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Utah Nurse Accosted By Police Settles Claims

Alex Wabbel, the Utah nurse who became famous in September after police body cam footage captured her being accosted by a police officer who was wrongfully demanding that she allow him to draw blood from a patient involved in an auto accident, has settled her claims with Salt Lake City and the hospital:

A Utah nurse who was forcefully detained by a police officer in July settled with the University of Utah and Salt Lake City on Tuesday for a total of $500,000.

The rough arrest of the nurse, who had refused the officer’s request to draw a sedated patient’s blood as part of a police investigation, was captured on body camera video and viewed widely online.

The tense incident led officials at the hospital — run by University of Utah Health — to bar police officers from patient-care areas; the police officer involved, Detective Jeff L. Payne, was eventually fired from his job with the police department and from a part-time job he held as a paramedic.

No charges were filed against the nurse, Alex Wubbels, who said at a news conference on Tuesday that she was “grateful” for the outcome of what she called an “emotional situation.”

“This landed in my lap; this is not something I sought out,” Ms. Wubbels said, noting that she returned to work about two weeks after the incident. “I’m incredibly humbled at the change that has already happened.”

A lawyer for Ms. Wubbels, Karra Porter, declined to explain why she and her client had agreed to settle for $500,000, specifically, or say whether they had sought more money.

“There will be no legal lawsuit,” Ms. Porter said at the news conference. “This part of this is over.”

A spokesman for the Salt Lake City mayor’s office did not reply to an email seeking comment late Wednesday. But the spokesman, Matthew Rojas, told The Deseret News that the city and the university had agreed to split the cost of the settlement and pay $250,000 each.

A spokeswoman for University of Utah Health, Suzanne Winchester, said in a brief telephone interview that she also believed the costs of the settlement had been split “50-50.”

“We continue to support Alex Wubbels who is an outstanding nurse and we commend her for putting her patient first,” she said in a statement. “This incident has prompted us to modify procedures and retrain staff regarding how law enforcement agencies interface with the university’s health care system. Our hope is that the implementation of these new procedures will ensure a situation like this doesn’t happen again.”

The patient involved, William Gray, died two months after the confrontation between the officer and the nurse. He had not been suspected of wrongdoing; a driver fleeing the police had crashed into Mr. Gray’s truck, severely injuring Mr. Gray and killing himself.

Wubbels said at the press conference on Tuesday that she would donate part of the settlement to a program that is being established to help fund more widespread availability of body cameras for police in Utah and around the country. Certainly, her case is yet another example of the value of body cameras in being able to provide definitive evidence in what otherwise would have been a he said/she said situation. Without it, the story likely wouldn’t have been anything other than a local story in Utah at best. On the other hand, it does tend to disprove the argument that body cameras would cause police officers to act differently. In this case, the officer’s outrageous behavior came even though he knew he was being recorded.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Pearce says:

    Certainly, her case is yet another example of the value of body cameras in being able to provide definitive evidence in what otherwise would have been a he said/she said situation.

    This goes both ways, though. In this case, it exposed an officer’s wrong-doing.

    In most cases, though, I think it will support law enforcement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. Franklin says:

    I’m not immediately seeing why the hospital was sued. Was it because their security staff didn’t protect Wubbels from the police?

    Anyway, she still sounds like an awesome person.

    (BTW, Doug, you misspelled her last name in the first sentence.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Franklin says:

    @James Pearce: Agreed, and most should view that as a good thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Some people.

    They just don’t understand ” RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH !!! “, eh?

    So, the cop has to pay it right? No?

    Wait… what? Her EMPLOYER has to pay 50%? WTF??? From what I saw and heard (via video), the management that she reached out to stood behind her decision and said the right thing to do.

    If we want to stop police abuse, it won’t be by taking a knee.

    It will be placing some of the burden of responsibility (and I mean direct cost) on that lawful representative of the local community.

    Until then, there is no penalty. (… except for taxpayers that had no involvement in the event)

    Am I wrong? Let’s see, the officers involved were put on “paid leave” (Because of course they were… Since everyone is innocent until proven guilty, right??? no need to take THEM away in handcuffs.)

    https://news.hjnews.com/logan_hj/nd-utah-police-officer-on-paid-leave-over-nurse-arrest/article_dca0ccbd-d714-5ef0-be31-faa37bfbe7f4.html

    And, since the case is settled, then no harm, no foul. The officers are not “guilty” of anything.

    AND EVEN IF THEY ARE TERMINATED…. most police officers find a sympathetic ear and HR person in a nearby community that puts them right back to work.

    http://www.denverpost.com/2017/08/06/fired-police-officers-return-to-force-misconduct-shootings/

    http://crosscut.com/2016/04/fired-officers-can-become-hired-officers/

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/11/us/whereabouts-of-cast-out-police-officers-other-cities-often-hire-them.html

    I am SO LUCKY that the fates had me born a white male in the USA I don’t deserve to be that lucky in the life lottery, but it is what it is.. With my history, I’d be a dead man if my naturally produced melanin were higher.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  5. James Pearce says:

    @Franklin:

    Agreed, and most should view that as a good thing.

    Most will. But I think some proponents of body cameras will be disappointed when the footage doesn’t support the conspiracy theories they’ve made such a big part of their ideology.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  6. Paul L. says:

    Surprised there is no Confidentiality clause/NDA in the settlement.

    Now the Civil Servant Labor Board/Arbitrator can quietly reverse the Chief’s actions against Det. Payne and Lt Tracy.

    In the future expect Police to fight against the release of Body Cam footage even when they believe that they did nothing wrong in them like in this case..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  7. Bill says:

    @Franklin:

    Was it because their security staff didn’t protect Wubbels from the police?

    One U of Utah policeman placed a hand on Wubbels (Watch Payne’s bodycam footage) to help Payne arrest her while another U of U police opened the exit door for Payne. The U of U police weren’t doing their jobs but assisting the work of Detective Payne.

    As of a month or more ago, Wubbels still hadn’t gone back to her job. Do you really want to work with people who will do nothing when a policeman or anyone else kidnaps you? I said it in the comments section of the original OTB post about this matter. Payne and Tracy were trying to bully the nurse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. James Pearce says:

    @Paul L.:

    In the future expect Police to fight against the release of Body Cam footage even when they believe that they did nothing wrong in them like in this case..

    Why would they fight to release footage that exonerates them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. Franklin says:

    @Bill: OK, thanks. Not sure that’s worth 50% of the damages, but it was certainly abetting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:

    In most cases, though, I think it will support law enforcement.

    Buhwahahahahahahaha

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Bill says:

    A few things probably not well known around OTB concerning this matter

    1 The incident happened in late July but Payne and Tracy weren’t suspended till the video was released. Wubbels and or U of Utah filed a complaint the day after Wubbels arrest.

    2 The accident didn’t happen in SLC so why was Payne trying to get blood? Logan Utah authorities, the jurisdiction that the accident happened in, claim to have told Payne that they could get blood results on their own.

    Many people believe was an effort to deflect blame onto Gray for the accident which was a police chase.

    3 The charge against Wubbels is a misdemeanor (obstructing a police investigation_ and it is SLC police policy not to make arrests in most such cases.

    4 I have said this was bullying as a history of it. It could be sexual harassment. Payne has a history of it.

    http://www.sltrib.com/news/2017/09/16/slcpd-detective-who-arrested-nurse-had-been-disciplined-for-alleged-sexual-harassment-and-other-violations-records-show/

    5 Payne never filed a report of his handcuffing of Wubbels even though it is a requirement of SLC police. Bodycam footage even has Payne saying he didn’t want to file a report.

    5 I’m white and male but been subject to police harassment when I tried to wave down an officer because I had car problems. It happens to WM too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  12. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:

    doesn’t support the conspiracy theories they’ve made such a big part of their ideology.

    Pot…meet kettle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Pot…meet kettle.

    If you think cops from all over the country are involved in a racist conspiracy to murder and maim black people, then you believe in a conspiracy theory. Own it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  14. Paul L. says:

    @James Pearce:

    See Mike Brown/Darrel Wilson because no video because no video means the Police story is the final word.

    Police always believe their actions are reasonable and justified.

    Video or audio footage does not capture the physical struggle from the officer’s perspective, nor does it capture the officer’s’ reasonable, split-second decision-making and thought processes in tense circumstances.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:

    If you think cops from all over the country are involved in a racist conspiracy to murder and maim black people, then you believe in a conspiracy theory. Own it.

    Did I say conspiracy? But you cannot deny the facts. Cops murder and maim black people. They profile them. It’s clearly racist. Is it a conspiracy? Doubt it. Just widespread and institutional racism.

    According to the most recent census data, there are nearly 160 million more white people in America than there are black people. White people make up roughly 62 percent of the U.S. population but only about 49 percent of those who are killed by police officers. African Americans, however, account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by the police despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population. As The Post noted in a new analysis, that means black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:

    Pot…meet kettle.

    That referred to your blind support of your Dear Leader…child-king of conspiracy theories…and poster child of the Kruger-Dunning effect.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. James Pearce says:

    @Paul L.:

    Police always believe their actions are reasonable and justified.

    And sometimes –it’s crazy, I know– they’re right.

    If you’re not prepared for body cam footage to exonerate cops, then I’m not sure you’ve thought it all the way through.

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Is it a conspiracy? Doubt it. Just widespread and institutional racism.

    So not only is it a conspiracy, it’s a really, really big one….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  18. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    That referred to your blind support of your Dear Leader

    Also, I voted for Hillary, the liberal “Lost Cause.”

    In 2020, I’ll probably vote for whoever the Dems put up against Trump, hoping that the next 3 years is enough time to cure them of their incomprehensible stupidity. So consider me an early supporter of the Harris-Castro ticket if you want.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Monala says:

    @James Pearce: Don’t be ignorant. A conspiracy is a conscious, deliberate plan to cause harm. Personal racism operates below the level of conscious plans, on the level of feelings and beliefs, and institutional racism operates above the level of conscious plans, in long-standing policies and practices However, both influence actions. If cops are taught to treat even the slightest event as a possible threat (policies and practices), and society as a whole communicates that black people are the biggest threat (feelings and beliefs) then cops don’t need a conspiracy (a conscious, deliberate plan) to be more likely to use force with black people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  20. Bill says:

    @Franklin:

    OK, thanks. Not sure that’s worth 50% of the damages, but it was certainly abetting.

    You’re missing the fact that one fatso bozo of a law enforcement officer U of U police opened the door for Payne who was the only SLC on scene at the time. If that police had instead placed himself in front of the button to open the door, no arrest would have been the likely outcome. Some passive resistance would have worked wonders but what do you expect from a police wannabe with a IQ about 1/5th his total weight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. James Pearce says:

    @Monala: Damn, that was good. Nuanced and intricate, historically accurate, and from what I can tell, mostly right, depending on the place, of course. (That is to say, it’s more applicable to the LAPD than, say, the Albuquerque PD.)

    I dare not even attempt a lampoon.

    That said, I’m right that body camera footage will exonerate more cops than it condemns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  22. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce: @James Pearce:

    That said, I’m right that body camera footage will exonerate more cops than it condemns.

    That would be a Good Thing.

    Why do you think that this is somehow relevant to the cases where it doesnt?

    Justice is not a statistical thing. If 57% of cops are doing a great job, and 43% are dangerous racist bastards, is that OK? What is your personal threshold for the fraction of cops that are actively targeting blacks that you don’t have a problem with? If only 15% of cops are likely to shoot first and get the facts later (if the citizen involved is black), are you OK with that? Are you also OK with there being no legal consequences for cops who kill black kids who posed no threat to them?

    I would be DELIGHTED if the body cam evidence shows that you’re right, that most cops were perfectly justified in what they did. i would also be delighted if the body cam evidence sends the other ones to jail, which it currently does not even in the most clear-cut of cases. Would you be OK with that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce: Laquan McDonald would probably disagree with you, if he could.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. James Pearce says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Why do you think that this is somehow relevant to the cases where it doesnt?

    There is this idea out there that police departments across the country, from Alabama to Montana, are staffed by racists who single out black people to abuse and murder, as if Darren Wilson saw Michael Brown walking down the street and went “There’s one…get ‘im!” and shot him dead. The idea further says that no one knows about it because the police cover it up and if we can just film every encounter, we can expose the hidden truth.

    Film every encounter. I encourage it. Just know that it’s going to expose the “hidden truth” to be, well, kind of a lie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  25. Paul L. says:

    @James Pearce:
    I am prepared for body cam footage to exonerate cops. But you overestimate how often that will occur.
    I believe that SLC police believed that the body cam footage would exonerate the actions of the cops in this case.
    Public outcry proved them wrong.
    But it is awful in NYC more complaints of Police Misconduct are substantiated by video evidence.

    According to the CCRB’s semiannual report, released Tuesday, 45% of excessive force video evidence allegations made to the agency were substantiated with video evidence in the first six months of the year.

    In all of 2014, only 34% of excessive force complaints were proven with video evidence, the report notes.

    As NYPBA President Patrick Lynch said “The act of recording police starts from the belief that every officer is doing something wrong and that’s insulting to all police officers.””

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce:

    Definition of conspiracy: 1 :the act of conspiring together

    2 a :an agreement among conspirators

    b :a group of conspirators

    Now you are just being willfully stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. James Pearce says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Laquan McDonald would probably disagree with you, if he could.

    I’m sure there are others, too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. James Pearce says:

    @Paul L.:

    But you overestimate how often that will occur.

    It will occur MOST of the time. Firstly, cops are not out just flat out murdering people. Second, they get a lot of leeway when they make mistakes. Call it “hard job privilege.” Third, a lot of this footage is going to show people committing crimes and then getting shot by police.

    This is how you get people, who are only rational in spurts, to agree that shooting people is a decent response to crime. It’s not how you reduce shootings.

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Now you are just being willfully stupid.

    I have a keyboard to access the dictionary too:

    lam·poon
    lamˈpo͞on/
    verb
    verb: lampoon; 3rd person present: lampoons; past tense: lampooned; past participle: lampooned; gerund or present participle: lampooning

    1.
    publicly criticize (someone or something) by using ridicule, irony, or sarcasm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  29. george says:

    @Bill:

    5 I’m white and male but been subject to police harassment when I tried to wave down an officer because I had car problems. It happens to WM too.

    I think most of us realize that – cops with power trips are common even in homogeneous societies, and for the last few thousand years.

    The question we keep asking is why so many white people support cops who harass them? Whites get harassed and killed by cops too (almost a thousand a year in America), but seem not only to be willing to lie down and take it, but to take exception to anyone who points out how much killing is going on (even when its pointed out how many of the deaths are their fellow whites). Why?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  30. James Pearce says:

    @george:

    I think most of us realize that

    I don’t think so. My conversations on this topic have led me to believe that the most common beliefs are that A) white people don’t get shot because they’re privileged or B) they get shot at a lower rate because they’re privileged.

    Every time I mention white people getting killed, I am put on blast. They will not hear it. They do not care.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  31. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    There is this idea out there that police departments across the country, from Alabama to Montana, are staffed by racists who single out black people to abuse and murder

    No, there isn’t. You’re making stuff up.

    The actual idea out there, the one that you are fighting so hard to misunderstand, is that police departments across the country, from Florida to Alaska, include a subset of officers who TREAT BLACK PEOPLE DIFFERENTLY, up to and including sometimes killing them for what turns out to be no good reason. And that these police officers are not held accountable for this behavior, even when the facts are clear that there was no good reason.

    I’m sure that you will find a way to turn this claim about a ubiquitous and pervasive statistical propensity into a claim that all cops are murderers and that no white people are ever victimized. You’ve done it before, and God knows you are consistent.

    Every time I mention white people getting killed, I am put on blast.

    So vary your game — occasionally mention that men get raped too. It’s the same kind of mistake, but at least you’ll be offending a whole new segment of the thinking population.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. george says:

    @James Pearce:

    I assume you’re talking to white folks? Among the first nations (Indians to you) everyone knows that many cops are out there on power trips, and that many cops are happy to take absolutely anybody down just for the fun of it. And the blacks I know say the same thing – lots of cops hate everyone who isn’t a cop.

    We just wonder why so many white folks don’t realize it – why so many think every time a white guy gets killed by a cop its because he deserved it. Seriously, if white folks would get on board on this it’d be much easier to reform police killings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  33. James Pearce says:

    @DrDaveT:

    police departments across the country, from Florida to Alaska, include a subset of officers who TREAT BLACK PEOPLE DIFFERENTLY

    So, in other words, the police departments of America are indeed “staffed by racists who single out black people to abuse and murder” then?

    a ubiquitous and pervasive statistical propensity

    Look at the stats, Dave. Actually look at them. This “propensity” is neither ubiquitous nor pervasive.

    3 states are responsible the bulk of kililngs: CA (159), FL (54), and TX (59). What do you notice there? First is that CA is killing a LOT of people, mostly Hispanics. Second is that these are high population states with multiple metropolitan areas, two-team states, as they say.

    Let’s look at some other states, shall we? MS. A lot of black people living there, right? 11 shootings, roughly 7% of California’s death toll. 4 of them – 4 of the 11 – were black people.

    Let’s look at a white state. Montana police have killed zero black people, and thank god because if they killed even one, their “per capita” number is going to sky rocket, lighting up the frontal lobes of every liberal who ever wanted to argue “proportionality.”

    Face it, the problem isn’t “ubiquitous” nor is it “pervasive,” and it’s not all that tied up in race either. Some states kill almost no one and when they do it’s a white dude with a weapon. Other states kill someone every couple of days, again, a white dude with a weapon this day, a black dude with a weapon that day, a Hispanic dude with a weapon the next, then another white dude…and so on..

    The idea that police have any special interest in maiming and murdering black people –outside isolated freak cases– is just not true.

    @george:

    why so many think every time a white guy gets killed by a cop its because he deserved it.

    It’s cuz they don’t care, not really. It’s more important to be seen caring than to actually care. You know, gotta get the Starbucks and drive that eco-friendly car to the white collar job with the ergonomic desk and the free donuts in the breakroom. Netflix ain’t gonna pay for itself.

    The other day a dude (white, of course) shot up a Walmart in my hometown (Thornton, CO) and he got away. They arrested him the next day, but he walks into a Walmart, kills three people, and disappears into the night. This whole town was like, WTF? Why didn’t you shoot him?

    They don’t care.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  34. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    Face it, the problem isn’t “ubiquitous” nor is it “pervasive,” and it’s not all that tied up in race either.

    So, I’ll ask you straight up again, since you didn’t answer the question the last two times:

    You are claiming that if Tamir Rice and his sister had been white, that the police would still have hopped out of their car with guns drawn and shot him without first calling for him to drop his weapon? That they would still have assaulted his sister (who was what, 10 years old?) while watching Tamir bleed to death, without calling for medical assistance or rendering aid?

    Your raw numbers are pointless; you have to compare behavior in like cases. In the cases where the victims turn out to have been unarmed, or juveniles, or running away, or some combination of those factors, the victims are very disproportionately black.

    So, in other words, the police departments of America are indeed “staffed by racists […]

    Depends on what you mean by “staffed by”. Are all cops racist? Nope. There’s a very cool study of speeding tickets recently that finds that about 30% of the cops in the areas studied do not treat blacks differently at all, while the remaining 70% show a wide range of levels of discrimination. (In this case, the discrimination is whether they round down to 1 mph below the speed where the fine notches up or not.) The high end of discrimination is pretty extreme; the low end is pretty mild (but still discrimination).

    You could look this stuff up; people have been studying it for a long time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:
    We’ve gone through the statistics, both national and state level, with you before. Every single time you cherry pick a couple of states that don’t have an easy to pick out race based profile for police killings.

    Let’s look at some other states, shall we? MS. A lot of black people living there, right? 11 shootings, roughly 7% of California’s death toll. 4 of them – 4 of the 11 – were black people.

    Mississippi has right about 7% of the population of CA*, so what is your point here?
    MS by itself over one year doesn’t have enough police killings to do any meaningful analysis.
    Everyone who has studied this over time and over the nation as a whole has come to one simple conclusion, African Americans, particularly young male African Americans, are considerably more likely to be killed by a police officer than white Americans are. This has been controlled for poverty and other demographic factors. Every single time this is pointed out to you, often with links to studies and statistics you hold to some cherry picked data or to raw numbers rather than statistics that take population sizes into account. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Are you incapable of internalizing anything that runs counter to your vision of race in America or is this deliberate?

    * 7.5% as of 2010. It’s probably lower now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  36. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    That said, I’m right that body camera footage will exonerate more cops than it condemns.

    Probably. What I can’t figure out is why you think that’s important.

    Body cams on everyone would reveal that most people are pretty law abiding, except for speeding. By your argument, that means crime isn’t a problem. At all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  37. george says:

    @Grewgills:

    Everyone who has studied this over time and over the nation as a whole has come to one simple conclusion, African Americans, particularly young male African Americans, are considerably more likely to be killed by a police officer than white Americans are.

    And young male Indians are even more likely to be killed by a police officer than young male blacks. But to get to the solution (getting the rate of killings by cop down to say the level in England or Canada) we’re going to have to get everyone on board. Pointing out that say German police killed 8 people in a year where American police killed about 1000 people (500 of them white) is part of that. Take out the racist kills, and adjust for population, and you get German police killing 24 whites against American police killing 500 whites. Why doesn’t that get even white attention? Even a racist should be able to look at that and think: hm, our cops are killing 20 times the number of whites as German cops – maybe we have a police violence problem?

    Police killing civilians just because they can has been around since at least Roman times – it happens in completely homogeneous countries. And its been handled much better in most of the western world than in America.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. James Pearce says:

    @DrDaveT:

    You are claiming that if Tamir Rice and his sister had been white, that the police would still have hopped out of their car with guns drawn and shot him without first calling for him to drop his weapon?

    Yes, if the police had reports that a white kid was pulling a gun on people, they would have rolled up just as hyped as they would be for the black kid. I know you don’t want to believe that, but it’s true.

    Your raw numbers are pointless; you have to compare behavior in like cases.

    You want me to ignore the data and focus on outlier sensationalized anecdotes? Sorry, Dave, I can’t do that.

    @Grewgills:

    Mississippi has right about 7% of the population of CA*, so what is your point here?

    I thought my point was clear. Racist cops killing and maiming black people are not ubiquitous nor pervasive in American law enforcement. Two white people are killed or maimed for every person of color, so RIP your “white privilege” arguments and “hands up! don’t shoot” slogans.

    Are you incapable of internalizing anything that runs counter to your vision of race in America or is this deliberate?

    See, that’s the thing. I was, at one time, where you and Dave and everyone else on the left is at. I thought black people were getting killed on an order of magnitude. I thought white people were getting special treatment, that institutional racism had a really long tail and its effects were still being felt today.

    Then I looked at the numbers. Expecting to find an epidemic of unarmed black men being killed, I saw instead a bunch of dead armed white dudes.

    Expecting the Jim Crow south to be a den of police murder and racism, I found instead that it was basically an oasis of safety for black people and it’s left-coast California that is killing people every 3 days.

    The scales, as they say, fell from my eyes.

    @george:

    Why doesn’t that get even white attention?

    White conservatives think getting killed by the cops is the risk one takes for engaging in criminal (or deviant) behavior.

    White liberals are so invested in their “we represent minorities” spiel that they don’t give a shit about white people getting killed by cops. And their concern about minorities getting shot expresses itself in superficial, unhelpful ways (ie, protest demonstrations) that makes the problem even more difficult to address.

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  39. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    Two white people are killed or maimed for every person of color, so RIP your “white privilege” arguments and “hands up! don’t shoot” slogans.

    As of the last census whites made up 73.6% of the population and blacks made up 12.6% of the population. Assuming your numbers are correct for their to be parity in police killing and maiming of black folk and white folk nearly 6x as many white folk as black folk would need to be killed or maimed. See how your raw numbers fail to take into account population sizes and thus completely distort the argument you are trying to make? You are not being honest.

    Expecting the Jim Crow south to be a den of police murder and racism, I found instead that it was basically an oasis of safety for black people and it’s left-coast California that is killing people every 3 days.

    Again, you retreat to raw numbers and ignore relative population sizes. You compare the absolute rate of police killings in CA vs MS ignoring that CA has a population of over 39 million people, while MS has a population of under 3 million. That is not an honest comparison.
    Do you know what statistics are and why people use them?
    That question is only part snark, because you seem completely unable to internalize why it isn’t honest to compare raw numbers of incidence in widely disparately sized populations.

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  40. george says:

    @Grewgills:

    That question is only part snark, because you seem completely unable to internalize why it isn’t honest to compare raw numbers of incidence in widely disparately sized populations.

    Well, to be fair, when comparing sample sizes of 40 million compared to 3 million, you can expect a difference in error bars, but even n=3*10^6 gives a pretty good confidence level. Though you really need standard deviations mentioned in both cases.

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  41. george says:

    @James Pearce:

    White conservatives think getting killed by the cops is the risk one takes for engaging in criminal (or deviant) behavior.

    I find it amusing that conservatives, who claim to be people who don’t trust the gov’t, suddenly trust the gov’t when it comes to killing people. I wonder that they never notice how hypocritical it is to not trust the gov’t in little things like regulating various financial deals, but to completely trust the gov’t when it comes to putting people to death.

    Small gov’t conservative is close to an oxymoron.

    And of course, Liberals trust the gov’t in things like regulation, but distrust it in things like killing. I’d say that’s slightly better, because they’re less trusting in big things, but its still hard to see how you can trust a gov’t to regulate properly if you don’t trust them to police properly.

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  42. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    That is not an honest comparison.

    Don’t give me this guff about “relative population sizes” and “dishonesty” when you’re not even trying to understand my point. I was comparing CA (with 2.29 million black people) with MS (with 1.074 million black people) and noticing that CA (7% black) killed 20 black people and MS (37% black) killed 4.

    So, yes, the Jim Crow south is an oasis of safety when compared to left-coast California. And you’re telling me this stuff can be explained by “white privilege” and “racism?”

    @george:

    I find it amusing that conservatives, who claim to be people who don’t trust the gov’t, suddenly trust the gov’t when it comes to killing people.

    Yeah, me too. I was once against the death penalty for this very reason. I didn’t trust em. Still don’t, but I’m okay with certain folks being condemned.

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  43. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    Yes, if the police had reports that a white kid was pulling a gun on people, they would have rolled up just as hyped as they would be for the black kid.

    Which is why we see unarmed white kids shot without warning by cops even more often, right? And then allowed to bleed to death while their little sisters are tackled and restrained.

    Oh wait — we don’t. Even though there are so many more whites than blacks. Why is that, do you think?

    My point above (that you completely misunderstood, perhaps deliberately) is that if you want to understand whether there is discrimination, and how bad it is, you have to control for all of the confounding factors in a police engagement with the general population. Factors like “was the suspect armed?” and “was it day or night?” and “what kind of neighborhood was it?” and “who shot first?” and “were threats uttered?” and so forth. Otherwise, you end up saying that shooting a heavily-armed white hostage-taker who had threatened to blow up his house is the same as shooting an unarmed black pre-teen with a toy gun, then letting him bleed to death.

    It will probably surprise you to know that a branch of statistics called ‘econometrics’ is designed to deal with precisely those kinds of confounding effects, including the fact that the people likely to be engaged in police actions are not randomly chosen from the population. We don’t have to pretend that either raw counts or raw averages are informative; we can do better.

    …But I can hear you saying “La la la” with your fingers in your ears at this point. I get it — you want to believe that racism is over, and people talking about racism are the problem. I can sympathize — that would be wonderful, and much easier to fix than reality.

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  44. James Pearce says:

    @DrDaveT:

    It will probably surprise you to know that a branch of statistics called ‘econometrics’

    If you have a problem with the data from my link or how it’s presented, you should take it up with the Washington Post. The conclusions are my own.

    I get it — you want to believe that racism is over, and people talking about racism are the problem.

    But you don’t get it, Dave. Racism is NOT over, and I’m not arguing that it is.

    I’m arguing that it’s not what’s driving police shootings.

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  45. george says:

    @James Pearce:

    But you don’t get it, Dave. Racism is NOT over, and I’m not arguing that it is.

    I’m arguing that it’s not what’s driving police shootings.

    Certainly neither of those two statements should be controversial.

    Racism is clearly not over.

    And American police killing white folks at 20+ times the rate that any other NATO country’s police kill their citizens just as clearly shows that while police in America prefer shooting Indians and blacks, they’re happy to shoot whites as well.

    Racism definitely worsens the killing; American police kill colored people 60+ times the rate that other NATO countries police kill their citizens. But the underlying problem is there even without racism – a rate of 20+ times for killing whites is huge, its 7 times the difference of rate between police killing blacks and police killing whites in America.

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  46. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    I’m arguing that it’s not what’s driving police shootings.

    Then where are the dead white children? It’s a simple question.

    I’ll repeat a point from a previous thread — why do you think there can be only one problem at a time? As @george correctly points out, we obviously have a huge police-on-public violence problem. And just as clearly, that problem manifests itself highly disproportionately against blacks, especially when the victims are unarmed or underage. Why is that not clear evidence two distinct problems with a pernicious interaction?

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  47. Lit3Bolt says:

    @James Pearce:

    Shorter James Pearce:

    “I believe that liberals “use” black people and minorities by “pretending” to stand up for their rights, but race plays zero factor in police shootings. Also, no one talks about white people shootings.”

    If people are shouting you down James, it’s because you’re using bullshit arguments and lines of attack. There’s a glimmer of some good points in your bullshit, though. Do some research and read some books and get back to us.

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  48. James Pearce says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Then where are the dead white children?

    Being counted in the “raw numbers” y’all want me to ignore.

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  49. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    Being counted in the “raw numbers”

    Um, prove it? Send me a link or a reference or some other evidence that an unarmed white pre-teen was actually deliberately shot by police in the line of duty. If it’s as common as you say, that shouldn’t be hard.

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  50. James Pearce says:

    @DrDaveT: Google Jeremy Mardis and prepare to be outraged.

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  51. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    Google Jeremy Mardis and prepare to be outraged.

    Seriously? I think you didn’t understand the question.

    I know all about Jeremy Mardis. Nobody was shooting at Jeremy Mardis; they were shooting at Christopher Few, an adult. Mardis was collateral damage…

    …AND THE COPS WERE CONVICTED. Unlike, say, any case in which the victim was black. You’re making my point for me, James.

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  52. James Pearce says:

    @DrDaveT:

    You’re making my point for me, James.

    So your point is that trigger-happy hyped-up cops kill people, regardless of race, on a daily basis?

    I thought your point was that white kids need not fear being shot by police, that race is the big driver here.

    And frankly, it’s kind of funny that you seem to be mad that these cops were convicted. Like that’s some kind of injustice. The cops that murdered Jeremy Mardis were convicted and the cop who shot Michael Brown was not. Do you thirst for justice or recrimination?

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