Category Archives: Law Enforcement

Black Lives Matter & the War on Cops

The war on cops is about as legitimate as the war on Christmas. If there were such a war, there is no question whom is winning.

Oscar GrantRoughly one thousand people are killed by police every year in America (there’s currently no federal database). In contrast, about 100 cops (unfortunately) die on the job each year. Of those hundred unfortunate deaths, the majority are result of vehicle collisions – not targeted killings.

riotgearblackguyIt is far more dangerous to be a garbage man, or a roofer, a trucker, or basically anyone who deals with heavy machinery, than it is to be a cop in America. We live in literally the safest time to have a career in law enforcement in US history – yet 58% of us believe there is a war being waged against them.ferguson12

mlkarrestTo most of us: Cops killing scores of unarmed black people + black people protesting = war on cops.

Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore_4Ted_Cruz_(7004284762)

James Comey
James Comey

Self-described wacko bird Ted Cruz has accused Black Lives Matter of celebrating the murder of cops. Potential fascist-in-chief Donald Trump has condoned the beating of BLM protesters at his rallies (his campaign compared the first incident to Trump supporters interrupting a black church service).

FBI Director James Comey has blamed BLM protesters for frightening law enforcement so thoroughly that they are incapable of doing their jobs, resulting in a (non-existent) spike in inner-city violent crime – dubbed the Ferguson Effect. This is a thinly-veiled threat of violence against the populace. If cops aren’t allowed to violate the civil rights of citizens without criticism, let alone consequence – then they will do all they can to unleash anarchy. Nice little city you have there… Pasty bureaucrats & AM howlers have labeled BLM a domestic terrorist group.

We live in a country where the mere suggestion that perhaps black lives matter as well somehow requires not only a rebuttal, in all lives matter, but an outright counter-movement in blue lives matter.

George_WallaceKKKDuluth-lynching-postcardWe are a terribly racist people. It’s historically been our default. Sure, we don’t keep blacks as pets anymore, as they are equal citizens in theory. But all we’ve really done is introduce subtlety into our racist practices. We don’t lock our blacks in chains anymore. We keep them locked away in cages. We don’t have slave patrols or lynch mobs anymore; we have hung-juries, justifiable homicide-by-cop, and an ever-expanding interpretation of the castle doctrine. It is no longer in good taste to use the n-word in public. So we instead call them thugs and we speak of urban culture. We’ve replaced literacy tests & poll-taxes with Voter ID laws, felon disenfranchisement, and shuttering & shortening hours of voter precincts. (Forty percent of black males in Virginia, and 25% in FLA, cannot vote.)

Landscape Occupy_Chicago_protestors_(23)The city of Chicago has a multi-million dollar restitution fund for the years of physical torture levied against young black males in the city. Not during the 1960’s – this century. Chicago police still use a literal black site to disappear suspects, specifically (unofficially, of course) used to violate the civil rights of its citizens. The Homan Square site has been used for torture (including anal assault), and is generally used to keep suspects from having a lawyer present during questioning, or from making phone calls.

Rahm_Emanuel_news_conferencesAnita_Alvarez_2008Police reports show that Laquan  McDonald stabbed the tire of a police cruiser, and lunged at officers with a knife. He never stabbed the tire. He was shot twice while standing, and fourteen more times on the pavement. His murder by Chicago police was covered up by the entire corrupt system.  From the terrified & poorly trained Jason Van Dyke, who murdered Laquan in cold blood. To the other eight cops on the scene who not only remained silent, but went back and erased video  evidence from a nearby Burger King. To internal review, the police union, the chief of police – all the way up to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and State Attorney Anita Alvarez. Officer Van Dyke was allowed to keep his tax-payer-funded job (on desk duty) for 13 months. Alvarez finally filed charges, hours before dash cam evidence was released. Unwillingly of course, it took thirteen months, repeated judicial orders, and numerous FOIA requests.

ferguson21Mike Brown punched an officer seated in his cruiser, was shot, and ran. We were led to believe that he suddenly morphed into super negro, and decided to charge the officer after fleeing over 150 ft. The prosecutor blatantly threw the case, forcing the grand jury to let Darren Wilson walk.

justiceTwelve-year old Tamir Rice was murdered in cold blood by Cleveland police. He had a toy gun in an open-carry state. They claimed he refused repeated commands to drop the gun. Video evidence shows was shot within two seconds of officers arriving. His sister was handcuffed, and thrown into the back of the cruiser as he died. A year later, still no charges.

Eric Garner was choked to death on video. His crime was breaking up a fight, and being known for selling un-taxed loosies. Officers escalated and escalated, until he was choked him to death as he pleaded for air. The only person charged has been the guy who captured the video.

8230656_f1024John Crawford was killed for having a toy gun slung over his back while talking on his cell phone to his mother in an (again, open-carry) Ohio Walmart. Cops say he was pointing the gun at customers, and refused commands to drop the weapon. They interrogated his girlfriend, and attempted to get her to say that he brought the gun with them to the store. Video once again proved they were lying. Once again, no consequences.

Time after time we are assured in contemporaneous reports that officers were justified because of this or that. We are assured that they will investigate themselves, that we must simply be patient. Then it’s the silent treatment. Ongoing investigation.

ferguson13If people are upset, the media go about demonizing the deceased, who can no longer defend themselves. They must have smoked weed that one time. We found a picture where he looked scary. He was wearing a hoodie. She should have followed directions better. Or faster. Why did he do this? Why did he say that?

Why is he dead! Why is he dead?

SWATMounting video evidence supports the claim that we do not simply have a few bad-apples with a callous indifference to life. It is, in fact,the bunch.

It is true that a relatively small percentage of officers are responsible for the majority of complaints. However, those bad-apples are rarely, if ever, charged.  They rarely even lose their jobs! Even then, they usually are allowed to resign and find a job in another precinct (like the priests). Internal investigators are considered snitches. Good cops in bad neighborhoods are weeded out – harassed & left without backup until they (if their lucky) find work in a nice white neighborhood where they don’t have to worry about moral decisions on the job.

swatposingIt’s the culture. The thin blue line. It’s the system. The entire system. Thanks to the SCOTUS, cops are legally justified in using lethal force so long as they claim within reason that they got scared. When local judges who are elected are confronted with police brutality cases, they can’t afford to have police unions in opposition for holding their members accountable. Same goes for prosecutors, who have symbiotic relationships with the cops, who are often star-witnesses & evidence gatherers. When all of the stars align, and a particularly blatant case finally does make it to trial, overwhelmingly-white juries simply take the word of cops as bond and rarely find them guilty.
Landscape

Bill Bratton
Bill Bratton

Blacks are far more likely to be stopped & searched by the cops. Being comparatively random, searches of blacks are far less likely to turn up contraband. When drugs are found, blacks are far more likely to be charged than whites. Blacks are given stiffer charges for the same offenses. They are more likely to be found guilty at trial. They are given harsher sentences when found guilty of the same crimes. They serve longer time in prison, even when receiving the same sentences. They are more likely to receive a death sentence.

Many states won’t let felons vote, or let them qualify for a Pell Grant, or live with someone receiving food stamps (SNAP) or living in public housing. We make them check a box on applications so they can’t even get an interview. We assign exorbitant fees for post-release supervision. We make them feel like second class citizens, and make it as tough as possible to make money legally. We push them right back into jail.

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UNDATED: This undated photo provided by the U.S. Court of Appeals shows Judge John G. Roberts. President George W. Bush nominated Roberts on July 19, 2005 to fill the vacancy that will be created by Justice Sandra Day O'Conner when she retires from the U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo by R. Strauss/Smithsonian via Getty Images)
UNDATED: This undated photo provided by the U.S. Court of Appeals shows Judge John G. Roberts. President George W. Bush nominated Roberts on July 19, 2005 to fill the vacancy that will be created by Justice Sandra Day O’Conner when she retires from the U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo by R. Strauss/Smithsonian via Getty Images)

We have a supreme court which has said that racism is both a thing of the past, and has spread throughout the country. They’ve gutted the Voting Rights Act – crown jewel of Civil Rights Era legislation. In the process of eliminating race as a standard for Affirmative Action, Justice Scalia suggested that blacks don’t belong in good colleges because they learn slower.

Racism is like a liquid. It’s amorphic. It accumulates at the bottom. Worst of all, it makes up part of all of us. We are all bombarded with the same stereotypical portrayals of people of color (POC) by a melanin-deficient entertainment industry. We all see a similarly-pasty news media describe & depict black victims as drug/gang adjacent ne’er-do-wells; and white murders as troubled formerly –adorable adolescents, or head-cases who are in no way reflective at worst.

uncle samoccupy wake upWe all have implicit biases & in-group favoritism. In simulations where we shoot armed individuals, blacks are shot much quicker than whites, both when armed and unarmed. It takes longer for us to associate positive terms with black faces. Ebay auctions with items held by black hands receive lower bids. AirB&B requests by

black sounding names are more likely to be denied. Job applications with black sounding names get fewer responses. Beginning at the age of 11, black children are perceived as 4.5 years older, and assigned more culpability. occupy fuck apathy

Oprah_Winfrey_receives_2013_Presidential_Medal_of_FreedomBlack people are far more likely to be in unemployed or in jail. They are far less likely to be a politician, a CEO, a professor, or an engineer. They have far less wealth/lower incomes. They even live shorter lives.

Yet some of us look at all of this and say, What’s wrong with the blacks? We point to Oprah & Obama, and ask why they don’t all simply lift themselves by their bootstraps. We blame the culture. We blame the fathers. We blame the music. We blame them for drugs. We blame their work ethic (ever since they stopped working for free).

We blame black-on-black crime. Why isn’t Jessie Jackson in Chicago!?! As though every ethnic group (aside from Native Americans) aren’t victimized by their own. As though we have a problem with Tyrone getting the benefit of doubt all along the way, and eventually going free, after admittedly killing someone.

Andy_Griffith_Don_Knotts_1960In rich white neighborhoods, the police provide customer service. They’re a bunch of Andy Griffiths, and that is how rich white folks view the cops. Stands to reason. They aren’t likely to be harassed for trivial actions such as grilling meat or catching a bus. Their kids aren’t harassed for looking suspicious. When white kids in nice neighborhoods are caught doing something wrong – well, that could be a judge’s kid, or the mayor’s nephew. Roughing them up, or even holding them accountable for their actions, could be a big mistake. White kids in small towns – well their uncle could be the local pastor, or on the town council.

If rich white people know any blacks, they are likely to also be wealthy, and thus more likely to share their conservative views of those people. Poor, rural white people  want to hold onto the antiquated notion that everything right with America is sepia toned. We want to hold believe that we are superior to someone, anyone. We go to great lengths to deny racism, to deny white privilege. We take it as an attack- an attack on our personal accomplishments, an attack on our ability to sense the world around us. We see a zero-sum game. The ascendance of anyone else toward realized equality must inherently require a decline of whites. The decline of America. We can’t let it happen. We want our country back.  ferguson rioters

In recent polling, seventy-eight percent of voters chose all lives matter, to eleven prevent identifying with black lives matter.

Wigger_bling
What we fail to recognize, is that all lives do not face the same threats that black lives are forced to endure in America. Specifically, when dealing with interactions with the police, blacks are far more likely to die than whites.

Do we think black people have simply been lying all of this time? They’ve all been brain-washed by Al Sharpton?

Consider how we treat protest & civil rights movements the same manner in which we did in the 1960’s. We still monitor their communications. We still infiltrate them undercover agents (both for intel, and to incite riots during protests). We still rough-up & arrest peaceful protesters for inhabiting public spaces. We still call them agitators. We still blame anyone movement-adjacent for a handful of vandals, footage of whom is played on a loop in the media.

The current situation is untenable.

Moral Mondays
Moral Mondays
Captain Johnson
Captain Johnson

Respect is something which our police forces require. Trustworthiness is something we must require of them. We give them a gun, and with it the ultimate authority to end a person’s life. Those responsibilities must be taken seriously. The police literally work for us. They must be trained to protect the lives of civilians at all cost, not protect their own hind-quarters at all cost. They need to be trained to deal with sometimes difficult mentally ill people. They need to jettison the view of disrespect as the ultimate crime.

They need to stop killing us. This is not normal. This is not acceptable.

Cops must no longer be used to wage a racially charged war on drugs, ensnaring black and brown people into a system which is difficult to escape.

Loretta_LynchbedsdnotjailsLaw enforcement must have proper civilian oversight, not simply internal investigators. We need to incorporate more cooperation with community watch programs – not simply more money for more cops – in urban communities. The majority of cops should be required to live where they work. They should see the same community they serve at the grocery  store, in church on Sunday, and at the football game on Friday night. They should have both dash & lapel cams, which they should not be allowed to simply & unilaterally disable  on a whim (same goes for the audio).

TAG_Garner_Protest_03Black_Lives_Matter_Black_Friday_(15305650544)

Troy Davisferguson7Officers are trained in deescalation roughly 5% of the time that they are trained on firearms & defensive maneuvers. They use simulators in which citizens jump from cars immediately shooting. They are trained that anyone within 21 feet is a danger.

They apparently need to be trained not to shoot people in the back, shoot people who are hand-cuffed, people who are in the fetal position, people with their hands in the air, people who are naked and obviously unarmed, people with butter knives, et cetera.

Unfortunately, poorly-trained cops are given military equipment & quotas and unleashed upon the community, who are seen as potential threats, as the enemy, and cops the occupying force.
There is no war on cops. There is a demand for better trained cops, and for accountability to the people. For justice.

Capital Punishment – Why Everyone is Wrong

7/6/14            Follow @jelleesnacks
Salem-witchesMy tax dollars are used in all sorts ways with which I disagree, one of the more egregious is state-sanctioned, premeditated murder of fellow US citizens as a form of discipline.
While the civilized world has largely shrugged off such barbaric tendencies, and while more and more private companies refuse to sell us their pharmaceuticals if used to incite death – the US remains stuck in the Middle Ages when it comes to murder as punishment.

Perhaps in a perfect world we would enact perfect laws, perfectly charged & perfectly prosecuted, perfectly defended & perfectly adjudicated before perfectly reasonable jurors, with perfectly impartial application to perfectly sinister criminals, in an effort to perfectly dissuade perfectly logical otherwise-criminals in a perfectly logical world.

Instead, we hide quasi-professionals behind closed-doors and away from prying eyes, to murder our fellow citizens in a disturbing effort to satiate our blood-lust for revenge. We support and defend a barbaric policy which not only wrongly murders innocent people, but does so in an extremely racist manner. Perhaps some (only some) of this could conceivably be overlooked, if in fact capital punishment could be shown to be an effective form of dissuasion. If.

There are plenty of people among us who may very well deserve to die for the despicable things that they’ve done – but how many of us deserve to kill?  Even if the vast majority of people sentenced to death may seem unworthy of sympathy, how many collateral innocents is it okay for us to murder in the pursuit of exterminating the bad people?

And the idea which makes the least bit of sense is the idea that we can teach people not to kill people – by killing people! Do not as I do, but as I say...

Ah yes, reason.

Christian Conservatives

“…He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” -John 8:7
Judge not, that you not be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will also be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” -Matthew 7:1-3
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” -Matthew 6:15
Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 7:12

“If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.” –Luke 6:29
And He said, “Woe to you also, you lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.” -Luke 11:46
But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice…” -Matthew 9:13
“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.” -Matthew 15:8,9

Fiscal Conservatives

The cost of prosecuting a capital punishment case versus a ‘life’ case is a difference of $90,000 per inmate, per year of incarceration.

Another way to think about this – US life expectancy is 78 years*, if a defendant is 18, then it costs $90k x 60 years = $5,400,000 more to kill a fellow US citizen than to keep them alive and in prison.

(*US average. Men live shorter lives than women, black men live shorter lives than white, and I would venture to guess that folks in prison have shorter overall life expectancies – but you get the point.)

Libertarians

And if you want to talk hypocrisy, those small-government folks take the cake. They want a government so small that it murders it’s own citizens. On purpose. Libertarians cannot be pro-capital punishment.

Establishment Democrats

To those spineless abhorrents who think they have to balance their beliefs that women can control their own bodies, and that equality means for gay people, too – by being tough on crime.

It doesn’t work. If you learn one thing from Obama, it’s that they don’t like you. Doesn’t matter how tough you are on crime, how hawkish you are with Iran, how much you talk national security and counter-terrorism, how much you thump your bible or clutch your rifle – they don’t like you.

They won’t cooperate. They think effective government hurts their brand, they will not play nice, even when they agree on policy. Divided gov’t is broken gov’t, you have to win control. You win moderates by being more reasonable and making better (populist) arguments. By showing the contrast, not by going juuuust to the left of your opponent.

Liberal Progressives

Make no mistake (and it’s certainly no mistake) – the justice system is anything but.

Private prisons use their profits to (legally) bribe politicians who pass laws that keep those private prisons profitable, by filling them with non-violent drug offenders and guaranteeing a minimum number of beds-filled (or else the tax-payers reimburse the private prison).

Blacks are more likely to be (aggressively) charged for crimes with (racist) mandatory-minimums. While using/manufacturing/selling drugs at roughly the same rates, blacks are far more likely to be convicted for drug crimes. Blacks and Latinos consist the vast majority of death row inmates while consisting of less than half the population. As with the bible verses, I could go onElizabeth_Warren_Nov_2_2012

When we murder someone (yes murder, it’s premeditated), we can’t take that back. We have tens of thousands of DNA tests waiting to be done, and innocent people are rotting in prison for it. A recent study showed that 1 in 25 death row inmates were innocent! That is collateral damage that none of us should be comfortable with.

Once in prison, we throw people in solitary for decades at a time, or leave them in a prison gang and rape culture that only makes matters worse. What happened to rehabilitation? Isn’t that why we called them penitentiaries in the first place?

Medical Professionals

Hippocratic oath. First, do no harm. Luckily, every major medical association refuses to allow members to participate in a state-sanctioned murder. Unfortunately, this means that barely-trained volunteers are tasked with carrying out the premeditated killing. (Hence the mishap in Missouri a while back, where they went straight through the vein and as result the drugs were absorbed into the muscle tissue rather than into the blood stream and thus their intended destination.)

Kudos medical professionals. Huzzah. And boo to those vile volunteer cads carrying out the evil deed.

Pharmaceutical Companies

Profits. Pharmaceutical companies are (at least 50%) publicly traded, which means that fiduciary responsibility to share-holders takes precedent. In this particular case, we have a positive side effect to an injurious disease.

When you sell pharmaceuticals, it is very bad marketing if your company is associated with death. More specifically, you don’t want your brand of anesthetic known for killing people. Too easy.

Compounding companies on the other hand?

The States

Red states are turning to compounding pharmacies for single-use batches with exactly zero FDA oversight/approval and no assurance of ‘cruel and unusual’ compliance.

The SCOTUS has approved lethal injection under the 8th Amendment only under specific conditions, including the specific drugs to be used and specific injection-sites on the body.

We are now passing laws in states that not only hide the identities of the folks performing the executions, and laws hiding the producers of the drugs, but laws even hiding which drugs are being used to murder our people – clearly at odds with SCOTUS.

We also have states (FL) trying to expedite the process so innocent death-row inmates have minimal for appeal.

If we’re going to make such a fuss over how we kill people, if we are going to eschew the 8th Amendment…

Old Sparky

‘Murica

Pay-per-view. Weekly.

We could do it in four weekly installments. The initial sentencing phase would handle people convicted of crimes carrying possible life-sentences. Produce short videos on the cases; was the crime especially gory, is anyone involved pretty? We bet on the sentences. Tons of gambling revenue for the state. Put it on C-SPAN and rake in ad revenue.

Week two, we broadcast the sentencing. Judges would rise to Simon Cowell-levels of fame. Judge Judys handing out death sentences. Gold! Networks would pay a pretty penny to carry the show. Sure, sentencing guidelines would be thrown into chaos – but we’re talking about criminals here, am I right?

In phase three, those sentenced to death step up and spin – the Wheel of Death! Guillotine? Lions? Firing squad? Disemboweling? Crucifixion? Burning at the stake? Drowning? The chair? Not only would it be ratings gold, this allows for all the more wagering!

And of course, the main show. Pay-per-view. How much would people pay to watch an execution compared to a fight or a concert? Just think of all of the tax-breaks we could give to billionaires!