Tag:Policing

NYC’s mental health call response pilot shows promise but is still hampered by police involvement

This story was originally published at Prism.  Earlier this spring, New York City launched B-HEARD (Behavioral Health Emergency Assistant Response Division), a program where licensed...

Analysis of police bodycams confirms what Black people know: Cops treat white people better

“This is a nice car you’re driving. You sure it’s yours?” he said, the implication of grand theft auto barely going unsaid. “I pulled you over...

dropped gun, had hands up, got killed

Adam Toledo did have a gun in his possession, but actually complied, dropped the gun and had his hands up when the officer shot...

BREAKING: You’re Not Paranoid. The Black Vans Are Coming For You

OK, this is completely out of control. If you’re a liberal, or anybody else with 12 functioning brain cells, you have spent decades snickering at the insane paranoid of the far right, who believe every word of it when their GOP politicians tell them that there are black Suburbans coning to take them away to FEMA camps, or take their guns. And if you’re a real pain in the ass, they send the black helicopters after you too! Well, it turns out that the joke is on us! You remember all of those “unidentified” federal agents walking around the streets of Washington DC during the protests, setting up picket lines, and confronting protesters? You know, the ones with no identifying insignia’s or even name badges or service branch markings? MSNBC just played reporting from Portland, Oregon, on their affiliate, that the same agents, or other ones, are now wandering around Portland, targeting protesters. As it was described, these federal puddle heads are cruising around Portland, especially at night, in unmarked nondescript dark colored vans and SUV’s. They confront peaceful protesters on the streets, and there have even been reports of these agents pulling protesters into their vehicles, and taking them off to interrogate them. One protester said that when he demanded his phone call for his lawyer, they immediately bundled him back into the van and took him back. This is total and utter bullshit. If these are indeed agents of some federal agency, then our own government is engaging in domestic terrorism. They are targeting non violent protesters exercising their first amendment rights, with the express intent of scaring them off. And it must stop immediately. Here’s why. When the federal Bureau of Land Management moved on the  serial asshole Bundy family for illegal use of federal lands, far right militia groups flocked to Nevada to train long guns on federal officers from overpasses. They later took over a wildlife refuge in Oregon, and one was killed in a shootout. And when Trump ranted and raved about Mexican illegals flooding over the border, you had more roving bands of far right fucktards, driving around the border ready to confront anything that moved. What is to stop these mental midgets from getting together, and deputizing themselves to ride around, protecting and taking back the streets? Any idea of how easy it is to get your hands on unmarked black military style fatigues? We already know who is in charge. Tubby the Ewok proudly claimed credit for forming and utilizing the groups in DC. With the coronavirus, there are very few if any actual court cases going on in the federal system. Speaker Pelosi needs to get the House back into session immediately to vote on freezing the budget for the Department of Justice until these shadow armies are permanently disbanded. Because forget the roving bands of indie morons, here’s what happens next. A bunch of Barr’s Brownshirts jump out of a van in the night , grab a couple of protesters, and throw them in the van. A random cop car turning the corner witnesses the kidnapping, and the chase is on. With emotions running high, and adrenaline pumping, and everybody but the hostages being armed, what do you think the chances are of the confrontation ending without bloodshed? Donald Trump has proven time and again for four years now that he never stops pushing. Until you […]

As nation ponders racial justice in policing, Trump preps all-white crew for Sentencing Commission

With everything else happening over the last week, Donald Trump’s list of names to fill slots on the federal Sentencing Commission got little attention...

A Memo To The Police. Adapt Or Perish.

I have always been fascinated with the prehistoric world. And one of my greatest fascinations has been with the way that some of the dinosaurs died. I imagine these incredible behemoths, weighing tons each, with armor plating and bone horns and spines on them, basically indestructible. Standing there with their front feet sucked into a tar pit. They can’t pull their front feet out, and as their weight pulls them in deeper, the back legs get closer and closer to the edge of the tar pit. And the next thing you know, there’s one less fearsome behemoth on the planet. But when I look at the civic reaction to the death of George Floyd, and the insane overreach of the police response to the following mostly peaceful protests, I can’t help but think of those goddamn dinosaurs, standing there with their front feet in the tar, wondering what hit them. The earth has shifted under their feet, and they seem incapable of sitting back on their asses to get their front feet out of the ooze. The police have had near dictatorial authority for decades now, for two simple reasons. First of all, they have a badge and a gun, and you don’t, so you had better keep frosty, or they’ll pop a cap in your ass and be back in the patrol car the next day. And second, they have a police union, and you don’t, so if they pop a cap in your ass, nothing is going to happen to them anyway. They feel basically untouchable, mainly because, for all intents and purposes, they are! And the police union has the secret sauce. That sauce, in negotiations for a new contract, is to tie up any legitimate discipline of a bad cop in so much silly string that it can never be untangled. Any cop accused of an abuse of power or authority is immediately places on administrative leave during the investigation. That can take anywhere from months to years, while the officer involved goes to work every day, sits at a desk pushing papers around, while he continues to collect full pay, pension, and benefits. Think of it as a sadists bus mans holiday. And the city doesn’t really want to have to substantively discipline the officer if they can get away with it, for fear of running afoul of police union retaliation. The secret is to run out the clock until everybody forgets. But the other half of the secret sauce is the local city or county prosecutors. Local prosecutors are absolutely loathe to bring charges against an officer, any officer, since they fear the publicity backlash from the police union, Just as importantly, those prosecutors must have a cordial relationship with the local police in order to make strong cases for the other items they have to prosecute. This is why most prosecutors were willing to delay actually having to bring formal charges against any police officer until most of the participants had died of natural causes. But the paradigm has changed, and the ground has shifted under the police and their union’s feet until the front legs are in the tar pit. And of course, it started in Minneapolis. After the killing of George Floyd, it took the city and the police department less than 48 hours to fire the officers involved. This is the nightmare scenario for the police unions in this country. […]

This Won’t Be Easy. Or Pretty.

OK, I’ll admit it, it was actually kind of a kick issuing a national warning ticket to the police. Especially since I’m normally on the receiving end of those goddamn things. I look at it as a kind of an occupational perk. But I am occasionally accused of over-analyzing things, and this may have been one of those times. The more video I saw from the more incidents, as a father of four daughters I suddenly realized that I was watching something that is actually a rather common occurrence for most parents. When I watch those videos, I’m actually watching a 4 year old who just had their favorite toy taken away. They don’t like being disciplined, so they’re throwing a temper tantrum. But when you talk to any public official, from mayor to city council member to county commissioner, they will all tell you the same thing. That the biggest obstacle to reforming police practices is the all powerful police unions. Because most police departments are considered critical agencies, and therefore forbidden from striking, the unions use their public perception as the good guys to apply public pressure on officials to buckle, as well as devious practices to ensure compliance. Believe it or not, I actually have a wealth of experience in this department. As a pilot crew scheduler for United Airlines for more than 15 years, I fought a daily, endless battle with the Air Line Pilots Association, more commonly known as ALPA. We had a running joke on the crew desk that the only union in the world more heartless, arrogant, and conniving than the pilots union was the Soviet Union. As Americans fell more and more in love with the ease, speed, and convenience of flying, pilots saw their stature rise. Although not actually public servants, their stature with the public was still quite high. And whenever anything went wrong with a flight, be it a delay or a cancellation, even if it was actually their fault, nobody ever blamed the pilots, it was always the company that was responsible. And the pilots used that perception to their advantage, just like the police unions do. You see, you don’t have to strike to be a pain in the ass when your poor delicate little fee-fees are hurt. Whether police or pilot, no matter how perfectly the schedule is built, things such as sick calls, weather, or other things will occur that will require you to ask the cops or pilots to do something that isn’t a part of their regular schedule or responsibilities. And that’s where the fun begins. At United, it was called a WOE program, which stood for Withdrawal Of Enthusiasm. If a pilot had a preset series of trips in his schedule for the month, he was entitled to fly that schedule. If you wanted him to do something else, you had to ask him to do it, which normally meant cutting a deal. Pilots love deals, since they normally end up with more time off for the same pay. But if the union was beating the war drum, pilots would refuse even ridiculously lucrative deals, solely for the purpose of causing schedule delays and disruptions to put public pressure on the company to accede to whatever it was the union wanted at the moment.This is what I think you’re going to start seeing in cities […]

Why Is THIS Time So Different?

I can’t stop asking myself that question. Why George Floyd? Why now? There’s nothing original or different here. Cops kill an unarmed black man in the street. Cell phone video emerges. The video stokes days of protests followed by nights of outrage. Niuse gets made by politicians, protests get broken up by the police, and eventually everything returns to whatever is normal about this insane situation. Why is this time so different? Because it sure as hell feels different. It can’t be the murder itself. Sweet Jesus, we have an almost endless litany of names, faces, and outrages. Diallo, Brown, Scott, McDonald, Garner, Gray, on and on, it sounds like your average small town phone book. I get the terrible feeling that if we collected the names of all of the unarmed black men and women killed by police in just the last ten years, we’d have a pretty damn good start on a sequel to the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Can’t be just the video either. Hell, we have an encyclopedic collection of taped police atrocities against unarmed black men. We have video of cops shooting unarmed men in the back as they run away. We have them shooting unarmed black men through the open window of a car, while his fiance films, and his young daughter looks on. We have video of a cop who never even bothered to identify himself as one shooting through the open window of a house and killing a woman. We have video of Mike Brown being gang tackled to the street and choked out. And we have video of an already critically injured Freddie Gray being thrown into the back of a police van like an old carpet. It never fucking seems to end. So, why now? And why George Floyd? Upon calm reflection, I find that there are actually several differences this time, and they come together in a kind of a perfect storm. They’re all small differences, but it only takes a single snowflake to start an avalanche. For one thing, this time the video really is different, and I think that it’s a contributing factor. In most cop obscenities, it’s incredibly quick. There’s an unsteady camera image, a sudden motion, followed by BANG! BANG! BANG! and a black body hits the floor or street. It’s shockingly quick, but over just as quick. With Eric Garner, there was a brief scuffle that led to a pile on that obscured a lot of the action. And while Freddie Gray’s death was slow and painful, the aggressive arrest tactics that led to his injuries was lightening quick. But not this time. This video was almost excruciating to watch, going more than nine minutes. And it wasn’t just one video either, there were multiple angles, all well centered and holding still, recording for history three primates with guns literally smothering the life out of an unarmed, already compliant and cuffed black man on the pavement, while a fourth goon stood doing crowd control to ensure that nobody interfered with the murder. This while bystanders yelled repeatedly to the cops that they were literally killing a man in the middle of the street. personally, I hope that Keith Ellison bumps the charges up to murder one, because the two words that keep going through my mind are depraved indifference. The second that […]

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