Chicago Cop Charged With First-Degree Murder In 2014 Death Of 17 Year-Old African-American Male

A Chicago Police Officer has been charged with murder in the death of a 17 year old African-American male that, from the evidence that has been released, seems completely unjustifiable.

Laquan McDonald Protest

A Chicago Police Officer has been charged with the first-degree murder of a 17 year old African American man in a case that lays many of the issues have been raised over police behavior in the wake of last year’s Ferguson protests out in the open:

CHICAGO — A white Chicago police officer was charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday in the death of a 17-year-old black man, just hours before city officials appealed for calm as they released a chilling video of the officer shooting the teenager as he lay crumpled on the ground.

The grainy, nighttime dashcam video, which a judge ordered released last week, shows the young man running and then walking past officers in the middle of the street and spinning when he is suddenly struck down by bullets. For a moment, lying on the ground, he moves but then is still after he appears to be shot several more times. An officer kicks an object away from his body. The video shows none of the officers on the scene offering assistance to the teenager, Laquan McDonald.

Standing with community leaders before releasing the video, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Garry McCarthy, the Chicago Police superintendent, said they expected demonstrations in response to the graphic nature of the video, and urged people to avoid violence. “It’s fine to be passionate, but it is essential that it remain peaceful,” Mr. Emanuel said.

The criminal charge against the officer, Jason Van Dyke, 37, who has been with the police department here for 14 years, was the first time in decades that a Chicago police officer had been charged with murder in an on-duty shooting. The city had previously fought to keep the video private, citing an ongoing investigation into the incident.

The charge against Officer Van Dyke and the release of the video came just over a year after Mr. McDonald was shot 16 times, even after he had stepped slightly away from the officer, prosecutors said. Witnesses said Mr. McDonald, who was carrying a three-inch folding knife, never spoke to Officer Van Dyke or any of the other officers and did not make threatening moves toward him. None of at least seven other police officers on the scene fired their weapons.

The N.A.A.C.P., on Twitter, called it “unacceptable” that it took over a year for the video of the shooting to be released.

The family of Mr. McDonald, which had opposed the video’s release, also issued a statement through their lawyers calling for calm. “No one understands the anger more than us, but if you choose to speak out, we urge you to be peaceful,” the family said. “Don’t resort to violence in Laquan’s name. Let his legacy be better than that.”

In announcing the murder charge, Anita Alvarez, the Cook County state’s attorney, acknowledged that she had pushed to charge the officer before the video became public. “I made a decision to come forward first because I felt like, with the release of this video, that it’s really important for public safety that the citizens of Chicago know that this officer is being held accountable for his actions,” Ms. Alvarez said.

Since late last year, the shooting has been investigated by a team that included the F.B.I., the United States attorney’s office in Chicago and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. But Ms. Alvarez said she decided to proceed with charges on her own when the videotape was ordered released. Federal charges are still possible, legal experts said, and federal authorities said their investigation was continuing.

Ms. Alvarez, a two-term Democrat who is seeking re-election in March, defended herself against suggestions that the investigation had taken too long, saying that such investigations into police shootings often take more than a year. And she rejected claims that she had buckled to political pressure by filing the charges before the video came out, saying she had reached a conclusion several weeks ago that charges were warranted.

Hours before the video’s release, a judge, Donald Panarese Jr., ordered Officer Van Dyke held without bail, indicating that he wanted to see the video before revisiting the question of bond at a hearing on Monday. Officer Van Dyke faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted.

Dan Herbert, a lawyer for Officer Van Dyke, has said that the officer believed the shooting was justified because he feared for his safety and that of other officers. Mr. Herbert said his client “absolutely” intended to go to trial. Dressed in a beige sweater and jeans, Mr. Van Dyke said little during the brief hearing.

The charges and the release of the video came amid a national debate over race, police shootings and a growing number of violent encounters with the police captured on video. Chicago’s police force has its own sometimes painful history, which by some estimates includes more than $500 million in settlements and other costs over the last decade tied to police misconduct as well as reparations for black residents who said a group of officers abused and tortured them in the 1970s and ’80s.

In April, the city agreed to pay $5 million to the McDonald family, even before a suit had formally been filed in the case.

Before getting to the video, the mere description of what happened would seem to make clear that the police officer involved was not acting properly:

On the evening of Oct. 20, 2014, police officers approached Mr. McDonald on the city’s Southwest Side, prosecutors said, after a resident reported seeing him breaking into trucks and stealing radios and was holding him until the police arrived. Mr. McDonald, who had the folding knife in his hand, walked away as police officers arrived. Someone called for a police unit with a taser, though it was not clear whether anyone with such a weapon ever appeared. At one point, Mr. McDonald “popped” the tire on a police car, apparently with his knife, the prosecutors said.

With more officers arriving on the scene, Mr. McDonald kept walking and jogging along, not responding to orders to drop the knife, prosecutors said. Near a Burger King along a busy stretch of Pulaski Road, Officer Van Dyke’s marked Chevy Tahoe pulled up alongside other police vehicles, including one containing a dashboard camera. Officer Van Dyke was on the scene for fewer than 30 seconds, prosecutors said, before he began shooting his service weapon, which had a 16-round capacity. The shooting spanned 14 or 15 seconds, and in about 13 of those seconds, prosecutors say, Mr. McDonald was lying on the ground. He was hit 16 times, including in his backside. An autopsy showed the presence of the drug PCP in his system.

Now that you’ve read the description, watch the video:

Perhaps even more significant, although perhaps not surprising, is the allegation that the Chicago Police Department destroyed video of the incident that had been captured by a surveillance camera at a local Burger King franchise:

Not unsurprisingly, the City of Chicago is on the edge tonight notwithstanding the fact that Officer Van Dyke has been charged with murder and is being held without bail. To a not insignificant degree, the tension tonight, which has been building for months, is due to the fact that Chicago Police and City officials chose to withhold the video from public release for more than a year after the incident. Now that the video that has been released and we can see that not only did Officer Van Dyke discharge his weapon sixteen times within less than am minute, but that he did so within less than two minutes after rolling up on the scene and when McDonald was clearly walking away from officers and was not acting in any manner that could conceivable be considered a threat to either the officers on scene or any member of the public makes what happened here seem even more outrageous.

Based on the evidence that has come out, it does appear that McDonald was impaired and under the influence of some kind of drug, most probably PCP, at the time all of this happened. He also did have in his possession a “weapon,” although it is impossible to really use that word when one is talking about a very short collapsible knife that wasn’t pointed at anyone, and certainly could not have threatened anyone at the time McDonald was shot. Even taking all of that into account, though, it is pretty much next to impossible to justify what unfolds on this video, regardless of whether or not what happened ends up being considered a criminal act when Van Dyke is brought to trial. In more ways than one, this incident seems to highlight everything that the people who have been protesting about police violence, and police targeting of African-Americans, since the Michael Ferguson incident last August. Indeed, if anything justifies the entire ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, which has not been without its own controversial moments, it is this video and the manner in which the authorities in Chicago apparently sought to suppress it.

With regard to the release of the video and the way that the underlying case was handled, there have already been those who have suggested that the fact that the early months of the investigation coincided with a contentious Mayoral re-election campaign in which Rahm Emanuel faced a serious challenge from Jesus “Chey” Garcia which ended in a runoff election in February where Emanuel easily disposed of Garcia. Whether releasing the video would have changed the outcome of the election is, of course, something that we cannot know, but given the fact that this video seems to fairly clearly establish that this was an unjustified use of force, the fact that this video was withheld for more than four hundred days and that Officer Van Dyke was only formally charged days after a Judge ruled that the video must be released this week stands as a stark indictment of both Chicago’s Police Department and its political leadership. This is even more emphatically established by the fact that, in similar cases from around the country in recent years, most notably the Walter Scott case in South Carolina and even the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore, the relevant available video was released within a relatively short time after the incident occurred.

As with everyone else charged with a crime, Officer Van Dyke is entitled to the presumption of innocence before trial, and to all of the protections of the Bill of Rights and other applicable law. What’s unfortunate, of course, is that he apparently didn’t consider the fact that Laquan McDonald was entitled to those rights too, and why incidents like this keep happening.

Update: Curtis Black at The Chicago Reporter on “How Chicago Tried To Cover Up A Police Execution.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, Race and Politics, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Gustopher says:

    As with everyone else charged with a crime, Officer Van Dyke is entitled to the presumption of innocence before trial, and to all of the protections of the Bill of Rights and other applicable law.

    I’m not going to watch the video, because I just don’t need to see a man get killed, but my presumption of innocence is far more of a presumption of “I question whether the prosecutors can or will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed a crime”. Especially since the police department has apparently destroy some evidence (the Burger King tapes).

    I hope he goes to jail, but I suspect I may have to settle for his career being ruined.

    I would much, much rather his superiors go to jail than him though. I don’t think he is the heart of the problem, just a symptom. He might even present evidence that he didn’t have appropriate training, and that he was ultimately another victim in this.




    0



    0
  2. Hal_10000 says:

    I feel like I just watched an execution.




    0



    0
  3. @Hal_10000:

    As with the Walter Scott case, you basically did




    0



    0
  4. humanoid.panda says:

    Also of note: yesterday, 5 BLM protesters were shot by what amounts to a terrorist cell- a shooting that totally went under the media’s radar.
    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/11/emails-reveal-racists-plotted-confrontation-with-black-lives-matters-activists-days-before-shooting/

    Also note that “the beta male cucks” language these people were using- its all over the internet, among communities of people excited by mainstreaming of open racism by Trump.




    0



    0
  5. Gustopher says:

    @humanoid.panda: “beta male cucks” is, I believe, more of an MRA thing than a racist thing (with cuck being short for cuckold) — they are usually upset that women “control access to sex”, etc., and go ranting about Social Justice Warriors, complaining about expectations of affirmative consent, and generally being incredibly creepy (and then wondering why women won’t date them).

    I am not surprised that those go hand in hand with white supremacists (and here the phrase was “beta white cucks”).

    Unctuous, horrible people. It’s well worth learning a bit of their language and arguments, so you know to prune your friend tree when you start hearing it from friends of friends.




    0



    0
  6. Ron Beasley says:

    It would appear that Van Dyke was at least temporarily a psychopath. He jumped out of his car and without really knowing what the situation was started firing. He eventually had to be restrained by his fellow officers.
    We also have the problem that the original police report had little if any relationship to reality.




    0



    0
  7. anjin-san says:

    I wonder if Fox News will trot out “the race baiters are at it again”…




    0



    0
  8. humanoid.panda says:

    @Gustopher: That meme spread from the MRAs to racists months ago- because those “communities” are not at all far from each other..
    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/13/cuckservative-republicans-conservatives-jeb-bush




    0



    0
  9. Matt says:

    This stuff is par for the course for Chicago police. It was common knowledge when I visited friends who lived there that the police would beat you for no reason if you looked at them wrong. I could type out a couple pages of incidents where Chicago police officers were let free after committing crimes. The most prominent being the off duty officer that severely beat a small female bartender because she didn’t let him behind the bar.

    The whole thing is undeniably corrupt.




    0



    0
  10. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @anjin-san: We’re already there; the Raw Story link has a sidebar link to a story with the headline “Megan Kelly says it’s not ‘appropriate’ for black protesters to stare at white police officers.”




    0



    0
  11. Dave Schuler says:

    A key problem is that Chicago politicians suffer few consequences for their misdeeds. If Ritchey Daley didn’t know about the torture regime maintained by John Burge, it can only have been wilfull ignorance. Burge has been punished (not enough, but punished). The people of Chicago have been punished. What they could have done about it is unclear but they’ve been punished. Daley? Nope.

    Although like anyone else Van Dyke deserves the presumption of innocence he is being punished and may be convicted. The people of Chicago will undoubtedly be punished. The higher ups? The mayor? Nope.




    0



    0
  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Dave Schuler: Nobody in a position of responsibility is ever* prosecuted.

    *it does happen but is so rare as to be a zero for all intents and purposes.




    0



    0
  13. Mu says:

    The city of Chicago lost a lawsuit to the employee unions over unfunded pensions. They’re on the hook for $500,000,000 a year for the next 10 years or so, in addition to the deficit they’re already running. So the city is doing everything in their power to get the unions to agree to a deferment. Paying off the victim’s family in exchange for confidentiality was peanuts if you owe that much.
    And even now I’m wondering if this is a set-up again where they “forget” to file a “or lesser included charges” indictment, and the cop gets off because it really was only 2nd degree murder but the jury is not given that option.




    0



    0
  14. Stonetools says:

    So the Black Lives Mattter movement has a point , after all…
    My wife has made a couple of points:

    1. Absent the video, the officer probably wouldn’t have even been charged.
    2. Every one of the police officers involved in the cover up should be charged.
    3 . The oft repeated police insistence that they HAVE to shoot to kill, rather than shoot to wound, is
    Bull$&&t.( She is a former Marine sergeant and knows something about shooting).

    My belief is that as a matter of law, we need to change the laws that give the police the benefit of the doubt is using deadly force. They are clearly abusing the legal protections they have been given.




    0



    0
  15. J-Dub says:

    Thank god for the cop, or whoever it was on the inside, that provided the anonymous tip that led to the release of the video and the investigation. There needs to be an easier way for people on the inside to provide anonymous tips to a civilian review board (and one that has some teeth). Bad cops make it less safe on the streets for good cops and they need to be rooted out, fired, prosecuted, whatever it takes. Hopefully we are reaching a tipping point.




    0



    0
  16. Guarneri says:

    @anjin-san:

    I doubt it. You should save your invective and retain your credibility by looking at Rahm.




    0



    0
  17. Hal_10000 says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Which brings up the question that always seems to pop up in these cases: how the hell did this guy get hired? How the hell did he keep his job? We keep seeing this over-and-over again: cops who have no business having the job.

    There’s another video that’s going to drop at some point: the Jeremy Mardis dashcam. That may be the worst yet.




    0



    0
  18. anjin-san says:

    @Guarneri:

    invective

    Words mean things dude. You might want to re-read my quote, and then look this on up.

    Fox has a long history of this sort of thing. Pointing out their actual behavior is hardly abusive.




    0



    0
  19. Franklin says:

    @Stonetools: Agreed on all three, especially number two. No more cover-ups by your fellow thugs!




    0



    0
  20. James Pearce says:

    @Guarneri:

    You should save your invective and retain your credibility by looking at Rahm.

    Rahm is a snake, no doubt, but if the only thing you care about in this story is hoisting the mayor from a lamp post, you’re kind of missing the point.

    The most unsatisfactory conclusion to this situation is a few sacrifices to the gods of Public Opinion — the cop, the Mayor, whoever — and then right back to the “shoot first” status quo.




    0



    0
  21. Paul L. says:

    @Matt:

    I could type out a couple pages of incidents where Chicago police officers were let free after committing crimes. The most prominent being the off duty officer that severely beat a small female bartender because she didn’t let him behind the bar.

    On the plus side, Anthony Abbate embarrassed the Chicago PD so much they had to fire him.
    That and the bartender’s case proved in court the Chicago PD Blue wall of silence exists.

    So where were you Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy when your police officer murdered this man?

    “[Palin] was caribou hunting, and talking about the right to bear arms,” he said. “Why wasn’t she at the crime scene with me?”




    0



    0
  22. Mikey says:

    @Hal_10000:

    There’s another video that’s going to drop at some point: the Jeremy Mardis dashcam.

    I will go to my grave never having watched that one.




    0



    0
  23. Jack says:

    Obviously, since this is the first instance of a Chicago police officer being charged with murder, this is very uncharacteristic of the upstanding men in blue of the Chicago PD.

    Sarcasm Off.

    Because the leadership of the CPD are all apparently idiots, no one on scene was armed with a Taser. The use of force should be gradual, not go straight from yelling commands to executing citizens. Because there were no Tasers, one or two shots, I could maybe understand and even then it is a stretch. Firearms are not compliance tools, they are used to stop an articulable threat of grave bodily injury. This officer should get 10 years for every shot fired after the victim dropped to the ground.

    I agree with someone who said that officer immunity needs to be removed for all instances involving death to a citizen.




    0



    0
  24. cian says:

    What’s most upsetting is to see how the whole department closed ranks to defend someone who was unfit to be an officer (he had previous complaints against, one of which ended in court with an award to the victim). Again and again we see that it is not just one bad apple, but the institute itself that is rotten, it’s the barrel. Emanuel has disgraced himself. Describing what happened as the act of an individual shows he is not fit to represent the people of Chicago or anywhere.




    0



    0
  25. Jack says:

    For far too long, We The People have allowed officers pretty much Cart Blanche to not only enforce laws as they feel, but to also enforce their opinions (street justice) as they feel. To make this all the more offensive, the courts have stated (in all but a minority of cases) that the only way citizens can get justice against police brutality, civil rights violations, etc., is through civil liability after the fact. Due to immunity laws, civil liability rarely affects the actual officers who commit bad deeds, but simply increases the cost to taxpayers within said officers city.

    Police Unions have nullified any attempts to hold officers personally accountable.

    Unless and until We The People force officers to literally pay for their mistakes rather than collectively cover their civil liability claims, expect this behavior to continue unabated.




    0



    0
  26. Moderate Mom says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: You need to watch the video of this confrontation (because that’s what it was) between the protester and the police officer. The kid’s face was less than a foot away from the officers. This was not a case of staring from a distance. This was a case of all up in his face. Thank goodness the officer just stood there and nothing bad happened.

    As to the officer that shot and killed the young man. It wasn’t a shooting; it was an execution, as someone above said. He needs to go to prison for the rest of his life. And it is ridiculous that it took over a year for charges filed in this case. Someone was really dragging their feet and I suspect it was at the request of someone powerful.




    0



    0
  27. Jack says:

    @Jack:

    Unless and until We The People force officers to literally pay for their mistakes rather than collectively cover their civil liability claims, expect this behavior to continue unabated.

    I would like to add another alternative. Like doctors and dentists, police could be forced to carry liability insurance. Once an insurance company refuses to carry an officer due to the large amount of liability said officer has caused one or more insurance companies to pay out, that officer would have to turn in his or her badge and find a new form of employment.

    This would relieve taxpayers from having to cover the bad acts of their police force.




    0



    0
  28. DrDaveT says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    We also have the problem that the original police report had little if any relationship to reality.

    This is important.

    Don’t settle for letting them throw Van Dyke under the bus and claim they’ve removed the bad apple. This was a collective murder and coverup, not atypical. The CPD will continue to commit assault and murder (and cover them up) until the culture driving that behavior is expunged.

    Also, it’s not just a Chicago problem…




    0



    0
  29. Modulo Myself says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Here’s the immediate response by the police to those shootings:

    After the shots, everything was “very chaotic”, Omar said. Several people, including Sumaya Moallin and Oluchi Omeoga, ran back to the precinct to ask the police for help.

    Moallin said they needed a squad car and an ambulance. “He looked at me and he said: ‘Call 911,’” she told the Guardian. “I said: ‘I thought you were 911.’ Then he looked at me directly and said: ‘This is what you guys wanted.”

    Six [officers] were outside [the precinct building],” she continued. “They all just shuffled back into the door. They were not making eye contact … I pleaded a good amount of time.”

    Then the police arrived at the scene in force, in full riot gear. Bean was still tending to Martin’s brother’s stomach wound when they released mace into people’s faces, she told the Guardian. “I said, ‘I called the EMS, you don’t have to mace everyone’,” she said. “The officer said ‘f– you’ or ‘shut the f— up’ or something like that.”

    She said that attitude was representative of the behavior of other officers she interacted with after the attack. “The idea that you would mace a group of people that just had bullets fired at them – that’s the opposite of responsible.”




    0



    0
  30. DrDaveT says:

    @Jack:

    I would like to add another alternative. Like doctors and dentists, police could be forced to carry liability insurance.

    That might work if the problem was a few bad cops. It doesn’t help at all when the police department is systematically creating bad cops and rewarding their badness. If you get rid of bad cops one by one, they can always just make more.

    I am very much hoping that Officer Van Dyke’s defense is that he was following established procedure. Then we can go after the people who institutionalized that procedure…




    0



    0
  31. DrDaveT says:

    @Jack:

    The use of force should be gradual, not go straight from yelling commands to executing citizens.

    I can hear the hurt and confused reply from the cops already: “They weren’t citizens; they were black.”




    0



    0
  32. Gustopher says:

    Ms. Alvarez, a two-term Democrat who is seeking re-election in March, defended herself against suggestions that the investigation had taken too long, saying that such investigations into police shootings often take more than a year

    I guess that makes sense. First you want to try to out-wait the public interest, and then quietly bury everything, and that can take ages. There are officers to protect here, and that takes time. It’s hard to misplace a video from the nearby Burger King in a short timeframe — but if you wait long enough, people might forget it exists and not even question its absence.

    I would not be surprised if first degree murder is a deliberate over charging, to reduce the likelihood of conviction. And I would not be surprised if the prosecutors don’t do their best job.

    And this is why I think the cop who did the shooting is the least important person to prosecute. There’s a culture of corruption that allows the bad cops to act with impunity, and corrodes the souls of the good cops. The shooter is, at the very least, going to have his career ruined, but the rest of the cops on the scene will still be working the streets, ignoring the actions of other bad cops.




    0



    0
  33. Bill Lefrak says:

    Chicago. The epitome of leftism as public policy. Exhibit A in fact for what happens when liberal Democrats have total political control and for when leftism as policy firmly takes root.

    Rampant crime. Poverty. Blighted neighborhoods. Disastrous public schools. Third-world levels of illiteracy, youth unemployment, minority unemployment, dropouts, teen pregnancies, single mothers. Rampant drug abuse. Tense race relations. Corrupt officials. Corruption so widespread it’s simply become accepted as a cost of doing business and as a cost of the political process. Multi-generational underclasses of welfare recipients. Rotten infrastructures. A total breakdown of the family unit in racial minority communities. Rogue cops. Shootings galore. Murder. Rape.

    Chicago is a cesspool. So too are its sister left-wing Democrat cesspools of Detroit, Philly, Baltimore, Newark, St. Louis, Oakland and New Orleans.

    Obama apparently is quite proud of his adopted home city of Chicago. For the past six-plus years his administration has been exporting a whole lotta’ Chicago upon the rest of the country.

    Chicago voted 86-14 in ’08 to elect Obama. Then in ’12 Chicago doubled down on that catastrophic bet by again voting in lockstep 84-14 to reelect Obama. Like you’d see in a third-world dictatorship. Misery sure as hell loves company.

    In the final ghastly irony, which of course will be lost on liberal idiots everywhere, despite its leftism and machine Democrat-infused levels of poverty, crime, dropouts, murder, shootings, unemployment, drugs and blight, Chicago has small enclaves of extreme wealth and privilege. Chicago is one of the most gentrified cities in America. Right alongside its gentrified brethren of NYC, D.C., L.A., Boston and San Francisco. The future of America. The direct results of leftism as law and policy.




    0



    0
  34. humanoid.panda says:

    @Bill Lefrak: Imagine the mental anguish the Tsar felt for all this years, after his wounded ego drove him from the site after the 2012 elections! So many rants about the internet-media-cocktail-party cabal remained unwritten, so much beauty absent from the world.




    0



    0
  35. Modulo Myself says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    I read the first eight words of the screed and all I could think of was the sublimely funny ‘Chicago 1929’ title from beginning Some Like It Hot. I’ve seen that movie a dozen times and it always cracks me up.




    0



    0
  36. WR says:

    @Bill Lefrak: Shorter Bill: “I’ve never left my trailer park, and I’m far too terrified of the world to start now!”




    0



    0
  37. anjin-san says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    This was not a case of staring from a distance. This was a case of all up in his face

    So what?




    0



    0
  38. JohnMcC says:

    @humanoid.panda: Thank you for that. I was moved. HAHAHAHAHAH




    0



    0
  39. J-Dub says:

    @Jack:

    I would like to add another alternative. Like doctors and dentists, police could be forced to carry liability insurance

    This sounds like a good idea. It would put the decision making into the hands of a third party, the insurance company, who would base their decisions on pure math, not misplaced loyalty or emotion.




    0



    0
  40. Mu says:

    The real chutzpah in this case is that the cop was so confident he was untouchable he staid in town.




    0



    0
  41. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Moderate Mom: My problem is that, yes, we are all fortunate that nothing bad happened. However, had something bad happened, Megan (and I have to assume you because of your comment) would be Johnny on the spot with “the niCLANG had it comin’; hope that shows the rest of them.”

    Should people treat each other with more respect and dignity? Of course. Reasonable to expect the party who is 2300% more likely to get killed in an encounter with police to lead the way? As Fox News would say, decide for yourself.




    0



    0
  42. Jenos Idanian says:

    I’m no lawyer, but I think that one defense lawyer could make an argument that the first shot or two were justified.

    There’s no sound in the video, so without detailed analysis, it’s hard to tell when the first shots were fired. McDonald spins around before falling to the ground. It could be his reaction to the first shots, or it could be the sort of thing police call a “furtive gesture” and could have prompted the cop to pull the trigger.

    But emptying the gun? The video proves that McDonald was shot while down, and that is completely inexcusable. This cop needs to be sent away.

    What I’m really disappointed in is how no one has found a way to blame some conservative or Republican somewhere. The Democrats have been in control of Chicago for over 80 years, and the mayor was Obama’s right-hand man. On the other side are the public sector unions, who have managed to put the city into such a huge financial bind that they essentially own the city.

    I guess with all that, “insult Fox News” is simply the best you can do.

    Your mess, liberals. How do you plan to clean it up?




    0



    0
  43. Matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian: It’s been clearly stated that he spun around as a result of being shot. If you watch closely you can see at least two rounds hit him in the back before he even manages to spin around.

    You know that Burger King has announced that the police deleted their surveillance video right?




    0



    0
  44. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Matt: I didn’t say I believed the argument I presented, merely that that was the best excuse I could come up with. I thought I made it clear that I thought the cop was totally in the wrong, and deserves to go to jail. If I did not, then I do so now.

    There’s a part of me that enjoys being a contrarian and a devil’s advocate. In this case, it means trying to see any way to justify the cop’s actions. This serves the useful purpose of anticipating potential defenses.

    And yes, I am aware that the police are accused of deleting the video. Funny how those public-sector union members aren’t being prosecuted by the Democratic administration.

    (I’m also trying to not notice that Mr. McDonald’s death was recorded by a Burger King.)




    0



    0
  45. LaMont says:

    @Bill Lefrak:

    Congratulations Bill. You have written one of the dumbest comments I have ever read. Now I have read other comments arguing the same premise but your comment covinces me that you actually believe this to the core! Your ignorance is extraordinary! You don’t have the slightest clue why these urban communities are what they are. Never mind that these communities are the result of decades of white-flight, social inequality, the war on drugs, etc. No – you sir, as many others who actually believe this bullsh1t, somehow managed to equate all of these societal wrongs to Democrats! So simple (minded)!




    0



    0
  46. Matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I’m white as white can be and I’m more then aware of my privilege. Some of my friends though are very much not white and I can see the differences in how police and other authority figures interact with them.

    The biggest difference though was watching how the TSA or such reacted once they saw my girlfriend’s last name. Suddenly she was magically selected for extra screening… I’m sure it had nothing to do with her Muslim sounding Iranian last name. She was a non practicing Catholic where as the majority of her family were actively practicing.

    Since the Paris attack the local mosque and some of my friends have been receiving death/rape threats. So good times it’s like 9/11 all over again…..

    Hell even MR is back to his 9/11 set of mind.

    I gave you an upvote for the acknowledgement.




    0



    0
  47. Barry says:

    @Right-wing Liar: “the kid’s face was less than a foot away from the officers. This was not a case of staring from a distance. This was a case of all up in his face. Thank goodness the officer just stood there and nothing bad happened.”

    And if the kid had laid a hand on that officer, he’d have lost that hand. Even if he disabled that officer, the rest would have at the very least put him in the hospital, and then in prison.




    0



    0
  48. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    how the hell did this guy get hired? How the hell did he keep his job?

    I think that one of the unintended outcomes of this recent flurry of attention is going to be departments having an increasingly difficult time hiring – not only quality officers, but hiring at all, while they lose experienced officers who’ve just gotten fed up.

    The consensus that I’m hearing from many of my friends in the law enforcement community is that they love the job, or at least they used to, but in the current environment it’s just not worth the hassle when every encounter with the public results in a phalanx of cell phones recording it from every angle, encounters often being presented in a skewed manner to further someone else’s agenda, and being armchair quarterbacked to death by everyone with an axe to grind.

    I’ve heard from several of them about encounters where they’ve just chosen to back off and walk away from what would probably otherwise have been an arrest because members of the public were recording them. I’ve also heard anecdotally that the attitude from criminals they’re well acquainted with is that the new best way to avoid being arrested is to shout for bystanders to whip out their cameras.

    We’ve unintentionally created a situation where every call is potentially career ending and puts their pensions at risk, so they’re reacting out of self-preservation. Many of them – and we’re talking about long-time officers with exemplary service records – are seeking other employment.




    0



    0
  49. Grewgills says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    The cameras are a reasonable reaction to unreasonable behavior that is uncomfortably widespread among law enforcement. If the police are doing their jobs as they should, then a cell phone video of their interactions with the public shouldn’t deter them from acting responsibly with the public. Honestly, any officer deterred from interacting with the public because THIS incident was caught on video really doesn’t need to be interacting with the public at all.

    What do you think is the appropriate response from the police officers and the rest of the public at large?




    0



    0
  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Grewgills:

    You’re being a bit naive, Greg, no offense intended. People can, will and do lie in response to encounters with the police, on a regular basis, none more so that the element of society (criminals) for which gaming the system is a way of life. Speaking as someone who worked in criminal justice for a time, I can tell you that with absolute certainty – criminals lie, and whatever they can do to gain an advantage / disrupt prosecution – including putting an officer’s job at risk, they will do.

    This is a field day for them, especially in ethnic neighborhoods where the tendency to distrust the police is already endemic. You get a black drug dealer yelling police brutality in a black neighborhood and the crowd of people who come running with their cell phones aren’t doing so in order to help the officer – they’re there to get something that they can use against the officer. Is it any wonder in that scenario that the officers are just choosing to say “no, thank you”?

    The broader point is that the few incidents you see promulgated to Facebook where they (legitimately or not) provoke outrage are a small snippet of the larger phenomenon. I’ve had some officers tell me that that they more or less can’t do their jobs any longer due to the number of specious complaints backed up by selectively captured video and administrations who are so paralyzed by fear of the public outrage crowd that their first reaction is to throw good officers under the bus.

    The response to that from the rank and file is NOT going to be “well, I’m doing my job as I should, so I have nothing to fear”. It’s going to be (and already is) “I’m not risking my pension or my career over this. I have a family to feed, so I didn’t see a thing, sorry.” You’re already seeing that in Baltimore, among other places. Crime in Sandtown-Winchester has skyrocketed, because the police have largely absented themselves from the neighborhood.

    You guys have an unrealistic picture of how you think this situation should be resolved, and it is not going to turn out how you want for it to. It’s going to end up causing good officers to either do as little as possible in order to mitigate the career risk or to just seek other employment entirely. We’re already seeing that in New York. It’s definitely going to encourage good potential applicants who might have considered a career in law enforcement to look elsewhere instead. We’re seeing that here as well. The number of people taking the civil service exam / seeking employment with NYPD has dropped, and the quality of applicants (as I understand it from a friend who’s in a position to know) is dropping as well. The sort of officers you want are not going to accept taking on the risks naturally involved in the job if they have to do it with a hostile public looking over their shoulder with a cell phone 24/7 for a reason to get them fired, and I can’t blame them. I suspect you wouldn’t either were you to be in their shoes. Just saying …




    0



    0
  51. Grewgills says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Firstly, my name isn’t Greg.
    People, including the police, do lie. Video is much less prone to untruth than are police, suspects, or bystanders. If the police are doing their jobs as they should then cell phone videos will not end their careers. The only law enforcement careers that have been ended by cell phone or other video to date have all been careers in need of ending.
    I understand you are a ‘law and order’ guy and give all law enforcement the benefit of the doubt and immediately doubt the word of any arrestee, but surely you can see that having video of an incident does much more to prevent lying about what happened than to encourage it.
    Again, what do you propose here? No body cams? No dash cams? Making it illegal to take video of officers interacting with the public? Do you think any of that would lead to better outcomes?




    0



    0
  52. Grewgills says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The response to that from the rank and file is NOT going to be “well, I’m doing my job as I should, so I have nothing to fear”. It’s going to be (and already is) “I’m not risking my pension or my career over this. I have a family to feed, so I didn’t see a thing, sorry.” You’re already seeing that in Baltimore, among other places. Crime in Sandtown-Winchester has skyrocketed, because the police have largely absented themselves from the neighborhood.

    I’m calling bullsh!t on this. The actual trend in number of offenses from 2009 through December of 2014 is nearly flat, with a slight downward trend.
    http://resources.baltimorecountymd.gov/Documents/Police/crimestats2014/part1crimetrend2014.pdf
    and more detailed evidence that your assertion is BS
    http://resources.baltimorecountymd.gov/Documents/Police/crimestats2014/executivetable2014.pdf




    0



    0
  53. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Grewgills:

    Again, you’re being naive. The trend is often to only record parts of the encounter – for example they’ll record the arrest but not the provocations that led up to it, and then allege that the “victim” did nothing to cause his/her arrest. Those videos do end careers, especially in jurisdictions where there are no body cams and it’s the officer’s word against selective video and a crowd of people ready and willing to lie / selectively remember what happened.

    A video of entire encounters from start to finish isn’t a bad thing, generally speaking, but I question how beneficial it is to have a crowd of cell phone waving pedestrians in the immediate vicinity of an arrest. Do I think it should be illegal to videotape police encounters? No. Do I think that anyone hindering or interfering with the police should be arrested? Yes, so as long as they’re some distance away and do not interfere, there isn’t much that can be done about it.

    The problem is that we now have even police questionings being caught on video. The unspoken message there for people who might want to cooperate with the police becomes “you’re on candid camera, pal”.

    Am I a law and order guy? Absolutely. I speak from experience in telling you that the general public, by and large, will ALWAYS lie with regard to police encounters if they think that doing so will save their behinds / get them out of a fix. It’s the nature of the beast, so yes, I’m inclined by nature and experience to disbelieve claims by members of the public unless proven otherwise.

    What do I propose? Body cams for every police officer in America, along with distance limits for video taking cell phone users. Get too close and you’re hindering a police operation – you get arrested. Stay a comfortable distance away and we’re golden.




    0



    0
  54. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Grewgills:

    The officers in question weren’t indicted until May of this year.

    The increasing crime trend / absence of police situation in West Baltimore has developed since that time.

    If you’re going to cite statistics, it might be useful to cite current ones.




    0



    0
  55. KM says:

    @HarvardLaw92 :

    The response to that from the rank and file is NOT going to be “well, I’m doing my job as I should, so I have nothing to fear”. It’s going to be (and already is) “I’m not risking my pension or my career over this. I have a family to feed, so I didn’t see a thing, sorry.”

    Then they don’t deserve their job. Period.

    I’m sorry but this is complete BS. You don’t deserve a pension if you refuse to do your damn job. Add in the fact that the whole recording-the-cops behavior directly comes from a system they actively support, then it’s blatantly clear this is a self-inflicted wound. Don’t like cellphones in your face? Shouldn’t have gone along with that whole wall of silence thing. They’ve been nursing vipers at their breasts for ages now and are shocked they are getting bit. A “good cop” who stands by and does nothing isn’t really a good cop at all. “Good cops” who are now stressed about their job conditions should have opened their mouths a little earlier to talk about the abusers instead of whining about how hard their life is now.

    Goodbye, good riddance and don’t let the lawsuits hit you in the ass on the way out, guys.

    What do I propose? Body cams for every police officer in America, along with distance limits for video taking cell phone users.

    And the punishment for when that camera is off, errr “malfunctioning”? Cops blatantly lie too so what is your proposed punishment for camera that conveniently have “accidents” or “goes missing”? I’m thinking something along the lines of $1000 per person in the district, directly out of their paycheck with no legal wiggle room or potential deferments. Make the punishment communal and immutable so the Blue Line has a reason to start enforcing on itself. Hard to bring home the bacon when a pig is ruining it for you…..

    If distance limits become a thing, all that will happen is cell cameras will get better at long distance res. Necessity is the mother of invention – so being 10 or 100 ft away won’t make any diff. There WILL be an app for that, I guarantee it.




    0



    0
  56. Grewgills says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I am no more naive than you. My mother was a prosecutor. I grew up spending evenings in judges chambers while she worked night court. I was surrounded by law enforcement and then city legal offices until I left for college. I’m not some liberal cosseted from law enforcement.
    The difference here is that you, I would guess largely because of your stint as a prosecutor, give undue deference to law enforcement. They were on ‘your side’. The truth of the matter is that it is a very difficult job made more difficult by a relative handful of bad officers, bad policy that disproportionately punishes poor and minority citizens, and a culture of us vs them within law enforcement and in poor communities. Covering up the acts of abusive officers makes this climate worse and cover ups whenever abuse happens is the norm, rather than the exception. Law enforcement needs to police it’s own culture of loyalty before duty or there can be no trust between police and citizens in poor communities. There needs to be action on the other side as well, but the side with the most power and the greatest duty needs to act first. The only way that seems to happen is with cell phone or other public video.

    What do I propose? Body cams for every police officer in America, along with distance limits for video taking cell phone users. Get too close and you’re hindering a police operation – you get arrested. Stay a comfortable distance away and we’re golden.

    We are in potential agreement here. The body cams need to be always on while on duty unless cleared by the station and ALL interactions with the public need to be recorded. Dash cams should also be always on. The selective footage comes from more than one side.
    As far as distance limits, that depends on what you consider a comfortable distance. People shouldn’t be physically hindering the police, but if the limits aren’t clearly spelled out there is considerable room for abuse. We have already seen police attempting to confiscate phones and cameras of people filming them.
    If the body cams and dash cams stay on and the officers act appropriately then they won’t have to fear losing their job or their retirement. I am immediately suspicious of officers that oppose always on body cams and always on dash cams.




    0



    0
  57. Tyrell says:

    @Matt: The President has made some kind of statement about this case, which, while certainly is true, it does bring up legal questions when the president makes these kinds of statements about cases that are still being investigated . O remember that famous Nixon – Manson flap.




    0



    0
  58. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @KM:

    Because creating a hostile work environment has ever fixed anything?

    Like I told grew, you are not going to get what you’re after. You’re going to get good cops quitting and being replaced by bad cops, or not replaced at all, because they’re not going to put up with what you’re demanding. Well played …




    0



    0
  59. WR says:

    @HarvardLaw92: In my role as a university professor, I am subject to evaluation, both by my students and by the administration. In every profession in the country, workers are monitored and judged.

    But apparently you believe that those who work in law enforcement, those to whom we give the power of life and death, should be exempt from that. Just our the Supreme Court has made it essentially impossible to punish prosecutors who literally frame innocent suspects, you want to keep police officers free from meddling civilians who want to document their actions.

    I’m sure there’s some discomfort in the ranks right now as times are changing. Some will leave; others will adjust. For those who leave because they can’t stand the public — those they are sworn to protect and defend — being able to judge their actions, there isn’t a screen door in the world that can hit them in the ass fast enough.

    You may say it’s unfair that good cops have to be monitored. Well, maybe if they hadn’t drawn the blue line so tightly to protect their corrupt and murderous colleagues, they wouldn’t have to. But they’ve made it impossible to trust any police force when it comes to the actions of even the worst of their officers. So yeah, other measures are necessary.

    When good cops are prepared to perjure themselves to protect bad cops, the entire system has to change.




    0



    0
  60. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Grewgills:

    Law enforcement needs to police it’s own culture of loyalty before duty or there can be no trust between police and citizens in poor communities

    Surely you know this is never going to happen. No officer is going to risk being hung out to dry / abandoned by his peers due to being labeled a snitch, which in the LEO community is the worst possible thing one can be, and the reality is that is what will happen. That isn’t a recent phenomenon; it’s deeply rooted in the culture and goes back a long, long time. If you think we have problems with officers seeking other employment / potential officers deciding the job isn’t for them now, just wait until you turn it into the figurative equivalent of expecting them to be agents of the Stasi informing on their neighbors. You won’t resolve “us vs. them”; you’ll send it into hyperdrive.

    The difference here is that you, I would guess largely because of your stint as a prosecutor, give undue deference to law enforcement

    I can only operate based on my own experiences, and that experience tells me that the public, generally speaking, lies a great deal more often than police officers do, and none more often than those in poor communities who already have an adversarial attitude towards law enforcement or who feel community pressure not to cooperate with law enforcement. I don’t consider that “undue” deference; I consider it acknowledging reality.




    0



    0
  61. WR says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “You’re going to get good cops quitting and being replaced by bad cops, or not replaced at all, because they’re not going to put up with what you’re demanding. ”

    If these cops are such delicate wilting flowers that they’d rather quit than have their work judged by the people who pay their salaries and who entrust them with enormous power, then they should quite immediately and find some nice job where no one will ever monitor them.

    No more impunity for law enforcement. No more free rides for bad cops and dirty prosecutors and crooked judges. They are not above the law and they are not above performance review. And the sooner they are made to realize that, the sooner we can have an honest justice system.




    0



    0
  62. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @WR:

    Look, I’m just telling you that this is highly unlikely to turn out – some kumbahyah meeting of the minds where everybody cooperates, the public loves the police and the situation becomes some sort of delightful ongoing bake sale – like you guys evidently want for it to. You either don’t understand the culture you’re dealing with or you’re being utopian about the prospects of changing it.

    Like I told Grew, sure, bad officers should be removed from forces, but the way to accomplish that is not for the public to effectively declare war on the good ones as well. For starters, they’ll close ranks even more so than they already have, and the harder you push, the more they’ll band together to oppose you. You’re taking a community that’s already insular and distrustful of the public by nature and expecting it to effectively turn on itself in pursuit of goals – imposed by you – that many of them see as being ridiculously naive. It’s just not going to turn out like you want it to.




    0



    0
  63. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @WR:

    If these cops are such delicate wilting flowers that they’d rather quit than have their work judged by the people who pay their salaries and who entrust them with enormous power, then they should quite immediately and find some nice job where no one will ever monitor them.

    All well and good, but it will leave you with fewer officers overall and a greater percentage of them being the sort of officers you don’t want.

    Point blank – declaring war on law enforcement, which is essentially what you are proposing, will result in the good ones who can leave heading for the exits, fewer candidates applying and an increase in the percentage of bad cops due to a decline in the quality of applicants. At the end of the day, police forces need a certain number of bodies in uniforms, and they’re limited by the applicant pool with regard to who they can hire, so they’ll take what they can get in order to achieve force projection requirements. It’s not that much different from the Army relaxing requirements in order to fill out the ranks, and a resultant drop in the quality of recruits. We’re already seeing that happen here in New York and elsewhere.

    It’ll certainly result in a greater closing of the ranks and an exacerbation of the us vs. them mentality. In the end analysis, you’re achieving a Pyrrhic victory.




    0



    0
  64. WR says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “some kumbahyah meeting of the minds where everybody cooperates, the public loves the police and the situation becomes some sort of delightful ongoing bake sale – like you guys evidently want for it to”

    If you can’t construct an argument without resorting to ludicrous straw men like this, then you don’t have much of an argument to make.

    Your point seems to be that we have two choices — either we embrace a system in which police are free to commit any crime they choose in confidence that their fellow cops and the justice system will cover it up, or we face anarchy.

    I find that incredibly contemptuous of honest police officers — that the best of them care only about protecting their crooked colleagues and not at all about justice, and in fact would rather not work in a system in which they are held responsible for their actions.

    As for me, I believe that any police officer who would rather quit than submit to the same rules which govern every single other job in the country should be encouraged to leave law enforcement — even if you consider them “good cops.” We hire police officers and pay them to enforce the laws. And that means enforcing the laws on everyone, both those you consider “criminals” and those who break the laws but somehow never get tarred by that word in your posts.




    0



    0
  65. WR says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “declaring war on law enforcement, which is essentially what you are proposing”

    Wait — demanding that police do the job they’re hired to do and not simply murder people when they feel like it is declaring war on them?

    These are civil servants, not Imams or High Priests. They can, should, and must be held accountable when they do bad, just as they should be rewarded when they do good. Like every other worker in our culture.




    0



    0
  66. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @WR:

    As for me, I believe that any police officer who would rather quit than submit to the same rules which govern every single other job in the country should be encouraged to leave law enforcement

    I find that incredibly contemptuous of honest police officers — that the best of them care only about protecting their crooked colleagues and not at all about justice, and in fact would rather not work in a system in which they are held responsible for their actions.

    Those two statements attest to the incredible degree of naivety you have about law enforcement. It is not like your university job. It’s much more akin to the military, and in fact draws the greatest majority of its members from the military community. You are trying to apply the reality of your job / life to a scenario which is nothing at all like it.

    Police officers, like prosecutors, quickly learn that “justice” is a platitude honored more in the breach than in the adherence, and become cynical about the concept. When you see criminals walk through the system like it’s a revolving door and your work more often than not negated by defense attorneys and the public, it’s difficult to care. As for the officers themselves, those who don’t show up on day one already conditioned by prior military experience to value loyalty to the unit over everything else quickly learn that it’s a lonely world out there when your brothers on blue don’t have your back. Us vs. them is not a recent development and it’s not an isolated phenomenon. It is baked into the culture from top to bottom, and everything you guys are doing / proposing is just making it that much more pronounced.

    This is what you don’t get – you are not encouraging good officers to come forward. You’re making it that much more clear to them that you’re the enemy and they’ll band together that much more tightly as a result.




    0



    0
  67. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @WR:

    Wait — demanding that police do the job they’re hired to do and not simply murder people when they feel like it is declaring war on them?

    From their perspective? Absolutely. Police officers (as described above) already have an us vs. them mentality with regard to the general public, quite often coupled with the contempt those who are tasked with employing violence feel for those who are either incapable of or unwilling to employ it for themselves. You’ve evidently made the mistake of thinking that police officers are by and large like the young attorney in “A Few Good Men”, crusading for justice, when in reality the culture is much more deeply steeped in the mindset of the aging colonel who’s on the stand (either pick up a weapon and stand a post yourself or STFU).

    That is what you are dealing with, and coming at it as though you believe yourself to be empowered to second guess everything that they do, in their eyes, makes you the enemy.

    You may not like that, you will obviously think it’s offensive, but it is reality nonetheless. You coming at them in a frontal “we pay your salaries and we’ll tell you what you can and can’t do” assault will produce one thing – a united front effectively telling you to GFYS.

    Because the truth of the matter is this: you need them more than you’re willing to admit, and you can’t fire all of them. You certainly won’t get any help from them if you propose to try. That is reality. If you need a concrete example of that reality, go visit West Baltimore. It’ll open your eyes pretty quickly about both the limits of your strategy and the consequences of it.




    0



    0
  68. WR says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “That is what you are dealing with, and coming at it as though you believe yourself to be empowered to second guess everything that they do, in their eyes, makes you the enemy.”

    Then. They. Should. Be. Fired.

    Any police officer who comes to believe that the populace that hires him to enforce their laws does not deserve a badge.

    Any prosecutor who believes that his sense of who is good and who is bad outweighs what the law requires him to do — for instance, handing over exculpatory evidence or not paying jailhouse snitches to commit perjury — should be fired and jailed.

    This is not an occupying force. This is not the king’s army. And the sooner we can start dismantling this culture, the better off we will be.




    0



    0
  69. WR says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “You may not like that, you will obviously think it’s offensive, but it is reality nonetheless. You coming at them in a frontal “we pay your salaries and we’ll tell you what you can and can’t do” assault will produce one thing – a united front effectively telling you to GFYS.”

    Here’s the hilarious thing: We pay their salaries and we will tell them what they can and can’t do.

    Or do you actually believe we should arm a certain amount of the population and tell them they have free reign to do whatever they want to whomever they want? (Or, rather, to whichever members of the underclass — I’m pretty sure that right about the time cops start shooting billionaires for disrespecting them we’ll see some pretty quick changes to the system…)

    These people are public servants. If they can’t deal with that fact, they should quit.

    You might remember the phrase to the effect that we are a nation of laws, not men. That requires all people follow the law — not just the ones we don’t like.




    0



    0
  70. Grewgills says:

    From their perspective? Absolutely. Police officers (as described above) already have an us vs. them mentality with regard to the general public, quite often coupled with the contempt those who are tasked with employing violence feel for those who are either incapable of or unwilling to employ it for themselves. You’ve evidently made the mistake of thinking that police officers are by and large like the young attorney in “A Few Good Men”, crusading for justice, when in reality the culture is much more deeply steeped in the mindset of the aging colonel who’s on the stand (either pick up a weapon and stand a post yourself or STFU).

    Then that culture needs to be torn out root and branch. It isn’t something that must be endemic to law enforcement and it isn’t something that a free society should tolerate.
    I’ve lived other places and known police officers there, including family members, and that was not the philosophy there. You seem to think that because it is, that is the only way it can be.




    0



    0
  71. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @WR:

    Then. They. Should. Be. Fired.

    Like I said, you can’t fire all of them. You can’t even fire most of them. Youd’ be at pains these days to even fire a meaningfully sized chunk of them.

    Because as much as you evidently dislike them, you need them. For evidence of what happens when they pull back, again, go visit West Baltimore.

    Just don’t forget to wear your body armor.

    And the sooner we can start dismantling this culture, the better off we will be.

    You can’t. Even if you somehow magically could, who would you replace them with that wouldn’t, by virtue of dealing with what they deal with day in and day out, end up within the space of 6 months (and that’s being charitably generous) being exactly what you got rid of?

    I’m getting the feeling that you’re one of those people who still thinks Hug-A-Thug works. It doesn’t. For evidence of that, again, go visit West Baltimore.

    Just don’t forget to wear your body armor.




    0



    0
  72. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Grewgills:

    I’ve lived other places and known police officers there, including family members, and that was not the philosophy there. You seem to think that because it is, that is the only way it can be.

    Other places like where, specifically? I’m sure that I don’t, or shouldn’t, have to bring you up to speed on the fact that police officers tend to have two faces – one for the public / non-officers and another one entirely for their comrades.

    I think that because it is like it is, because it always has been that way and because experience with / involvement in this system tells me that those on the inside of it don’t want it to change in the slightest, that you’re beating your head against a wall.

    A comment I heard just this past Tuesday from an officer I know in Baltimore says it all: “We’ve pulled back, and they’re getting exactly what they demanded – a nicer, softer police department. You can see the results. I give it six months and they’ll be begging us to come back with force, for one reason – all things being equal, we’re less of a threat to them than the animals who live down the street.”

    That guy has never had a violence complaint that I’m aware of. In fact, he’s been commended more than once for valor and for public service. As uncomfortable as it might be for the “all people are basically good” crowd, these people are on the front lines of a war, a war which is largely removed from the suburban liberal armchairs presuming to dictate how it should be fought. Don’t expect them to fight it with platitudes and daisies.

    Then that culture needs to be torn out root and branch.

    Then give it your best shot. Just don’t come back here complaining when that effort fails miserably and you find that what I’ve told you, while it offends you, isn’t the slightest bit inaccurate. You’re making enemies of the very people you need to convince.




    0



    0
  73. anjin-san says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’m getting the feeling that you’re one of those people who still thinks Hug-A-Thug works.

    You are obviously a bright guy, why are you peddling this nonsense? It’s binary, Fox News think. No one is arguing that we need to devote more energy to coddling criminals. What is being argued is that we need to reject the mentality in police work & the criminal justice system that seems to assume black=thug, and that the law can safely be ignored by the very people we pay to enforce it.




    0



    0
  74. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Surely you know this is never going to happen.

    Ok, now that we know that the disease, as it were, is incurable, where do we go?




    0



    0
  75. Grewgills says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    As I mentioned before, my mom was a prosecutor. She had just as much interaction with the police and other law enforcement as you did. Later in her career with the city she worked alongside attorneys that handled internal affairs for the city. I’ve been surrounded by law enforcement since I was 5 or 6 years old through early college and continue to have family and friends in law enforcement, fire, and rescue in the US and Western Europe. Most are concentrated in the SE US and the Netherlands. The training and attitude in the Netherlands is markedly different. The culture doesn’t have to be this way. It stays this way, frankly because of people like you enabling it.
    Real reform with body cams and dash cams that must be on for all interactions with the public that the officer cannot turn off need to be in place as a first step. A separate office to handle police misconduct that isn’t directly tied to the police or prosecutors that rely in them needs to be put in place. The police that find that too burdensome can leave. There very likely will be a painful transition, but it is a needed transition.

    A comment I heard just this past Tuesday from an officer I know in Baltimore says it all: “We’ve pulled back, and they’re getting exactly what they demanded – a nicer, softer police department. You can see the results. I give it six months and they’ll be begging us to come back with force, for one reason – all things being equal, we’re less of a threat to them than the animals who live down the street.”

    That attitude, that the people need to be punished by the cops pulling back is at the heart of the problem. It does not to police being fearful of pensions for selectively edited video of them doing their job properly. It speaks to the police extorting the public to be allowed to do their jobs unrestrained by oversight, in short corruption and disdain for the public they are charged with defending.




    0



    0
  76. WR says:

    @Grewgills: “It speaks to the police extorting the public to be allowed to do their jobs unrestrained by oversight, in short corruption and disdain for the public they are charged with defending.”

    If only this were true. They’re actually demanding to be allowed to do whatever the hell they want under the cover of their jobs unrestrained by oversight.

    I don’t t think any police temper tantrum will ever match Daryl Gates’ pulling back of the LAPD during the Rodney King riots. Yeah, he showed the city who was boss — and nearly destroyed both LA and the LAPD in the process. That man should have spent the rest of his life in jail, but we all know the system does not put powerful people in jail.




    0



    0