Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

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Police misconduct has been a hot topic in the news for several years now. There is no doubt that this topic relates to our cause. Improper procedures early on can lead to wrongful convictions.

As we all know, this is a topic that can often result in heated debate. We are hopeful that we can create an atmosphere where positive debate can lead to progress. We will monitor this forum over the next few weeks to decide if this is a topic that is suitable for our forum.

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Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Bruce Fischer » Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:59 am

It is clear that we have serious issues to address in this country when it comes to law enforcement. I respect the law and I respect the hard work police officers do, but there have been far too many tragedies documented in recent years. Not all cases are racially motivated but many certainly appear to be. Action must be taken to weed out the small percentage of police officers that seem to believe blacks and whites should live and die by different sets of rules.

I don't have fear when I am pulled over by an officer for a traffic violation. I don't feel threatened. I don't think that can be said by our entire population today. That is sad.

We need to open up serious dialogue about this subject. We all need to work together as Americans. This is not supposed to be one side against the other. We need to step back from all of the noise if we ever expect to truly come to grips with what we are dealing with. Communities need to communicate.

I understand that this is an international community here on our forum. All opinions are welcome. Solutions often come from looking at problems from a different perspective. I would also be very interested to hear about issues that exist in other countries.

President Obama spoke out in support of judicial reform recently. He is the first president I have ever heard speaking out on the issue. We incarcerate more people than any civilized nation on earth. Are Americans really that bad? Of course not. We need reform. And while doing so we need to address the racial issues that exist. There is no way to just brush it off. Statistics don't lie.

If we take action and make positive changes to the system, it will have a positive impact on our country. Good people should not feel the need to fear the police. I have always felt that we almost always get it right. We incarcerate a lot of people so even a low percentage of error will lead to significant wrongful convictions. After researching further, our issues go far beyond wrongful convictions. We force many into plea deals because they cannot afford an attorney.
Those cases never see a courtroom. We have prison systems in some cases that rely on filling the cages with live bodies. That should never be the goal of any justice system. I now sadly feel that our current justice system in general cannot be trusted. Lack of trust leads to fear.

People are told to do as police officers says and no one will get hurt. How can we expect everyone in our population to believe that? Yes, I have seen the stats. The vast majority of traffic stops happen without incident. But, we have to keep in mind that we arrest a lot of people. So, much like wrongful convictions, we need to work on eliminating the situations that go horribly wrong.
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Bruce Fischer » Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:02 pm

How To Survive An Aggressive Cop

Watch on youtube.com
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby LarryK » Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:35 am

This is Why Even Innocence and Compliance is No Guarantee of Your Safety During a Police Stop http://thefreethoughtproject.com/innoce ... lice-stop/
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby erasmus44 » Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:29 am

I think that we need better training and screening for police and - in some jurisdictions - higher levels of compensation to attract more qualified applicants. A friend of mine produced a police training video "Shoot, Don't Shoot" which provided dramatizations of situations in which the audience had to decide what to do. It was very useful in illustrating the pitfalls of jumping to conclusions.
As a general matter, we are going to have to spend more money on the "front end" of the process (policing, investigating crimes, providing adequate defense funding in trials), more money on rehabilitation, more money on high quality forensics but the net result will hopefully be that we spend less money on mass incarceration. We should also "unload" various things from the criminal law process by decriminalizing certain drug offenses and using civil license revocation rather than the criminal process for certain traffic offenses. In many states and at the federal level, the entire criminal code should be repealed and we should "start over" defining the things that we really want to use the criminal process to address (many existing crimes would, of course, make it onto this list but some would not).
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Numbers » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:37 am

From: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyp ... -1.2381055

NYPD failing to stop cops who use excessive force: inspector general
BY Rocco Parascandola, Greg B. Smith
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, October 1, 2015, 10:30 AM


A scathing new report released Thursday found the NYPD is falling down on the job trying to rein in cops who use excessive force on civilians.

An investigation by NYPD Inspector General Phil Eure found NYPD cops “too often did not de-escalate encounters, failed to intervene in encounters where other officers used excessive force against members of the public — and escalated encounters themselves.”

The 62-page report, released in the Department of Investigation’s downtown offices, comes three weeks after a plainclothes cop rushed and tackled ex-tennis star James Blake outside a Midtown hotel in a case of mistaken identity.

In response, Police Commissioner Bratton was set to announce later Thursday policy upgrades aimed at improving training to reduce excessive force and better tracking officers’ behavior.

"We've completely revamped and consolidated all of our guidelines and procedures regarding the use of force,” Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis said Thursday. “We're now going to document all types of force more accurately, more cohesively.”

The NYPD’s policy shift comes as the inspector general singled out some hot-headed officers’ propensity to turn up the heat instead of trying to cool things down.

“In dozens of incidents, officers were presented with the opportunity to de-escalate the situation but ultimately did not,” the report states, finding the NYPD’s “policies and training currently do not adequately address de-escalation as a useful tactic for officers in the field.”

....

The IG looked at excessive force cases brought to the Civilian Complaint Review Board to explore how the NYPD handles this hot-button issue. The vast majority of the 10,000 cases were deemed “unsubstantiated” due to lack of corroborative evidence.

But the CCRB was able to substantiate 207 such allegations brought in 179 cases from 2010 through 2014, often because there was video or audio of the encounter.

______________

One conclusion I offer: the need for body cameras on police is critical to record and to discourage official misconduct such as use of excessive force.
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Numbers » Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:31 pm

This article reports on the perceived change in mood in the US toward police reform regarding deadly force:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national ... onal_pop_b
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Bruce Fischer » Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:18 am

Numbers wrote:This article reports on the perceived change in mood in the US toward police reform regarding deadly force:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national ... onal_pop_b


The videos will continue to surface until we see reform. We are living in an age where cameras are everywhere.
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Dougm » Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:02 pm

What seems to be at the core of this is the adversarial relationship between the police and the average citizen. Although I am not a person of color, when I was younger, I experienced police treating me with suspicion just because I was a young male. And I also moved from one area of the country to another, and experienced the difference in police departments in different cities. That difference can be very stark, and it is clear that the attitude instilled in the police by their superiors/training makes a big difference.

A general example. In the Chicago area, if stopped by the police, the rule of thumb was to get out of your vehicle, and walk back to the police car, and talk calmly to the officers. If you sat in your car and waited for them to have to come to you, they would consider that rude, and it would be harder for them to see you. So if you had any chance in hell of getting out of a ticket, the plan was to "respect" them by making them do as little work as possible, and pull the "I'm sorry officer, I was not aware I was doing anything wrong, could you please explain to me, Sir" routine.

By contrast, in Los Angeles, you don't dare get out of the car, or you will immediately have at least two cops screaming at you to stop moving, and if you don't freeze, be ready to have at least 2 cops drawing weapons. In Los Angeles, you sit in the car, and let them come to you. Average citizens are instructed to put our hands on the top of the steering wheel, so they can see them, and don't make any motions inside the vehicle, because they are assuming we could be reaching for a weapon. IF you keep your hands visible, act polite, and follow every direction, you might escape with a warning, but more often you get both a ticket and a lecture, even if all you were doing was driving a tad over the speed limit. One time, I ran out of gas, and while I was calling the Auto Club, a cop pulled up behind me to see why I was stopped there. I got out, smiled and said "hello", and started walking toward the police woman to explain that I was out of gas. "DON'T MOVE" she screamed.

I realize that the police are out there on the streets every day, and face constant violence and some of the worst people in our society. But if they immediately treat everyone like an adversary, it creates resentment and escalates otherwise peaceful situations. We need to find a way for the police to be able to do their jobs without assuming everyone is a criminal before they ever learn what is going on.

Note: These examples are not current day, so some of these procedures may have changed. But the attitudes have not.
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Chris_Halkides » Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:15 am

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2 ... =DDMorning
"The autopsy report purportedly cleared correctional officers Roland Clark and Cornelius Thompson of rigging the shower because it was “excessively” hot on the day he died and—according to the Miami Herald—the medical examiner’s autopsy results finds that the two officers had “no intent” to harm the inmate when they dragged Rainey, supposedly covered in feces, into the shower." This article is not for the faint of heart. Strictly speaking, these men were guards, but one later became a police officer.
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby erasmus44 » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:46 pm

We really have to upgrade the law enforcement profession with 1. higher salaries, 2. more training and testing - including annual continued education requirements, 3. the adoption of "best practices" rules, and 4. impartial oversight by civilian review bodies. This happened in medicine about 100 years ago.
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Chris_Halkides » Wed Jan 27, 2016 2:45 pm

There also have to be consequences for any type of irresponsible behavior.
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Numbers » Sat Mar 19, 2016 2:50 pm

How Chicago racked up a $662 million police misconduct bill
(since 2004)
And the police are apparently never disciplined for the misconduct.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/h ... 7aa46.html
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Numbers » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:45 am

An article on the official misconduct of some lawyers who represent cities and their police officers accused of misconduct:

http://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/ ... untability

Review: City lawyers hid evidence of police misconduct
An Associated Press review of court records nationwide shows the attorneys who represent cities are often weak links in the systems meant to hold police accountable for wrongdoing
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Chris_Halkides » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:47 pm

The Freddie Gray verdicts are puzzling. Maybe the DA overcharged, but I am not convinced that this is the whole story.
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby erasmus44 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:38 pm

A really tough situation for DAs - damned if you do and damned if you don't - a no win. I think in Baltimore they had to give it a shot but after they lost a few times it made sense to bail. These are hard cases because people sympathize with the police and the element of intent is hard to establish. I think what happened is that the police may have decided to give this guy a "rough ride" because of his behavior leading up to the arrest and did not anticipate that it would result in serious injury. A little like the Code Red situation in "A Few Good Men" - and - like the audience facing Jack Nicolson, society really "can't handle the truth."
A friend of mine had a brother in the federal system for multiple counts of armed robbery including one bank robbery in which he fired his gun. He was in for a long time but he loved to file all sorts of complaints about technical violations of procedure. So they somehow figured out that it made sense to transfer him around which involves long rides in uncomfortable buses - in hot weather, at the end of each ride, he would sit alone in the unairconditioned, locked bus for 4 or 5 hours while they were "processing his papers" before letting him enter the new facility.
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Chris_Halkides » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:20 pm

I don't see grounds for arresting Freddie Gray. His knife was not illegal under Maryland law. Putting it another way, what about his second amendment rights?
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby erasmus44 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:00 pm

Chris_Halkides wrote:I don't see grounds for arresting Freddie Gray. His knife was not illegal under Maryland law. Putting it another way, what about his second amendment rights?


Even assuming it is an illegal arrest, much more evidence would be necessary to make out a criminal case against the officers.
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Chris_Halkides » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:53 am

A West Virginia cop was fired for not shooting someone. He sized up the situation and decided that the individual was trying to commit suicide by cop. When other officers arrived, they shot the individual, whose gun was not loaded. IMO the misconduct was firing him. He tried to do what one wishes that cops would do, which is to de-escalate and keep everyone alive. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the ... 614d1b94a9
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Numbers » Mon May 01, 2017 7:20 pm

Tampa Bay Times Investigates Why Cops Shoot

"The Tampa Bay Times recently published an investigative report which found that black people are twice as likely as white people to be shot by police after being pulled over for a traffic violation. As the report discusses, police shootings of unarmed black men caught on video over the past several years have ignited a national debate and sustained outrage in communities of color. In response, the Times conducted an in-depth investigation because as Ben Montgomery, reporter and author of the investigation wrote, “[w]ithout data, there’s no scope” of the larger problem.

The investigation, which examines every police shooting in the state of Florida between 2009 and 2014, provides some data, brings the situation into focus for some and confirms what others already knew. The Times found that based on the six-year time period examined, blacks are four times as likely to be shot in the back by police officers. There were four cases in Florida from 2009 to 2014 where an unarmed person was shot in the back by police after a foot chase. Each of those four people was black.

The investigation also uncovered that six unarmed people were shot during a traffic stop when the police officer mistakenly believed that that the person was reaching for a weapon. Five of those six people were black. Twenty-three-year-old Rodney Mitchell was one of those five. According to the report, Rodney was stopped by police officers in Sarasota, Florida, on the night of June 11, 2014, while driving his mom’s car. Forty-one seconds after that stop began, Rodney was shot by two police officers after they instructed him to put the car in park and he reached down to do so. ...."

Source: https://www.innocenceproject.org/tampa- ... ops-shoot/
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Bruce Fischer » Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:37 pm

The Philando Castile case has angered a lot of people and has caused a lot of arguments. I am not looking to start another one. I feel that the case highlights a major issue with conceal and carry laws and I am interested in knowing what others think.

First off, I understand the viewpoint of looking at the Philando Castile case based solely on the legality of the shooting. That is what the trial was for. Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of second degree manslaughter. I have watched the video footage available and I have listened to jurors who were interviewed. The videos do not show what Castile was doing in the car. Therefore, the officer's account of the incident wins the day in court. That’s understandable and I agree with the conclusion. I think the jurors had no choice other than to decide in favor of the officer.

Was race an issue? Not according to the jury. They agreed unanimously during their deliberations that it was not a factor. I know that is the main argument in the media and on social media but it may not have played any role at all in this particular case.

Officer Yanez may not have committed a crime, but his actions showed that he is not best suited to be a police officer. The city he worked for agrees:

“The City of St. Anthony has concluded that the public will be best served if Officer Yanez is no longer a police officer in our city. The city intends to offer Officer Yanez a voluntary separation agreement to help him transition to another career other than being a St. Anthony officer.”

http://www.startribune.com/the-trial-is-over-but-the-pain-remains/429132013/

I know that some will disagree with my view on the case. That’s okay. I believe there is more to this story than the acquittal of Officer Yanez. Castile announced to the officer that he had a gun. At that point, Yanez (in my opinion from watching only the video) lost control of the situation because he got nervous. The NRA lobbies to put a gun in the pocket of every law-abiding citizen in America. But the moment you announce that you have a gun, you are perceived as a threat. Once Castile announced that he had a gun, he became a threat. Seconds later he was fatally wounded.

Would I have been nervous? Absolutely. But I am not a police officer. I have no training in that field and I would most certainly fail if I was put in that situation. Thinking about that has led me to wonder how many police officers have been trained properly on how to handle a person who is legally carrying a weapon. We promote the hell out of guns. We have more guns than people. Are we properly training police officers to handle those who choose to legally conceal and carry?

Yanez told another officer right after the shooting that he got nervous. In my opinion, he panicked. His demeanor right after the shooting shows that he lost control. Would training have helped? I don’t know. Would different commands have made a difference? Would Castile have responded to a command like: “Put both hands on the steering wheel immediately” or “put both hands outside the car window immediately”? I don’t know. From looking at the video, the commands about reaching could have been confused. Castile said he wasn’t reaching for the gun, but maybe he thought he could still reach for his registration. The officer saw him reach. That’s all it took. If Castile didn’t tell the officer that he was carrying a gun, he probably would have gotten a ticket for a taillight and he would have gone on with his day. The announcement of the gun changed everything in a hurry.
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby Chris_Halkides » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:15 pm

"As Julian says, had the same judgment been made in panic by anyone else, there would be no doubt but that he would have been rightfully convicted. When it comes to a cop, all reason is lost and we defer to each cop’s individual feelings of fear. Is this good enough? Is deference to the fear of police officers worth your innocent life?" Scott Greenfield
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby erasmus44 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:09 pm

1. Watching the video, it does seem questionable that the office didn't pause after firing the first shot but - instead - cranked off a few more in quick succession.
2. Training would definitely help - it might also weed out individuals who would not work out well in this situation.
3. I think juries tend to put themselves in the position of the police and ask "would I really have done any better?"
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Re: Alleged Police Misconduct General Discussion Thread

Postby LarryK » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:07 am

Does someone know where the gun actually was? Did Castile actually disobey an order? I've heard that Castile was following some standard advice for legal gun owners when stopped by police. I think there should be less excuse for an officer to fire prematurely than for an ordinary citizen. Supposedly the police should have training to handle such situations, and they should wait until they can see a gun, unless the person is reaching in such a way that they could fire before the officer would have time to react after seeing it. If Castile was reaching for his pants pocket while seated in his car that wouldn't be the case.

I'm glad that Yanez will no longer be a police officer. But I suspect the verdict would have been different for an ordinary citizen in that situation.
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