Posts Tagged: police state


The Rapist Doctrine vs. the Tom Joad Test

“Don’t resist – it will only be worse for you.” That’s the message of both the rapist and the police officer, as candidly digested by Sunil Dutta, a 17-year veteran of the LAPD who now preaches that doctrine as a professor of homeland security at Colorado Tech University.

Whenever a Mundane is approached by a member of the state’s punitive priesthood, Dutta explains, “here is the bottom line” from the perspective of the privileged aggressor: “[I]f you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say that I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me” (which would mean, apparently, that if the Mundane obeys a command to approach the officer he had better not frighten the timid creature giving the orders by complying too enthusiastically).

To that litany, he might had added: Don’t think of walking away from me, either, because that act is also considered “aggression” by a police officer; don’t place one foot behind the other, or crouch even to the slightest degree, because this will be defined, after the fact, as “assuming a fighting stance”; don’t flinch or recoil from the officer when he batters you, because this can be, and often has, been defined as “assault on an officer”; if the officer throws you to the ground and starts to choke you, don’t defend yourself, or you can be charged with “attempted murder.”

“Most field stops are complete in minutes,” coos the apologist for state-licensed aggressive violence. “How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?”
The same is true, of course, of most encounters between a rapist and a victim. The violation of a free person’s rights is not any less egregious for being brief.

Yes, Dutta generously concedes, “corrupt and bully cops exist… I know that some officers engage in unprofessional and arrogant behavior; sometimes they behave like criminals.”

Nonetheless, he lectures Mundanes, such people are your social superiors whose commands must be obeyed without cavil or qualification. When such beings focus their unwarranted attention on you, “I guarantee that the situation will not become easier if you show your anger and resentment.” Always accept their impositions with cheerful docility. Don’t even think of defending yourself, because police “are legally permitted to use deadly force when they assess a serious threat to their or someone else’s life” – and any gesture of non-compliance, however fleeting or non-violent, constitutes a “threat” from their perspective.

“Do what the officer tells you to and it will end safely for both of you,” he insists, leaving aside the fact that in each such encounter the aggressor is shielded by “qualified immunity” and the tribal loyalty of his comrades – and the other is subject to financial injury, imprisonment, or death at the whim of that same caste.

Dutta claims that “in the overwhelming majority of cases it is not the cops, but the people they stop, who can prevent detentions from turning into tragedies,” a claim rooted in the assumption that police escalation will stop as soon as the subject submits – and, on the other hand, that violence will continue until submission is achieved. By this standard, the cop is presumptively in the right, and the victim of abuse is presumed to be wrong – the direct inversion of the standard used in the “Tom Joad Test.”


Racist Idiot Cop Investigated for Michael Brown Facebook Posts

A Kansas City, Mo. police officer is facing an internal review after spouting off about Michael Brown, the Ferguson, Mo. teen killed by police, on his personal Facebook page. One of his posts was a racist meme, and the other used a photo that’s been circulating as an image of Brown, but actually shows a man accused of a killing in Oregon.

Officer Marc Catron sarcastically called Brown “a pillar of the Ferguson community” in a photo post showing a young black man holding a gun and biting down on a wad of cash. That’s actually Joda Cain, charged with killing his great-grandmother with a sledgehammer. But if you’re a racist and all black men look alike to you, then, sure, it’s Michael Brown.

Catron also shared a meme with the caption “Remember how white people rioted after OJ’s acquittal?”—because the one time a black man appeared to beat the system, thanks to an extremely expensive legal team, is definitely just as outrageous as a teenager being shot six times by the authority charged with protecting his community. …


Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Ferguson, MO and Police Militarization

In the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, John Oliver explores the racial inequality in treatment by police as well as the increasing militarization of America’s local police forces.


From Seattle to Ferguson: The Problem with 'Crowd Control'

… This goes deeper than the rise of the warrior cop. It speaks to some longstanding ideas about crowds, which are sometimes imagined as feral beasts that must be contained even if that means diverting resources from actual crime-fighting. In that Salon story, I mentioned an incident that didn’t involve military-style policing at all:

I was an undergraduate when the University of Michigan won the NCAA basketball championship in 1989, and along with hundreds of other students, I ran into the streets to celebrate. The crowd was rowdy that night, but most of us were well behaved: There was cheering, hugging, hand-slapping, and, at worst, a willingness to climb onto other people’s cars. Then a few celebrants turned vandalistic, destroying store awnings, breaking windows and in at least one case attempting to steal from a store. The would-be looter was captured by a security guard, who dragged him to one of the many lawmen lining the streets. Here, said the guard, I caught this guy trying to rob a shop. Arrest him.

"I can’t," the officer replied, and gestured toward the revelers. "I have to keep this crowd under control."

Maybe all that crowd control is making it harder, not easier, to keep citizens safe from criminals. It certainly isn’t keeping them safe from the police.


90-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Arrested During Ferguson Protest

Hedy Epstein, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor was arrested on Monday during unrest over the death of Michael Brown,KMOV reports.

Epstein, who aided Allied forces in the Nuremberg trials, was placed under arrest in downtown St. Louis, Missouri “for failing to disperse” during a protest of Governor Jay Nixon’s decision to call in National Guard into Ferguson. 8 others were also arrested.

"I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was ninety," Epstein told The Nation during her arrest. “We need to stand up today so that people won’t have to do this when they’re ninety.” …


When Will They Shoot? | Jacobin

Lots of people are at risk on the job. But when it comes to cops, they’re mostly a danger to others.

Defenders of the warrior cop in situations like the one in Ferguson, Missouri argue that all of these trappings of military occupation are necessary because of the oh-so-dangerous environment the police supposedly face.

Policing is not the country’s safest job, to be sure. But as the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows, it’s far from the most dangerous.

The 2012 data reports that for “police and sheriff’s patrol officers,” the Fatal Injury Rate — that is, the “number of fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers” — was 15.0.

That includes all causes of death — of the 105 dead officers recorded in the 2012 data, only 51 died due to “violence and other injuries by persons or animals.” Nearly as many, 48, died in “transportation incidents,” i.e., crashing their cars. …


New Orleans Cop Turns off Body Cam before Shooting Man - Photography is Not a Crime: PINAC

A New Orleans police officer turned off her body cam before opening fire on a man who had escaped from her a week earlier.

Lisa Lewis shot the man in the forehead during a traffic stop, then shot at him again as he ran away, according to the lawyer of the man who remains hospitalized.  He was wanted on warrants.

Not only did she turn off the camera, the department tried its best to downplay Monday’s incident, which they initially reported to the media as posted below:

According to a preliminary report from the New Orleans Police Department, an officer was in the area and heard gunshots and then had an altercation with a person and suffered a minor injury to the officer’s right hand.

The officer was taken to Tulane Hospital, police said.

No further information about the incident was made available in the preliminary report.

When the media found out about it anyway, New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas shrugged it off as a blunder. …


Shootings, arrests bring more chaos to Ferguson

FERGUSON, Mo. — Seven people were arrested and one person was shot early Sunday as police and protesters clashed again in a haze of tear gas despite a curfew that took effect at midnight.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald Johnson said the shooting victim was in critical condition. Johnson said police used tear gas in an effort to reach the wounded person, but that other protesters already had taken the shooting victim to the hospital, Johnson said.

It was not clear who fired the shot, but Gov. Jay Nixon said Sunday that no police officers fired their guns during or after the protest.

Seven people will face charges of failure to disperse. Early Sunday, members of the media were ordered to remain in the parking lot of the Ferguson Market or risk arrest. …


""Peace?" Let’s talk about peace. Peace was the situation in Ferguson before an armed government employee gunned down an unarmed young man in the street."


After A Traffic Stop, Teen Was 'Almost Another Dead Black Male'

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story contains graphic descriptions and offensive language.

Alex Landau, who is African-American, was adopted by a white couple as a child and grew up in largely white, middle-class suburbs of Denver.

Still, “we never talked about race growing up,” Landau tells his mother, Patsy Hathaway, on a visit to StoryCorps. “I just don’t think that was ever a conversation.”

"I thought that love would conquer all and skin color really didn’t matter," Hathaway says. "I had to learn the really hard way when they almost killed you."

That was in 2009, when Landau, then a college student, was stopped by Denver police officers and severely beaten.

Landau was 19 at the time, driving around Denver with a friend in the passenger seat. He noticed red and blue lights behind him. The officer who pulled him over “explained I had made an illegal left turn, and to step out of the car,” Landau says.

"So I get out of the car first," he says. "And then he goes around to the passenger side and pulls my friend Addison out of the car. … Addison is white, and he had some weed in his coat pocket. So he gets placed in handcuffs." …