Good Cop/Bad Cop

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Bowser, Dec 11, 2015.


My feeling about the police...?

  1. They do the best they can while resolving very difficult situations.

    5 vote(s)
  2. They have too much authority and too much leeway for abuse.

    2 vote(s)
  3. They are too quick to shoot. Cops are killers

    1 vote(s)
  4. Anarchy!

    0 vote(s)
  1. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    Okay, maybe it is a bit too lenient. I would think that such cases would be reviewed by the courts. I suppose "resist" is a rather general term that allows for a wide range of scenarios. I will concede that Washington Police may very well have too much liberty when making such judgement. My only other thought on this would be the amount of time a police officer has to weigh legalities when faced with such a choice.
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Police Create Their Own Problems

    "There’s selective enforcement against Mr. Albers, in a situation where we have now seen at least a dozen officers in the selected photos having their rifles raised. This situation of 30 seconds in a 20-year career has literally ruined his life."

    It is easy enough to wallow in schadenfreude when the lawyer representing a police officer facing disciplinary action complains of selective enforcement. After all, selective enforcement is part of the way in which police departments nationwide have earned and maintained the scorn of so many citizens. It is at the heart of the circumstances derisively described as "DWB", or "Driving While Black", and nearly everybody has occasion to wonder who will ever write a police officer a ticket for speeding, running a red light, or general reckless driving.

    Barth's complaint, however, is problematic, and reflects lazy rhetoric so common in our society today. Just as politicians pretend they can't tell the difference, so does the attorney for Ray Albers, a former police lieutenant from St. Ann, a small city infamous for police corruption. In August, 2014, Albers was captured on camera, threatening to murder protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of a police shooting so dubious the state had to throw the grand jury investigation:

    Albers was a lieutenant in the city of St. Ann, a city near Ferguson best known for an infamous and lucrative speed trap. On Aug. 19, 2014, Albers was part of a disorganized police response to protesters, one that involved officers from a number of agencies. During that confrontation, he pointed his weapon at people in a crowd and said "I will fucking kill you" and "Go fuck yourselves" when they asked for his name.

    Another officer from the St. Louis County Police Department had to come over and calm Albers down and lower his weapon. Later, when a Huffington Post reporter took photos of Albers from the sidewalk, he said "Get that camera out of my fucking face.” Videos of Albers’ threats spread online, and his career in St. Ann quickly came to an end.


    Even granting that selective enforcement is in practice a scourge against society, it seems self-evident that getting caught on camera threatening to murder people under color of law is about as solid a selection criterion as society could ask. Ms. Barth's complaint is very nearly comical; that is, it would be funny if the situation wasn't so morbid.

    Still, though, let us grant Barth a benefit of the doubt: If selective enforcement is wrong, then selective enforcement is wrong. And if selective enforcement is wrong, then it always has been. If the disgraced former lieutenant, Mr. Albers, should be excused for his actions because selective enforcement is wrong, then anyone who was ever ticketed, arrested, or convicted because of selective enforcement needs to see the actions against them overturned. And from there, the states will be paying out massive penalties, because subsequent crimes by those convicts need to be retried; illegal arrests and convictions continue to devastate the rest of these people's lives, long after their penal experience is over, and some never escape the penal system. If selective enforcement is wrong, then every cop who ever used it needs to be prosecuted, convicted. And equal protection requires that they be treated like any other convict; that would be hell, for instance, in Nevada↱, where prison guards routinely shoot prisoners for the sake of convenience.

    There is, of course, a problem with that outcome; some assertion of ex post facto will apply, and the way our justice system works, all you need is a prior note from a department lawyer saying your illegal behavior is actually legal, and then you have the cover of such a presumption of good faith that police can get caught lying, and prosecutors see no reason to prosecute the perjury.

    This will only further aggravate public frustration with police departments, because the result is an acute and living manifestation of a common behavioral and rhetorical question. It's one thing to preface by saying, "If we strip out labels like 'Democrat' and 'Republican'", because historically the behavior and concomitant rhetoric are more often invoked from a "conservative" standpoint, and the most visible examples in our society come from politics where such labels apply. Nancy Reagan rolled on stem cells after watching her husband fade away; could that research have saved him? Former Vice President Dick Cheney rolled on gay rights when he had to countenance the fact of homosexuals in his family; Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, as well.

    In this case, the question is selective enforcement, and if Barth's argument prevails, will the practice be prohibited generally, or just not allowed against police? If the latter, does that mean every cop who fudges a detail in a police report should be prosecuted for perjury? Or does that mean getting caught on camera committing a felony is insufficient? If the former, the question remains: Why do they only change their minds when it is one of their own?

    Indeed, the question sort of stands out, anyway. That is to say, the objection to selective enforcement only comes when it's one of their own. You know: Now it's wrong; not all those other times in the past.

    Ms. Barth complains of "a situation where we have now seen at least a dozen officers in the selected photos having their rifles raised"; the next question she needs to answer is how many of those officers were caught on camera threatening to murder people. As it is, she would seem to pretend she is incapable of discerning the difference.

    It is easy enough to wallow in schadenfreude, but it is also problematic. And this is, after all, Missouri, where the Attorney General is known to act as a defense attorney for police facing grand jury investigation, and his deputies are known to deliberately misinform the jurors. We might think the case against Albers is pretty straightforward: He got caught on video, not in a stillshot, threatening to murder people under color of law.

    The implications of Brandi Barth's assertions on her client's behalf are simply dangerous.


    Liebelson, Dana. "The Shooting Gallery". Highline. 2015. 18 December 2015.

    Stewart, Mariah. "Cop Who Threatened To Kill Ferguson Protesters Says His Life Is 'Ruined'". 17 December 2015. 18 December 2015.
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  5. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    Unfortunately, there are certain, erm, flavors of persons who have very good reason to feel “paranoid”—or, as Joe suggested “uncomfortable”—in the presence of cops. I won’t state the obvious ones, but rather a more… esoteric bunch: epileptics.

    Those who are sufficiently epileptic often find that their very temperaments and personalities are shaped and informed by years of uncontrolled, or inadequately controlled, seizing. It’s not wholly unlike ECT as it was practiced in the prior mid-century, albeit in slow-motion. That is to say, they (or we, rather) frequently behave in a kind of 0ff-like manner, even while not actually “sick.” Not violent, nor confrontational, or anything like that, necessarily, just kind of off-like. I can’t really think of another way of describing it, other than, I don’t know, maybe marked by viscosity? Unusual verbosity? Religiosity, albeit not necessarily of religious nature; rather, just a heightened sense of signification?

    Anyways, for reasons unknown, cops present a very clear danger to epileptics. I’ve gotten the shit beaten out of me twice. The first time, I had a secondary generalized, i.e., tonic clonic, seizure while shopping for an alarm clock in a CVS drugstore. Next thing I know, I’m on the ground, all bloodied, with my hands cuffed behind my back. Interestingly, every witness—excepting the stupid fucking cop—realized that I was having a seizure, and not, fuck, I don’t know, attacking the drugstore or something; nevertheless, no medics were called, I was arrested and spent 18 hours in Baltimore central booking, and was denied my fucking medication, which was in my fucking shoulder bag.

    The second time, we had called the police to our home after a drunken and belligerent neighbor had punched through the window of the door to our building. Unfortunately, said neighbor happened to be a friend of one of the cops who responded. I, foolishly, apparently, asked the cop to not call my girlfriend a “stupid fucking bitch” for simply asking him if he was going to make a report, so that we could account for the broken window to our landlord. So he throws me down a short flight of steps, onto the sidewalk, and proceeds to pummel me in the head. Repeatedly. And then he kicks my head. I suffered a concussion, and far more frequent seizing than usual for about three months subsequent.

    The epileptic aspect of this second incident may be less apparent, though I’ve been informed that a non-epileptic would likely have noted the obvious signs of steroid abuse and seething rage, and de-prioritized the compulsion to request civility and equanimity.

    Many other incidents have been averted by friends, acquaintances, and even just passers-by, who somehow managed to inform the cops that I was ill and convince them to act as reasonable human beings.

    For a long while I thought it was just something about me, in particular; however, over the years I’ve heard from and learned of countless epileptics who’ve experienced very much the same treatment from cops. I honestly cannot figure out what provokes such reactions from cops, but then I can’t quite figure why they’re so keen on shooting black kids either.

    So, in short, your contention that people oughtn’t feel “paranoid” around cops is utter and complete bullshit.
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  7. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    Hmmm, no rebuttal to my previous rebuttal—so I’m guessing it’s agreed that many of us do, in fact, have damn good reason to be “uncomfortable” in the presence of cops? Ja?

    Anyhow, then there’s dogs: American cops murder dogs at truly staggering, borderline genocidal rates—need I really provide stats? ( But this one’s a gem:


    I can provide countless more examples of why both dogs and epileptics ought rightly fear the police, but I often wonder… why bother? Humans aren’t a terribly adaptive or educable bunch in my experience.

    I’ve often said that a person can truly know and live the ethical life via interaction with a dog, but what of the person whose first impulse is to murder a dog on sight? Little hope for these sorts. And, as dogs are legally regarded as “property” in this sick society, consequences for such actions are, well, scarcely even existent.

    I’ll go out on a limb here and venture that our staunch defenders of the police here are all reasonably affluent white males with no visible, or readily discernible, ”idiosyncracies”—am I right?
    iceaura likes this.
  8. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    cops should be arrested for animal cruelty. I know the sentence is a joke but still.
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    On Death and Duty

    This is how it goes:

    When Sandra Bland was found dead in her jail cell last July, her story fueled protests against police violence and conversations about the invisible plight of black women in the criminal justice system. But there were at least four other black women who died in jail that month.

    One of them was Joyce Curnell, who was arrested for unpaid court fines. Now, seven months after her body was found, her family is taking legal action against the jail’s medical contractor. They say Curnell died from water deprivation.


    Or in more detail:

    She spent the last 27 hours of her life behind bars. During that time she became too sick to eat or call for help, according to court documents filed this week. She vomited all night and couldn’t make it to a bathroom, so jailers gave her a trash bag. Some medical staffers ignored the jail officials’ requests to tend to her, the documents alleged.


    Around noon on July 21, Curnell was taken from Edisto Island by ambulance to the hospital as she complained of nausea and vomiting. She was diagnosed in the emergency room with gastroenteritis, an irritation of the stomach and intestines.

    At some point at the hospital, it was discovered that she had a bench warrant in a 2011 shoplifting case. She had been put on a payment plan in April 2012 to cover $1,148.90 in fines related to the charge, according to court records, but she quit paying the following January. After she didn’t respond to a letter from the court, the warrant was issued in August 2014.

    No one could tell The Post and Courier how law enforcement got word of the warrant as she lay in the hospital last summer.

    The Charleston Police Department was first summoned there, but officers later called deputies from the Sheriff’s Office. Watson said he could not immediately find documentation about how the authorities learned of Curnell’s charge.

    (Knapp and Munday↱)

    That latter telling, from the Post and Courier, suggests six women of color died behind bars last July, compared to the five according to ThinkProgress.

    To the other, this is law enforcement, so nobody will ever spend a day in prison for this. After all, their deadly negligence came in good faith.


    Townes, Carmiah. "South Carolina Woman Found Dead In Jail ‘Deprived Of Water’". ThinkProgress. 25 February 2016. 25 February 2016.

    Knapp, Andrew and Dave Munday. "Lawyers say woman, 50, died after being ‘deprived of water’ at Charleston County jail". The Post and Courier. 24 February 2016. 25 February 2016.
  10. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    I'd go further. I won't specify how far I'd personally prefer, but at the very least, they should be suspended for an extended duration and ordered to attend whatever kind of "therapy" they've got for sadistic fucks. They should be arrested and imprisoned for murder.

    But again, personally I'd take it much, much further.

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