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Timeline of a tragedy: The Michael Brown story so far

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msnbc:

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Violence continues to erupt in Ferguson, Mo., more than a week after the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown by policeman Darren Wilson. The 18-year-old’s family demands justice be brought to their son with the arrest of the six-year veteran officer. Protesters have clashed with authorities as control over security shifted from local police to St. Louis County officers to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Gov. Jay Nixon has since called in the Missouri National Guard. And the Brown family continues to prepare for the teenager’s funeral arrangements amid completion of three separate autopsies.

http://on.msnbc.com/1vepKqA

Great timeline.

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can you explain about the milk? was it protesters breaking in? was it employees? are there two different mcdonalds and two different situations? the media seems to waffle on this point so i'm a little confused

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Milk from a McDonalds was used to flush out the eyes of people who had been hit with tear gas. It appeared from some vantage points that people were looting, but they were just grabbing milk for those in need. McDonalds’ corporate office issued a statement verifying the location had not been looted. 

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Sunil Dutta Tells It Like It Is About American Policing

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Sunil Dutta, a "professor of homeland security" at Colorado Tech University, was an LAPD cop for 17 years. Today, the Washington Post ran his column explaining how citizens should interact with the police.

First, Dutta talks about the challenges cops face from rude civilians:

Working the street, I can’t even count how many times I withstood curses, screaming tantrums, aggressive and menacing encroachments on my safety zone, and outright challenges to my authority. In the vast majority of such encounters, I was able to peacefully resolve the situation without using force. Cops deploy their training and their intuition creatively, and I wielded every trick in my arsenal, including verbal judo, humor, warnings and ostentatious displays of the lethal (and nonlethal) hardware resting in my duty belt. One time, for instance, my partner and I faced a belligerent man who had doused his car with gallons of gas and was about to create a firebomb at a busy mall filled with holiday shoppers. The potential for serious harm to the bystanders would have justified deadly force. Instead, I distracted him with a hook about his family and loved ones, and he disengaged without hurting anyone. Every day cops show similar restraint and resolve incidents that could easily end up in serious injuries or worse.

Note how Dutta unsubtly conflates genuinely dangerous things — like threatening to set off a gas bomb — with curses, "tantrums," and "outright challenges to my authority." This sleight-of-hand miscategorization is how cops convince us they need the power to order us to refrain from gathering in one place to protest or put away that menacing cell phone or stop being developmentally disabled around them. See, cops know what is dangerous, and if you say they shouldn't be able to tell you not to do whatever they say is dangerous, you're really saying you should be allowed to set off gasoline bombs at the mall.

We are still learning what transpired between Officer Darren Wilson and Brown, but in most cases it’s less ambiguous — and officers are rarely at fault. When they use force, they are defending their, or the public’s, safety.

"Rarely" is an empirical term; Dutta does not cite evidence. Certainly cops are very rarely deemed responsible by the justice system for use of force. But a rather rather large number of people are killed by police every year; we don't know exactly how many, and we have no reliable resource to test law enforcement asserts that the killings are justified. Never mind lesser violence, like tasing and pepper spraying people, or things not classified as uses of force, like forcible torture and rape of suspects under the guise of "investigation," or situations where police got innocent people killed through idiocy.

But this is Dutta's main point:

Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?

Note now nicely this dovetails with Dutta's first point. First, Dutta gets to decide what is dangerous and what he can order you to cease doing. Because gas bombs! Second, if you keep doing it, that's a tasing. Or a beating. Or a shooting.

Dutta's message is this: a cop can always tell you what to do, and you have to take it, or else. (The "else" is violence.)

We have a justice system in which you are presumed innocent; if a cop can do his or her job unmolested, that system can run its course. Later, you can ask for a supervisor, lodge a complaint or contact civil rights organizations if you believe your rights were violated. Feel free to sue the police! Just don’t challenge a cop during a stop.

This is either blissfully naive or breathtakingly dishonest. Do we have a justice system? By name, yes. Is it effective in deterring cops from abusing citizens or punishing them when they do? No. If you go and ask that supervisor to lodge a complaint, better have a lawyer's phone number, because you may get threatened and harassed. If you hope the cop will be charged criminally for misbehavior, you're going to be waiting a very long time for no result. When it comes to breaking the law, the system treats you one way and cops another.

But Dutta's rationales are mere window dressing. His core message is this:

Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you.

The outrageous thing is not that he says it. The outrageous thing is that we accept it.

Would we accept "if you don't want to get shot, just do what the EPA regulator tells you"? Would we yield to "if you don't want your kid tased, do what the Deputy Superintendent of Education tells you"? Would we accept "if you don't want to get tear gassed, just do what your Congressman tells you?" No. Our culture of individualism and liberty would not permit it. Yet somehow, through generations of law-and-order rhetoric and near-deification of law enforcement, we have convinced ourselves that cops are different, and that it is perfectly acceptable for them to be able to order us about, at their discretion, on pain of violence.

It's not acceptable. It is servile and grotesque.

Sunil Dutta Tells It Like It Is About American Policing © 2007-2014 by the authors of Popehat. This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. Using this feed on any other site is a copyright violation. No scraping.

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1 public comment
neilcar
2 days ago
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The mind of modern policing -- "[I]f you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you."
Charlotte, North Carolina
karll
2 days ago
Let me slightly rearrange the sentence: Do what I tell you or I will shoot you, tase you, pepper-spray you, strike you with a baton or throw you to the ground.

beeishappy: Phillip Agnew of The Dream Defenders. The Dream...

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beeishappy:

Phillip Agnew of The Dream Defenders. The Dream Defenders is a human rights organization that’s building leadership and power among young people of colour to challenge racism in their communities.Phillip Agnew on All In

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How Ferguson Highlights the Dangers of For-Profit Policing

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How Ferguson Highlights the Dangers of For-Profit Policing:

shortformblog:

Slate highlights the financial dynamics that led to the insane police situation in Ferguson:

When you split a metro area into dozens of tiny local governments (St. Louis County, to be clear, doesn’t include the actual city of St. Louis, which spun off from it in the 19th century), they tend to duplicate each others’ services, which is of course extremely expensive. But raising taxes so that each tiny borough can afford its own police and fire department is a nonstarter, since wealthy residents can always just move one town over. End result: You have police departments that self-fund by handing out tickets. And thanks to the delightful racial dynamics of U.S. law enforcement, black residents are disproportionately stopped and accosted, even though police in Ferguson are less likely to find contraband when they search black drivers than when they search whites.

In other words, Ferguson’s police department financially buoys itself by treating its residents like crap.

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fakegirlgamer: Did You Know Gaming: if you collect gamer tears in a jar they will dramatically...

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fakegirlgamer:

Did You Know Gaming: if you collect gamer tears in a jar they will dramatically enhance the taste of any cocktail you make

It turns out they actually help treat migraines, too.

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