Late Friday Links

Friday, April 13th, 2012
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28 Responses to “Late Friday Links”

  1. #1 |  qwints | 

    Aside from the stupidity of raiding a poker game, its tough to find anything in the article to criticize the police for. The story lacks any sort of detail on the nature of the raid to evaluate the tactics used. Additionally, I don’t think anyone can fault a police office for sheeting someone when “he had a handgun in his hand, he turned on the officer, threatened the officer, and was shot one time”.

  2. #2 |  UCrawford | 

    It didn’t mention it in your article, but on another story on the New Hampshire raid it was mentioned that the police department there brought an armored Bearcat with them. So I’m assuming that this was not just a knock-politely-on-the-door-before-going-in-hard type raid… It’s also interesting that they said the suspect shot the police chief but was only “involved in” the shootings of the other four officers. Possibly friendly fire?

  3. #3 |  EBL | 

    I read that link about the poker game and immediately thought of Goodfellas.

  4. #4 |  EBL | 

    What is interesting is Dershowitz and Levin, from very different political perspectives, think about the same about it. It just seems weak (especially for 2nd degree murder). As if the prosecutor will let the Courts dismiss and then they can wash their hands of this. And then they can blame the courts.

    But of course, it could end up being a miscarriage of justice like that John McNeil case you posted about. That case really troubles me.

  5. #5 |  JOR | 

    “I don’t think anyone can fault a police office for sh[oo]ting someone when “he had a handgun in his hand, he turned on the officer, threatened the officer, and was shot one time”.”

    I can. Armed invaders don’t get to use self-defense as an excuse.

  6. #6 |  Travis Ormsby | 

    “Armed invaders don’t get to use self-defense as an excuse”

    The reason people should scrutinize use of force by police isn’t because such uses are prima facie illegitimate. It’s because the authority society grants to police to use force can be abused. Your blanket characterization fails to make this distinction, and is therefore troubling.

  7. #7 |  MacK | 

    I think Dershowitz is full of shit on his remark that even if Zimmerman provoked Travon but then ended up getting his ass whooped that it would then be self defense. Watch the video at 3:00 to 3:20+.

    You can’t attack someone then claim that because they get the upper hand you become the victim. If you can make this claim then Travon is still the victim because Zimmerman gained the upper hand with his gun.

  8. #8 |  Personanongrata | 

    Greenland, N.H., shooter and woman found dead; police chief was killed, four other officers wounded in raid on home

    Terrible tragedy, 100% avoidable.

    Police tactics are fully to blame, their use of dynamic entry breach techniques unnecessarily places themselves, their target(s) and the general public in harms way; these techniques should only be utilized in life or death situations not serving warrants.

    The “authorities” would be best advised to simply surveil their target, learn their targets daily/weekly/monthly routine and then snatch/grab the target at your convenience while reducing the potential for violence.

    The only problem being is that surveilling a target is boring tedious work, while getting to wear your “official” SWAT costume, brandishing automatic-weapons about while kicking in doors in the dark of night and terrorizing people is thought by the depraved souls who are drawn to this line of work to be great fun.

    Moral of the story surveillance and grab good, dynamic breach bad.

  9. #9 |  Personanongrata | 

    PS The best solution is to end prohibition.

  10. #10 |  JOR | 

    “The reason people should scrutinize use of force by police isn’t because such uses are prima facie illegitimate. It’s because the authority society grants to police to use force can be abused.”

    I couldn’t care less about legitimacy. The Final Solution was legitimate. Fuck that. And there is no such thing as an abuse of authority. Authority is authority; it is irresponsible and unaccountable. ‘Abuse of authority’ makes as much sense as ‘perpetual motion machine’.

    “Your blanket characterization fails to make this distinction, and is therefore troubling.”

    Good.

  11. #11 |  Wade | 

    Poster #6, please provide the location for the planet where it is “legitimate” for armed goons to assault, kidnap and murder people for engaging in purely consensual activity.

    Once you have located it, please go there.

  12. #12 |  (B)oscoH | 

    Greenland, N.H., shooter and woman found dead; police chief was killed, four other officers wounded in raid on home.

    They’re kinda serious about their slogan in the Grantite State, eh?

  13. #13 |  Travis Ormsby | 

    “please provide the location for the planet where it is “legitimate” for armed goons to assault, kidnap and murder people for engaging in purely consensual activity.”

    Since assault, kidnapping, and murder are crimes, they are by definition not legitimate anywhere. If beat you up, forcibly remove you from a location, or even kill you, it may or may not be a crime, depending on the circumstances. In this country, whether these actions are a crime (and therefore illegitimate) or not (and therefore legitimate) is determined by the Constitution and statutes passed by duly elected legislatures as interpreted by judges and juries, and it’s from these sources that their legitimacy is derived.

    Of course, if you wish to argue that the state has no legitimate claim on violence at all, that’s your prerogative. I’ll just note that I think a state organized around such principles is unlikely to successful.

  14. #14 |  Matt | 

    “Obama administration to Syria’s Assad: ‘Stop killing your people’”:
    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/obama-administration-syria-assad-stop-killing-people-184512988.html

    The US has a lot of house-cleaning to do regarding wrongful shooting, killing and imprisoning people within its own borders before it has any legitimacy lecturing other countries about how to behave.

  15. #15 |  Matt | 

    Travis Ormsby: “In this country, whether these actions are a crime (and therefore illegitimate) or not (and therefore legitimate) is determined by the Constitution and statutes passed by duly elected legislatures as interpreted by judges and juries, and it’s from these sources that their legitimacy is derived.”

    Wow. So a bunch of folks scratching out rules is the same as doing the right thing. You’re a scary scary person. You’re scary because you’re part of the vast majority within this jingo-sodden cartographic line.

    You vote every chance you get, don’t you?

  16. #16 |  Travis Ormsby | 

    Matt: “So a bunch of folks scratching out rules is the same as doing the right thing. You’re a scary scary person.”

    I’m not saying the idea that legitimate governing authority derives from the consent of the government is indisputable. But I am curious as to when it became so off-the-wall crazy that it warranted labeling its advocates “scary”

  17. #17 |  Jerryskids | 

    @#2 – My first thought exactly. When they flat-out say the guy shot the chief but only say he was ‘involved’ in the other shootings, that tells me he did not shoot the others. So who else had guns there? And I have read a couple items about the “botched” drug raid – I am not sure that is the right word to use here. While things didn’t work out as planned, it was entirely foreseeable that it wouldn’t work out as planned – you read stuff like this all the time. I wouldn’t call my attempt at doing open-heart surgery on myself a “botched” attempt, it was just stupid.

    And as far as the poker game bust goes – “It’s kind of odd for a suspect to pull a weapon and try to escape from something that would probably have been a citation situation,” said Dodd. No, this is something that would probably have been a “cop shoots somebody who didn’t need shooting” situation. He was right to flee.

  18. #18 |  Fred | 

    #7 You said “You can’t attack someone then claim that because they get the upper hand you become the victim.” You certainly can if you write traffic tickets for a living, you can get all road raged up start a fight. Then when you start to lose, The fight that you started you can just shoot them and get a paid vacation.
    http://www.denverpost.com/ci_7362103

  19. #19 |  qwints | 

    My point is that there’s nothing to indicate that the police did anything wrong in the article. The law may be bullshit, but there was a 2 month investigation and a search warrant which does not indicate a lack of due process or an invasion of constitutional rights. Assuming the police had the right to enter the building, they have the right to self-defense. Everyone ought to have the right to defend themselves against lethal force if they have not done something to forfeit that right.

    Again – criminalizing poker is stupid, the police’s tactics may have been poorly chosen [unknowable from the article] and there’s nothing wrong with a police shooting an armed person who threatens them in the course of an other wise legitimate action.

  20. #20 |  freedomfan | 

    “It’s kind of odd for a suspect to pull a weapon and try to escape from something that would probably have been a citation situation,” said Dodd.

    I wonder whether the officers had their weapons drawn when they conducted the raid in this “citation situation”? Since it was apparently worth a two month investigation and they felt that the wearing of “tactical raid vests” and the use of an armored personnel carrier were warranted, I suspect that their guns were out when they entered the building.

    FWIW, police like to announce these raids with plenty of media coverage, but my standard assumption in situations where police expend resources at that level to harass poker players: That police budget has plenty of room for cuts. I would love to see a reporter bring up the topic of how much it cost the taxpayers to surveil the games for two months and then execute the raid (probably with plenty of officers getting overtime).

    BTW, note that the media is happy to use the police’s vague numbers for the stakes involved in the game. The police claim $30k to $100k “exchanges hands throughout a night” at one of the games. So, if I lose $30, win $20, lose $10, win $40, then lose $20 – which I might easily do in twenty minutes – what has happened is that I’ve broken even without ever having more than $30 leave my wallet or up more than $20 added to it. Does anyone else suspect that the police will look at that and say that $120 “exchanged hands”? It would be easy for a couple dozen poker players to accumulate some large numbers using the latter accounting scheme. The police admit that they confiscated under $30k from everyone at the raid, which makes it pretty unlikely that even half that was really going to end up in different hands at the end of the night than it started out in.

  21. #21 |  KBCraig | 

    Greenland, NH:

    Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney, 48, was with the department for 12 years. He was set to retire in one week. According to a town selectman, last week Maloney told the Board of Selectmen he had one more thing to do before retirement: “Nail Cullen Mutrie.”

    http://www.wmur.com/news/30885030/detail.html

    So…. how’s that war on drugs working out, Chief? …Chief?

  22. #22 |  StrangeOne | 

    So much about that shooting article pisses me off.

    1) the use of the the passive voice. Not “Police shoot man during poker raid” its “Poker Raid leads to officer involved shooting”. As if people getting shot at poker raids are just a natural consequence outside of the officers control. I mean sure the gun was drawn, in his hand, and pointed at somebody while he was conducting the raid, but its not like he shot anybody. You can be damn sure that if there was an “Officer shot during poker raid” that is exactly how the article title would read.

    2) the people saying that the shooting was justified have to realize this is based entirely on the word of the police chief. We don’t know if the officer had a gun pointed at him or a spatula when he fired. My experiences at this site do not engender me to giving the police the benefit of the doubt on that claim. The article says one man didn’t want to speak to the news crew, out of 17 people charged with crimes not one of the others could give comment? Not even a couple people at the game who may not have been charged, or a neighbors version of events?

    3) “… with a search warrant in hand.” I call bullshit. Do not try to imply that the police calmly delivered a warrant THEN raided the game and got in a Mexican standoff. If anyone had a warrant in hand I guarantee a gun was in the other and the warrant itself wasn’t mentioned until well after blood had been spilled, if at all. I hate when the news conflates a violent raid with the act of issuing a simple arrest warrant. I know that’s the premise for this legal fiction, but it is complete nonsense.

    4) the seizure list at the end. I guess 26k, three cars and a laptop isn’t too bad of a haul for a single shakedown. But whats with the 34 “pills”? I mean if they were any kind of drug hopefully they would be identified as such, did the cops just take someones prescription, or a bottle of Tylenol to pad the list? And the 3.3g of marijuana, I can’t tell if that is funny or sad.

    5) the shame list at the end of the article. Personally I would have preferred to the names of the officers involved in the raid. Or maybe just the one that shot somebody, you know, just in case I want to check the name tag the next time I get pulled over. The paper is willing to identify a bunch of card players not the one man who actually shot someone.

  23. #23 |  albatross | 

    I felt kinda bad for the one guy with no gambling devices, which I assume means chips. If they’d raided an hour later, they’d have had to seize that guy’s watch from one of the other players.

    The property seizures were interesting–they raid a poker game and seize a bunch of cars? I think corrupt police in most third world countries would just have taken the money.

  24. #24 |  the innominate one | 

    Radley, fyi: Ken@Popehat also thinks the Zimmerman indictment is, and I quote, “a piece of crap“.

  25. #25 |  Marty | 

    the poker raid was about seizing property, nothing else.

  26. #26 |  Leonson | 

    #7 Actually I can see one way that you could justify this. If you started a fight, and the person then pulled a knife, a gun, or started smashing your head on the pavement (another deadly weapon), then I could see escalating force to defend yourself. I doubt you’d be completely free from culpability, but it would probably bring the charges down a tad.

    But there’s no proof Zimmerman started a fight.

  27. #27 |  Windy | 

    #13 Travis
    “whether these actions are a crime (and therefore illegitimate) or not (and therefore legitimate) is determined by the Constitution and statutes passed by duly elected legislatures as interpreted by judges and juries, and it’s from these sources that their legitimacy is derived.”

    if statutes violate the Constitution is doesn’t matter who passed them or signed them into “law”, they are NOT legitimate laws, so no one is bound to obey them and no court is bound to uphold them, they are null and void upon their passing:
    http://soundofcannons.blogspot.com/2010/12/do-we-have-to-follow-unconstitutional.html

    #18 Fred, so is there a followup? thsat story was from 2007, did the deputy get arrested for 2nd degree murder? Was the deceased victim vilified? What happened to the driver?

    #25 Marty,
    Correct. Gambling, yet another consensual act deemed a crime by authoritarian moralists, that never rises to the level of a real crime (real crimes have real victims).

  28. #28 |  Matt | 

    Windy: “if statutes violate the Constitution…”

    There’s no meaningful difference between you and Travis. You’re both attempting to deflect morality to a scrap of paper rather than figuring out for yourselves what’s truly *right*.

    “The Constitution” isn’t some infallible thing to be worshipped. It’s a fatally flawed pile of crap a bunch of well-intentioned idiots wrote a couple hundred years ago, and it was doomed from the start to enable people to deflect their morality to produce exactly what’s being inflicted upon all of us everywhere in this world now.

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