is about who he did it too. It’s being characterized as a racial profiling case, as if what the cop did was not as bad as who he did it too.

    I feel differently. I don’t think it’s as much about race as it is about class. The reason for the huge media response isn’t because of the cop’s unjustified harassment of a black man. No, that happens every day. It’s because of the cop’s unjustified harassment of an important man.

  101. #101 |  Fluffy | 

    Brad and Alex,

    Go fuck yourselves.

    There was absolutely no mischaracterization of Dunphy’s original statement.

    Dunphy wrote “If you aggressively assert your Constitutional rights and don’t do as the officer directs, you might end up full of holes.”

    If the officer directs me to anwer questions and I aggressively decline to do so, that constitutes aggressively asserting my Constitutional rights and not doing as the officer directs.

    If the officer directs me to open my trunk and I aggressively decline to do so, that constitutes aggressively asserting my Constitutional rights and not doing as the officer directs.

    That means that by Dunphy’s original statement, I would be an unreasonable fool if I did not act as if I could be shot for doing either of these things.

    In subsequent posts within the thread, Dunphy added more content to his original statement, saying [paraphrased], “I didn’t mean things like that, I meant things like refusing to get out of the car or reaching for a weapon and stuff”. That’s all well and good, but that’s not what he WROTE.

    You may want to say, “Only a moron would not know what he meant before he clarified it,” but we are under no obligation to try to torture the guy’s words into a form where they make sense. He wrote what he wrote and he got called on it.

  102. #102 |  anonymous | 

    SJE @ July 29th, 2009 at 11:28 am: “In a sense he is right about thoroughness and people not listening to libertarians. Well reasoned, well thought out arguments take time to read. Especially when they challenge prior thinking (like don’t talk back to the police). Most people do not have the attention span beyond the 30 sec news story.”

    This is why Radley’s blog posts, from police professionalism to SWAT raids, should be made into short videos. The folks who produce Reason TV ought to be able to do this.

    Just think how much attention a video enactment of a SWAT team taking down wheel-chair bound Richard Paey, or Fairfax police murdering unarmed gambler Sal Culosi, would get.

  103. #103 |  Taktix® | 

    I will point out that Patterico, in response to an email, said his server filter is overly strict and apologized for my posts not going through.

    Just to clear the air…

  104. #104 |  Radley Balko | 

    Brad, Alex:

    What Fluffy said. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    I didn’t dishonestly “report” anything about Dunphy. I commented on a blog post he wrote, and linked to it so you could go read it and interpret it yourselves. You may disagree with my interpretation. That’s fine. It’s an interpretation that was shared by a hell of a lot of other people, including conservative bloggers like James Joyner. Your attempt analogize this to the actual reporting I do is crap.

    Alex, I post links to 10 or more stories per day. I don’t have time to do my own reporting on everything I link to. Mostly because I spend my days doing actual reporting on other stories. In both of the stories you mentioned, I posted subsequent links to the corrections or to critiques of those stories once they were brought to my attention. Blog for any length of time, and you’re eventually going to link to something that later turns out to be false, or misreported. Again, I had no hand in reporting either of those stories. And I posted links to corrections/clarifications when they were published. To ask any more is to ask that I not post or discuss any news story I haven’t personally verified with my own reporting. Which is ridiculous.

    As for my politics, if you think I’ve been overly critical of Republicans and haven’t criticized Democrats then you haven’t been reading very carefully. That said, I have no intention of trying to achieve some magical 1:1 balance of critical posts of either party. I’m sorry if you’re unhappy with the balance. Actually, no I’m not. I don’t really care.

    If all of this isn’t satisfactory for you, go find other blogs to read. Oh, and Brad, my traffic is up significantly in the last year, both here and the traffic to my stories at Reason. In the last month I’ve been favorably linked by a number of right-of-center sites, including Volokh, Oustide the Beltway, First Things, The Weekly Standard, and National Review. And yes, if lefties want to read me and support my work, I’m more than happy to welcome them, too.

  105. #105 |  JS | 

    Its a good thing they can’t taze us through a computer screen!

  106. #106 |  Scott | 

    You may be as pure as the driven snow itself, but you have no idea what horrible crime that police officer might suspect you of committing. You may be tooling along on a Sunday drive in your 1932 Hupmobile when, quite unknown to you, someone else in a 1932 Hupmobile knocks off the nearby Piggly Wiggly.

    Ahhhh yes. The dreaded and oft-occurring “My Cousin Vinny” mistaken identity crime scenario.

    *rolls eyes*

  107. #107 |  Patterico | 

    “In both of the stories you mentioned, I posted subsequent links to the corrections or to critiques of those stories once they were brought to my attention.”

    How about posting a correction of the error you made in this post, which error I have already brought to your attention?

  108. #108 |  Taktix® | 

    “And yes, if lefties want to read me and support my work, I’m more than happy to welcome them, too.”

    What about us libertarians?!?

    Radley?

  109. #109 |  Mike Toreno | 

    “Third, Dunphy was responding negatively to the idea that the “teachable moment” in all of this ought to be for the police to be more cognizant of our rights, and not make rash arrests or employ racial profiling (we now know of course that the latter most likely didn’t play a role in the Gates arrest).”

    I don’t agree that racial profiling didn’t play a part in the Gates arrest. We now know that the police report in the case was all lies. We know that the police lied on the 911 caller and said she mentioned two black men with backpacks when we know she said two men with suitcases, she didn’t know if they were having trouble with the door or not.

    Why did Crowley’s false police report put out of character words in Gates’s mouth that reflected a white person’s conception of what black slang should sound like? “I’ll talk to your mama outside”? Give me a break.

    Why didn’t Crowley just leave once he got Gates’s identification? The only report we have of what happened inside the house, which we know is not all lies, is Gates’s report, which makes a great deal of sense and fits in with the facts. Gates says that when he gave Crowley his ID, he believes Crowley was unpacking his preconceived narrative, and that view of it makes sense, and it’s hard to explain Crowley’s continued presence in the house in any other way. But it is explained if Crowley was experiencing cognitive dissonance – came in with one expectation, was presented with the true explanation which conflicted with the expectation and was hard for him to accept and then took time, while throwing his weight around, letting the explanation sink in.

    Gates’s analysis presents a plausible reason why Crowley took so much time for the explanation to sink in.

    Why didn’t Crowley hand over his ID card when asked? That aspect of it maybe isn’t racial profiling, but it could easily have been racially motivated, on the idea that black people aren’t entitled to the same courtesy as white people.

    The most immediate explanation of Crowley’s conduct is simply a disdain for the rights of the citizens and a corrupt desire to use his authority to serve his own ego, but there’s plenty of support for the that racial considerations played a part in it too.

  110. #110 |  Mike Toreno | 

    “The only report we have of what happened inside the house, which we know is not all lies, is Gates’s report”

    should be

    “The only report we have of what happened inside the house, which we do not know to be all lies, is Gates’s report”

  111. #111 |  Quote of the Day • CrazyDrumGuy | 

    [...] (via) [...]

  112. #112 |  Latest » Justin Barrett’s ‘Jungle Monkey’ Controversy | 

    [...] Related: Radley Balko, “Response to Patterico and Jack Dunphy.” [...]

  113. #113 |  Andrew S. | 

    Patterico, screw you. Seriously.

    Between law school and taking (and passing, thank you very much) three different state bar exams, I know hypotheticals. I know that every single word in a hypothetical means something. So stop with the “oh, he didn’t mean that! Just look at this section of what he said!”. No. Every single word in there, to me, means something, and it’s pretty damn obvious what he was trying to say.

  114. #114 |  ASPECTRATIO | 

    #113- Andrew S., be kind. After all, both ‘Patterico’ (an ADA) and ‘Jack Dunphy’ (a cop) are, in the end, just government employees. Back pedding, obfuscation and parsing are SOP when they get defensive.

  115. #115 |  Brad | 

    Balko said, “Brad, Alex: What Fluffy said [Go fuck yourselves].”

    Classy.

    “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

    Instructive as to why the Libertarian Party has remained a pathetic debating society, favoring cranks and zealots while gaining no ground. You would rather see someone as an enemy than recognize an ally.

    What a shame. Radley Balko jumps the shark.

  116. #116 |  An Exercise for the Reader § Unqualified Offerings | 

    [...] Yglesias also writes about the Occupation. Authoritarian-blogger Patterico alleged that everyone was taking the poor cop’s blatant threats “ out of context.” I think his [...]

  117. #117 |  Patterico’s Pontifications » Balko Tries to Prevent Patterico from Reading Him | 

    [...] the error: in a post that he put up both on Reason and his personal blog, Balko suggested that I wasn’t being straight with my readers, contending that I [...]

  118. #118 |  Bozoer Rebbe | 

    There’s a popular YouTube video by Prof. James Duane titled, “Don’t Talk To The Police”,
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4097602514885833865
    because police are looking to arrest someone and your innocent behavior might fit into a picture of circumstantial evidence.

    It’s interesting that Dunphy’s example, you just might happen to be driving the same kind of car as a suspect, is exactly a reason given by Prof. Duane for not answering police questions.

    Police arrest people. Prosecutors like Patterico work to imprison those that the police arrest. Sometimes justice takes place.

    BTW, Dunphy likes to get some kind of credit as a maverick within the LAPD as though he’s telling tales out of school and that his career might be harmed if he wasn’t pseudonymous, but I think there’s some cowardice in his NRO column. But then any cop that thinks the thin blue line is more important than going public with police misconduct is a bit of a coward.

  119. #119 |  Frank Furullo | 

    You guys keep at it. You are just one more toke from having it all figured out. Keep the tin foil on tight, crank up the Dillon and keep ignoring your moms demand to move out of the basement.

    Just a little thing, if I think you are an armed violent criminal, like Oh say a residential burglar and you choose to use your constitutional rights by refusing to show me your hands, then decide to really show me you know your rights by reaching quickly into your baggie jacket, well, reality is gonna suck for you real fast, you might not even make it to the next frat party.

  120. #120 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #90 | Caby Smith — “I think you meant to say that the state has the same “freedom” we do… not the right.”

    You are correct that I erred. What I should have written was that the State has the “power.” That’s a common error in debating federalism or “state’s rights.” States don’t have rights, they have powers. Only individuals have rights. My bad.

    “… you state that “Freedom and limitation of the State are a discovery process. There are no absolutes.” I think this is contrary to your point in that there are “absolutes” (for the most part) …”

    The absence of prior restraint means that freedom to act is absolute. However, you are correct, that beyond the initial acts and consequences, when the courts try to settle the differences, that is where the balance of justice is supposed to enter the equation and absolutes turn into guidelines, restrictions and laws.

    “it’s just that in the heat of the moment, neither “we” nor the “state” are bright enough, and in some cases, moral enough to make the right decisions.”

    Well, I’ll go ahead and state my position that the State is -a priori- immoral. I advocate a free market in everything. I’m an anarchist. The only moral way to discover truth is through peaceful individual interactions, the more the better.

    “Your point, I assume, is that we are all human, and for that reason we should all be a little more polite, considerate, and knowledgable about the law so we don’t all shoot each other.”

    Not exactly my point, but I can’t argue with that. Well put. My point was that there is theory and there is reality, and for now we’re stuck with a rather unpleasant reality and it is prudent for peace-loving individuals to maintain the peace if they value their lives.

  121. #121 |  Patterico’s Pontifications » Balko’s Defense: I Don’t Have Time for Accuracy | 

    [...] previous comment, commenter fluffy had said: “Brad and Alex, Go fuck yourselves.” Balko echoed the sentiment: “Brad, Alex: what fluffy said.” All this happened in the same comment thread where, in [...]

  122. #122 |  anonymous | 

    #119 | Frank Furullo | July 31st, 2009 at 7:08 pm: “Just a little thing, if I think you are an armed violent criminal, like Oh say a residential burglar and you choose to use your constitutional rights by refusing to show me your hands, then decide to really show me you know your rights by reaching quickly into your baggie jacket, well, reality is gonna suck for you real fast, you might not even make it to the next frat party.”

    Frank,

    If I think you are an armed violent criminal, like Oh say a police impersonator who just happens to have some red and blue flashing lights behind the windshield of an otherwise normal looking car, am I as justified in using force as you are to defend myself?

    Just asking.

  123. #123 |  Steve Verdon | 

    That’s a knock on Steve Verdon; you just didn’t get the joke. Explanation here.

    Somebody is looking like an obsessive compulsive nutjob there Patterico. I go away for a long weekend and come back and find out you are still hung on this. Most amusing.

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