Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Wednesday Morning Link Dump

Here's some good stuff to read on Grits' usual topics while I'm focused elsehwere this a.m.:

For starters, check out "Public Intoxication = Police Brutality?," a meditation on the Rainbow Lounge raid and Texas PI statutes from Robert Guest at the Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer's Blog. Robert can also tell you "How much does marijuana cost in Terrell?"

Doug Berman at Sentencing Law & Policy says Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be a "moderate" on criminal justice and more pro-prosecution than Justice Souter who she will replace. He's also impressed that Texas eliminated life without parole for juveniles. See also from SL&P: "In prisoners wake, a tide of troubled kids." He also turns us on to "Are humans too cruel to be kind?," at the magazine New Scientist, a fascinating piece about which I may have more to say later.

Here are three more posts I'd recommend, a couple of which are also SL&P references:
In a link roundup this morning, Radley Balko included the following short item about using Tasers for noncompliance instead of self-defense:
Police chief tasers 14-year-old girl in the head after she ran from her mother. The kid hadn’t committed any crime. The chief told a local news station, “he does not regret his actions. He adds he warned her several times and had no other choice when she did not listen to him.” So you shoot electrically-charged barbs into her head? God help this guy’s kids.
I clicked on the link literally thinking to myself, "Don't be Texas, don't be Texas, don't be Texas , and ... Whew! Nope! Just across the border in Tucumcari, New Mexico! That's a relief, I guess. ;) I've met many Texas police chiefs I respect, and also a few who perhaps weren't the brightest bulbs in the room, but none who ever struck me at that aggressively stupid.

And finally, the Dallas News quoted some highly dubious "expert" in a story this morning about two court settlements approved by the commissioners court over inadequate healthcare in the Dallas county jail:
"They're definitely acknowledging that there was a problem. They'll settle when they think they'd get a worse outcome when they go to court," said Scott Henson, a criminal justice expert.
Hmmmmm ... would it kill you to publish the URL? I link to those guys all the time! ;)

15 comments:

Charlie O said...

The NM Taser incident, Fort Worth raid on the Rainbow Room, the poor girl down in Galveston, etc. etc. No one in law enforcement will ever be held CRIMINALLY accountable for these vicious acts. Sure people can file civil lawsuits, but I think those are BS. LEOs should charged with battery, assault, whatever, just like you and me. Of course this will never. This is why there is an uptick in police shootings (citizens shooting police, an act I wholeheartedly support.) People in this country are sick and tired of being bullied, assaulted, and generally disrespected by punks with guns and badges. As long this behavior continues without consequence (and it will), funerals for LEOs will continue. The more the merrier.

Anonymous said...

Charlie,

Really? you "wholeheartedly" condone shooting police? I think I somewhat understand your frustration with police, I have experienced harassment by police. I have also been pulled out of a burning car by a cop. I'm my perfect world, they would clone that police officer and we would never encounter the punks with guns and badges. Culture change is freakin' hard! Any solutions will be freakin' hard. But I wanted to say that I believe that your attitude of supporting the murder of cops, does not support any solution. Sure, vent if you need to but Jesus.

Jen

Anonymous said...

I agree with Charlie right up to the point of him saying shoot a cop. Police should be held accountable. Every stinking one of them, but I do not condone the shooting, or harming of ANYONE. There are always other methods that can be used instead of harming another of our fellow man.

Do I think that the cops were violent to the patrons in the bar? Absolutely. I believe every one of them should be held for a crime. Do I think we should have open season on cops? Hell no! The police are already too trigger happy already. Should we compound that with one of these egocentric MF's by making him even jumpier? Naw. What should be happening are citizens should be demanding that cops need be open to prosecution just like anyone else.

Charlie O said...

Shooting a cop in self defense is NOT murder. Sagon Penn did it in San Diego, California back in 1985. I lived there at the time. He was charged with murder and ACQUITTED. I never advocated randomly shooting LEOs. But I believe in right to defend myself against ANYONE who seeks to harm me. I don't care if they're wearing a badge or not. Cops who abuse the public should reap what they sow.

Anonymous said...

There was a time when I would have disagreed with you Charlie O. But now that I have had my own up close and personal look at the criminal (in)justice system and the government that time and time again supports it, I don't blame anyone for defending themselves against someone physically harming them - cop or not. I know if I was on the jury, they would have to put me in prison before I would convict.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Geez, I leave y'all alone for a day and this is where y'all go with things? ....

Charlio O, I'm sure you're well intentioned but for the record, 1) this blog doesn't support shooting at police nor do I think it's constructive to publicly voice such views, even in moments hyperbole or jest, and 2) the "uptick" in police deaths in Texas and nationally (we led the nation last year though CA has many more officers) is actually from traffic accidents, not more shootings, which according to the last data I saw, wider use of Tasers and protective gears have actually slightly brought down.

12:25 asks a brlliant and wise question in reaction to your suggestion: "Should we compound that with one of these egocentric MF's by making him even jumpier?" Exactly! That sort of rhetoric, much less behavior, invites inevitable catastrophe if played out as threatened. Polce are better armed and always win those confrontations, as countless leftie protesters have all learned over the last 40 years from Kent State forward.

The safer and more effective strategy, I've always believed, is to shift such conflicts to the legislative or judicial arenas where at least, if you're lucky, police critics stand a fighting chance. The street's the wrong place to handle that sort of business. Instead, do it on terrain where you have more leverage.

Charlie O said...

Grits and others,

You seem to miss the central point of my post, law enforcement agents are not held to account. If you or I had tasered a 14 year girl FOR ANY REASON, we'd be sitting in jail. Police have become militarized, they more violent and aggressive in nearly every jurisdiction. How this be addressed in the legislature or the courts? They're all on the same team!! No politician (especially in Texas) wants to be labled anti-law enforcement. Walk into any courtroom in this country. If you and I give testimony, identical corroborating testimony in a criminal case, then some cop gets on the stand and give a completely contradictory account, who gets believed? There's some magical myth that the cops ALWAYS tell the truth and everyone else is a damn liar. District and State's attorney's won't file criminally against cops who murder and assault citizens under the color of law. "There on the job."

Police in this country have been militarized and given free reign to commit whatever mayhem they see. That's not the mark of so-called free country. I call that tyranny.

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to come up with an arguement for what you are saying Charlie O and I just can't. As much as I try, especially these last few days, I just can't muster one. I guess the point is what we do about it.

I was speaking with my husband today about this today, via snail mail of course. He promised me that he would not get bitter during our time apart and so far he has been true to his word. I, on the other hand have been having a bit of a hard time with that lately.

So whether it is boycotting the prison commissary or writing legislators or making insightful comments on this blog, we have got to keep pressing forward. No matter what the odds. Every once and a while we do win one.

No other point than that. I just don't no what else to do or say.

Boyness said...

The militarization of American law enforcement is a fact. Cops are using tanks, machine guns, grenade launchers and God knows what else to enforce civil law. Hell, HPD is using drones.

With this equipment comes an attitude. A militaristic attitude of us against them. Being at war and that type of nonsense.

Lets have the police pick up shoplifters, stop people for dwi and arrest bank robbers and leave the tanks, grenade launchers and drones to the military. And while we are on the subject, the police do need to be held accountable for there actions the same as anyone else.

Hiding behind the badge has to stop. That badge is not a license to abuse and neglect, it is a promise to serve and protect.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Boyness. Leave that other crap at home. I understand that hardened criminals have automatic weapons, many have body armor, and some even have true military experience. I do NOT see them however rolling up to a drug deal in a M60/M48 MBT or a M2/3 Bradley to sell their wares. I also do not see them thumping mortars of hellfires into battles with rivals or police.

What I do see is time and again Police using retired military grade equipment some of which can be or IS fully functional from a combat standpoint. M113's I do not have a problem with, but when johnny law is rolling up in M2/3 or M577 Recovery vehicles all fully functional with their 25 MM chain cannon, or 155mm main guns, THEN I have a problem. As for the drone issues with HPD, a couple of things come to mind. What can drones do that Helicopters cannot?

We have seen that Drones cost far more than a Bell jet ranger, and the fact that there is no pilot on-board leads me to believe the operator would be more than happy to nose dive one of those into a house with suspected 'terrorists' inside. Police are to serve and protect, Not to be an extension of the Army National Guard...

Anonymous said...

Scott,

Would love to see a blog from you about employee arrrests in 2009 with TDCJ correctional officers. Negligent hiring practices have been supported for so long that we have went from corruption to CO's being arrested on a regular basis for murder. What next?
Check out the numbers for discipline and arrests just in 2009.

BB

R. Shackleford said...

I agree with Charlie's assertion that leo's ought to be held criminally accountable for criminal acts. I also agree that there is a growing feeling in this country that cops are a wee bit too ready to zap/abuse their powers. While I can't condone wholesale leo hunting, I personally feel that every citizen has the right to meet violence with violence. In defense of self, property, and loved ones, imo it's better to be judged by twelve than carried by six. I also agree that truly meaningful reform is hardly likely, given the "blue team" mentality. I personally have been trying for two years to institute a citizen's police monitor program in Wilco, with predictably fruitless and frustrating results. What do people turn to after all legal avenues of reform are blocked?

NoMoreNoloContendere said...

Hey GFB, Thanks for dumping 10 topics on us to explore while you were elsewhere.
The two about "Bad Cops" got the most attention, I'd say it hit a soft spot.

We all can agree to agree that a punk is a punk no matter what. It's how you deal with it that counts. We can read about it & ignore the fact it's running rampent or like you say get the legislative & judicial arenas involved.

The L & J publicly laughed at the tea parties concept and will laugh at any attempts to spank Bad Cops if it's done by individuals.

Q. Anyone have any bright ideas that we can all live with or do you all just want to blog about it for a week or so? *The illegals took off from work & marched nationwide and got a get out jail card. Sh--t it's too hot for that krap. I'm out?

Anonymous said...

Some good comments about some serious problems.

SWAT, outlandish militarization, and abusive use of authority in our law enforcement has gotten way out of hand.

Charlie O said...

I just finished reading this: http://crooksandliars.com/logan-murphy/francine-busby-fundraiser-raided-poli, at CrooksandLiars.

This is more of the same from law enforcement in this country. This was a gathering of 50-somethings in a fairly posh part of San Diego County. Yet people were randomly pepper sprayed because, oh no, these fat and possible homosexual Democrats had a deputy surrounded.

This guy shouldn't be fired or suspended. He should be charged with battery and sent to Folsom.

This incident was not "law enforcement." It was a peaceful gathering made violent by a punk with a badge and gun. I firmly believe any one of the attendees at this gathering had every right to answer this deputy's violence (indiscriminate pepper spraying) with ample violence in return. BY WHATEVER MEANS NECESSARY.