Well, At Least He’s Honest


Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

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82 Responses

  1. Jim Heffman says:

    That’s the thing that a lot of people don’t seem to recognize about interacting with the police: that it doesn’t matter whether what they’re doing is illegal. Punishment or restitution for illegal police activity is dealt with after the fact. You can say “it’s not legal for you to search my car without consent”, and you might even be right, but there have in fact been court cases where the judge found that it’s still OK for them to look–and if you try to prevent them doing it, they can arrest you.Report

  2. greginak says:

    For certain classes of citizens a “simple traffic stop” might also be a life and death encounter. And they know it.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to greginak says:

      Heck, for every class of citizen, a “simple traffic stop” is an encounter with someone carrying a deadly weapon.

      But yes, certain classes of citizen have more statistical reason to fear violence at the hands of police.Report

      • Barry in reply to dragonfrog says:

        There’s an old Japanese phrase which translates to ‘cutting off the head and walking away’; it referred to a samurai’s right to kill a peasant for any reason (or none) whatsoever. I think that that sums up a lot of the racial angle, unless leaving a white teenager’s corpse on the street for hours is normal, or having a white teenager’s bullet-riddled corpse in your morgue and not bothering to try to identify it is normal.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog says:

        That’s a good way of looking at it. Everyone in feudal Japan talking to a samurai was dealing with a heavily armed man who was probably quick to violence as a matter of professionalism. But peasants had much more reason to fear – and to the extent black people and other PoC are in the same boat now, then we haven’t really gotten rid of feudalism.Report

  3. Philip H says:

    When I posted this to my Facebook page today, I put this as my personal lead-in:

    The problem which this officer, and so many more, fail to grasp is that after decades of disrespectful, discourteous, racially profiled “interactions” many minority communities and their members don’t actually expect courtesy, and thus have a hard time giving it back. Like it or not, Officer Dutta and his fellows are paying for the sins of their brethren. And when those other officers act first and question later or not at all, its not the person being stopped who has escalated things.

    More and more we’re seeing cops take on ordinary law abiding citizens simply because they feel they can. Photographers, for instance, are now routinely being stopped, harassed, detained and in some cases arrested for taking pictures of public buildings in public places. the reason – people taking pictures in cities makes others “uncomfortable” because it looks like planning for a terrorist attack. Which it isn’t.

    But we’ll amble on, proclaim the victim the guilty party, and clamp down even harder on our minority citizens, our disenfranchsied citizens – anyone who isn’t “us.” Then Martin Niemoller’s words will ring as true here as they did in Nazi Germany “Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    I’m wondering if there’s anything that a cop could possibly say that would get someone in authority over him to say “okay, this police officer has demonstrated that he ought not be an officer of the law.”Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      “I have witnessed wrongdoing on the part of my fellow officers. I have witnessed wrongdoing on the part of the union.”Report

    • zic in reply to Jaybird says:

      Yup; our prior town manager seriously wanted to fire the chief. Was not easy, and the TM probably didn’t get his contract renewed because of it.

      A few years later, the voters in town opted to disband our local force and contract services from the county sheriff’s office (where the TM had moved on to, btw).

      There’s fewer complaints of harassment from a more professional and better trained force and faster response times, as well. And it costs a lot less. Good deal all the way around.Report

    • Kim in reply to Jaybird says:

      When the FBI comes in, the officers go packing…Report

  5. morat20 says:

    There’s was a cop, in my town, referred to as ‘Officer Friendly’ by the local high school staff. They saw a lot of him — he tended to be the one who showed up for any call to the school, and the nickname of ‘friendly’ was not affectionate, but quite sarcastic.

    He was the one who made my brother wait five minutes, less than two blocks from the hospital, while my father bled profusely over the car, before finally ticketing him (failure to signal when changing lanes) and following him to the hospital. In case the bleeding was some clever ruse. (My dad’s been on blood thinners for decades).

    He didn’t care a bit that a guy was bleeding heavily in the car, didn’t hurry, and basically made the process as long as possible just to show he could.

    He eventually got..let go, during some lay-offs, mostly because he was a jerk personally as well as professionally and even the other cops couldn’t stand him. Official complaints didn’t do a darn thing.Report

    • ScarletNumbers in reply to morat20 says:

      It is easy to say this now, but I like to think I would have kept driving.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to ScarletNumbers says:

        I would have to, into the ER

        My brother was 17, and had long hair. I suspect the officer was looking forward to searching the car for drugs, but the presence of a bleeding parent ruined his fun night.

        Conservative area, back then. (Still is, but not so bad). Teenager, young adult with that no-good hippy troublemaker look?

        He’d drive into the ER now too. But not as a driver with a year’s worth of experience.Report

      • Kim in reply to ScarletNumbers says:

        it’s cops like that who get blackmailed into “you’re not going to touch me” orders.
        Small towns are a bitch, but that’s what people do when the cops are too stupid to know who not to piss off.Report

  6. James Hanley says:

    Thank you, Patrick.Report

  7. Mike Schilling says:

    The moment a suspect submits and stops resisting, the officers must cease use of force.

    So if he doesn’t cease use of force, the suspect was still resisting. QED.Report

    • Chris in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Exactly. “Stop resisting,” “How am I resisting?! You have my arms around my back, my legs pinned, your knee in my spine, another officer’s knee on my head, and you’re tasing me repeatedly.” “If you’d stop resisting we wouldn’t be doing any of those things.”Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Chris says:

        I don’t know how many people here are familiar with testimony from the trial of the officers who beat Rodney King, but an “expert” for the defense showed how on the video you can see King’s body jerk each time the officers hit him with their batons, and described each of those jerks as a threatening movement justifying another blow with a baton.

        In court. Under oath.

        This is our America.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        I’ve mentioned this before, but a friend of mine was beaten by a cop w/baton, for a completely BS nonviolent reason (and my friend looks even less threatening than I do).

        When said friend tried to fall to the floor to escape the rain of blows – that got him a “resisting arrest” charge.

        Because, you know, attempting to escape a beating with a club is “resistance”. Submit to the blows.

        Anyway, “Stop Resisting!” is just what I assume cops are taught (not officially, but…) to say, repeatedly, while the scuffle goes on, to cover their asses.

        It’s more for the benefit of any onlookers, to try to control the narrative, than an actual instruction to the suspect.

        It’s like a feeble attempt at the world’s stupidest Jedi mind trick.

        “This is *not* a suspect who is *not* resisting.” [waves palm at onlookers]Report

      • morat20 in reply to Chris says:

        Wasn’t it Ferguson cops who first denied beating a man in custody, while simultaneously charging him for damaging police property — he got his dirty blood all over their uniforms.Report

  8. Patrick says:

    If there was ever a case to reject an Internet kill switch, or a case to remove restrictions on civilian use of drones, we’re looking at it right now over the last week in Ferguson.Report

    • Kim in reply to Patrick says:

      There NEED to be restrictions on civilian use of drones. Sorry, but there’s gotta be. Airspace is kinda precious, and we don’t need… well, the kind of trouble that unregulated drones could get up to.
      [That being said, some evasion and “stay the fuck out of other plane’s airspace” is probably all that we really need. Along with some anti-peeping laws, which won’t be terribly well enforced.]Report

      • Patrick in reply to Kim says:

        There already are pretty strong limitations on drone use (not that everybody follows them). You currently can’t fly a drone in Class B airspace (which is most of urban America), legally.

        I agree, the regulations on drones need to be there. But like the regulations on the airwaves, a lot of the rules can be suspended in emergencies.Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        I think most of urban America is Class G, actually.
        Guess Class B helps explain why they’re testing in Pittsburgh, though.
        (Drone, meet pothole. Pothole Wins!)Report

      • Patrick in reply to Kim says:

        Here’s NPR’s report on drones.

        There’s a pretty awesome airspace map, made up for ultralight pilots, but it’s just a map of all of the airspace classes in the US. Everything in yellow is Class B. It doesn’t seem like a lot of yellow when you’re zoomed all the way out… but zoom in on your local urban area and there’s not much non-yellow in there.Report

  9. Chris says:

    By the way, I was watching that Vice livestream last night when things went insane. It was pretty intense. It was just before or just after 11 PM central, which I believe was just after the 2 hour mark (maybe 2:15) of the feed. Protesters in the street, police threats, more protesters in the street, sterner police threats, bottle (just a bottle) thrown, smoke, flash bangs, then gas, then live fire, then running for their lives. With the dark, the flashing lights, and the explosions, it looks like hell on earth, and from what I gather, for many of the people who live in the immediate area, it really was.Report

  10. dexter says:

    Al Jazeera has a short segment with the police chief threatening to beat the ass of the reporter. The reporter says he has film and the chief pig (excuse me but my attitude from the sixties are reappearing) said “that doesn’t matter because he will confiscate it. But, ha, ha , ha. There it is for all the world to see. Some cops are not only mean, but so fucking dumb.Report

  11. j r says:

    Do what the officer tells you to and it will end safely for both of you.

    Too bad he wasn’t old enough to read the Washington Post: http://m.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/lawyer-county-refuses-pay-medical-bills-toddler-hu/ng3s9/

    Habersham County officials say they do not plan to pay for the medical expenses of a toddler seriously injured during a police raid.

    Bounkham Phonesavah, affectionately known as “Baby Boo Boo,” spent weeks in a burn unit after a SWAT team’s flash grenade exploded near his face. The toddler was just 19-months-old and asleep in the early morning hours of May 28. SWAT officers threw the device into his home while executing a search warrant for a drug suspect.Report

  12. dragonfrog says:

    It will be interesting to see what counterpoint the WaPo runs in a couple of days…Report

    • Kolohe in reply to dragonfrog says:

      I would imagine Radley Balko is going to write something, as I first saw this article under his twitter feed (through a retweet of Matt Welch)Report

    • Barry in reply to dragonfrog says:

      That rag should have been given a hard shut-down during the Iraq War. It’s clear that it’s going from a neocon ‘we love’ war propaganda outfit to a ‘we love fascism’ propaganda outfit.Report

  13. NobAkimoto says:

    Washington Post: The Fascist Newspaper of Record.Report

  14. LeeEsq says:

    The fact that cops are defining themselves against citizens is a very bad sign.Report

  15. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    They are so insulated from the public they serve that they can not recognize just how bad it is.


    I actually lost a friend some time ago over issues like this. He was a newly minted cop & could not tolerate me being critical of the profession.Report

  16. Burt Likko says:

    This is a very strange article. On the one hand, its headline is pretty damn provocative and occasionally the text is too, so it’s not just the editor who wrote the headline. But at times, the author seems to try and reach a point of some nuance between immediate physical deference to the police in the field, and asserting one’s rights lawfully. The author seems to understand that there are some wrongful arrests, that there are cops who are bullies and who abuse their power; at the same time, he seems to urge deference to them, too.

    It’s hard to impress upon a layperson that they have to be submissive and agreeable, allowing an officer to take and keep control of a stop, while also refusing to consent to certain (but not all) searches. If it’s asking too much of a cop to know the nuances of when a warrantless vehicle search is permitted and when it isn’t, how much greater a burden is it to ask that of an ordinary civilian? That seems like a pretty big ask to me.Report

    • ScarletNumbers in reply to Burt Likko says:

      If it’s asking too much of a cop to know the nuances of when a warrantless vehicle search is permitted and when it isn’t, how much greater a burden is it to ask that of an ordinary civilian?

      I think the cop knows that the vehicle search isn’t permitted, but he is hoping that he can bluff the driver into allowing it.Report

    • trizzlor in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I think the problem is that the author is attempting to give practical paternalistic advice while keeping his “agent of the state” hat on. Stripped of all the posturing, this is actually very close to the guidance I would give my kids about dealing with the police: the system is heavily skewed to protect the officer, so say as little as possible, follow whatever orders you are legally required to (get confirmation if you don’t know), and we’ll deal with fairness after the fact. This is not bad advice, but it is protocol that civilians use to keep themselves safe from a broken police system, not protocol that the system itself should be proudly advocating.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to trizzlor says:

        Remember when we talked about how Black friends of ours get “The Talk”?

        This is a cop giving everybody, absofreakingeverybody, The Talk.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to trizzlor says:

        Derb was within one word of the truth:

        Avoid concentrations of police not all known to you personally.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to trizzlor says:

        Holy crap… well, I just tried to do a word substitution version of Derb’s column but I couldn’t make it flow.

        But… dang. Well done.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to trizzlor says:

        (1) Among your fellow citizens are one hundred and twenty thousand who identify as police officers, and whom I shall refer to as cops. The cumbersome term “constable” seems to be in decline, thank goodness. “Smokey” and “Fuzz” are archaisms. What you must call “the ‘P’ word” is used freely among police but is taboo to nonpolice.

        (2) Your own ancestry is whatever it is, but cops will take you to be non-police.

        (3) The default principle in everyday personal encounters is, that as a fellow citizen, with the same rights and obligations as yourself, any individual cop is entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to a nonpolice citizen. That is basic good manners and good citizenship. In some unusual circumstances, however—e.g., paragraph (9h) below—this default principle should be overridden by considerations of personal safety.

        (4) As with any population of such a size, there is great variation among cops in every human trait (except, obviously, the trait of identifying oneself as police). They come fat, thin, tall, short, dumb, smart, introverted, extroverted, honest, crooked, athletic, sedentary, fastidious, sloppy, amiable, and obnoxious. There are cop geniuses and cop morons. There are cop saints and cop psychopaths. In a population of one hundred and twenty thousand, you will find almost any human type. Only at the far, far extremes of certain traits are there absences. There are, for example, no cop Fields Medal winners. While this is civilizationally consequential, it will not likely ever be important to you personally. Most people live and die without ever meeting (or wishing to meet) a Fields Medal winner.

        (5) As you go through life, however, you will experience an ever larger number of encounters with cops. Assuming your encounters are random—for example, not restricted only to cop convicted murderers or to cop investment bankers—the Law of Large Numbers will inevitably kick in. You will observe that the means—the averages—of many traits are very different for cops and non-cop Americans, as has been confirmed by methodical inquiries in the human sciences.

        (6) Of most importance to your personal safety are the very different means for antisocial behavior, which you will see reflected in, for instance, school disciplinary measures, political corruption, and criminal convictions.

        (7) These differences are magnified by the hostility many cops feel toward non-police. Thus, while cop-on-cop behavior is more antisocial in the average than is non-cop-on-non-cop behavior, average cop-on-non-cop behavior is a degree more antisocial yet.

        (8) A small cohort of cops—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to non-cops and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of cops—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of professional solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that non-cops have it coming.

        (9) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:

        (9a) Avoid concentrations of cops not all known to you personally.

        (9b) Stay out of heavily cop neighborhoods.

        (9c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with cops on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).

        (9d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of cops.

        (9e) If you are at some public event at which the number of cops suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.

        (9f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by cop politicians.

        (9g) Before voting for a cop politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a non-cop.

        (9h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to cops in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.

        (9i) If accosted by a strange cop in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.

        (10) The mean intelligence of cops is much lower than for non-polices. The least intelligent ten percent of non-cops have IQs below 81; forty percent of cops have IQs that low. Only one cop in six is more intelligent than the average non-cop; five non-cops out of six are more intelligent than the average cop. These differences show in every test of general cognitive ability that anyone, of any race or nationality, has yet been able to devise. They are reflected in countless everyday situations. “Life is an IQ test.”

        (11) There is a magnifying effect here, too, caused by affirmative action. In a pure meritocracy there would be very low proportions of cops in cognitively demanding jobs. Because of affirmative action, the proportions are higher. In government work, they are very high. Thus, in those encounters with strangers that involve cognitive engagement, ceteris paribus the cop stranger will be less intelligent than the non-cop. In such encounters, therefore—for example, at a government office—you will, on average, be dealt with more competently by a non-cop than by a cop. If that hostility-based magnifying effect (paragraph 8) is also in play, you will be dealt with more politely, too. “The DMV lady“ is a statistical truth, not a myth.

        (12) In that pool of one hundred and twenty thousand, there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized cops. (I’ll use IWSC as an ad hoc abbreviation.) You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSCs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.

        (13) Be aware, however, that there is an issue of supply and demand here. Demand comes from organizations and businesses keen to display racial propriety by employing IWSCs, especially in positions at the interface with the general public—corporate sales reps, TV news presenters, press officers for government agencies, etc.—with corresponding depletion in less visible positions. There is also strong private demand from middle- and upper-class non-cops for personal bonds with IWSCs, for reasons given in the previous paragraph and also (next paragraph) as status markers.

        (14) Unfortunately the demand is greater than the supply, so IWSCs are something of a luxury good, like antique furniture or corporate jets: boasted of by upper-class non-polices and wealthy organizations, coveted by the less prosperous. To be an IWSC in present-day US society is a height of felicity rarely before attained by any group of human beings in history. Try to curb your envy: it will be taken as prejudice (see paragraph 12).Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to trizzlor says:

        Really nice.Report

      • Patrick in reply to trizzlor says:

        I’d comment rescue it, it’s so well done… but it’s too damn depressing.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to trizzlor says:


        Seems to flow quite nicely.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to trizzlor says:

        From 10 on, it might work better to substitute something like “ability to hide their rage” for “intelligence”, and then go into how cops who can appear to be heroes rather than brutes are essential props for law-and-order politicians and pundits.Report

    • Barry in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Burt, notice that ‘nuance’ here equates disrespect with legitimate threats to an officer’s safety, and also ends up at a conclusion summarized as ‘do what we say, or we’re justified in doing anything, even if we’re doing something illegal.

      There’s just a fog of words providing an illusion of nuance.

      For all – note that one of this guy’s jobs was ‘internal affairs investigator’. If this is the attitude of those guys, …….Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Barry says:

        The job of an internal affairs investigator is to investigate accusations against his fellow cops, and determine the level of guilt of the accuser.Report

  17. trizzlor says:

    Not to mention that a simple YouTube search for “am I free to go” shows that many police officers have come to see this question as only more reason to antagonize and harass.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to trizzlor says:

      I definitely was a little skeptical about how well we should really expect trying that one is likely to go with real flesh-and-blood officers regardless of this guy’s advice. I’ve had occasion to perhaps use it, and even if I had had the phrase ready in my mind, I can’t see myself thinking it would’ve served me well to do it. I suppose if a stop goes on for an extended length of time i could see myself getting to that point.Report

      • @michael-drew It reminds me of when police officers say that if you are concerned for your safety, you can wait until you are in a well lit area or in a public place before pulling over.

        Which is all fine and good until you’re Dibor Roberts.

        I wrote a post on this a long time ago, when in my hometown they had a problem with a criminal pretending to be a cop and pulling people over to do bad things. The local PD reminded everybody of the rights they would likely proceed to ignore if anybody actually asserted them.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Drew says:


        I heard about a case where a guy was caught impersonating a cop because he pulled over the mayor’s motorcade for speeding. I think is was somewhere in Louisiana but I could be wrong. IIRC you are from South Carolina?Report

      • Kim in reply to Michael Drew says:

        There are a lot of cues you can give to ask “please, let me go” without having to direct a question at an officer.Report

  18. Saul Degraw says:

    A friend of mine posted about this on facebook today.

    On LGM, they posted a poll that showed 1/3 of white people felt the police in Fergusson went too far, another 1/3 thought the police DID NOT go far enough, and another third had no opinion.

    This 2/3rds of white people is the problem. One-Third is at best fascist if not out right racist as well. This is the old Nixonian Law and Order crowd. This is the crowd that lives in leafy suburbs and is scarred shitless of crime even though crime is falling. They think we are just around the corner for complete societal collapse and anarchy at any second. The other third just wants to be ostriches with their heads in the sand and pretend nothing is wrong, all things are good, don’t get involved.

    So yeah, we have a problem.

    Many police officers seem to think they are above the law. We seem to have a good chunk of citizens who want them to be.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      What is it with you and suburbs? You think that people who lives in cities but avoid “bad neighborhoods” like plague spots, or live in rural areas far from any minorities aren’t represented too?Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Schilling says:


        I grew up in a suburb. If I got married and had kids, I would probably move back to the suburbs so I could send my kids to public school and they can have a yard. I actually really love Marin and would love a house in Mill Valley or Fairfax or Ross.

        The line on suburbs came from an essay on the Federalist theorizing why Republican suburbanites are likely to be pro-cop:

        “For many conservatives, especially those of us living in nice, comfy suburbs, it’s hard to apply the ‘power corrupts’ doctrine to law enforcement because we’ve never seen corrupted enforcers of the law.”


        But I generally do think that the cops know who pays the bill and are possibly more subservient or deferential in suburbs especially upper-middle class and white ones than in cities. When I lived in Brooklyn, I lived in a super-gentrified part of Brooklyn and a part known more for families than young singletons. The area middle and high schools were 99 percent minority in terms of student body and the cops were always out at the start and end of school to make sure kids got on the subway and home as soon as possible. It always pissed me off. Would cops in Mill Valley harass local teenagers hanging out around town after school let’s out?Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        “For many conservatives, especially those of us living in nice, comfy suburbs, it’s hard to apply the ‘power corrupts’ doctrine to law enforcement because we’ve never seen corrupted enforcers of the law.”

        Tell that to my white middle aged friend in Carmel, Indiana, median imcome >$100k, who was beaten by police on his own porch, and this year had one of thise same officers charge down his driveway, gun drawn, because his neighbor called in a loose dog violation.

        Suburbanites are safer, not safe.Report

      • dhex in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        the harassment in carrol gardens and boerum hill when school lets out was driven/excused by a series of after school fights and assaults in the early 2000s. most of these were simple brawls between students or the usual hipster/preggo smash n’ grab, but there were a few that gained attention right after we moved there in 2002.

        the optics are definitely ugly, however.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Schilling says:


        Conceded but I would often say, they are significantly safer.


        I didn’t know that. I moved into Boreum Hill/Carroll Gardens in November 2006 and left in July 2008. So I just saw the harassment.Report

  19. Damon says:

    “Oh, do what the officer tells you to do anyway. The system will protect you. Lodge a complaint against the officer”

    Yes, because we’ve not seen those videos showing it different, because we’ve not read about the court cases deciding it differently, because we’ve not see proof cops lie, that we’ve not seen DA’s not prosecute obviously guilty cops, because we’ve not see the “system” protect it’s own.Report

  20. James Pearce says:

    “And therein I think we have the reveal of the disconnect.

    This police officer, armed with a gun, and a bulletproof vest, and an enormous amount of legal authority, and little practical oversight, regards every traffic stop as a potentially dangerous encounter.”

    Well, to be fair, every traffic stop IS a potentially dangerous encounter, in the same way that every scratch ticket is a potential winner.

    These things tend to reveal themselves pretty quickly.

    I’m sure the officer who mercilessly beat Marlene Pinnock on the side of the La Brea freeway thought he was encountering a potentially dangerous person. But it should have occurred to him rather quickly, hopefully before the first blow, that he was not.

    I don’t mind if police regard every situation as potentially dangerous. I just expect them to be able to assess the situation quickly and accurately, and then act accordingly.

    I don’t want to hear the “It’s a dangerous job, so I’m cocked and loaded 24-7 because you never know.” No man, turn in your badge and gun. The guy doing that job should know.Report

    • Jim Heffman in reply to James Pearce says:

      “I’m sure the officer who mercilessly beat Marlene Pinnock on the side of the La Brea freeway thought he was encountering a potentially dangerous person.”

      I’m sure Kenyon Youngstrom thought he was doing a routine traffic stop for a minor technical violation.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jim Heffman says:


        Your point is weak. Police must accept that the job they do comes with a certain amount of risk. It’s why they get the badge, the handcuffs, the baton, the spray, the taser, & the massive benefit of the doubt.

        Kenyon Youngstrom accepted that risk when he put on the badge & gun. Marlene Pinnock did not accept the risk of a beating by an agent of the government when she was walking on that ramp (the risk of getting hit by a car, sure, but a beating?).

        This is the point I’ve been trying to make in other threads recently. Like the military, police must accept a not-insignificant amount of risk as part of the job. Their lives are, to a substantial degree, secondary to the lives of common citizens. The fact that too many officers feel that their lives have a primacy above that of ordinary citizens is a disease within the ranks that needs to be purged.Report

  21. Damon says:

    Ken White, over at Popehat, has a nice “analysis” of Dutta’s article. And by “analysis” I mean shredding.


  22. Barry says:

    Kim :
    “There are a lot of cues you can give to ask “please, let me go” without having to direct a question at an officer.”

    Farting rainbows will certainly make the officer behave, and summoning a herd of unicorns has some intimidation benefit. But I usually keep my wand nearby, and use an Imperius spell as the officer is walking up to me.

    That also works great when buying cars, houses,…Report

  23. Barry says:

    August 20, 2014 at 7:37 am
    “For many conservatives, especially those of us living in nice, comfy suburbs, it’s hard to apply the ‘power corrupts’ doctrine to law enforcement because we’ve never seen corrupted enforcers of the law.”

    James Hanley: “Tell that to my white middle aged friend in Carmel, Indiana, median imcome >$100k, who was beaten by police on his own porch, and this year had one of thise same officers charge down his driveway, gun drawn, because his neighbor called in a loose dog violation.

    Suburbanites are safer, not safe.”

    How many of your friends and neighbors were shocked and surprised by that beating? Now, go to a poor black/Hispanic[1] neighborhood, and see how many were shocked and surprised by the most recent police beating? Angered, but not shocked and not surprised.

    [1] And probably in a poor white neighborhood.Report

  24. krogerfoot says:

    I’m late to this, but I still can’t stop asking myself what in the flippin’ heck is a professor of homeland security. He teaches courses to whom, homelands? Or is he not a PhD/Dr. Hanley/professor professor, but one who professes? He declares that the homeland is secure from his faculty office at Colorado Tech?

    Well, I looked it up.

    Next time I’m in an American airport, it’ll be interesting to idly try to guess whether the TSA agent yelling at me to take my shoes off got his or her job by responding to an ad on a pizza box, or by earning a master’s degree in homeland security in Colorado Springs.Report

  25. El Muneco says:

    Somewhat ironically, considering the homeland security connection, I got a serious vibe off of this reminding me of the pre-9-11 “how to deal with a hijacker” advice.
    Stay calm, do what he says (even if it’s unusual or immoral), don’t do anything to aggravate the situation, take the plane where he directs, we’ll deal with reparations/recriminations once he’s let everyone go…Report

    • Glyph in reply to El Muneco says:

      This is not totally fair (I agree with @trizzlor above that the guy appears to awkwardly be attempting to dispense real-world practical “civilian” advice, while still keeping his “cop” hat on), but this line:

      How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?

      Calls to mind something like:

      “Just lie back and think of America. It will be over soon.”Report

  26. Vikram Bath says:

    Sunil Dutta, a professor of homeland security at Colorado Tech University, an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department for 17 years

    Wait. There have been Indian police officers?Report

  27. Glyph says:

    Semi-OT, and I know there’s been some Gawker-bashing ’round here lately, but this is a little piece on how hard it is to get data on how many police shootings occur in the US (NPR also did a piece).

    Worth a read, and the author is attempting to crowdsource research for a database on his website; he’s got a whole slew of police shootings that he’s collected that anyone can research and fill in details for. If you’ve got free time to do one (he says they take about 25 minutes, I haven’t checked), could be a worthwhile effort.Report