Dear BlackLivesMatter And Friends: If You Won’t Be Responsible, At Least Leave LeBron James Alone

No Justice LeBron

It should be apparent by now that BlackLivesMatter is a racist domestic terrorist organization. Terrorism is causing chaos for the sake of causing chaos in the imagined pursuit of a political agenda. That’s what the group, smug and shameless as ever, did over the post-Christmas weekend, disrupting the Mall of the Americas and blocking traffic at the Minneapolis airport. No, they haven’t killed anyone yet; they claim to be non-violent. We’ll see about that when they get sufficiently frustrated. One thing is certain about irrational, self-glorifying organizations: you never know how irrational they will get.

Now the Tamir Rice mess in Cleveland has presented BLM and its allies—which include all three Democratic candidates for President, according to their pandering rhetoric, as well as the Democratic National Committee— with a target more relevant to their alleged mission than disrupting children’s choir performances, losing money for small businesses and inconveniencing  Minnesotans who never did an African American harm in their lives. Using the hashtag #NoJusticeNoLebron, the Ferguson activated activists, led by writer Tariq Touré, have launched a Twitter barrage  imploring NBA superstar and Cleveland Cavaliers hometown hero LeBron James to refuse to play in NBA games until the Department of Justice, “imprisons the murderers of Tamir Rice.” Justice is of course investigating the fatal November 2014 shooting, since the Obama Administration tacitly encourages the divisive myth that any time a  white officer shoots a black man, it is presumptively a civil rights violation.

Like virtually everything that has come out of the incoherent, anti-white, anti-police movement surrounding the various controversial police shootings (of blacks only, however, though there have been more fatal shootings of whites…but never mind, that doesn’t advance the mythical narrative), this plan is ludicrous, unfair, and demonstrates the ignorance and/or contempt the protesters have for due process and the rule of law.

Placing this kind of pressure on one prominent individual and asking him to risk his livelihood, undermine his relationship with his employers, breach his contract and sacrifice his salary is unethical in every respect. The planned protest is also an appeal to pure mob justice. Baltimore’s capitulation to threatened riots notwithstanding—and yes, City Attorney Marilyn Mosby is partially responsible for making mob-led extortion seem like a plausible strategy—the justice system can never allow its decisions about whether to prosecute in any case to be influenced by protests, boycotts, or public outcry.

Thinking that this is an honorable or responsible way to interact with a legal system is proof of willful ignorance. No views about whether law enforcement’s handling of any situation is just or not, issuing from activists this uneducated about how the justice system does and must work, should be accorded respect or attention. Now protesters are marching in Cleveland to protest a grand jury decision they don’t understand and a justice system they would replace with lynch mobs. The signs emphasize that Tamir was a child, which is irrelevant, that his “gun” was a toy, which is irrelevant, that he was black and the officer is white, all irrelevant. Such protests, based on bias and ignorance, should be regarded as expressions of emotion, touching but useless. They do not help. They make matters worse, by courting racial distrust, confusing the public and confounding the issues.

Every time BlackLivesMatters or a related group engages in such inherently undemocratic and coercive tactics, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley should be directly confronted and asked if they support the use of mob pressure to influence law enforcement.  And journalists should insist on a direct answer.


84 thoughts on “Dear BlackLivesMatter And Friends: If You Won’t Be Responsible, At Least Leave LeBron James Alone

  1. Is BLM is a racist organization that uses distortion and extortion as their main tactics of choice. Are they going to extort compliance from LeBron James and try to destroy his life if he doesn’t comply?

    A few years ago, Act 10 protesters in Wisconsin were intentionally extorting business in the area where they were protesting (Capital Square, Madison, WI) to post signs against Act 10 or they would publicly protest and boycott them.

    Extortion is extortion; it’s becoming more common place with activism, it’s morally bankrupt behavior.

      • Jack said, “…its terrorism, low key.”

        I’m really cautious to use the word terrorism at all except in very extreme situations where there is actual murder or attempted murder is involved. I don’t want to give others some kind of perceived justification to use the word terrorism to describe other things, like congress. I don’t want to get into a usage where it begins to push into your #1 Rationalization.

          • Jack,
            We could argue until we are both blue in the face trying to define the gray line where the label is appropriate and inappropriate, but the gray line is a bit too subjective and I really don’t want to go down that path; however, in my humble opinion…

            Implied threats of riots ≠ terrorism.

            Implied threats of riots = extortion.

            Implied threats of actual physical injury or death = terrorism = extortion.

            Terrorism always = extortion, but extortion does not always = terrorism.

            I’ll leave it at that.

              • astocktill said, ‘ “Implied threats of actual physical injury or death” Like “Pigs in a blanket fry them like bacon”? ‘

                That’s a really good point.

                I admit that the implications of that chant could certainly fall within my “definition” as you noted. Thanks for bringing it up! Are there some more similar examples?

                I’m really curious what others think…

                Is all, or a portion, of the Black Lives Matters organization a terrorist organization because some of the people participating at a rally stated “Pigs in a blanket fry them like bacon”?

  2. Well, back in the days before the Newark riots, locals were being warned “you can’t sell ashes” to get them in tune with the civil rights movement. That’s as much terrorism as anything that’s going on now, but a lot of that gets glossed over in the hagiography of the civil rights movement. Because the civil rights movement was successful, to some degree they get to write the history, and that’s why the kooks like Amiri Baraka the elder and the criminals like Mumia Abu-Jamal now get lionized as heroes instead of condemned. It should come as no surprise that the next generation wants a piece of this supposed noble heritage.

  3. Black lives matter addressing the myth that they hate police officers, in their own words:

    Myth #9

    The movement hates police officers. Police officers are people. Their lives have inherent value. This movement is not an anti-people movement; therefore it is not an anti-police-officer movement. Most police officers are just everyday people who want to do their jobs, make a living for their families, and come home safely at the end of their shift. This does not mean, however, that police are not implicated in a system that criminalizes black people, that demands that they view black people as unsafe and dangerous, that trains them to be more aggressive and less accommodating with black citizens, and that does not stress that we are taxpayers who deserve to be protected and served just like everyone else. Thus the Black Lives Matter movement is not trying to make the world more unsafe for police officers; it hopes to make police officers less of a threat to communities of color. Thus, we reject the idea that asking officers questions about why one is being stopped or arrested, about what one is being charged with, constitutes either disrespect or resistance. We reject the use of military-grade weapons as appropriate policing mechanisms for any American community. We reject the faulty idea that disrespect is a crime, that black people should be nice or civil when they are being hassled or arrested on trumped-up charges. And we question the idea that police officers should be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to policing black communities. Increasingly, the presence of police makes black people feel less rather than more safe. And that has everything to do with the antagonistic and power-laden ways in which police interact with citizens more generally and black citizens in particular. Therefore, police officers must rebuild trust with the communities they police. Not the other way around.

    • Black Live Matter organization is clearly demanding special treatment for persons of color simply because they are persons of color; that is racist at its very core!

      These people are complete and utter idiots!

    • “We reject the faulty idea that disrespect is a crime, that black people should be nice or civil when they are being hassled or arrested on trumped-up charges.”

      There it is in a nutshell. In other words since racism or bad faith is likely in any unwanted interaction with law enforcement it is okay to be jerk to the police. I hope and expect whomever is writing that is not giving the same advice to their own kids.

    • I always feel less threatened by the police when I’m not engaged in illegal behavior. I wonder if police officers would be less of a threat to communities of color if members of those communities stopped engaging in illegal behavior. It seems this may be a simpler and saner way to achieve their supposed goal of making police officers less of a threat. Such a strategy would provide a multitude of other benefits (e.g., non-incarcerated parents for children). Police officers might even start moving into those communities and become neighbors if they were convinced the neighborhoods were crime-free and safe places to raise their children. What if these groups were to gain reputations for being the most peaceful and law-abiding citizens in the country? Of course, no systemic change can make this happen (nor can protests and riots). The only thing that will work is many individual choices to engage in only peaceful, legal behavior.

        • In every major city, there are roving bands of lawyers who visit schools and tell students about their constitutional rights. I’ve always thought it might be more productive if they told students the elements of criminal behavior.

    • While it’s admirable that Deray McKesson brought attention to the murder of Hammond, why is it that, besides tweeting about it, nothing else was done?
      Excerpt from NPR: A White Teen Was Killed By A Cop And No One Took To The Streets. Is That A Problem?

      Before coming to Zachary’s vigil, I asked Deray Mckesson, an influential Ferguson protester with a huge following on social media, if he had any advice for those trying to generate more interest in his case. Mckesson, who had tweeted early on about the Hammond case, put it simply: “We have found taking to the streets to be a successful strategy.”

      What I’ve that while the Hammond family has put in real effort to generate attention for their son’s case, and a local black activist named Jack Logan has tried to keep attention on Zachary’s death by organizing a rally (that I spoke at) and a few vigils, it is not clear that the broader community in Seneca is willing to “take to the streets.”

      …I had hoped to see a healthy crowd of Seneca residents. …I expected to see the members and the leaders of those churches out in force, comforting the family. I expected to see numerous posters with Zachary’s name and #alllivesmatter.

      We were surprised. Where was everyone? A conservative blogger from North Carolina seemed to speak for many in Seneca, which is largely white, with a blog post he wrote about the case and its aftermath 12 days after the shooting.

      “The evidence remains very murky on both sides,” he wrote, “so those of us with patience and common-sense have refrained from expressing outrage. We prefer that the natural process of justice be allowed to occur without any inference.”

      • The very article you cite shows the problem. What I’ve that while the Hammond family has put in real effort to generate attention for their son’s case, and a local black activist named Jack Logan has tried to keep attention on Zachary’s death by organizing a rally (that I spoke at) and a few vigils, it is not clear that the broader community in Seneca is willing to “take to the streets.”

        BLM movement is not a top-down movement. What happens is that people in the community create enough noise and outrage, other people take up the cause, the news spreads, and the media becomes interested. Garner, Scott, Rice Brown et al became national news because their families and communities protested, marched, and made a lot of noise, before any national figures even showed up. Hammond apparently does not have the broader support of his (white) community, which I have a hard time seeing as the fault of the BLM movement (where is the #alllivesmatter crew on this? Why are they never charged with taking up this cause or that if the BLM people are such slackers?)
        The only reason we know Hammond at all is because one of the more prominent members of the BLM movement decided to tweet about it, knowing that he was white. This is not the actions of a racist movement. That was my whole point.

        • “The only reason we know Hammond at all is because one of the more prominent members of the BLM movement decided to tweet about it, ”

          Really? A simple Google search with a limited date ranges shows many, many news articles about the killing that preceded McKesson’s tweet (

          And my (new) point is that the people in the community who create the noise and outrage, do so in an incredibly simpleminded, and shortsighted fashion. I have always hated the “blame white people for the sins of their predecessor” as well as the “if you’re not with me, then you’re against me” mindset, but that’s exactly what’s on display when the movement purposely interferes with the commerce of Minnesota businesses, and delays holiday flights. This is exactly what’s going on when BLM attempts to publicly strong-arm LeBron into supporting their cause, or when they aim vitriol at charity organizations that dare focus on other ills of our world


          You’re right; the lack of community support for Hammond is not the fault of BLM, and McKesson is not obligated to do anything after tweeting about it. But it is interesting that the community in the Hammond situation takes the stance of “The evidence remains very murky on both sides…so those of us with patience and common-sense have refrained from expressing outrage. We prefer that the natural process of justice be allowed to occur without any inference.”

          And it’d be easy to argue that those in urban black communities often face injustice, so they have no reason to trust the “process”….but, on the flip side, on what planet is this a rational response in the face of perceived injustice?

          As an aside, can someone explain to me how to post photos within a reply, rather than just linking to them? Or how to hyperlink words??

          • Ah yes, the common #cvsmatters argument. I will just link to this as a summation of the argument:

            “Often the Negro does not even want what he takes; he wants the experience of taking. But most of all, alienated from society and knowing that this society cherishes property above people, he is shocking it by abusing property rights.”

            “The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Negroes live in them but do not make them any more than a prisoner makes a prison. Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man.”

            It is exceedingly difficult to tell people to ”trust the process”, and for them to do so, when, for them at least, time and time again the process has been shown to be corrupted and ineffective. In issues of police brutality, we have seen countless times that the police will lie, and their fellow police officers, superiors, departments, and other legal officials will back them up. The entire system will back the lie, no matter how blatant. Look at the Laquan McDonald case, where the officer said that the suspect “lunged” at him, and he felt threatened. The video, finally turned over after a year of stonewalling, show no such thing. Rather the officer shooting the suspect in the back a few times, standing over the suspects body and emptying his clip, trying to reload before he is finally wrested away. Yet his fellow officers co-signed to his false report, committed more crimes erasing surveillance footage, and superiors lied and said there was no footage available. They still are stonewalling to this day on footage from additional cameras.

            With Scott in South Carolina, the officer happily wrote a false statement that he also felt “threatened”, which his partner cosigned. Despite evidence that Scott was shot in the back, the department stuck by this until cell phone footage from a private citizen surfaced.

            With Noel Aguilar, police officers say that he attempted to reach for a gun, and shot one of them. Cell phone footage shows that one officer accidently shot his partner, and both decide to shoot and kill Aguilar to cover their own ineptitude.

            It is hard to ask people to “trust the process”, because at this point, the people have begun to realize that “the process” is not designed to work for them, it is there to provide cover to other people.

            • It’s late, and I don’t have a lot of time to properly digest your reply, or to provide a thoughtful response, but I will note that neither of my links was the theft of property from, or destruction of, a CVS. The first was the destruction of a locally financed senior center, designed to provide 60 units of affordable housing where it is desperately needed. Is it “just” property? Yes. But it too freaking easy to just dismiss this (or the CVS) as just property, when it’s not your property. This is not property “society” (what does society mean? Rich? White?) valued…this is property that their neighbors financed; property that their grandparents valued.

              The other link was to the story of a shop owner violently assaulted because….well, because he dared to to have a business in the wrong part of town. Guess those rioters just wanted the “experience of punching”, amirite?

              I don’t care that blacks want the “experience of taking” (I want the experience of having a new car…who cares?), because they are “alienated from society” (and antisocial behavior contributes nothing to that alienation?) and that “society cherishes property above people” (Seriously? They were rioting because unlike the rest of “society”, they don’t overvalue the niceties of life, like cell phones and HDTVs?) When the black murder rate falls in line with our representation in the population, then I’ll start believing that we hold a moral high ground on valuing life over property.

              • The quote Often the Negro does not even want what he takes… is an MLK quote from the 60s, mostly quoted to show that the more things change, the more the stay the same. The same critics had exactly the same thing about the Civil Rights Movement.

                The point of #cvsmatters is that whether CVS or senior center, or whatever, is to show that some people get far more outraged about destruction of property than destruction of actual lives. You can rebuild a CVS or a senior center. You can’t replace a life once it’s gone. And it’s hard to look at the Freddie Gray case, an able-bodied man goes into a police van, comes out with a severed spine, in a police department known so well-known for its “rough rides” that it paid out multi-million dollar fines for the practice previously, and not think that is where the focus should be.

                And Gray is just the match that lit the powder keg. Many Baltimore residents feel anger, after unjust police tactics, like “humbles” (mass sweeping arrests where police come into minority neighborhoods and literally arrest anyone and everyone who happens to be outside, thus gifting entire swaths of poor people with arrest records) are common and widespread practices, not the actions of a few “bad apples”, or “isolated incidences”, but part of a systematic practice of discrimination. If you ask, “what about the CVS/senior center/grocery store? Why are they so angry? Why are they burning stuff down?” It shows how oblivious some people can be to the police state that a goodly portion of our citizens are living under. Perhaps you are willing to accept that some citizens , without being guilty of anything other than being a minority and/or poor and thus living in a minority and/or poor neighborhood should not have the same Constitutional rights as the rest of us. That they feel differently is hardly surprising. That they react to negatively to that is not surprising either.

                We’ve seen white people riot and set fires over losing a basketball game. We’ve seen whites train their guns on government officials over grazing rights. People, when upset, do counterproductive things, even more so when they realize that that the very system which they are told is supposed to help them is the one that hurts them, and there isn’t any recourse. Revolutions have been hatched over much less than that.


                • That was a pretty good recitation of the litany—even to the extent of the false analogy between students rioting over lost basketball games—they riot over the games they win too–they are kids: you know, morons. Try as you may, you can’t justify irrational behavior with rationalizations. The MLK quote is not King at his best, it’s King rationalizing too. Yes, Dr., I’m sure looters and arsonists have made the calculation that this society cherishes property above people, and thus he is shocking it by abusing property rights. Please. WHO gets more more outraged about destruction of property than destruction of actual lives? That’s not a fact, that’s a false characterization, a straw man. People get outraged over stupid, pointless, self-destructive acts. People get outraged over burning down businesses as a response to anything, because it is the equivalent of an infant’s tantrum, but by people with the size and strength to do far more damage.

                  “And it’s hard to look at the Freddie Gray case, an able-bodied man goes into a police van, comes out with a severed spine, in a police department known so well-known for its “rough rides” that it paid out multi-million dollar fines for the practice previously, and not think that is where the focus should be.”

                  It is? 1) Freddie Gray wasn’t able-bodied, he was brain damaged, which means that we don’t know that he acted rationally himself. 2) The protests and riots were sparked first by the video, which everyone assumed initially was what hurt Gray, who was screaming, then went limp, though there is plenty of testimony that this was his MO. The ME testified that none of his injuries were caused by the arrest. This is called “looking for something to protest about.” 3) Baltimore police had just paid out ONE million dollar, not fine, but damages judgment for a “rough ride.” That doesn’t prove or disprove that this is what killed Gray, nor does it justify the assumption, indictments, a conviction, or a riot…unless you don’t care about little matters like facts. 4) Anyone who calls a city like Baltimore a “police state” doesn’t know what a real police state is. If it’s a police state, it’s sure a strange one: run by a black mayor with a black DA, that had its police stand down and do virtually nothing while the population it supposedly abuses was rioting and looting. Do I have to tell you how a real police state would handle that situation? 5) “It’s not surprising” is neither a justification or an explanation, and borders on racism itself. Did all of the homeowners manipulated into bad mortgages who lost their homes riot? Did any of them? Is it because people who manage their lives to find stability for their families don’t riot, or because not owning a home makes you riot? I’d like to know. Bottom line: leaderless, irrational, destructive protest tactics are unjust and make everything worse. Stop rationalizing them. These are adults. There is no excuse for it.

                  There is recourse; there is lots of recourse. Don’t sabotage yourself. You have a free high school education at your disposal: get your degree. Read. Don’t have babies before you have an education, a job, and are married. Learn basic skills like being on time, doing your job, and being trustworthy. Don’t waste money on drugs and booze. Don’t break the law, or hang around with people who break the law, or make excuses for people who break the law. Take responsibility. Be accountable. Yes, all of this is harder, a lot harder, when you’re poor. That’s not an excuse for a riot, a destructive “protest,’ and certainly not a revolution.

  4. Yes, there are more fatal shootings of whites by police in absolute terms, but when you factor in the rates of shootings by population (whites outnumber blacks in the general population by five to one), blacks are two to three times more likely to be fatally shot.

  5. Jack,
    “… racist domestic terrorist organization.”

    Ignoring the vast oversimplification this statement represents, it’s also untrue. There are “Black Lives Matters” organizations, but only a handful of them are connected or confederated in any meaningful way and the rest are simply co-opting a hashtag. Then again, referring to it a singular movement only serves as further proof that you’ve bought into the same false narrative that the media is keen to sell and so many more are keener to buy.

    You’re only feeding the “us. vs. them” mentality for which you’re so quick to condemn “them” over.


    • “There are “Black Lives Matters” organizations, but only a handful of them are connected or confederated in any meaningful way and the rest are simply co-opting a hashtag.”

      This might have been true 20 years ago before social media, exchanging ‘hashtag’ for ‘slogan’. But with new forms of communication, new forms of organizations emerge, and you ignore them to your peril. Hashtag movements usually aren’t very effective, they’re almost impossible to police, but they very much exist, and they tend to take on a life of their own. You said that the people co-opted the hashtag, that’s backwards, the hashtag came first. And co-opt is the wrong word, the hashtag incited action, and any action that comes out of that hashtag, even if they take disparate forms are products of that hashtag.

      “Then again, referring to it a singular movement only serves as further proof that you’ve bought into the same false narrative that the media is keen to sell and so many more are keener to buy.”

      What an odd statement. Are you suggesting that none of this is connected? That disparate groups sprung up independently and flowered into BLM? What’s your alternative theory to the connection of these groups?

      “You’re only feeding the “us. vs. them” mentality for which you’re so quick to condemn “them” over.”

      Fundamentally different, their dichotomy is an exclusive racial group vs. an exclusive racial group, ours is an inclusive group against an ideological movement.

    • It refers to itself as a single movement, then denies it when convenient, as in the legal showdown over its Mall invasion. Yes, it’s loose, like Occupy. So what?

      When civil disobedience is directed at the reasonable object of protest, it can be ethical and reasonable. When a group threatens unrest, or intentionally interferes with business, travel, or crucial daily functions just to create inconvenience, random harm, publicity and anxiety, that’s indistinguishable from terrorism, just without the killing and maiming. Still indefensible. Until I hear a word that better describes these exercises in bullying and extortion, I’ll stick with terrorism

  6. It’s true that more white people than black people are killed by the police, but
    if the numbers are adjusted for the population (there are five times more white people than black people in the general population), blacks are killed two to three times more often.

    • No argument. But BLM isn’t arguing a statistical anomaly. It’s arguing intentional racial homicide. The point is that whites are shot under similar circumstances without any similar outrage, either by BLM or the fictional WLM.

      • Not as I hear it and they’d be crazy if they did – BLM arguing “intentional racial homicide”. Who (with any credibility as a BLM spokesman) has suggested the police go out on patrol intending to kill blacks?

        • You’re not listening.

          What was the underlying allegation in Ferguson? That Mike Brown had his hands up, was surrendering, and was executed because he was black. The same allegation is underlying the Rice protests, Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland. If that’s not the claim, how would you characterize it?

    • Ok, so what happens when the numbers are adjusted for crime rates, rather than population? Does that even things out a bit?

      Adjusting for race is nice, but misleading. I am black, and I do not fear being arrested, harassed, or killed by the police, even though I fall into the “population of black people”. So while, statistically, blacks are much more likely to be killed by police, I do not fear the police. Why? Because I do not fall into the MUCH more relevant category of “people, who happen to be black, but more importantly were engaged in violent criminal activity”. If I fell into that category, yeah, I’d fear the police. But I don’t, so I don’t.

      Assuming cops kill more based simply on race, rather than because certain races commit more violent crime, and thus, find themselves in violent confrontations with police much more often, feels like the old joke of finding a correlation between spikes in burglary rates and ice cream sales, when in reality, the spikes in ice cream sales mean more people are out of their homes in the evening, leading to increased burglary opportunities.

      • So while, statistically, blacks are much more likely to be killed by police, I do not fear the police. Why? Because I do not fall into the MUCH more relevant category of “people, who happen to be black, but more importantly were engaged in violent criminal activity”. If I fell into that category, yeah, I’d fear the police. But I don’t, so I don’t.

        What about John Crawford and Rice, both gunned down by police with no warning while doing nothing wrong? Their crime was possessing a toy gun, in an open carry state. Or Jonathan Ferrell, seeking help after a car accident? Or Corey Jones, waiting by his car after it had broken down? Lack of criminal behavior is no bar to a deadly confrontation with the police, unfortunately.

        As far as correlation/causation argument goes, it is exceedingly hard to determine which way the arrow flows. We do however, have definitive evidence that in police departments across the country, officers have been directed to specifically target minorities for stops and arrests. Perhaps one day if we ever weed out that factor from departments, we might have an answer.
        He said that men of color in the NYPD have to worry about not getting in trouble if they do end up getting stopped by another on-duty cop.

        “For off-duty cops, [it’s important] to walk away and make sure I don’t receive any disciplinary charges for it, because unfirom cops [might]…lie — they are concerned about covering their own behind,” he said. “It’s always been people of color [in the NYPD] who end up being arrested or suspended…[Officers] may take disciplinary actions against officers, because they are afraid of the lawsuits, because they know cops know the rules.”
        He added, “When they made [stop-and-frisk] part of a quota system, it no longer became a crime-fighting tool. The moment it changed from being a crime-fighting tool, it became abusive. I don’t care what precinct you go to. It happens in minority neighborhoods, and it happens in white precincts. I will still guarantee to you the majority of stop-and-frisks will still be people of color.”

        And this is coming from an actual cop, who is still nonetheless worried about getting arrested because he is black.

        • John Crawford and Rice were both anomalies, both victims of second hand, relayed, mistaken reports of someone with a gun. The fact that they weren’t real guns doesn’t help the cops, who didn’t know that, and couldn’t afford, they felt, finding out. Both were also bad policing. Neither proves anything, other than a combination of bad luck and bad training can be fatal.

          • It’s Ohio. Even if the guns were real, they had a right to carry them, so that part is immaterial (Rice had no gun visible at the time the police were on the scene, Crawford’s was slung around on his back as he was talking on his cell phone at the time, he wasn’t even aware the police were there). Despite the lack of exigent circumstances, neither one were even allowed the opportunity to drop their (fake) weapons…in once again, an open carry state.

            • I don’t see why you keep talking about open carry. In open carry states, persons openly carrying firearms may still be arrested by law enforcement officials for disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace in certain locations and circumstances where openly carrying cause public alarm. Both of these cases were examples of that: someone was alarmed. The man who called 911 in Crawford’s case first said Crawford was pointing the gun, then recanted. It’s a close comp to the Rice slaying—same state, bad policing, clueless victim, mistaken report, toy gun. Both anomalous.

              • Yes. But they are the police. Their job is to investigate, not shoot first, ask questions later. So first, especially in an open carry state, is for the police on the scene to take a survey of the situation, no matter how quick, to see if the facts align to what has been reported.
                The #1 question should be, is this a situation which requires immediate application of lethal force? Are there other people around? Have shots, indeed been fired? Is his hand on the trigger on the gun? Ect. Neither situation, no matter the reports, called for immediate application of lethal force. Reports can’t be switched in for actual assessments. Someone else being “alarmed” is not a crime, and certainly not a capital one. Both were killed doing perfectly legal things because they could be, and the police were not charged because we give an insane amount of deference to the police, especially (but not only) when they say they saw a minority as a “threat”, even if the minority was not doing anything wrong at the time of the killing.

        • “Lack of criminal behavior is no bar to a deadly confrontation with the police, unfortunately.”

          True, but when the numbers are what they are (very, very, very few police killings of blacks involve unarmed victims, minding their own business or seeking help), so much that they clearly are the exception, then I still feel secure in not fearing the police.

          While Rice may not have legally done anything wrong (I don’t know, is swinging a toy gun at people technically a crime, no matter how realistic it is), to imply that it wasn’t inviting likely harm is just not true. Even though he was just a child, his actions, unbeknownst to him, still were likely to lead to a severely negative consequence.

          There’s so much misinformation with the John Crawford situation, and I am a bit disinclined to believe the police report, so it wouldn’t be fair for me to comment on that situation.

          The point you bring up re: Stop & Frisk quotas is interesting, and I need to do some more reading on that. I know my anecdotal evidence means little, but I lived in Harlem for 18 months in 2007-2008, and not once was stopped nor frisked. That’s what I find so personally mystifying, the claims of racist police stops, and “driving while black”; Not once, in my 37 years of living and driving in the DMV as well as NYC have I have a race-influenced interaction with the police. Maybe I’m just oblivious, lucky, or naive. Or my lines got crossed, and my male privilege somehow cancelled out my “being black” disadvantage.

          • I should try that with a cop sometime. “Do you know why I pulled you over?” “Well, obviously officer, you thought I was a woman. Perhaps Black? I did get a really good tan this year. Well, as you can see, I’m actually white and male, and I have my patriarchy membership card right here. Are we done?”

            What I can never get out of people that assume that stop and frisk is racist is whether it is sexist. I mean… Yeah, around 85% of stop and frisk detainees were black, but basically all of them were male. And so if disparate impact results are evidence of institutional discrimination, how on earth could you argue that a greater impact result isn’t discrimination? But they never seem to want to go there.

            • I think the stop and frisk policy is both racist and sexist. The hidden police recordings show that officers were specifically directed to stop and frisk minority males. Statistics show that they dutifully fulfilled this directive, stopping minorities 85% of the time, and males 93% of the time. But that is intersectionality for you. Minority males have always been seen as a greater threat.

              None of that would be relevant if the police were actually, as they should be, stopping people who are actually behaving suspiciously, instead of stopping minority males as a way to gin up their numbers. But we know that is not the case, so it is immaterial.

              • Profiling is unfair, and thus a policy that should be avoided in the interests of equity, but it is neither racist nor sexist. If the statistics say that the highest probability of finding an illegal weapon or drugs on a random citizen is if the citizen is black and male, then it is simply rational, if stop and frisk is the tool being used to prevent crime, to stop and frisk black males.

                When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton said, “Because that’s where the money is.” He had nothing against banks.

                • Except…they were less likely to find weapons when stopping young minority males:

                  685,724 stops in 2011 (an increase of 14 percent from 2010) were spread unevenly amongst the city’s 76 precincts, with the 75th Precinct (East New York) leading the city with 31,100 stops. Setting aside the Central Park Precinct (22nd), the 94th Precinct (Greenpoint) had the fewest stops at 2,023.

                  -In 70 out of 76 precincts, black and Latino New Yorkers accounted for more than 50 percent of stops, and in 33 precincts they accounted for more than 90 percent of stops. In the 10 precincts with the lowest black and Latino populations (such as the 6th Precinct in Greenwich Village), blacks and Latinos accounted for more than 70 percent of stops in
                  six of those precincts.

                  -Young black and Latino men were the targets of a hugely disproportionate number of stops. Though they account for only 4.7 percent of the city’s population, black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 41.6 percent of stops in 2011. The number of stops of young black men exceeded the entire city population of young black
                  men (168,126 as compared to 158,406).

                  – Ninety percent of young black and Latino men stopped were innocent.
                  Though frisks are to be conducted only when an officer reasonably suspects the person has a weapon that might endanger officer safety, 55.7 percent of those stopped were frisked. Of those frisked, a weapon was found only 1.9 percent of the time.

                  -Frisks varied enormously by precinct, with officers in the 46th Precinct in the Bronx frisking people 80.4 percent of the time, as compared to a low of 27.5 percent in the 17th Precinct on the East Side of Manhattan.

                  Black and Latino New Yorkers were more likely to be frisked than whites and, among those frisked, were less likely to be found with a weapon.

                  -In 2011 as compared to 2003 (the earliest year a gun recovery figure is available), the NYPD conducted 524,873 more stops but recovered only 176 more guns. This amounts to an additional recovery rate of three one-hundredths of one percent.

                  -Of the 605,328 stops of innocent people in 2011, 53.6 percent were frisked. The 75th Precinct led the city in stops of innocent people with 27,672 such stops. Excluding the Central Park Precinct, the 94th Precinct had the fewest with 1,843.

                  What one would not expect and what raises further concerns about racial bias in the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program is that blacks and Latinos were more likely to be frisked and, among those frisked, are far less likely to be found with a weapon. Of blacks and Latinos who were stopped, 57.5 percent were frisked, while 44.2 percent of whites who were stopped were frisked. Yet, a weapon was found in only 1.8 percent of blacks and Latinos frisked, as compared to a weapon being found in 3.8 percent of whites frisked. These figures strongly indicate that race is a factor in officer decisions to frisk a person.

                  Click to access NYCLU_2011_Stop-and-Frisk_Report.pdf

                  So yes, racist profiling.

                  • No no no. The whites were frisked because of other factors than just their race. The blacks were frisked because blacks had a higher likelihood of carrying weapons. Of course the whites frisked were more likely to be carrying. But that’s a false comparison.

                    • So in other words, whites were frisked because they actually behaved suspiciously, but black people were frisked because they were black? How is that not a racist policy? Why not only stop black people when they behave suspiciously, the same way that police do with whites?

                  • Jack: “It’s racial discrimination, but not racist.”

                    Most people use these as synonyms. What, in your view, is the difference?

                    • If they use them as synonyms, then they understand neither.If I hire a black man over a better qualified white man because I think blacks deserve compensation for Jim Crow, that’s racial discrimination. If I do it because I think whites are inherently untrustworthy, that’s racist. Affirmative action is discrimination, but it isn’t racist.

                    • “If they use them as synonyms, then they understand neither.If I hire a black man over a better qualified white man because I think blacks deserve compensation for Jim Crow, that’s racial discrimination. If I do it because I think whites are inherently untrustworthy, that’s racist. Affirmative action is discrimination, but it isn’t racist.”

                      That’s a sensible distinction.

                      What if you decided not to hire a white man over a better qualified black man, not because you find blacks inherently untrustworthy, but because you think blacks are statistically more likely to steal? Is that racism, or just racial discrimination? Because that, I feel, is similar to what we’re talking about with stop-and-frisk.

                    • Blacks are more likely to steal, because they are black? Racism. Blacks are, on average, more likely to steal for reasons unrelated to their genetic make-up and race but linked to cultural and class factors? Discrimination. One is irrational, the other is unfair.

                • Not to mention, stop and frisk is supposed to be performed because of an, individual, articulable suspicion that a crime is about to be committed, not on immutable characteristics that an individual has. If one of your reasons to be suspicious and stop an individual on the street is nothing other than their skin color, then yes, it is a prima facie racist policy. I don’t even know why I would have to spell that out.

                  • As I was taught stop and frisk, a general statistic probability would not comport with 4th Amendment law. And as I said, it’s not fair, and obnoxious. Still not racist, any more than if you told me to pick 5 random Americans knowing nothing about them for a competition between your team and mine. IF the game is golf, I’m picking 5 rich white guys. If its basketball, I’m picking 5 tall black guys. That’s just playing the odds. I’m not attributing negative traits to any individual because of their race.

                    Same with profiling. It’s just playing the odds.

                    • “IF the game is golf, I’m picking 5 rich white guys. If its basketball, I’m picking 5 tall black guys.”

                      I’d call that racist. Assuming basketball talent based on height is one thing, but race? That’s racist, by definition.

                    • You’re insane, Chris. 74% of NBA players are black. That means that I have a 3-1 better chance of finding great basketball players by picking tall black guys. It has nothing to do with talent; the question is, who plays basketball better, through talent, experience, culture or preference. Math isn’t racist, and the NBA isn’t 3-1 black by coincidence.

      • It would be more interesting to adjust by poverty rates. As the Politifact article points out, if you control for income, whites commit as many felonies as blacks. Until we address the issue of economic disparity and opportunity, the African American community will continue to be disproportionately involved with the police and be more susceptible to being in a violent confrontation.

        • Adjusting for poverty rates, yes, would make for an interesting and enlightening discussion. However, why is the lack of economic opportunity, regardless of race, a mitigating factor for when an adult chooses to commit a crime? I’d venture to say that this is classism, implying that simply because a certain demographic ‘has less’, they are of inferior moral fiber, and possess less self control. Why is it an issue to be addressed (for the benefit of the perpetrator) when someone with less chooses to steal from someone well off, but we condemn those with means who steal from others who are equally well off?

    • The discrepancy in violent crime rates is even higher than the discrepancy in shooting rates per capita. Blacks criminals are less likely to be shot than white criminals, just going by the numbers politifact noted.

  7. Poverty does not imply anything about an intrinsic lack of moral fiber or impulse control, but it does speak to the lack of quality education, mental health services, nutrition and the Criminalization of Poverty, which is something the Ferguson investigation highlighted.

    I also think there is a lack of condemnation of the well-off. Not a single Wall Street hedge fund manager has gone to prison for the financial meltdown. Some kid in California gets a slap on the wrist for killing four people and, unbelievably, his wealth is the mitigating factor. Corporations use inversions to avoid paying taxes (see Dow/Dupont).

    Of course, there are people who grew up in poverty who do not become violent criminals, and there are those who had every advantage who do. The odds are stacked against those who are poor.


    During the display of gross incompetence of mistaking Arenas-Alvarez for a black man in a black shirt, Arenas-Alvarez’s 17-month-old daughter, Ayleen was strapped into her car seat in the SUV.

    Before Arenas-Alvarez could communicate to the officers that his infant daughter was in the car, the “two minutes” had passed and Sgt. Mitchell arrived with his Belgian Malinois. Almost as soon as he exited the vehicle, Mitchell released the K-9 into the SUV of an entirely innocent man and his daughter.
    “My baby,” Arturo Arenas-Alvarez can be heard pleading with officers in broken English. “I’ve got my baby.”

    An officer then yelled out, “There’s an infant in that car! There’s an infant in that car!”

    But it was too late. By the time the cops realized that their immediate escalation to violence was unnecessary – the damage had been done.

    Ayleen’s blood curdling and heart-wrenching screams of agony can be heard on the dashcam. The 4-year-old dog, Doerak, was ripping into the baby’s flesh. By the time the dog let go of the infant, her right arm had been mauled. She was left with nine puncture wounds and abrasions.

    But at least all those who mattered got home safe and unharmed.

    “You don’t ask questions… you shoot” in such cases, where there’s a perceived threat. Even if the person being held at gunpoint is hispanic and in a white shirt, he might have been a black in a black shirt – the description of the suspect.

    Just an accident.

    On the dashcam one officer can be heard saying that their response to this incident of mistaking a man and his daughter for a completely different looking man was “solid” and it could’ve been much worse.

    “All that happened was totally solid. Just a sh*tty set of circumstances that all rolled into — what could’ve been much worse. So just get that whole timeline out there,” the officer said.

    • Given the relatively shallow extent of the puncture wounds, the dog exercised good judgment by releasing the victim long before being commanded to do so.

      I wonder what “probable cause” they’ll dream up for searching the car?

      Right now, whether it’s massive, nationwide and gross incompetence, or malice, or a mixture, is of secondary importance. The effects are the same. The system’s broken.

      • That’s a nice halfpinion. I share it, inasmuch as yes, the system is somewhat broken, at least in specific places.

        Now I await the other half of your opinion, in which you have an idea for fixing it that doesn’t involve mob rule, Orwellian new laws, or statism. I’d also be curious to know how Black Lives Matter is proving necessary or helpful in fixing the system, since that’s kinda the topic of this thread. They certainly haven’t improved the situation in Baltimore or Ferguson.

        • I think you’d call my solution statism.
          Start with removing the King’s Privilege – “Sovereign Immunity”.
          Have savage punishments for criminal DAs who subvert the cause of justice.
          Likewise for those police whose falsifications of reports go far beyond the usual unreliability of witnesses.

          BLM is not part of the solution – it’s the precipitate. In my ignorant opinion, racism such as exists is due almost entirely to a police perception that everyone could be armed, every black male a potential copkiller. Black male? Better shoot first if you want to come home safe.

          Reducing the number of handguns would help – the trick is how to do it. It needs a change of culture, which I don’t see happening.

          Bottom Line: too hard for me to solve, we need a group of reasonable people of goodwill to work on it, police officers definitely included as they know more than I do.


    Last week, U.S. District Court Judge John W. Lungstrum dismissed every one of the Hartes’s claims. Lungstrum found that sending a SWAT team into a home first thing in the morning based on no more than a positive field test and spotting a suspect at a gardening store was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. He found that the police had probable cause for the search, and that the way the search was conducted did not constitute excessive force. He found that the Hartes had not been defamed by the raid or by the publicity surrounding it. He also ruled that the police were under no obligation to know that drug testing field kits are inaccurate, nor were they obligated to wait for the more accurate lab tests before conducting the SWAT raid. The only way they’d have a claim would be if they could show that the police lied about the results, deliberately manipulated the tests or showed a reckless disregard for the truth — and he ruled that the Hartes had failed to do so.

    The field test used has a 70% false positive rate.

    • I agree with the judge. Probable cause does not require certainty. This is just moral luck. If the raid had uncovered what was being sought, nobody would have a complaint. If there was a 70% chance it was a good raid, that’s enough.

      • Actually, Zoe’s saying 70% of time the field test says “positive”, it’s actually negative; basically, the field test actually fails more often than it succeeds.

        • Actually wait, I meant to say that “Zoe is actually saying that 70% of people who aren’t guilty will be marked as so by said test”.

          • Probable cause to search exists when facts and circumstances known to the officer provide the basis for a reasonable person to believe that a crime was committed at the place to be searched, or that evidence of a crime exists at the location. 30% s not enough for a reasonable person to so believe. 70%, yes.

            • I think we’re all talking over each other a little bit here; Zoe’s complaint is that the officers mathematically speaking DIDN’T have probable cause, but were still let off the hook by the judge. Basically, she’s expressing the common complaint that the theoretically reasonable leeway we give law enforcement is not necessarily reasonable in practice.

                • It’s not an “all or nothing” thing here; I think most of us here (yourself included) have stated that they wouldn’t mind higher standards which would still allow some reasonable leeway (even if those standards applied more to civil, rather than criminal, courts; heck, I’d simply be happy with it being easier to fire incompetent officers, even if they never have to face a single trial for their mistakes).

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