John McWhorter: Ending the drug war will do more to help black Americans than marching.
The good news is that an online gambling legalization bill is slowly gaining momentum. The bad news comes in reading about how it’s happening, when you see just how ugly Washington sausage making really is.
After reading a number of these cops-gone-wild accounts on The Agitator, I seriously wonder if police and private security personnel don’t have a big unacknowledged steroid-abuse problem. A lot of this stuff sounds like classic “roid rage.”
I don’t see Dr Paul being much of a fan of a bill purporting to give the fedgov the power to license and tax much of anything. Not sure why a vote of “present” was given, but I consider the mystery to be a disservice of the “news” article – there’s not even the stereotypical “couldn’t be reached before press time” blurb in there.
“There’s got to be a problem in terms of training and on supervising deputy sheriffs in the county; it’s hard to imagine something so shocking could happen,” McFarland’s attorney John Scott said.
Haha! That’s just silly. This isn’t a problem. A problem suggests something is broken which is not the case. This is just how law enforcement operates normally these days. And, just as normally, McFarland will win a settlement which will be paid for by normal taxpayers. All in a day’s work.
I wonder how long it will be before laws are passed prohibiting the publication of police videos…
Frank Hummel |
September 1st, 2010 at 4:28 pm
“”He’s considered a very good officer. He has a good record,” he said.”
According to city code, it is unlawful for anyone to “carry concealed or unconcealed on his or her person any dangerous knife, or carry concealed on his or her person any deadly weapon other than a firearm.”
You know, we take it for granted that the Second Amendment is about guns, but “arms” are weapons, so it would seem that this law is in direct violation of the Second Amendment. In any case, it’s a stunningly dumb law on it’s face. A hammer can be a deadly weapon.
don’t buy the ‘roid rage’ bullshit. that’s more DARE/govt propaganda. steroids have ridiculously few side effects.
Carlyle Moulton |
September 1st, 2010 at 4:41 pm
Both the man tased 3 times and the whittler shot dead are probably cases of the same process, where police issue orders and expect instant military discipline compliance and the person fails to hear or understand the orders or believes that the police have misinterprteted things or that the orders are unreasonable and do not believe that police would do anything so unreasonable as to actually carry out the threat to use the taser or would shoot them dead.
The tased 3 times man clearly did not understand that police do not care that someone thinks they have jumped to a wrong conclusion and are never going to listen when one explains that they have done so. The police at least US police believe they are entitled to expect instant compliance and to respond with violence if denied it.
The whittling man is not alive to explain what he was thinking, but it conceivable that did not hear or did not understand the policeman’s order and was walking towards the policeman to get near enough to hear or understand. The comments following the Komo news story are depressing, they run strongly in favour of the police and against the whittling man. The United States of America is a police state and so many people think it reasonable for police to shoot people who do not understand their orders or think that they are unreasonable. People who think that they have the right to be listened to by the police while they explain that the LEOs have jumped to a wrong conclusion, or that a policeman barking unintelligible orders would not shoot them dead are in trouble. Perhaps it is necessary to conduct an intense advertising campaign to inform all US citizens, especially those that think they have rights, that when the police bark orders at them they have no right to ignore them and if they do not understand they should make a guess and drop anything in their hands raise their hand and act submissive. We have to accept that police shooting dead the occasional mentally ill person is a normal occurrence for which police should not be criticized.
I am glad I am an Australian, police shooting are still rare here compared to in the US.
About that law banning knives, it is one of those laws that give discretion that is only exercised against the usual suspects, not against the respectable classes. It is a silly and discriminatory law, a knife may be a weapon if one intends to use it as such but it may more often be a necessary tool.
Radley, please keep your radar trained on these issues, it will be interesting to see what further information comes out and what spin is applied.
I’m not ready to pass judgment on the Seattle cop who shot the whitteling guy yet. There are a lot of unknown factors that could make his behavior reasonable (the size of the knife, the location in town and the speed with which the guy stood up among them.) If someone comes at an officer with a knife in their hand, the officer is entitled to use lethal force. That’s not to say there aren’t pleny of cases where the officer falsely claims he was threatened, just that there is not yet sufficient evidence to condemn the officer’s behavior.
The tasering case in Marin county, on the other hand, is another case of police officers holding the public in contempt. It seems to be based on the logic of “obey whatever I say or I will cause you pain.” The sadism there is obvious.
@Andrew #10: Now, if you’ll excuse me, ‘m going to go beat my head against the wall for a half an hour or so.
Suicide threat, eh? Yeah, we’re gonna need to go ahead and bring you into the station. Down on your knees, hands behind your head.
Yizmo Gizmo |
September 1st, 2010 at 4:50 pm
“don’t buy the ‘roid rage’ bullshit. that’s more DARE/govt propaganda. steroids have ridiculously few side effects.”
Don’t jump to conclusions. Maybe he’s talking about hemorrhoids …I have a friend who gets them and just aint the same person.
I could see a cop getting a whole lot of itchy trigger finger
after an unexpected flare-up.
Carlyle Moulton |
September 1st, 2010 at 4:52 pm
About that John McWhorter article about ending the drug war being good for blacks, it is long past time that the world recognized that those who introduced the drug war during the Regan administration and beyond did so because it provided a legitimate means of discriminating against Afro-Americans.
I strongly recommend the recently published book “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander which examines the drug laws and their selective enforcement and makes clear that the damage done to Negroes is no accident. Alan Bean’s Friends of Justice website has a good review of it.
While the circumstances might have been that the whittler actually was attacking the officer, the article makes no mention of it; indeed, no aggressive move on the part of the whittler is implied. Indeed, the bystander comments seem to indicate that they were unaware of any danger until the shots were fired.
TBS, the standard to which people other than policemen are held is that one cannot use more force than is necessary to protect oneself. Nor can one knowingly put oneself in a situation where deadly force becomes necessary. At a first read, the cop breached both of those limitations.
Cops are paid to take risks that non-cops are not expected to take. That does not grant them an exemption from the rules that govern others (even though the cops think so.)
@Carlyle #23: it is long past time that the world recognized that those who introduced the drug war during the Regan administration and beyond did so because it provided a legitimate means of discriminating against Afro-Americans.
Look, I’m the last guy to stick up for anything related to the drug war, but this claim seems a bit exaggerated. From what I understand, black clergymen and other “community leaders” were among the strongest voices calling for stepped-up prohibition in the face of the “crack epidemic”.
Just because the laws disproportionately harm minorities — a fact which I do not dispute — does not mean it was conceived explicitly to discriminate against them. The stupidity and tragedy that is our drug war has come from virtually every direction.
The size of the knife makes it more likely that the officer acted wrongly, but there’s nothing wrong with an officer talking to a guy who’s got a knife out in public if that’s against the law or using deadly force against a guy with even a small knife who’s coming at him. It sounds like there are pleny of witnesses who can shed light on the situation.
The sad thing is that even if the cop acted stupidly or criminally, it’s unlikely he’ll be appropriately punished.
@Carlyle #23: I agree with Rhayader. You have to go back to the days of Harry Anslinger and earlier to find a time when drug laws were explicitly used for racial discrimination; for example, congressional testimony that black men high on cocaine would go crazy and rape white women. Laws against marijuana and opium were thinly veiled excuses for rounding up Mexican and Chinese immigrants respectively.
Yeah, it’s like that old joke…
“He’s suicidal! Kill him!”
If you do not comply, no matter how asinine the request. You will be shot. You will be hurt. We will beat you.
The entire video (40 minutes!) is so telling of the mental logic and mental state of some of these officers. They are god. That’s all you need to know. They are god. We are nothing but ants. Not even human beings worthy of civil decency.
So here’s a guy with a legal knife (we’ll just ignore the 2nd Amendment issues there), involved in a legal activity, and he’s shot dead.
Several of the articles, including the Seattle PI one I linked, have mentioned he was shot in the back. I don’t know the truth of that last assertion but, if so, how was he threatening?
One of the PI commenters said “doesn’t look good for the police.” He’s obviously not a regular Agitator reader. I’m sure that the usual pro-forma “investigation” will render the usual “verdict” on the officer’s behavior. And he’ll be back out on my city streets, armed and dangerous.
God's Own Drunk |
September 1st, 2010 at 6:56 pm
I live in Seattle, and the police are out of control. Every other month a cop is shooting someone, beating a little girl, stomping on a cuffed and prone Mexican. And nothing happens. Makes me so angry….
“Seattle police Tuesday offered different details of Monday’s fatal shooting of a homeless man by a patrol officer, with commanders saying they now don’t know if the man advanced toward the officer with a knife as police originally reported.”
AS POLICE ORIGINALLY REPORTED. They immediately put out their story that the officer was in danger and shot in self defense, before even doing an investigation. I know, shocker.
That strikes me as extremely reckless. This is not a deserted area, but one where many people are out and about. I guess it wouldn’t matter if some mere civilian caught a bullet, as long as the cop felt threatened.
The two cop-attack stories are an interesting contrast. (a) Guy is whittling, doesn’t put down knife, gets shot a half-dozen times in chest, dies. (b) Guy falls at home, hits his shin, gets treated by paramedics, but cops say he’s suicidal and so triple-tase and arrest him.
Now, the claim is that Tasers are meant to replace deadly gun force with something less lethal, but we see here how that’s totally not the case. Example (a) gets deadly gun force same as always. Example (b) which no one could previously conceive of aggressive force for, now gets the Taser.
“Stop resisting! Stop resisting!” repeats the thug as his victim is on the ground writhing in pain and unable to “resist” in any way. Obviously the thug has been trained to yell this aloud during every tasing opportunity.
In this case, it’s particularly absurd, as the only non-cops within hearing range are McFarland and his wife. Usually, the torture is done in a more public setting, hence the verbal attempt to plant seeds of legal justification.
Radley, thanks for the Ascension Island story. Amazing.
And the story about the Marin County man getting tased is just infuriating. Responding to an injury in the home ? WTF is wrong with these people? I hope and pray they nail that department in a massive civil law suit.
Just a note on the Mcfarland issue, called the sheriff dept. and they want to know why that they have received 30 + calls from the southern part of US. Got to say they don’t like us southern folk. The lady had issue on why someone from TN had issue with tazing a 64-yr old man for resisting arrest when he is clearing not resisting.
Helmut O' Hooligan |
September 1st, 2010 at 8:27 pm
#1 Danny:”I seriously wonder if police and private security personnel don’t have a big unacknowledged steroid-abuse problem. A lot of this stuff sounds like classic “roid rage.”
I don’t think that is the problem here. Also, I would be classified as a private security officer (hospital security), and I have never seen evidence of that in among “private officers.” Anyway, these were government police, so why did you bring security personnel into it anyway?
It’s not roid rage. It’s good ‘ole macho gangster/aristocrat conditioning. “Martial mindset”. The warrior ethic. It’s as hypocritical on the pigs’ lips as it was on the Spartans’ or samurai’s or slaveocratic Sothern “Gentlemen’s” lips, too; ridicule your “lessors” and slaves for their impotence and cowardice, and rage in fear of their insolence when they rise above it to challenge your authority in even the least effectual way.
seattle police are emotionless a-holes. i wasn’t shot five times and killed for whittling in public, but arrested and put behind bars for allegedly lunging at a seattle police officer with intent to harm him. note: i had no weapon! my dog had just been run over by a car and lost the use of her two back legs. the couple that hit my dog offered to drive her to the animal hospital. i was simply trying to meet them there and asked for the return of my driver’s license, which had been obtained for incident report purposes. the officer in possession of my license said he didn’t think i was capable of driving and wasn’t going to give me my license back. yet his colleague, moments before told me i needed to hurry up and get to the hospital to identify my dog. i may have initially been in shock with the news of my dog being hit. but it was nothing compared to my shock of how insensitive, asinine and megalomaniacal the cop was. he couldn’t resist asserting his power over a 31-year old woman who was in tears because her dog had just been severely injured… so appalled by the treatment i received from the officer, i consulted an attorney, who advised me to file a formal complaint. said complaint generated an “internal investigation”, which you guessed it, resulted in a waste of my time. sheriff andy taylor knew the difference between the bad guys and the good guys, could it really be so hard …
“the cops are creating new libertarians at an alarming pace” …
The “only” problem with that is:
you might remember approx. a year or so ago, a Missouri (your home state I believe) Fusion Center sent out a report stating LEO’s should be surveilling “extremist” libertarian groups and Ron Paul supporters and report back to the Center any “extremist” activities they observed.
Good question – why were the deputies there?
Based on the news account, how did the deputies hear the so-called “suicide threat” since they came rushing through the door AFTER the paramedics walked out, and I think had to run up some stairs? Did a paramedic say something? Was the victim that loud?
“Do they routinely escort paramedics around there?”
It would appear that way, I’ve seen it in my city. Often it’s the paramedics bringing up the rear of a SWAT Raid/caravan.
So a LEO doesn’t miss a golden opportunity to “program the sheep” by any means possible – preferably through mindless torture, mostly for the LEO’s power trip, amusement and bragging rights.
P.S. Perplexingly *scratching head* the deputies didn’t slaughter the dog. Back at the station, I bet those deputies got written up for that!
The last paragraph:
“The Sheriff’s Office takes all allegations of excessive force and/or deputy misconduct seriously and will do so in this case as well. After all the facts have been made public, we are confident the actions of our deputies will be found to have been both within the law and department policy.”
Awesome. I’m deaf in my right ear. So if I’m ever mistaken for a felon by cops, I can expect to be gunned down.
Aside from not hearing on the side that you’re deaf, the two big problems with unilateral deafness are:
1) Inability to judge range or distance of a sound source. It’s impossible to determine the source of a voice unless you can see the mouth of the person talking. Even then, if it’s an unfamiliar voice, they will be difficult to understand.
2) Inability to hear anything in noisy environments. Normally, humans use the considerable audio processing in their brain to automatically reduce unwanted noise by 10db, effectively “boosting the signal” of whomever they are trying to hold a conversation with. This is impossible with only one ear.
Here’s a story! This happened to me once.
I was at a restaurant with a friend of mine. I was seated with my GOOD ear towards the aisle. I could understand my friend talking because I had heard her voice so often I was very familiar with it, so I could talk to her no problem even though the room was very noisy, I expect I use a form of lipreading and a high degree of concentration to do this.
So. She suddenly stops and starts pointing to my left. Standing there in the aisle, on the side of my good ear, was the waiter, who had been trying to ask me if I wanted soup or salad for the last 30 seconds.
I had absolutely no clue he was there, and could not hear a word he was saying.
MO is definitely not making me happy with the govt’s behavior.
cops respond with paramedics to help secure the scene. emotions are high and you get people screaming ‘help my baby’ or whatever- the cops are there to help. the good cops are worth their weight in gold. the bad cops notice that the people have 3 dogs, when city ordinances allow only 2. the good cops calm the scene, the bad cops escalate the stress.
I’ve known cops to beat us (the fire dept) to the scene and run into burning buildings to get people out. I’ve seen cops shot and still trying to help a victim. a good cop will amaze you. but… I think they make up about 10 to 20 percent of the cops.
We try to beat the cops to the scene and contact dispatch to cancel them, but they beat us to the scene or arrive at the same time about 1/2 the time.
The Marin county case is NOT, repeat NOT, a case of excessive force. It is an assault with a deadly weapon. The deputies were there uninvited and entered the man’s home without cause or permission. I’m afraid I don’t have the patience and fortitude that most others here have. And Mr. Balko, I know in the past you’ve made it clear that you do not support shooting police. However, had this happened to me, I would make it my final mission in life to hunt these to criminals with badges and down and I would execute them without a second thought. Snipe them, kill them coming out of their station house. They would be dead men walking.
The Seattle shooting and the man who was tazed illustrate why I don’t join in the collective greif whenever a cop gets killed. Last time that happened around here, the funeral was like a goddamn 4th of July parade. All the talk about how heroic this broad was, like she got killed saving children from Osama Bin Laden and Michael Jackson. To me, she was just a dumb slut who ran the light without her sirens on and got herself killed, ruining some innocent guys truck.. One less bitch to write tickets.
“cops respond with paramedics to help secure the scene.”
I get that, in cases like car accidents, mass injuries, SWAT callouts where a cop could drop a battering ram on his foot and need to be rushed to the Mayo Clinic.
But this was just a “My husband fell down the stairs” call. No reason for any of that. These clowns just decided to go to amp up the stress level a few notches because no one would question their motives later.
These are the kind of asshats that would have been looking for that third dog, or any arrestable offense.
This is where the “Police Culture” fails (among many failures). There is no effort to curb these clowns at all, they apparently just drive around waiting for any call that can feed their adrenaline high. These are the guys that are fast on the radio to respond, not because it’s their job, but because they need to get their dick in there. (To put it metaphorically).
“When I heard that story, I was really upset because it was just total counter to what I witnessed,” said Thomas. He says Williams was walking away from the officer.
“The cop then fired three shots,” said Thomas. “One had to go in the side and the others had to go in the guy’s back ’cause the guy never did turn around. He never approached the cop. Never saw his hands. Never saw a knife. He may have looked back at the cop, but he didn’t do anything threatening.”
Witness Gregory Reese says he did see Williams turn, but he didn’t think Williams was a threat to the officer.
“He just turned around and the cop shot him. That’s all I saw. It was really quick,” said Reese.
Seattle Police said because Williams’ knife was less than 3.5 inches in length, it was legal to carry.
The officer who shot Williams has been identified as Ian Birk, 27, who has been with SPD for two years. He has been put on administrative leave, which is standard procedure when an officer fires a weapon.
From the MSNBC link above.
“”He’s considered a very good officer. He has a good record,” he said. ”
Actually he is but a punk ass Barney Fife that thinks everybody is as normal as he is! Over aggressive, over trained, under achiever with a gun and a badge! Well this little fuck has popped his cap on a citizen lets all hope to hell he gets rewarded with a cell in the commons!
It’s a bit of bitch being hearing impaired. As Bob shared with us above, you do NOT HEAR WHAT IS ACTUALLY BEING SAID TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!
You hear noise, some syllables and make an attempt to put the sounds together into something coherent! Most of the time it does not work, and if on a street or crowded room, machinery is an end game, even coolers or ice machines, forget actually being able to understand one gotdaaumed thing said to you.
Hearing Aids do not really help, they just add additional sounds to the mix which further confuse you.
The Tazer boys of CO NPS BCNP…. Barged into a small room with two sleeping occupants, one woke up and was thrown out of the room, the other was very drunk and basically passed out, threw him out of the bed against the wall or furniture, then tazed him! Too bad he was also recovering from a broken neck, an injury less than three weeks old, and the part time mounties KNEW about it!
“…are there people in the real world who commit murders for a living?
Probably not full-time. Lots of people kill for money, but they wear other hats as well. They may work as burglars, drug mules, or bodyguards in private security firms. And while national intelligence services occasionally task operatives with targeted assassinations, it’s unlikely that any of them keep “assassins” in their employ who do nothing but kill. Of course, we only know about the murderers we catch. No one can rule out the possibility that a well-paid gun-for-hire is loafing around…
Something to do with the hospital security guys who beat up the accident victim a few days ago maybe?
Yeah, I think comment #1 was a general statement in response to a number of stories probably including the security guards at that Miami-Dade Metrorail that was discussed a few weeks ago. Clearly security guards seem to be at least somewhat infected with the same mindless neanderthal mentality that many cops exhibit.
Boyd Durkin |
September 2nd, 2010 at 6:37 pm
Steroids are used by a larger % of the population than you might think. Having spent 30 years in a gym and around athletic endeavors my own experience is that more than half the guys who are even a bit big are active users or have used.
That being said, steroids get a very bad name. Remember that steroids are a drug that helps millions of people lead productive lives. They can be used with no deadly side effects. I believe there’s a documentary on cable right now getting some play about the junk science of steroid fear.
Are a lot of cops using steroids? Yes. Does it cause them to go crazy? No. They go crazy because they are violent fucking douche bags…which is one reason why they became cops.
Most of the steroid madness came from government. ‘Nuff said.
#73 | Bob | S
“cops respond with paramedics to help secure the scene.”
-But this was just a “My husband fell down the stairs” call. No reason for any of that. These clowns just decided to go to amp up the stress level a few notches because no one would question their motives later.-
what if it was a ‘my husband fell down the stairs and is unconscious in the basement’ call? a lot of ems services only respond 2 people to calls- that means they have to stabilize the patient, secure him to a backboard, and carry him up the steps. if that was MY spouse, I’d sure appreciate having a couple of cops running around getting equipment, helping the petite chick medic carry the obese patient, etc.
the bigger issue is people calling 911 for bullshit and then things go bad… if you need a little bit of help, it’s generally best not to call 911. if you’re in trouble or have the potential to be in trouble with your health, call 911.
Helmut O' Hooligan |
September 2nd, 2010 at 7:35 pm
#76 Dave Krgueger: “Clearly security guards seem to be at least somewhat infected with the same mindless neanderthal mentality that many cops exhibit.”
Well sure, some of them are. This is something that people hiring police and private security officers must be on the lookout for. Any hint that a person is applying because they want lots of “excitement” or crave more power than they currently have is a big problem. Anyone that thinks they are going to be a “hero” instead of a problem solver needs to be shown the door.
The difference right now is that when security personnel go over the line, they are quite likely to be arrested for their excesses. The same cannot be said of public law enforcement. A word of caution though: if the private security officers are contract security from a security company (in other words, not DIRECTLY employed by the institution they are serving), then employers and the public should be wary.
For one thing, if you need help (say you are being robbed) and expect a contracted guard to assist you, then you may well be disappointed. Their direct employer (the security company) likely prohibits them from physically intervening to help you due to liability issues. Also, training for these guards is often very limited or non-existent. On the other hand, if the guards are allowed to intervene, and they go crazy, then the institution can just wash its hands of the situation and say, “hey they don’t work for us, you know.”
The better scenario is a proprietary security department like the one I work with. Things are not perfect, and we do not train in the academy setting like public officers (this can be a disadvantage at times), but I gurantee you right now that we are held to a higher standard of personal behavior than many currently serving police officers.
Helmut O' Hooligan |
September 2nd, 2010 at 7:40 pm
#78 Marty: “the bigger issue is people calling 911 for bullshit and then things go bad… if you need a little bit of help, it’s generally best not to call 911. if you’re in trouble or have the potential to be in trouble with your health, call 911.”
Excellent point, Marty. I’m glad you are hammering this point home. Peter Moskos (former Baltimore Police Officer and current John Jay Criminal Justice Professor) talks about this problem often. In his book “Cop in the Hood,” Moskos has a chapter entitled “911 is a Joke” (a reference to the Public Enemy song of the same name). Moskos says that 911 is great for heart attacks and fires, but not to great for most police related issues. He suggests a culture change in the use of 911, and in the way that police respond to different calls for service (If police respond right away, how often is the offender caught. Not very often, statistically speaking). This could take awhile to catch on (it would be easier if communities had an easy to remember non-emergency number), but it could make a big difference.
Moskos should receive a much wider audience- that’s a great book he wrote! my 15 yo daughter read it, also.
Helmut O' Hooligan |
September 2nd, 2010 at 11:08 pm
Agreed! I encourage Agitator readers to visit his Cop in the Hood blog. His vision of what policing could be (without the drug war and related distractions) is very interesting and even inspiring to a criminal justice B.A. like me.
Thanks again for your comments. If I recall correctly, you were a medic and firefighter. I really feel like you “get it” when it comes to matters of public safety. You speak from experience, not just from ideology.
One side is complete bullshit.
The bullshit side is given by a homicide detective who actually uses the phase “rendered him useless.” Thats the amount of respect this cop has for a man in his own home.
I have never been so angry at any one incident of police abuse as this one. Maybe its my particular mood at the moment, but as an Agitator reader it says a lot about this case that it almost made me punch my computer.
This cop needs to be charged with TORTURE! And the spokesscop from the news segment need to be charged with something too.