Southern Justice


Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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38 Responses

  1. Avatar j r says:

    Who said that New York was enlightened?

    The idea that New York City is a city of effete liberal NYTimes/New Yorker-reading sophisticates is mostly based on the conceit of those effete liberal NYTimes/New Yorker readers and their Real ‘Murican, Fox-watching adversaries.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to j r says:

      The reference was intended as a jab at said reading sophisticates. This is why I don’t Twitter.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Mark Thompson says:


        I am going to step in and point out that New York City is unique because it has five boroughs and five different District Attorneys. Staten Island is the most conservative and possibly the most white borough. It is sort of a place of white flight and the only place in New York City to vote reliably Republican. It is also the home of many police and firefighters.

        We might have seen a very different result if the grand jury investigation happened in any other borough.

        Now what I want to know is whether Staten Island needed to bring this case in front of a Grand Jury at all. I am not up on my NY Criminal Procedure. I have a hunch that they did not and the prosecutor decided to use a grand jury because he had a hunch that a grand jury would not indict.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        Per @saul-degraw Staten Island is whiter than Salt Lake City.and about as Republican.Report

      • @saul-degraw I’m certainly aware of Staten Island’s distinctions from the other boroughs, but working class people have to live somewhere, even in New York. Staten Island is perhaps reliably Republican compared to the other boroughs, but it is still part of NYC, as much as Manhattanites might enjoy holding it up for ridicule, and it is still far less conservative than South Carolina, and not even remotely rural.

        Unless the contempt of Manhattanites for Staten Island has reached the level where they no longer view it as a different place from Upstate NY, Appalachia, the South, etc.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        I remember what the staten islanders were like after the last not-hurricane-thanks-noaa hit them.
        Assholes be assholes wherever they live.

        Other than the folks in shtetls, I don’t hear much bad about Upstate NY… Lot better than pennsyltucky, that’s fer sure.Report

      • Per @saul-degraw Staten Island is whiter than Salt Lake City.and about as Republican.

        I’m confused here. Am I missing some sarcasm? Salt Lake City proper’s politics are liberal and Democratic (Dem mayor, city council is Dem by a 5-2 margin). The suburbs are more Republican, and the rural areas of Utah overwhelmingly so, but not SLC itself.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Mark Thompson says:


        I didn’t make the comment about SLC. @mo did.Report

      • I apologize. I just copy-and-pasted the text from the comment. I should have addressed it to Mo explicitly.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        @michael-cain My bad. I based it on presidential election results, which likely lumps in suburbs (based on county results) with city proper.Report

      • Yes, NYC is supposedly “unique” because it’s divided into quasi-self-governing boroughs while other cities are divided into council districts or fiefdoms wards. But Staten Island is part of NYC just like conservative sections of other cities are part of said cities.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Mark Thompson says:


        You are missing the point. Each borough is also a county and every county has their own DA with their own election and priorities. There is not one DA in New Yorker, there are 5. One for Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens. Brooklyn aka as Kings County, Manhattan aka as New York County, Staten Island aka Richmond County, etc.

        I am saying that if this happened in any other borough, it would have been a different elected D.A. with a different constituency and a different set of priorities. As far as I know all of Chicago is one D.A. in Cook County and each ward does not have its own D.A. A Ward seems more like a council district in New York and NYC has 51 Council Districts.

        Does each ward in Chicago have their own D.A.?Report

      • Saul,

        In Chicago, my understanding is that there’s no DA, but the office of Cook County State’s Attorney. So all of Cook County (Chicago + immediate suburbs) is under one “DA” office. However, there’s a lot I don’t know.

        In other words, yes, I guess I was missing your point.Report

      • And no, each ward doesn’t have its own DA/prosecutor. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the state’s attorney’s office gave at least some deference to the local alderman about who would be or wouldn’t be prosecuted, at least when it comes to more marginal crimes (not big issues, like murder or police brutality). That’s part of what I meant by “fiefdom.”Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to j r says:

      And South Carolina is all rednecks like Stephen Colbert and Aziz Ansari.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Those hillbillies are just thinking “man, if cops can get away with shooting people, then *I* might be shot.”Report

  3. Avatar Chris says:

    As the linked article says, that makes 3 officers indicted this year in South Carolina, two for killing and that one asshole for shooting the guy as he got out of his truck (fortunately, not fatally). I wonder what they’re doing right that other places aren’t.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Chris says:

      I’m very much wondering that myself. The whole cameras thing seems to help a bit, but in terms of securing charges (as opposed to exposing truth to the public) that help also seems to be of limited value.Report

      • Though I will note that in each case referenced, the article uses the word “charged” rather than “indicted,” which suggests that SC prosecutors are not taking the grand jury route. But that doesn’t explain why SC prosecutors seem so much more willing to take that route. Then again…..we’ve got a sample size of three, albeit with a comparatively smaller population and presumably fewer officer-involved shootings as a result.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        I saw a map earlier on Twitter showing arrest-related death rates by state, but can’t seem to find it now. It looked like the Old South, from Tennessee to the Gulf and from the Atlantic to Mississippi (and maybe Louisiana… Texas had among the highest rates), the rates were in the lowest category, which is interesting in part because these are also states with some of the largest black populations in the country, and each of the states in that area has a long history of violent racism. So I’m wondering if it’s something about the way the Old South approaches policing more generally that’s different. It may not be (I can imagine other explanations), but it’d be interesting if it was.Report

      • @chris That’s really interesting, on a number of levels. Here’s one possibility that randomly occurred to me, but that might explain the distinction – just about every Southern state east of Texas (save Louisiana, which is middle-of-the-pack) has a relatively low percentage of its population in urbanized areas, meaning that its population densities are comparatively evenly distributed. It’s not like the Northeastern megalopolis, nor is it even like the western states (plus Texas, depending on whether you consider it part of the West) where the populations tend to be highly concentrated islands surrounded by relatively unpopulated areas.

        It may be as simple as less urbanization = fewer random encounters with the police = higher percentage of encounters are where police assistance is explicitly requested. In other words, less urbanization may force the police to respond to trouble rather than look for it.

        But that’s a lot of conjecture on my part.

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        How’s police response time in SC? Ours can run up to multiple hours, depending on whether you’re calling state troopers or not.Report

      • @mark-thompson There may be something to that. I get approached by cops periodically, and it’s almost always in cities, and disproportionately in large ones. Happened three times the year I was in the Pacific Northwest, where I was for only a year.

        The lady time it happened was a small city in the south, though.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        hm, I’ve never been approached by the police in a city… in suburbs, yes (granted,I was canvasser, which apparently makes me public enemy number one to snooty old grumpy farts)Report

      • I’m not making an urban/suburban distinction, though it’s happened in both.Report

      • My life has been so boring. Other than once in New Jersey, 35 years ago, when a state trooper stopped me because I had Texas license plates, I’ve never been approached by a police officer. The NJ officer was polite, and simply wanted to inform me that NJ had gun registration laws that I should be sure I was in line with.

        I must have some sort of “harmless” vibe that I give off. I can walk through a city I’ve never been in before and people will stop me to ask directions. My aunt and uncle who lived in NJ thought this was amusing when I told them. Then we did the tourist things in NYC, and up on the observation floor of the World Trade Center, a group of people with thick eastern European accents stopped me to ask questions about what they were seeing.Report

      • It looked like the Old South, from Tennessee to the Gulf and from the Atlantic to Mississippi (and maybe Louisiana… Texas had among the highest rates), the rates were in the lowest category…

        Generally, states — or proximity to states — where the feds have come down hard, using either the National Guard or the Justice Department, in white-on-black violence situations within living memory?Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to Chris says:

      My first question would be “are they unionized?” Being that unions aren’t as common in the south.Report

      • I can’t speak for the whole region, but the police department back home had two unions. I don’t know that the unions have as much sway down there as they do in other parts of the country, though. Public sector unions in general are a thing back there, while private sector unions are less common. The same applies, though, that I don’t know if they have as much authority.Report

      • @will-truman @aaron-david I don’t know how rates of union membership in public sector unions compare in the south. I will say, that at least as of 2001 (when I had a summer job where my sole responsibility was to put together a comprehensive database on this), the South on average gave public safety unions significantly less bargaining power than other states. Virginia and North Carolina were, IIRC, the only two states in the country that outright prohibited public sector unions from engaging in any form of collective bargaining whatsoever.Report

  4. Avatar Kimmi says:

    Three times is impressive, under the circumstances.Report