FBI director refuses to acknowledge America has a cop problem
America’s top cop had an opportunity to say America needs police reform. He blew it. Instead, he defended racist cops and killer cops.
“FBI Director James Comey used a speech at Georgetown University on Thursday to comment on the contentious debate over race and criminal justice in America …. Comey said the United States is at a crossroads in how it approaches policing and race relations.”
No, we’re not at a crossroads; we’re in a crisis.
“He suggested both minority communities and law enforcement officials have to confront a series of ‘hard truths’ to make progress in repairing the frayed bonds of trust between cops and the communities they serve.”
No, the innocent people being killed by cops don’t share in the fault; their deaths are 100% the fault of the racist cops who profiled them and gunned them down.
“He highlighted research showing that people in a majority-white society react differently to black people on a subconscious level.”
It doesn’t take high-falutin’ research to know that cops are profiling and picking on black people. Just ask the black people. For example, ask the 70-year-old retired Metro bus driver who was arrested, handcuffed, and thrown in jail by a white female Seattle police officer for standing on a street corner minding his own business.
“‘If we can’t help our latent biases, we can help our behavior in response to those instinctive reactions, which is why we work to design system and processes to overcome that very human part of us all,’ he explained.”
Huh? We? Our? Where did the plural pronouns come from? … And then Tonto turns to the Lone Ranger and says, “What you mean, we, white man?” (If you don’t get this joke, post a comment, and I’ll explain it.)
“He suggested that, in areas where a majority of crime is committed by non-white residents, police officers can be conditioned to more closely scrutinize members of minority communities – a tactic some would label racial profiling. Comey described the practice as a ‘mental shortcut.’ ‘Those of us in law enforcement must double down on fixing biases,’ he added. ‘We must resist shortcuts and laziness.’”
No, profiling isn’t a mental shortcut or laziness, it’s racism. Let’s call things by their right now.
“He also offered a defense of law enforcement officers, though, saying most of them are not racists, and that they entered the police force to help the community, regardless of race.”
We’re not complaining about good, decent cops — the vast majority of cops — who do their job properly. That’s not what tens of thousands of fed-up citizens are demonstrating about. They’ve had it with the bad apples. That’s who I’m talking about here, too, and in all my other posts and comments about America’s bad cops and police abuses.
“‘Racial bias isn’t epidemic in law enforcement any more than it’s epidemic in academia or the arts,’ he said.”
But it matters more when you carry a badge, a gun, and have arrest authority, and hold in your hands the state’s power to alter or destroy lives. Trying to deflect criticism away from racist cops by claiming professors, artists, and dancers are racists, too — without any evidence to back that up — is bullshit. We, the public, are tired of hearing bullshit from cops. We want the profiling, the killings, and the abuse of citizens to stop.
“‘In fact, I believe law enforcement overwhelmingly attracts people who want to do good for a living – people who risk their lives because they want to help other people. They don’t sign up to be cops in New York or Chicago or [Los Angeles] to help white people or black people or Hispanic people or Asian people,’ he said. ‘They sign up because they want to help all people, and they do some of the hardest, most dangerous policing to protect communities or color.’”
Thanks, we’ll keep those cops, and we appreciate them. Now, what are you going to do about bad cops?
“His comments marked the first time the FBI’s top leader has opined so publicly and candidly on the subject of race and law enforcement.”
What took him so long?
“Several other top law enforcement officials have also waded into that debate in recent months, but their efforts, more often than not, have engendered controversy. Both Attorney General Eric Holder and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio commented on the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York City, but critics said their input unfairly maligned the law enforcement community.”
Those “critics” are mostly police union officials who generally speaking are unrestrained in making known their contempt for President Obama, Attorney General Holder, Mayor de Blasio, demonstrators against police racism and violence, and pretty much anyone else who criticizes cops who bully and kill citizens instead of enforcing the laws fairly and impartially. Why should anyone listen to them?
Director Comey clearly isn’t listening to the citizens. President Obama, fire his ass. Now. And then put someone in that position who understands that America is facing a policing crisis and will use his office to help create solutions to that problem.
Alabama cops paralyze man for being from India, having dark skin, and not speaking English
An Alabama police department today fired and arrested a cop who severely injured a man from India who was simply walking in the neighborhood and had committed no crime.
Sureshbhai Patel, 57, visiting his son in Alabama, was taking a walk last week when he was stopped and frisked by police investigating a “suspicious person” call from a neighbor. He explained to the cops “no English” and gave them his son’s house number. Then, the cops violently threw him to the ground, inflicting a spinal injury that has left Patel with partial paralysis in all four of his limbs. His family has hired an attorney and plans to sue.
In a speech yesterday, FBI Director James Comey praised America’s cops and refused to acknowledge there’s any problem or need for reforms.
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Dishonest Boston transit police edited video to hide subway brutality incident
In May 2014, a Boston transit cop pulled an inebriated man back onto a subway platform moments before he would have fallen on the tracks. So how did the man end up in a hospital with a face full of bruises? At the time, MBTA’s chief called his cop a hero, described his actions as “appropriate,” and MBTA released an edited surveillance tape that cuts off before you would see the detective repeatedly punching the man in the face on the platform floor after saving him. The victim, Anthony Ferrier, has hired a lawyer and is suing MBTA and Detective Sean Conway for excessive force. After months of stonewalling by authorities, a Boston TV station has obtained the complete tape, and is raising questions about police deception and coverup of a violent and unnecessary beating of a civilian by a cop
Minneapolis cop investigated for ‘I’ll break your leg’ comment
America’s worst sheriff admits his contempt for courts
Joe Arpaio, the elected (why?) sheriff in Maricopa County, Arizona, is a folk hero to America’s far right but a nightmare for minorities, defense and civil rights attorneys, and others who bear the brunt of his blatant violations of citizens’ constitutional rights.
He’s also crazy (at least like a fox), and a showoff who shamelessly grandstands to his red-meat fan base with antics like making jail inmates wear pink uniforms and feeding them foul-tasting food; and not a little partisan, stretching far beyond his law enforcement duties with activities like his conducting own highly-publicized “investigation” of Obama’s birth certificate (which, of course, concluded the president’s b.c. is a forgery, ignoring all genuine evidence to the contrary).
The man ought to be in jail for contempt of court, not wearing a law enforcer’s badge and authority.
The abuses under his reign are legion, ranging from an Arpaio employee rifling through a defense attorney’s confidential legal files in open court behind her back, in blatant violation of attorney-client privilege and the defendant’s Fifth Amendment right to legal representation, for which the employee served 10 days in jail for contempt after the judge ordered him apologize and he refused on Arpaio’s orders, to systematic racial profiling and racial discrimination by his officers on the streets.
Civil rights activists consider Arpaio a racist and loose cannon. Far from being bothered by that harsh judgment, Arpaio laps it up, which plays well to his rightwing admirers. There’s really only two encouraging things about the whole picture: They’ve sued him in federal court, and now some of his chickens are beginning to come home to roost; and he will be 83 in June, so unless he’s immortal, human civilization won’t have to put up with him all that much longer.
You can read about the current status of the federal lawsuit here. Basically, he’s now admitting he’s in contempt of court, in hopes of avoiding a trial. Some of the people he’s abused are pressing for criminal charges. Perhaps things are beginning to look up a bit.
Oregon woman sues cops over videotaping police
“A cell phone video is driving a federal lawsuit in Oregon where a Portland woman is suing the city. Carrie Medina says police took her phone after she used it to record and broadcast the arrest of a man two years ago, reports CBS News.“
You can go on YouTube and find dozens of videos posted by ordinary citizens who were harassed, and in some cases arrested, for videoing police activity. Ever since four L.A. cops got in hot water for beating the shit out of Rodney King in 1991, cops all over America have been extremely antagonistic to bystanders recording their actions.
In that case, a citizen recorded the incident with his cell phone, and based largely on that video, King collected a damage award of $5.5 million (including $1.7 million attorney fees) and two of the cops went to federal prison.
State laws vary, and in a few places these innocent citizens have been threatened with long prison sentences under state wiretapping statutes, but generally speaking it’s legal to video record in public places. In fact, it may be a constitutional right. But many cops either haven’t gotten the word, or choose to ignore citizens’ rights.
Carrie Medina was riding a bus in Portland when she saw two cops roughly arresting a young man. So she got off the bus and used her cell phone to record the incident. One of the cops approached her and said, “I don’t need a subpoena to search your phone for evidence,” then grabbed it away from her.
Yesterday Medina, who’s represented by the ACLU, sued the city of Portland, the city of Gresham, and the transit agency in federal court, claiming her First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated. CBS reports that Gresham’s police chief “sent an email to his officers a month after the incident reminding them that ‘…videotaping by the public is part of police work today … they have the absolute right to do that.’”
(Note: Cops who try to seize citizens’ cellphones often use the “evidence” excuse, but erasing the video isn’t collecting evidence, it’s destroying evidence, which is a prosecutable crime.)
Given that we live in a country in which the normal channels of police accountability have completely broken down, and cops who violate citizens’ rights are neither prosecuted nor disciplined, the only tool left for bringing cops back in line is filing civil lawsuits against their municipal employers. Maybe when cities and their insurers get tired of paying legal settlements and expenses, those responsible for supervising the police will start to actually supervise them. So here’s hoping that Ms. Medina’s lawsuit costs the defendants a lot of money.Photo: Carrie Medina, center, and ACLU officials announce a federal lawsuit against bully cops who seized her cell phone because she legally recorded police activity.