Seattle Cop Punches Woman in the Face

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Both women are overreacting here. Obviously the cop is as well. Make up your own mind about whether the punch was warranted. I think you could make a case that by the time the punch was thrown, the cop justifiably felt he was losing control of the situation. (And hey, at least he didn’t use his Taser.) Seems to me that the mistake came earlier: This started as a jaywalking citation. Was it it really so important that the woman get a jaywalking fine that she needed to be chased down and thrown against the patrol car? Even if she was trying to avoid the fine, seems like at some point you realize what’s at stake here (a single incident of someone undermining your authority to get away with a petty crime), and just let it go.

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257 Responses to “Seattle Cop Punches Woman in the Face”

  1. #1 |  Burdell | 

    He should have just shot her dog.

  2. #2 |  Price | 

    Wow! this cop NEEDS a taser. She can’t seem to get control of this person at all…Throw in some mud and water and this might be fun to watch..LOL

  3. #3 |  Mattocracy | 

    Jay walking is a victimless crime for the most part. If there is no traffic, people should be free to walk across the street. If there is traffic…well, who the hell would run across the street with cars coming at you.

  4. #4 |  jac | 

    So many wrongs here on both sides. I do like that there were so many cameras out though.

  5. #5 |  Jon Gray | 

    I thought the punch was unwarranted so on principle I’m unhappy with the cop as a public servant. As a person, I think the women both sort of deserved to get punched. Not that it excuses the cop as a public servant.

  6. #6 |  Joe | 

    I like to see the glass half full as opposed to half empty. I am glad you can still photograph a cop beatting up a citizen in Seattle.

    Let Freedom Ring.

  7. #7 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    The moment the offender starts to resist and/or touch the officer, its “on”, and it will be a no-holds-barred match.

    If she was just pleading her case to him, it would be one thing. However, it wasn’t. As much as I dislike jack-booted thuggery, you just have to follow lawful instructions form an officer, regardless of the situation.

    An officer will chase down someone running a stop sign or doing 40 in a 30, so running down a jaywalker is nothing abnormal.

  8. #8 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Good question. Should people be permitted to ignore the cops? If jaywalking is an offense for which you can be cited, then don’t cops have a legitimate right to issue a citation for it? Isn’t it then within their legitimate power to stop you for that purpose? If it isn’t permissible for the cops to pursue and forcibly issue the citation, then why would anyone bother stopping when cops try to cite them?

    Disclaimer: I can’t see the video from work, but did read the article. I am asking this as philosophical question rather than being addressing this specific event.

  9. #9 |  bbartlog | 

    ‘a single incident of someone undermining your authority to get away with a petty crime’

    Um wat? I usually agree with you, Radley, but if I were a cop I would not be in the business of letting people get away with crimes, petty or otherwise. This officer looks like he needs more training in actually subduing suspects and I think once the second woman got involved I might have preferred to arrest her (interfering with an arrest is a more serious issue than the initial crime) but really, you think the appropriate thing to do here is just say ‘oh, too much commotion, I’ll just get in my squad car and drive away’? What message does that send? Get a big enough crowd and resist hard enough and maybe next time we’ll let you get away with shoplifting?

  10. #10 |  Papa Lazerou | 

    I do not like police. Fullstop. However….

    That cop was a paradigm of virtue in the circumstances. Given the number of clearly antagonistic people standing around mouthing off at him and at one point crowding him, he could have justifiably pulled his weapon and directed the bystanders to back off.

    He exercised enormous restraint, patience and persistence to get that girl handcuffed – without throwing her to the ground, tasing or spraying her – these are not normal cop attributes. The punch, apart from being of great shock value barely connected and looked like self defence to me.

    Radley, I understand your point about the potential for things to go badly wrong given the relatively minor nature of the alleged offence, however if police are to be taken seriously they must be willing to back up their lawful instructions with appropriate force.

  11. #11 |  Radley Balko | 

    you think the appropriate thing to do here is just say ‘oh, too much commotion, I’ll just get in my squad car and drive away’?

    Do you think police officers write up every person they see jaywalking? They have discretion. This would have been a good time to use some.

  12. #12 |  bbartlog | 

    @Mattocracy: ‘Jay walking is a victimless crime for the most part. If there is no traffic, people should be free to walk across the street.’

    In Pittsburgh at least the law is written such that *unless* you actually interfered with traffic, it isn’t jaywalking. And counter to your second statement, people do still walk when there is traffic; obviously people aren’t going to run them down, generally speaking, and in slow-traffic conditions (downtown, where I see most jaywalking) it certainly isn’t taking your life in your hands.
    Obviously writing the law this way can lead to he-said she-said arguments in court but it is at least clear that you’re proscribing something annoying rather than just enforcing pedestrian restrictions for the hell of it.

  13. #13 |  nwerner | 

    I live in Seattle and am no fan of cops. That said, after watching this video, that cop showed remarkable restraint. It appears to me that he is deliberately avoiding taking her to the pavement because he is concerned about leaving his back exposed to the others. His goal with the punch was most likely to disable one of his attackers so he could focus on the other. Those idiot women/girls turned a ticket that a magistrate might throw out or at least significantly reduce into a jail sentence. Real bright.

    Btw…link to the Seattle Times story, it’s a lot better. Both ladies already have criminal records for robbery and car theft. Not that that should necessarily come into play here but these are not people unfamiliar with the criminal justice system.

    Final point: if those were men, someone would be dead or in the hospital right now.

  14. #14 |  nwerner | 

    This would have been a good time to use some.

    Why, Radley? What makes this moment a good time not to use it? Because the cop knew that this situation would arise? There’s traffic consistently going by and a PEDESTRIAN VIADUCT to cross the street right there in the frame. These ladies chose not to use it. I know that intersection. It is very busy….busy enough that tax dollars were spent to build a pedestrian crossing above the street.

    Jaywalking is a bullshit victimless crime unless you’re the person driving that clips them and has to live with the insurance claims and the court costs.

  15. #15 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Yeah, I like that idea of jay walking only being enforced when traffic has been interfered with. Instead, I think it’s more like writing speeding tickets. Just a way of making it look like you’re doing something besides drinking coffee, eating donuts, shooting dogs, beating up bartenders, and harassing photographers.

  16. #16 |  bbartlog | 

    ‘They have discretion. This would have been a good time to use some.’

    The decision to write her up occurred before our footage starts; that might have been a good time for discretion, we don’t know. Letting someone go *after* you’ve decided to make an arrest, because they’re making a fuss, is a terrible idea. Justifiable if it gets to the point where your choice is between letting them go an endangering innocent bystanders (the high-speed chase scenario) but in general you’re offering people an incentive to resist arrest.

  17. #17 |  carpundit | 

    Radley, you’re wrong on this one, and your commenters 7-10 generally right. Cop acted reasonably all the way. Cops can’t just stop taking enforcement action when met with resistance.

    BTW, he was in a very dangerous situation there, of *the woman’s* making. He was alone, surrounded, and being assaulted. The punch was nothing. Taser or even baton would have been justified.

    Rather than criticism, he should get a medal for professionalism and restraint.

  18. #18 |  MikeZ | 

    “Do you think police officers write up every person they see jaywalking? They have discretion. This would have been a good time to use some.”

    After having just written some older guy a ticket for Jaywalking in the exact same spot, I suspect letting the 2nd jaywalker go with the first guy still there would have looked biased. The last thing the cop probably needed was the first guy to claim he let the “pretty young girls” go but he stopped me.

    I do agree that cops should and do use discretion when writing up jaywalkers but I suspect all that decision should be made prior to any action. Once he yelled for the girls to come over I don’t see him letting that go, and I don’t fault him for that. The events in the video which all take place after he has the girls at his car may be another matter.

  19. #19 |  Rhayader | 

    if I were a cop I would not be in the business of letting people get away with crimes

    To be fair though, cops do that all the time. They rarely pull someone over for speeding if the speed limit is only exceeded by a few MPH. And, even when they do pull people over, it’s not exactly uncommon to be let off with a “warning”.

    I agree that cops can’t simply retreat because a confrontation takes a wrong turn, but it’s certainly true that police are afforded quite a bit of discretion regarding their reaction to a given infraction, especially a minor one like jaywalking.

  20. #20 |  2ndAmnd | 

    Every American needs to armed and ready at any moment, and at a moment’s notice, to defend themselves against the agents of the brutal and sadistic police state that exists in this country.

    Moreover, people need to start sticking up for one another against the police. We can no longer just stand idly by as people are assaulted, abused, tortured and murdered on the streets of our cities and towns. It is time to stand up and fight back.

  21. #21 |  Gregory Peckery | 

    The punch was unjustified, but the woman was acting out of control. She could have easily walked away with a ticket.
    The main stream media will use this video to ignite racial tensions and keep viewers locked in to their hate filled easy chairs.
    Senseless!

  22. #22 |  Edmund Dantes | 

    Lol… some of these commenters remind me of Chris Rock’s famous quote…

    You know the worst thing about niggas? Niggas always want credit for some shit they supposed to do. A nigga will brag about some shit a normal man just does. A nigga will say some shit like, “I take care of my kids.” You’re supposed to, you dumb motherfucker! What kind of ignorant shit is that? “I ain’t never been to jail!” What do you want, a cookie?! You’re not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherfucker!

    It’s fun watching commenters here talking about how good the Cop was. Great wanna give him a fucking medal for doing his job? It’s his fucking job to act professionally. Keep situations under control. Defuse situations. However, the Cops of today and their sychophants also want us to thank the Cops for not pulling their Guns and tasers and going medieval on citizens. It’s a weird fucking dynamic.

    Of course there is also this from Chris Rock.

    You know what they say, “There’s no reason to ever hit a woman.” Shit! There’s a reason to hit everybody. You just don’t do it. Shit, there’s a reason to kick an old man down a flight of stairs. You just don’t do it. Ain’t nobody above an ass-whooping.

    Problem is the bad cops (and there are way too many of them and they get defended ad nauseum) get into these situations and they suddenly feel like their manhood is challenged and they can’t look weak so you end up with shit like this.

  23. #23 |  A McGillican | 

    Ditto Carpundit.

  24. #24 |  thorn | 

    In a couple of neighborhoods I used to drive through on the way to work, it almost seemed to me if “close-call jaywalking” was the local sport. People would literally just start walking slowwwwly across the street timing their movement so as to avoid being clipped by a couple inches. It wouldn’t have taken much movement on the car’s part to hit them; at times it seemed almost as if people were DARING you to hit them.

    It’s even more fun when you’re on a motorcycle… then you get to avoid cars AND stupid people.

  25. #25 |  space needle | 

    Seattle is one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities around.

    “Pedestrian-friendly” means that if you hit a pedestrian with your car, then you’re at fault. That is, motor-vehicle operators have a duty to operate their vehicles in a safe manner at all times. In an urban environment –anywhere except controlled-access freeways– that means watching out for pedestrians and not hitting them.

    The flip side of that, is that pedestrians have a legal duty to stay off the road.

    Jaywalking is taken seriously.

    Different cities have different norms. I happen to like Seattle. It’s one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities around.

  26. #26 |  Marty | 

    this works on his wife…

    seriously, cops are trained to disable without harming. if he goes around throwing lame-assed punches like that, he’s gonna get hurt and the taxpayers will be paying for his time off. a brachial slap, lateral femur or humerous hit would be more appropriate and STOP the situation with that woman.

    I’ve seen good cops defuse this nonsense. This guy stumbled a bit.

    what is the fine for jaywalking that the tax collector is trying to extract? if the fine’s unreasonable, I can see why she’s resisting. Otherwise, she’s a dumbass, too.

  27. #27 |  Jeff | 

    They’re both stupid, but the punch was extra stupid. This is exactly the kind of situation a Taser -should- be used in (in contact, not firing mode, to avoid the damage from the pins).

  28. #28 |  Nick | 

    I think the cop’s rationale for chasing down someone for jay walking was that if they’re running from the cops for something so petty, maybe they have a warrant out against them, or they’re a suspect in a robbery in the area, or similar.

    Not saying that it’s exactly right, but I think that’s the general police thinking in these situations. After all, why should you ever be afraid of the police? ;-)

  29. #29 |  arglebargle | 

    I think the cop showed either incredible restraint, or incompetence, not sure which. It did take him a while to get her under control and cuffed.

    As some of the other commenters mentioned, once you resist arrest and/or assault a cop, its game on. The cop should be allowed to defend himself and restrain his attacker.

    She is lucky she didnt get tased, maced and beaten until she complied. All of which would probably have been ok in that situation.

  30. #30 |  JS | 

    The freedom to walk anyplace we want to, not just in government designated walking zones. This must be one of those freedoms they hate us for.

  31. #31 |  Rhayader | 

    @Edmund #20

    It’s fun watching commenters here talking about how good the Cop was.

    Um, do you have any particular comments in mind? Maybe I’m missing something, but I’m seeing more of a reasoned defense than an unquestioning deference or admiration here.

    (But yeah, that Chris Rock bit is kickass.)

  32. #32 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Was it it really so important that the woman get a jaywalking fine that she needed to be chased down and thrown against the patrol car?

    I’m forming my own blue line, which I’ll call the “Patriot Line”. So, cops are always wrong. In this case, the out-of-control cop failed to use a single word to diffuse the situation. Instead, he resorted to vicious and repeated physical attacks over a minor citation.

    Qutestion: if the jaywalker said “Oh, I’m an off duty police officer”, do you think the confrontation would continue? Hell no.

    Cops ignore 100s of crimes every day (because EVERYTHING is a crime now) until they get a hair up their ass about something. Usually the thought process is “I haven’t done anything in awhile, so I might as well bust this poor moron.”

    This cop was not assaulted and he chose to escalate the situation with a punch. He was using excessive force to the point where law abiding citizens were compelled to step in to protect someone from serious harm. The bystanders that recorded the attack by the cop and the woman who tried to save her cousin ARE HEROES.

    The cop is also a racist. God I love 2010 America.

    Patriot Line established.

    Seriously, the cop is a fucking moron.

  33. #33 |  Tolly | 

    I almost sent this over to Radley…

    Also contained in the ST article: the school area where this occurred has seen a few deaths/accidents due to the jaywalking and the police were under orders to patrol the area more stringently.
    But to me at least, it seems the cop did his part to keep things calm as possible (given the crowd and the reactions of the girls). He’s subduing that girl in a restricted manner, instead of just slamming her into the hood. It’s only when the one girl starts to grab him from behind that he reacts with force…and like Radley said (and I thought while watching), it’s the point where a lot of police nowadays would resort to a taser or mace.

  34. #34 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    If you guys want to actually start impacting police brutality, I think you have to consider tactics similar to the police union. You can do the other objective stuff. But someone has to take the bat-shit-crazy banner (bought at the police union store) and defend any and all citizen response to cop beatings.

  35. #35 |  JimmyJones | 

    One can debate the merits or demerits of jay walking (pointless in most parts of most cities), and I am by no means a fan of most cops, but at least by the point of that situation where the video documents it seems like the cop was completely in the right in trying to defend himself in a situation where he was vastly outnumbered and not only is the initial person resisting, but a second person is getting involved and physically interfering with an arrest and possibly assaulting the officer as well. I think some restraint on not trying to play too rough with the girl, he seems to a void just giving her the whole throw down and wrapping the situation up quick.

    The first video from Seattle a few weeks ago was outrageous, this one not so much.

    Regardless of the cops actions, these girls seem like a real piece of work with a lot of growing up to do. I’m sure if it wasn’t the cop with how they run their mouth someone would of gave ‘em a punch to the face eventually. The level of obnoxiousness is nauseating.

  36. #36 |  Jerri Lynn Ward | 

    I have a real problem with seeing a man punch a woman in the face.

  37. #37 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Mr. Obama,

    Clear out a table out on the lawn, buy a six pack, and
    tell Michelle to pick up a couple White House invitations at Hallmark.

  38. #38 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I’m not sure what I think about the video, but I will say this: if that cop is pissed off about all of the negative attention he’s getting, he should be particularly pissed at the various other cops who have been recorded engaging in much more abusive behavior and their brethren in law enforcement who reflexively defend such behavior with “well, you don’ t know what we have to deal with every day.” I think this cop can offer a colorable argument that he tried as long as he could to contain the situation but at some point it escalated beyond his control. Unfortunately for him, when you’ve repeatedly heard that same argument in response to situations involving four cops vs. one kid or a 300-lb. cop vs. a 110-lb. barmaid, well the public understandably becomes less receptive to the argument.

  39. #39 |  652059 | 

    The cop *may* have been sent to patrol that intersection for jaywalkers because of complaints by residents. Is it petty, yes, but that’s a gray area. The law is there with the intent of safety; hopefully the cop used enough discretion that he only cited jaywalking when it actual posed a risk – the women may have almost causing an accident. I don’t know, and I’m not prone to be deferential to cops, either.

    However, with the brash, confrontational behaviour displayed by these women, it seems they felt they were exempt from any law or authority. They could have taken the ticket, gone to court and made their case. Making a scene just escalated this and likely caught them all an assault charge instead.

    There are a lot of very awful instances of police/govt abuse that are brought out here, Radley, and it has drastically altered my perception of police and government since I’ve been reading here. I really appreciate the work you do. But, I don’t see an issue here that wasn’t created mostly by the alleged victim’s actions. Sometimes you just get what you deserve because you didn’t act right.

  40. #40 |  PeeDub | 

    I’d like to point out that if this site, the home of skeptical, cynical, police-hatin’ sentiment, seems mostly to be on the side of giving the police some slack on this one, it is another *excellent* bullet point on the side of pro police video usage.

  41. #41 |  Thom | 

    The cop seems to have derived a pretty good story about how all of this started, but the girl being thrown down on the cop car does seem genuinely surprised that somebody is grabbing and attacking her. I think it’s ok to fight back when attacked, regardless of the municipal employment status of your attacker.

  42. #42 |  Dave W. | 

    Popo was in a use of force situation in the middle of a potentially hostile crowd. However, because numerous people started filming the crowd chose not to attack the popo. Good work by popo in regulating his own use of force, and especially good work by camerapeople providing the surveillance that saved this officer from a horrible beat down by the crowd.

  43. #43 |  Stephen | 

    As much as I hate to say it, I’m on the cops side in this case. The woman that got punched deserved it because she attacked him. Both women made the situation much worse than it should have been.

  44. #44 |  Rhayader | 

    @PeeDub #40: Great point. Video can as readily vindicate police behavior as it can call police behavior into question. If police actually behave appropriately, you’d think video recordings would be a great help for them.

  45. #45 |  MikeZ | 

    “They’re both stupid, but the punch was extra stupid. This is exactly the kind of situation a Taser -should- be used in (in contact, not firing mode, to avoid the damage from the pins).”

    Honestly, If it were me I’d rather take that punch than a hit from a taser. This shouldn’t have gotten into either situation but if it were me I’ll take the punch. Certainly a taser is preferable than a full on cop beatdown but hard to say I’d prefer a taser in this situation.

  46. #46 |  Marc | 

    “I have a real problem with seeing a man punch a woman in the face.”

    Bullshit, too bad for you. A man is totally justified in hitting a woman in self defense, and I’ve met women that could kick my ass in martial arts, it’s naive to assume the person attacking you in a self defense situation is a weak little daisy just because she’s a woman.

    And…I was happy to see that woman get punched, holy crap was she irritating. Almost as annoying as the “Are you serious?! Are you serious?!” afterwards. Yes, the cop’s serious. And to echo what another poster already said, she got off easy. If it were a man coming up and trying to grab the cop, he’d be tasered, thrown to the pavement face-first, possibly tasered again “just to be safe,” then cuffed and thrown in the squad car.

  47. #47 |  Samk | 

    I’m with the cop on this one, can practically see myself making the same decisions about escalation of force as I realize my training in subduing an offender wasn’t up to dealing with someone actually resisting. Every time he tried to put a lock on her wrist he slipped and lost his grip…poor bastard probably had zero real-world experience putting a hold on someone before today.

    …still hate cops most days.

  48. #48 |  Jon Gray | 

    @Dave Krueger

    This is a response to your #8 post. I think that is an interesting philosophical question. I would, with some hesitation, say that a person should not be able to walk away from a cop who is attempting to stop them (within reason). I think when you are a member of society you give up some rights. One of those is the right to ignore everyone else. I think for the sake of basic law and order you should have to stop and respond to a cop. Obviously, there are limits here to the amount of intrusion allowed. I think the cop can stop you and cite you but you don’t have a requirement to submit to a strip search after jaywalking. Really, I don’t think it’s any different than if the cop tried to pull them over in a vehicle–they can’t just ignore this and be on their way claiming personal rights.

    This probably goes more toward Radley’s mention of discretion on part of the cop. In a pragmatic sense, when someone is reacting so angrily toward a simple citation there is a certain amount of suspicion raised. I think this is common to numerous situations. For example, at work I will often walk around the corner and see one of the secretaries minimizing a window on her computer desktop. I don’t care and she doesn’t have to hide what she’s doing from me, but I am inherently suspicious of what she’s doing. I guess that’s a long-winded way of saying that this group’s reactions seems to justify the cop being stubborn–they’re resistance is just over-the-top for what apparently transpired before this video.

    Hovering over this is the question of whether or not jaywalking should be enforced when not interfering with traffic. However, I’m guessing this group wasn’t using civil disobedience in this instance. I bet they were just jaywalking.

  49. #49 |  LibCop | 

    I am stunned, simply totally and unbelievably stunned. And Proud.

    Stunned because when I booted up my comp after working a night shift and browsed my usual sites (this one being the 3rd on my daily list), the last thing I expected to see was anything approaching reasonableness about an action involving a government agent on what has to be the most libertarian blog in the universe.

    Proud because that same reasonableness is evidence that (most) Libertarians are NOT knee-jerk prejudiced reactionaries to everything involving someone who works for the government. Reasonable people judge on a case by case basis, instead of the blanket follishness of the unreasonable person.

    Now, about the incident (though I usually dispise monday morning QBing). I know personally how an incident can get to that point and the officer made a series of mistakes that clearly fall into the “just not worth it” catagory.

    When someone commits an infraction, it’s totally reasonable to stop that person and deal with it. It’s natural (for someone in a posistion of authority) to expect them to respect your authority to make that stop. But even with all that, you have to constantly be thinking about the big picture (and the little picture of your own mortal saftey).

    In his shoes, I would have attempted to get the citizen to come back and deal with the infraction, maybe even bringing her back to the car for it. But as soon as resistance is met, you have to decide wheter the whole situation is worth it. That was mistake number one, not cutting his losses rather than get into a use of force situation over jaywalking.

    Mistake number 2 was continuing as a crowd gathered. You don’t know who a person is “with”, and when you are by yourself and outnumbers, it doesn’t matter what you are carrying on your duty belt. The proper course of action at the point where he finds himself engaged with 2 people at the same time is to WITHDRAW, but he continued to try and make a solo arrest. It’s simply not worth it for a minor infraction. sure, at that point she was commiting anohter crime (resisting arrest), but you have to remember, BIG PICTURE.

    The original jaywalking/resiting citizen was totally at fault and the officer was right to defend himself once he was in the fight, but (at the risk of hell freezing over by actually agreeing with Radley Balko lol) the officer should have used his discreation for the greater good (the greater good would have been not escalating jaywalking into a fist fight with underaged citizens).

  50. #50 |  JS | 

    Nice to see you here again libcop. You forgot to mention one thing though-pride. The cop couldn’t just walk away because his ego wouldn’t let him distinguish whether or not it was worth it. This is probably more of a problem today than say in the 70′s or something because collectively y’all have grown more prideful and arrogant towards the public.

  51. #51 |  02660 | 

    Married white male trying to schtupe thick young black female. Black female resisting unwanted sexual advances. White man frusterated, vents anger. Crowd amused; all caught on camera, all on company time. That’s all this is, nothin new.

  52. #52 |  LibCop | 

    He looks young-ish, it could be rookie pride. But what you’ll find is that a natural process “usually” takes care of that. My experiance (with myself, and others I’ver worked along side) is that most people calm down in the job as years go by, coming down from the rookie “I am the law” plateau gradually. Some get worse of course.

    But please don’t get started on the “in the past cops were” kind of stuff, because it’s demonstratably false. I remember talking to an old timer who retired even before I became a cop in ’95, and the things cops used to do and get away CLEAN with back in the day (I’m in the South) is unbelievable. Rather than being andy griffith, cops in the past were MORE likely to pound you to snot with a wooden baton or leather sapp than anything you’ll experiance today (swat raids notwithstanding).

  53. #53 |  D. Mason | 

    I have to agree with several of the above posters. I am loathe to take a cops side in almost any situation but in this case he was in the middle of a belligerent crowd and pretty obviously defending himself when he swung on that woman. That seems like the least violent response (in a collection of violent options) aside from just taking it, which is a ridiculous notion. I mean seriously – if she were to get in some strangers face and start shoving them around the result would probably be similar, man or woman. Why should she expect any less from a cop who has legal authority to do much more?

  54. #54 |  Mario | 

    I criticize police at every opportunity; I’ve done it in this forum and on others. That said, if there is one thing I can’t stand more than the attitude trip of some police officers, it’s the attitude trip of some women: specifically, women who think it’s okay to lay their hands on a man because of the taboo against a man hitting a woman.

    These women obviously come from the “you can’t touch me, Mister” school of thought.

    The cop showed a lot of restraint. If the women were instead men the cop would have taken definitive action in 0.25 seconds after a man had laid hands on him.

    In all honesty, I think he should have showed less restraint and acted sooner.

  55. #55 |  JS | 

    Yea I thought about his age being a big part of that too. And I didn’t mean it was all like Andy Griffith as much as I meant that police today are more arrogant and have that “us vs. them” mentality now because there are way more cops than ever before and way more laws (reasons to fuck with people) than ever before.

  56. #56 |  RWW | 

    Almost any action against the police is self-defense. Resisting arrest is almost always self-defense. That being said, you have to know that if you anger a violent thug, you’re going to be brutalized.

  57. #57 |  Jerri Lynn Ward | 

    “A man is totally justified in hitting a woman in self defense,…”

    Marc,

    I agree. I just don’t see the self-defense part in this video.

  58. #58 |  whomever | 

    “I have a real problem with seeing a man punch a woman in the face.”

    How about the reverse: from the Seattle Times article, the woman who was punched can dish it out as well:

    “Rosenthal was charged in November with second-degree robbery. According to prosecutors, she punched a 15-year-old boy in the face while she and a group of youths were on their way to a rave in South Seattle last Aug. 28. The boy told police that his cellphone and $20 were stolen in the incident. A 14-year-old boy told police that he was punched in the head and his hat was stolen.”

    Her nickname is apparently ‘Angel’.

  59. #59 |  Captain Noble | 

    Jeff said, “They’re both stupid, but the punch was extra stupid. This is exactly the kind of situation a Taser -should- be used in (in contact, not firing mode, to avoid the damage from the pins).”

    The darts are the least of your concerns when you get hit with a Taser unless they are going in your eye or something. They are designed to penetrate skin or clothing just enough to stick in and close the circuit. As someone who carries a Taser at work, has been shot with one, and has seen a number of co-workers shot with them, trust me, the last thing anyone worries about is the little darts. It’s the big electric punch they carry that is the problem (for the receiver).

  60. #60 |  Jerri Lynn Ward | 

    whomever,

    I don’t like that either. She should be prosecuted for that. I’m not a fan of seeing women act like Xena the Warrior Princess.

    I especially don’t like seeing the strong beat up the weak.

  61. #61 |  bobzbob | 

    Enforcement discretion is a tool of oppression, because discretion becomes selective enforcement and allows the powers that be to participate in class warfare by passing laws they know won’t be applied to themselves.

    Cops should not have the discretion to walk away from someone committing a minor infraction- the debate about under what circumstances jaywalking is a crime is for the public (through our legislative process) to decide, not the cops.

  62. #62 |  DaveG | 

    The cop should have tried distracting them with some shiny beads, or pacifying them with some sweet candy

  63. #63 |  Rhayader | 

    @Gregory Peckery: Hey, just noticed the username. A Zappa fan, I take it?

  64. #64 |  LibCop | 

    “Cops should not have the discretion to walk away from someone committing a minor infraction- the debate about under what circumstances jaywalking is a crime is for the public (through our legislative process) to decide, not the cops.”

    That’s utterly unrealistic. If you stand on a street corner or drive down a highway you’ll see dozens of infractions .

    Take a simple example: “omg that car infront of me crossed the solid white dividing line in the road for 0.05 seconds, even though their are no cars at all on the other side of the road, I better pull him over because the law says going over the solid white line is an infraction!!!”

    When I worked for a small town, I used my discretion authority a lot. If I hadn’t had it, I would have had to write people citations for going 1 mile over the limit and that’s pure BS. In a non resdiential area I usually would not stop someone unless they ere going 10-12 over and even then I wrote 5 warnings for every real ticket, sometimes I would not even stop till 15 over unless it was night time or a high traffic area).

  65. #65 |  Howlin' Hobbit | 

    While I (reluctantly) agree that the cop showed a good amount of restraint here, the actual problem is the over-arching police attitude, expressed by Sgt. Rich O’Neill in the MSNBC article (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37714382) on the situation:

    “It is never okay to get into a confrontation with an officer out on the street, use force against that officer and then somehow think that you are justified in doing that,” he said.

    That’s right kids. Just lay back and take the beating from your masters. Doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do, they have the right to smack you around and if you defend yourself you’re in deep shit. Now bend over, peasant, and fake an orgasm.

  66. #66 |  john | 

    sweet baby jesus,I am sad he didnt follow up with a left hook:(
    more angry black woman reinforcing the angry black woman stereotype-

  67. #67 |  B | 

    Radley, I think this is the first time I’ve ever disagreed with you on police stuff, at least based on the video we have. Where the video begins, the woman is being physically confrontational, and at that point the initial reason for the contact is really beside the point: she shouldn’t have done that. Add to that the obviously hostile crowd (very close) and the fact that he was alone, I find it kind of impressive that he didn’t put her on the ground, tase her, call in the cavalry, or pull his gun. In the heat of the moment, I think he showed a lot of restraint.

    I’m *NOT* saying he was 100% correct in how he handled it, but I do think he made a good faith effort to diffuse an escalating situation with as little violence as possible. At least based on what we see here.

    That said–yeah chasing down a jaywalker is kind of dumb, though my sympathy for her is limited by: 1) the law in Seattle is extremely deferential to pedestrians (if you hit a pedestrian, it is your fault no matter what, basically), so cracking down on dangerous jaywalking does make sense; 2) if she was crossing the main road in the shot, it’s a very busy one WITH A PEDESTRIAN OVERPASS RIGHT THERE, so I think it is fair to say this counts as dangerous jaywalking.

  68. #68 |  kathy | 

    those biatches deserved it…..they were not only resisting arrest but went after the cop and even after he was trying to put handcuffs on her she turned around to try and knock him out. what would they prefer…a stun gun? he had every right when you resist arrest the way they did. if they were following orders and he punched her that would be a totally different situation and story.

  69. #69 |  JS | 

    Libcop “That’s utterly unrealistic. If you stand on a street corner or drive down a highway you’ll see dozens of infractions .”

    Good point but also brings up another-maybe there are simply too many laws. If there were less laws there would be less need for discretion authority.

  70. #70 |  kathy | 

    and I’m sure some yahoo will pull the race card, as usual, on this one. so typical.

  71. #71 |  Marty | 

    the only reason the cop showed any restraint at all was that he was outnumbered and there was video- had there been a few other cops, 2 would’ve been doing ‘crowd control’, while 3 or 4 would’ve been doing the take down on these perps.

  72. #72 |  SJE | 

    I’m on the cop’s side here, but I do agree with Radley’s larger point: the cops often seem to be trigger in situations that get out of hand.

  73. #73 |  SJE | 

    On the topic of recording police interactions, the Washington Post today had an article on citizen recording of traffic stops and how it is illegal in Maryland. In debating the merits, they completely overlooked one of the most important facts: that the police often seem to lose the tapes whenever something embarrassing happens, thus justifying the citizens for having their own records.

  74. #74 |  thorn | 

    Jack-booted thuggery, this isn’t.

  75. #75 |  jorgy mines | 

    He should have been a bigger public servant professional a nd let it go by the way side as just a bunch of stupid kids and as long as no traffic was coming,bid flipping deal, go chase real criminals :(

  76. #76 |  LexyGirl | 

    Well, this is a tough one. I don’t know why those two girls thought they could tell an officer of the law to “get the f*** off of me?!” I mean come on, this guy is a police officer. If he’s arresting you then calm the hell down and try to diffuse the situation…did they think they could curse their way out of trouble. Maybe they thought he wouldn’t get physical because they are women. Notice all the men standing around trying to hold the girl in the pink back. They were not about to get involved with the officer! At least they were smart enough to know that was a bad idea. As much as I hate to see that punch, I have to say these women were acting outside of the law. He was obviously not using all of his force to subdue her because he could have had her on the ground with his knee in her back. But he just let her wrestle around maybe hoping she would get tired and calm down. *sigh* The girls were in the wrong, but I’m not sure how he would have gotten control of the situation without making some show of force. At least he didn’t pull his gun.

  77. #77 |  Fataqui | 

    You know the problem with your reasoning (LibCop) is that once you believe you have the right to decide when or when not to enforce a governing law, you yourself have proven your bias.

  78. #78 |  ArtKling | 

    I side with the cop. Doesnt matter what the infraction is once the girl attempts to evade and then resists. The second girl’s interference is an even greater offense, and the beginnings of a potential personal safety issue for the cop. if you fight the police, dont cry about the outcome. I thought it was a pretty good punch cause it took the pink-shirted girl out of th situation.

  79. #79 |  LibCop | 

    “Good point but also brings up another-maybe there are simply too many laws. If there were less laws there would be less need for discretion authority.”

    there are too many laws for sure, but even if you cut away from all the BS and leave only true public safety laws, it would still be really dumb to say that police would have to cite or arrest for EVERY thing they see.

    I deal with kids a lot, under the extremely foolish “no discretion” system (what BobzBob is advocating already exists, it’s called ZERO TOLERANCE), rather than calling a kids parents to come get them after I find them walking downtown drunk and almost getting hit by cars at 1am, I’d have to arrest them, generating a police record for the rest of their lives. How is this possibly a good idea?

  80. #80 |  Tsiroth | 

    @bobzbob, If you want to eliminate police discretion, I hope you’re ready to hire on a hell of a lot more cops.

  81. #81 |  Arango Zapata | 

    I can’t believe how many spineless, bootlicking, passified sycophants there are in here. Where do I sign up?

  82. #82 |  Kevin | 

    Discretion makes sense in this case only before the officer confronts the violators. If there was no traffic, and if those crossing appeared to be paying attention, it makes sense for the officer to let it go.

    Once the violators become antagonistic, things change.

    If the proper response to antagonistic behavior by violators of minor laws is to let them go, don’t you think that will send a message that if you act up around a cop, he/she will let you go? Police are often outnumbered and rely on the intrinsic respect (call if fear or wariness if you like) their authority grants them to keep control of the situation. If that respect goes away, more police and citizens will get hurt. Police have a duty to use their power fairly and with a little force as needed. Unless the police are stepping over that line, citizens are not justified to push them around and throw a fit and think they can just walk away.

    I don’t like seeing the strong pick on the weak either. Especially when I’m the weak. Which is why I don’t go around battering people who are stronger than me unless I have a darned good reason.

  83. #83 |  Kidseven | 

    Totally justified response from the cop. And echoing others here, the most obvious restraint shown was that if it were two men wrestling with him someone was going to get a bullet or taser.

    I also note how the crowd of XXL-t-shirt wearing citizens circled the scene at an uncomfortably close distance making all kinds of friendly remarks. Clearly they have zero respect and weren’t planning to offer any courtesy. I’m sure this cop knew things could get way out of hand quickly. I’ve got a problem with a lot of cops, but I felt bad for this one.

    One of these sweet girls already has “knocking a police officer down” on her record.

  84. #84 |  Mark R. | 

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/views/os-mike-thomas-juvenile-arrest-06151020100615,0,4905741.column?page=1&utm_source=co2hog

    Something to get actually outraged about.

  85. #85 |  EH | 

    The proper course of action at the point where he finds himself engaged with 2 people at the same time is to WITHDRAW, but he continued to try and make a solo arrest.

    50 comments in and LibCop finally makes the good point. In the middle of all of the concern trolls here, “I usually hate the cops, but THIS GUY IS AWESOME.” (coffee break, officers?), nobody suggests that maybe, maybe the officer could have just followed the woman until he got backup. But no, that was apparently impossible.

    I’m also surprised to see the authoritarian mindset depicted in many of the comments here. It doesn’t matter if you think the woman needed a slap, it was a broken situation and the officer obviously had no idea what to do except wrassle. Same as it ever was, that officer’s training obviously took some short cuts.

  86. #86 |  Kidseven | 

    “If there is traffic…well, who the hell would run across the street with cars coming at you.”

    Clearly you’ve never lived in a bad neighborhood ;-)

  87. #87 |  Jesse | 

    I have no doubt that this cop could have simply used discretion, called this whole thing off, and yelled a verbal warning to the two women to not jaywalk.

    But once he attempted to effect the citation, his pride and authority-derived ego got in the way. For all intents and purposes, now they are insulting his manhood, and he couldn’t let that happen with everybody standing around getting it on film. As for the punch, well this cop was in no danger of anything from either of these two women. It wasn’t self-defense by any stretch of the imagination. It was obviously an “I am the law, you don’t f*** with me” punch.

    The women deserved the tickets, but I find the officer’s lack of shame pretty outrageous. He knows everyone is filming, and still he punches an unarmed, underage girl in the face. Regardless of whether he’s in the right or not, it says something about a man that is willing to do that

  88. #88 |  EH | 

    I’ve got a problem with a lot of cops, but I felt bad for this one.

    One of these sweet girls already has “knocking a police officer down” on her record.

    What’s your “usual” problem with “a lot” of cops, that they aren’t punching people with priors more often? Maybe other Seattle police got the same two-day training camp this guy did, therefore maybe in Seattle you have a lot more cowboys trying to TCB rather than be effective officers.

  89. #89 |  observer | 

    I wonder if he would have slugged his 17yo sister in the face like that.

  90. #90 |  flukebucket | 

    The girl who got punched in the nose shoved the officer first. I figure if you push an officer and are still alive when the dust settles it is a win for you.

    Many people have been shot dead for a hell of a lot less.

  91. #91 |  Mattocracy | 

    I just have a hard time telling myself, “ya know, sometimes crossing the fucking street should be a crime.” It can be a stupid thing to do at times depending on the circumstances. If a pedestrian causes an accident, then they should be held accountable for causing an accident, not for crossing the damn street.

    This cop might have shown restraint, but what if he showed restraint on a SWAT Team raid of a house where people were growing pot? Yeah great, no one was harmed beyond a 100 lb girl getting punched in her face by a grown man. You’ll have to excuse me for not cheering. This is still an illegitimate crime.

    Further, how much danger was created with a cop hauling ass after two people? I’m unable to watch the vid at work, so I can’t see what all was filmed. But what if he hit someone with his squad car chasing them down? Or knocked over an old lady and broke her hip running after two people who didn’t actually harm anyone? A greater risk was posed to public safety by the enforcement as compared to the actual crime.

  92. #92 |  Val | 

    Totally out of control there is no excuse for a man “Especially a Police Officer to hit a women in the face with a closed fist!” He is not in control of the situation at all, the trouble with the Police of today they are the law but they think not all that they are abouve the law!

  93. #93 |  Carter | 

    If you don’t find that funny there’s something wrong with you.

  94. #94 |  Tracy | 

    It is no surprise that it is already being said by COPS that it was ok, justified and or within police authority for the officer to punch the teenage girl in the face. If this was any other male he would have been charged with assault regardless of the curcumstances.
    Furthermore, if a cop has to result in punching a girl in the face he is not much of a man let alone a Police Officer. He is in need of additional training if he can not handle 1 or 2 teenage girls. Or perhaps he should find another line of work. I am sure there are others who would agree that this cop was not being professional in his behavior. Since cops deal with unrulely people on a daily basis. Cops tazing 72 year old women – what’s next cops beating kindergarteners in the street because they can’t handle them either. Give Me a Break!!!

  95. #95 |  Val | 

    that they are above the law sorry typo

  96. #96 |  LibCop | 

    “I’m unable to watch the vid at work”

    Watch the video and all will be known lol. But really, I hate when people “jump causes”. It’s a logical fallacy actually.

    “Cop stops girl for jaywalking, cop hits girl in face, ipso facto cop hit girl for jaywalking” is simply not how things happen. The girl that got hit assaulted the officer who was trying to arrest her friend and got hit in return.

    There is a reason why (even here) you see so many people basically not having a problem with the action after they watched the video

  97. #97 |  Val | 

    Further more what would have happened to the women if she had hit the officer in the face? Jail lol unreal, dunno about America but in England a lot of inoccent people get hurt from police chases like I said they think they are abouve the law. I think this police officer needs more training and to be out there getting the real criminals not someone for jaywalking!

  98. #98 |  Peter | 

    Some of you people are REAL IDIOTS>
    The law is the law IS THE LAW !!!! obey it and you won’t get into any crap, Also if a cop is making an arrest , DON’T challenge him !! You WILL LOSE.

  99. #99 |  Peter | 

    want to put the police out of business ?

    DON’T BREAK THE FREAKING LAW !!!

  100. #100 |  Nick42 | 

    IMHO, this officer’s biggest sin was not being able to properly place the woman in some sort of arm lock or other hold and control her physically. That said, just because his jujitsu was lacking, doesn’t mean he’s lot allowed to escalate the level of force.

    He tried to control her using an arm hold and that failed, so he escalated to punching her (defense strikes to the face in report-ese). A lot of police officers are of the belief that respect for their authority is necessary to preserve their lives in dangerous situations. I don’t know how much, if any, I agree with that position, but if there’s any case where it would apply, I would think it would be here.

    If you can get away from a cop (and a ticket) by physically resisting and are seen to do so by a crowd in a rough neighborhood, then you and everyone who saw or heard about it is more likely to resist, which may put other officer’s lives in danger.

  101. #101 |  Kidseven | 

    @ EH

    “…maybe the officer could have just followed the woman until he got backup”

    So your more advanced police training would dictate the cop should have tailed the suspect FBI style instead? Should he have just left his parked cop car and followed her onto the bus radioing reports along the way?

    If cops are going to exist, and you want them to be mildly effective, they need to be able to defend themselves. We can’t expect them to subscribe to some sort of a “fair fight” restriction where this cop would have to wrestle around with the two girls endlessly and hope that nobody else jumps in or grabs for his gun. And I don’t see a huge leap from shoving a cop to grabbing for his gun.

  102. #102 |  Guido | 

    Sorry. I’m with the cop on this one. He could have been justifiably WAY more violent with both women and possibly others there. He really should have had some back up in that situation. And with all those people walking right up in his face with cameras calling him out, I think he handled himself with restraint. I would have had that whole area covered in pepper spray if I had that many people converging on me while making an arrest.

  103. #103 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    I can think of so many situations where a menacing crowd making things uncomfortable for the police would have been hilariously justified. This wasn’t one of them. :(

  104. #104 |  bbartlog | 

    @77: ‘But once he attempted to effect the citation, his pride and authority-derived ego got in the way.’

    Know the guy well, do you? Those of you who feel like the police should back down in the face of resistance, in order to avoid turning minor infractions into violent confrontations, are taking a narrow view of the consequences. Yes, this might avoid the immediate problem. But it would lead to increased resistance and more violence down the road due to the incentive to resist arrest that it provided. It’s a little like arguing that if it costs $1000 in police resources (or whatever) to arrest and process a shoplifter who only stole $40 in goods, we should just not bother pursuing the crime because it makes no economic sense. But as always, incentives matter. In this case they matter a lot.

  105. #105 |  Thomas | 

    This police officer never had the opportunity to use “discretion,” as these thugs were verbally combative, and then physically combative, almost immediately from the first point of contact.

    I hope these hoodlums are prosecuted for an assault on a police officer. The officer does need some remedial training on how to secure the cuffs on a suspect who’s resisting. Not being able to get those cuffs on and control the situation was putting him in more danger, as the thuggish crowd grew around him. That’s what was putting him and the suspect in danger.

    Other than that, great work on the part of this police officer.

  106. #106 |  awp | 

    Holy crap we are defending Cops.

    Radley, when was he supposed to walk away? How was he supposed know the final extent of resistance?

    I’ll give you that Jaywalking might be a bullshit crime, it is in Texas, but doesn’t sound like it is in Seattle, with commenters describing strict liability for Seattle drivers.

    Does he walk away when the offender starts arguing?
    Does he walk away when bystanders start gathering?
    Does he walk away when the offender or one of the bystanders assaults him?

    If we had a law that most people agreed was legitimate, at which of those points would the officer walking away contribute to the rule of law?

  107. #107 |  LibCop | 

    A better article about the whole thing.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012122660_coppunch16m.html

    From the article “”The incident occurred about 3 p.m. Monday near Franklin High, where staff and the school district’s central office had requested increased police monitoring because they were concerned about the number of students jaywalking.

    According to police, Walsh, working in a patrol car, saw several people jaywalking on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, just south of Rainier Avenue South, despite a nearby pedestrian overpass.””

  108. #108 |  Mattocracy | 

    I didn’t jump causes. He should never have chased them down the first place. They didn’t hurt anyone. There was no confrontation at this intersection until this cop decided to issue a citation for an action that caused no harm. He was in the wrong from the start, I don’t care what an unjust law says.

    I’d defend this cop if was responding to the scene of a car accident she had caused or if she was beating the hell out of somebody. But she wasn’t. She was crossing the street which shouldn’t be a crime.

  109. #109 |  JS | 

    Mattocracy “I didn’t jump causes. He should never have chased them down the first place. They didn’t hurt anyone. There was no confrontation at this intersection until this cop decided to issue a citation for an action that caused no harm. He was in the wrong from the start, I don’t care what an unjust law says.

    I’d defend this cop if was responding to the scene of a car accident she had caused or if she was beating the hell out of somebody. But she wasn’t. She was crossing the street which shouldn’t be a crime.”

    This.

  110. #110 |  TAS | 

    The woman who got punched wasn’t even the woman who was getting arrested, she was just foolishly trying to intervene and attacked the cop.

  111. #111 |  RogerX | 

    I’m going to suggest the ladies go back and re-watch Chris Rock’s advice on how to not get your ass kicked by the police.

    Screaming and shoving because you don’t think you deserve a citation is NEVER a good idea. We can sit here and play Internet Tough Guy all day about petty citations and unnecessary escalation of force by the police, but I’m going to uncharacteristically side with the LEO on this one– the two women in the video deliberately escalated the incident well beyond what was justified. I think as soon as they started shoving him, he should have stepped back, unholstered his taser, and asked for backup, instead of throwing a punch… but the women were clearly the escalating parties here.

  112. #112 |  RogerX | 

    And as far as the jaywalking? Having worked in downtown Cleveland for many years, I hated the rare occasion I needed to drive instead of taking public transportation, because people would just wander randomly across the street, regardless of traffic. If the school officials requested law enforcement be on hand to curb jaywalking by minors (ostensibly for their protection and the safety of motorists), and an officer shows up to ticket a jaywalker, this is not the same as some gung-ho cop looking to shake down people as they come out of a bar at 1am.

  113. #113 |  Samk | 

    I’m a big fan of “resist the police when they come for you for no good reason” but I’m also a big fan of normal rules of law…jaywalking isn’t a big deal usually, but it can be. People in the middle of the road where they shouldn’t be is the definition of a justified low-level infraction, it endangers them and those around them as vehicles attempt to evade them when there is traffic as well as just generally being a pain in the ass to those who are driving. If there IS no traffic then it’s still a perfectly reasonable time to issue a fine. Fines, not beatings, not arrests, not shooting people…this girl was fighting with her hands over an appropriate ticket for something she did do. So yeah I’m defending the cop and the jaywalking law. I like to walk where the hell I want to but I also know I could get a ticket for it and if I get one it’s time to suck it up and accept the consequences of breaking a very simple, very correct rule of the society I live in. As was noted above, this ain’t jack-booted thuggery. Cop was doing what I pay him to do and got hit, then did the rest of what I pay him to do and responded with arresting the violent person. I also noted that he had pretty decent arms and all he did was pop girl #2 enough to get her to step back…didn’t hit her with everything he had but curled his fist and pulled his punch at the last second…she didn’t do much besides step back and look surprised and hold her fat lip. Restraing and appropriate use of force are something I’m going to praise just as much as lack of restraint and inappropriate use of force are things I will denounce.

  114. #114 |  Mark R. | 

    @JS

    I hate how the internet is ruining what used to be my favorite word.

  115. #115 |  EH | 

    Those of you who feel like the police should back down in the face of resistance, in order to avoid turning minor infractions into violent confrontations, are taking a narrow view of the consequences.

    This is a false dilemma. The officer had more choices than between a violent confrontation and to “back down in the face of resistance.” He could have just been a better officer and tread the middle, if he was capable. Then again, it seems to be taboo to critique the officer himself rather than the institution of law enforcement. He is the trained one, such as he is.

  116. #116 |  Chris | 

    Putting the issue of the jaywalking girl aside, the punch to the other girl was absolutely warranted. In my view, that punch actually de-escalated the situation. If cop had allowed pink blouse girl to get involved in the arrest (or allowed himself to then be scrimmaging with two people), the crowd mentality might have then taken over, putting the officer at (more) serious risk.

  117. #117 |  Nick42 | 

    EH,

    What would you propose the officer do?

    He clearly tried to restrain the woman without striking her. If he did not lay hands on her, she would have left the scene.

    Should we expect all police officers to be so charismatic that they can convince unreasonable people to obey them without touching them? If so, my capitalist sense is telling me we don’t pay them enough.

    Also, the police dept is, per one of the news links, reviewing tactics and training used by the department as a whole. That’s the right thing to do.

    It’s a lot better response to do that than to clear an officer b/c they acted according to procedure and never review the procedure.

  118. #118 |  652059 | 

    So school officials requested an officer patrol this area for jaywalking due to a potential danger. I’m sure this cop would have rather been doing anything except “jaywalking patrol” at this time, but he was following orders, and not entirely unjustified ones. Just as there are common laws about not walking on other people’s property, there are laws about walking on sidewalks and crosswalks that exist to keep people from getting hurt. This wasn’t at 2:00am on a deserted street in Mayberry, it was in after-school traffic on a busy urban street, which is exactly the scenario I envision that is justified for enforcing the law against jaywalking. And the subject was clearly guilty – nobody is arguing that.

    So, when you get “caught” doing some (speeding, whatever) that we all know is wrong, you shut up, take your lumps and go on. The girl here should have shut her mouth, listened to a lecture on the danger of crossing the street in traffic (which her parents should have taught her anyway), and paid the fine or take it to court. If she handled the cop right, she might have even gotten off with a warning. Use the crosswalk next time, thank you, good day.

    But instead she had to get some attitude, and all her friends joined in. I’m sure her parents are proud. Aside from whatever the cop did, the situation was made 100x worse by the actions of the girls. They made a choice to buck up, and got the consequences for it. This isn’t anything but what happens every day when stupid people act stupid. As libertarian-minded people, we talk a lot about personal choice, personal responsibility, etc. Well, these people made a personal choice to jaywalk, made a personal choice to confront the cop and now they get to take responsibility for it.

  119. #119 |  kino | 

    The nerve of all those people , violating that officers privacy like that !

  120. #120 |  PhillyGirl | 

    Some thoughts:

    I am a public high school teacher, and I’ll tell you this from experience: that cop couldn’t back down, at that point. He had to finish what he started.

    Now I have never laid hands on a student, obviously, and I’m not sure if a punch was the right choice. That’s the real question here.

    But after he punched her, he was surrounded, being yelled and jeered at, and I’m sure he was scared. Yeah, scared! Both for his safety, and for his job! He knew that punch got caught on tape. But he pretty much kept his cool (although is lack of ability to hold that woman shows that he was shaken, I think).

    Honestly, I think he did OK in a really bad situation – especially after the punch. He didn’t pull a weapon, and I’m sure he felt threatened. Sure, that arrest was sloppy and he looked pretty incompetent. I’m sure he felt like an idiot. But he didn’t salve his ego by pulling his gun.

    He stayed there struggling with a 19 year old girl, looking stupid, thinking about that punch, until back-up came. I think that shows a remarkable LACK of ego.

    No coherent thread there, just some thoughts. A case of police brutality, this is certainly not. Bad judgment? Debatable.

  121. #121 |  Huh? | 

    All I see are two women refusing to submit to a pussy in a uniform.

    What the fuck happened to the country that started at Lexington and Concord?

  122. #122 |  SJE | 

    I’m all for liveable cities and not having everything subordinate to the almighty car. Its one thing on neighborhood street. However, if you have lived in any rough neighborhoods, it is amazing how many people just amble across major (2-4 lanes each way) roads at any location, at any ol’ time. I know that at least some are TRYING to annoy people: it works, but it also causes accidents.

  123. #123 |  scott | 

    At least I learned something useful. Repeating “Get the fuck off me!” at the top of my lungs is not an effective deterrent against arrest.

  124. #124 |  EH | 

    What would you propose the officer do?

    Call for backup

  125. #125 |  Dennis N | 

    I don’t like cops. But the only thing I saw the cop do wrong, was to not use sufficient force to shut down the situation right away. If you can successfully use force to resist arrest, then the cops are powerless.

    He should have continued to punch her until she peacefully submitted to handcuffing. Or sprayed her. Or tased her.

    He needs to go back to the gym.

  126. #126 |  Pinandpuller | 

    He needs lessons from Bob Elliston.

  127. #127 |  EH | 

    If you can successfully use force to resist arrest, then the cops are powerless.

    Again, this is wrong. The person getting away would not be ending their interaction any more than any other runner does. The fact that people run from the police does not eliminate their power.

  128. #128 |  davidstvz | 

    Jaywalking when there is no traffic is the equivalent of running a red light when there is no traffic. Jaywalking when there is traffic is more than a danger to the jaywalker, it’s a danger to the vehicles and any other people around as a car could crash into anything if the driver needs to take sudden evasive action to avoid a jaywalker.

    I can’t really have any sympathy for the women. They’re acting obnoxious for no good reason. The cop is probably going to get fired or resign and the department is going to get the shit sued out of it. Or maybe they’ll keep him on board and insist he acted in a mostly appropriate manner so that they have some kind of case against the forthcoming lawsuit (which will probably settle out of court making this douche bag women wealthier for no good reason).

  129. #129 |  Arthur | 

    Having seen decades worth of evidence of what can happen when several LEO’s are gathered in a crowd around a ‘resisting’ subject, I believe this crowd showed noble restraint.

  130. #130 |  The Punch Seen Round The Internets « Around The Sphere | 

    [...] Radley Balko: [...]

  131. #131 |  Dennis N | 

    @ EH

    > Again, this is wrong. The person getting away would not be ending their interaction any more than any other runner does. The fact that people run from the police does not eliminate their power.

    The police have a duty and a right to detain or arrest you if you are believed to have committed an infraction. That right is backed up by the force of the State. If it wasn’t, then the right would be meaningless. I could always avoid arrest by simply refusing to be arrested.

    She resisted arrest. The cop used necessary (I believe insufficient) force to subdue a violent resister. She should be charged with felony resiusting and have her life ruined.

    She escalated a ticket into a felony. Good move, woman.

  132. #132 |  omar | 

    She should be charged with felony resiusting and have her life ruined.

    Because everyone who makes a mistake deserves to have their life ruined.

    He who is without sin, first stone, and all that.

  133. #133 |  Cyto | 

    After viewing the video I’m with the consensus view here – the cop was generally justified. Punching the girl was stupid though… it looks bad and wasn’t really effective or necessary. He did seem to have an awfully hard time getting his subject under control. His arm lock was particularly ineffective. I’d say that this was at least in part due to his awareness of the large crowd and many video cameras. He was clearly trying to use absolute minimal force after the first pushing/punching match.

    I’d love to hear more about the ACLU’s take on this. From the Seattle Times article:

    “Jennifer Shaw, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, said in a written statement that Monday’s incident wasn’t an isolated one.

    “The SPD has a long history of allowing jaywalking citations to escalate into use-of-force situations,” Shaw said. “The pattern is very predictable: The officer sees a jaywalker, orders the person to come to him, gets angry when the jaywalker either doesn’t respond or argues, and ends up either in a physical confrontation or an arrest for an obstruction charge or both.”

    I’m not sure where she’s going with this, but it sounds like she’s saying that enforcing jaywalking is a civil rights violation – because people tend to disobey when ordered to participate in a jaywalking stop? Actually, there is probably a built-in reaction to the situation that leads to a desire to resist. I’ve been stopped by police in similar situations at a similar age and didn’t feel like I should have to provide ID. Of course, in my case I did comply and just got a warning. But I guess there is some built-in bias toward this type of stop escalating for no good reason. But unless they really have some evidence that this is being used to manufacture criminal infractions in particular subgroups, I’d say that it was pretty irresponsible to start throwing around this type of accusation.

  134. #134 |  Sinchy | 

    I’m not sure what video you guys are watching but that punch did not need to be thrown. The lady in pink did not strike the officer, she gave him a shove and then after a moment of surprise from the officer he DECIDED to wind up and punch the woman in the face. What he could have done at that moment was to simply call for back up and say “you are both under arrest, don’t move I have back up coming” then they either leave or act reasonably.
    I know this may have been difficult to do in the situation, but words actually help diffuse sometimes. What would be the worst thing to happen, the women try to get away? Then what? They are not an immediate danger to other citizens so no need to apprehend them immediately. Now they are fugitives. Great.
    Both those girls were wrong, certainly, but the punch was unnecessary.
    And I don’t see the crowd as being too hostile. The pink ladies boyfriend was trying to keep her out of it and there is that blonde lady just standing there with her arms crossed. There are others of camera but if they were really hostile he should have called back up before the situation got out of control.

  135. #135 |  BamBam | 

    What #109 said … this desire to ruin people’s lives for infractions/crimes/”you looked at me wrong”, especially when it’s not deserving, is a sick and perverted way of saying “I want blood, I don’t care whose blood it is, give me BLOOD! To the gladiator arena with the serf so we can begin the bloodletting!”

  136. #136 |  EH | 

    Frankly, I’m not sure that if the officer is disciplined at all that it would be for the punch. He’ll probably be sent down simply for being ineffective. Like someone said above, officers have killed for less. His fellow officers are probably calling him a wimp and a faggot right about now.

    The police have a duty and a right to detain or arrest you if you are believed to have committed an infraction

    Certainly, but they aren’t (or, idealistic me, shouldn’t be) pit bulls. Humans have the capacity to think and modulate their response in order to achieve and effective outcome.

    If it wasn’t, then the right would be meaningless.

    As said above by others, jaywalkers and such are passed by all the time (requests for enforcement notwithstanding) and that doesn’t obviate police authority. Ask any police officer and they’ll tell you the same.

    I could always avoid arrest by simply refusing to be arrested.

    No you couldn’t. The circumstances would be different.

  137. #137 |  Brian | 

    “Punching the girl was stupid though… it looks bad and wasn’t really effective or necessary. ”

    While it may look bad, it was mostly effective. The girl stopped assaulting the officer and with a little help from the guy in the blue shirt, stayed out of it there after. If she continued to attack the officer, he probably would have moved up the use of force continuum.

  138. #138 |  omar | 

    @#112 BamBam,

    For what it’s worth, Dennis N shows all the signs of being an internet troll, so there’s not much need to take him seriously. The old:

    I don’t like cops. But…He should have continued to punch her until she peacefully submitted to handcuffing. Or sprayed her. Or tased her.

    Uh hu. The old “I don’t like racists, but black people need to get beat.” Or “I’m don’t like sexists, but women need to get back out of the workplace to start making babies.”

    Spelling mistakes, incoherent thoughts, beat-down rage. The adults are talking, Dennis. Go back to your room.

  139. #139 |  irish red | 

    he really needed some backup…

  140. #140 |  croaker | 

    Threadjack:

    Pedophilia Hysteria in Orlando

    http://www.wftv.com/news/23874300/detail.html

    Lesson learned by teenager: If you see a 3 year old kid in trouble, just ignore it. Otherwise you’re going to jail and the sex offender list.

  141. #141 |  Daniel Veazey | 

    No matter how many tax dollars are spent on pedestrian viaducts and how many laws are passed outlawing jaywalking, people will still get hit by cars.

  142. #142 |  Kevin | 

    That cop has a lot of weapons on his belt. Seems to me, when a person gets physically aggressive with a cop and they are within arms reach, they are essentially within arms reach of a gun, knife, mace, taser etc. It’s not unreasonable for an officer to act decisively in such a situation. Of course, the cop needs to do what he can to prevent that from happening, but once a physical altercation takes place, it needs to be over with quickly. I think he was ineffective, but I don’t think he was a thug. Those girls were terrible, and they are lucky it did not get much worse.

  143. #143 |  Les | 

    The girls were stupid and deserved bad things to happen to them. But cops should know how to restrain people of that size without punches, especially if they’re only being pushed. I worked with insane teens that size for years. Really violent kids. And there are many ways to deal with violence without escalating it. So, while I think those girls were awful, police just don’t get enough training in physical restraints or deescalation techniques, so clumsy punches are to be expected.

  144. #144 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    One other thing I notice about the video, at the :53 mark, it looks like the cop winds up for a second punch but then aborts partway through when the girl finally turns and stops grabbing him.

  145. #145 |  Harvey | 

    1) Being stupid is not a crime. If there’s a ped bridge and you don’t want to use it, well, if you’re going to be dumb you got to be tough. So stopping people for that shouldn’t be a law.

    2) At the :21 second mark, girl in pink looks right at the person with the camera. And it seems to even escalate more from that point. She has to share some of the blame in this.

    3) Cop shouldn’t have punched her. Jesus, even on COPS, a person resisting arrest, running and tackled doesn’t get punched like that.

    Obnoxious pedestrians meet ill-trained cop. Film at 11.

  146. #146 |  Not Hard to Figure « Oh, My! | 

    [...] Not Hard to Figure By jbiii One very stupid cop, two very stupid women. [...]

  147. #147 |  SJE | 

    “No matter how many tax dollars are spent on pedestrian viaducts and how many laws are passed outlawing jaywalking, people will still get hit by cars”

    Even if there is no impact on the pedestrian, there are still accidents between cars that have to swerve or brake suddenly to avoid hitting someone, traffic pileups, etc. If you hit the pedestrian, there is a lot of physical damage to the car, a huge traffic and legal mess for you, plus you should feel like crap for just hitting someone.

    A driver should expect kids etc on neighborhood streets and, while he should be watching wherever he drives, he (and the other drivers) are not expecting pedestrians on a busy main road.

  148. #148 |  Silliness « Oh, My! | 

    [...] Silliness By jbiii Post to his post: [...]

  149. #149 |  parse | 

    Jan Gray: “I think when you are a member of society you give up some rights.”

    Who is not a member of society? It sounds like you are saying there are certain rights which no one ever gets until they are marooned on a desert islands with their 10 favorite albums.

  150. #150 |  Jerri Lynn Ward | 

    “She resisted arrest. The cop used necessary (I believe insufficient) force to subdue a violent resister. She should be charged with felony resiusting and have her life ruined.”

    You have the instincts of a tyrant.

  151. #151 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #115 croaker

    Pedophilia Hysteria in Orlando

    http://www.wftv.com/news/23874300/detail.html

    Lesson learned by teenager: If you see a 3 year old kid in trouble, just ignore it. Otherwise you’re going to jail and the sex offender list.

    From the article:

    Investigators interviewed McFarlane for six hours before arresting him on a charge of false imprisonment, even though the sheriff’s office concedes the 14-year-old boy probably didn’t have any sinister motives.

    Yeah, I can see that. Anyone who got caught trying to snatch a toddler is naturally going to go back into the same store along with the mother of the kid he supposedly just snatched. And it just makes sense to interrogate the 14 year old kid for 6 hours, admit the kid probably didn’t mean any harm, and then arrest him for something that cops (who should know better) maliciously do all the time without so much as a reprimand.

    Yep. In the world of law enforcement that makes perfect sense.

    Next time you see a kid walking into a busy street or drowning in a pool, be sure you don’t interfere. Don’t be thinking that, if you falsely imprison the kid out of the water, the law is going to forgive you simply because of the mere technicality that you were trying to help the kid.

  152. #152 |  Darkefang | 

    From the looks of it, the Seattle PD needs to hire Eddie Bravo to train its force. I thought I was watching an episode of Reno 911.

  153. #153 |  Judi | 

    I wouldn’t say jaywalking is a victimless crime at all. As a former paramedic, I’ve picked up several accident victims from either jaywalking OR a person trying to swerve to keep from hitting them only to crash into something or someone else.

    Since we didn’t actually see these women jaywalking, we don’t know if their infraction was causing people to slam on breaks or what.

    I don’t advocate violence but as a former public servant in the medical community, the thought of punching several combative people in the mouth crossed my mind.

  154. #154 |  Judi | 

    Sinchy, a shove is considered an assault my dear.

  155. #155 |  Ray | 

    What got me to following Radley in the first place is his focus on police abuse as it is something that concerns me more and more with how I feel our society is going.

    Having said that, those women appear to have been in the wrong. It’s not as if he were roughing them up as they were trying to remain peaceful. (He does seem to be in need of further training however. He should have had them both on the ground and cuffed within 60 seconds. It’s not that difficult actually.)

    I think we – the we being those of us who are concerned with police abuse – we need to remain even handed in our criticism or else we flush our credibility as concerned commentators, bloggers, etc. Those women were wrong, and the cop should have had the whole thing under control much quicker than that.

  156. #156 |  Vaj | 

    I guess what your saying is if you break the law try to run away if the violation isn’t that bad. Please define for me which laws should be chaseable offenses. Additionally, the taser works and it most incidents it avoids injuries to the criminal by officers not having to use physical force.

  157. #157 |  SDM | 

    I’m surprised he didn’t use more force with the first gal, and yes, it was warranted. It was a very scary situation that could have gotten way out of control. He was obviously outnumbered and these people had no respect for his authority.

  158. #158 |  cobaoc | 

    The cop was out of line
    - first he starts the physical altercation (at the start of the video she’s going ‘what are you doing, what are you doing, get of of me, get of of me) I see absolutely nothing in the vid that shows this necessary
    -> right there that’s excessive use of force, there’s is no reason whatso ever for him to be cuffing her in the first place, al he had to do was take a step back and talk to her
    - he shows complete ineptitude during the altercation (he tries and fails to get her in a hold about a dozen times at least, just before the punch he almost falls over because he gets shoved in the shoulders from the front, at one point he brievly pulls down her shirt, wtf?)

    bottom line, cop is lucky there’s a tiny bit of respect left (and yep he squandered a bit more of it), give it another couple of years and in the same situation he gets mobbed

  159. #159 |  carpundit | 

    @127 – You’re right. But also, a shove is an assault *and battery*. The battery part makes it much more serious.

  160. #160 |  Chris | 

    Jaywalking is a victimless crime. Mostly because if you do it and get struck by a moving vehicle you are both the criminal and the victim! Loose traffic is the worst traffic, it travels at a faster pace, and in cities the drivers have much more to look out for so crossing the street wherever you please is not a good idea. That rings true about most roads. Here in Michigan we have a lot of deer that cross the road when they please. It also causes a lot of harm to the local population of humans both economically and physically. But hitting a deer does not come with even a citation. Hitting a person on the other hand… if you drive you should know that it’s not treated like murder, but it is hardly just a ticket or moving violation. Traffic of all kinds, both loose and thick are dangerous and your parents taught you not to play in the road for good reason. Stop acting like deer and start acting like people. Be concerned for your life, cross the streets as quickly as you can and in the designated area as often as you can.

    I would honestly only support a repeal of jaywalking laws if the “pedestrian right-of-way” rules were wiped from the books and each case was taken for what it is. Did the pedestrian step out in front of the vehicle or did the driver act irresponsibly?

  161. #161 |  Porcupine Picayune | 

    Seattle Cop Punches Woman in the Face – And She Had It Coming To Her

  162. #162 |  BSK | 

    Re: Discretion

    I’m bothered by the idea that cops have discretion. Either they enforce the laws or they don’t. I’m less comfortable with them picking and choosing when to enforce a law than with them having to enforce a stupid law in the first place.

  163. #163 |  BSK | 

    I also find it interesting that on a site that generally features rabid anti-cop sentiment, a video in which a cop is physical/violent with two black women, the cop is suddenly being defended. And perhaps he should be. But I think it’d be wise to step back and consider whether race is factoring into our perceptions at all. I’m not saying it is, but it’s worth considering.

  164. #164 |  TC | 

    Read only a few comments. The one quoting Chris Rock was pretty good.

    But when you train officers by the Barney Fife Code of conduct instead of the Andy Griffith code of conduct, what can we expect?

    To be a cop you should first have a CPA license. That is what they do MOST of the time anyway.

    Listenin to talking heads,,,, Al Sharpton….. he will always be an asshole.

    Had the officer been a husband or boy friend, he would flat out be in jail!

    What would be nice is if these mouthy little bitches would learn something about common respect, but they will both go on to play the victim hood and declare their innocence in the event.

  165. #165 |  Booker | 

    I would like to know what happened prior to the video clip. I hear the girl in black tell the officer no less than 30 times to let go of her. Did he actually have to chase her down to get to that spot? Was she fleeing and he stopped her using “reasonable force” and then the clip starts? Seems to me like he could have said “I will let go, but if you try to leave, I will stop you.” With his ineffectiveness at maintaining any sort of submissive hold on her, it appears to me that if she was going to go rabbit she would have.

    I believe that the officer acted well within the bounds of all current laws, and most likely did not breach any local policies either.

    That being said, I do not like it. I do not like that the most minor physical confrontation with a police officer is considered felony assault. I think that too many officers take that and use it as an excuse to beat the crap out of people. From what I have seen, all that is required in a court of law is to prove that, no matter what the officer was doing, the person in question touched the officer.

    These guys are paid to be in public and to interact with people in stressful situations. If the best they can do in order to maintain control is to dominate physically, and no thought is given to de-escalation, then more and more minor incidents (jaywalking, traffic stops, etc) are going to become violent encounters where stupid people (and who among us is not just a little bit “though impaired” in stressful situations?) suddenly face real prison time.

    People should not be in prison because they are stupid. They should be in prison because they commit crimes. I think cops could do a better job of trying to keep minor infractions from becoming major ones.

    **Disclaimer** I was NOT there. My views as expressed are not based on this single case, but on a multitude of similar cases. This one seems about the mildest that has come to light. This does not mean that we cannot learn from it.

  166. #166 |  Johnny Yuma | 

    Moral of this comment thread: If you resist the authority of the state, you deserve, at least, to be punched in the face.

  167. #167 |  LibCop | 

    “Re: Discretion

    I’m bothered by the idea that cops have discretion. Either they enforce the laws or they don’t. I’m less comfortable with them picking and choosing when to enforce a law than with them having to enforce a stupid law in the first place.”

    As I mentioned, this is unworkable on many levels.

    Plenty of times I’ve encountered people with a little bit of weed. Regardless of what you think of prohibition (I’m personally against much of it), it is the law.

    Without discreationary power, I would have been forced to arrest or cite people for posessing a plant rolled in tree products (potentially losing my job if it comes to light that I didn’t enforce that particular law). With discreationary power (which I have) I can do what I’ve always done: tell them to not be an idiot and smoke their weed at home.

    It would be a much better idea to stop making stupid laws than it would be to mandate cops strictly enforce every little law that exists.

    By the way, another thing about discreation is (in my neck of the woods, and in most every other place i know of), discreation only applys to minor/infraction/misdemeanor laws like jaywalking, or like what I recently had, a fist fight between brothers where a 3rd kid got hit trying to break it up, i let their parents deal with it). Their is NO discreation (for police, prosecutors are another matter) when it comes to felonies.

  168. #168 |  BSK | 

    The punch was absolutely unnecessary. Cops should be train in using submission holds and other techniques. I don’t know enough to say whether the cop was right to put his hands on the woman the way he did, but the punch was absolutely wrong.

  169. #169 |  BSK | 

    bobzbob said:
    “Enforcement discretion is a tool of oppression, because discretion becomes selective enforcement and allows the powers that be to participate in class warfare by passing laws they know won’t be applied to themselves.

    Cops should not have the discretion to walk away from someone committing a minor infraction- the debate about under what circumstances jaywalking is a crime is for the public (through our legislative process) to decide, not the cops.”

    That is spot on. I saw a lot of minuses attached, but they are wrong. Cops don’t have discretion. Prosecutors shouldn’t, either. Their jobs are to enforce existing laws. They can’t pick and choose which ones they enforce. This gives them MORE power and in a dangerous way.

  170. #170 |  BSK | 

    Libcop-

    But then each cop gets to draw their own lines. That means we don’t have consistently applied laws, even seemingly stupid or minor ones. I agree that the problem is with the laws. What if a cop decides he’s going to be harder on black folks? Or poor people? Or women? Do we really want cops to have that power? I sure don’t.

  171. #171 |  AJs | 

    To the point many are making about jaywalking being a victimless crime – so the office should have just ignored it to avoid potential confrontation? I live in the Seattle area and have been through this part of the city where people casually stroll out in groups in to the street sssllllooowwwlllyy walking in front of your car in a taunting manner intentionally disrupting traffic. I have even had groups of teenagers hit the hood of my car as they take thier time illegally crossing the street out in to traffic. It can be quite confrontational especially as a single individual in a vehicle with a group of 5-6 taunting teenagers or not. Jaywalking is actually quite a problem on this street and it seems appropriate to me that the police are trying to improve saftey for all by enforcing the jaywalking law here.

    Also what is not mentioned is that the cop did not simply chase them down for jaywalking – he was talking to a man for Jaywalking (keep in mind the pedestrian bridge was about 10-15 ft away from where this took place, you can actually see it in the videos – think about it, this street is busy enough that they have built a pedestrian overpass bridge – this is a busy street, not some neighborhood street with little traffic) when these girls jaywalked across the street right in front of him literally feet away while he was talking to someone else for jaywalking. What was he supposed to do at that point? He had to cite them, or at least stop them… he told them to stop and wait for him and they started yelling/taunting him. He was totally in the right to do that.

    From there, if you put your hands on an officer in an aggressive manner – or ANYONE for that matter – you should expect that the person you are pushing/assaulting is going to not wait for you to escalate before they respond with more force. I nearly always agree with Radley on matters of police injustice, but in this case, this girl didnt get all that she had coming… there is plenty to be pissed off about with respect to police abuse in the Seattle-area, this is not one of them.

  172. #172 |  Andrew Williams | 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro08bILEvqc

    I’m done making this argument. The cops need to walk several miles in our shoes. They’ve abused their power, and laughed in our faces as jury after jury (usually cops investigating themselves) find them not guilty and at worst get suspended–with pay of course.

    Any cops here can justify this shit? Really? Unarmed woman versus armed cop? STFU already, you stupid fucks/

  173. #173 |  Andrew Williams | 

    Go ahead and minus my karma. That’ll just prove my point.

  174. #174 |  Kevin | 

    TC #134 said: “To be a cop you should first have a CPA license”

    So, all cops should be Certified Public Accountants? I appreciate the idea of requiring education, but this seems a bit narrow.

  175. #175 |  NathanS | 

    Serious question to sympathizers:

    Is there any situation where resisting and officer is justified?

  176. #176 |  flukebucket | 

    Resist if you want to. Justify it any way you want to. Just don’t be surprised if you walk away with a busted nose.

  177. #177 |  carpundit | 

    #172 – strong argument. well-reasoned. that’s *exactly* how to bring people around to your position.

  178. #178 |  carpundit | 

    #175 – as a general statement of law, there is no lawful right to resist an unlawful arrest by one known to be a police officer. the matter is for the courts after the fact.

    imagine the chaos and carnage that would ensue if every person who thought he was being unfairly arrested were lawfully allowed to resist.

  179. #179 |  Booker | 

    To NathanS #175

    “Serious question to sympathizers:

    Is there any situation where resisting an officer is justified?”

    Justified? Definitely. If the officer has no grounds to detain/arrest you, you are justified in resisting (although the definition of resisting varies from state to state).

    The real question is whether or not it is advisable… While you see some stories of juries overturning an arrest and awarding money to the one falsely arrested, I am quite sure that the number of cases that do not even make it to a jury far surpass these. And chances are that almost all of the ones that do not make it to a jury (no video evidence, cops word against yours) are accompanied by a beat down and jail time.

    Here is a question for you – This interaction was captured on several cell phone cameras. If you had taped it, and the cop asked for your cell phone, would you hand it over? If you don’t, you could be cited for “Not Obeying a Lawful Order”, or that wonderful catch all “Disorderly Conduct”.

    Does not matter whether or not the cop has a legal right to demand the camera/phone, if he demands it and you refuse, you are resisting, are you not?

  180. #180 |  MikeZ | 

    “Without discreationary power, I would have been forced to arrest or cite people for posessing a plant rolled in tree products (potentially losing my job if it comes to light that I didn’t enforce that particular law). With discreationary power (which I have) I can do what I’ve always done: tell them to not be an idiot and smoke their weed at home.”

    I can really sympathize with this point but I expect the counter argument would be, as a nation we would be much more apt to recognize the silliness of the stupid laws on the books if there were no discretion. Certainly this seems like a non-ideal solution, by using discretion your putting a band-aid on top of a broken justice system instead of fixing the system. Further with that discretion opens up a host of new problems in the pressure to use that discretion in inappropriate situations. If the officers job is always enforce the law equally it seems a much better situation for all.

    I can applaud your use of discretion and certainly hope its you that accidentally finds the joint in my pocket and not a cop who’s wife left him that morning and is in a really bad mood who chooses to use his discretion differently.

  181. #181 |  EH | 

    LibCop:
    Without discreationary power, I would have been forced to arrest or cite people for posessing a plant rolled in tree products (potentially losing my job if it comes to light that I didn’t enforce that particular law).

    Not to derail the thread, but are you prohibited (by your contract, social conventions within the force, etc.) from personally advocating a change in the law?

  182. #182 |  Billy Beck | 

    Dave @ #8: “Should people be permitted to ignore the cops?”…

    A reading: “Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.”

    (Henry David Thoreau — “Civil Disobedience”)

    Do you understand the issue here? The entire effect — if not the purpose — of a jaywalking statute is to strip the individual of that which he is born with: the principal device with which humans are able and naturally authorized to make their ways through the world. This is a metaphysical issue that extends to politics. Beware of false equivocations with actual crimes that bring harm to others (contrast with those which are arbitrarily asserted by the state). Your question is sloppy. The matter is not whether an individual should be permitted to ignore the police so generally as you put it. If it were that simple, then all of politics is reduced to a binary solution set including only the alternatives of total rebellion on the one hand and total submission on the other, in every issue from jaywalking to murder, and anything else over which the state would claim authority. (“Whether you want to use one or two cups of flour in that recipe is not your choice: you will obey statute if we say so, or face the might of the state.”)

    Your question stipulates to the majesty of the law, without accounting that the law is almost always an ass.

    Me? I know how to get across a street. My parents saw to that at an early age.

    Fuck the police.

    That is all.

  183. #183 |  Johnny Yuma | 

    @#176

    It’s true, resistors should expect busted noses, or worse. But, that is different than saying they deserve it. To someone with an authoritarian mindset? Sure, she had it comin’. “There shall be no jaywalking in the Land of the Free and thou shalt lie prostrate before the enforcers!”

    I, for one, don’t hold the authority of cops too highly (scroll through this blog to see why), so I think it was great that they treated him like a mall cop, ignored him and walked away. It’s too bad more of us don’t have the courage to act that way because the limits of their power are determined by our level of consent. If we act like submissives, we’ll be treated as such.

  184. #184 |  Dennis N | 

    Disregarding Omar’s mindless babbling …

    A police officer has a duty, once confronted with a resisting suspect, to terminate the encounter by arresting the perp. If the person resists with violence, as the woman did, he must use superior violence. This can potentially culminate in deadly force. Don’t want to get beat down? Don’t use violence against the cops.

    He obviously did not punch her hard enough or frequently enough, as she continued to resist. Back to the gym with you, copper.

    A superior course of action might have been to use pain compliance holds. This could have resulted in his breaking her arm if she continued to resist, but it’s less spectacular than a pop in the snoot. And it’s more effective, as her continued resistance demonstrates. It’s hard to fight with a broken arm or a dislocated wrist. But it doesn’t show as spectacularly on camera, so the morons have less to complain about.

    Lesson learned, cop. Back to the gym with you, for some retraining. Most cops are pretty poorly trained, so I’m not surprised there.

    This is why cops carry chemical sprays, Tasers, and firearms. Arguably, the incident could have been better terminated by tasing or spraying the woman. Again, better training is indicated.

    It’s hard to second guess the man on the ground, once a fight has started. The optimal courses of action are not always apparent. Those who weren’t there are always free with better ideas.

    You do not have the right to resist arrest. She took a petty ticket and escalated it into a felony. It is solely her fault – the result of her own stupidity.

  185. #185 |  K. Irving | 

    The cop did nothing wrong. Both girls a little taller than him, they both defied the law. Just like you have to punch a person to save a drowning person is what the cop did to get the upper hand of the matter. People underestimate what it takes to restrain people, let alone by 1 undersized person against two and I am a 6 foot 4, 265lb black man. Obey the law and stop looking to be right just because it’s caught on tape. Cops have the right to use force, when necessary and 2 to 1 is just that.

  186. #186 |  Sinchy | 

    @Judi

    I know that a shove is an assault and she should be arrested for assaulting an officer but what I pointed out was that the shove pushed him away from her friend. The officer did not have to respond with a punch to the face. Once she assaulted the cop, and she did, he had the right to arrest her. Is a punch in the face the first tactic in an arrest? As I said, at that moment he could have used his voice to declare they were under arrest for assaulting an officer and called for back up. If they tried to escape then great, chase her down tackle her etc.

  187. #187 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The Freedom Line and I have concluded our impartial investigation. I interviewed a bunch of the women’s relatives and some of the folks yelling at the cop to stop. The conclusion is that the women were acting in self-defense in response to the cop’s unprovoked assault. Basically, the cop did everything wrong and the women did everything right.

    The Freedom Line is proud to have cleared the women of any wrong-doing. The women will continue for the next 6-months to be paid by the city to be on vacation (as part of the Freedom Line’s union contract mandates) as we dot some tees and cross some eyes on the paperwork.

    We are also awarding the women a medal of bravery in the face of a brutal attack by a deranged cop.

    Personally, I want to thank the police union and police departments across the country for providing me with the blueprint for The Freedom Line.

  188. #188 |  Dennis N | 

    Boyd wins the thread. :-)

  189. #189 |  Presumption of Competence « ricketyclick | 

    [...] This was his comment over at Radley’s Agitator article concerning a woman who got punched in the face by a cop over a jaywa…. [...]

  190. #190 |  Justin M. Stoddard | 

    I think Billy Beck has it right, here. What’s being missed in this discussion is that by their very nature, the modern day police officer has more control over your life than any other individual in these United States.

    I’ve been following this discussion here and elsewhere the past couple of days and am extremely disheartened to continually see everyone missing the point. The police officer initiated force by grabbing that young woman for…jaywalking. Take that to its logical conclusion. Would that young lady had ‘deserved it” if the police officer shot her? Because, as I’ve been told, over and over and over again…’you don’t ever resist a police officer. If you do, you have what’s coming to you’.

    No real American would ever say such a thing. Even dialing it back a bit, no real American would sanction a police officer grabbing young women off the street for jaywalking.

  191. #191 |  buzz | 

    apparently the freedom line is on crack. The cop was JUST FINISHING writing someone else up for jaywalking when the girls jaywalked in front of him. If you feel the cops should only ticket or arrest those who obey their commands and just assume “its not worth it” to do the same to those who ignore those commands, pretty soon no one pays any attention to them. Contrary to the cop haters out there, that will not be a better society. And those who find fault in the cops attempt to handcuff someone, should try it themselves. Just passive resistance. Not fighting or anything. Try that without resorting to a choke hold, or mace or taser. Now add more yelling people in the mix.

  192. #192 |  C_Whatever | 

    Someone said:

    The police have a duty and a right to detain or arrest you if you are believed to have committed an infraction.

    That would be like so cool! Where is that law, buddy? Oh yeah, it doesn’t exist because it would prevent “police discretion”. That is, the Woman Pass and the Important Person Pass! And the Police Pass of course! Mustn’t forget that one!

    Really, you should do stand up comedy.

  193. #193 |  Elliot | 

    Dennis N #184: “A police officer has a duty, once confronted with a resisting suspect, to terminate the encounter by arresting the perp.”

    Why?

    Putting aside the fact that victimless crimes (cf. #182) only create conflict where there doesn’t need to be, there’s also the ubiquitous notion that police always have to be in charge of every situation.

    Why?

    Sometimes, discretion is the better part of valor. When it comes to car chases, clearly there ought to be a bar below which the risk of a high-speed chase is greater than the “risk” of letting someone get away with some minor infraction. With foot chases, street confrontations, and the like, there similarly needs to be some sanity.

    But some point, it’s all about maintaining a gangster-like image of being the toughest around. They are special ones and no second-class citizen should ever get the idea that he or she can get away with Contempt of Cop, acting all uppity and whatnot. Got to keep the nigg civilians in their place.

    “You do not have the right to resist arrest.”

    You have every right to break any immoral law and to defy enforcement of such.

    “She took a petty ticket and escalated it into a felony. It is solely her fault – the result of her own stupidity.”

    Bullshit. A cop can choose not to punch. You may argue that he is justified (I disagree), but you can’t say he bears no responsibility for his actions. He has a brain, doesn’t he?

    Man, you must be reading my arguments with an in-law with regard to the puppycide in Missouri. She also claimed that the police had no blame for bursting into a family home at night, loaded up with combat gear, shooting up the place in which kids were present just because a family pet acted like family pets act when people burst into their home. It was, as she assserted, entirely the fault of the awful parents who had a small amount of a plant in their house (nevermind the millions of parents who have alcohol in their homes).

    Disgusting.

  194. #194 |  C_Whatever | 

    And I also agree with LibCop…. it would be IMPOSSIBLE to have laws that send people away for years because they punched someone once if those laws also applied to rich drunk kids, Pillars of the Community, or police officers off-duty.

    I mean really, how would LibCop be able to emotionally handle one of his buddies being treated the same way he treats people he doesn’t like?

    I don’t even want to think about a society like that.

  195. #195 |  thorn | 

    You have every right to break any immoral law and to defy enforcement of such.

    Elliott, you wish to throw out a relevant point in order to prove your own… sorry, it doesn’t work like that. There’s nothing particularly “immoral” about a law which states “don’t walk through traffic”. There would be little logic from me basing an argument on a fondness of driving down the sidewalk, yet that’s the place you’re going.

    Billy Beck says he knows how to cross a street – great. Glad to hear it. Pls come down to Gilbert Ave or Reading Rd in downtown Cincinnati sometime and give lessons, because as a motorist I’m tired of playing Chicken with stupid fucking people.

    If I hit someone who’s decided to tempt fate and mock physics – it’s not just THEM that pays the price. I don’t want my freaking car dented. I don’t want higher premiums. I don’t want my taxes paying for their emergency medical care. And at work, I don’t want to have to make news graphics of their face, a map of the location where it happened, and listen to endless reports about “pedestrian hit” on the 5pm news.

    Should the cop have hit here? In my opinion, no – but ONLY because he’s a cop, and has to follow procedures. If she had pulled that “You ain’t GETTIN in MAH face” routine at the Quick Stop, I’d probably have hit her too. So while I think he erred: it’s funny as hell, completely understandable, and I hope someone bought him a beer.

  196. #196 |  Dennis N | 

    #193 | Elliot

    Sometimes, discretion is the better part of valor.

    I’m not arguing that part. I agree. But once she resisted arrest, his hands were tied. Had she not resisted, she would have got a ticket, and been able to fight the issue in the court, like a civilized being.

    You have every right to break any immoral law and to defy enforcement of such.

    The State will beat you down for that, as they should. The alternative is anarchy, and gang is meaner than your gang. ;-)

    Beat the charges in court, change the law in the legislature, go to jail as a protest, or mount a sufficient rebellion to overthrow the gummint. The State maintains a monopoly on violence, with a few exceptions. Resisting the State ain’t one of them. Otherwise, I would have the right to defy any law I disapproved of.

    A cop can choose not to punch. You may argue that he is justified (I disagree), but you can’t say he bears no responsibility for his actions. He has a brain, doesn’t he?

    Yes, he tried too hard to do her no damage, and thus prolonged the fight. He should have twisted her arm until she succumbed or he broke it and crippled her. It wouldn’t have left anyone with a photo op, though. Any injuries are solely her fault. Don’t want to get hurt, don’t resist arrest. In civilized countries, we fight the State in the legislature or in court. If it gets bad enough, we go to war, overthrow the gummint, and hang all the ba*tards. Whether or not we are at that point is tangential to an argument on whether a cop has the right to arrest you.

    She also claimed that the police had no blame for bursting into a family home at night, loaded up with combat gear, shooting up the place in which kids were present just because a family pet acted like family pets act when people burst into their home.

    Don’t put words in my mouth. There’s a vast difference between using force to arrest a person who is resisting, and using excessive force in the absence of resistance.

  197. #197 |  Darlyn | 

    this is bullshit and that cop needs shot,, idgaf what the woman was doin there is no way to justify him punchin her in her face .. i bet yu he has arrested plenty of men on domestic violence but he thinks its okay to beat up on women who don’t look both ways when they cross the street?!

  198. #198 |  RWW | 

    Fuck the police.

    Look out, Billy; there are “libertarians” in these parts, and they don’t take kindly to principles.

  199. #199 |  atrocitycomplex.com | Lack of command presence | 

    [...] Balko at the Agitator talks about the video clip [...]

  200. #200 |  Ron Good | 

    Dennis N wrote: “The State will beat you down for that, as they should. The alternative is anarchy, and gang is meaner than your gang. ;-) ”
    —————

    What you wrote devolves to “the State *is* the meaner gang” just as you described it.

    So, please explain to me, given your “as they should” support of the State’s ganging up on the individual, exactly what is it I am supposed to fear about anarchy?

    As for this: “Otherwise, I would have the right to defy any law I disapproved of.”…

    I already *have* the right to defy any law I disapprove of. Are you able tu understand the (correct) idea that “rights” are not synonymous with permissions?

    As for this: “In civilized countries, we fight the State in the legislature or in court”…

    Nope. I fight the State any way I choose, any time I choose, any time I feel like accepting the risk. Keep your puny “we” to yourself.

  201. #201 |  Dennis N | 

    #200 | Ron Good |
    What you wrote devolves to “the State *is* the meaner gang” just as you described it.

    Pretty much.

    So, please explain to me, given your “as they should” support of the State’s ganging up on the individual, exactly what is it I am supposed to fear about anarchy?

    That moronic or misquoted quote by Franklin not withstanding, we always give up some freedom for some security. We can argue until the bar runs dry, where that line is, but no society in the history of the planet has tolerated anarchy. If there’s been no government, we invented it, back from when Ogg whipped his cave partners into shape and their hunting success increased.

    With anarchy, every man literally being his own king, it is simply rule of the fiercest. That leads to warlordism. It’s nothing more than the Bloods vs the Crips wrote big. That’s why society developed government in the first place, because anarchy has never worked. And gummint means ceding the monopoly on political violence to the State.

    I already *have* the right to defy any law I disapprove of. Are you able tu understand the (correct) idea that “rights” are not synonymous with permissions?

    Rights are not synonymous with license. Absolute freedom has never existed in any society on Earth, and never will. Carrying your argument to the extreme, you have the right to murder at will? So have I. Then we go back to gangs and all the rest.

    I fight the State any way I choose, any time I choose, any time I feel like accepting the risk. Keep your puny “we” to yourself.

    Fine, Internet tough guy. And we will crush you if you get too far out of line. Nothing personal, just business.

  202. #202 |  Ron Good | 

    Dennis N wrote “Fine, Internet tough guy. And we will crush you if you get too far out of line. Nothing personal, just business.”
    —————-

    Yeah, **thug**…you spew like that and have the gall to label *me* an Internet Tough Guy.

    Yer funny.

    As for this from you: “it is simply rule of the fiercest…warlordism. It’s nothing more than the Bloods vs the Crips wrote big.””…You say you’re describing what anarchy would be, but all you’re really doing is just describing your own ethics in the here and now.

    What I quoted from you above proves that.

    As for “Rights are not synonymous with license”…Don’t put words in *my* mouth; I never said they were. I wrote what I wrote and your evasion is noted.

    Come get me. And it *is* personal.

  203. #203 |  thorn | 

    I fight the State any way I choose, any time I choose, any time I feel like accepting the risk.

    Do tell – what fight have you made, and at what risk?

    (I suspect none of much consequence)

    It’s hilarious that at times this has come to a level of “people have a right to walk in the street”. Do I also, then, have the right to run over your ass and keep on going?

  204. #204 |  Ron Good | 

    thorn wrote “Do tell – what fight have you made, and at what risk? (I suspect none of much consequence)”
    —————–

    I suspect “none of your business”.

    More relevant to this discussion, perhaps you could tell me what I wrote that you think is ethically *wrong*, and why?

  205. #205 |  Ron Good | 

    By the way, thorn–just so you understand…I have no grandiose Rambo fantasies, y’know…I’m quite a peaceful guy.

    I do my best to treat my friends right, I do my best to respect the people around me and I take right and wrong very, very seriously — much more seriously than I take legal/illegal. So, yeah, that means I do have some limits it probably best not to cross.

    But keep in mind: in this discussion, it’s not me who is trotting out gangster phrases like “we will crush you”.

  206. #206 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @191,

    apparently the freedom line is on crack.

    You are just hate freedom. I have to warn you that making negative statements about The Freedom Line will most likely cost you your next election.

  207. #207 |  LibCop | 

    “I mean really, how would LibCop be able to emotionally handle one of his buddies being treated the same way he treats people he doesn’t like?”

    What kind of idiotic BS is this? “Liking” people has nothing to do with it, the nature of the incident does.

    Discreation doesn’t mean “give people I like a pass”, It means judge the situation in it’s totality, not in the narrow black and white vacuum of “is it against the law or is it now.

    It’s why the guy going a little too fast down a sparcely populated road on his way home after a rough day at work doesn’t get a ticket from me, where as the kid doing the same thing at 3pm in an elementary school zone absolutley will. It’s why the guy with a joint (or 10) in his pocket gets a brief lecture from me (because not every LEO subscribes to my philosophy) and thats it, but the guy selling heroin to 9 year olds gets jailed (I’m all for doing with your body as you please, but children that little can’t consent, even in a non-phohibition world that would be wrong…without the parents permission that is LOL)

    Under the stupid fantasy misunderstanding of some people, I’d have no choice but to cite or arrest everyone I just mentioned. In that fantasy, liberty minded cops (you read that right btw) would be fucked, if you think cops are authoritarisn NOW, take away discreation. You’ll be begging for a return to todays standard within a week or less.

  208. #208 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @201 Dennis,
    You took a good deal of time to comment on anarchy, but can you really say that you know much about it? Some of your comments are similar to those of people with only the most basic introduction to the subject.

    “No society in the history of the planet has tolerated anarchy” Not true.

    “Every man literally being his own king” Not true.

    “It is simply rule of the fiercest” Not true.

    “Leads to warlordism” It could. But I can mention a hundred very proper Heads of State that basically act as warlords.

    “It’s nothing more than the Bloods vs the Crips wrote big.” Not true, but that’s a good description of USA vs. Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan/Vietnam/Korea/USSR

    “That’s why society developed government in the first place, because anarchy has never worked.” That is not why society developed government.

    “gummint means ceding the monopoly on political violence to the State.” Certainly the “legal” monopoly at least.

  209. #209 |  NathanS | 

    “We can argue until the bar runs dry, where that line is, but no society in the history of the planet has tolerated anarchy.”

    I would suggest you at least make a sophmoric effort to challenge this tenant of your world view. Many people, much smarter than you, have done so, and found there are numerous examples of virtual anarchy actually being the birthplace of most of the advancements in human civilization. The city states of Greece being a classic example. The distributed power of the European trade hubs before domination by kings is another example. America for most of it’s history up to the 1900′s was in virtual anarchy.

  210. #210 |  Samk | 

    This thread stands as the longest I can remember in my time on the Agitator, and also the one that has devolved the furthest.

    “…that cop needs shot.”
    “..it *is* personal..”

    LeSigh…

  211. #211 |  Dennis N | 

    #202 | Ron Good
    As for this from you: “it is simply rule of the fiercest…warlordism. It’s nothing more than the Bloods vs the Crips wrote big.””…You say you’re describing what anarchy would be, but all you’re really doing is just describing your own ethics in the here and now.

    No, I’m describing how the real world works, and how it has always worked. People invent governments to protect them. It starts with choosing Ogg as the cave leader, and ends up with various imperfect attempts at formal gummint, from democratic republics to dictatorships. They have all one thing in common. Ogg helps protect you against the bad guys in the next cave, and if you mess with Ogg, you get your head smashed. The difference between that and a cop trying to stuff a PITA into a squad car is trivial.

    If you defy the State seriously enough, it will stomp you. Since the job of the police is to arrest people, forget all that Protect and Serve crap, they WILL arrest you if they can justify it. If you fight him, then I’m on the side of the cop. The rest of the time, I’m pretty much on the other side. The cops need to be controlled, but forget about winning the right to resist arrest. It ain’t gonna happen.

    I already *have* the right to defy any law I disapprove of. Are you able tu understand the (correct) idea that “rights” are not synonymous with permissions?

    Then I have the right to murder you because I dislike what you said on the Internet? (This is NOT a threat, I don’t give a crap) Give me a break, boy. There are common Rights of Man. Many of them are listed in the Constitution, some are not. You can assert the right to defy the State. You can even try to do so. The food is lousy, there.

    Come get me. And it *is* personal.

    ROFLMFAO

    it’s not me who is trotting out gangster phrases like “we will crush you”.

    Do you seriously think there is any society, anywhere in the Galaxy, that would not do so if you sufficiently pi$$ it off? That is what government is, from Ogg and his club to the Führer, to Thomas Jefferson and his merry men, and everything in between.

    “No society in the history of the planet has tolerated anarchy” Not true.

    Name a couple.

    “It is simply rule of the fiercest” Not true.

    OK, we have anarchy. I want your wealth. Give it to me or I’m going to kill you. What are you going to do? Who’s going to stop me?

    “That’s why society developed government in the first place, because anarchy has never worked.” That is not why society developed government.

    The primary role of government is providing for the security of its members. Until and unless it does that, there is no reason to follow one.

    “gummint means ceding the monopoly on political violence to the State.” Certainly the “legal” monopoly at least.

    Well, yes, there is the potential of violently overthrowing the gummint. We have a certain history of that in this country. You are, of course, welcome to try.

    An old aphorism comes to mind, “If you strike a king, see that you kill him.” In the meanwhile, decide which hill you want to die on, and which ones you don’t.

    #208 | Boyd Durkin
    Under the stupid fantasy misunderstanding of some people, I’d have no choice but to cite or arrest everyone I just mentioned. In that fantasy, liberty minded cops (you read that right btw) would be fucked, if you think cops are authoritarisn NOW, take away discreation. You’ll be begging for a return to todays standard within a week or less.

    Your primary discretion is before the interaction starts. I dare say, if the mope going 70 in the school zone refuses to accept your ticket, it’s going to get unpleasant for him, and you really can’t afford to lose that fight. Once you’ve decided he’s getting into the back seat, your discretion is kinda limited to tactics. Now we can argue tactics all day, but I’m not sure there’s enough beer in the bar.

  212. #212 |  Billy Beck | 

    “Billy Beck says he knows how to cross a street – great. Glad to hear it. Pls come down to Gilbert Ave or Reading Rd in downtown Cincinnati sometime and give lessons, because as a motorist I’m tired of playing Chicken with stupid fucking people.”

    That’s not my job, son. I’m only responsible for me, and that is why I claim all authority over me. Do you understand? That’s how it works: the two cannot be separated.

    If you have a problem on Gilbert Ave., then I’m sorry to hear it, and I hope you can find a way to solve it, but you can safely leave me out of it.

  213. #213 |  Billy Beck | 

    “And we will crush you if you get too far out of line. “

    {hah!}

    Step right up.

  214. #214 |  Dennis N | 

    #209 | NathanS |

    I would suggest you at least make a sophmoric effort to challenge this tenant of your world view. Many people, much smarter than you, have done so, and found there are numerous examples of virtual anarchy actually being the birthplace of most of the advancements in human civilization. The city states of Greece being a classic example. The distributed power of the European trade hubs before domination by kings is another example. America for most of it’s history up to the 1900’s was in virtual anarchy.

    Huh? Give me a hit off that before you put it out. This is too idiotic to merit a serious reply

    The Greek City States anarchy? Go back and read History 101. Athenian Democracy was quite anarchic, but far from actual anarchy. The state had social classes, enacted laws, executed people, enforced the status of slaves, organized religions, negotiated treaties, fought wars, conducted trade.

    The same thing with European trade hubs. What do you think kept the bandits from eating up the traders? Good will? Who managed the guilds?

    Yes, the US West was anarchic until people showed up. Then they started building their own; electing mayors, setting up towns, lynching people. Lynch mobs and Vigilance Committees are government – just pretty sjitty government. The Indians had their own governments.

    If you and I band together to keep Bob from stealing our sheep, then we have a gang. A gang is government. The converse can also be said; Government is a gang.

    Don’t mistake informality for lack of government.

  215. #215 |  Johnny Yuma | 

    @Dennis N

    As an anarchist, I always enjoy it when people vehemently oppose anarchism because, they aver, it would look exactly the same as the terrible and intolerable state of affairs we find ourselves in now.

  216. #216 |  Johnny Yuma | 

    @Dennis N

    Are you seriously going to claim that governments were formed for protection and then turn around and tell someone else to read History 101? Unless you’re claiming that they were formed by the powerful to protect themselves from the weak, it is you that needs to read History 101.

    Also, you equivocate. There is government and then there is Government. Anarchists want more of the former and less of the latter.

    “My political opinions lean more and more to anarchy — philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control, not whiskered men with bombs — or to ‘unconstitutional’ monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State — in any sense other than the inanimate realm of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights, nor mind — and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remain obstinate! Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offense to write it with a capital ‘G’ or so as to refer to people… [T]he most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

  217. #217 |  C_Whatever | 

    What kind of idiotic BS is this? “Liking” people has nothing to do with it, the nature of the incident does.

    Discreation doesn’t mean “give people I like a pass”, It means judge the situation in it’s totality, not in the narrow black and white vacuum of “is it against the law or is it now.

    Well, if Mr. LibCop won’t openly admit to favoring his friends, and instead claims to act with complete impartiality, then I guess he has proven me wrong.

    After all, he got it out of his mouth. And getting something out of your mouth is proof positive of it’s truth.

    Of course, I “got out of my mouth” that he openly favors his friends, so we appear to have one of those, what is it? Paradoxes.

  218. #218 |  Dennis N | 

    #216 | Johnny Yuma

    Are you seriously going to claim that governments were formed for protection and then turn around and tell someone else to read History 101? Unless you’re claiming that they were formed by the powerful to protect themselves from the weak, it is you that needs to read History 101.

    How do you think the powerful became powerful? They became the nucleus of government. You want a weakling to protect you from the Cave Next Door? They’ll eat your lunch.

    Also, you equivocate. There is government and then there is Government. Anarchists want more of the former and less of the latter.

    I’m actually pretty sympathetic to that, but there is no essential difference.

    I would arrest anybody who uses the word State

    How would you do that? Unless by having a State, yourself.

    The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

    No argument there, but we as a species will have gummint whether we like it or not. The trick is to try to shape the gummint into something we like better. Yeah, I know – Good luck with that.

  219. #219 |  Samk | 

    “If you have a problem on Gilbert Ave., then I’m sorry to hear it, and I hope you can find a way to solve it, but you can safely leave me out of it.”

    Well…the solution we’ve found is ticketing jaywalkers, and you’re out of it so long as you don’t jaywalk :). Of the solutions being offered I’m actually pretty happy with this one.

  220. #220 |  Ron Good | 

    Dennis N wrote: “The trick is to try to shape the gummint into something we like better.”
    ————-

    No.

    The trick is *always* reserving authority over yourself. That’s the only limit on gangsterism that ever exists.

    And it’s not a trick.

  221. #221 |  Duncan20903 | 

    I did notice that the cop didn’t arrest or threaten to arrest any of the people recording the incident.

    Living in DC area I can say with certainty that jay walking can totally screw up traffic. Just go down to K street and try to make a right turn when the signal permits and with the don’t walk sign on, the pedestrians just ignore the lights and contribute heavily to gridlock. No, it doesn’t mean that cops should chase them down and beat them, and had he done so without her resisting arrest it would have entirely changed my opinion. Still, we could definitely have a conversation about allowing the drivers who have the right of way to run the jay walking jerks over. But, really, couldn’t do that because it would screw up traffic even worse while the cops investigate to see whether or not such an incident was justifiable.

    Good gosh, if you can’t even get me behind the idea of calling the cop a criminal you’ve got a lousy example of police brutality. To put this into context I thought that the OJ Simpson jury returned the correct verdict based on the evidence that they were allowed to see. Of course Mark Furman didn’t do anything to help cure my cynicism toward police when he was caught red handed perjuring himself.

    The last person a cop wants on a tribunal or jury when their actions are questioned is me. I have a knee jerk reaction and if there’s any doubt will always find against the cop. But I would vote to clear the cop in this video. I only mention that because it’s remarkable when I decide the cop was right.

  222. #222 |  Dennis N | 

    #220 | Ron Good |
    The trick is *always* reserving authority over yourself. That’s the only limit on gangsterism that ever exists.

    Of course. You must ALWAYS do that.

    Just decide which hill you are willing to die taking, and which you are not.

    Because if you pi$$ it off sufficiently, the State will crush you like a bug. Nothing personal, just business.

  223. #223 |  Johnny Yuma | 

    @Dennis N

    “How do you think the powerful became powerful? They became the nucleus of government. You want a weakling to protect you from the Cave Next Door? They’ll eat your lunch.”

    They become powerful by preying on the weak, not by protecting the weak. You said previously, “No, I’m describing how the real world works, and how it has always worked. People invent governments to protect them. It starts with choosing Ogg as the cave leader,”. But this is not accurate. The reality is, Ogg chose himself and went around beating up the weak and making them his subjects. Ogg wasn’t the chosen protector, he was the violent oppressor. That is where Governments come from.

    Now, I agree with you fully when you said, “The primary role of [G]overnment is providing for the security of its members. Until and unless it does that, there is no reason to follow one.” This is true. The Government is out to protect itself. Further, you excellently described the attitude of the Government toward the rest of us when you said, “I want your wealth. Give it to me or I’m going to kill you. What are you going to do? Who’s going to stop me?” That is Government. Ogg and his gang having their way with the rest of us yet having the audacity to claim that they’re protecting us.

  224. #224 |  Dennis N | 

    #223 | Johnny Yuma |
    “How do you think the powerful became powerful? They became the nucleus of government. You want a weakling to protect you from the Cave Next Door? They’ll eat your lunch.”

    They become powerful by preying on the weak, not by protecting the weak.

    It doesn’t work that way, and it can’t work that way. At the small end, where government starts, the “Strong Man” is seldom strong enough to dominate. Tribal government is surprisingly egalitarian, simply because the rest can gang up on Mr Big, or go away. All it takes is one knife in the back at night, and Mr Big is no more. Once governments start to evolve, say to the level of The Crips, then Mr Big has the ability to have minions do his internal enforcement. Even then, it’s dicey for him.

    The Government is out to protect itself.

    If you grant that government is necessary (Not a foregone conclusion around here) then it has a duty to protect itself. Anyway, it will do so.

    you excellently described the attitude of the Government toward the rest of us when you said, “I want your wealth. Give it to me or I’m going to kill you. What are you going to do? Who’s going to stop me?” That is Government.

    It’s also typical of anarchy. You can protect yourself against me, personally. That is rule of the fiercest. Or you can band together to protect yourself against me. That’s government. The latter tends to be more stable, if only because bigger entities have more inertia than little ones.

  225. #225 |  Elliot | 

    Dennis N (#196):

    Elliot (#193):You have every right to break any immoral law and to defy
    enforcement of such.

    “The State will beat you down for that, as they should. The alternative
    is anarchy, and gang is meaner than your gang. ;-)”

    The alternative to using aggressive force to coerce people to do what you
    want is to use REASON instead. Did you ever think of that?

    Anarchy is not the dirty word you seem to think it is, nor does it equate
    to chaos. Letting grownups conduct their lives on their own terms, so long
    as they aren’t harming anyone else, certainly has all kinds of ethical
    advantages over your “meaner gang” model of ruling people.

    Dennis N (#196):
    “Beat the charges in court, change the law in the
    legislature, go to
    jail as a protest, or mount a sufficient rebellion to overthrow the
    gummint.”

    “As for adopting the ways of the State has provided for remedying the
    evil, I know not of such ways. They take too much time, and a man’s life
    will be gone. I have other affairs to attend to. I came into this world,
    not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it
    good or bad. A man has not everything to do, but something; and because he
    cannot do everything, it is not necessary that he should be petitioning the
    Governor or the Legislature any more than it is theirs to petition me; and
    if they should not hear my petition, what should I do then? But in this
    case the State has provided no way: its very Constitution is the
    evil.”

    (Henry David Thoreau — “Civil Disobedience”)

    Dennis N (#196):
    “The State maintains a monopoly on violence, with a few exceptions.
    Resisting the State ain’t one of them. Otherwise, I would have the right to
    defy any law I disapproved of.”

    You do have that right, with the caveat that your approval is not to be taken as capricious whimsy, but as a logical assessment of
    the facts of a given situation. In other words, you can’t arbitrarily
    decide you don’t approve of laws prohibiting violence and theft, so you can
    act like a rampaging Viking.

    People who lived decades or centuries ago had every right to defy laws which imposed slavery, segregation, prohibition, etc..

    Dennis N (#196):
    “Any injuries are solely her fault.”

    There you go again. Either the cop has a brain and should be held
    responsible for the decisions he makes, or he is a robot who follows
    procedure absent any accountability.

    Which is it?

    Dennis N (#196):
    “Don’t want to get hurt, don’t resist arrest.”

    All you’re doing is reasserting the “meaner gang” mantra, i.e., “might
    makes right.” I understand that cops can hurt and kill you. I get it.

    What I’m getting at here is right and wrong, not who’s got the biggest
    baton.

    What is wrong with you?

    Dennis N (#196):
    “In civilized countries, we fight the State in the legislature or in
    court.”

    Quit using the collective “we” unless you have a mouse in your pocket.
    Again, refer to the Thoreau citation above.

    Next, explain to me how a country where police act as the enforcers of the
    “meaner gang” is actually civilized.

    Civilized people use reason, not force, to get other peaceable individuals
    to do what they want. I always like to mention the fictional Sheriff Andy Taylor as a model for a thinking lawman. Instead, we get Eugene Tackleberrys and Barney Fifes.

  226. #226 |  Elliot | 

    Dennis N (#224) “It doesn’t work that way, and it can’t work that way. At the small end, where government starts, the “Strong Man” is seldom strong enough to dominate. Tribal government is surprisingly egalitarian, simply because the rest can gang up on Mr Big, or go away. All it takes is one knife in the back at night, and Mr Big is no more. Once governments start to evolve, say to the level of The Crips, then Mr Big has the ability to have minions do his internal enforcement. Even then, it’s dicey for him.”

    So there was never any such thing as the USSR?

    Wow. You may need to rethink your little theory on how government doesn’t work.

  227. #227 |  Dennis N | 

    #226 | Elliot
    So there was never any such thing as the USSR?

    Huh? Of course there was, and it was bad. And your point is?

    Anarchy leads to USSRs and Third Reichs.

  228. #228 |  Dennis N | 

    #225 | Elliot |

    Civilized people use reason, not force,

    They use reason to establish governments empowered to use force over them. It has never been otherwise, and never will. Anarchy is nothing more than untrammeled violence. Don’t like it I’ll punch you in the mouth. (Not personally) What are you going to do, reason with me? Government is an ordered violence.

  229. #229 |  Samk | 

    …(grabs popcorn)…

    This is getting downright entertaining…

  230. #230 |  Dennis N | 

    #229 | Samk |
    …(grabs popcorn)…

    This is getting downright entertaining…

    You may be too late. We’ve pretty much got to the “Oh Yeah?”

    “Yeah”

    “Your Mother!” stage.

  231. #231 |  Elliot | 

    Dennis N (#228): “Anarchy is nothing more than untrammeled violence.”

    Now that the Hobbseian misconception of anarchy is out there, let’s consider the more sensible definition: self rule. That doesn’t mean chaos. It doesn’t mean a free-for-all. People make voluntary, consensual associations (trade, defense pacts, division of labor) because it benefits them. Once you impose rule on them, you’re denying them the right to make their own choices, and restricting their ability to make those voluntary, consensual exchanges.

  232. #232 |  Ron Good | 

    Dennis N wrote: “Anarchy leads to USSRs and Third Reichs.”

    Dennis N wrote: “Yes, the US West was anarchic until people showed up. Then they started building their own; electing mayors, setting up towns, lynching people. Lynch mobs and Vigilance Committees are government – just pretty sjitty government. The Indians had their own governments.”

    So, anarchy leads to…???

  233. #233 |  Stephen | 

    Just exonerate anyone who runs over a jaywalker and pay the driver $100. Soon there will be no jaywalkers. Don’t need cops enforcing silly jaywalking laws. Cheap and efficient.

  234. #234 |  thorn | 

    It really is a splendid discussion, with quotes from Thoreau and the man that invented Middle Earth…

    I’ve yet to determine, however, how turning America into a pure Anarchistic society would keep idiots from walking into traffic.

  235. #235 |  The dude abides | 

    The cop’s only problem was that he held back. He should have tazed ‘em or pulled out the night stick. The women in the video had obviously been raised by the wolves.

  236. #236 |  Beldar | 

    Balko, why do you jump to the conclusion — a counterfactual one, at least based on the video and the article you linked — that the original stop was arbitrary and based on a “petty crime”?

    One need not be very imaginative to see how the “petty crime” of jaywalking in a place like the one shown in the video could quickly turn into a fatal traffic accident — with not only the jaywalker’s life potentially at risk, but also those of other bystanders and motorists.

    One need not read very much of your writing to imagine what you’d have written if the cops had stood by watching the jaywalkers and such an accident had followed. You’d have crucified the cops for their error in judgment.

    Your anti-police bias is increasingly obvious. Add to that your eagerness to rush to judgments with only a partial knowledge of the facts — indeed, to judgments inconsistent even with such facts as are apparent — and you lose all credibility.

  237. #237 |  David N | 

    If a cop witnesses you committing a traffic infraction he has the power to detain you and issue a warning or summons, ask you for ID, check you for warrants, etc. I realize that’s controversial here and how dare the Man tell you where you can and can’t walk and so on, but it is what it is. You can’t just refuse to stop because jaywalking is a bullshit law any more than you can refuse to pull over because you just know the light was yellow or refuse to pay your taxes because you just know the 16th ammendment was never ratified, and so on.

    There’s nothing libertarian about claiming that the law doesn’t apply to you because you have a righteous moral certitude, or you’re a belligerent girl, or some cops are sometimes in the wrong, or there’s more important things they could be doing.

    Cop or not (I’m not), if someone came up and shoved me, I wouldn’t rule out a punch in the face as a response. And no, “he was trying to arrest my friend” is not provocation. That cop had a pretty limited set of options until help arrived, and “should have anticipated what occured and just let her go before all this started” is not one of them. Even as one who normally agrees with your critique of police tactics and abuses, I’m surprised to see you take that line in this case, Radley.

  238. #238 |  Dennis N | 

    #231 | Elliot

    Dennis N (#228): “Anarchy is nothing more than untrammeled violence.”

    Now that the Hobbseian misconception of anarchy is out there, let’s consider the more sensible definition: self rule. That doesn’t mean chaos. It doesn’t mean a free-for-all. People make voluntary, consensual associations (trade, defense pacts, division of labor) because it benefits them. Once you impose rule on them, you’re denying them the right to make their own choices, and restricting their ability to make those voluntary, consensual exchanges.

    What are those “defense pacts” other than gangs? What are those trade agreements, other than restrictive cartels? What’s to prevent my defense pact from shutting down your trade association because it competes with mine?

    Those examples are, in fact, mini governments. Mini governments fight mini wars, but tend to do so constantly. We have evolved to the position of nation states, largely as a matter of efficiency. Bigger wars have been easier to avoid, if for no other reason than inertia. Things much larger than countries, e.g. empires, have tended to be less stable, although there have been some noteworthy exceptions. Transnational commercial empires are still embryonic.

  239. #239 |  Dennis N | 

    #232 | Ron Good |
    Dennis N wrote: “Anarchy leads to USSRs and Third Reichs.”

    So, anarchy leads to…???

    Violence.

  240. #240 |  Dennis N | 

    Followed by government.

  241. #241 |  rookwood | 

    …and just who gets to determine a petty crime?

    …unfortunate incident yes, but let us not lose sight of what happened here – a citizen stupidly decided to go rogue to impress – if you give this a pass, you must give all a pass, then you must not enforce jaywalking to any degree if anyone feels so inclined as to challenge an officer

    …a crime is a crime and that is why this country has laws – if you don’t like this, others or any law – get them change

    …or, better yet, let’s just become a lawless state

    …grow up and get a life, okay?

  242. #242 |  Tully | 

    The officer was posted there by SPD specifically to enforce jaywalking laws in response to citizen complaints. I’m sure he would have preferred other duties, but that’s what he drew that day.

    Woman #1, actively and continually resisting/obstructing the officer after first attempting to flee to avoid a citation, is a 19-yr-old with a recent previous arrest for assaulting a police officer. Woman #2, who assaulted the officer and got punched in return, is a 17-yr-old previously charged for beating and robbing a 15-yr-old and later for hot-wiring and stealing a car. Both young women are live-in residents of institutions for troubled teens with behavior problems. What a surprise.

    The officer is probably GLAD the cameras were rolling — otherwise he’d be in the news for “unprovoked police brutality.”

  243. #243 |  Rachelle | 

    He should have hit her with a club. His punch was too sissy…she was still standing.

  244. #244 |  BSK | 

    I’m not well versed on the theories of anarchy, but my thoughts mirror Dennis’s. Doesn’t it simply become a survival of the fittest model? Now, maybe fitness will be determined by reason, as some have suggested. But even reason and discourse doesn’t guarantee freedom from oppression. At least with the government, we have some idea of who we’re being oppressed by and how. We also have avenues to pursue grievances with this oppression (even if they are not entirely sufficient). In anarchy, I never quite know who or how I’m going to be oppressed and the likely only way to avoid oppression is to become an oppressor myself.

  245. #245 |  Christoph | 

    Tully 242 has the threadwinning comment (in a thick field), utterly eviscerating Radley Balko’s position.

  246. #246 |  pst314 | 

    “Do you think police officers write up every person they see jaywalking? They have discretion. This would have been a good time to use some.”

    So resisting arrest is a reason to “use discretion”???? Good Grief.

  247. #247 |  BSK | 

    242-

    Why does any of that other stuff matter? If their prior records justify anything, then you’re seemingly saying that some people are more entitled than others to protection from the police. If they were upstanding citizens who behaved the same way, would that change our response to the situation? If not, that there is no reason to mention in it.

  248. #248 |  RWW | 

    Your anti-police bias is increasingly obvious.

    “Anti-police bias”? That phrase makes about as much sense as “anti-rape bias.”

  249. #249 |  JT | 

    Ditto Tully. Jaywalking isn’t Murder 1. It is also right to insist that police treat people with dignity and respect and full allowance of their rights; it’s also right to insist that the laws they enforce are just. But, jaywalking is a danger to the safety of the idiots doing it and the drivers who get to play a game of Frogger. It’s dumb that we have to have a law against doing it, but I’ve lived in cities where it’s epidemic and it causes real problems. What about the rights of those drivers having to dodge morons or the rights of the people who live and work there? Basic Libertarian principle: “You’re free to swing your fist right up until it hits someone’s nose.” Well, she swung and she hit. And with the hit, she needs to accept the consequences.

    The officer was right to enforce the law and right to respond to citizen complaints, even if he didn’t want to be there. He was, and he was doing his job. What’s worth noting is that this idiot woman struggles with him for almost a minute trying to get away. She should just stop, take the ticket and walk away. But she doesn’t. It’s only when the second woman comes in that he takes a swing. At that point, so would I.

  250. #250 |  Elliot | 

    Dennis N (#238): “What are those “defense pacts” other than gangs?”

    You’re glossing over the operative word here: “defense”.

    Defense does not include aggressive use of force, or the assertion of a monopoly on the use of force.

    On a small scale, you’ve got security companies. Business owners and home owners can hire them to patrol, monitor alarm systems, and respond to trouble.

    A “gang” isn’t defensive. It’s aggressive.

    Dennis N (#238): “What are those trade agreements, other than restrictive cartels?”

    Not at all. When I walk into a store, put down a place-holder of value (cash, credit card), and make a peaceful, consensual exchange for items I want, that’s an association of trade. When I pay the kid to mow my lawn or the mechanic to fix my car, that’s trade. Until some government or gang gets involved, demanding to control what we do, the trade is a private matter between two parties.

    You’re stuck in the mindset of control, restriction, rule.

    I’m looking at freedom, at the ethics of minding one’s own business and interacting with others peacefully, through mutually beneficial, consensual exchanges of values. If your trade pacts compete with mine, then as a rational person, I work harder, faster, better to make my goods and services more attractive to would-be clients.

    Dennis N (#238): “What’s to prevent my defense pact from shutting down your trade association because it competes with mine?”

    That happens now. Try to compete with the post office or the state lottery. Try to compete with drug dealers. You’ll find that these gangs don’t want competition and will use aggressive force to block you, whether it’s a drive-by shooting or the use of police and courts to enforce restrictive laws (laws not intended to prevent you from harming others, but intended to prevent you from being free to compete with their cronies, their special interests, and such).

    In a free society, people would of course need to take care of defending against predators, whether it’s obtaining tools of self-defense or hiring contractors to handle larger scale defense. It’s not like a lack of a powerful government would suddenly make people stupid and helpless. On the contrary, they’d have to face the reality of what it takes to survive.

    Dennis N (#238): “Those examples are, in fact, mini governments.”

    Those examples are your creation, not mine. They are a product of your narrow, misguided thinking, rather than an honest, rational look at how people can conduct their affairs when left alone.

    Dennis N (#238): “We have evolved to the position of nation states, largely as a matter of efficiency. Bigger wars have been easier to avoid, if for no other reason than inertia.”

    Did you sleep through World History, once they got to the 20th century?

    Larger nation states murdered about 150,000,000 people and enslaved billions. Your arguments make no sense.

  251. #251 |  Elliot | 

    Dennis N (#227): “Anarchy leads to USSRs and Third Reichs.”

    The Russian Empire was never a place of peaceful anarchy. The monarchy had massive armies, government bureaucracies, the Russian Orthodox Church, secret police, and the support of a large portion of the population. A costly, protracted war, coupled with organized rebels caused the government to collapse, at which point it was replaced. The chaos and disorder during the transition was not an easing of government rule, but simply a transitional phase. Much of the structures of the old regime were simply manned with new people, with new rules, whose cruelty was driven not by a lack of government power, but as the ultimate fulfillment of government totalitarianism.

    The Nazis were voted into office in elections. Hitler was appointed Chancellor by the President. 85% of German voters chose to grant him even more power in the August 1934 plebiscite.

    I’m beginning to think you know nothing whatsoever of history.

  252. #252 |  Elliot | 

    BSK (#244): “Doesn’t [anarchy]] simply become a survival of the fittest model? Now, maybe fitness will be determined by reason, as some have suggested. But even reason and discourse doesn’t guarantee freedom from oppression.”

    That’s a common strawman used against anarchy and libertarian-type minarchy.

    Who asserts there are guarantees? Who asserts that no one will fail in a free market? Who asserts there will not be predators?

    BSK (#244): “At least with the government, we have some idea of who we’re being oppressed by and how.”

    At least if one’s next-door neighbor is raping a woman, she knows who her rapist is. She can take some comfort there, I suppose.

    BSK (#244): “We also have avenues to pursue grievances with this oppression (even if they are not entirely sufficient). In anarchy, I never quite know who or how I’m going to be oppressed and the likely only way to avoid oppression is to become an oppressor myself.”

    Uncertainty is not an ethical justification to prohibit the freedom of others to make their own peaceable choices.

    This universe is abound with uncertainty. An asteroid or caldera could wipe out most life on Earth tomorrow. You could slip and hit your head. A plane could malfunction and crash down on your head.

    Why is it that you think using aggressive force to coerce others is a proper way to deal with uncertainty?

  253. #253 |  Dennis N | 

    Thebottom line, despite the fevered rantings of anarchist wannabees, is that no sane society will allow Anarchy to exist. Your wishing that history was different, and refusing to see what is staring you in the face, doesn’t negate the fact that anarchy is the fevered pipe dream of people with time on their hands and nothing constructive to do with it. Anarchy destroys the stability that societies crave and need to thrive and grow. This is why every society in the world has developed some form of government.

    So continue to pine for anarchy while you pass the bong around. Sane people will pretty much ignore you, as will society, unless you pi$$ them off sufficiently.

    If you get in society’s way, or become sufficiently irritating, you will be destroyed and then forgotten. Every society in the World has done this, and always will.

  254. #254 |  Elliot | 

    Dennis N (#253): “Thebottom line, despite the fevered rantings of anarchist wannabees, is that no sane society will allow Anarchy to exist.”

    Instead of addressing the matter of using reason rather than force, instead of looking at right and wrong, you ignore those wholly logical points and short-circuit any civil dialog by concocting unfounded accusations of “fevered rantings” and suggestions of insanity.

    But what have any of the commenters to whom you object written which was “fevered” or “ranting” or “insane”? I, and others, have advocated freedom, self rule, consensual relationships, and the ethical superiority of using reason instead of aggressive force. (I’ll try to be as accurate as possible characterizing others who have posted comments here. If I stray over the line, my apologies, and if they are even reading this, they are free to correct me.)

    Dennis N (#253): “Your wishing that history was different, and refusing to see what is staring you in the face, doesn’t negate the fact that anarchy is the fevered pipe dream of people with time on their hands and nothing constructive to do with it.”

    If you read your comments and my corrections of your factual errors (USSR, Third Reich), you’ll find that it is you who thinks history was actually different than it was. I see, staring me in the face, the result of increasing government power being applied to large populations, not only in those totalitarian regimes, but in the US and other so-called “free” nations, like the UK. Contrary to your characterizations, none of the people here who have objected to the ugly, violent, and often deadly application of government power to the lives of us all have been puffing at opium pipes. I have no illusions about government evaporating and freedom bursting forth, like the ending of some melodramatic Hollywood feel-good movie.

    On the contrary, I and the people with whom I’m familiar (who may or may not be represented by others who have posted here) see what actually is and despair at the cost to ourselves and our neighbors, realizing that things are only getting worse, when it didn’t have to go this way in the “Land of the Free”. I choose not to put on blinders, wave the flag on the 4th of July to speeches peppered with meaningless references to “freedom”, or dumbly cling to hope that lining up at the polls will ever be a way to recapture lost freedoms.

    In other words, I look the facts straight in the eye and don’t like what I see. I’m not distracted by platitudes and false hope, nor dissuaded by nonsensical name-calling (“fevered rantings”, “pipe dreams”, insanity), nor convinced by the usual litany of logical fallacies put forth in furtherance of tradition, popularity, or “might makes right”.

    I’m simply pointing out what is unethical about the way things are, when people who are doing no harm to others are harmed for one bad excuse or another.

    Dennis N (#253): “Anarchy destroys the stability that societies crave and need to thrive and grow. This is why every society in the world has developed some form of government.”

    You’re using the words “anarchy” and “society” in ways that don’t make sense.

    “Anarchy” isn’t a thing which creates or destroys. Rational freedom (self rule) is simply a default condition of not being coerced by aggressive force. The absence of something bad doesn’t “destroy” anything. It just means a certain type of bad thing is not there. That is not to say that without government there aren’t predators, mind you. But without the false imprimatur of titles and fancy papers, good people clearly identify the predators for what they are, and aren’t misdirected.

    “Society” isn’t an entity with emotions or thoughts (“craving”), or capable of actions (“developing”). What you and others call “society” or “the people” or the “common good” is merely a way to tell the lie that some subset of people represent everyone else, even those who disagree. Governments are made of fallible people, with negative incentives that work against the freedom of the people they rule. They don’t actually represent others. Anyone who paid attention to Pelosi and Reid ramming through the Health Care Deform against the wishes of the majority of Americans can see that clear as day. Those liars will forever more claim that the American people, the “society”, decided to create this health care system. And, people like you will yell “amen” (or, you’ll disagree with them if you’re a Republican type, instead yelling “amen” at Republican lies).

    The “stability” you hold up as being more important than the freedom of individuals just another word for “safety”, and as Benjamin Franklin so famously pointed out, people like you who gladly trade freedom for safety will end up with neither.

    That wouldn’t be so bad if you only traded your own freedom for a false sense of safety. But you’re cheer leading your “meaner gang” to take away the freedoms of your neighbors to increase your illusion of safety. That’s despicable.

    Meanwhile, as you champion government as a panacea against instability, we have all sorts of events, past and future, of financial ruin made possible and made worse by government action. FDR prolonged the Great Depression (just as Bush and Obama are doing with the current recession). Government involvement in the housing market led to a glut of bad loans, which created the recent collapse. Pyramid schemes like Social Security and Medicare are looming on the horizon, certain to wreak untold havoc on our economy. Massive debt is right now, as we sit here, threatening to change our economic status in the world.

    And, that’s not even going into the boondoggles of foreign interventions, drug prohibition, etc..

    So, tell me exactly how has government created or maintained stability? Are you freaking kidding me?

    Again, don’t lie and claim that I’m pretending that anarchy is going to pop out of nowhere to solve everything. There will always be predation and serious problems that human beings have to face, with or without government. The real question is, how exactly is government HELPING, when all evidence shows it makes things worse?

    Dennis N (#253): “So continue to pine for anarchy while you pass the bong around. Sane people will pretty much ignore you, as will society, unless you pi$$ them off sufficiently.”

    Again, you make things up instead of discussing ethics.

    I don’t expect things to get better. I’m just hoping that more people will recognize right and wrong, and stop believing that the “meaner gang” system has any sort of moral probity.

    Dennis N (#253): “If you get in society’s way, or become sufficiently irritating, you will be destroyed and then forgotten. Every society in the World has done this, and always will.”

    Again, you’re pretending that “society” is something with emotions, thought, and action. What you’re really talking about are the people who wield special powers who do such horrible things. I’ve not forgotten the tens of millions murdered by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and their ilk, and no decent person tosses them into the memory hole, either.

    I know damned well that people who have or crave power, even under color of law, will often do bad things to those who stand up for their rights and the rights of their neighbors. Why must you keep repeating that mantra to try to intimidate others from advocating individual rights? We get it. You’re on the side of the bad guys.

    So what?

    That’s nothing to be proud of.

  255. #255 |  Elliot | 

    I’ll add to my last comment (#254): In an earlier comment (#227), you stated, “Anarchy leads to USSRs and Third Reichs.”. I corrected you in a follow-up comment (#251), pointing out that the Nazis were voted into power. Also, note that the Russian Empire was not a state of anarchy, but a large government which lost popular support (at which point the Tsar abdicated and various factions fought a civil war to assume power). Then, in comment (#253) you claimed that “every society in the world has developed some form of government” in order to achieve “the stability that societies crave and need to thrive and grow.”

    Notice how you’ve painted yourself into a corner. By your argument, the Nazis and Soviets formed (or changed) their government to provide “stability”.

    How’d that turn out?

  256. #256 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Awesomeness, Elliot.

    There are those that know how to debate and there are those that lose debates.

  257. #257 |  Waterproof Eyeliner | 

    Sure the women were going a bit overboard, I don’t think that punch was at all necessary.

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