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surveillance citizens

2008-07-31 16:43:07.118606+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

NY Times: When Official Truth Collides With Cheap Digital Technology. What I don't understand is why the officers mentioned in these cases haven't been charged with perjury. Seems like the New York DA's office is colluding with the police in a way that demands federal investigation and intervention.

[ related topics: Law Enforcement New York ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-01 11:18:45.361081+00 by: m

The day after this was announced another indefensible beating in NYC was videotaped. Reprap and skulls seem to be an outlet for idiotic violence.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-01 14:32:44.188587+00 by: JT [edit history]

As of June 1997, local police departments had an estimated 531,496 full-time employees, including 420,000 sworn personnel. Local police employment was up by an average of about 3% per year since 1993, compared to about 1% per year from 1987 to 1993.

Remember, these are a handful of people out of a group of over a half million that are causing problems. Just because there are a handful of policemen screwing up here and there, doesn't mean you can't trust the average joe-bob cop in your town.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-01 16:14:14.383504+00 by: m [edit history]

Remember there are only a handful of times when police are so brazen (and stupid) that they will commit major crimes in the middle of hundreds of witnesses, and in an area where someone might be likely to videotape them. It doesn't mean that you can trust the average joe-bob cop to not violate multiple laws when nobody is looking. Cops not only cover for other cops, but they cover for cops families and friends as well. The practice of giving out "courtesy" (get out of a misdemeanor or a small felony) cards demonstrates the extent of the corruption.

The nation is moving towards a police state mindset, and away from Constitutional separation of powers. This is seen in enforcement, prosecution and the judiciary as well as the more usually considered triumvirate.

At one time I lived next door to an NYC cop. When he and his buddies got together for a BBQ, it was obvious that they considered "civilians" to be a whole lot less than human. Maybe not -- they probably would have treated animals better.

But the most troublesome part of all this is that there is little chance of any real punishment, hence there is little deterrence. The system that exists now means that most transgressions are never reported. Of those that are, most are buried under red tape. Usually, it is only when incontrovertible evidence is publicized that any action is taken at all. And even then, culpability is often denied.

The police need to be cleaner than clean. If the perpetrator in this case had done his little act in a secluded area, the victim would not only have suffered physically from the assault, but he would have been legally raped via made up charges, which likely would have stuck. But when questions arise about police honesty, the first thing that happens is the erection of the blue shield. When I see this, all I can think is that they are dirty.

If a NYC cop is charged with a crime, he can not be questioned for at least 48 hours after arrest. If I am arrested, questioning can start immediately. Why should a police officer have more protection for his behavior than I, a citizen? Especially when the cop not only knows his rights, he has an especial knowledge of interrogation.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-02 00:24:37.303505+00 by: Dan Lyke

m, one of my grandfathers (proudly) carried what he called "a Mickey Finn card" and was part of the good ol' boy network in the NYC area. There was (I met him once) a New York City cop named "Mickey Finn", really, who was well respected, and if you'd earned his trust you got a card signed by him that, as the story was told to me, got you at least the benefit of the doubt if you were questioned by the authorities.

My grandfather also spent a bit of time badmouthing the Miranda decision, and talking about how difficult that made cleaning up his town.

I'm not generally a scofflaw, but big town cops, be it New Orleans, L.A., or N.Y., scare me almost as much as two-bit southern Sheriffs, whom I've also had some experience with.

I forwarded the "don't talk to the police" videos to a mailing list I'm on, and got some interesting notes back from friends, but one of the responses I'm trying to formulate to them is that by the very nature we have no statistical evidence about the veracity of the justice system. We can have anecdotal evidence of when it's failed, but it's impossible to measure something that is supposed to be the only standard by which it can be measured. JT has his experiences of police work, from the inside, I have my own experiences, which vary from place to place and aren't terribly negative, but have a decent share of views of cops on power trips who are well overstepping the squeaky-clean behavior that I, as a citizen and taxpayer want from those authorized to use force.

But I don't have anything more than anecdote to go on, either way, and I don't really think anyone else does either.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-08-02 13:30:58.708251+00 by: m

It is not just that there are bad cops. In any such endeavor there will be rotten apples. The real issue that I was trying to make is that systemic protection for such bastards is institutionalized in police culture, and even the law. These issues are not anecdotal, but glaring in the public eye. It is not enough to wave the magic wand of "well of course there are a few, a very few rotten apples." That wand can be just as easily reversed.

Abner Louima was anally raped with a baton The police brass made up lying excuses for the cops involved that were so lame, they sounded like those of a sixteen year old. Louima came very close to dying. There was massive internal damage, the result of a weapon far longer and harder than any erect penis. But the brass said that it was the result of "rough homosexual sex", and other equally ridiculous nonsense. When an unarmed Diallo was shot 41 times, the police went on a rampage in his building, illegally entering and searching apartments, looking for anything that could be used to tie the victim to some crime, any crime in order to exculpate the shooting. I pick these two only because they reached the level of nationwide notoriety, and most people will have heard of them. Not from any shortage of examples.

The system is willing to prostitute itself to provide such cover in such high profile cases where the facts are clear. It is not unreasonable to believe that evidence of police misconduct is much more frequently suppressed when it comes down to the question of the cops word against that of the arrestee.

Police criminality is an extremely serious issue. It is glossed over and covered up until it can't be hidden anymore. Not just by the cops that are directly involved, but by those who manage those officers. I have become tired of making the required genuflection of contrition and prefacing every statement with "its only a few, very few rotten apples". This is a serious problem, it is clear that it comes not just from anecdotal experience, but is integral to pattern and practice of police departments, as well as being enshrined in black letter law. It needs to be dealt with.