City of Louisville Settles With Breonna Taylor Family

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    Well, it’s a start…Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    As an outsider to this, I’d like for part of the settlement to be that the police discuss what went wrong and where.

    Like, for real. “We had a cop lie to the judge and we had a judge that didn’t care that she was lied to. We got a warrant and executed it not only unnecessarily but sloppily in the way we did execute it. We now have safeguards to prevent this from happening again in the future. They include a powerpoint slides that we will make public.”

    A Lessons Learned whiteboard that has “mistakes were made, amends were made, money changed hands, nobody’s perfect” on it means that this will happen again.

    And again and again and again and again anReport

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      It is becoming increasingly clear that the things that are intended to make the court system ‘run more efficiently’, like settlements and plea bargains, are _extremely_ harmful, especially since they are now the vast amount of ‘court cases’ by far.

      Yes, they are more efficient, but they are also _really good_ at making sure issues do not get settled _publicly_, with evidence presented by all sides and argued in court.

      And without public airings of facts, without public debates about the truth, we end up just having things happen over and over. Like, now, we’ve got no facts. We have a city that decided to settle, but…nothing was actually proved about anything. No one really can say what actually happened.

      I would suggest that, if our court system cannot be operated efficiently enough to function if we actually dealt with all cases _in court_, our court system needs either to expand or par down parts of itself, and not resort to ‘lawyers just sorta figure out things in private’.

      The truth _actually matters_.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
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        says:

        If the system requires injustice to operate, that’s bad. There are a handful of defense lawyers I follow on the twitters and they regularly tell stories of venial judges and venial DAs dealing with venial laws working against something even close to justice.

        The first story that comes to mind is the story of the judge who got huffy when it became apparent that there would be an evidence portion of the trial. Evidence, you see, drags everything out.

        Here’s a representative thread.

        We have too many laws and too many regulations and the folks in charge of making sure these laws are kept and those who break them are too interested in lunchtime over everything else.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          And the solution, people say, is to pass more laws, because it’s impossible to trust human beings to exercise judgement.

          But to the authoritarian mind, laws are better, because you just have words on a page and that’s the law. And, y’know, they aren’t prima facie wrong; words on a page can’t decide that Those People deserve higher scrutiny or fewer allowances or less leeway (or if Those People are treated like that at least there’s words on a page describing how and to what extent that happens, and everybody can read those words and know up front what the game is.)

          Of course, the words on the page are read by people, and people will go on to interpret them and assess how they apply to any given situation (and, as always, decide that when the situation involves Me making decisions about Those People then It’s Different.) But still, the authoritarian just figures that words on a page fix the problems, and if the problems aren’t fixed it’s because there are too few words.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to DensityDuck
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            says:

            And the solution, people say, is to pass more laws, because it’s impossible to trust human beings to exercise judgement.

            Well, in this instance, people exercised judgement. Abysmally bad, intellectually lazy, race based judgement. And an EMT died in her own home.

            If more laws are not the answer what is? Because the laws and existing exercise of judgement failed badly.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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              says:

              Let’s pass laws so that the guy in the house couldn’t have shot back.

              Gun control now!

              There, who wants lunch?Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Philip H
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              says:

              “the laws and existing exercise of judgement failed badly.”

              every man there thought he was following orders and operating according to procedure, and that any bad outcome was the fault of the procedure-writers and order-givers.

              if they’d all known that the whole thing was their decision — and their asses if they decided wrong — one wonders whether they’d have been so motivated to kick in the door and shoot the shit out of whatever movement they saw.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                You really believe that? Wow. Just Wow.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                I think it’s far too easy to believe that every single cop kicking in that door thought that they had a good warrant based on good information. If it was bad information, the cop wouldn’t have taken it to the judge in the first place and, even if he did, the judge wouldn’t have signed it.

                I mean, that’s really easy to imagine.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                If you honestly think that everything that happened to Breonna Taylor was a matter of the individuals saying “I have full authority in this matter and I believe this is the best course of action in these circumstances”

                …then why would more or better or different laws be needed? Just fire those dudes and get better ones.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                I believe the rule in question is Hanlon’s razor.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                Why is that hard to believe?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                (he thinks they’re racists who were gagging at the chance to ventilate a black body and that if they’d been told it was their own responsibility they’d have shot her more)Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                wow again.

                First – I think they were grossly and stupidly incompetent. The target of the warrant was already in their custody – which they had full authority as individuals and collectively to know and determine by just checking their own computers or making a radio call. They put themselves and the people in those apartments in unnecessary danger because BY God they had a warrant and By God they were going to execute it whether they needed to or not to achieve their law enforcement objective.

                Then they were individually and grossly incompetent by firing indiscriminately into an apartment where they had no visibility on targets. They violated EVERY rule of shooting I’ve ever been taught, again increasing the danger to themselves and those in other apartments around them, never mind in the apartment.

                Finally they were stupidly lazy because they never ascertained if the target of their warrant was there before they executed it (and while he was probably NOT ALREADY IN CUSTODY). While he had a known association with that address, I have not seen any reporting of any surveillance of the location prior to executing the warrant. They were lazy.

                All these things were decisions made by these cops individually and in a group that they had full control over. They are likely reasons driving the decision to pay handsomely the family – because they would have contributed to a significant award in a trial.

                And they are decisions that were all made under current and existing laws and regulations. the department MAY indeed reform after this of their own volition without additional legal drivers.

                But history to date of police department reforms does not suggest they will do so willingly.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                IIRC, there is a suggestion that the warrant was obtained illegally (perjury on the part of the officer). If so, that alone could motivate the city to settle.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                The leaked police records would cast doubt on that, unless the extensive surveillance of Breonna Taylor, including pictures and audio from 26 prison conversations, was itself somehow illegal. The files bear almost no resemblance to the common narrative, either.

                The story those documents paint is roughly: The police were investigating her as the “money-man” in a drug operation. It was not a no-knock raid, they announced themselves. Breonna was not in bed, she was approaching the front door with her boyfriend when he opened fire (according to him), hitting one the cops in the femoral artery. The boyfriend says he didn’t believe them and thus opened fire. After the shootout, he was left alone in the apartment for 14 minutes, during which he could’ve done almost anything to alter the scene.

                How much of any of that is true is unknown, but perhaps the Mayor of Louisville should have allowed some of it to be released so that more people didn’t get shot and killed during all the subsequent riots in the city, which is what has happened.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Links?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                KYNews.com link

                ABC and everybody else also reported on the leak, and I’ve looked over the police documents, which included lots of photos and phone transcripts, so they should be easy to find.

                Googling “Breonna Taylor leaked records” should bring up plenty of hits, and some of those should go directly to the actual documents. I know “Officer Tatum” had them posted on his website.

                I imagine they got leaked because the Louisville Mayor would’t allow any information out, even refusing requests from the governor and AG for information about the case.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Oh, you mean all the data put together AFTER the fact to justify their actions.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                Yeah, after she was dead, they photographed the heck out of her getting into and out of her car. Truly, they exceed Sherlock Holmes in their abilities. They even went back and recorded 29 prison conversations she had.

                It doesn’t fit the narrative, so the evidence must be some kind of nefarious scam? Perhaps Occam’s razor says the narrative is wrong, or at least woefully incomplete.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Even if it is technically legal, it’s a thin warrant. The claim on the warrant about packages being delivered, when the post master denies any such question was asked of him by the officers (nor that he answered in the affirmative to the agency that did ask), is, if not perjury, a dereliction of due diligence.

                There is a reason No-Knocks are getting so much pushback.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Yet they apparently knocked. That was a huge mistake because it gave the inhabitants time to gather weapons and open fire. The executed a no-knock raid on her ex-boyfriend and caught him and his buddies with all kinds of drugs and illegal weapons.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Here’s the thing about no-knocks, 9 times out of 10, they are pointless. If they had her surveiled as much as they claim, there is no reason they could not have executed the warrant when both people were at work, or as they left for work, or as they came home, etc.

                The whole point of the no-knock was for places where time was critical and the building was essentially guarded 24-7 with armed men who could rapidly dispose of evidence while engaging the police.

                Not for homes that are left empty for most of the day by a nurse and a postal worker.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Wow, the documents leaked by the police are favorable to the police. I mean, what are the odds?Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          If the system requires injustice to operate, that’s bad.

          Do we have global examples of perfect systems? Especially in the context of multi-cultural-ism?

          As far as I can tell, we’re complaining about events which are already 7 sigma rare… in a heavily human-interaction process.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter
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            says:

            I’m not sure that I need an example of a *PERFECT* system to argue that some of the stuff given as examples in the thread I linked to shouldn’t happen at all.

            The thread has examples of stuff that isn’t 7 sigma rare.

            It’s stuff that is commonplace that I’m complaining about.

            And it’s the commonplace stuff that allows stuff that should never, ever, happen to turn into stuff that only happens rarely.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              The stuff that’s commonplace that I would complain about is called “crime”. The police encounters are happening because we have way too much crime happening. If crime was rare, our police would mostly just write parking tickets. It would be like policing a Florida retirement community, Amish village, or Mayberry RFD, instead of trying to police Bogota, Medillin, Tijuana, or Juarez.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                I’m not so certain it’s actually that commonplace. At least not crime that is one citizen causing harm to another.

                There is a lot of one citizen doing something that the state has decided it doesn’t like*, but I think the bar on whether or not that is actually a crime is set way too low as it is.

                * sorry sir, but you must transport your rifle with the ammo stored a minimum of 6 feet away; the fact that both are in your locked trunk well outside your reach isn’t relevant, so, yeah, that’s a felonyReport

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              And it’s the commonplace stuff that allows stuff that should never, ever, happen to turn into stuff that only happens rarely.

              What are you talking about here? (If there was a link it was on a different page).

              And I think you’re confusing “Never event” with “never, ever, happen”. 7 sigma means we’re already WAY BETTER than things the medical establishment considers “Never events”.

              We have roughly 120 million surgeries. We have about 6k sponges left in patients.

              We have roughly 1.3 Billion civilian/police encounters per year.

              If the police were killing 60k innocent people a year (as opposed to something like 60), they’d be doing “Never events” at hospital rates.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                I would say killing a person who was not a threat is the bottom of the “never, ever” barrel. The top would be stuff like police arresting people for “contempt of cop” kinda things (BS charges because the person annoyed the cop, that the DA won’t even bother pursuing).

                Any abuse of power or authority should be a never event (the police should clearly know where that line is, it’s not like a fuzzy definition, even if QI lets the courts pretend it’s not).Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Any abuse of power or authority should be a never event

                A “never event” is a mistake which everyone agrees shouldn’t happen. Where it’s in no one’s best interest for it to happen. The police killing an innocent person fits that description.

                Abuse of power is a basic part of the human condition. We need systems which expect it because we’re not eliminating it.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Abuse of power is not necessarily part of the human condition.

                It is not uncommon, and honestly I would look for shifts in incentives* to deal with top of the barrel kind of issues, but it’s still a highly undesired kind of thing.

                *i.e. make empty arrests painful for the officer, as in the count against him in a bad way, rather than either padding his numbers, or having a neutral effect. I mentioned on another post we could have it such that if an officer makes an arrest that the DA won’t touch, the officer is obligated to smooth things over for the arrested person (talk to his boss, help get his car out of impound, etc.). You won’t get rid of such things, but you can minimize the damage and make sure the cop has to really, really want to arrest someone over nothing.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                I’d agree with all of that except for the first line.

                At the absurd extreme, you can take a class of college students, tell half of them they’re prisoners and the other half they’re jailers and you’ll have the jailers abusing the prisoners in short order.

                Getting people to not abuse power is hard.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Fair point. Given no incentive against it, most people will abuse power, especially if there is social pressure to do so.Report

      • Avatar CJColucci in reply to DavidTC
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        says:

        Roughly 90% of all civil cases — I leave the criminal side to criminal practitioners — never get to trial. Some just die on the vine, some get disposed of on motions to dismiss or summary judgment. The rest settle. I’ve gone as long as a five-year stretch without going to trial, which sucks for me because I like trials and am good at them. But the point of the system is not for me to have fun, it is to resolve disputes.*
        Most of these civil disputes are of no interest to anyone outside of the parties and their families and if they decide, after some preliminary wrangling, to come to a mutually tolerable understanding and stop paying me, who are we to interfere with the considered decisions of consenting adults? They, and not curious outsiders, are what the system is for.
        Given the numbers, forcing everyone with a dispute to go to trial would require at least a five-fold increase in the size of the court system. My office would need about as big an increase in lawyers. Just what the world needs, five times as many versions of me, when they could be doing something useful.
        And the all-purpose remedy, “let’s have fewer laws,” wouldn’t make much difference. The system would choke even on a limited diet of the mine-run of contract, tort, and property cases, as well as, on the criminal side, murder, rape, and robbery trials.

        * Truth, you ask? Too much to ask of the system. It’s pretty good at coming to a plausible account of events, but no one who has spent much time in the trenches will mistake a plausible after-the-fact reconstruction with The Truth. What you get from the system is a decision, which, if sufficiently plausible, will be upheld. No one is offering, or pretending to offer, more.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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          says:

          And the all-purpose remedy, “let’s have fewer laws,” wouldn’t make much difference. The system would choke even on a limited diet of the mine-run of contract, tort, and property cases, as well as, on the criminal side, murder, rape, and robbery trials.

          Then we’ve got a major problem.

          Limiting this to merely the criminal side, what percentage of cases in any given metro area is small potatoes?Report

          • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            Yes, we do have a major problem — if you think that settling cases is a bad thing and we should send every civil case that survives motion practice to trial whether the parties want one or not, even if they can come to an agreement if allowed to do so. If you think that, we have a problem that is not only major, but damn near unsolvable. If not, not.
            As for the criminal side, I defer to the criminal practitioners. But my impression is that there is enough big stuff that trying all the homicides, rapes, assaults, counterfeiting, frauds, robberies, arsons, and the like would still choke the system even if we got rid of all the pot busts and similar small potatoes crimes.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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              says:

              Yes, we do have a major problem — if you think that settling cases is a bad thing and we should send every civil case that survives motion practice to trial whether the parties want one or not, even if they can come to an agreement if allowed to do so.

              Well, I was limiting this to the criminal side.

              So “copping a plea” is one of those things that is good, in some cases, I guess and bad in others.

              If you’re being given a choice between a plea bargain and going back to the lockup and waiting waiting waiting for your trial date, copping a plea (even if you’re for-real innocent) is injustice.

              For me, I was given a speeding ticket for something bad, showed up at court, they offered to increase my fine, decrease my points, and skip the trial entirely. I signed the form, wrote the check, and drove home on the sunny side of the street. I was in the room with 5 or 6 other people who all had similar tickets and were offered similar plea bargains.

              Is this justice? No idea. It kinda looks like revenue enhancement, honestly.

              When it comes to stuff that is more small potatoes than traffic court but more small potatoes than the big examples already mentioned (selling loosies on the sidewalk, say), I’m not sure how “fewer laws” wouldn’t help.

              Or, at least, transfer of criminal stuff to civil stuff.

              Because the system, as it exists now, indicates huge problems on the horizon in addition to the ones that are only merely bubbling up now.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                the system, as it exists now, indicates huge problems on the horizon in addition to the ones that are only merely bubbling up now

                That the system would come to a crashing halt if everything went to trial and nothing was pleaded out or settled (even if only the “real” or “important” stuff got litigated) was old news when I was young, and I’m not young anymore. So it’s hard to see what’s looming that we haven’t already seen. Your traffic court experience seems quite pleasant, reasonable, and quick. Would that other relatively minor crimes were treated so expeditiously. But if even trying only all the the big stuff that is uncontroversially criminal would blow up the system, and it would, nibbling around the edges of small-time crime (probably worthy in itself) is the couch-cushion change of reform.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                Your traffic court experience seems quite pleasant, reasonable, and quick.

                Indeed it was. My “Careless Driving” became “Driving with a Broken Taillight” with a quick conversation.

                But my taillight was not broken.

                Was it Justice?

                It certainly was the Justice *SYSTEM*.

                But I was in a place where I could quickly afford a fine and was adverse to having “points”. (I wanna say that those were the last “points” ever put on my license and that was… jeez… a decade ago? Long expired.)

                Anyway, my argument is that the Justice System we have now is tilted toward people like me, against people who aren’t as lucky as I am, and there are too many laws affecting too many people resulting in too many arrests resulting in too many abuses by too many cops.

                And even if it’s only couch-cushion change, it’s certainly something that might get us closer to a system that actually does what it says on the tin.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Your taillight wasn’t broken, but had you been driving carelessly? Or was it at least fairly arguable that you were? And what laws relevant to your situation would you have changed? The laws against careless driving or the laws against driving with a broken taillight?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                Arguable? I guess. A cop pulled me over and gave me a ticket that had 4 points attached. I showed up at court and went into a room with a handful of other people and the ADA said to us “here’s your plea bargain, sign it or don’t” and we all signed it.

                Easy peasy.

                Efficient as heck.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to CJColucci
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          says:

          Most of these civil disputes are of no interest to anyone outside of the parties and their families and if they decide, after some preliminary wrangling, to come to a mutually tolerable understanding and stop paying me, who are we to interfere with the considered decisions of consenting adults? They, and not curious outsiders, are what the system is for.

          No, that’s not the only thing it’s for. The system of justice is literally the only way that we can _know what injustice actually exists_ in the world, and that it may need solving in some other way. It’s how we make laws, for example.

          For a really obvious explanation of that, this, right here. When there is a systemic problem in some system. Let’s ignore the police thing for a second, and go with, say, an executive in a company that constantly sexually harasses women…and the company repeatedly settles lawsuits out of court about that, and keeps him on.

          Is…that the correct thing to be happening? Supposedly every individual turns out happy, they got their settlement…except, no, that’s _obviously_ not true. Some of the people harassed won’t have good evidence, or be good witnesses. Some of the harassment will be so minor it’s not really actionable. The person doing the bad things will shift them slightly to be less discoverable…and even if all of them are discovered, it’s still harm they’re doing!

          The best solution would be for the person to no longer be employed there, which would almost certainly happen if _what was going on was public_. But it’s not, because it’s not being aired in a courtroom.

          And, of course, sexual harassment is one sort of misbehavior. In this example, it’s…wrongful death and police misbehavior.

          Or…let’s pretend, for a second, that George Turner’s reality is right, the police actually _weren’t_ at fault here, and in fact this entire thing was justifiably, and the city just settled to shut this up. Society is _still damaged_ by us not knowing the truth…in this alternatively reality, the harm is people lying about police misbehavior and rioting based on misinformation…but it’s still harm!

          The truth is important.

          The entire concept of secret settlements vastly tilts things towards entities with larger wallets and more power. Maybe a lot of individual cases end up how people want them, yes. But it causes is those entities never, ever, ever get shamed for their actions, because it’s all completely secret. The facts never come up.

          And never having any risk being caught out, knowing they can just pay people off, is a _huge_ lack of incentive to clear up their behavior. They know the odds of anyone knowing what really happens is minuscule, it basically requires someone to willing to forgo that much cash, which most victims cannot afford to do.

          Given the numbers, forcing everyone with a dispute to go to trial would require at least a five-fold increase in the size of the court system. My office would need about as big an increase in lawyers. Just what the world needs, five times as many versions of me, when they could be doing something useful.

          Getting to the truth of what happened _is_ useful.

          And, while it’s not exactly the same thing, qualified immunity causes this too. It somehow shortcircuits the _actually finding out the facts_ part of the case.

          Even if qualified immunity existed in the same bullshit way, and even if it still gave police officers legal cover exactly like it does, we’d be a hell of a lot better off if it was something that applied _after_ a court case, so we would at least know the facts of how the current law allowed the police to kill someone.Report

          • Avatar CJColucci in reply to DavidTC
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            says:

            So how far are you willing to go to disregard the preferences of the persons with the most at stake? And how much are you willing to pony up to expand the justice system enough to take every case to trial? And how sure are you that the process will give us Truth rather than simply a decision?Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to CJColucci
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              says:

              So how far are you willing to go to disregard the preferences of the persons with the most at stake?

              Says the person who has _only_ decided to think about civil cases.

              Do you know how many plea deal are accepted just so someone can stop languishing in limbo? And this is _exactly because_ of the system that you argue is ‘not large enough to do it’.

              Yeah, you’re right. It’s not large enough. That’s 100% true.

              And it’s a SERIOUS problem that people cannot have actual timely legal outcomes, and often are forced to settle.

              As for civil cases: I don’t mind people settling some of the time. A more serious problem there is _confidential_ settlements.

              Here’s a fun question: How you would feel if the courts tomorrow said either side _could_ disclose a legal settlement _even if_ they had agreed not to?

              Let’s say they’re restricted solely to disclosing actual court records, they can’t just say things about the case/ But one side or the other is allowed to make the entire court record public, from top to bottom.

              You are, officially, pretending the outcome both sides wanted, which would include confidentiality, so…you shouldn’t have any problem with both sides having the option to do something else, right? It’s not like they’re going to choose that, they ‘chose’ not to, right?

              Of course one side will. A _confidential_ settlement wasn’t the outcome one side wanted, and in fact, that side is almost always both the victim and the one with less power.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                I didn’t address criminal cases because my expertise, such as it is, is in civil cases. I know about criminal cases what a reasonably well-informed civil lawyer would know, but I refrained from anything more than the most general comments because I didn’t think I knew enough to add value. Imagine how quiet the internet would be if that were a consistent practice.

                What about confidential settlements? Some laws have recently been enacted in various states restricting the ability to enter into confidential settlements. I work for a government law office and as a matter of policy we don’t enter into confidential settlements. (The “court record,” by the way, is almost always public. Parties entering into confidential settlements don’t file the agreements. They keep copies for themselves and file a stipulation of dismissal that says nothing of any interest.) I have no problem with generally-applicable, before-the-fact rules regarding confidential settlements. I would have a problem, and I think anyone concerned with due process would, if a court could, after the fact, upset agreed-upon expectations just because. So if you want to crusade for an end to confidential settlements, be my guest. One less thing to negotiate about. I expect, however, that, given your concern for Truth, you will find the results of your crusade disappointing. Have you ever seen a settlement agreement, confidential or otherwise? It routinely denies the allegations, says nothing about what happened in the real world, and will reveal to the curious only that A settled with Y for $X. That in itself may be useful information for some purposes. You can draw the inference that Cosby or Weinstein, or Trump must have done something if they settled for serious money or, if the money was not serious, that they just wanted to get on with their lives and stop paying lawyers, but that’s about it. (The inference, either way, is often wrong, but that’s the way to bet.)Report

  3. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    Related:
    Support for Black Lives Matter has decreased since June but remains strong among Black Americans

    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/09/16/support-for-black-lives-matter-has-decreased-since-june-but-remains-strong-among-black-americans/

    This is a pattern; While the rubble is still smoking, white Americans react with bewilderment and surprise, and earnestly pledge support for civil rights. After a time, when the smoke clears, the support drops and people return to defending the status quo.

    Until the fire next time when they find their stores being burned, and react with bewilderment and surprise and earnestly pledge support for civil rights.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      The problem is the crime. It wouldn’t matter if BLM was the ASPCA defending puppies, when they assault people, assassinate people, loot stores, and burn neighborhoods, all support for their cause evaporates – except among the criminal community.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      Seems backwards to me. Support for BLM surged prior to the worst spates of rioting and left wing idiocy. The instances of broad-spread hooliganism, the violent events opportunism that lurked in the shadows of the actual protests and the idiocy of nonsense like the CHAZ undermined the progress BLM and the protests were making. They didn’t precipitate the surge in support-they reversed it.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North
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        says:

        Even accepting your logic at face value, this is exactly the pattern.
        This happened after the 1965, 1967, 1992 protests and riots. Initial support, then declining after riots.

        White support for police reform and civil rights is fragile and conditional, and subject to revocation at the faintest whiff of discomfort.

        But looking at your logic- The riots stopped in June, and here we are in September.

        You realize that in many of the large cities, there have been protests- peaceful, law abiding protests- nearly every day? All through July, August and now September?

        Oh, you haven’t seen coverage of them? Because no windows were broken and no fires started!

        But even when people march and protest “the right way”, and “Work within the system”, white support has declined.

        Until the fire next time.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          I’m well aware of the peaceful protests along with the riots and then the attendant parade of far left imbeciles peddling tone deaf and idiotic “defenses” of rioters. And I’ll readily grant that white folk are easily spooked. The riots have an out sized effect on public opinion; that much is obvious. There’s around, what, 50% of the mainstream media and 100% of the right wing media eager to signal boost every riot and their attendant coterie of left wing useful idiots while peaceful protests get considerably less press and always get cast in a the darker light cast by the rioters baleful glow.

          What I fail to see is why lefties always swoon over the rioters. They don’t have to defend them, the black community where I live certainly doesn’t appreciate the rioters- the fishers are wrecking local businesses and trashing the communities where minorites live (and no, insurance doesn’t remotely cover all the damages and what damages it does cover come with attendant insurance premium spikes).

          And then, after a bit, we’ll see the same cavalcade of lefties whining about urban blight, lack of businesses in communities and lack of grocery stores.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            Nobody needs to swoon over rioters in order to make improvement.

            But what needs to happen is that white people need to put on their big boy underoos and vote for police reform candidates.

            Even if protesters do stupid stuff.

            Because there has never, ever in the history of humanity been a protest that didn’t include people doing stupid stuff.
            There were stupid feminists, stupid anti-war protesters, stupid gay rights activists, stupid people who protested the draft and killed hundreds people in New York City alone in 1863.

            And yeah, you’re right, we will see not only lefties, but business owners and property owners whining and blubbering about their financial losses after the 2021 riots, then again after the 2022 riots, then again….Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              I will admit I wasn’t around for many past civil rights movements but I don’t recall reading about the the civil rights icons movement endorsing and defending the rioters who exploited their protests for mayhem and personal gain. Perhaps some degree of rioting is unavoidable when demonstrations occur, especially when the demonstrations are about police misconduct and the police presence is suppressed by demonstrations- indeed I firmly believe the police make a point of hammering the more peaceful demonstrators and ignoring the rioting hooligans as one of the many tools they use to oppose police reform.

              I don’t, however, understand where this rich strain of left wingers defending or even lauding the rioters comes from. Isn’t it obvious, when the right wing is desperate to lump everyone to their left as synonymous with rioters or Antifa or similar loons, that defending those fools is playing right into the right wings hands? But then again we’ve seen this dynamic all over. Likud and Hamas, the IRA and the Orangemen, the Black Panthers and the Klan, the extremists the world and history over always feed each other- their true enemies are the temperate.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North
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                says:

                I agree the protesters should be more disciplined and effective, but as MLK pointed out, the temperate liberal oftentimes is also the enemy of justice.

                Because progress IS painful, because it reduces the power of some while granting it to others. No matter how polite and disciplined the protesters are, the forces of reaction will react with violence.

                The forces of injustice depend on being able to distract the temperate mind with images of stupid protesters as a way of hiding the ugly reality.

                It wasn’t stupid protesters who cracked that old man’s skull or shot out that reporter’s eye. The cops did that, without provocation.

                We need to keep the focus on the injustice and not get distracted by stupid stuff.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Sure, inertia is the most fundamental opponent of movement, MLK was profoundly correct.

                As far as reforms go, though, police reform seems like a comparatively easy one to advocate for. There’s an interest that is opposed to it, of course, but in terms of real difficulties and lost privileges those losses fall only on the police themselves and their unions. That’s a relatively narrow constituency. It just happens to be a constituency that is very influentially positioned on the level of municipal and state politics where voter attention is really low so they have a lot of clout.

                And I agree that we need to focus on the injustice and not get distracted by stupid stuff. That includes trying to pretend that rioters aren’t an enemy or reform (they are) and not trying to stuff ancillary issues under the skirts of the issue of police reform (a sin we lefties are manifestly guilty of).Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              Nobody needs to swoon over rioters in order to make improvement. But what needs to happen is that white people need to put on their big boy underoos and vote for police reform candidates.

              Maybe the police reform candidates need to promise the rioters will be shot?Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            What I fail to see is why lefties always swoon over the rioters.

            What I fail to see is a lot of lefties swooning. Especially given that solid police work – something Breonna Taylor was denied IMHO – turns up the rioting being by Not Lefties. What we do push back on – hard – is the notion that peaceful protest should be conflated with riots, and the notion that the BLM protesters have a DUTY to contain the violent opportunists.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Philip H
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              says:

              Agree pretty generally. There’s definitely an element of mayhem tourism and I’m pretty convinced that most of the people doing the rioting don’t give a damn about the principles the protesters are rightfully protesting about. But we can’t pretend that rioters are -only- right wing provocateurs because that’s blinding ourselves to the reality that they aren’t. Excusing, defending and praising riots, thank God(ess?) is not the dominant theme across most of the left, we still haven’t descended to the rights level, but out on the wings it’s a strong thread. See Vicky Osterweil’s recent rag “In Defense of Looting”, for instance; proof that absolutely anyone from any background is capable of gibbering idiocy.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Ass far as I can tell, Osterweill’s book is the only “praise” of rioting on the lefty left that’s gained any traction.

                As to who the rioters are – most of the news coverage of arrests says they are right wing provocateurs of some kind.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                There’s been plenty of “people before property” stuff as well and, of course, if 100% the rioters were right wing provocateurs then surely even the far left wouldn’t be dumb enough to wheel out those kinds of tropes on their behalf.

                Hell, I lived in a building that took glancing hits from the riots, twice, so I know for a fact they weren’t all right wing false flag operations. There’s no point in trying to pretend that there is no overlap between people who protest and people who riot, that’s a fools errand at best and flagrantly dishonest at worst.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
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                says:

                Maybe we could “No True Scotsman” them? They didn’t *REALLY* care about Black Lives Mattering, they were just mostly unregistered voters who wanted to get out of the house?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                How would things be different is BLM did exactly as you request?

                I started by noting that white people’s support for BLM is fragile and declining.
                You said this was due to the actions of violent rioters.

                Even though virtually every Democratic leader has condemned rioting.
                That is, the entire Democratic Party leadership has done exactly what you requested.
                And yet white support for BLM continues to drop among white people including white Democrats.

                What these white people are doing is making their support for the basic human rights of black people conditional.

                They will support human rights, but only on certain conditions. And in this case, the condition is impossible, that there be no violence ever by anyone.

                I think this is a historic pattern, where our support for other people’s freedom and justice is vicarious; It doesn’t affect us personally so we can reshape into an aesthetic stance which makes us feel good about ourselves, then discard it when it doesn’t.

                Sort of like those religious groups that offer earnest support for starving people in Africa, but only on conditions they obligingly perform their role as grateful supplicants.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If CNN ran a segment saying the rioters were all Jews, the only response from the left might be “But most of them are black. How do you explain that?” CNN would reply “They’re Ethiopian Jews!” and that would be the new narrative, and virtually everybody on the left would apparently believe it.

                The pro-left media has been blatantly lying to the left for so long that they’ll believe anything. They never pause and wonder why, if the rioters were right wing saboteurs, the media never once characterized the riots as right-wing racists burning down black neighborhoods. Politicians like Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi would have never been encouraging people to join the protests if she thought even a handful of the protesters were right wing.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Well for one thing, the left would be uniformly against rioting and intellectual consistency is no small thing. Likewise, the conversation would still be fixed on police reform instead of rioting which couldn’t help but be salutary. I wouldn’t be bold enough to venture far out on the limb of counterfactual assumptions but it’s hard to imagine that in a world where the feeble and somewhat hypocritical left-wing defenses of rioting were not present that support for BLM would be lower. Thankfully the Democratic Party has, for the most part, entirely distanced itself from and denounced the riots and as a result Bidens own political fortunes haven’t suffered significantly even as BLM’s ratings have tanked. That suggests my counterfactual is a reasonable assumption.

                But what is the affirmative argument you have in favor of the left embracing rioting? I’ve read your comments where you seem to think it’s useful as a threat to business owners and others: back BLM or minorities will burn their own neighborhoods down and then come after yours? I don’t follow it personally. Certainly, as a principled matter how does one justify demanding policy changes under threat of violence? And as a practical matter, haven’t we seen this story played out before? The riots after Kings’ assassination led to decades of blighted neighborhoods that plagued minority communities more than anyone else. Why would anyone who cares about minority welfare want to go through that again?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                See, you are still taking as if human rights are a charity, some favor that we grant to black people under certain conditions.

                And as if refusing to recognize their rights carries no consequence.

                This is why I keep talking about the shopkeepers. How many of them grasp that police reform is in their best interests?
                That a society that refuses to grant rights to one segment will just as easily refuse to grant them to another?

                A society that is so violent that it shrugs off the murder of a 12 year old boy, will be violent enough to shrug off the looting of a store?

                Look at how easily the police turned from beating black protesters, to beating white protesters.
                Look how easily the rightwing turned from hurling racist taunts at black people to chanting “Jews Will Not Replace US!”
                See how smoothly they pivot from “Law and Order” to promising to crush any dissent no matter how peaceful.
                How the same people who calmly dismiss the killing of black woman, just as easily dismiss the forcible sterilization of Hispanic women.

                Does anyone reading this imagine that they are safe from injustice, in a society like that?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                That was a lovely flight into poetry. I have a strong urge to don a beret, stroke my goatee (grow one first I guess) and click my fingers in approbation. Far out man.

                Of course, that didn’t address any pertinent questions. I’m not arguing against human rights for anyone, least of all black people, nor are shop keepers (indeed a lot of the ones who got their businesses flattened were minorities), nor is anyone in the center and to the left of it.

                So what’s your affirmative argument for rioting and defending riots? Why will they not simply give aid and comfort to the very forces the protests seek to defeat? Why will they not rain misery and setbacks onto the very people the protests seek to protect? They did before; why will it be different this time?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not making one.

                I’m just pointing out that white people who lose interest in police reform are plowing and fertilizing the ground for the next riots.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Ok, thanks for clarifying.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Does anyone reading this imagine that they are safe from injustice, in a society like that?

                It’s not a perfect world. Do I have more to worry about the police or more to worry about the rioters?

                And if I have the local police give them what they want, are they STILL going to burn stuff down if Chicago does something bad?

                I am probably much better off if the police shoot the rioters than I would be in CHOP.

                I can do a lot more to encourage the police to shoot the rioters than I can to reform every police department everywhere and prevent all injustices everywhere.

                This line of reasoning and these incentives are why imho BLM (and the Left in general) should be doing everything it can to draw and maintain lines between the rioters and the protesters. That includes telling all protesters they should leave the moment a riot breaks out or threatens to break out, following curfews, etc.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                BLM (and the Left in general) should be doing everything it can to draw and maintain lines between the rioters and the protesters.

                How many Democratic candidates, or columnists, or pundits would it take to satisfy this demand of yours?

                And if they did satisfy it, what would you do differently? Would you vote differently?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                How many Democratic candidates, or columnists, or pundits would it take to satisfy this demand of yours?

                This is like asking how many angels can dance on a pin. None of these groups are on the ground so they’re not the ones who need to draw lines.

                And if they did satisfy it, what would you do differently? Would you vote differently?

                Vote in Chicago or any of the other Blue Strongholds which have this problem? Of course not, I don’t live there so I have no vote there.

                But we’d have a lot fewer burned buildings, and everyone would be able to tell the difference between protesters and rioters.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Those article don’t show much pushback from the Democrats.

                1) So BLM in Hampton Roads spoke out against violence. Where is Hampton Roads, anyway?

                2) The USA Today column is laughable, maintaining that there’s no link between Antifa and violent activities, even though every night we watch the latest videos of Antifa violence. Biden and Harris are helping get all the arrested looters and rioters out on bail, even ones that assault police or assault children.

                3) The BLM leaders in Salt Lake City were horrified that people in Utah cared more about all the rampant destruction inflicted by BLM activists than they cared about George Floyd. This just in. Nobody actually cares about George Floyd, who OD’d when he swallowed his entire dealer-supply of fentanyl, on camera.

                CBS Denver didn’t even report BLM leaders taking a stand rioting and looting, because they apparently didn’t. CBS had to dig up some NAACP leaders and some people with the Greater Denver Ministerial Alliance to say rioting and looting are bad.

                Similarly, KPTV had to go to an elderly NAACP spokesman in Portland, and even then he merely called the violent BLM rioters “allies and accomplices” who should listen to him as he extends the protests into other arenas.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                There is a disconnect between “groups denouncing violence” and claiming that the violence is simply going to happen if they don’t get their way (which we see on this forum) and not stopping their own team from doing that violence.

                We see some efforts to square that circle with claims that it’s really “other” groups which are doing it, but that seems mostly wishful thinking. “Umbrella man” was one guy.

                The protesters could do a LOT here. Just making it clear they’re always videoing violence to share that with the authorities would do a lot.

                The general impression I get is lots of the left view these riots as justified and useful.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                If we assume there’s a large overlap between the rioters and BLM supporters (which seems to be reasonable unless we want to play “No True Scott” games), then no one wants to be held hostage and there’s the non-trivial issue of how reasonable and do-able are their demands?

                The previous civil rights expansions basically came down to treating Blacks the same as Whites. I.e. right to vote, end red lining, end various types of discrimination, etc.

                In our current situation, adjusted for crime rates and number of police interactions, there are fewer Blacks being killed by the police than Whites. If the demand is NO ONE be killed by the police, then that’s something that White society can’t do for itself.

                I’m cool with police reform; Civilian review boards that can fire cops, ending the WoD, a few other things. However after we do that we’re still going to have people die.

                If we continue to cherry pick every Black who dies into “racism” and make it national news then the riots will go on.

                I have zero influence over the City of Chicago because I don’t live in the same state, but I’d like to not have my city burn when their corrupt police department screws up.

                So if you’re asking me why I don’t support my city burning because Chicago has a corrupt police department, then the question answers itself.

                Fundamentally this is a Team Blue problem because it’s a local problem almost entirely in areas where they’re in charge. Worse, it’s starting to look like the actual goal is to have a Team Blue President.Report

  4. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    I will admit I wasn’t around for many past civil rights movements but I don’t recall reading about the the civil rights icons movement endorsing and defending the rioters who exploited their protests for mayhem and personal gain. Perhaps some degree of rioting is unavoidable when demonstrations occur, especially when the demonstrations are about police misconduct and the police presence is suppressed by demonstrations- indeed I firmly believe the police make a point of hammering the more peaceful demonstrators and ignoring the rioting hooligans as one of the many tools they use to oppose police reform.

    I don’t, however, understand where this rich strain of left wingers defending or even lauding the rioters comes from. Isn’t it obvious, when the right wing is desperate to lump everyone to their left as synonymous with rioters or Antifa or similar loons, that defending those fools is playing right into the right wings hands? But then again I suppose I’m just being inadequately cynical- we’ve seen this dynamic all over: The settlement movement and Hamas, the IRA and the Orangemen, the Black Panthers and the Klan, extremists the world and history over always feed each other- their true enemies are the temperate.Report

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