Tag Archives: Police

The 2017 Statistics Just Came out — and the ‘War on Cops’ Is Officially a Myth, by Carey Wedler

The “War on Cops” has been vastly overblown, while questionable or unjustified killings by cops often receive little publicity and the cops are rarely punished. From Carey Wedler at theantimedia.org:

Though right-wing commentators continue to decry the ‘war on cops,’ the latest data released by the country’s top law enforcement undermines that alarmist narrative.

According to the FBI’s annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report, released this week, there were fewer police deaths in 2017 than in 2016. In 2016, 118 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty while in 2017, that number was 93.

More telling is the type of death the officers suffered. Last year, 46 officers were killed “feloniously” on the job while 47 died in accidents. As the FBI’s press release noted, “Both numbers have decreased from 2016, during which 66 officers were feloniously killed and 52 were accidentally killed, for a total of 118 line-of-duty deaths.”

The data is collected from “local, state, tribal, campus, and federal law enforcement agencies from around the country, as well as organizations that track officer deaths.

A closer look at the statistics reveals further just how nonexistent the war on cops actually is. Of the 46 officers feloniously killed on the job, five were ambushed (defined as “entrapment/premeditation” by the FBI) and 3 were victims of unprovoked attacks. Twenty-one died during “investigative or enforcement activities,” which include traffic stops, investigating suspicious persons, or tactical situations.

In other words, they were killed doing the jobs they signed up to do (consider the popular refrain that ‘cops risk their lives’ — that’s part of the job description), though police officer does not even crack the top ten most dangerous jobs in the United States.

The takeaway here is that while some officers die on the job — and that is unfortunate — the deliberate sentiment to kill officers simply because they are police officers is not on the rise.

Thirty-five officers died in car accidents — more than four times the number killed by ambushes and unprovoked attacks (eight) — and according to the FBI, “of the 29 officers killed in automobile accidents, 12 were wearing seatbelts, and 15 were not,” though two of the officers not wearing seatbelts were sitting in parked cars.  Regardless, more officers died in car accidents while not wearing seatbelts (a violation of the laws they enforce, as it happens) than died as a result of flagrant attacks on their lives isolated from situational circumstances.

To continue reading: The 2017 Statistics Just Came out — and the ‘War on Cops’ Is Officially a Myth

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Video: Police Search Man’s Anus and Genitals for Non-Existent Weed, by Carey Wedler

Yes, you can be pulled over for a traffic violation, and if the police claim they smell marijuana, they can conduct a cavity search by the side of the road. That’s how far civil liberties have deteriorated in this country. From Carey Wedler at theantimedia.org:

New Jersey state troopers are facing a lawsuit after conducting an aggressive cavity search of a driver in Southampton in March of last year. Footage recorded by the officers’ body cameras shows the extent of the search, which the driver, Jack Levine, vocally opposed. The video was recently published after an open government advocate came across the case.

The video begins with Levine in back of state trooper Andrew Whitmore’s car, refusing to speak to them. Whitmore tells him the odor of cannabis gives them probable cause to search the vehicle.

The officer walks over to state trooper Joseph Drew, who is searching Levine’s car.

Smell anything in here? Negative?” Whitmore says. “Alright, because the dude that I removed, the driver, I moved him, I put him in the back of my vehicle, and my vehicle reeks.”

He adds:

He does reek, I think he may have something on him, he may have stashed it somewhere.”

That’s what I’m thinking,” Drew responds.

Whitmore says he thinks the cannabis is stashed somewhere they can’t easily access. “It’s not in his pockets,” he says.

Shortly after, Drew begins checking Levine’s waistband, and Levine mildly, vocally expresses his disapproval.

If you think that this is the worst thing I’m gonna do to you right now, you have another thing coming, my friend,” Drew says.

“This is ridiculous. This is like sexual assault. I don’t even have [anything] in my pants, what are you doing?” Levine eventually says.

“Definitely getting the odor when you open his pants. Smell that?” one officer says, as the other affirms.

Levine expresses his desire to resolve the incident:

“Alright, look, do you want me to take my boxers off right here so I don’t have to waste your time and go downtown ‘cause you think I got weed? Like what do you want me to do? Like seriously, I have to go to work. You want me to take my clothes off? I would be more than happy to, officers.”

 

To continue reading: Video: Police Search Man’s Anus and Genitals for Non-Existent Weed

Enough Is Enough: If You Really Want to Save Lives, Take Aim at Government Violence, by John W. Whitehead

The government wrongly kills far more people every year than all the crazed loonies who open fire in public places put together. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“It is often the case that police shootings, incidents where law enforcement officers pull the trigger on civilians, are left out of the conversation on gun violence. But a police officer shooting a civilian counts as gun violence. Every time an officer uses a gun against an innocent or an unarmed person contributes to the culture of gun violence in this country.”—Journalist Celisa Calacal

Enough is enough.

That was the refrain chanted over and over by the thousands of demonstrators who gathered to protest gun violence in America.

Enough is enough.

We need to do something about the violence that is plaguing our nation and our world.

Enough is enough.

The world would be a better place if there were fewer weapons that could kill, maim, destroy and debilitate.

Enough is enough.

On March 24, 2018, more than 200,000 young people took the time to march on Washington DC and other cities across the country to demand that their concerns about gun violence be heard.

More power to them.

I’m all for activism, especially if it motivates people who have been sitting silently on the sidelines for too long to get up and try to reclaim control over a runaway government.

Curiously, however, although these young activists were vocal in calling for gun control legislation that requires stricter background checks and limits the kinds of weapons being bought and sold by members of the public, they were remarkably silent about the gun violence perpetrated by their own government.

Enough is enough.

Why is no one taking aim at the U.S. government as the greatest purveyor of violence in American society and around the world?

The systemic violence being perpetrated by agents of the government has done more collective harm to the American people and our liberties than any single act of terror or mass shooting.

Violence has become our government’s calling card, starting at the top and trickling down, from the more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans by heavily armed, black-garbed commandos and the increasingly rapid militarization of local police forces across the country to the drone killings used to target insurgents.

Enough is enough.

The government even exports violence worldwide, with weapons being America’s most profitable export.

To continue reading: Enough Is Enough: If You Really Want to Save Lives, Take Aim at Government Violence

Crimes That Are Not Illegal, by Eric Peters

Carry a lot of cash? Cough it up to the government…or else. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

It’s not illegal (yet) to carry cash – in any amount – so how is it that armed government workers have acquired the power to simply steal it?

And why aren’t Americans in the streets over this?

The theft – there’s no sugar-coating it – is performed in almost exactly the same manner as an ordinary street mugging, with this one critical difference: The victim is legally forbidden the right to defend himself.   

An armed government worker approaches and uses the implied threat of lethal violence to corner his victim. Perhaps – but not necessarily – on the pretext that some statute or other has been transgressed. An out-of-date inspection sticker. “Speeding.” It can be almost anything – or nothing.

The approach is mere formality; of the same species as the thug in an alley asking his soon-to-be-victim whether he’s got a cigarette he can “borrow.”

 It is not uncommon for armed government workers to “detain” people who’ve committed no violation of any statute nor given any tangible lawful reason to suspect they may have. It is enough, nowadays, for an armed government worker to claim that “someone called” – and even that excuse is not necessary, as a practical matter.

Armed government workers are . . . armed. They are government workers. We are not permitted to ignore them. We do so at our peril.

So, you have been “detained” or “pulled over” or perhaps forced to stop your car for a random inspection by armed government workers at a “checkpoint.”

You are carrying a cash – perhaps more cash than can comfortably fit in your wallet. So you have it in an envelope in the glovebox or in a bag on the seat beside you or in a backpack, or whatever. But it’s simply cash – and regardless of the amount, it’s not illegal to carry cash.

As if that mattered.

The ugly fact is that cash in any amount is subject to “civil forfeiture” – the euphemism used by the armed government workers who perform this legalized theft.

To continue reading: Crimes That Are Not Illegal

Police: We’re the Experts — Don’t You Dare Criticize Us, by Ryan McMaken

Exempt anybody, public or private sector, from criticism and you virtually guarantee corrupt arrogance. It’s human nature. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

One of the most surprising developments in the wake of February’s Florida school shooting is the willingness by many generally police-friendly commentators to denounce the lack of action by local police against the shooter.

From National Review, to The Federalist, to Donald Trump, many of the law enforcement officers involved in the shooting are being accused of outright “cowardice.”

Part of this is agenda-driven. The inaction on the part of law-enforcement organizations demonstrates that it is not enough to “call 911” and hope the police show up to protect the victims. As Michael Graham notes, the Florida situation is part of a “pattern of police cowardice” which was also apparent at the 2016 Orlando shooting and at the Newtown, Connecticut shooting. In both cases, police stood outside while gunmen worked freely inside the building in question.

Thus, if police are going to protect themselves while victims are at the mercy of gunmen, this illustrates that private gun ownership is perhaps the only reliable defense — whether in the hands of professional private security or even amateurs. Opponents of a police monopoly on gun ownership have seized upon this police failure as a helpful illustration of their position.

In the past, however, the right-wing’s knee-jerk tendency to always defend the police would likely have prevented much direct criticism of police agencies themselves. That reticence, however, appears to be falling away, and the cowardice of government law enforcement officials has now become become an open question.

Naturally, this does not bode well for the position of police agencies in the political hierarchy. Law enforcement agencies have long depended on their “hero” status as an important factor in ensuring that police organizations get whatever they want from local governments and state legislatures.

“We’re Experts, Do What We Say”

In response, many defenders of police have become testy and defensive, resorting to slipshod arguments that amount to little more than “you people who aren’t police should just shut up.”

To continue reading: Police: We’re the Experts — Don’t You Dare Criticize Us

Auto Cop, by Eric Peters

Why people don’t get up in arms about stupid rules and laws. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

An interesting unasked question has been raised by Ford’s announcement that it is developing a cop-less cop car. That is, an automated and AI cop car that would sneak itself behind the bushes and use license plate scanners, facial recognition and other such revenue-raising technologies to automatically issue paying’ paper.

All the time. Everywhere.

For everything.

No more need to pay cops to do it some of the time.

In other words, no more part-time, scattershot enforcement of traffic laws. It would become much harder to flout – or evade – anytraffic law. Everything from “speeding” to driving around without all your papers in order. Auto Cop would know – immediately.

 And there’s no bargaining with him.

But why should anyone object to (as Ford itself puts it) more “efficient” enforcement of the law? This assumes, of course, that the laws being enforced are reasonable, defensible, etc.

They’re not, of course. And everyone knows it.

Which is precisely why they aren’t enforced “efficiently.” It would trigger an uprising.

The whole point of the current system is the selective enforcement of idiotic laws. In order to maintain idiotic laws.

Consider speed limits as an example. Unlike reasonable laws – those regarding theft and murder, for instance – speed limits are flouted by almost everyone who drives, almost every time they drive. Whether by a lot or a little is irrelevant. The point  – and living/breathing cops (and judges, even) admit it – is that most speed limits are ignored and aren’t rigidly enforced because everyone agrees they are ridiculous.

To continue reading: Auto Cop

The Disturbing Parallels Between US Policing at Home and Military Tactics Abroad, by Danny Sjursen

Sometimes the “parallels” are a little strained, but unfortunately, most of the time they’re not. From Danny Sjursen at thenation.com:

This army strategist says today’s policing is looking more and more like a military operation.

“This…thing, [the War on Drugs] this ain’t police work.… I mean, you call something a war and pretty soon everybody gonna be running around acting like warriors…running around on a damn crusade, storming corners, slapping on cuffs, racking up body counts.… pretty soon, damn near everybody on every corner is your fucking enemy. And soon the neighborhood that you’re supposed to be policing, that’s just occupied territory.”

-—Major “Bunny” Colvin, season three of HBO’s The Wire

I can remember both so well.

2006: my first raid in South Baghdad. 2014: watching on YouTube as a New York police officer asphyxiated—murdered—Eric Garner for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on a Staten Island street corner not five miles from my old apartment. Both events shocked the conscience.

It was 11 years ago next month: My first patrol of the war, and we were still learning the ropes from the army unit we were replacing. Unit swaps are tricky, dangerous times. In Army lexicon, they’re known as “right-seat-left-seat rides.” Picture a car. When you’re learning to drive, you first sit in the passenger seat and observe. Only then do you occupy the driver’s seat. That was Iraq, as units like ours rotated in and out via an annual revolving door of sorts. Officers from incoming units like mine were forced to learn the terrain, identify the key powerbrokers in our assigned area, and sort out the most effective tactics in the two weeks before the experienced officers departed. It was a stressful time.

Those transition weeks consisted of daily patrols led by the officers of the departing unit. My first foray off the FOB (forward operating base) was a night patrol. The platoon I’d tagged along with was going to the house of a suspected Shiite militia leader. (Back then, we were fighting both Shiite rebels of the Mahdi Army and Sunni insurgents.) We drove to the outskirts of Baghdad, surrounded a farmhouse, and knocked on the door. An old woman let us in and a few soldiers quickly fanned out to search every room. Only women—presumably the suspect’s mother and sisters—were home. Through a translator, my counterpart, the other lieutenant, loudly asked the old woman where her son was hiding. Where could we find him? Had he visited the house recently? Predictably, she claimed to be clueless. After the soldiers vigorously searched (“tossed”) a few rooms and found nothing out of the norm, we prepared to leave. At that point, the lieutenant warned the woman that we’d be back—just as had happened several times before—until she turned in her own son.

To continue reading: The Disturbing Parallels Between US Policing at Home and Military Tactics Abroad