Stupid Cops Matter

Perfect match.

Perfect match.

In a case where Hanlon’s Razor (“Never assume malice is the explanation if stupidity will suffice”) applies but one can’t really blame a mother for thinking otherwise, police in Newark  inexplicably mistook an innocent pre-teen black boy for an adult robbery suspect and chased him through a Newark neighborhood with guns drawn. This is stupidity, not racism. Well, who knows: there could be racism mixed in there too, but what jumps out is the jaw-dropping incompetence.

Legend Preston, just ten years old, was fetching a basketball that had rolled into the street when he looked up and saw armed cops running towards him as if they meant business. So he ran.

“I was scared for my life,” Legend told reporters. “I was thinking that they were going to shoot me.” Good thinking, kid. If these cope were inept enough to get a ten-year-old  confused with Casey Joseph Robinson, a 20-year-old, dreadlocks-sporting perp with facial hair (he was arrested in the next block), who knows what they might do?

Legend was quickly surrounded by neighbors  who emphatically pointed out to the police that they were chasing a child, as the officers stammered that he “fit the description” of the criminal. Well, sort of. Okay, okay, now that we’re up close, we see that he’s under five feet tall, dressed like a kid, doesn’t have dreadlocks or facial hair, and looks nothing like the guy, except that he’s black, which means we also could also mistake him for Bill Cosby, Jesse Jackson, Morgan Freeman, or LeBron James.

However, once their mistake was explained to them, presumably s-l-o-w-ly, at least the humiliated police officers apologized abjectly to the boy, his mother, everyone in the vicinity, fire hydrants, the sidewalk, the ground, the sky, and God. Actually, no, they didn’t. “You want to make a report, go to 32 Green St,” one of them said, and walked away, without even a John Belushi apology…

The boy’s mother, who posted a video of her traumatized son crying on Facebook, now says that she is being forced into the arms of Black Lives Matter, and wants to see “reform of the system.” I understand her feeling that way, but honestly, does she really think that there is a systemic problem with the police mistaking little boys for adult criminals? How often does this happen? Yes, once is too often, but again: what does this strange incident add to our understanding of what ails law enforcement in black neighborhoods? The Ethics Incompleteness Principle applies: you don’t use anomalies to create precedents or to justify changing systems system.

The reaction of the police after the fiasco is more indicative of the need for a systemic overhaul than the rest of the story. Aren’t Newark police trained to try to build good community relations? To say “I’m so sorry; we screwed up badly here” when they screw up badly? To think, “Gee, how would I feel if my son was treated the way I just treated this poor kid” and act accordingly? I suppose it’s possible that Legend’s mother isn’t accurately relating the exchange, but in any case of “he said-she said,” I’m siding with the party who can tell the difference between 20-year-old armed robbers and ten-year-olds with basketballs.

The ubiquity of the Black Lives Matter narrative distorts the episode, however. Suddenly, the lesson defaults to “See? The oppressive white society wants to murder black children!” when all the story indisputably indicates is that some police departments are hiring idiots who draw their guns too quickly and don’t train them sufficiently in basics like judgment and human relations.  Presumably all races, creeds, and colors will agree that this is unacceptable. Making Legend’s  experience into a racial issue is counter-productive, divisive and destructive.

Meanwhile, the Daily News report states outright that inner city black children should be taught to run from police.

That is also stupid, and may well get one or more young men, maybe even Legend when he’s old enough to be legitimately stopped by police, shot by another badly trained idiot.

Such advice is irresponsible, doesn’t help. Nothing about the episode helps. The primary lesson ought to be that morons shouldn’t be given guns and allowed to wear police uniforms. Didn’t we already know that?

You’re right: it’s too early in the day for a story like this. Now I’m in a bad mood, and you’re in a bad mood.

Sorry.

________________________

Pointer: Fred

72 thoughts on “Stupid Cops Matter

  1. Wow, that’s a story!

    The first thing that came to my mind was; if I see police officers with guns drawn heading towards me, I’m going to do what they say – not run! Of course I actually have a level of respect for police and know I haven’t done anything wrong and this will be sorted out properly. Why doesn’t that level of respect for police officers exist in the “black communities”; WHY?

    That aside…

    Wow, what a story!

    • I used to have a level of respect for police (as much as anyone who’s rubbed the wrong way by authority figures can have at least) and knew I hadn’t done anything wrong. When you learn that doesn’t matter to them, you’ll come around if you live through the experience.

      • I just got the most BS speeding ticket of my life last month, and I fully intend to contest it, the cop was rude, he lied, and wasn’t confused by facts. It was one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had. But you know what that won’t make me do? Try to get away next time. And I know the example is weak, and I know a firearm wasn’t involved, and yes, I’m fully cognisant that I am indeed white.

        But…. We have to stop pretending like reality isn’t real. In the case of a confrontation with police, regardless of the circumstances, I can’t think of a better way for it to go sideways than for you to fight them or to run away. Co-operating is still the best way to guarantee the best outcome, even if that outcome isn’t ideal. These excuses amount to “Well, something bad was going to happen anyway, so they might as well make it as awful as possible.” I mean, if you want to be the next slogan for BLM, you go right ahead and do the dumb thing. If however, you actually care about whether black people live or die, you might just give them the good advice and tell people not to fuck with the police.

        What a concept.

            • I was just addressing your point about running from the police. The boy is 10. He probably was scared out of his mind.

              Let me push the question back to you. When do you think children should be taught not to run from the police? And does your answer change based on the gender and race of the child?

              Mine would. I have white girls. I probably need to have this conversation with them when they are entering high school. But if I had a black son or daughter? Perhaps I would have to have the same conversation earlier.

              • I don’t know if a kid would ever need to be taught not to run from police if those kids aren’t taught to fear them first. This hits me in part as a self-perpetuating cycle, and the stimulus for change has to happen somewhere.

                I think that the police are trying, generally, to do their part to break that cycle and that idiots like the two in this situation don’t help showcase that effort very well, but there still is an effort. But as a mirror, BLM is to this situation what these cops are… Loud, stupid and unproductive. If there is an effort to break this cycle coming from the black community, then they need to do a better job at showcasing it as well.

          • Sorry, I thought this was connected to deery’s insanity. You’re right… I don’t blame the kids in this situation even a little bit. But I think that incidents like this can only become more common as a young generation is indoctrinated into this ideology where policemen and authorities are bad and scary by definition.

      • So you’ve been rubbed the wrong way by an authority figure; so what?

        I have lived through the experience of mistaken identity and taken into custody by the police – twice in two different states – once when I was 17 (taken at gun point because I “looked” similar to an armed robbery suspect) and once when I was 20, and guess what valkgrrl I didn’t run either time and I still have respect for police. I don’t use such things as an irrational excuse to smear the whole lot of police officers.

        I believe that you’ve missed the point.

        • Why would you respect anyone who did that to you or stands up for anyone who did that to you?

          And it wasn’t an authority figure that rubs me the wrong way, it’s all of them. One learns to get by. one doesn’t necessarily learn to like it.

    • One of the first things that such a man develops is a heightened awareness of police officers—what they look like, how they move, where and when they are likely to appear. He learns the models of their undercover cars, the ways they hold their bodies and the cut of their hair, the timing and location of their typical routes. His awareness of the police never seems to leave him; he sees them sitting in plain clothes at the mall food court with their children; he spots them in his rearview mirror coming up behind him on the highway, from ten cars and three lanes away. Sometimes he finds that his body anticipates their arrival with sweat and a quickened heartbeat before his mind consciously registers any sign of their appearance.

      When I first met Mike, I thought his awareness of the police was a special gift, unique to him. Then I realized Chuck also seemed to know when the police were coming. So did Alex. When they sensed the police were near, they did what other young men in the neighborhood did: they ran and hid.

      Chuck put the strategy concisely to his twelve-year-old brother, Tim:

      If you hear the law coming, you merk on [run away from] them niggas. You don’t be having time to think okay, what do I got on me, what they going to want from me. No, you hear them coming, that’s it, you gone. Period. ’Cause whoever they looking for, even if it’s not you, nine times out of ten they’ll probably book you.
      http://inthesetimes.com/article/17882/why-black-people-running-from-the-police-makes-perfect-sense

      It’s an interesting article altogether about why people run from police, and why it may not necessarily be a futile endeavor to run. But when officers are awarded and promoted on how many people they arrest and book, it might be a good idea to run whenever possible. The police are well aware of which neighborhoods they can use to get those numbers, and the neighborhoods they should probably leave alone if they want to keep their jobs.

      But besides all that, the boy was 10. I think a lot of ten year olds would be scared crapless by a bunch of grown men running after them with guns drawn. A lot of adults too. That’s when the fight or flight instinct kicks in. Entirely understandable.

      Chalk this one up to another “black man fit the description” (by being black). An isolated incident, just like all the other ones. Nothing to see here. Move along.

      • “If you hear the law coming, you merk on [run away from] them niggas. You don’t be having time to think okay, what do I got on me, what they going to want from me. No, you hear them coming, that’s it, you gone. Period. ’Cause whoever they looking for, even if it’s not you, nine times out of ten they’ll probably book you. ”

        You know that’s dumb advice, right? And you know that the section you bolded, even if that’s how the person really felt, isn’t true, right? I mean, could you imagine what it would actually look like if 90% of stop and frisks ended in an arrest and booking? It’s not only untrue, it’s obviously untrue. And you should know better.

        But more importantly… And you HAVE to start reading your own sources… This article wasn’t talking about the average law-abiding black person. They were talking about people ranging from felons to people with low-level warrants.

        We now know that there’s about 2 million warrants that have been reported voluntarily to the database, and leaving a huge number that haven’t been reported. About 60% of these warrants are not for new crimes, but for technical violations of parole, unpaid court fees, unpaid child support, traffic fines, curfew violations, court fees. And it’s this group of people that are terrified. If they’re stopped by the cops, any of these reasons is enough to bring them in, to get them trapped into the system again.

        That first bit makes a whole lot more sense when compared to the actual population being talked about. If you have an outstanding warrant, then yeah, there’s probably a better than 90% chance the cops are going to take you in.

        And it’s OBVIOUS they’re talking about people with warrants.

        If you’re part of this class, it means you don’t go to the hospital when you’re sick. You’re wary of visiting friends in the hospital or attending their funerals. Driving your kid to school can be daunting. You don’t have a driver’s license or ID. Most of the time, you can’t seek legal employment. You can’t get help from the government. It comes from, partly, growing up in a neighborhood where you’ve watched your uncles and brothers go to jail, and your aunts and mom entangled in the court system without ever getting free.

        If you’ve got a low-level warrant or some probation issue, you can be violated by authorities if you don’t inform when asked. So you’re really talking about a policing system that hinges on turning families against each other and sowing a lot of suspicion and distrust.

        And take this stellar example of cognitive dissonance:

        I know this guy driving his 11-year-old brother to school in his girlfriend’s car when he got stopped. Turns out that the car was stolen, so the cops charged the guy with receiving stolen property. And then they charged the 11 year old with accessory to receiving stolen property, and gave him 3 years of probation.

        So now his older brother sits him down and teaches him the basics of running. How to spot undercover officers and cars. How to negotiate a stop without escalating it. How to find a hiding place. Teaching his little brother to do this becomes what being a big brother is all about.”

        No, being a big brother might be about NOT driving around in a god damned stolen car. Where does this attitude come from where we can gloss over something like that like it’s inconsequential? Like the purpose of cars is to be stolen? Like it just happened to have stolen itself?

        It’s not the kids fault he was hauled in, that much I think we can agree on. But are you really blaming the police for that? Because that seems to be your position, and correct me if I’m wrong, because I’d love to be wrong.

        • In These Times? Are you kidding me?

          From the wiki page:

          In These Times is an American politically progressive/democratic socialist monthly magazine of news and opinion published by the Institute for Public Affairs in Chicago, Illinois.

          It was established as a broadsheet-format fortnightly newspaper in 1976 by James Weinstein, a lifelong socialist, with the aid of intellectuals including Julian Bond, Noam Chomsky and Herbert Marcuse.

          Noam Chomsky and Herbert Marcuse?

          Their motto should be “Authentic Frontier Gibberish!” I read an article in there the other day by a professor of African American Studies at Northwestern, a colleague and fan of Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dorn. The article was in praise of Black Lives Matters. She enthused about a BLM demonstration in Chicago where the demonstrators chanted “We don’t want no police!” Brilliant. This woman is a highly paid and highly credentialed (and buggering belief, evidently well thought of) academic We’re doomed.

        • It’s not the kids fault he was hauled in, that much I think we can agree on. But are you really blaming the police for that? Because that seems to be your position, and correct me if I’m wrong, because I’d love to be wrong.

          I didn’t write the article/book, nor quote that particular section, but I will give it a go. Well, the first question to ask is whether the big brother even knew the vehicle was stolen? And if he did, did the 11 year old who just wanted a ride to school? What utility is possibly served by charging an 11 year as an accessory to a stolen car, when there is no evidence he was involved in the theft? Another kid with a record. I think the police absolutely were wrong in this case, absent some other factors.

          • “I didn’t write the article/book, nor quote that particular section”

            You said:

            “It’s an interesting article altogether about why people run from police, and why it may not necessarily be a futile endeavor to run.”

            That’s not true. Period. It was an article about why CRIMINALS run from the police. Felons, people with warrants, and probationees. You either knew that or you didn’t read the damn article… So your choices become dishonest or stupid. You pick.

            “Well, the first question to ask is whether the big brother even knew the vehicle was stolen? (1) And if he did, did the 11 year old who just wanted a ride to school? (2) What utility is possibly served by charging an 11 year as an accessory to a stolen car, when there is no evidence he was involved in the theft?”(3)

            (1) I think it’s more reasonable than not to believe that he did. Especially because police officers cannot execute summary judgement on these things. There was a process at the end of which the brother was found guilty. (2) The younger brother was too, so if I were making an educated guess, I’d say that yes, he did as well. (3) You’re assuming no evidence, you don’t know that. My evidence is that he was found guilty. But what utility even if he didn’t have mens rea? Deterrence, perhaps. I don’t know. Maybe there ISN’T good utility, that doesn’t mean that the officers involved were at fault, because again… They don’t have the power to convict.

            • (1) I think it’s more reasonable than not to believe that he did. Especially because police officers cannot execute summary judgement on these things. There was a process at the end of which the brother was found guilty. (2) The younger brother was too, so if I were making an educated guess, I’d say that yes, he did as well. (3) You’re assuming no evidence, you don’t know that. My evidence is that he was found guilty. But what utility even if he didn’t have mens rea? Deterrence, perhaps. I don’t know. Maybe there ISN’T good utility, that doesn’t mean that the officers involved were at fault, because again… They don’t have the power to convict.

              I think I see the disconnect. The chances that he was *found* guilty are exceedingly small. Upwards of 90% of cases are plea-bargained. And most poor people cannot afford real lawyers, and the public defender will recommend the plea in all but the most exceptional of cases, because they are swamped.

              If you don’t plead guilty, you are given bail, and because you re poor, you probably won’t be able to make bond. Your trial date will be set a year or more down the line, often longer than the sentence for the actual crime would get. The system is designed to ensure that poor people plead guilty, whether or not they actually did the crime. If everyone actually asked for a real trial, the system would grind to an absolute halt.

              “It’s an interesting article altogether about why people run from police, and why it may not necessarily be a futile endeavor to run.”

              That’s not true. Period. It was an article about why CRIMINALS run from the police. Felons, people with warrants, and probationees. You either knew that or you didn’t read the damn article… So your choices become dishonest or stupid. You pick.

              No, it was about why *people* run from the police, not just criminals. It talks about why criminals run, but also why other people who aren’t criminals run as well (i.e. they don’t want to be turned into petty criminals by the police).

        • “If you hear the law coming, you merk on [run away from] them niggas. You don’t be having time to think okay, what do I got on me, what they going to want from me. No, you hear them coming, that’s it, you gone. Period. ’Cause whoever they looking for, even if it’s not you, nine times out of ten they’ll probably book you. ”

          You know that’s dumb advice, right? And you know that the section you bolded, even if that’s how the person really felt, isn’t true, right? I mean, could you imagine what it would actually look like if 90% of stop and frisks ended in an arrest and booking? It’s not only untrue, it’s obviously untrue. And you should know better.

          I think that it was obvious hyperbole should have been without question r comment…but apparently not.

          But more importantly… And you HAVE to start reading your own sources… This article wasn’t talking about the average law-abiding black person. They were talking about people ranging from felons to people with low-level warrants.

          You should read the reports about Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore et al. Where they specifically detail that black citizens were hauled in very disproportionately for low level offenses. These offenses were for things like loitering/littering/jaywalking/vehicular violations, and other dumb crimes that technically anyone could have been charged with at some point in their life. But in order to gin up the numbers, these people are arrested, often have a jail stay, may not be able to make bail, lose their jobs. Even for civil fines, they are too expensive for a lot of poor people to pay, so they get issued warrants not for the crime, but for failure to pay, and the jail cycle starts up again. And that is leaving aside the well-documented issue of mass arrests in places like Baltimore, where people were indeed hauled into jail for no reason at all, getting an arrest record and involvement in the system for no reason.

          • ‘I think that it was obvious hyperbole should have been without question r comment…but apparently not.’

            That’s what he’s teaching his impressionable preteen brother! It doesn’t matter if you or I recognise hyperbole, it’s whether the kid will.

            ‘You should read the reports about Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore (…) system for no reason.’

            Because if your narrative completely falls apart, just blurt out platitudes.

              • What the hell are you even talking about? Neither you nor your article cited a single statistic, let along a solid one and your ‘information’ which you tried to tie to the black population in general specifically referred to people with outstanding warrants. You’re a caricature.

                • Humble Talent said, “Neither you nor your article cited a single statistic, let along a solid one and your ‘information’ which you tried to tie to the black population in general specifically referred to people with outstanding warrants.”

                  You don’t understand Progressive Magical Thinking (PMT); they really don’t expect you to actually read or think critically about anything they link to, they expect you to just assume they are correct, assume their link proves their point, and blindly fall inline with whatever they say.

                • Neither you nor your article cited a single statistic, let along a solid one and your ‘information’ which you tried to tie to the black population in general specifically referred to people with outstanding warrants. You’re a caricature

                  I’m referring to Ferguson and Baltimore, and all the other reports about policing, where it does show that many black people are disproportionately swept up on trumped-up, minor charges, or arrested for nothing at all. Which you dismiss as “platitudes.”

                  • Damn right I’ll dismiss them as platitudes… Because they are! You didn’t cite those, you just said things and expected me to believe you. I believe you about as far as I can throw you, and I’m overweight and out of shape.

                    You’ll cite complete and utter bullshit (and I’m still waiting for you to choose between idiot or liar) but you won’t cite that?

                    • I thought we had been through both the Ferguson and Baltimore reports quite thoroughly on this very site. Unless you are suffering from some sort of “Groundhog Day” type of amnesia, they are quite memorable. Or they are quite easy to look up online or on this site if you are.

                      I often feel as if I am stuck in a loop:

                      Some story/article/commentator: Black people are often arrested over trumped charges, or nothing at all! Sometimes even mass arrests!

                      Ethics Alarm Commentator: Not true. They all deserved it! Where’s the evidence?!

                      Deery: No, it’s true. Here’s the evidence. Again. *Cites NYC stop and frisk, Ferguson report on policing, DOJ report on Baltimore police, etc.*

                      EAC: That’s a bullshit report/they made it up/it’s biased/those people deserved it anyway! *won’t say what facts will sway them, because such facts don’t exist*

                      Lather, Rinse, Repeat

                      So let’s just skip all the steps and save ourselves the time, no?

                    • You know, I hear they’re having a sale on nails over at Rona. If you want to crucify yourself, you might as well save a couple of bucks for the plate, right?

                      “Some story/article/commentator: Black people are often arrested over trumped charges, or nothing at all! Sometimes even mass arrests!”

                      Is NOT how you started this discussion… But it is where you took it. I mean, why stand behind what you say, when it’s just so easy to fall back to the one or two verifiable things you ever bring up, pretend they’re all you ever meant, curl into the fetal position and whine? If you feel that these conversations are circular, it’s because you make them that way.

                    • The question I was answering: Why do people run from the police?

                      Answer: Because sometimes the police will make up charges, whether you actually did anything or not. Sometimes people have low-level infractions based on previous encounters, and simply can’t afford another life-disrupting stay in jail. Also, people quite frequently get away with running.

                      HT: Nuh-uh. They aren’t people, they are criminals! The police don’t arrest people for nothing, show me evidence (which I have already should have seen from the 1,001 previous conversations along the same subject.)!Also, you are stupid!

                    • Answer: Because sometimes the police will make up charges, whether you actually did anything or not. Sometimes people have low-level infractions based on previous encounters, and simply can’t afford another life-disrupting stay in jail. Also, people quite frequently get away with running.

                      Does this answer really make sense to you? Because it doesn’t make sense. It’s just bigotry. “Why would someone who lives on Capitol Hill consciously avoid a group of black 20-somethings walking toward them?” Because sometimes black teens will beat them up, rob them, or kill them. Hell sometimes any stranger will do that. What kind of community teaches its young to assume that law enforcement officials “might” make up charges, whether you actually did anything or not? That’s seeding fear and irrational conduct.

                      I’d like to see an example where a black citizen of any age was compliant, respectful and polite with a police officer and was still mistreated. Ever heard of one? I was recently pulled over, and knew I was speeding. I was taught by my father (who distrusted police), to always be cooperative to the point of obsequiousness. I immediately told the officer that I was sorry, was speeding, and why I was speeding, and he told me that he actually stopped me for running stop sign. “Well, I’m glad you stopped me then, because I’m so stressed that I didn’t even know it,” I said. “I’m so sorry. This isn’t like me.”

                      Then he checked my license and registration, came back to the car and said, “Well, sir, you have a good driving record, you admitted that you were speeding, and I didn’t even clock you. You seem to be having a bad day, and I don’t want to make it worse, so I’m giving you a warning.” I was amazed.

                      Or I could have handled the stop like Sandra Bland, having been raised to be suspicious and contemptuous of the police. That works well.

                      The phrase is “Self-Fulfilling Prophesy.”

                    • deery said, “The question I was answering: Why do people run from the police?”

                      Can you tell me who specifically asked that question? That was not a rhetorical question.

                      The answer to the question you stated above is; they run because they are either guilty of something and don’t want to get caught or they don’t have enough respect for the police to follow their instructions which is brainwashed into their psyche by idiotic people just like you and valkygrrl that spew one nonsense justification after another to rationalize and encourage disrespect for the police.

                      Also; Humble Talent told you that “If you feel that these conversations are circular, it’s because you make them that way”; I think that statement is quite truthful and the content of your comments in their entirety leads one to believe that his statement is absolutely correct.

                    • Can you tell me who specifically asked that question? That was not a rhetorical question.

                      You did Zoltar, in your very first post.

                      The first thing that came to my mind was; if I see police officers with guns drawn heading towards me, I’m going to do what they say – not run!….Why doesn’t that level of respect for police officers [to not run] exist in the “black communities”; WHY?

                      Z:The answer to the question you stated above is; they run because they are either guilty of something and don’t want to get caught or they don’t have enough respect for the police to follow their instructions which is brainwashed into their psyche by idiotic people just like you and valkygrrl that spew one nonsense justification after another to rationalize and encourage disrespect for the police.

                      So in other words, “Prior evidence that police officers do indeed arrest people on trumped-up charges, evidenced by Baltimore report most recently are meaningless to me. La, La, La, I can’t hear you! Stop being so mean to the police, they only have the power of the entire state behind them!” *sobs*

                    • deery said, “You did Zoltar, in your very first post.”

                      NO – idiot – I did not!

                      You have a severe comprehension problem!

                      I asked why they don’t have respect not why do they run. I already knew they ran because they have no respect, I don’t need an idiot like you trying to convince me otherwise.

                      You’re a idiot for trying to put words in my mouth; do it again I won’t be so damned pleasant about it.

                    • Does this answer really make sense to you? Because it doesn’t make sense. It’s just bigotry. “Why would someone who lives on Capitol Hill consciously avoid a group of black 20-somethings walking toward them?” Because sometimes black teens will beat them up, rob them, or kill them. Hell sometimes any stranger will do that. What kind of community teaches its young to assume that law enforcement officials “might” make up charges, whether you actually did anything or not? That’s seeding fear and irrational conduct.

                      Ah, so it’s the “black people are just making it up and the reports we do have that quantify this are biased” trope.

                      It makes perfect sense. I don’t think people have to be taught by their community. Youth in Baltimore can experience for themselves when they are swept up in a mass arrest, or see their neighbors, mothers, grandmothers swept up in the same. People in DC can experience the same with “jump-outs”, the people in Ferguson when they are pulled over or cited for bogus infractions to raise, people in LA have the Rampart Scandal, people in NYC have stop and frisks, where black people were specifically targeted to be harassed by police and have their genitals fondled, and people in Chicago have the torture centers, where suspects were taken and tortured to get them to confess to crimes that they have not committed. And those are just the major, documented infractions, not the routine, daily humiliations. I don’t think it has to be “taught” as such. The conduct might be based on fear, but it is not irrational.

                      I’d like to see an example where a black citizen of any age was compliant, respectful and polite with a police officer and was still mistreated. Ever heard of one?

                      Castile was by all accounts polite and respectful, doing everything by the book, and still was killed.

                      Or I could have handled the stop like Sandra Bland, having been raised to be suspicious and contemptuous of the police. That works well.

                      The phrase is “Self-Fulfilling Prophesy.”

                      The phrase is, “Comply or Die.”

                      Police, as a matter of routine, should expect to see the outlaws, the criminals, the people who are probably emotional, the crazy, and those who are experiencing the worst day of their lives. That should be part of their training to handle such things in a rational, respectful manner. Instead, as we have seen documented, they prey on the crazy, the poor, the minorities to increase their numbers, their awards, and their chances for promotion. That isn’t right.

                      I’m glad that you, as an older middle-class white man, had an encounter with the police and it went well. Great! Did the officer come to your window with his gun already drawn? Did he call you a “mutt” and bark orders at you? Was he already treating you in a respectful way? Would you have a different feeling about the encounter had he done any of those things?

                    • The question is “would I have handled myself the same way I did, or argue with the one with a gun?” The answer is “of course, because to do otherwise is idiotic and dangerous.”

                      1. “Instead, as we have seen documented, they prey on the crazy, the poor, the minorities to increase their numbers, their awards, and their chances for promotion. That isn’t right.”

                      2. “They” do, do they? The epitome of a bigoted statement.

                      3. You deny then, that both parts of the equation should be trained to be reasonable and respectful? Or not?

                      4. “All accounts” are Castile’s girlfriend’s highly biased accounts. That’s like saying that “all accounts” say that Mike Brown had his hands up and said “Don’t shoot.” The video is after the shooting.

                      5. I was a prosecutor. Nearly ALL arrestees say they weren’t doing anything and the cops picked on them, profiled them, etc. All of them. Some were telling the truth, I’m sure. That doesn’t mean that it is justified to insist that every police stop of a black man or woman is harassment.

                    • Jack:

                      “I’d like to see an example where a black citizen of any age was compliant, respectful and polite with a police officer and was still mistreated.”

                      Sometimes they’re not even given a chance to be compliant, respectful, or polite, because they are shot immediately. See: Rice, Tamir.

                      If I were a black kid and had seen what happened to Rice on the news, no one would have to teach me to run.

                    • See: Rice, Tamir. Bogus example, Chris. You have to do better. A huge 12-year old in winter clothing is wielding an Air-Soft gun with the orange tip off, which means it looks like a real gun. An incompetent cop is mistakenly sent by a dispatcher who neglects to mention that it is “probably a kid” and that the gun is probably a toy. The officer violates policy and protocol and shoots the kid. This episode doesn’t prove anything; it’s a multilevel fuck-up. The kid shouldn’t be playing with that gun; the dispatcher should have relayed the information; the officers shouldn’t have shot; the officers shouldn’t have been hired. Irrelevant to the discussion.

                      MY SON had Airsoft guns in our second car, and we came home to find officers with guns surrounding it. If they had bad info and there was a bad cop, something could have gone wrong. The Rice case is pure tragedy and chaos. Nothing else.

                    • deery said, “So, just your usual Zoltar circular reasoning? That’s fine, and not unexpected.”

                      I can’t hardly wait for you to try and prove that internet trolling fallacy. Go ahead and provide us with some “intellectual” deery humor to read for this evenings entertainment; the facts are all right there, let’s see you try to spin this without trying to put words in my mouth like you did before.

                      I’ll begin holding my breath in anticipation right now…

                    • 1. “Instead, as we have seen documented, they prey on the crazy, the poor, the minorities to increase their numbers, their awards, and their chances for promotion. That isn’t right.”

                      2. “They” do, do they? The epitome of a bigoted statement.

                      No, it is a statement with a lot of data behind it.

                      3. You deny then, that both parts of the equation should be trained to be reasonable and respectful? Or not?

                      It would be nice. However, only one of the parties is supposed to be a professional, trained and paid to deal with precisely these scenarios. The other party may well lack the training, the experience, the emotional resilience, the cognitive abilities to be able to do that. The police are (or should be) trained to deal with this population, as those tend to be the ones who break rules and laws the most (in theory).

                      4. “All accounts” are Castile’s girlfriend’s highly biased accounts. That’s like saying that “all accounts” say that Mike Brown had his hands up and said “Don’t shoot.” The video is after the shooting.

                      She did a handy recap to the officer as the officer was standing right there. He did not contradict her story.

                      5. I was a prosecutor. Nearly ALL arrestees say they weren’t doing anything and the cops picked on them, profiled them, etc. All of them. Some were telling the truth, I’m sure. That doesn’t mean that it is justified to insist that every police stop of a black man or woman is harassment.

                      Moving the goal posts. I certainly don’t think every police stop of a black person is unjustified. Just a disproportionate number of them. And the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a speedy mechanism to end these bad stops (in fact they are encouraged in many cases), and officers and departments are so rarely punished for employing these bad stops.

              • deery said, “So, yes, solid data and statistics have no informational value. Good to know.”

                It appears that you opened your mouth to insert your second foot and change the socks on the foot that was already in there. I’m shocked, absolutely shocked.

      • Even if all this is true, it still boils down to the odds. Sure, if you decide to cooperate with the police, it might end badly, but if you run, it’s guaranteed to end badly.

        • Even if all this is true, it still boils down to the odds. Sure, if you decide to cooperate with the police, it might end badly, but if you run, it’s guaranteed to end badly.

          That might be the common wisdom, but as the article points out, that’s not necessarily so. In a lot of cases, the person who runs simply just gets away.

  2. The cops were idiots obviously but the mother does bear some responsibility in this matter. I bet you that she never told the kid not to run away from the police. As far as the lack of an apology, my thoughts are that the cops were embarrassed by their stupidity and knew they were in big trouble.

    • Yes, but given today’s charged political climate, to not apologize is assinine, and reveals an attitude that some of them have about not being accountable to the people they serve.

    • Wow. I have small children and I haven’t talked to them about not running away from the police. Why? Because there is a 0% chance that two little blonde girls will be chased by the police.

      Perhaps I will have this conversation with them once they get to high school, but I think it’s ridiculous to assign any blame to a mother of a 10 year-old boy.

  3. Such advice is irresponsible, doesn’t help. Nothing about the episode helps. The primary lesson ought to be that morons shouldn’t be given guns and allowed to wear police uniforms. Didn’t we already know that?

    Unfortunately true. But — if the Newark police department would take training action to correct this obvious deficiency, some good may yet come of it. It really isn’t that hard to turn a moronic failure into a net positive if the people in charge will simply take appropriate action.

    The failure to apologize to the victim’s family isn’t an encouraging sign, though. Neither is the mother’s response:

    “What option have they given me but to speak out,” Solomon said. “I didn’t ask for any of this. My prime concern is not an apology. My concern is reform of this system. I want to see accountability and responsibility.”

    To be sure, madam, but what would that look like to you? Is embracing an overtly racist activist group like Black Lives Matter a way to get “accountability and responsibility,” or rather to vent your rage in the most negative possible way and add to the growing list of BLM-inspired police assaults?

    I’m thinking the latter is more likely, but maybe I’m wrong.

  4. When my son was still in high school but big enough to look like a grown man, we was doing something stupid — swinging a sword-like implement around, hacking down weeds in the park that was not only a block from our house but backed up to an elementary school. He was on the edge of the park, right by the shared dividing line with the school. Apparently someone in the school freaked out at this 6 ft tall long-haired guy wearing a trench coat (tan, not black, because, well, Highlander) and swinging a sword, and called the police. Meanwhile, my son was absent-mindedly whacking weeds when he heard sirens. It only took a moment for him to deduce that they were coming for him. He put the sword down on the ground and sat down on a log and waited. (So proud!) The police came, they asked him what he was doing, he told them, they told him he was stupid, hand-cuffed him, and took him to the station. Here is my son, easily freaked out, but being calm, cooperative, and rational. Wow. It all went so incident-free that I couldn’t be angry at him. I confirmed what the police told him — that he was stupid. He had to do a “scared straight” sort of sentence. And now he has friends who are police officers, including the son of the arresting officer.

    Granted, he was much older than poor Legend. And he’s white. I honestly can’t say, though, that things would have gone so well if he had been younger and black.

  5. I used to arrange to have a table at the local “National Night Out”, to promote Open Carry of firearms. (Washington State). It was always a fun event and the interactions with the public, the police and the other emergency services was calm and reasonable. After packing up for the night one year, a gentleman was chatting with a group of police. In fairness he is a bit odd, one of the police realized that he was recording the encounter. This is legal in Washington. The encounter ended with ” Am I being detained?” and a bunch of angry police and citizens. The sad lesson is that perfectly legal activities can possibly end badly. Will I teach my children to run from the police-no, but I do educate them that police are not necessarily our friends and that any interaction can turn bad.

  6. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/08/24/a-black-homeowner-called-911-to-report-a-carjacking-he-wound-up-getting-shot-by-police/?utm_term=.ac777d7c650d

    Never attribute to malice what is adequately explained by incompetence.

    But the cause doesn’t matter. Just as you’re better off saying nothing to the police apart from “I assert my right to remain silent. I do not consent to searches. Am I free to go?”, if you’re Black, Male, over ,4 years old, and you see police, your odds of survival might indeed be higher if you run than if you stay a stationary target.

    Whether they are shooting out of malice or incompetence and genuine fear for their lives doesn’t matter. During the course of their duties, they have legal immunity for shooting in fear.

    Even if that means pumping 102 shots into a white vehicle driven by two white women while in fear of a blue vehicle driven by a single black man, if the light isn’t good.

    Even if seeing a black homeowner wearing a white shirt with a pistol while looking for a black thief with a red shirt and a rifle. Shoot without warning, just to be safe.

    • I should give credit to the police for not shooting the 10 yr old in the back. That happens to black kids, usually older ones though.

      • Do you think that maybe, just maybe, the cops were reacting to the firearm, and not his black skin? I also wonder how many times this sort of thing happens to white people, but because the story doesn’t fit the liberal press’ agenda, it doesn’t make the news?

        • Do they shoot everyone openly carrying a firearm? Is that a de facto capital crime now? They shot on sight, without warning.

          They may well have done that to anyone of course. The problem is that they have been conditioned to believe that black men are dangerous. Many are of course.

          Delay in complying with directives is also a capital crime – one officer saying “don’t move,”, another saying “down on the ground” – well unless you do both simultaneously, they will shoot. If you’re deaf, and so don’t hear the commands, they will shoot. Move too fast, they get startked and shoot. Move too slow, that’s a sign you might have a weapon, so they shoot. Be black, you could be one of the genuinely dangerous armed felons, so they will shoot.

          Not all if them of course. You have to be unlucky, or in the wrong jurisdiction. But there’s no incentive not to shoot, when there’s a genuine fear.

    • You know what really improves their odds? Being cooperative and unthreatening. Not committing crime disproportionate to their numbers, too.

    • This is a gross, gross exaggeration, Zoe. Police misconduct is the exception rather than the rule, and clearly so. Your statement is in the same category as saying that all lawyers are liars and all elected officials are on the take, or that all blacks are felons. Why do you think that is acceptable, responsible or fair?

      • Jack, the number of turds in the soup is small, except in some jurisdictions.

        Do you feel lucky?

        At what point in time do we stop saying these are single, isolated incidents?

        • zoebrain asked, “At what point in time do we stop saying these are single, isolated incidents?”

          Maybe when they stop actually being single isolated incidents.

          zoe,
          It’s time to put your generalized accusations, innuendo, and smears of the police as a whole to an honest test; in other words zoe, it’s time for you to back up your rhetoric with statistics or facts.

          Please cite and link to verifiable statistics that show the percentage of ALL police contacts with the public that end up in the officer shooting the person in the back, or shooting anyone at all for that matter.

    • The incompetence in this story is on the homeowner. You don’t call the police to report a carjacking and then go out doors with a gun while waiting for them to arrive. They are there to look for someone that they expect to be armed, and you have just provided them with what they are expecting to find. Really stupid.

  7. As cops were chasing an armed man, Preston who is “big for his age” ran into the street THEN RAN FROM COPS! This was Legend Preston’s fault. He ASSUMED the cops were after him the very second he looked at them running up the street and then he stupidly took off running. What the hell where the police supposed to assume? They were in the middle of a hot pursuit of an ARMED SUSPECT and then as they are running they spot someone who looks at them and then takes off running. Preston who is “big for his age” created this problem. Where the cops not supposed to run after someone who they see running away from them?! Preston created a very confusing and dangerous situation and his mother and family should be ashamed of themselves for acting like running from the cops is reasonable! How the hell can so many people be acting irrationally about this?

      • You are just making up your own facts with “they look 12.” The news, reported by black reporters, made a point of saying he looked big for his age twice in their report: http://abc7ny.com/news/first-on-7-newark-officers-with-guns-chase-young-boy-in-mistaken-identity-case/1480080/ and in the video you can see he is bigger than one of the adult women witnesses. You are making a claim (not just against me) against the black reporters at ABC as you claim the “big for his age” is “misleading people” so you can cling to apparently your preferred narrative. The bottom line is the kid did something very stupid and the cops ALREADY had their weapons out as they were in hot pursuit of an armed suspect (who they caught by the way! “Police say they caught 20-year-old Casey Joseph Robinson in the chase”)

        • ABC reporter Anthony Johnson is black, the woman introducing the story (who also pointed out that Preston is big for his age) is probably some other ethnicity like Asian, I didn’t notice at first and thought she was one of the black reporters too. The point is that Preston is at fault. What is missing is the exact height of the armed suspect the cops had been chasing and exact height of Preston but what we do know is that Preston created the confusion by taking off running. He should not have ran. Also, the cops didn’t shot him and they didn’t shot the black armed suspect they had been chasing either. Preston’s family should be ashamed of themselves.

        • The reporter also says, “but there is no doubt that he is a ten year old.” Did you miss that part? “Big for his age” doesn’t mean “should be reasonably mistaken for a 20-year old man, with facial hair, who isn’t a dwarf.”

          Your argument is ridiculous.

          • “Big for his age” can be a relevant fact, or it can be an excuse for irresponsible conduct by the police–especially when describing a black child– depending on the context. It seems clear that Representative Press is using it in the latter sense.

          • What is relevant is the description given to the police by the man who was robbed. You don’t think the man who reported the crime gave the cops that picture of Casey Joseph Robinson do you? You have no idea how the suspect was described to the cops.

            And a ten year old CAN be at fault and this one was. It is strange that you would deny this. The cops were chasing after the suspect ( who had robbed at gunpoint a man then took off running) and Legend Preston stupidly assumed the cops were running to get him so he took off running!

            Preston created the problem when he assumed the cops were after him and ran away trying to avoid the cops. And I have a very hard time believing that the cops didn’t respond with something like “he was running from us!” I think the mother is giving us a manipulative take on what happened. The mother makes no mention of the cops complaining that the kid took off running! Like I said, I have a very hard time believing that wouldn’t be one of the first things they said. When she first tweeted her story about Legend being chased I was amazed and asked her “did he run format he cops!?” And she never replied.

            Look, the cops didn’t take the kid to jail or anything, all they did was catch him and THEN they could get a chance to see who they are dealing with. You have no idea how far Preston was from the cops when he took off running.

            “Officers chased after the suspect to an area where children were playing” I think the mother is being very unfair to the cops and playing the public for fools. It is very easy to see how cops running in hot pursuit could spot a suspect running away from them (not out for a jog, Legend was actively running away from the cops with the thought that they were after him!) and assume the suspect is the same one they had been chasing.

            Like I said, you have no idea the distances involved. I think people are not thinking rationally about this situation. And Like I said, it is absurd to assume that the man who was robbed and gun point and flagged down a police officer had given that officer the photo you have on your page. The reporter says “there is no doubt that he is a ten year old” BUT IN WHAT SENCE OR CONTEXT? In lack of maturity with his actions? I think the reporter is using an expression and not trying to make a point about visual identification but rather about a point of fact that can been proven with a birth certificate for example or his behavior. Twice in the report it was made clear Legend is big for his age and I already told you in the video clip Legend is bigger than one of the adult female witnesses.

            And the mother is laying it on thick when she makes this claim: “The man they were looking for was over six feet [tall] with long dreadlocks,” Preston wrote in a social media post. “[But] they yelled ‘he fits the description!’” How the hell does she know Casey Joseph Robinson is supposedly over six feet? AND as I keep trying to explain, the important thing is how he was described to the cops by the man who was robbed. I think the mother is being disingenuous and playing everyone for fools. It is NOT reasonable to run from cops and children should be told “don’t run from the police.” She is not sending the right message.

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