Comment Of The Day: “The Ethics Dilemma That Has No Solution: We Can’t Trust Police, But We Have To”

charlottesville-police-response-20170812

Well, I expected this one: Jim Hodgson, a frequent commenter, has an extensive background in law enforcement. Ethics Alarms is fortunate to have the benefit of his perspective, and I am grateful for it.

Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, “The Ethics Dilemma That Has No Solution: We Can’t Trust Police, But We Have To”:

***

The scope of thought provoked by this post could fill volumes. I will try to be brief.

Some corrupt organizational cultures are so big and so corrupt that they seem to defy correction. This seems to be the case with big agencies like NYPD, Chicago PD, and perhaps Boston PD as well as others. Some of these agencies seem to have major corruption scandals every ten or fifteen years, which likely means there is some omnipresent level of corruption just below the surface. It boggles the mind (mine, anyway) to contemplate what would have to be done to set a large erring agency on the right path.

In the agencies I worked for, (200 – 250 employees max) just one incident involving one officer was a scandal. Yet, I can only comment accurately from my own experience. I entered law enforcement in 1974, at what I call “the end of the knuckle-dragging era,” when the first steps to upgrade police selection, training and supervision were just taking hold. My first agency required two years of college as a prerequisite to employment, and required us to remain enrolled in college until the completion of a baccalaureate or higher degree, pursuing the goal that the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice established in 1967, “that all police personnel with general enforcement powers have baccalaureate degrees.” This was, of course, presented by the Commission as “an ultimate” goal, but it was being actively pursued by some agencies.

Continue reading

The Rest Of The Story: The Cop Who Shot Rayshard Brooks Is Reinstated, But Atlanta’s Disgrace And The Stench Of Presumed Racism Lingers On

14vid-brooks-4-cover-final-superJumbo

Way back in June of 2020, I watched this fiasco develop. Rayshard Brooks, a black man who was arrested by police for being drunk (35% over the legal limit) and passed out in his car, blocking a Wendy’s drive-up lane, was shot and killed in a subsequent confrontation with police in Atlanta. A mostly peaceful protest of BLM types ensued, with the Wendy’s being set on fire, since it was all Wendy’s fault. The Atlanta Chief of Police quickly resigned, the coward. Atlanta’s race-baiting mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms then pronounced the police officer who fired the fatal shots, Garrett Rolfe, guilty before knowing what happened—of course she did— and demanded that he be terminated with no investigation and no due process.

I wrote at the time,

“Last night’s incident began about 10:30 p.m. outside a Wendy’s  on University Avenue. Wendy’s employees called the police after receiving a complaint about a man asleep in his vehicle in the Drive-in line, which forced other customers to go around his car to get their food at the window. 

Responding to the call was the police’s first mistake. They should have asked if the man was black, and upon receiving an answer in the affirmative, should have told Wendy’s, “Sorry, you’re on your own.  We’d deal with it if the guy was white, but we can’t afford any situation these where a black guy might get gets hurt. Let him sleep it off. ‘Bye!” I’m completely serious. Any police department that isn’t under standing orders to let black lawbreakers at any level  just go about their anti-social, illegal business without police intervention is asking for a disaster.

The sleeping man, Atlanta resident Rayshard Brooks, was roused by the police and given a field sobriety test. He was drunk. After failing the test… Brooks was told that he was being taken into custody. NOOOOO! The odds were that he would resist, and this is how so many of these encounters go out of control. Again, the police should have just let him go.

Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Observations On The Shooting Death Of Peyton Ham”

Steve-O-in NJ has stepped into a temporary (I hope) vacuum of ambitious comments to monopolize the COTD field. Steve is a lot more pessimistic than I am, and prone to Jeremiads (THE END IS NEAR!) but he also is willing to make observations that most are reticent to put into print. A few of you out there hang out on my Facebook page, where my alleged friends had a meltdown over a repeat of my musings here about whether Juror 8 in “12 Angry Men” would have bothered fighting for reasonable doubt in the trial of a defendant whom he thought was probably guilty if he knew that a not guilty verdict would trigger violent riots. How dare anyone suggest that there was reasonable doubt in the Chauvin trial? How dare anyone imply that the trial wasn’t fair!

Steve-O’s point about police being in an impossible position still applies to Derek Chauvin, cruel and untrustworthy cop that he undoubtedly was. Usually that impossible position girds police from conviction in all but the most egregious examples of police misconduct, as in the case of Michael Slager. I think the public’s acknowledgement of the dilemma is appropriate and generally ethical, but it is ready-made for accusations of racism when the victim is black.

Back to the post that sparked Steve’s COTD, “Ethics Observations On The Shooting Death Of Peyton Ham”, there has been no news coverage of Ham’s death for a week. He was 16, just like the girl shot in the act of trying to stab another teen in Columbus, Ohio, but nobody in Congress or anywhere else is arguing that his youth demanded restraint by police. The reason is that Peyton Ham was a white male, and Ma’Khia Bryant was a black female. The police were supposed to understand that different standards applied. (The photo above is of the Columbus riots in response to the girl’s shooting. Somehow I can’t locate any similar photos of the protests of Ham’s death.)

Here is Steve-O-in-NJ’s Comment of the Day:

Policing in the United States is fast becoming a lose-lose proposition and a job fewer and fewer people are going to want. If you take action, you are considered a thug, a bully, and automatically a racist. If you take no action, you are either lazy or dead from the neck up and need to be fired. We’ve been over this half a dozen times since the death of George Floyd. Policing is by nature a dangerous and demanding job. Policing by nature sometimes requires split-second decisions which have a tiny margin for error and possibly grievous consequences if gotten wrong. Policing is not just about crossing schoolkids, directing traffic, getting lost children home, making reports of fender benders, and once in a while giving out a ticket to someone driving a little too fast or parked in a place clearly marked “no parking.”

Even in the safest small towns in America there are always going to be domestic violence calls, holdups, drunk and disorderly conduct, kids getting into drugs, or the mentally ill who do crazy things that endanger themselves or others. Like it or not, a big part of policing involves making unwilling individuals comply with lawful orders necessary to keep order. Sometimes there is no way to make that happen but to use force. Using force isn’t pretty. It’s not pretty to slam a violent husband or boyfriend down on the kitchen table and cuff him before he hits the woman in his life again. It’s not pretty to cuff a drug-addled, emaciated streetwalker who you’ve told to move along for the umpteenth time and been met with a torrent of profanity each time. It’s not pretty to throw a reeking homeless person who’s been harassing shoppers into the back of a police cruiser to take him somewhere where he can (hopefully) get the help he needs. And no, it’s not pretty to arrest some dreadlocked thug who’s spent his whole life doing nothing but commit crimes when he commits yet another one. It’s also not pretty when a hapless wife or girlfriend gets a broken jaw or a spiral fracture of the arm from a partner who she “just wouldn’t listen to.”

It’s not pretty when a family can’t walk down the street without seeing some skeletal prostitute shooting up. It’s not pretty when everyone has to avoid the block that “Crazy Joe” has claimed as his own. It’s not pretty when DeShawn, out of prison barely a week, sticks up a bodega with a gun or hits somebody over the head because he has no money and few prospects.

Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Maryland Strips Police Officers Of Substantive Due Process Rights: Oh, THIS Will Work Out Well, Yessiree!”

Another Steve-O Comment of the Day is on the way, but this one is particularly relevant considering what is unfolding in Minnesota, and not just there. Here, for example, is the state of affairs in Austin, Texas:

After the Austin police budget cut on top of the repeal of the public camping ban, Austin crime and disorder has gotten measurably worse. Austin police are also leaving in droves:

After the Austin city council voted unanimously to defund its police department by about one-third of its budget, in August 2020, many predicted that once the cuts kicked in a flood of officers would leave the force as soon as they could. The new district attorney’s policy of re-investigating police officers for closed cases is also expected to cause officers to resign or retire.

The city council’s cuts officially kicked in and have been in place for a few months.

PJ Media reports exclusively that APD is now suffering a huge surge of officer departures putting it on pace to shatter 2020’s record.

In January 2021, sources tell PJ Media 20 officers retired from APD and eight resigned, for a total of 28 departures.

In February 2021, five officers resigned and six retired, according to multiple sources, for a total of 11 departures.

In March 2021, 24 more officers left APD, with 20 officers retiring. Additionally, three officers resigned and one was terminated.

To put this into perspective, 2019 was the last non-pandemic year and the year before the city council cut APD’s budget. APD averages about 50 retirements or separations in a calendar year, and replaces them with cadets who have graduated from the police academy or officers who join APD from another force.

APD saw 46 officers retire with another 22 resigning in 2019, according to local TV news station KVUE.

2020’s numbers were exacerbated by the George Floyd riots; 78 officers departed or retired from APD from the beginning of those riots to the end of 2020, for a total of 89 separations, according to KVUE.

Official 2021 numbers provided to PJ Media by the Austin Police Retirement System (APRS) break down as follows:

  • Prior to 2020, retirements averaged 50-52 per year over the last 5-6 years
  • Record number of retirements in FY 2020: 97
  • First-quarter 2021 retirements: 45

Add to those 45 retirements the 18 resignations or terminations, for a total of 63 separations in just the first quarter of 2021. If the current pace continues, APD could lose approximately 252 officers — about five times the average number of separations for a year. This will impact public safety across the board, and according to the APRS, can impact retirees’ benefits as well. APRS raised the alarm about the impact the city council’s cuts could have in September of 2020.

March 2021’s retirements hit all over the department, including tactical intelligence, gang crimes, narcotics enforcement, investigations, and the bomb squad, according to a full list provided to PJ Media. Traffic enforcement — both warnings and citations — has declined by more than 60% in the first two months of 2021, a source tells PJ Media.

At the same time, the city council’s cuts have forced the cancellation of police cadet classes. The department is losing experienced officers in droves and is unable to replace them with new officers.

Fewer officers means fewer officers to cover 911 calls, to the point that some 911 calls now result in “NUA”s: No Officer Available…

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, where it increasingly appears that the prosecution and the judge are willing to discard due process and basic fairness to make certain Derek Chauvin is convicted of murdering George Floyd, Kim Potter, the police officer who shot Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb after appearing to mistake her gun for her Taser was arrested yesterday and charged with manslaughter. The Wrights’ family lawyer, Ben Crump, coincidentally the same lawyer who represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, declared,

“This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force. We will keep fighting for justice for Daunte, for his family, and for all marginalized people of color. And we will not stop until there is meaningful policing and justice reform.”

Nice! Crump is accusing Porter of racism and murder, before any investigation and without any evidence that race played any part in the shooting. The fact that the victim resisted arrest, however, was a significant part of the tragedy. The convention Crump and various elected officials and legislators are trying to create would create strict criminal liability for law enforcement officials when black suspects are involved. Why wouldn’t this eventually lead to police officers being passive when confronted with black law breakers? Why would any officer take any measures to stop a fleeing African-American suspect,or foil efforts to resist arrest?

Here is Steve-O-in NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, Maryland Strips Police Officers Of Substantive Due Process Rights: Oh, THIS Will Work Out Well, Yessiree!

Continue reading

Maryland Strips Police Officers Of Substantive Due Process Rights: Oh, THIS Will Work Out Well, Yessiree!

I know this is the second appearance today of James Donald’s anguished coda at the end of “The Bridge Over The River Kwai,” but he arrives when it is appropriate.

Maryland’s Democrat-controlled legislature moved yesterday to pass a “police reform package “that includes the repeal of the state’s Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBOR), overriding Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto to do it.

The state’s police Bill of Rights covered due process for officers accused of misconduct. You can read it here. I have. I would call it a not especially radical or permissive document, and its provisions simple codify basic due process rights. I view this move by the legislature as primarily symbolic, a virtue-signaling gesture of support for the individuals who break laws and against those who enforce them.

Yes, this is sure to work out well.

The action of the Maryland House of Delegates is more of the George Floyd freakout, still marching to the dishonest tune of Black Lives Matter, as the news media provides ample fertilizer. Here’s Politico, for example: “The move, a win for police reform advocates, comes amid a national reckoning with policing after the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer last year.”

Morons. First, Floyd did not die “at the hands” of a police officer by any measure. Second, whether the police officer caused his death is a matter being determined in a court of law, a right even police officers have. Third, it is foolish, irresponsible, incompetent emotion-driven policy-making to allow any single event, especially one in a different state, to drive substantive policy changes of any kind.

In his veto statement, Governor Hogan wrote,

“These bills would undermine the goal that I believe we share of building transparent, accountable, and effective law enforcement institutions and instead further erode police morale, community relationships, and public confidence.They will result in great damage to police recruitment and retention, posing significant risks to public safety throughout our state.”

Why would anyone in his or her right mind want to serve as a police officer in Maryland? I guess the state wants police officers who are not in their right minds. Oh, yes, this is really going to work out well.

Continue reading

Here’s Another Unethical Trend To Dread As Progressives Grab The Reins: “Trauma-Informed Justice”

TIJ

Trauma-informed justice, also called “victim-centered” justice, is becoming the cool new thing as woke anti-civil rights activists seek to get around due process and the presumption of innocence when it suits their agenda. The technique involves an interview methodology where the police prioritize empathy for accusers, who are automatically presumed to be victims. The methodology is especially favored for allegations of sexual abuse and domestic violence, where the accusers are overwhelmingly female: this a “believe all victims as long as they are wo,men” anti-male approach that has its roots in the feminist movement. The methodology was refined by Russell Strand, U.S. Military Police School, who offered the Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI) as a way to question presumed victims without making them relive an assault.

The theory dictates that police conduct investigations following three principles:

Continue reading

Weird Tales Of “The Great Stupid”: Another Kid Is Suspended Because A Teacher Saw A BB Gun In His Home

fear

What are normal, reasonable people who are concerned about the shrinking liberties around them to do?

(I don’t have an answer right now, but that is the urgent question episodes like the ones described in this post raise.)

In 2020, I’ve written about two head-exploding stories involving innocent children forced by their school’s hysteria over the Wuhan virus to allow Big Brother’s eyes into their homes, and who found themselves being demonized and punished because of the completely legal and harmless items a teacher saw there.

First there was the asinine June incident in Baltimore County Maryland, where a 5th grade teacher at the Seneca School saw a BB gun hanging on the wall in an 11-year-old student’s bedroom. She took a screenshot of the child’s room, then notified the principal, who alerted the school safety officer, who called the police. They, in turn, made an unannounced visit to the student’s home.

At least they didn’t kneel on his neck. “I feel like parents need to be made aware of what the implications are, what the expectations are,” the child’s mother, a military veteran, told reporters. “No,” Ethics Alarms concluded, “Parents need to tell schools, administrators and teachers, what parents will tolerate, and the public education system needs a thorough upgrade and overhaul.”

Then, in September, we discussed an even more ridiculous episode. Colorado seventh grader Isaiah Elliott was attending on online art class when a teacher spied Isaiah’s  toy gun, a neon green and black plastic “weapon” with an orange tip and the words “Zombie Hunter” printed on the side. The teacher notified the school principal, and the school called the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, which conducted a welfare check on the boy without calling his parents first. Isaiah, meanwhile, was suspended for five days. The conclusion here on that fiasco:

Continue reading

Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 10/19/2020: Wherein My Head Explodes At Least Once

head-explode Calvin

1. KABOOM! Just when I thought 1) Georgetown could not embarrass this alum more thoroughly and 2) my head had been immunized from exploding comes the astounding news that Georgetown University has hired former FBI agent Peter Strzok as an adjunct professor. Strzok is now listed on the university’s staff page and he mentioned the Walsh School of Foreign Service on his Twitter profile. An alumnus, he will be teaching a “Counterintelligence and National Security” in the fall semester.

While engaged in an adulterous affair with then FBI lawyer Lisa Page in 2016, Strzok exchanged suspicious anti- Trump messages that called into question the legitimacy and fairness of the Mueller investigation. The FBI fired Strzok  in 2018 for  undermining public confidence in the non-partisanship of the bureau and federal law enforcement.

Stay classy, Georgetown! I already have my law school diploma facing the wall; I guess I can coat it with some kind of noxious substance…

2. The villain here is the professor. This is no time to be a weenie. Actually, there is never a good time to be a weenie. A professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law used “nigger” (referred to in infantile fashion by the law school’s announcement as “the n-word,” since “poopy badspeak” hasn’t caught on yet) in the context of discussing an offensive language case. But of course a student or six reported him, because they could, and it is an easy way for young progressive cowards to justify puffing up their pigeon chests because they get to cause trouble for someone who did absolutely nothing wrong.

The adjunct professor has not been identified, but in an email from law school administrators, including Law Dean Amy Wildermuth, it was announced that the professor has resigned.

“The instructor apologized and expressed his deep regret to the class, and informed the class at 1 p.m. today that he was resigning immediately from teaching at Pitt Law,” the announcement said in part.  “We condemn the use of this word, and we believe that saying this word and words like it, even in an academic context, is deeply hurtful,” the note concluded.

Words are not hurtful. Meanings are hurtful, when they are intentional. This is virtue-signaling and language policing of the most indefensible sort. The professor, whoever he is, had an obligation to the school, the culture, his profession, common sense and himself to fight, not surrender.

Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/25/2020: “Snap Out Of It!”

This is applicable to so many aspects of today I don’t have space to list them. Prime among them are the apparent re-runs of the George Floyd riots in various cities, this time tied to the death of Breonna Taylor and the fact that the cops who didn’t murder her weren’t charged with murder.  Hmmm…are these more stupid than the St. George riots, less stupid, or exactly as stupid?

1. I wonder…has the NFL killed more innocent black men than police over the years? Gale Sayers, the legendary Chicago Bears running back, died this week from “complications of dementia,” almost certainly meaning he was another victim of CTE suffered from playing what a friend calls “Concussionball.”

Well, as much as NFL fans might resent having players pollute entertainment with half-baked politicsal grandstanding, you can bet they would rather watch meaningless kneeling during the “Star-Spangled Banner” than forfeit the fun of watching human beings destroy their brains for cash.

2. This guy isn’t helping...Officer John Goulart, Jr., reported that at a shopping center in Pineville, La, Goulart was shot once in the leg and anotherbullet hit the back door of his patrol car. However, investigators determined that Goulart  fired those shots, including the one that hit him in the leg,  himself.  Now he’s under arrest. [Pointer: valkygrrl] Continue reading