Tag Archives: Police

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

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 An out-of-date inspection sticker.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

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

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

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

Justice Denied: The Government Is Not Going to Save Us, by John W. Whitehead

Cops killed more Americans in 2017 than terrorists, mass shooters, and foreign militaries combined. Of course, many times cop kill in self-defense or in legitimate fear for their own safety. But many times they don’t, and they usually get away with it. The Supreme Court certainly doesn’t stand in their way. From John Whitehead at

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled: it will not hear the case of Young v. Borders.

Despite the fact that a 26-year-old man was gunned down by police who banged on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failed to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shot and killed the innocent homeowner who answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense, the justices of the high court refused to intervene to address police misconduct.

Although 26-year-old Andrew Scott committed no crime and never fired a single bullet or lifted his firearm against police, only to be gunned down by police who were investigating a speeding incident by engaging in a middle-of-the-night “knock and talk” in Scott’s apartment complex, the Supreme Court refused to balance the scales between justice and injustice.

Despite the fact that police shot and killed nearly 1,000 people nationwide for the third year in a row (many of whom were unarmed, mentally ill, minors or were shot merely because militarized police who were armed to the hilt “feared” for their safety), the Supreme Court will not act to right the wrongs being meted out by the American police state.

Although “knock-and-talk” policing has become a thinly veiled, warrantless—lethal—exercise by which citizens are coerced and intimidated into “talking” with heavily armed police who “knock” on their doors in the middle of the night, the Supreme Court will not make the government play by the rules of the Constitution.

The lesson to be learned: the U.S. Supreme Court will not save us.

No one is coming to save us: not the courts, not the legislatures, and not the president.

According to journalist Michael Harriot:

More people died from police violence in 2017 than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in action around the globe (21). More people died at the hands of police in 2017 than the number of black people who were lynched in the worst year of Jim Crow (161 in 1892). Cops killed more Americans in 2017 than terrorists did (four). They killed more citizens than airplanes (13 deaths worldwide), mass shooters (428 deaths) and Chicago’s “top gang thugs” (675 Chicago homicides).

Americans are dying at the hands of the police, and the U.S. government doesn’t care.

Worse, the U.S. government is actively doing everything in its power to ensure that the killing spree continues.

To continue reading: Justice Denied: The Government Is Not Going to Save Us

Apocalypse Now: 2017 Was Another Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year, by John W. Whitehead

The government got more powerful and incompetent, and individual civil liberties were ever more constricted in 2017, just like 2016, 2015, 2014, and so on. From John W. Whitehead at

Just our luck that 2017 gave us more of the same bad news that we’ve experienced in recent years.

Here’s just a small sampling of what we suffered through in 2017.

The new boss proved to be the same as the old boss. True to form, the new boss (Donald Trump) proved to be no better than his predecessors in the White House in terms of protecting the citizenry from the American police state.

911 calls turned deadly. “Don’t call the cops” became yet another don’t to the add the growing list of things that could get you or a loved one tasered, shot or killed by police, especially if you have any condition that might hinder your ability to understand, communicate or immediately comply with an order.

Traffic stops took a turn for the worse. Police officers were given free range to pull anyone over for a variety of reasons and subject them to forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced inclusion in biometric databases.

The courts failed to uphold justice. A review of critical court rulings over the past decade or so, including some ominous ones by the U.S. Supreme Court, reveals a startling and steady trend towards pro-police state rulings by an institution concerned more with establishing order and protecting the ruling class and government agents than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

A culture of compliance paved the way for sexual predators. Twenty years after America gave a collective shrug over accusations of sexual harassment by Bill Clinton, sexual harassment suddenly made headlines after a series of powerful men, including Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, were accused of predatory behavior in the workplace.

Patriotism trumped free speech. At a time when the American flag adorns everything from men’s boxers and women’s bikinis to beer koozies with little outcry from the American public, a conveniently timed public dispute over disrespect for the country’s patriotic symbols during football games further divided the nation.

To continue reading: Apocalypse Now: 2017 Was Another Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year


Arizona Cop Acquitted for Killing Man Crawling Down Hotel Hallway While Begging for His Life, by Scott Shackford

The video says it all. From Scott Shackford at

Arizona jurors watched the video below, which shows former Mesa, Arizona, police officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford shooting and killing a man who was begging for his life and attempting to follow the officer’s orders to crawl down a hotel hallway.

Yesterday, the jurors found Brailsford not guilty of second-degree murder and reckless manslaughter. Do you agree? (Warning: The video is pretty graphic.)

The incident occurred in January 2016. Daniel Shaver apparently was showing off a pellet gun, and it was visible through the hotel room window. This promped somebody to call to the hotel front desk, which prompted a call to the police.

So it wasn’t unreasonable for police to approach the hotel room thinking the encounter might be dangerous. They knew there was a gun there, and they didn’t know it was a pellet gun. But that video shows some truly baffling decisions by Brailsford that escalated the situation to make it even scarier, not the least of which was that Brailsford’s bluster and open threats of violence made him appear as terrified as Shaver.

The contents of the body camera footage had been described to the public before, when Brailsford was first charged, but the video itself was withheld until this morning. NBC notes:

The detective investigating the shooting had agreed Shaver’s movement was similar to reaching for a pistol, but has said it also looked as though Shaver was pulling up his loose-fitting basketball shorts that had fallen down as he was ordered to crawl.

The investigator noted he did not see anything that would have prevented officers from simply handcuffing Shaver as he was on the floor.

Forcing Shaver to crawl toward the police like this increased the likelihood that Shaver would lose balance and make wild movements, and Brailsford’s bizarre orders were probably confusing even to a sober person.

Oh, and here’s an interesting detail from the Arizona Republic:

The judge did not allow jurors to hear about an etching on the dust cover of the rifle Brailsford used to shoot Shaver, which said “You’re f–ked,” because he felt it was prejudicial.

Shaver’s parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Mesa. Brailsford was fired for poor performance two months after the shooting. Would anybody care to bet that he tries either to get his job back in Mesa or to get a job with another law enforcement agency elsewhere?


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