Police misbehavior thread

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Mutex » Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:39 pm UTC

The only other possibility I can think of is the cops thought the couple were pretending to be asleep, and were planning to suddenly shoot any cop who got near or something. Not that it was likely they'd do that, but because the cops were insanely (quite literally) paranoid.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:59 pm UTC

Also: the people of Detroit will pay $100,000 for an officer who shot a chained dog. If he were a pleb, of course, he'd have to pay that award himself, and would be charged with animal cruelty and illegal discharge of a firearm.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ObsessoMom » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:27 pm UTC

The incident happened in 2014, but I just learned of it today:

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System officers violently arrested a man for trespassing at MTS--except he worked there

TL;DR: An Iraqi immigrant was hired by a janitorial service to clean San Diego trolleys. The job was so crappy, his employer didn't see the point of issuing him an employee ID right away (in case he quit within a few days, which is apparently common). After six days on the job, he's approached by Metropolitan Transit System security officers, is told he's in a restricted area, and is asked to present an employee ID. He presents his California Driver's License. Not good enough. He calls his supervisor, who shows up and says, "Yeah, this guy works for me." Not good enough. He's cited for trespassing, is violently handcuffed when he won't sign a citation he doesn't understand, and is somehow knocked unconscious on the way to the hospital.

Earlier this month, the San Diego MTS released the body cam footage. Lo and behold, citizens have been critical of how the officers escalated a minor misunderstanding. So a few days ago, the San Diego MTS announced that the private security guards it hires will continue to wear body cams, but the footage will remain private, rather than being a matter of public record. Problem solved!

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:44 am UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:So a few days ago, the San Diego MTS announced that the private security guards it hires will continue to wear body cams, but the footage will remain private, rather than being a matter of public record. Problem solved!
Not so fast. Be careful what you wish for.

Do you really want government agents walking around filming everything they encounter and making all the footage public? It's a sticky question what to make public; you can only know after the fact. But the problem extends to the other side - it being illegal for citizens to wear body cams and film the police, and make that footage public.

Now, I'm not sure I want everyone streaming everything they see to facebook, but it's the imbalance, not the footage.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby addams » Sat Feb 27, 2016 3:15 am UTC

I'm sorry, Jose;
Your ceaseless championing of the individual's privacy is admirable.
But; ... I'm sorry, Jose; That boat has sailed away.

Most people that want personal privacy can usually find some.
FaceBook has a surplus of people actively attempting to gain public attention.

Uh-oh, Jose;....I've become one of, 'Them'.
I am willing to give up my privacy to save That Guy's life.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:58 pm UTC

addams wrote:But; ... I'm sorry, Jose; That boat has sailed away.
Sailed away? I think it sunk.

addams wrote:Most people that want personal privacy can usually find some.
Most people don't realize what it's important to be private from, and why. It's not important whether or not my neighbor knows I like granola and own a shotgun. But it is important that the New York Times and Amazon doesn't - because the Times decides what newspaper articles I can read (and in what style they are re-written), and Amazon sets the prices on the books I buy. Both are trying to make money, but in doing so, they affect what I read. If they control what you read, they control what you think.

We are not at that point yet, but it is vitally important that when we do, it's not too late.

addams wrote:FaceBook has a surplus of people actively attempting to gain public attention.
I'm not worried about public attention so much as attention from the networked computer algorithms that will decide what route my self-driving car will take, or who it will take me to visit. Because that day will come.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ObsessoMom » Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:43 pm UTC

I actually agree with Jose that not all body cam footage should be released to the general public. It's not the general public's business, unless a citizen is accusing an officer of impropriety. (And even then, it might be appropriate to blur the identities of some of those shown in the video, to prevent vigilantism.)

My problem in this case is that the Metropolitan Transit System is saying, "Hey, we're a public entity, but most of our security officers are hired through a private contractor. Therefore, we don't control the body cam footage taken while they are doing what we've hired them to do in our name. It belongs to the private contractor, not to us."

Since the footage does not fall under the laws governing public records, that private contractor can apparently destroy or edit it with impunity, for any reason, before someone makes a court order requesting it.

Does anyone really think that any footage showing the private company's security officers violating people's rights won't magically go "poof" under the new contract? I think only the footage exonerating their employees will survive.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:05 pm UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:Does anyone really think that any footage showing the private company's security officers violating people's rights won't magically go "poof" under the new contract? I think only the footage exonerating their employees will survive.
I am not a lawyer and did not comb the contract, but these seem to be the key points (emphasis mine):

  • Contractor shall also be required to adhere to the record retention requirements in this RFP, including but not limited to retention of documents, records and videos from body cameras.
  • Contractor shall maintain the video and MTS shall have access to the video at all times. Absent a contrary court order, Contractor’s video shall not be considered an MTS record or public document under the California Public Records Act. However, all video shall be available to MTS for internal investigations or criminal investigations and prosecutions. Video may be subject to disclosure in a civil or criminal court proceeding.
  • MTS shall have access to body camera video at all times.
I don't know what the implications of being a "public document" are, nor what private contractors' relationships to the public are (the US Post Office, for example, is a private company, not a government agency). It seems that the MTS will retain control of the video.

How is that different from the police department? They retain control of their own video, and the public can't get it without a court order either, no? That's the asymmetry of power that is being amplified by video, at the same time that there is an appearance of it being mitigated.

Yes, private contractors (especially for inherently governmental functions) are very problematic, but that's an inherent problem, not one that has anything to do with body cams. It's how we got away with Gitmo. It's how you create authority without creating accountability. Using private contractors for policing in the first place is a problem. Safeguards need to be built into the system for that. It's isn't not doable, but if it is not being done, that's the issue to look at.

ObsessoMom wrote:Since the footage does not fall under the laws governing public records, that private contractor can apparently destroy or edit it with impunity, for any reason, before someone makes a court order requesting it.
I'm not sure that's true - see the first item in the list. But, this contract can be changed (though not as easily as your credit card contract)... without what a voter would consider due process.

Either way, the cops have the guns. You have to trust them. Or else.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ijuin » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:18 pm UTC

natraj wrote:cops shoot couple while unconscious in their car.
http://thefreethoughtproject.com/parent ... XoSQF8H.99
http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local ... 02981.html

sleeping aggressively? probably deadly marksmen while unconscious? very threatening snorers? police attempted to "rouse" them in an attempt to "de-escalate" their dangerous snoozing. i know i shoot my best while passed out. we black folk are Just That Good.


Non-responsiveness is often mistaken for defiance--if a suspect fails to "drop your weapons and come out with your hands up", then they are assumed to be resisting. An inability to hear or to comprehend the cop's words (e.g. due to language barrier or cognitive deficiency or just being severely inebriated or unconscious) is apparently the suspect's own fault.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:39 pm UTC

Maybe they were hunting the sleepwalking strangler?

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby natraj » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:52 pm UTC

ijuin wrote:Non-responsiveness is often mistaken for defiance--if a suspect fails to "drop your weapons and come out with your hands up", then they are assumed to be resisting. An inability to hear or to comprehend the cop's words (e.g. due to language barrier or cognitive deficiency or just being severely inebriated or unconscious) is apparently the suspect's own fault.


yeah i am deaf (and black) and have been assaulted on multiple occasions by cops because i failed to respond appropriately to verbal instructions even after telling the police that i could not hear them. it is completely ridiculous. thankfully i have, you know, not actually been killed yet for this. but this past spring the cops attempting to assault me for failing to hear them did land one of my friends in the hospital and it was terrifying.

i can only imagine how much more dangerous i would've been if i were actually asleep.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:36 am UTC

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ObsessoMom » Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:44 am UTC

ucim wrote:I don't know what the implications of being a "public document" are, nor what private contractors' relationships to the public are (the US Post Office, for example, is a private company, not a government agency). It seems that the MTS will retain control of the video.


I appreciate the correction, Jose.

Tiny, off-topic correction to your statement that the USPS "is a private company, not a government agency," though. It's actually an independent governmental agency like the CIA or NASA. It's definitely not a government-owned corporation like Amtrak (whose employees are not considered federal employees). As I understand it, the status of the USPS was changed somewhat in 1971 so that it would no longer have to get congressional approval every time it needed to raise the price of a stamp (because what politician wants to go on record as voting in favor of that?), but that reorganization didn't make the USPS a private company.

I agree with your other stated concerns.

Police officers and departments do have an obvious conflict of interest as they retain complete control of their own video, even so far as having some discretion as to when (and whether) to turn the camera on in the first place, and where to point it while it is on.

I also agree that the problem of private contractors being hired for inherently governmental functions opens all sorts of cans of worms. This case highlights the scary fact that some uniformed people who look and act like police, and who may strongly imply that they have the authority to put someone in jail, actually do not. I watched the whole video and didn't hear anyone informing this guy of his Miranda rights, BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T POLICE AND DIDN'T HAVE TO.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:07 pm UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:Tiny, off-topic correction to your statement [about] the USPS
Yes, I simplified a bit. But this whole outsourcing thing is a concern.
ObsessoMom wrote:This case highlights the scary fact that some uniformed people who look and act like police, and who may strongly imply that they have the authority to put someone in jail, actually do not. I watched the whole video and didn't hear anyone informing this guy of his Miranda rights, BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T POLICE AND DIDN'T HAVE TO.
Actually, that's a great way to lock away all "those types" that "we know are guilty". Send in the private force with body cams, get them to talk under (implied) threat of being shot to death, and then admit the video as evidence. Save money on trials, lower taxes, and there will be puppies and rainbows for the survivors.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:14 pm UTC

Riots erupt in Salt Lake City after police shoot a 17-year-old armed with a broomstick.

"The police said, 'Drop it', once, then they shot him four times," Selam Mohammed, who witnessed the shooting, recalled. "We were trying to break it up before the police even came, but the police ran in on foot and pulled their guns out already. They already had them, like, as soon as he was running he was already grabbing for his gun, not even trying to Tase him or anything."
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:16 pm UTC

I wonder how cops feel about the abuse and misbehavior stories posted here. I know some of the forumgoers have family or friends who are cops. Has anyone asked what's their take on these events?

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby bentheimmigrant » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:29 pm UTC

I'm pretty sure there have been massive arguments in this very thread about that.

In my anecdotal experience, an in-law whose brother committed some pretty dumb abuses of power, and completely embarrassed himself basically thought he was an idiot. But ymmv.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:57 pm UTC

My impression is that a good number of cops would condemn these actions when speaking candidly to their friends or family – but if they express it publicly, let alone try to do anything about it, their colleagues, superiors and unions will come down on them like an apocalyptic cult. The campaigns of harassment and character assassination against good cops (or in police parlance, rats) are well documented.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby addams » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:24 pm UTC

Cops are afraid of Cops.
(ech) Office Politics is ruthless in every field.

I have learned a great deal and yet not nearly enough about corruption, both personal and systemic,
that working with helpless populations and seemingly endless money and power make probable.

I've seen professionals frightened of high school educated gatekeepers.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:15 pm UTC

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:20 pm UTC

Long story short: My father left being a police officer and transitioned to paramedic because he wanted to actually help people.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby sardia » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:30 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Long story short: My father left being a police officer and transitioned to paramedic because he wanted to actually help people.

What kind of neighborhood did your dad work?

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:45 pm UTC

Vancouver, BC, Canada. As seen on the Olympics.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Fri Mar 04, 2016 3:21 am UTC

A true clusterfuck of events: An off-duty NYPD rear-ends a woman in traffic, then gets into a verbal altercation with her which culminates in him drawing his gun and threatening to kill her – while her 2-year-old child is also in the car. While doing this, he stepped back into traffic, and was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. That driver should be duly punished, but all the same, the officer's actions appear to have endangered both himself and everyone around him.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ijuin » Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:49 pm UTC

Karma. I hope they charge the driver who hit him with negligence rather than malice.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Sat Mar 05, 2016 2:43 am UTC

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby addams » Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:45 am UTC

The man that shot that dog represents me when he puts on that uniform.

Therefore; I Suck! And; Not in the good way.
oh, ... If you are a USA American, You suck, too.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:38 pm UTC

"A police officer from Mesa, Arizona, who fatally shot an unarmed man in January has been charged with second-degree murder, prosecutors announced on Friday night." That's tentatively good news, although prosecutors have been known to charge pro forma and throw their own cases where police are involved.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:24 pm UTC

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:01 am UTC

A Texas police officer sprays pepper spray at a passing group of motorcyclists on the highway. He didn't manage to kill any of them, although he did accidentally hit an asthmatic person on the side of the road, who required medical treatment.

This man is either a psychopath or profoundly stupid, so he'll probably be back on duty within two weeks.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Chen » Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:07 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:A Texas police officer sprays pepper spray at a passing group of motorcyclists on the highway. He didn't manage to kill any of them, although he did accidentally hit an asthmatic person on the side of the road, who required medical treatment.

This man is either a psychopath or profoundly stupid, so he'll probably be back on duty within two weeks.


From that:
Police spokeswoman Cpl. Tracey Knight confirmed late Monday that the officer used pepper spray on the passing bikers and documented it in a report.


Does this mean the officer in question actually made the report that he used pepper spray on the riders? That seems...odd.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby maybeagnostic » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:30 pm UTC

Probably means that they realized the thing is going viral and made the guy file some kind of report to justify using the pepper spray because the video was already out there. I have no idea how the report would justify it but then I watched the video and have no idea why he did it at all.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Lazar » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:00 pm UTC

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby wumpus » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:43 pm UTC

In other news in Prince Georges county Maryland (home of the most controversially trigger happy cops anywhere near Washington DC [by that I mean that in other areas, shooting suspects is expected and ignored, or not done quite so often. Neither is the case in PG county]:

One suspect is in jail for attempted suicide by cop. While it is absolutely amazing that they managed to bring in the guy alive (hospitalized, presumably still alive), an [other] armed, black man who showed up on the scene was not so lucky. Officer Jacai Colson was gunned down on the scene. This really didn't surprise anyone familiar with PG county cops, and one of the reasons they aren't likely to be able to recruit from the [largely black] county.

When announcing the death of the officer, the Chief of Police praised the restraint of the officers present, and claimed that he felt that they would have been justified in shooting [the suspect's two brothers] who were capturing the scene on video, for acting funny [while black].

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:14 pm UTC

Yeah, I'd heard about that, and not even blinked. I used to live in PG county. Sounds normal.

The officer gunned down, was of course shot by "friendly" fire. Unmarked car, if I'm not mistaken. They're trying to spin it as heroic, but it sounds like he got outta the car, and one of the other cops plugged him. May or may not have seen that he was armed, but I give them low marks for restraint indeed.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby wumpus » Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:22 pm UTC



After reading the article, there are no quoted cases of the cops meddling with events (this is presumably why the scientists were willing to sacrifice their careers to blow the whistle. Angering a prosecutor is typically unwise, but depends on getting the police to do his bidding before he can take his anger out on you. Angering the police lets them take their anger out on you directly).

This isn't even [necessarily] prosecutor's behaving badly. It will happen exactly this way as long as [public] defendants can't afford their own scientists to defend against fraudulent "science". The economics of the "evidence manufacturing industry" clearly requires the companies to provide the "right" evidence, otherwise they won't get a second contract.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Grop » Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:38 pm UTC

When I first read Lazar's quote, I thought that this is what you get when you pressure cops for results.


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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:08 pm UTC

Follow-up on a story from awhile ago...

The family of a toddler who was badly injured when a police officer threw a stun grenade into his crib during a no-knock raid (against the wrong house) has apparently settled out-of-court for some 3.6 million dollars going to the family. The family has racked up over a million dollars in medical bills that the county refused to pay, however, so the bulk of the settlement money will be going in that direction, presumably.

One officer was charged in the case in the fall of last year, but found not guilty by a jury trial.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:14 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:One officer was charged in the case in the fall of last year, but found not guilty by a jury trial.


What on earth was the defense? "that baby was suspicious"?


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