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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Ferguson and its implications
lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Mere Nick:
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
It is different for blacks and whites. It is especially different for young black men.

Yes, it is. While more whites than blacks are killed by police, it is disproportionate. I'd suspect folks at the lowest end of the totem pole, regardless of color, are shot by an even more disproportionate rate.
Across the board, at every economic level, black people are treated worse by law enforcement.

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Porridge
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quote:
Originally posted by Byron:
I just don't get where this notion of starry-eyed idealism comes from: my posts couldn't be more brutally pragmatic if I tried.

Cops are trained to use violence to arrest people. They're good at it, and usually succeed. If you fight a cop, you'll get a beating, and a stack of extra charges, possibly much worse than the ones you faced originally. Unless there's a warrant out on you for something bad, in raw cost-benefit terms, resisting arrest is lose-lose.

The idealistic answer would be to recommend you get into a brawl with police if you believe you're being unlawfully arrested (in the few states that haven't abolished that defense, presumably). People are of course free to do that. I really hope they don't, but their call. Can but hope they survive it, 'cause that's far from guaranteed.

Byron: I don't hear well, but I can read. I haven't understood a single poster here to encourage resisting arrest. I think we all agree that is, as you put it earlier, a spectacularly bad idea.

What I, at least, am wishing for from you is some acknowledgment that police / black citizen problems begin well in advance of any individual arrests.

Black men are targeted, scrutinized, and stopped all the time for no good reason. Links on this thread show videos or relate accounts of the following:

1. A young black man walking to a friend's house gets stopped by an officer. Pedestrian asks why. Officer says it's because he has his hands in his pockets. (It's cold enough to snow on this occasion, and it's not illegal to walk with one's hands in one's pockets.)

2. A pair of tourists (black driver, white passenger) tries to drive the celebrity route in Beverly Hills. They're pulled over by an officer. They're doing nothing out of the ordinary or even faintly illegal. The pull-over ends only when the officer notices the white passenger; then he lets them go.

3. An older black man walking on the sidewalk gets ordered to the ground by an officer. The officer summons backup, and another officer arrives by car. Why was this pedestrian stopped? A robbery had taken place several blocks away. Why was he walking through this neighborhood? He apparently does odd jobs there. Is there the slightest reason to suppose this pedestrian had just burglarized a home? Is his being black and male all we need to label him suspect?

We have names for these "crimes" over here: These people were Walking (or Driving or Shopping or Breathing) While Black. Being black and male is apparently sufficient reason, all by itself, to be detained and questioned by police, and it happens constantly.

I understand this may sound like a mere inconvenience, and nothing to get worked up about. But imagine yourself being followed by store security every time you go into a store. Imagine getting stopped and made late to work several times a week because your route takes you through a neighborhood of palefaces. Or imagine getting detained, as one Harvard professor was, on returning to his home and finding he'd misplaced his key and trying, as anyone might do, to enter through one of his own windows.

You don't have to be a Harvard professor to put two and two together and grasp that, in real and practical terms, you are being viewed and treated as an alien threat, a non-citizen, non-human resident of your neighborhood, town/city, state, and country.

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Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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Porridge
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CORRECTION: the 2009 arrest of Prof. Gates was due to his trying, with the help of his driver, to force his jammed front door open; he was not trying to enter through a window.

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Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
The tax on a pack of cigarettes in New York is $4.35.
This has led to people smuggling in truck loads of cigarettes from Virginia where the tax is .30 a pack.

It is likely he was selling smuggled cigarettes which are readily available in New York. Still not appropriate to kill him for that.

Can we send some cops around to visit some bank execs?
Bank execs didn't create a market for bootleg cigarettes in New York City.
You miss the point entirely. Deliberately? Recall the subprime scandal? Which has done more economic damage?

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

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Pooks
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Porridge, first of all, I would like to thank you for your posts on this thread explaining the problems that Afro-Americans face in many of the communities in the US today with such patience and care. It is much appreciated.

I would like to add a link and see what you and other Shipmates make of it. The reason I want to show this link is because I think it's the flip side of the same coin. If professor Thomas Nolan is right, then he has fingered other contributing factors to the policing problem in the US today. It is a separate problem from racism, but it's one that made the racial tension worse in my opinion.

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Ikkyu
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quote:
Originally posted by Byron:
I just don't get where this notion of starry-eyed idealism comes from: my posts couldn't be more brutally pragmatic if I tried.

Cops are trained to use violence to arrest people. They're good at it, and usually succeed. If you fight a cop, you'll get a beating, and a stack of extra charges, possibly much worse than the ones you faced originally. Unless there's a warrant out on you for something bad, in raw cost-benefit terms, resisting arrest is lose-lose.

The idealistic answer would be to recommend you get into a brawl with police if you believe you're being unlawfully arrested (in the few states that haven't abolished that defense, presumably). People are of course free to do that. I really hope they don't, but their call. Can but hope they survive it, 'cause that's far from guaranteed.

You keep repeating the point that resisting arrest is the problem here. This is what I meant by blaming the victim. If we were discussing what advice to give to the victim that might have helped. Not resisting arrest would not be it because he did not do that. The problem is that the only thing that would have helped him is not being black.

And you keep saying that you don't like the ILLEGAL choke hold. But you stillagree with the grand Jury decision ? They killed a non resisting man by an illegal procedure and you give them the benefit of the doubt because of some mysterious exculpatory evidence nobody has seen.
It seems that for you police should never be charged because they ALWAYS must have a good reason. And they don't even have to make that reason public.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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When police become "other".
When the society is structured into an "us" and a "them". This is the root. Has America comes to grip with it's racist past? It doesn't look like it.

Recent research (this month) indicates that the KKK's legacy still influences southern USA states' voting patterns: "...racial conflict can have wide-ranging effects that resonate across generations in ways that today's voters might not easily or directly recognize."

quote:
The researchers studied county voting records in 10 southern states in which the KKK actively recruited members in the 1960s. The analysis of five presidential voting outcomes, between 1960 and 2000, showed that southern counties with KKK activity in the 1960s had a statistically significant increase in Republican voting compared to counties with no established KKK chapter, even after controlling for a range of factors commonly understood as relating to voting preferences.


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W Hyatt
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quote:
Originally posted by Pooks:
I would like to add a link and see what you and other Shipmates make of it. The reason I want to show this link is because I think it's the flip side of the same coin. If professor Thomas Nolan is right, then he has fingered other contributing factors to the policing problem in the US today. It is a separate problem from racism, but it's one that made the racial tension worse in my opinion.

It's easy enough for me to believe it, although I also suspect that there is an element of municipal police becoming agents of a quota-based tax collection scheme to some degree (see Crœsos' link from above). I know that I am one of the last people in this country who should be afraid of the police, but even I am starting to feel that fear and I know that poor, black, urban residents are at the other end of the spectrum and have always had every reason to fear the police.

I was surprised that even the author, who used to be a police officer, says that "officers make him feel unsafe when he walks around his own diverse neighborhood in Boston."

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A new church and a new earth, with Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life.

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Porridge
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quote:
Originally posted by Pooks:
Porridge, first of all, I would like to thank you for your posts on this thread explaining the problems that Afro-Americans face in many of the communities in the US today with such patience and care. It is much appreciated.

I would like to add a link and see what you and other Shipmates make of it. The reason I want to show this link is because I think it's the flip side of the same coin. If professor Thomas Nolan is right, then he has fingered other contributing factors to the policing problem in the US today. It is a separate problem from racism, but it's one that made the racial tension worse in my opinion.

Thanks for that link, Pooks. The crime of Driving While Black (and its mates) predates this militarization and suspension of civil liberties by decades, but I think Prof. Nolan is on to something. All US citizens, regardless of color, are now living in a country that feels rather more like a police state than I personally am comfortable with. Before anybody challenges me, let me just add that I put one of these bumper stickers on my car not long after 9/11. I lost count of the number of times I got stopped by police for months afterward, always allegedly for a taillight that was out. It still happens once in a while.

I always check when I get home: my taillights are always fine. I am a white woman, though; no guns have been drawn on me. Yet.

--------------------
Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
.... After all, if police can simply claim after the fact "the suspect was resisting in a manner imperceptible to any outsider, but I could tell he was resisting", doesn't that effectively give them carte blanche to justify any level of brutality they want to dish out?

"I feared for my life" works really well too --- apparently even police officers turn into complete 'fraidy cats when faced with the BIG SCARY BLACK MAN WITH SUPERHUMAN STRENGTH AND A VANISHING GUN (apparently every black man except Will Smith).

And I can't believe nobody has mentioned crimingwhilewhite# yet. Some of the white folks' stories would be hilarious if the reality for black Americans were not so serious.

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saysay

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quote:
Originally posted by W Hyatt:
I know that I am one of the last people in this country who should be afraid of the police, but even I am starting to feel that fear and I know that poor, black, urban residents are at the other end of the spectrum and have always had every reason to fear the police.

I was surprised that even the author, who used to be a police officer, says that "officers make him feel unsafe when he walks around his own diverse neighborhood in Boston."

The worst part is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. While I know that most police officers are decent human beings trying to do their jobs in a broken system, once you've had a couple encounters with the type who not only isn't trained to de-escalate conflicts but almost seem to be deliberately escalating them so they can make an arrest, you start to get nervous around police officers. That nervousness then becomes the probable cause for detaining you, because if you aren't doing anything illegal, why would you get nervous?

And a determined cop will always be able find a crime to arrest you for (even if they have to yell at you until you yell back). Which is why the lawyers at Know Your Rights and the ACLU recommend that you limit your interactions with cops to 'yes, sir', 'no, sir,' and 'am I being detained sir?'

I've met cops who seem to believe that a refusal to submit to a search is grounds to get a warrant for a search.

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I'll tell you all about it when I see you again"
"'Oh sweet baby purple Jesus' - that's a direct quote from a 9 year old - shoutout to purple Jesus."

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Porridge
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quote:
Originally posted by saysay:
The worst part is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. While I know that most police officers are decent human beings trying to do their jobs in a broken system, once you've had a couple encounters with the type who not only isn't trained to de-escalate conflicts but almost seem to be deliberately escalating them so they can make an arrest, you start to get nervous around police officers. That nervousness then becomes the probable cause for detaining you, because if you aren't doing anything illegal, why would you get nervous?

And a determined cop will always be able find a crime to arrest you for (even if they have to yell at you until you yell back). Which is why the lawyers at Know Your Rights and the ACLU recommend that you limit your interactions with cops to 'yes, sir', 'no, sir,' and 'am I being detained sir?'

I've met cops who seem to believe that a refusal to submit to a search is grounds to get a warrant for a search.

This.

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Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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Kelly Alves

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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
.... After all, if police can simply claim after the fact "the suspect was resisting in a manner imperceptible to any outsider, but I could tell he was resisting", doesn't that effectively give them carte blanche to justify any level of brutality they want to dish out?

"I feared for my life" works really well too --- apparently even police officers turn into complete 'fraidy cats when faced with the BIG SCARY BLACK MAN WITH SUPERHUMAN STRENGTH AND A VANISHING GUN (apparently every black man except Will Smith).

And I can't believe nobody has mentioned crimingwhilewhite# yet. Some of the white folks' stories would be hilarious if the reality for black Americans were not so serious.

Wow, even Betty Bowers chimed in.

And yeah, the stories are pretty insane.

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

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Golden Key
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Some comments:

--Porridge wrote:
quote:
But it's worth noting that when one's adrenalin is asked to pump up as often as a police officer's is, it probably affects one's perceptions and judgment on a permanent basis.
From what I've heard in the news, over the years, that's a known problem--at least in the short term, like a high-speed chase. Here's an article from LawOfficer.com. It's written by a cop, about fighting his own "adrenaline beast".


--Re Garner resisting arrest: in that video, he specifically said "I'm not resisting, I'm not resisting". I thought I'd heard that, and was surprised no one seemed to mention it. But I poked around online, and there are many mentions of it.


--Re Dr. Gates' arrest for trying to break into his own house: FWIW, the woman who called that in was new in the neighborhood, and specifically said that he might live there. It was when the cop arrived that things got bad. In this particular case, it wasn't *simply* a matter of "you don't belong". As far as the caller knew, it could really have been a burglary. She got a lot of grief for calling it in at all.


--Byron: I never accused you of being "starry-eyed", and I certainly would never suggest someone resist arrest. However, many of your statements seem to rigidly dismiss what people are telling you about what actually happens.

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Porridge
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
--Re Dr. Gates' arrest for trying to break into his own house: FWIW, the woman who called that in was new in the neighborhood, and specifically said that he might live there. It was when the cop arrived that things got bad. In this particular case, it wasn't *simply* a matter of "you don't belong". As far as the caller knew, it could really have been a burglary. She got a lot of grief for calling it in at all.

However, as you note, it was when the police arrived that things went south. According to Gates's account (and I'm relying on memory here) either the officer refused to look at his identification, or refused to accept it as authentic. All the officer had to do was verify that Gates was in his own home. Or, for that matter, have seen him on TV; Gates has a regular program on PBS. It's not as though he's just another random black face.

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Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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Rossweisse

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quote:
Originally posted by W Hyatt:
...I also suspect that there is an element of municipal police becoming agents of a quota-based tax collection scheme to some degree...

You suspect? I don't;the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has demonstrated pretty conclusively, in a number of articles over several years (and, of course, many more if them lately) that they are unambiguously "agents of a quota-based tax collection scheme." These crappy little towns, invented for the specific benefit of specific people, could not exist if they didn't essentially shake down their citizenry. It's time to clean up north St. Louis County.

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Leorning Cniht
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The police, in the course of carrying out their duties, have to encounter a significant number of extremely violent thugs. Most people would not like to ask a police officer to have his ass handed to him by a violent thug on a regular basis (and yes, those violent thugs will happily lie about not being able to breathe or whatever in order to get a break).

This desire to keep our police officers safe when dealing with violent thugs, however, seems to have turned into a police playbook that starts by assuming that everyone is a violent thug. Hence all the aggressive control strategies, the yellings and the takedowns. And yes, the shootings of people who are upset with the way they they are being treated, and happen to have saggy pants or a lumpy waistband.

Combine the "everyone's a thug" mindset with a bit of latent (or even patent) racism, and you get dead black man after dead black man.

The police need a different playbook - one that doesn't contain the dead bodies of obstreperous petty criminals.

[ 07. December 2014, 04:02: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

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Golden Key
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And then there's "fun" with both the ATF and the Border Patrol. (Transcript of a "This American Life" episode, with a link to the audio. Listen to it, if you have a chance.)

As bad as the BP situation is, the ATF's (IMHO) criminal stupidity and malevolence infuriates me more. They've gotten into trouble for it, but not nearly enough. And the everyday people they used are still suffering.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Barnabas62
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Golden Key

Recognising that you started this thread and having no problems that it has morphed into a broader discussion, would you be happy for me to change the thread title to 'Ferguson and its implications". That would seem to cover the legal and social aspects and bring in other cases. Feel free to suggest an alternative or PM me. This is a massively important issue and it might help newcomers to have a broader title.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Ikkyu
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
The police, in the course of carrying out their duties, have to encounter a significant number of extremely violent thugs. Most people would not like to ask a police officer to have his ass handed to him by a violent thug on a regular basis (and yes, those violent thugs will happily lie about not being able to breathe or whatever in order to get a break).

This desire to keep our police officers safe when dealing with violent thugs, however, seems to have turned into a police playbook that starts by assuming that everyone is a violent thug. Hence all the aggressive control strategies, the yellings and the takedowns. And yes, the shootings of people who are upset with the way they they are being treated, and happen to have saggy pants or a lumpy waistband.

Combine the "everyone's a thug" mindset with a bit of latent (or even patent) racism, and you get dead black man after dead black man.

The police need a different playbook - one that doesn't contain the dead bodies of obstreperous petty criminals.

This sort of thinking is part of the problem.
Your "extremely violent thugs" are human beings.
If you put them in a separate category you dehumanize them and make it easier to kill them.
Police are not "having their asses handed to them in a regular basis" and then overreacting. The problem is the opposite they are killing civilians on a regular basis lots of them unarmed.
I particularly noticed the way you cleverly called the victim of the choke hold a violent lying thug.

What you just said amounts to having two sets of rules one for "violent thugs with saggy pants and lumpy waistbands" and another for more regular folk. But that is the situation we already find ourselves in.

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Byron
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
--Byron: I never accused you of being "starry-eyed", and I certainly would never suggest someone resist arrest. However, many of your statements seem to rigidly dismiss what people are telling you about what actually happens.

Which ones? I've said that if you resist arrest, it's likely to end badly. No one appears to dispute this.

quote:
Originally posted by Ikkyu:
You keep repeating the point that resisting arrest is the problem here. This is what I meant by blaming the victim. If we were discussing what advice to give to the victim that might have helped. Not resisting arrest would not be it because he did not do that. The problem is that the only thing that would have helped him is not being black.

He didn't put his hands behind his back and go with the NYPD, and shouted "don't touch me" when an officer tried to do it for him. By any reasonable measure (and NY law) that's resisting arrest.
quote:
And you keep saying that you don't like the ILLEGAL choke hold. But you stillagree with the grand Jury decision ? They killed a non resisting man by an illegal procedure and you give them the benefit of the doubt because of some mysterious exculpatory evidence nobody has seen.
I don't agree with the grand jury: from what I've seen, I think they've got it badly wrong. That just it tho: from what I've seen, which is a fraction of what they've seen and heard. Even a Monday morning quarterback needs to've watched the game.
quote:
It seems that for you police should never be charged because they ALWAYS must have a good reason. And they don't even have to make that reason public.
Wrong, if the investigation's done, I'd like to see the grand jury evidence made public: if it's continuing, I'd like to see a second grand jury as soon as possible.
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Byron:
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
--Byron: I never accused you of being "starry-eyed", and I certainly would never suggest someone resist arrest. However, many of your statements seem to rigidly dismiss what people are telling you about what actually happens.

Which ones? I've said that if you resist arrest, it's likely to end badly. No one appears to dispute this.
What your statements appear to be missing is proper attribution of fault, that resist arrest or no, the likelihood of violence by police is exponentially greater if you are black and that the police often deliberately ratchet up the tension to create a situation in which they can react aggressively.
quote:
Originally posted by Byron:

He didn't put his hands behind his back and go with the NYPD, and shouted "don't touch me" when an officer tried to do it for him. By any reasonable measure (and NY law) that's resisting arrest.

In no part did he threaten them. If, bound and determined to play tax collector they were, they should have grasped his wrists and attempted to place his hands behind his back. Instead, one officer placed Mr. Garner in a very illegal choke hold, laid him on the ground and knelt on his head whilst maintaining the choke hold even after half the NYPD had arrived to assist.

Your iron grip on "He should not have resisted" appears, to many of us, to ignore the main and many faults and culpability of the police in the first.

The basic fact of this is that, in order to assist in the collection of a few pence tax, the NYPD killed a man.

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Byron:
.... He didn't put his hands behind his back and go with the NYPD, and shouted "don't touch me" when an officer tried to do it for him. By any reasonable measure (and NY law) that's resisting arrest. ...

This is not aimed at Byron, but at the rules under which police operate. Apparently, the way it is supposed to work is that the officer(s) screams multiple orders at the citizen, and if the citizen does not immediately and silently submit, deadly force is authorized. Have I got that right? Anyone else think this is reasonable?

No, it's not reasonable, at least not as a first resort. It would never be considered reasonable in any other profession that has to deal with human beings, cooperative or otherwise.

In a democracy, we get to decide how we are policed. we have the right and the power to change police behaviour. These rules need to change for everyone's safety.

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
In a democracy, we get to decide how we are policed. we have the right and the power to change police behaviour. These rules need to change for everyone's safety.

Tell that to the idiots who consistently vote Republican, or to the worse idiots who never vote at all.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Ikkyu:

I particularly noticed the way you cleverly called the victim of the choke hold a violent lying thug.

You seem to have read almost exactly the opposite of what I wrote. In no way did I call Eric Garner a lying violent thug - quite the opposite. I have seen no evidence that Mr. Garner was at all thuggish - he seems to have been a fairly ordinary man who was in poor health, and was a habitual petty criminal.

The problem that I was referring to was that way that police officers seem to habitually approach Mr. Garner and people like him as though they were violent thugs.

Because once you start with the assumption that Mr. Garner is a violent thug, everything he does is consistent with it. He can't tell you he's not being violent, or he can't breathe, because you assume he's lying.

But you're damned right I want different rules for different people. I want the police to be able to execute 5am no-knock warrants on a bunch of mafiosos, but I don't want them to throw flash-bangs in babies' cribs and pin whole families to the wall at gunpoint to arrest one guy.

As Soror Magna writes,
quote:

Apparently, the way it is supposed to work is that the officer(s) screams multiple orders at the citizen, and if the citizen does not immediately and silently submit, deadly force is authorized. Have I got that right? Anyone else think this is reasonable?

This is the "assume everyone's a violent thug" mentality in spades, and is precisely the thing that I find unreasonable.

In exceptional circumstances, it, just like the no-knock warrant, might be necessary. But not every day.

[ 07. December 2014, 19:25: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

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saysay

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
The police, in the course of carrying out their duties, have to encounter a significant number of extremely violent thugs. Most people would not like to ask a police officer to have his ass handed to him by a violent thug on a regular basis (and yes, those violent thugs will happily lie about not being able to breathe or whatever in order to get a break).

While I don't dispute that the police encounter a certain number of violent thugs, mostly they seem to deal with a lot of petty low level misdemeanor drug users.

IIRC, statistically speaking the most dangerous call for an officer to respond to is a domestic dispute.

And I think the overestimation of how often officers are engaging with people who are going to be violent towards them (given the inevitable beating and felony charge) isn't helping.

I've had some luck in persuading law enforcement that while they can escalate their aggression if the situation calls for it, they need to start their interactions with citizens less aggressively because in some cases they are provoking a particular response. Which is all well and good if you're looking for arrest statistics, but doesn't help if you'd actually like the police and citizens to have a good relationship.

quote:
Originally posted by Byron:
He didn't put his hands behind his back and go with the NYPD, and shouted "don't touch me" when an officer tried to do it for him. By any reasonable measure (and NY law) that's resisting arrest.

Every video I've seen has been edited. But I haven't seen one in which Eric is told to put his hands behind his back before the cop puts his hands on him. Around here that's a deliberate police tactic so they can rough up someone who has pissed them off (as is having two officers on the scene telling the suspect to do different things, so that no matter what you do, you're disobeying a police officer's lawful orders). Also, while I accept that things may be done differently in different jurisdictions, around here a person putting their hands behind their back is not usually the first step in an arrest, so please don't come back with that pathetic 'he's been arrested so many times he knew what to do' response.

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Byron
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Saysay, you're right, every video's been edited. In what we do see, Garner first protests (the cameraman says they're trying to lock him up), then an edit, and Garner struggles with two officers trying to cuff him, followed by the chokehold. In this specific instance, what he needed to do was plain: stop resisting and put his hands behind his back.

Soror Magna, no, using deadly force to seize a person isn't authorized, not unless the suspect poses a threat to officers or the public. The fleeing felon rule was abolished in the 80s, and even when it existed, it wouldn't apply to this case.

lilBuddha, no, I'm not blaming Garner for the chokehold. It's separate from his decision to resist, and it's wrong. I said (IMO), from what I've seen, a manslaughter indictment should've been handed down. That surely makes my position clear.

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Byron--

As I said a little upthread, Garner *repeatedly* said, "I'm not resisting, I'm not resisting". That may be edited out of some cuts of the recording, but it's there. I googled "garner i'm not resisting" to make sure I hadn't misheard.

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Barnabas62
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Golden Key has agreed by PM to the thread title change. The thread discussion has become much wider, which is fine, and it seems in keeping to recognise that.

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Barnabas62
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Posting again as a Shipmate.

I accept that the suspicions of both police brutality and a racist dimension to that are held by many reasonable people.

I also accept that legitimate concerns have been raised about the operations of the grand jury system and the extent to which it can be manipulated to indict, or not indict, a "ham sandwich". in practice, from this side of the pond, that does seem to me to put too much practical power in the hands of the prosecutor.

There seems to me to be something wrong about the use of the term "probable" cause, when I think what is really meant is "sufficient" cause. Without pre-judging guilt or innocence, is there sufficient evidence to support a trial?

I think the key issue in both Ferguson and NYC was whether the degree of force used by the police officer(s) was excessive or justified. Grand juries are supposed to represent "reasonable persons", who are there to test that question, to see whether sufficient evidence exists to go to trial. How were they helped to test that? That does seem to me a matter of proper public concern.

For all democratic societies there is an ongoing need for both a police service and a police service we can trust. Fixing the loss of trust is a pretty long term issue. Perhaps it is easier to consider how the judicial processes might be modified to avoid future concerns of prosecutorial "fixing" and the secrecy of grand jury processes?

Making grand jury processes more open, or abandoning them in favour of adversarial preliminary hearings before a trial judge, might go some way towards fixing these concerns; at least it would shine a light on what had influenced the decisons made, by either grand jury or trial judge.

What are the arguments against either course? I'm no expert in the US constitution or its legal system. These ideas come to me through a more general understanding of the need to have fair legal systems.

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Porridge
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I would add to Barnabas's list the following two items:

1. Cases of possible police misconduct / excessive force should not be investigated by police (especially not by the force to which the officer in question is assigned). This responsibility should be handed over to a separate, unaffiliated unit -- and that unit should be empowered to act immediately upon any firing of a service weapon by a police officer, or in any case of a civilian death or injury in a police / citizen encounter.

2. Whatever replaces (or continues to operate as) the current grand jury system should not only be open, but also (A) be representative of the local community where the incident took place;(B) be prosecuted by a special prosecutor not affiliated with the police force in question.

That said, the root problem here is racism, and not just on the part of (some) police. If you read, as I have unwisely done, some of the public commentary which attaches to US news stories about incidents like these, it's clear that too many citizens continue to believe the myth of white superiority. How people manage this in the face of stark proof of violent bigotry (surely not a characteristic of a superior human being, whatever that may be when it's at home in its slippers), I don't know. Our schools are now every bit as segregated as they ever were in the last century, and the mechanism by which this works is economic. Grade schools operate in and for local neighborhoods; neighborhoods are divided by housing costs; schools are apportioned unequal resources.

Maybe we need different kinds of zoning laws.

[ 08. December 2014, 13:20: Message edited by: Porridge ]

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Barnabas62
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Adding that I've been pretty shocked by some of those comments myself. Also that racism does not exist only in majority communities. I learned from MLK that content of character trumps colour of skin.

I am sure it would cost, and it might provoke a state backlash, but is there any mileage in the concept of providing properly trained federal employees for special prosecutor or investigator tasks concerning possible police misconduct?

We've had questions in the UK about the wisdom of police investigating themselves. Even when done fairly, the question of 'seen to be fair' still remains.

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Gwai
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I talked yesterday with our deacon about this stuff. He is a man who does a lot of work on the ground in an area that is about 1/3 each Latino, white, and African-American. He noted that he has seen a lot of good police work and has seen some abuse too. He says that whenever he sees police harassing people for being black, using inappropriate violence, or treating people like everyone from one racial group is the same, they are always the plain clothes cops who come from outside the community. They don't know the people they are working with, so they don't have the tools to do the job right. He made them sound as if they are coming in with only a hammer and trying to deal with screws. They see the leader of a major gang that is fighting rivals for territory by his church, and they see a baggy-pantsed boy from the local high school, and they don't know which is which. Our local cops do, and they care which is which too.

So maybe part of the problem is the method of broken windows policing that has been in vogue in this country for too long.

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Mere Nick
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Mere Nick:
quote:
Originally posted by Rossweisse:
It is different for blacks and whites. It is especially different for young black men.

Yes, it is. While more whites than blacks are killed by police, it is disproportionate. I'd suspect folks at the lowest end of the totem pole, regardless of color, are shot by an even more disproportionate rate.
Across the board, at every economic level, black people are treated worse by law enforcement.
I'm sure that is great comfort to white folks who get killed by cops.

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Mere Nick
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
Apparently, the way it is supposed to work is that the officer(s) screams multiple orders at the citizen, and if the citizen does not immediately and silently submit, deadly force is authorized. Have I got that right? Anyone else think this is reasonable?

That's about the way it works, yes.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Mere Nick:
]I'm sure that is great comfort to white folks who get killed by cops.

Seriously?!
Has anybody said white people cannot suffer at the hands of the police? No.
What I have said is that being white is an advantage and makes you less of a target.
What I have said is simply being a minority, especially black, makes one a target of suspicion.
What I have said is being a minority will up the odds of being treated poorly during an encounter with the police.
This is true, IME, in all or most of the countries here represented.
What is added by the even more highly dysfunctional US police forces, is the greater possibility of becoming dead.
White people are wrongly killed by the police as well, yes. But at a lesser rate. That is kinda what this thread is about.

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Mere Nick
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

White people are wrongly killed by the police as well, yes. But at a lesser rate. That is kinda what this thread is about.

It seems to me that it is really about the cops being able to do whatever they want to to whoever they want to and this, especially Garner being killed for selling individual cigarettes, is a discussion about a relatively recent examples. It isn't unusual to see stores here selling individual cigarettes so I don't get the beef they had with him since he wasn't violating another person's rights doing that.

[ 08. December 2014, 15:37: Message edited by: Mere Nick ]

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lilBuddha
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And that, Mere Nick, is one reason White people need to change.
Minorities have lived with the reality that the police can treat them poorly since there have been police. White people have not, generally, needed the same fear.
As for this thread, my impression is that race is the more referenced factor.
Regardless, if you are saying that police treatment is equal across racial lines, I am saying you are wrong.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Gwai:

So maybe part of the problem is the method of broken windows policing that has been in vogue in this country for too long.

I read some comment on this the other day, with which I think I agree.

The problem isn't with the idea of "broken windows" specifically - the problem is that nobody is fixing the windows, we're just arresting anyone standing nearby.

quote:
Originally posted by Mere Nick:
It isn't unusual to see stores here selling individual cigarettes so I don't get the beef they had with him since he wasn't violating another person's rights doing that.

Depending on how charitable you feel, you could describe their "beef" as anything from tax evasion to unlicensed trading to cluttering up the public streets by being poor and black. I'm finding it difficult to feel much charity towards the NYPD at the moment.
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Mere Nick
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
And that, Mere Nick, is one reason White people need to change.

Bullshit. If a couple of cops take a notion to kick your ass today, your ass is going to get kicked and there really isn't much you can do about it.

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Porridge
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On the Diane Rehm show this a.m. (NPR), one of her guests (sorry, don't know who it was, just got a segment while driving in the car)stated that young black males were shot by police in the US at 22 times the rate of young white males.
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Mere Nick
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quote:
Originally posted by Porridge:
On the Diane Rehm show this a.m. (NPR), one of her guests (sorry, don't know who it was, just got a segment while driving in the car)stated that young black males were shot by police in the US at 22 times the rate of young white males.

I got my info from within this article that shows more whites than blacks being killed by cops in raw numbers. However, due to %s of population, blacks are more likely than whites to be killed by cops. 22 times appears to be far higher than the numbers would actually support.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Mere Nick:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
And that, Mere Nick, is one reason White people need to change.

Bullshit. If a couple of cops take a notion to kick your ass today, your ass is going to get kicked and there really isn't much you can do about it.
How does this reply in any way address what I said?

BTW, the link you posted, whilst it does reduce the percentage mentioned by Porridge, says what I have been saying: Black people are significantly more at risk than white people. 3 times the rate for death. I would wager significantly more for arrest and know it is higher for rates of incarceration and length of sentence.
This is a white people problem in that white people are in the majority numerically and disproportionately so in positions of power.

Yes, it is a problem everyone needs to address, but I can attest that the rest have been trying for a considerable time.
Until we address injustice as a whole society, there is no justice.

[ 08. December 2014, 17:54: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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Ikkyu
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Any similarity with some arguments in this thread may be just a coincidence.

Tom Tomorrow

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Porridge
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I freely admit that arithmetic may not be my strong suit, but using the figures from Nick's article based on the current US population of ~316 million yields a death-by-cop rate of roughly 1/10 of one percent for whites, and 3/10 of one percent for blacks.
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Byron
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Byron--

As I said a little upthread, Garner *repeatedly* said, "I'm not resisting, I'm not resisting". That may be edited out of some cuts of the recording, but it's there. I googled "garner i'm not resisting" to make sure I hadn't misheard.

D'you have a link to that version? Here's a transcript & recording of the edited video.

If Garner said, "I'm not resisting" before he struggled and said "don't touch me," his changed his mind; if he said it after the chokehold, I've already said I believe that was unjustified, and should've been subject to a manslaughter indictment.
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
[...] Making grand jury processes more open, or abandoning them in favour of adversarial preliminary hearings before a trial judge, might go some way towards fixing these concerns; at least it would shine a light on what had influenced the decisons made, by either grand jury or trial judge.

What are the arguments against either course? I'm no expert in the US constitution or its legal system. These ideas come to me through a more general understanding of the need to have fair legal systems.

Some have been outlined upthread (secrecy aids witness protection and helps prosecutors build their case), but I agree that, if the grand jury returns no true bill, transcripts should be released in most cases (in some, evidence of witness intimidation would be grounds to refuse).

Instead of yet more adversarialism, the common law could do to reintroduce more inquisitional elements. Adversarial trials are only a few hundred years old: before that, both sides were unrepresented and judges did most of the talking. Trial juries should be encouraged to ask questions of witnesses, and judges encouraged to be proactive, and cross-examine witnesses in search of the truth.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Byron:
the common law could do to reintroduce more inquisitional elements.

Are you out of your mind? Have you ever sat in a court and watched the inquisitorial system at work? I have, and in every case I've watched, the presiding magistrate basically doubles as an extra prosecutor. When he's not actually asleep.

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Byron
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Inquisitional *elements*: I'm not suggesting that trial judges become a juge d'instruction (who don't preside over trials, but conduct preliminary hearings in private, much like a grand jury, so I'm not sure how you've seen one in action).

Without it, prosecution and defense compete to spin the facts to their advantage, and can confuse and mislead perfectly competent jurors. As it happens, in most common law jurisdictions, trial judges do have the power to ask questions, but they rarely use it.

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quote:
Originally posted by Porridge:
I freely admit that arithmetic may not be my strong suit, but using the figures from Nick's article based on the current US population of ~316 million yields a death-by-cop rate of roughly 1/10 of one percent for whites, and 3/10 of one percent for blacks.

Another calculation which agrees with your results, but avoids estimating the current US population:

code:
Want BlKillRate compared to WhKillRate:


From figures in the article:

WhKillRate = 2151/WhPop

BlKillRate = 1130/BlPop

WhPop = .63 * TotPop

BlPop = .12 * TotPop


So calculating gives us:

WhPop / BlPop = .63/.12

BlKillRate / WhKillRate = (1130/BlPop) / (2151/WhPop)
= (1130/2151) * (WhPop/BlPop)
= .525 * 5.25
= 2.76

So, according to figures in the article, police kill black people at a rate about 3 times higher than they kill white people.

I would want to see sources for where the 22x figure cited earlier comes from and where the figures in the article leading to the 2.76x figure come from, to see what's being counted differently to come up with figures that are different by an order of magnitude.

[ 08. December 2014, 21:23: Message edited by: Autenrieth Road ]

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Autenrieth Road

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quote:
Originally posted by Porridge:
On the Diane Rehm show this a.m. (NPR), one of her guests (sorry, don't know who it was, just got a segment while driving in the car)stated that young black males were shot by police in the US at 22 times the rate of young white males.

Ah, checking what Porridge said: the 22x figure is for young males being shot. Whereas I suspect the article's 3x figure is for people of any age and sex being shot.

[ETA: and is the 22x figure for shot and killed, or shot (including survivors)? The article was for killed. I'm not saying the 22x figure isn't shocking.]

[ 08. December 2014, 21:29: Message edited by: Autenrieth Road ]

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Truth

Posts: 9559 | From: starlight | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged



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